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Clown World and the Everything Bubble

RecoveringAStudentNov 9, 2019, 6:07:35 AM

    If you are on Minds, you have certainly heard of the phrase "clown world," or a world in which acceptable behavior seems completely unrelated to anything sane.

    What you might not have heard of is the "everything bubble," caused from years of quantitative easing (money printing) and zero or very low interest rates. This cheap money went into government bonds and stock markets, and is now creeping out into the larger economy, thus creating "bubbles" in many sectors of the economy, including healthcare, student loans, and more.

My radical thesis is, these two things have a relationship with each other, and it also tells us the solution to both.

Bad debt forces bad culture

    In addition to excess debt, excess money and debt actively encourages bad behavior.

    I first learned this from my father. He was a homebuilder for 25 years, and in 2005-2006 I would come home from college and he would talk about how "I'm building more $500k and up houses than ever before. We're getting sales, but the buyers can't possibly afford these houses. He told me about couples making $80k a year buying $800k houses, for example.

    He then would tell me that he explained it to his boss, and the boss in turn explained the connection between the mid-2000s clown world and the housing bubble:

The bank is making the loan, so if we don't take these buyers, someone else will. We have to do what we know is wrong, or else we will go out of business.

    Later I went to grad school and got to study in a course with a professor who had previously worked in biotech startups. He was also active during the .com bubble, and he explained a similar situation between bad investment and the "clown world" of the .com bubble:

I was working with a VC (venture capaital) firm that was taking money from big investors, like insurance companies. They changed their VC allocation from 2% to 6%, and so these .com startups would ask for $1 million and we would respond 'would you take $3 million?'

    In both of these cases, I saw a clear pattern - cultural degradation goes side-by-side with economic corruption. In either case, the people on the ground knew they were doing the wrong thing, but they felt that they were forced to. And this in turn enabled cultural corruption.

Ethics of Money Production

     One of the great books I read this year was The Ethics of Money Production by Jörg Guido Hülsmann, and in it, he looks at monetary policy from a Christian, particularly Catholic, perspective, and further at how monetary policy affects a culture. I would list this as one of my must-read books, you will see the world differently after reading it.

     To understand the relationship between money and culture, you must first understand the concept of time preference. The quintessential example of time preference is debt - if you really, really want money today, as opposed to next month or next year, you have to pay a premium (interest) to get it. If you are willing to set money aside in an investment for a long time, you are paid a premium (return) for this.

     Time preference also extends to other activities. For example, if you received news that an asteroid is wiping out absolutely all life on Earth in two days, or that you have cancer and only have 3 months to live, would you not act differently? However, absent these, particular people also have different amounts of time preference. The kind of criminal who robs a liquor store is not thinking more than 15 minutes into the future. Many working people "live for the weekend," and thus end up living paycheck to paycheck. Most who get ahead (according to the largest study done to date on this topic) at the very least sit down and budget, and decide in advance what they are going to do and what their longer-term goals are.

Manipulating time preference

     If time preference can be manipulated, and time preference affects the culture, then we can start to see how policies encouraging spending through debt not only harm people financially, but also culturally. If you are sitting on a mortgage, car payment, and a lot of bills for your new family, you aren't in much of a position to argue with your boss, and so you sell out and say "well, in 30 years I can retire." If you are sitting on $100,000 or more in student loans, and can't even get married or buy a house, then lifestyles where you seek short-term pleasure might be the only happiness you get. The pink-haired SJW freaks might not be so freakish after all - if you have no future, what difference does it make how you act?

Now the question is, how did we get in all of this debt?

> Was it the super-low interest rates that encouraged borrowing?

> Was it the fact that student loans are not bankruptable?

> Was it a Federal Reserve that dumped cheap money and cheap debt on us for short-term growth?

I think we know the answer. All of the above.

The Solution

    The problem is obvious. Years of low interest rates and quantitative easing has led to money being dumped into malinvestments like the student loan bubble, where students are paying thousands of dollars to be made into SJWs and NPCs because they feel they have to. In addition, the Fed propping up markets also means preventing "woke" companies from going broke.

    While we are all encouraged to look at and fight with Clown World, we need to fix our eyes on its funding source. We need to look straight at the Federal Reserve, the banks that ally with it, and the State that gives it monopoly privilege. We need to understand that a "increase consumption at all costs" policy is in fact a policy at war with civilization itself.

    With sound money, those who get woke will so quickly go broke that they will never reach significance. The sooner we can burst the Everything Bubble, the better.