I have been writing about The End Game for some time now. And writing a book of the same title. Consequently, I have been thinking a lot about how the credit crisis evolved into the sovereign debt crisis, and how it all ends. Today we explore a few musings I have had of late, while we look at some very interesting research. What will a world look like as a variety of nations have to deal with the end of their Debt Supercycle. We'll jump right in with no "but first's" this week.
Part of this week's writing is colored by my next conference. Next week I go to Vancouver to speak at the Agora Investment Symposium. I have a number of very good friends who will be there, both speaking and attending. This is generally a "hard money," gold-bug-type crowd (and a very large conference). Some (but not all) of the speakers believe that all fiat currencies, including the US dollar, will default in one way or another, either outright or through inflation, as mounting debts and out-of-control entitlement obligations force large-scale monetization, leading to high inflation if not hyperinflation.
There are a couple of panels and debates that I presume I will be involved in, and I have been meditating on how the panels will go. Bill Bonner, founder of Agora and a book-writing machine, has a steel-trap mind with an ability to turn a phrase that is way beyond that of your humble analyst. The preponderance of the panel members will likely be in the soft-depression camp, and most of us will card-carrying members of the Often Wrong but Seldom in Doubt school of economics and investing (the Latin for which, I am told, is "Saepe mendosus, nunquam dubius.") And yet, I am not quite there with most of that thinking, so the debates will be lively.
Understand, I started in the newsletter business back in 1981 or so, working with Dr. Gary North (also known as "Scary Gary"). Gary is an Austrian, and although I took a lot of economics courses at Rice, I had never read anything even remotely close to the Austrian school. I caught up rather quickly, and in the mid-1980s even wrote my own gold-stock newsletter (although I must admit I know next to nothing of the current gold-stock world). I was mostly limited to books, newsletters, and journals for reading material.
Then came the mid '90s and the internet, and the world opened up. I became incurably addicted to information and read widely and deeply. At some point the small lens of Austrian thought became difficult to continue to peer through, as I looked for perspectives on the larger world. I now worship at a number of economic altars, in the ongoing effort to understand what is happening in the real world, not just in the world of theory or the world of what we would like to be. So, with that background, let's look at The End Game.