Introduction to my book
I've been working on a book that seeks to predict the future for more than a year. I've written enough of it now to write an intro and present a reasonably coherent table of contents. I'd love to hear rational people's feedback and ideas of what I'm missing, etc. as it is much easier to fix a book before you've finished writing the first draft of the manuscript than later on in the editing process.
In the prelude to his classic text Just Yesterday, historian Fredrick Allen asked, “Do you remember what you were doing September 3, 1929?”1 On a similar note, I ask, do you remember what you were doing on October 9, 2007? On that day, the Dow would make its record high of 14,164, and then, echoing 1929, promptly crashed. Regarding September 3rd, Allen said, “If there was any single day when the wave of prosperity—and of speculation—which characterized the nineteen-twenties may be said to have attained its utmost height before it curled over and crashed, September 3, 1929 was that day.”2
Just as September 3, 1929 marked the end of a long and prosperous era in American history, October 9, 2007 marked the end of another era. While 1929 is associated with the end of the post-world war economic boom, it brought more than that. Ending the era of American growth and prosperity as a humble inwardly focused free-market economic power that began after the end of the Civil War, the transition America embarked upon following 1929 brought it into a new period of global supremacy as its economic might ran the world and its suddenly dominant military used the threat of overwhelming force to keep any and all potential enemies at bay. In the ashes of the economic depression following 1929, the great American leviathan state was born.
For decades, the federal government grew steadily larger, consuming more and more of its citizens' time and resources; Americans weren't solely effected, America became a huge drain on the world's economy, endangering the quality of life of many of the world's people. As the saying goes, a trend that can't continue—won't. Though there have been tremors—the crash of 1987, the Asian contagion of 1997, the tech wreck of 2000, the stock market crash of 2008 is the first direct shockwave we've seen originating from the giant earthquake that is about to hit.
Just as the fall of the British economy directly led to the worldwide Great Depression of the 1930s, the conclusive cessation of American economic supremacy is directly responsible for the coming period of global economic collapse. Just as the decline of both the value of and the trust in the British Pound led to the Great Depression, the fall of the American dollar will be the focal point that leads to the realignment of the international economy and political scene. While figuring out the precise timing of the oncoming economic depression is nearly impossible, it is imperative that the dollar be observed, as its further declines are the most obvious harbinger that the great change is occurring.
October 9, 2007 represented more than a mere apex for America's economic power, it also marked the end of the era of big government. From the 1980s onward, America's economic policies have largely been crafted with a focus on kicking the can as far down the road as possible when it comes to dealing with policy-maker's untouchable 1000-pound gorilla: the debt. America's governments have collectively done what they've could to keep the illusion of a strong economy by artificially increasing the monetary supply, lowering interest rates to absurdly low levels and by allowing the outsourcing of key American jobs through a badly misguided “free” trade policy that has sold off the core of American economic vitality in return for better relations with our trade partners and guarantees of more funding of our ever-increasing debt.
While it's never smart to bet against the federal government's ability to find crafty non-solutions that put off the day of reckoning until after the next election, it appears that America is just about out of time. With utterly unfundable entitlement time bombs ticking, America had no margin for error. Then the Iraq War happened, the banking system was backstopped with trillions of dollars of borrowed money and stimulus packages were passed without a prayer of funding. We've passed the Rubicon, the federal government is inarguably bankrupt, and with it, the era of American supremacy has ended. The world has entered a new era, an era of change and transformation in which we'll continue to see America rapidly lose its economic and political power. This book examines how this transformation will play out, and how we can prepare for its numerous effects.
-- Ian Bezek, October 2009.
Table of Contents:
Chapter 1: America's Decline: More Like Britain Than Rome
Chapter 2: So Long, Big Government: The Imminent Collapse of Global Socialism
Chapter 3: America: The World's Greatest Sub-prime Borrower
Chapter 4: Europe: ...And You Thought America Was Out Of Luck?
Chapter 5: China, The Great Red Mirage
Chapter 6: Globalzation Reversed: The World Isn't Flat After All
Chapter 7: Other Factors: Oil, Demographics and Global Scarcity
Chapter 8: The Next Five Years
Chapter 9: 2035: The World Through Your Children's Eyes
Chapter 10: What We Can (And Can't) Do
1Allen, Fredrick Lewis. Since Yesterday. New York: Harper, 1939, p. 1.