What seemed so permanent for 13 long years will be revealed as shifting sand and what seemed so real for 13 long years will be revealed as illusion. Magical thinking isn’t optimism, it is folly.
Predictions are hard, especially about the future, but let’s look at what we already know about 2022. Viewed from Earth orbit, 2022 is Year 14 of extend and pretend and too big to fail, too big to jail and Year 2 of global supply chains break and energy shortages.
The essence of extend and pretend is to substitute income earned from increases in productivity–real prosperity–with debt–a simulation of prosperity –that doesn’t solve the real problems, it simply adds a new and fatal problem: since productivity hasn’t expanded across the spectrum, neither has income or prosperity.
All that happened over the past 13 years is that debt–money borrowed against future productivity gains and energy consumption–funded illusions of prosperity in all three sectors: households, enterprise and government.
The explosion of debt and interest due on that debt could not occur if interest rates still topped 10% as they did 40 years ago in the early to mid-1980s. We couldn’t add tens of trillions of dollars, yen, yuan and euros in new debt unless interest rates were pushed down to near-zero (for the government, the wealthy and corporations only, of course–debt-serfs still pay 7%, 10%, 15%, 19%, etc.)
This monetary trick was accomplished by making central banks the linchpin of the entire global economy as central banks created “money” out of thin air and used the currency to buy trillions in government and corporate bonds, artificially creating near-infinite demand which then drove the rate of interest into the ground.
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