Forecast 2011 – Gird Your Loins for Lower Living Standards
James Howard Kunstler
Sheesh. Was I ever wrong last year about those stock market indexes. I called for Dow 4000 and look where the darn thing ended up: 11,577.50.
Some of those fabled “green shoots” must have grown clean through my brain-pan while I slept off 2010’s New Year’s Eve festivities.The damage was so severe, apparently, that I missed the takeover of Wall Street by front-running high frequency computer programs battling for supremacy of the algo-space which, along with massive insider trading, daily tweaks stage-managed by the Federal Reserve via their trusted allies in large banks, and relentless propagandistic cheerleading on the theme of if-you-wish-it-so-it-will-be, kept the Dow Jones and Standard & Poors indexes in a frothy state of perma-levitation through the year.
The outstanding question from the get-go of 2011 is just this: can a political economy be kept floating along like a Winnie-the-Pooh balloon on gusts of sheer fakery? To me, the simple answer is no. The people running things in the USA have tried everything from pervasive accounting fraud to complete opacity in trading procedures to looting the republic’s future. The consensus trance of “recovery” makes itself manifest through every conduit of public utterance – cable TV news, The New York Times, the pronouncements of every last elected official – even though the Gross Domestic Product index omits items such as food, gasoline, and heating oil in its calibrations, while heaping on fictional “hedonic” adjustments.