Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A ‘no-growth’ boom will follow 2012 global crash

By Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) — There is a global economic boom coming, but unfortunately, that boom comes only after a systemic collapse of the global economy, markets and capitalism — a collapse that may well eliminate billions of people from the planet. Shocking? Cruel? Brutal? Yes.
But folks, that is the coded message in many recent warnings from environmental economists who finally realize that nothing will wake up the public. Nothing but a catastrophic system failure. Only then, a path to reform, recovery, a new boom.
But wait, you ask: If the consequences are worse than an asteroid slamming into Earth, why don’t we just plan ahead? Avoid the Black Swan? Why wait for some “creative destruction” to wipe out capitalism, reduce the global population to 5 billion? Why? Because our human genes are not good at planning ahead for catastrophes. Our brains are designed for fight-or-flight. Otherwise we procrastinate. We respond best when our backs are against the wall. Then we rally the troops, go to war, so to speak.

Until we reach that point, we focus on everyday stuff, like jobs, the kids, short-term buy-sells and ideological stuff like today’s anti-science, anti-intellectual political rhetoric. Free-market capitalism. Don’t tread on me. Stuff like that keeps us in denial about the future. No, we don’t plan, don’t act until a crisis. Not till the asteroid is about to hit. Even then, we pray for divine intervention to rescue us. Or a Churchill to emerge, take charge of the impossible challenge, get people energized and focused on a common cause. Then we’ll charge ahead, solve the problem. Until then, our brains can only think short-term. More