Thursday, October 9, 2008

A perspective on the world financial crisis

The fraction of defaulting mortgages is not yet that great, but will become much larger. But seen as a fraction of total world debt, it is still not that much.

Instead, the real financial crisis is a total loss of confidence in everything to do with money. No one will finance debt when there is no confidence in the future. The origins of that loss of confidence I am not going to address. It is complex, and, plenty of finger pointing can be done in all directions.

Rather, I am going to take a stab at what the future holds. Real things such as nuts, bolts, people, real estate, real capital (e.g. factories) will still be around. People need to eat, they need a place to live. Farmers will do well. They will be able to sell, in some currency, everything they grow. Agriculture exports will continue to boom. There will be demand for real things and a surplus of labor. Labor costs will go down, prices for everything will drop. In other words, there will be deflation on a massive scale. Gold will go down in price, having already correctly risen.

Money is an accounting system for who did what, and how much, for others. It is that accounting system that is devastated. Good people will be hurt, bad people will be hurt. A few prudent souls will benefit. Anyone with an education will still possess that knowledge and skills set. Anyone with a bag of nuts and bolts will still have them.

Be kind to others. Do not do unto others what you would not have others do unto you. That is the real bottom line. Keep living. Do good deeds.

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