Sunday, January 18, 2009


Complacency is a luxury for which no man can afford. If you think you can, you'll probably wake up a year later overweight, over-leveraged and unhappy. Of course it's only human to become complacent, as logic doesn't reach it's natural conclusion immediately, and lot of dumb people can look real smart for a long time.

In the course of a recession / depression the first wave of trauma will naturally hit the population that was most complacent. Or as Warren Buffett might say, when the tide goes out, you see who's been swimming naked. And indeed there has been a lot of skinny dipping lately.

The "men of mind" around the world, have become the "men of money." CEO's ranging from the top investment banks to automobile manufacturers shifted their focus from long-term innovation to short-term performance bonuses while maintaining a blinds eye for the inevitable near-term failure.

But the high and mighty corporate executive and investment banker aren't the only classes to fall from grace. Many homeowners we're equally complacent. At the peak of the housing bubble in 2006/2007 it is said that at least 30%+ of all home purchases were for speculation. Predatory lending my ass. Unfortunately the home price elevator hit a ceiling and we must all now bear the consequences. It will not be as, Ayn Rand might suggest, a Great Atlas, or a group of society's most industrious that will save us. In time, as logic works its way, we as a society face many risks including trillion dollar deficits, currency debasement, a potentially rapid inflation, higher taxes and ultimately civil unrest.

That said, I'm optimistic in spots. As Keanu Reeve's discovers in The Day the Earth Stood Still, we humans change at the precipice of disaster. While our society will not go unscathed from the excess and complaceny of the last few years, we will survive, and we will prosper until ultimately, we do it all again.

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