Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Market Decline Will Lead To Pension Collapse, USD Devaluation, And NWO - Raymond_Matison
2.Uber’s Nightmare Has Just Started - Stephen_McBride
3.Stock Market Crash Black Swan Event Set Up Sept 12th? - Brad_Gudgeon
4.GDow Stock Market Trend Forecast Update - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Gold Significant Correction Has Started - Clive_Maund
6.British Pound GBP vs Brexit Chaos Timeline - Nadeem_Walayat
7.Cameco Crash, Uranium Sector Won’t Catch a break - Richard_Mills
8.Recession 2020 Forecast : The New Risks & New Profits Of A Grand Experiment - Dan_Amerman
9.Gold When Global Insanity Prevails - Michael Ballanger
10.UK General Election Forecast 2019 - Betting Market Odds - Nadeem_Walayat
Last 7 days
Here’s Why You Must Protect Yourself Outside the Financial System… - 22nd Nov 19
The Promise of AI - 22nd Nov 19
The Financial Implications of Bitcoin Casinos in Japan - 22nd Nov 19
FOMC Minutes Reveal an Important Shift That’s Key for Gold, Too - 22nd Nov 19
Adaptive Predictive Modeling Suggests Stock Market Weakness Into 2020 - 22nd Nov 19
Why You Should “Follow the Money” on The Yellow (and Silver) Brick Road - 22nd Nov 19
This Invisible Tech Stock Threatens Amazon with 800,000+ Online Stores - 21st Nov 19
Crude Oil Price Begins To Move Lower - 21st Nov 19
Cracks Spread in the Precious Metals Bullion Banks’ Price Management System - 21st Nov 19
Why Record-High Stock Prices Mean You Should Buy More - 20th Nov 19
This Invisible Company Powers Almost the Entire Finance Industry - 20th Nov 19
Zig-Zagging Gold Is Not Necessarily Bearish Gold - 20th Nov 19
Legal Status of Cannabis Seeds in the UK - 20th Nov 19
The Next Gold Rush Could Be About To Happen Here - 20th Nov 19
China's Grand Plan to Take Over the World - 19th Nov 19
Interest Rates Heading Zero or Negative to Prop Up Debt Bubble - 19th Nov 19
Plethora of Potential Financial Crisis Triggers - 19th Nov 19
Trade News Still Relevant? - 19th Nov 19
Comments on Catena Media Q3 Report 2019 - 19th Nov 19
Venezuela’s Hyperinflation Drags On For A Near Record—36 Months - 18th Nov 19
Intellectual Property as the New Guild System - 18th Nov 19
Gold Mining Stocks Q3’ 2019 Fundamentals - 18th Nov 19
The Best Way To Play The Coming Gold Boom - 18th Nov 19
What ECB’s Tiering Means for Gold - 17th Nov 19
DOJ Asked to Examine New Systemic Risk in Gold & Silver Markets - 17th Nov 19
Dow Jones Stock Market Cycle Update and are we there yet? - 17th Nov 19
When the Crude Oil Price Collapses Below $40 What Happens? PART III - 17th Nov 19
If History Repeats, Gold is Headed to $8,000 - 17th Nov 19
All You Need To Know About Cryptocurrency - 17th Nov 19
What happens To The Global Economy If Oil Collapses Below $40 – Part II - 15th Nov 19
America’s Exceptionalism’s Non-intervention Slide to Conquest, Empire - and Socialism - 15th Nov 19
Five Gold Charts to Contemplate as We Prepare for the New Year - 15th Nov 19
Best Gaming CPU Nov 2019 - Budget, Mid and High End PC System Processors - 15th Nov 19
Lend Money Without A Credit Check — Is That Possible? - 15th Nov 19

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

$4 Billion Golden Oppoerunity

Insights into U.S. Cultural Shifts from a Visit to a Hardware Store

Politics / Social Issues Jan 12, 2013 - 07:21 AM GMT

By: Casey_Research

Politics

Pete Kofod writes: "So this is what it looks like when a society is starting to collapse," the man standing behind the counter at the hardware store said matter-of-factly. The remark had been directed at no one in particular, but generally at anyone standing nearby. As I was among that audience, I looked at him inquisitively, eliciting in return a look indicating that his observation should be intuitively obvious to even the casual observer.


"We should not be this busy," he continued. "People are normally out Christmas shopping for the latest tech gadgets for their kids, but instead they are spending their hard-earned money here." I had to agree with his observation, because the place was packed, and it was obvious that his inventory was disappearing from the glass showcases and from the wall behind the counter quicker than the store could replenish it.

"We have manufacturers that aren't taking any more orders. We even have a manufacturer that has shut down production and furloughed the entire workforce. I guess when we run out, we run out." He excused himself and joined his staff to help restock the shelves as well as operate the register.

As I surveyed the store, I noticed no discernible demographic pattern among the customers. They included elderly ladies, young couples, construction workers, police officers and hipster techies as well as people from virtually every ethnic and socio-economic background. They would have made the perfect tapestry for a politician's campaign stop.

"So this is what it looks like when a society starts to collapse," I reflected on what the man behind the counter had said. As melodramatic as his words were, they would be understood by any student of human history.

But it raised questions in my mind: "Does social decline precede economic decline? Does the decay of social graces, the protocols that define civilized interaction, the written and unwritten laws of the land, precipitate the ruin of a nation, or is it the other way around? Is it a vicious cycle where one feeds the other, and if so, can the destructive feedback loop be reversed?"

Based on what I observed in the store, I'm inclined to believe that people are concerned about social collapse, in whatever form that may take. Publications such as The Casey Report implore its readership to hedge against inflation (as well as deflation) by dividing their portfolio into balanced thirds spread across asset classes and political jurisdictions, but what does the erosion of a fiat currency really mean?

I would suggest that very much depends on where you live. In more resilient communities, in which economic actors all create value, the impact may in fact be little more than a moderate nuisance. Various South American countries have shown that, despite their governments' penchant for destroying the nation's currency at predictable intervals, life can go on. As a result, while people in those countries know that things can periodically get tougher, they also have become resolved to soldiering through the hardships, knowing that the latest challenging period will pass.

By contrast, with their advanced – and leveraged – economies and large urban centers that are highly dependent on government subsidies as well as consumer supply chains that are extended, the social impact of a fiat currency collapse in the US and Europe could be far more profound.

Such an event would likely be even further exacerbated, and significantly so, by the absence of such experiences to most Western nations in recent memory. In the United States, a small but emerging subculture known as "preppers" focus their resources and attention on developing personal resiliency in response to the perceived deterioration of both financial and social infrastructure. While the theories and actions of "preppers" range from the sublime to the ridiculous, it is undeniable that the financial, social and logistical fabric of the United States has been stretched very thin.

This tenuous position in turn manifests itself as a palpable level of stress readily observed in many people. There is no longer a sense that "everything will be OK." In conversations with people, I get the sense that people feel very uncertain about the future, and not in a hopeful way. They see their prospects as having limited upside with virtually unlimited downward risk. There is a prevailing belief that this is as good as it is going to be for a long time. It is this subsurface tension that was palpable among shoppers in the hardware store.

You see, the hardware store I was in was a gun store. What on earth would compel me to visit a gun store so close to the horrible tragedy in Connecticut? As some readers know, firearms played a significant role in my former professional life in the military. The truth is I wanted to get a sense for what's actually going on in the gun industry, as opposed to the manufactured "reality" presented by the mainstream media.

Having returned from serving a customer, the owner of the gun store continued his observations.

"It's different this time. The last time, with the Clinton gun ban, people knew that it would be temporary. The economy was good and people didn't really care. This time… well, it's different." He then elaborated on the reason that one manufacturer had shut down its fabrication facility: Apparently it was unwilling to be stuck with inventory that at a stroke of a pen will become contraband.

In reply to my follow-on question as to what he meant when he said society was starting to collapse, he answered, "People talk about debt, a recession that won't go away and how we are on track to bankrupting the country. This is all true. But they are all part of a bigger problem."

"What problem is that?" I asked.

"Respect," he said, with just a hint of bitterness. "Treating people with disrespect has become a way of doing business, a way of life. When a culture ceases to demand respect for life or livelihood, anything and everything is fair game."

At this point another gentleman joined the conversation, adding, "You know, these tragedies are a politician's best friend. It allows them to take the public's eye off issues like financial woes and cutbacks in benefits."

In my view, the spectacle in the gun store, which apparently has played out nationwide, is a clear indication that people are doing the equivalent of "shorting" social stability. This is clearly concerning, because the extent to which we can plan our future is directly related to the faith we can reasonably place in social stability.

It may be presumptive, but in my view, people who rush out to purchase firearms in anticipation of gun-control measures are not part of the "gun culture." The "gun culture" already has its arsenal stocked up. The "last-minute shoppers" are people who believe that one day they may need a gun and may not be able to buy one. These are the same people who clean out the grocery store before the first big winter storm hits.

As for the logistics of controlling access to firearms, I suspect that in short order, it will prove to be an academic point anyway, perhaps even more futile than the War on Drugs.

The relevant agents include: crypto currency, open-source hardware, 3D printing, and Dark Net exchanges like The Silk Road.

On the topic of technical limitations to keeping guns out of the hands of the citizenry, let me direct your attention to the following article on a gunsmith who "printed" a gun. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? I don't know, but I do know that it is inevitable. The first group that will make a go at it will likely be people who are legally prohibited from owning firearms, yet their livelihood depends on access to weapons; in other words, members of criminal organizations. Shortly behind them will be technically gifted people who, one can only hope, are imbued with decency and respect for human life.

Many people move through cultural shifts like this without recognizing them until well after the fact. But those who see an inchoate trend can capitalize on it effectively, in all manner of ways.

Legendary speculator and contrarian investor Doug Casey has long had a keen eye for such things, and he focuses it as much on culture worldwide as he does investment possibilities. That, along with his highly principled libertarian perspective, often makes for thought-provoking presentations by him. His long track record of pulling no punches has also contributed to Doug regularly enjoying standing-room-only audiences wherever he speaks.

But you don't need to go anywhere to get wide-ranging, in-depth access to Doug Casey's thoughts and ideas. His recently published book, Totally Incorrect, touches upon many topics and gives one a solid base for understanding this iconoclast. If you've ever wondered what makes a self-made millionaire successful, this book will provide you with a stimulating, entertaining answer. Learn more and order your copy of Totally Incorrect today.

© 2013 Copyright Casey Research - All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

Casey Research Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules