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The Tentacle


October 13, 2008

The Beginning at The End

Steven R. Berryman

This is The End. Not in the way the iconic 70’s rock group The Doors mean it. Not in a “depressing” way, but in another. This is not the beginning of “The End,” but the end of the beginning of a world economic reshuffling.

 

In the process of the unfolding of the “financial meltdown of 2008,” get used to the notion that an environment of constant change will become the norm. No, not change in the sense that our presidential candidates seek to claim for themselves, either!

 

The new continuum of “change” will be marked by the fact that those choosing to embrace it will be the survivors, and those that live for recreating the past will be its biggest losers.

 

Forget “credit default swaps,” short-selling, mortgage backed securities (MBS’s) and “mark to market” for awhile.

 

Now that the worst week in Wall Street history is behind us forever, we find that we are still here, and the world did not end. We can begin to look forward to the future and start to get positive in ways that make sense to be positive:

 

*American debt obligations to foreign governments – some not friendly to us – can now get renegotiated. We may end up owing China a fraction of what’s on the books now, and get better terms to boot. We could have never grown our way out of that one.

 

*As we use less energy during a slowdown, gas prices at the pump go down along with oil. Relish the fact that the “petro-dollars” we subsidize as a shift in wealth, ending up in the hands of Iran and Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, will fuel less armaments and unrest directed at America.

 

*America has a history of being very nimble on economic survival issues and can turn-on-a-dime when needed. We can switch back to more of a manufacturing base – sorely needed for years – with enough creativity injected into our corporations. We are the “can do” people, but this one may require some protectionism.

 

*As different commodities reach new values, we will see farm produced agricultural goods increase in value (buy Archer Daniels Midland). America’s breadbasket is due to increase in real value relative to energy; let our enemies try to eat oil!

 

*We can start to close off the decades of corporate cultural greed now. Golden parachutes, excessive bonuses (even in off years), and day-spa visits by the likes of AIG will become less a drag on profitability.

 

*What had been an impasse on “term-limits” will not be as important, as reformers will all now have an automatic stump-speech to use now…concerning tossing out the bums, or the like. Note that the incoming class of Republican freshman need not be worried, as they all opposed the TARP Bailout package.

 

*With a reduced capacity to consume, Americans will be forced to be less wasteful and more efficient. Recyclers and remanufactures will surely benefit, and the green-thinkers will be happy about it. Get LEEDS (or green building) compliant first!

 

*A forced need to be more productive as a nation, with improved moves towards efficiency in all businesses will surely allow winners to rise up, more competitive than ever. Just in time to do real economic warfare on rival nations, addicted to their own cheap labor-pools, maintained chiefly by holding their own citizens in poverty.

 

*Illegal Immigration – Certainly, even if our new president does not intend to handle the border crisis as inaugurated, the financial meltdown and aftermath will force a solution to satisfy America’s real best interests. Citizenship may even be held to have an actual value now!

 

*Long needed evaluations of risk vs. reward in our social systems can now be fairly evaluated in a needful light. Handout programs and entitlements can be fair game for change without being a “third-rail” leading to political suicide.

 

*Finally, with the aftermath of this “Crisis,” we may see a reorganization of our broken two-party political system. For far too long, both sides of the aisle colluded in a rigged financial system. Now, a leading party will emerge, and the other will die; the winner will be the one that best causes a resurgence of confidence in the American Way.

 

There are some small, prudent steps to feel a little better right away:

 

*Keep some extra cash in your house, as a just-in-case-fund. Even though it bears no interest, it feels good.

 

*Buy some non-perishable food commodity items in bulk for your pantry. You will save on the quantity purchase, and it also feels good.

 

But here are real positive steps to help you with the unpleasant psychology of the moment:

 

*Take stock in what is truly important in life and get back to family, church, school, and community, instead of watching stocks tick on cable TV networks.

 

*Start to take a walk regularly, and get back into shape to face the future with strength. You may actually meet one of your neighbors while slogging along the block.

 

*Call an old friend and find out how they’ve been doing, trade stories.

 

*Get out of the house more and get involved in a new project; make a new friend; take partners!

 

*Get involved in things that concern you, instead of merely sniping from the sidelines and fretting...

 

…As these are the “new good old days.”

 

Happy Columbus Day, America.

 

srbmgr@comcast.net

 



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