Empire of Dunces


The Future

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Which countries are to be the torchbearers of civilization in the future? I have repeatedly lambasted the West for its consumerism, hedonism, demographic shortsightedness and economic illiteracy. Does that mean that the future lies in the East. China, India, maybe Brazil? People like Jim Rogers and Marc Faber, vastly more experienced and accomplished individuals than I, do see the future in South-East Asia, China in particular. And while I have to admit to being mightily impressed with the Chinese entrepreneurial spirit, its confucian ethics, and its non-ideological approach to economics (so unlike in the West, where it is always about ideology.) I do not believe that China will ever become the dominant power on the planet, like the US is now, and Great Britain was before. Demographically, China is a catastrophe waiting to happen. The one-child policy is not only a moral travesty, but beyond that, a time bomb, continuing to increase in explosive power. Just like in the West, where shrinking populations are going to destroy the welfare systems, and eventually quite possibly the nations themselves, or in Japan and South Korea, where rapidly aging populations are being replaced by dismally tiny population growth, so as well, China is literally aborting its own future, and creating enormous problems for itself. By now, there is already an overhang of about 20 million males that will never find a mate. Young men growing up, who will never be able to fulfill the most basic human desire of passing on their genes. Such a huge surplus of young men has historically almost inevitably led to wars and revolutions. Even in the best scenarios, it will certainly not lead to economic growth. China’s epic savings rate is one of the bright spots in this picture. Compared to the English speaking countries on the planet, this savings rate presents a buffer from which new economic growth can be financed. Germany, France and Italy are similarly blessed. Witness the following article at the Asia Times – www.atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/LH18Dj02

However, I find myself at odds with those predictions as well. There are always a multitude of factors at play, and the savings rate is but one. Demographics, culture, political ideology are other factors. The future is growing progressively less certain and predictable. And I balk at authoritatively declaring this to be the Chinese century. I also see little reason at attempting to do so. The best we can do is act according to the things we feel certain of. Such as that Gold and Silver will make us money. Such as that agriculture and selected, international real estate will grow in value. And that debt, most equities, and most currencies will lose in value. As far as trying to answer which countries will be most successful 50 years hence… the above is my best guess.


Written by gloege

August 21, 2010 at 12:19

Posted in Uncategorized

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