Top 10 resolutions for 2010:
10. Despite the seeming profound nature of our circumstances and growing social malaise, we are alive at one of the most amazing thresholds for our species. Despite growing issues with both democracy and capitalism, few periods of human history show evidence of as much freedom, energy, art, and choice as we now have globally. It’s important to step back from the trees and look at and enjoy such a forest each and every day. Resolution #10 Live, love and experience, with one eye (but not both), on the greater good. Be goofy, creative, flexible, and don’t take things too seriously.
9.Friends and former clients are increasingly asking me about the markets, where I’m putting my money, and how to capitalize on the upcoming energy/credit descent trends while at same time protecting their capital. By and large they all focus on the Dow (or SP500) as a barometer of health and success of our country and global systemic health in general. I think this era is over. We are in the liminal space where perceptions of what defines wealth are shifting, and amassed financial digits are going to be a giant headache to protect in the year(s) before currency reform. Inflation, deflation, rule changes, and too many claims vs. real assets will require one to be incredibly nimble, both in the markets, and in translating abstract markers into real capital, even a portion of it, in a timely fashion (see below).
Personally I moved 1/2 of my (small) assets out of the market in Jan of 2009 and am moving another 1/2 out next week. It’s not that I think stock markets are going down (I do), but that they no longer reflect the fair game that I understood, a game that since its inception has been subsidized by energy surplus but now to an increasing extent by abstractions. Given that governments are pursuing the sovereign-for-public/private debt switcheroo, I think financial armageddon eventually occurs in the currency/bond markets, not in stocks (though I would expect they would soon follow). A first step towards mental clarity is to stop equating the SP500 and the Dow as metrics of health of our system, something I (and many others), frequently do. Those that do so, and bring their own financial health along for the ride are going to be disappointed and ultimately left holding the bag. As my advisor Bob says, we as a culture have been overly focused on pursuing the pot of gold and in the process have lost sight of the rainbow……………….
……………..Resolution #5 Unless I’m just talking among friends, I will no longer articulate our societal problems without offering some action plan. There are of course no blanket ‘solutions’, but there are many suggestions for action that are far better than our default trajectory. I basically realized there is more to this whole thing than the truth. The truth has to come with a plan………………
……………..We live in special times. Change is needed and will eventually, as always, arrive. Growth is possible but only under unlikely assumptions. Hopefully we can use our remaining highest quality energy and resources towards building something more stable. We have the technology and resources but lack the political will and perhaps the human nature. Technology based ‘solutions’ should be used more like a crutch than a machete, in my opinion.
Of all the possible futures we face, maintaining social stability and tilting people towards their positive potential, not as producers and consumers of things, but as humans living with each other within limits as much as possible, may perhaps buy us time for something more ambitious. The biggest potential trump card, in both directions, will be human reaction to events and cultural change.
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