Monday, March 9, 2009

Mr Gloom and Doom

I got miffed at my wife this weekend, she brushed me off in front of our friends calling me out for being constantly downbeat about the economy. I asked her to find any evidence, any at all, that a turn around is imminent and she shrugged her shoulders and told me that people just don't want to hear it. "There's only so much..." she insisted. I think that is the basis of our difficulty in forcing a recovery. The news is uniformly bad, there are no indicators of a turn around, so instead of preparing for the worst we fake nonchalance. It's weird.
I have never lost sight of the fact that the end of this journey is death, extinction, a lesson brought home to me by my mother's sudden death when I was a boy. I decided there and then that I would live as many lives as possible in my lifetime. Consequently my choices were viewed with scepticism and some scorn by people around me. In looking back I am certain I made the right choices for me and at this stage in my life I feel lucky to be content to be settled in one place dealing with the daily reality of commuting and working and coping with a relatively settled life. This economic crisis hasn't deprived me of goals traditionally set aside for the retirement years. I have, in effect lived my life backwards, which has worked out well for me.
Now I am doing my best to educate myself on a situation that is unprecedented,in our life times certainly and to some extent in several life times.My intent is to treat the economic melt down as a threatening hurricane- some people ignore hurricane threats, others like me feel better if they've done what they can before the storm hits. In the same way I want to do what I can to prepare for possible economic catastrophe before it hits.
The problem is that no one knows exactly what happens when an economy implodes completely. We have a couple of recent precedents in post Soviet Russia and in Argentina when the peso took a deep dive, but what is likely or even possible in the US is completely unknown. Thus it is no mean feat to try to figure out what I should do to prepare. My theory is we could do a lot worse than band together as friends with a common goal, but our friends think I'm daft for imagining such an impossibility. Thus we have an impasse. Unless my wife gets on board I am forced to retreat into my own head and hope for the best which is a choice that makes me queasy. Standing around,hands in pocket waiting for the train to wreck. what a prospect.

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