Like Nothing We’ve Seen Before

Debt, defaults, and devaluations: why this market crash is like nothing we’ve seen before

Photo credit: The S&P 500 trading pit at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange – owner unknown.

I began this year with the thought, and sort of prediction, that we were or are heading into a Dark Age of human experience.  I admittedly found it difficult to pin down exactly what it was that would make it such a situation, but did list a number of things/ possibilities.  As always, societal/economic collapse is also on the agenda.

Make no mistake, we are already in the middle of a collapse of the financial markets, having dropped by two-thirds since their peak in 2014.  Over $120 trillion of supposed wealth having just vaporised over that period up to today, in just the commodities area.

A lot of things are coming together at this time, to create a perfect storm that could this year or over the next few years (dark ages are not just annual length events) witness the sudden or gradual ruination of everything that we have come to recognise as being the society in which we live and on which we, to a large part, depend.

It will be, in the words of this article, ‘like nothing we’ve seen before’.

I am reading the book by John Kenneth Galbraith titled ‘The Great Crash 1929’, about the last market collapse of note that occurred almost a century ago (dry and heavy going that it is, I may never finish reading the book).  Nothing that occurred almost a hundred years ago, beyond most people’s living memory now anyway, could prepare us for the effects we are likely to see and try to survive this time around.

This time there can be no prospects of recovery from the crash, which last time was based largely on the exploitation of natural resources and massive infrastructure construction (much of which is even now in a state of decay and decomposure which is proving to be  unaffordable to reverse/repair).  This time there is no readily available resource glut that we can take advantage of to pull ourselves out of the mire that we have created.  No recovery.  No way to rebuild the kind of existence that we have so recklessly enjoyed for the past decades of self-indulgence.

As we emerge from this dark age at some future point, if in fact we do emerge from it or at least some remnant of us do, we will be faced with the prospect of building a life for ourselves from just the basic technologies that have always been our inheritance and utilising just the basic (to our modern eyes) resources of nature that we have always in past ages had access to and which we could more or less depend on.

Are we ready?