The Unraveling Quickens

The Unraveling Quickens, by Charles Hugh Smith.

The central thesis of my new book Will You Be Richer or Poorer? is the financial “wealth” we’ve supposedly gained (or at least a few of us have gained) in the past 20 years has masked the unraveling of our intangible capital: the resilience of our economy, our social capital, i.e. our ability to find common ground and solve real-world problems, our sense that the playing field, while not entirely level, is not two-tiered, and our sense of economic security–have all been shredded. …

The unraveling is gathering momentum because prices have been pushing higher while wages lag, feeding the rising precariousness and inequality of our economy. The connection between people losing ground and social disorder/disunity has been well established by historians such as Peter Turchin Ages of Discord and David Hackett Fischer The Great Wave: Price Revolutions and the Rhythm of History.

In our era, trust in the legitimacy of our institutions is unraveling because the statistics presented as “facts” are so clearly designed to support the status quo narrative that everything’s getting better every day in every way rather than the politically unwelcome reality that the bottom 95% are losing ground and whatever they do earn and own is increasingly at risk from forces outside their control.

Compare that graph to the graph below of the bubble in money manufacture following the removal of the gold constraint in 1971 and the recovery from the 1970s inflation:

Evans - debt to gdp ratio, 2015

Coincidence? Nope. The 1940s to 1970s were an era of income gains by the low end and middle relative to the top end of town. An era of egalitarianism.

But now, after 40 years of bubble that enriches the asset shufflers and increases inequality, there are increasingly riots and unrest around the developed world. More people realize that their real income has being stagnating or declining for decades, and there is no end in sight to that trend.