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Five Things You Need to Know: Deflation is Here, What Next?


Ultimately, the question of where we are going is less an economic question than a philosophical one.


Kevin Depew's daily Five Things You Need to Know to stay ahead of the pack on Wall Street:

Secular Forces of Deflation... Explosion of Simulacra... The Crisis of the Real... The Precession of the Simulacra... What Next?

The long-term secular forces of debt revulsion and deflation continue to build and are showing up in social mood with increasing frequency. The question is what do these forces mean for our everyday lives, how will they manifest in popular culture and lifestyle?

In Tuesday's New York Times, in the Science section of all places, was an intriguing story asking the question, "Are Bad Times Healthy?"

"Most people are worried about the health of the economy. But does the economy also affect your health?"

On the one hand, economic growth can lead to both advances in medicine and treatment of disease as well as to improvement in a population's overall economic health. But what about long-term economic stagnation or economic declines? Do people get sicker if the economy fails? The conclusions the article reaches about these questions may seem surprising, but they fit squarely within the hypothesis that social mood drives social change, not vice versa, and underscore the psychological shift a darkening social mood brings in attitudes toward consumption, money and time.

""The value of time is higher during good economic times," said Grant Miller, an assistant professor of medicine at Stanford. "So people work more and do less of the things that are good for them, like cooking at home and exercising; and people experience more stress due to the rigors of hard work during booms."

""When coffee prices suddenly rise, people work harder on their coffee plots and spend less time doing things around the home, including things that are good for their children," he said."

This is a rather straightforward manifestation of how society copes with more challenging economic times; by seeking a positive outcome from less work and less consumption, and by challenging the boom hypothesis that hard work is both critical to economic success and something worth valuing above time spent at home with family and children.

Yet another social manifestation of debt revulsion and anti-consumption preceding the breakdown of a debt bubble is the conscious attempt to revolt against the explosion of simulacra that the fiat currency-based debt bubble inevitably produces; simulacra in finance, food, fashion, art and culture.

Explosion of Simulacra

Plato, in his dialogue, The Sophist, portrayed the distinction between two types of images; those that try to faithfully reproduce the original, and another, more insidious image that is intentionally distorted in a manner to make the reproduction itself appear real to those who see it.

"Theaetus: Stranger, can I describe an image except assomething fashioned in the likeness of the true?"

Plato presented two types of images; a faithful one, and a simulacra, or a distortion that was asserted to be reality. Later, Jean Baudrillard expanded upon the Platonic duality of images to assert four stages of imagery.

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