Apocalypse Now: A Checklist for the Fearful
Financial doomsayers tell how to prepare for the dark future.
Next to them are more reasonable dystopians or collapsitarians: back-to-the-land agricultural types against industrial farming; those who believe in peak oil and the crippling shocks that'll someday arrive in our oil-dependent society. (This is to say little of the peak carbon, peak fish, peak dirt, and, most recently, peak dollars crowds).
Since the collapse of the economy last year, there's been a new category of dystopians: financial professionals. Far from fringe elements, they're economists, hedge fund managers, and urban planners. They see the signs of collapse everywhere: major failures such as General Motors (GMGMQ) and Lehman Brothers; unprecedented intervention by the government and Federal Reserve; taxpayers on the hook for trillions; double-digit unemployment; a bankrupt Iceland; etc.
The list goes on. And taken together, they would've been unimaginable a few years ago. As Nassim Taleb, of Black Swan fame, said in a January New Yorker article titled "The Dystopians," it would be insane not to see how crazy the world really is.
Signs of recovery aside, their long-term argument is simple: The United States is bankrupt. As such, civil unrest -- a result of higher taxes or more bailouts or greater unemployment -- is not far away. Ben Bernanke's recent claim that the recession is probably over is simply empty rhetoric.
I spoke to several financial professionals who feel this way and have already made precautions for when the you-know-what hits the fan. The following is their doomsday checklist. This is not for the faint of heart or observers of green shoots.
1. Rural Property
This is the most important thing on the list. A small hedge fund manager who recently left downtown Chicago for rural Ohio told me you don't want to live in a big city once civil unrest starts. The property must be at least one acre, so that it can be put into production for farming and gardening. Those in the peak oil crowd see a return to agrarian ways when crude runs out.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.
Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Daily Recap Newsletter