Monday, July 11, 2022

Calm Before the Tempest?

Is it beyond conception that the core actually strengthens for a length of time before the unraveling reaches it?

Let's start by stipulating the obvious: no one knows the future, and most of the guesses--oops, I mean forecasts--will be wrong. Arguing about the forecasts now won't make any difference as to which ones are correct and which ones are wrong. Time alone will tell.

That said, here's a scenario that fits the dynamics I see as most consequential: Core-Periphery and the demise of the waste is growth / financialization / globalization model as the reigning model of how the global economy should work.

Core-periphery dynamics are pretty simple: unraveling starts on the periphery and seeps toward the core. The core actually strengthens in the process as capital and talent seek havens where they're treated well, and the core became the core by treating capital and talent well.

The periphery responds to the unraveling of financialization / globalization by tightening its grip on whatever capital and talent is still available, incentivizing the flight of capital and talent to the core.

A great many people think there are many core economies. In my analysis, there is only one, due to the qualifying requirements: 1) issues a reserve currency, i.e. not pegged to another currency 2) liquid global markets for securities, debt, commodities, etc., i.e. anyone anywhere can trade in size in the core markets 3) transparent market and governance mechanisms, i.e. no overnight devaluations, expropriations, capital restrictions, etc. 4) diverse economy not dependent on exports or imports for its well-being and 5) ease of flow: capital, talent, enterprises and employees all have essentially unlimited freedom of movement within the core.

We can argue about which nations qualify as core but it won't change the outcome. Capital and talent will make their own decisions about risk, safety, exposure to devaluation and expropriation and where the odds of being treated fairly are highest. It's a good exercise to put yourself in the shoes of a manager of a $10 billion fund and go through the decision tree of where to put this $10 billion to preserve its purchasing power first and foremost, and secondarily generate a return.

Would you really gamble $10 billion on a 15% return on the bonds of Timbukthree, whose currency has fallen 20% against the U.S. dollar this year? Or Timbukfour, which is dependent on exports of commodities in a shrinking global economy? Or Timbukfive, which is dependent on imports of commodities and exports of consumer goods in a shrinking global economy?? If you answer "yes," you're not actually playing like you are responsible for $10 billion.

As the periphery unravels financially, it also unravels politically and socially. Bordering states are at risk of destabilizing, and any entity with large exposure to the unraveling debt or markets starts unraveling, too. The destabilization spreads to second-tier nations whose exposure to the dynamics of unraveling are structural.

As all these dominoes fall, eventually those closest to the core also crumble, and then core itself is finally destabilized.

Humans have an interesting talent for adjusting to new circumstances, i.e. habituating to new conditions. Those households consuming 14,000 gallons of fresh water a month may well scream that they can't possibly get by on 12,000 gallons, but then if circumstances change and all the water we have is what we can carry in buckets a kilometer over rough terrain, we find that we can live on the few gallons we can carry a kilometer.

The amount of waste in developed economies is beyond easy measure. It's estimated 40% of all food in the U.S. is wasted. Energy, food and fresh water have been treated as if low cost and abundance were birthrights rather than brief explosions of excess. While we're screaming about energy costs, empty buildings are brightly lit, water taps are left running and one individual per idling vehicle in a traffic jam frets about rising costs.

When the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake closed the Bay Bridge across San Francisco Bay, the main artery between San Francisco and the East Bay, economic doom was predictably predicted. Yet people quickly managed via extra BART (subway) trains that rain beneath the Bay and carpools with four people per vehicle rather than one occupant.

Is it possible that all the predictable predictions of economic doom are somewhat exaggerated by the thrill of sensationalism and projections of past trends, as if people can't possibly make consequential adjustments to their behaviors and consumption?

Systems have constraints, and so there are limits on what adjustments can be made without altering the structure, but in many cases, we're far from reaching limits on basic conservation work-arounds.

Is it possible that things will prove less dire than currently expected? It seems little credence is being given to the potential to adjust to new conditions.

Is it beyond conception that the core actually strengthens for a length of time before the unraveling reaches it? In my crystal ball, it seems not just possible but likely. This will be the calm before The Tempest, when the unraveling reaches the core and structural changes are finally required.




Recent podcasts/videos:

Tectonic Shift of Mercantilism Revalued (Gordon Long, Macro-Analytics, 42 min)

My new book is now available at a 10% discount this month: When You Can't Go On: Burnout, Reckoning and Renewal.

If you found value in this content, please join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.



My recent books:

Global Crisis, National Renewal: A (Revolutionary) Grand Strategy for the United States (Kindle $9.95, print $24, audiobook) Read Chapter One for free (PDF).

A Hacker's Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet (Kindle $8.95, print $20, audiobook $17.46) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Will You Be Richer or Poorer?: Profit, Power, and AI in a Traumatized World
(Kindle $5, print $10, audiobook) Read the first section for free (PDF).

Pathfinding our Destiny: Preventing the Final Fall of Our Democratic Republic ($5 Kindle, $10 print, ( audiobook): Read the first section for free (PDF).

The Adventures of the Consulting Philosopher: The Disappearance of Drake $1.29 Kindle, $8.95 print); read the first chapters for free (PDF)

Money and Work Unchained $6.95 Kindle, $15 print)
Read the first section for free


Become a $1/month patron of my work via patreon.com.




NOTE: Contributions/subscriptions are acknowledged in the order received. Your name and email remain confidential and will not be given to any other individual, company or agency.

Thank you, Gavin G. ($100), for your outrageously generous contribution to this site -- I am greatly honored by your steadfast support and readership.

 

Thank you, Shiu Man W. ($100), for your outrageously generous contribution to this site -- I am greatly honored by your steadfast support and readership.


Thank you, Philip O. ($5/month), for your splendidly generous pledge to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

 

Thank you, Mark F. ($5/month), for your superbly generous pledge to this site -- I am greatly honored by your support and readership.

Terms of Service

All content on this blog is provided by Trewe LLC for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. These terms and conditions of use are subject to change at anytime and without notice.


Our Privacy Policy:


Correspondents' email is strictly confidential. This site does not collect digital data from visitors or distribute cookies. Advertisements served by a third-party advertising network (Investing Channel) may use cookies or collect information from visitors for the purpose of Interest-Based Advertising; if you wish to opt out of Interest-Based Advertising, please go to Opt out of interest-based advertising (The Network Advertising Initiative). If you have other privacy concerns relating to advertisements, please contact advertisers directly. Websites and blog links on the site's blog roll are posted at my discretion.


PRIVACY NOTICE FOR EEA INDIVIDUALS


This section covers disclosures on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for users residing within EEA only. GDPR replaces the existing Directive 95/46/ec, and aims at harmonizing data protection laws in the EU that are fit for purpose in the digital age. The primary objective of the GDPR is to give citizens back control of their personal data. Please follow the link below to access InvestingChannel’s General Data Protection Notice. https://stg.media.investingchannel.com/gdpr-notice/


Notice of Compliance with The California Consumer Protection Act


This site does not collect digital data from visitors or distribute cookies. Advertisements served by a third-party advertising network (Investing Channel) may use cookies or collect information from visitors for the purpose of Interest-Based Advertising. If you do not want any personal information that may be collected by third-party advertising to be sold, please follow the instructions on this page: Do Not Sell My Personal Information


Regarding Cookies:


This site does not collect digital data from visitors or distribute cookies. Advertisements served by third-party advertising networks such as Investing Channel may use cookies or collect information from visitors for the purpose of Interest-Based Advertising; if you wish to opt out of Interest-Based Advertising, please go to Opt out of interest-based advertising (The Network Advertising Initiative) If you have other privacy concerns relating to advertisements, please contact advertisers directly.


Our Commission Policy:

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I also earn a commission on purchases of precious metals via BullionVault. I receive no fees or compensation for any other non-advertising links or content posted on my site.

  © Blogger templates Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP