Complain But Remain

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by Jeff Thomas, International Man:

All countries have a “shelf-life” of sorts. Generally, they begin when an old, top-heavy government collapses from its own weight. The end of the old regime is characterized by civil unrest, revolution, secession, economic collapse or some combination of these conditions.

The new country generally has minimal government and little or nothing in the way of entitlements. It’s “sink or swim” for the people, and the recovery generally begins when a portion of the population rolls up its sleeves and creates an economy based upon production.

Over time, often a century or more, the population gets better at production and the country becomes wealthier. Along the way, whatever limited government existed has done all it could to expand itself. Governments, by their very nature, are parasites, living off the productive class, and eventually that parasite has the power to dominate those who produce, by promising largesse to those on the lower levels – who are in every society, the majority of voters.

This pattern has been followed for millennia. A nation establishes its freedom; it begins a productive economy; it develops wealth; it is taken over by a parasitical government; it goes into decline; it collapses, and the cycle begins anew.

At any point in history, there are always countries at every stage of this pattern.

Most of us have no problem in comprehending the initial stages, but, when the decline begins, it’s human nature to adopt the vain hope that the pattern will somehow reverse itself – that the snowball that’s rolling downhill ever more rapidly will somehow screech to a halt and roll back up the hill.

It never happens.

The worst stage, of course, is the inevitable collapse, and the stage when the greatest number of people are in the greatest level of denial is just prior to the collapse.

Only a few years before a collapse, most people in a country are still saying that it will all work out “somehow.” However, as the collapse gets closer, an increasing number of people start to say, “This is not going to work out. This is going to be very bad.”

And then, something quite surprising occurs. The vast majority of the individuals who see a dark future approaching them, just wait for the collapse to happen. They complain but remain.

Some of them buy a few cases of canned goods and store them in the cellar. Some buy weaponry. Some purchase some gold or silver in preparation for a monetary collapse.

Each of these preparations is likely to soften the blow of a systemic collapse. And each brings a level of comfort to the individual who recognizes that his country is reaching its sell-by date.

The trouble is, this comfort is much like driving a car whose brakes are failing. You realise that the car will soon go off the cliff but somehow take comfort in the fact that the car has an air bag.

Of course, it would be more costly and certainly much more inconvenient to have thought ahead and have bought a newer, safer car, yet very, very few people actually take that step prior to a national collapse.

Over the decades, I’ve routinely predicted market crashes and depressed economic periods before they occurred. This is not something that requires a crystal ball. The ability to see dramatic change coming is largely a question of three factors: study history, pay attention to unfolding events and be honest with yourself as to what those events indicate for the future.

Prior to each economic downturn, I’ve warned clients, partners, friends and associates as to what I saw coming. The reaction in each case was the same: only about ten percent actually bothered to listen to and remember the warnings. The others simply tuned it out.

Of the ten percent that listened, only about ten percent of that number actually prepared themselves for a possible change. Therefore, only about one percent actually were prepared when the change arrived on their doorstep and, so, were minimally affected.

Interestingly, whenever a negative economic shift occurred, the ninety percent who had tuned out the warning, almost invariably commented afterward, “No one could have seen this coming.” When reminded that they had been warned, they uniformly insisted that they’d never received any such warning.

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