Optimism? Optimism? Does that preposterous word dare raise its head around here — again??? And in association with matters economic?
Never fear. I know nobody in these parts is as blind as Bernanke or as oblivious as Obama. Is the economy going straight to hell? Yes, of course it is. Are things likely to get worse long before they get better? You can bet your six-gallon superpails of hard red winter wheat on it. Are your children’s futures in peril? Oh my. Will politicians continue to try to “cure” the economic poison they administered with ever-higher doses of the same stuff? Are we likely to get even more of a police state than we already have as Our Glorious Leaders struggle to keep up their pretense of governing us? Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.
So what on earth have we got to be optimistic about?
A lot, actually. Let me count (a few of) the ways:
1. The fever needs to break before the patient heals. Since 2008 (or since 1971, if you want to take the longer view), politicians have been administering drugs designed to keep the economic fever down. TARP, too big to fail, the stock market’s so-called plunge protection team, mega-loans, bailouts, coverups, monetizing of the debt — they’ve all been designed to prevent the inevitable crisis from boiling over. The day all that has to stop because politicians and their mega-banker buddies can’t keep all the balls in the air any more (sorry for the mixed metaphors; hey, it’s a blog post, not a Shakespearean sonnet) — the day we appear to go from bad to worse — is the day we can begin to address the underlying problems and hope to get well again.
2. When things look the worst, people get creative. Tuition goes so high you can’t send your kid to college? People start developing alternatives. Can’t get a job? Maybe it’s time to become an underground entrepreneur. The NASDAQ tanks? There’s always the GLBSE. (H/T. btc) Big box stores go bust? Mom and pop become competitive again. Cars aren’t selling? Well, there’s always art.
3.The fiat dollar needs to go. Once the dollar finally dies after 100 years of Fed-inflicted, politician-induced torture, we have a hope of restoring that greatest of all social blessings, sound money. And when I say “we” I don’t necessarily mean government. Money of, by, and for the people seems more do-able the longer governments make a mess of things.
4. When you can’t afford stuff, you rediscover self. And neighborliness. And making music. And clever ways of making do. And healthy alternatives to hopping in the car for every little errand. And home-grown food. And common sense. And 100 other things.
5. Imagine a world where people no longer have faith in government. No need to say more.
6. A glimmer of the Enlightenment still shines. It’s as CS says. Those ideals, and our history, give us hope of journeying back out of the coming darkness.
7. There is no such thing as “the economy.” When THE economy goes to hell, we have opportunity to create our own mini-economies. Don’t let the doomers get you down.
8. When things crack up … oh, what opportunities to slip between the cracks.
9. The crapiest times tend to produce the best movies. And art. And literature.
10. When it all comes down, you will be among the prepared. Sure, it’s a curse to live in “interesting times.” But unlike your neighbors who might still be parroting the official line — “Nobody could possibly have seen it coming!” — you’ll be ready, psychologically, if not financially. You and your family will have the best chance of landing on your feet and actually growing from the experience rather than being crushed by it.