Revising my forecast

U.S. stock markets are down more than 50% since they peaked in October 2007, but that figure really doesn’t indicate how rapidly the decline is accelerating.The markets are down 25% in the first two months of 2009, and down 10% in the last week. If the markets fall another 25% or so within the next two months, we’ll reach capitulation. Therefore, I’m revising my earlier forecast, which called for complete economic collapse by the end of this year.


I’m still giving the industrial economy a 99.9% chance of failing by year’s end. And a 90% chance of failing by the end of summer, along with a 70% chance of not making it through the spring. Of course it could all come down any day, despite Wall Street’s dreams for a rally this week. If you’re waiting until things get bad before you start making other arrangements, I have two words for you: We’re there.
The time to dig a well is not when you’re thirsty.
The mainstream media are lining up at the trough of doom, reporting the huge spike in job losses during the last few months, the worst of which is yet to come, the Fed saying the economy sucks and that the recession is deepening, and the Wall Street Journal reporting increased odds of a depression. Meanwhile, Nouriel Roubini is getting gloomy while the federal government is hiding information about AIG, likely to stave off civil unrest a while longer. For even more fun, check out Jon Stewart in top form as he eviscerates CNBC (youtube version here).
If you need another sign the apocalypse is here, I’ll be speaking and leading a discussion after a film on campus Monday night. Nothing novel about that, except that I haven’t seen five films in the last five years: I’m hardly an authority on the medium. Oh, and I was asked to speak by a student club called the Vagina Warriors, on the topic of a documentary film: What I Want my Words to Do to You documents both the wrenching personal journeys undertaken by the inmates to find the words that tell their own stories, and the power of those words to move the outside world. No, I don’t have a vagina. But I teach poetry in institutions of incarceration. Drop by, if you’re in the neighborhood.

Comments 14

  • Vagina Warriors, market forecasts, a Daily Show reference… Guy, this is truly a post with the capacity to entertain and instruct.
    BTW, I saw that Daily Show when it aired. What a beautiful send up it was! So true. The idiots act as though their words aren’t being recorded for posterity. So much hubris…soooo much hubris…
    As for other plans, well, I’m still in a desert…which places me directly up the dry bed of Sh*t Creek without boat or paddle or water for that matter should the whole of the industrialized world fall apart tomorrow. Although, we’ve been stockpiling water, medicine, nonperishables and camping gear LOL (to be fair, we actually plan to go camping/fishing in the notsodistant future anyway). That and my pitiful victory garden, LOL. Not sure what good that will do, but it gives me something to pass the time. I think of it as a hole-filled security blanket–won’t do much for warmth, but it keeps me from going completely crazy when I pay attention to the news.
    There is certainly tension in the air. I imagine this is much like the tension people felt prior to World War II. Of course, maybe this is just my faulty perception at work.
    We visited with our relatives yesterday, brought home some turkey eggs, met their mules, horses, and buffalo. We also had the curious experience of visiting the workshop. He’s a tanner by trade and a taxidermist. I was impressed by the artistry that actually goes into it. Besides, there’s something very honest about folks who go out and kill their own meat rather than feeding at the trough of industrialized meat.
    Kind of like the moment of realization I had recently when one of my lady friends spoke to me about her passion for bowhunting. You know the feeling of being impressed by something you don’t expect to be impressed by coupled with a small trickle of envy over meeting someone who possesses a unique skill you a) realize you’ll never master b) would be valuable in any economy.

  • Charlene if you have a well dug you would be set. I’ve seen them done for relatively cheap.
    Things seem to last longer in the desert and it’s nowhere near as inhospitible as it is where I live. Heat’s a factor, but I’ll face 100 to 120 heat before I face 60 below any day. (And I’ll get to face 120 degree heat again in mid April)
    Aside from probably being larger, is there any difference with Turkey eggs?
    How could you never master bowhunting? If you want to master it, simply do so! Saying that you can’t is most of the reason you think you can’t. I think you can, and I don’t even know you. If you’re not strong enough to pull some of the larger bows, they’ve got lighter pull weight compounds that though are easy to pull back can really get an arrow moving. They’re awesome practice and a strength gaining excercise. Not only would you have fun learning to do it, you’d be getting excercise and get healthier doing so.
    I say there’s not much I can’t do, and I’ll try anything. Specialization is for insects, and you’ll only live once.

  • Total Turboguy:
    PLease explain in detail the meaning of the (!) after your name.
    Have you no shame sir,have you no shame?

  • the synergy here is amazing,
    Charlene,
    you beat me to it, I was going to
    describe my ‘bowhunting’ experience on the weekend.
    anyway, I caught up with a trad bow club here,
    where they were having a 3d field archery shoot
    with mock (rubberized) north american critters.
    (we dont have any mock native animals here it is
    illegal to hunt them, even rubber ones – governments
    and their absurd regulations!)
    anyway after 50 rounds – I necked a coyote, I shot
    a wolverine in the tail (look out hugh) and most
    importantly I knee capped a black bear. Unless
    the local rabbit population grows to the size of a VW golf,
    I’m screwed, its dandlielions for me.
    Now, compound bows are for soft cocks, pussies or geriatrics.
    I must say archery is much more difficult than I imagined.
    I am 6ft, but I could barely pull 50lbs (consistently).
    Race discussions here have all the sensitivity and aplomb
    that one unfortunately expects from the blogosphere.
    From Don Watsons ‘American Journeys’ (2008).
    A non fiction account of an Australian writer travelling through the US.
    ‘older black men evinced a faded spirit of survival. The young men,
    in every case, seemed downcast and suffocating in resentment and self loathing.
    Its in the way they walk, their eyes, the tension in their faces, their absurdly
    oversized clothes. Black male teenagers are the most consistently sad sight in America.’
    The book somewhat perhaps inadvertantly talks about race more than anything else,
    your nations stain is unfortunatley (undertstatement) one of those ‘wicked’ problems (http://www.apsc.gov.au/publications07/wickedproblems.htm)
    ie the problems that cannot be resolved, but perhaps only managed like climate change, obesity, poverty etc.
    The overt degree of racism in the US, fascinated our Don.
    Anyway, worth a read, to see your nation from another perspective.
    To digress again,
    Charlene,
    With regards to your 401k (superannuation).
    If you acknowledge peak oil, then you also have to have the realisation
    that economic growth is going to be extremely difficult to achieve going forward.
    ‘In an effort to challenge those assumptions, systems ecologist and energy researcher Charlie Hall has long championed a biophysical approach to economics as an alternative to neoclassical economics which he likens to a Ponzi scheme. Why a Ponzi scheme? Each new wave of lending is made based on the faith that future flows of energy will increase sufficiently to create enough economic growth to pay off the new loans.’
    In other words the problem with limits/peak oil etc is that current high
    levels of debt will never be paid down. There is no bottom, there will be
    no recovery, I have to agree with the prof on this :(!
    Your 401k is toast, now 13 years ago I had opportunity to pay off the mortgage
    with a non preseved part of my super. I promptly paid it out, since then
    I have completed 2 post grads, a masters and gone overseas several times.
    Debt makes a free man a slave. Both the wife and I work part time.
    When you work 3 days a week (8 weeks paid leave)- retirement fantasies dont exist.
    Paying you mortage down or off is probably your best investment at the moment.
    If the interest rate is 6%, paying it down is like earning 9% and paying
    30% in tax. Where are you going to get 9% return guaranteed?
    Anyway seek independent financial ‘advice’.
    Anyways,
    perhaps a penchant for theatricality and fundo christianity in the US
    has given life to doomerism (the apocalypse) that does not exist to the
    same extent in other nations.
    ‘Where there is the ability to obliterate, there will be fantasies of obliteration.’
    Mark Twain
    I have been making similar financial predictions here to my stock market
    indebted colleagues, although mine are far more modest.
    Australia has had its first quarter of negative growth, we are exactly 1 year behind.

  • I’m not sure about the 401k advice. I don’t actually have a 401k, but thanks.
    As for bowhunting, it seems difficult. I applaud anyone who even tries. Considering my overall klutzy nature, I don’t think I it would go over well for me. My friend, on the other hand, is this 6ft amazonian type of woman. By contrast, I barely grace the lofty heights of 5’5″. No, it’s definitely one occasion where I have to tip my proverbial hat to someone far more impressive than myself (actually, I do a lot of hat tipping).
    Mark Twain was a good one, wasn’t he? Apocalypse is a funny thought, isn’t it? I mean, the earth is going to outlast us all. I think we people should be honest about what apocalypse means. It means people losing their dominant status and taken down a rung or four on the ladder of living things. Or, to the particularly dense, it means no more Starbucks or WalMart.
    I know more than a few people who would probably wonder why they hadn’t been raptured already if the big box and fastfood chains went under and they had to actually eat food they produced for themselves.

  • Just coming back to add, on a happier note, freecycling is paying off. I picked up about 50 baby aloe vera plants this evening that someone was discarding. We plan to share them, plant a bunch and make decorative pots to hold the rest/sell them to raise money for a fundraiser we’re busy with at the moment.
    The good thing about the economy as is tanking will be the rise of things like CSA, freecycle and barter systems.

  • Possibly, matt. Loved the fact they mentioned the Onion–definitely the finest news source available at the moment ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Meanwhile, I think we’ll sell our extra plants for the fundraiser planted in these:
    http://www.origami-club.com/en/newspaper/garbagebin/index.htm
    Woohoo…
    I’ve got tons of newspaper around (I’m like the neighborhood recycling lady–everyone gives me their recyclables). I know lots of people are planting gardens around here right now, too. Free plants, free “green” plant pots…can’t beat that.

  • you’re a resource treasure!

  • I have a 80lb compound bow and a 50 lb recurve and should probably upgrade and rarely use the recurve as it is a tad brutal. It’s nowhere near as accurate as the Compound either, the hand shock is amazing, and I’m fairly long armed so when I draw, people start moving just in case it breaks. I am neither a “Soft Cock” or “Geriatric” nor am I a “Pussy” by any stretch of the imagination. A Compound bow is *FAR* more humane when it comes to killing animals. They’re far more accurate, powerful, and controllable than their old school brethren. I have a Bowtech Tribute compound bow that I bought for $550, it is, for lack of a better word, fantastic. I can get arrows screaming at right around 340FPS with it and regularly pull off two inch groups at fifty yards.
    If you went hunting with accuracy that leaves you tail shooting wolverines and kneecapping bears because you’re not strong enough to control your bow, and granted you escaped the bear without him killing you for your indescretion, I’d be unhappy with you for not using the compound bow.
    Frank, is this better? I realize that my single exclamation point may be a tad bit excessive.

  • I thought that such an outrageous statement would illicit such a response.
    I will take your word that you are not any of those
    descriptors. I could never be that emphatic even here,
    you have a healthy sense of self ‘bare arms!’.
    Nice to see you and Privileged have reconciled.
    Remember political correctness is not ‘intellectual fascism’
    as you say, this demeaning description of civility is
    really just an abuse of ‘weasal’ words to legitimize racism.
    I am considering purchasing a bow in the next week or so.
    The compounds are expensive here, $1200 for a Hoyt kitara
    (machined riser). A hand made long bow is $600 #50 @ 29in.
    Whoever you talk to you get different opinions.
    The aesthetics of the compound bows are appalling.
    There is a sense here from experienced archers that
    the compounds are so high tech, that you might as well
    get a gun, ie with the cams, wheels, sights, counter weights,
    release aids etc. The learning curve with trad bows is much longer,
    it is much more difficult to master. You are correct that is far more
    ethical for an inexperiened archer to use a compound bow when hunting.
    Thats when ‘stealthing’ (Guys word) becomes very important with a trad bow,
    you really need to get within 20m of the critter to humanely make a kill.
    To pull off two inch groups and fifty yards is very impressive,
    you have quite an arsenal turbo. At this late stage in the peak oil
    game I have a small swiss army knife and a 10kg bag of rice!
    cheers

  • I’m curious, is a compound bow like a crossbow?
    Swiss army knife and rice…sounds about like us over here. Hubby isn’t allowed guns (long story) but we have a bunch of hunting knives. The rest of the family are the ones with the aresenals–regular hunters. I used to think hunting was boorish, but that was at a *much* younger/dumber stage in my life when I actually thought Bambi was a true account of life in the forrest ๐Ÿ™‚ You can imagine my culture shock when my peta/vegan/you-killed-bambi’smom younger self met the inlaws for the first time. I ate lots of corn and beans at those awkward family dinners. Scoping out the various dead animals on the walls, the NRA caps, and thinking…Oh God, I hope it isn’t genetic…
    Now I find myself humbled by my mother-in-law’s ability to use a variety of guns and knowledge of various things related to the art of hunting. (BTW, my mother isn’t the Amazon friend of mine, she’s actually shorter than me, poor thing.)
    On swiss army knives…that reminds me of Ricky Gervais and something he did…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWaeBTgsbdw
    “Ooooh…alright, back off, he’s got some tweezers…”
    ๐Ÿ™‚

  • now, you make me laugh as much as robocop does
    no, a compound bow is not a crossbow
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compound_bow
    google an image to get a pic of it, they are hideous
    (art history/aesthetics grad – I have standards!)
    Ricky Gervais is hilarious
    and at the same time he
    makes me squirm
    ie The Office

  • Greetings all members,
    I would just like to say hello and let you know that I’m happy to be a member – been a lurker long enough ๐Ÿ™‚
    Hope to contribute some and gain some knowledge along the way….