One question

Ok a couple of nights ago I had dinner with some very bearish commentators. I mean dark as night: some are talking Dow 1000, guns, gold bars, and bunkers in the yard. Most of course are big gold bugs. In truth most are also talking their book as they run gold funds or gold brokerages etc. So their views are not without bias at this point; but I think most are truly convinced of their fears and forecasts. Maybe they will be right.
I am certainly no Perma-bull, and I definitely have concerns about debt trends and the present elevated market price of many “assets” in the world today. But before we dive into the depths of fear and despair, here is a question that comes to mind for me: if not today, when in the history of the world would have been a better time to live?
Seriously, when? Middle ages? Victorian era? 1920's? '40's? '50's? 60's? When? Mull that one over. And I don’t mean when you were 20 because you had better skin. I am talking about quality of life, freedoms, knowledge in the world.
None of the “night of the bear” folks could name an era they would chose over today. I can't either. With all our human errors and sadness as we look back in history I still feel that the evolving story of humanity has been net worthwhile. I believe that we will solve today's worries, and we will develop new ones. This is our story.
None of this is to say we shouldn't be careful, conscientious and practical. I think we must. But in the meantime, we also need to keep looking for the light. It is there if we wish to see it.

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5 Responses to One question

  1. Anonymous says:

    Real disposable incomes have been falling for some time now.

  2. Anonymous says:

    That's an easy one for me. I'd gladly turn the calendar back to the 1990's. Cold War over, no War Against Terror, stock markets were robust, no housing bubble, inflation was reasonable, economy was energized by the Internet and innovation in general…the closest thing to a gold bug I knew was my mother's golden ladybug brooch.
    Oh yes, major transformation of workplace culture (for the better), vibrant music scenes, no major environmental catastrophes, democracy prevailed…I could go on and on.
    Seriously, the decline from the 1990's is staggering, people in Canada are desperately trying to perpetuate their lifestyle by indebting themselves up to the hilt.
    The paragon of economic success is now an authoritarian regime that leverages global wage arbitrage to enrich the few and connected. And Western politicians are wearing a path to their door to pay homage and seek their blessing.
    No thanks, I'll take the 1990's, Monica Lewinsky, the Gulf War, Jean Chretien, Asian Financial Crisis…a cake walk compared to this past decade.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I think for any of us it's really difficult to evaluate any other time period besides the one we have lived through. I was born in 1959 and so have no real idea of what it would have been like to live say in the 1950's. I don't think watching “Happy Days” would necessarily be a true reflection of the times.
    I think we have bought too much into the idea that progress is simply to be measured in terms of technological advances.
    I have been a family physician for twenty five years and I'm seeing more depression, anxiety and dysfunctional lives than ever before. I would like to present the following quote from Neal Grossman, a professor at the University of Illinois. I think his assessment of modern culture is spot on. I like his point of view very much even though I'm not particularly “religious”.
    Here goes……………………..
    “Despite avowals to the contrary, we live in a completely atheistic and irreligious culture. To be sure, most people profess a belief in a higher power of some sort, and many people attend religious services regularly. But religion, by which I mean religious values, plays no role in shaping the economic and political forces that structure and control our culture.
    The “good life,” according to religion, consists not in the pursuit of wealth, reputation, or power, but rather in the pursuit of right relationship with the divine. The values of our culture are diametrically opposed to the values of religion. Success in our culture is measured by wealth, reputation, and power; and the desires that are requisite for obtaining this success are greed and ambition. No one gets rich by being kind to competitors; no one gains political office by being loving towards their opponents. Religious values are paid lip service, but they are inoperative in our culture. Indeed, they are fundamentally incompatible with the values that do, in fact, drive our culture. “

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