Thursday, October 18, 2007

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More on Instability

Josh commented at length...

Since as long as I can remember, we've been told that the X economy is on the point of collapsing, and it has not occurred.

The business world is commemorating the 20th anniversary of 'black monday', and since then, October is still considered to be a 'bad month' even though statistically it is not, so it is natural for everyone to be a bit worried about the 'end of the world' right now.

In any case, the United States and the world, for that matter, are probably at the most productive periods ever, and there is no stop in sight. Unemployment around the world is at very low levels, relatively of course. Hashem's humans are working, eating, consuming, and spending their money in the giant chain of world economy.

And while all this is extremely strong and stable it is also at the same time very fragile because it depends on one major thing: the psychology of the herd. If we all think everything is fine, everything will be fine. If we think that something is going wrong, we will start spending less and this itself will cause a down turn.

Now if we all think that all is fine and dandy, we will keep spending, and asking for more credit (mortgage, car loans, etc...) because we think that since today is fine, then so will tomorrow be the same. So the central banks every once in a while need to raise interest rates to 'remind' us to just be a bit careful, not to get too excited, and to make sure the economy does not grow to fast.

Now, more than ever, it's also in the interest of many around the world, even 'enemies' that this all stays stable. Seeing the American economy go 'under' affects the whole world. If real estate prices in NYC drop, then Saudi billionaires get screwed just like Japanese and Chinese investors as well. The Iranians and Russians will also not enjoy any form of Noah's ark since they enjoy the demand for oil which will be reduced when people stop buying Hummers and Lincoln Town Cars.

So frankly, the only think to be worried about is some idiot leaders making stupid decisions based on ego and greed. And we have no clue if and when Hashem will put these sentiments into their hearts.

So while we must never be complacent, I think the vast majority of rabbis, mekubalim, and FCs tell us not to quit our day jobs. Though I think that nonetheless, I'd like to see more Jews get out of the diaspora.

The one point you miss is, with a system so complex and subject to so many factors, there's a bit of chaos theory at work. There will be swings and unexpected impacts, that's considered normal. They used to call that the 'business cycle', with recessions considered normal. As the system has grown bigger, which much more international involvement and interconnection, significant effort has been built in to prevent unexpected impact from causing those swings. BUT, when those efforts fail, they will be part of the cause of a resulting bigger swing.

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