Friday, August 22, 2008
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How do we say this… Let’s see… THIS LOOKS REALLY BAD!!! Last month we discussed an event or series of events centered around August 8-11 that could change the geopolitical and/or global economic landscape. The Russia/Georgia conflict certainly qualifies. This month, the globalization experiment continues to be severely challenged as cooperation between nations and even within nations continues to deteriorate. The global economy, already damaged, is likely to be severely crippled by the time this month is over.
However, our primary concern this month is not “the world.” It is one country in particular… the United States of America. For the last few weeks, optimism has been on the rise. There have been calls of bottoms in the stock market, beginning with the zany Jim Cramer of CNBC. Analysts have begun suggesting that it is time to buy stocks again. As of Friday (the 22nd), the stock market is up for the month of August. In a bear market, fading pessimism is not a good sign. It is a clear sign that the next leg down is about to start, and this next one looks particularly severe.
There may be increasing signs that the American consumer is not doing well, or that businesses are in trouble. Anxiety among stock market traders may begin to increase as the stock market does not sell off like “it should” in the face of the seriousness of the global and national indicators. Eventually, the rubber band will snap. This next one should be unlike any stock market decline in recent memory.
It is the aftermath of this, how it changes the face of America that is of primary concern. How will all of our lives be affected as the investments, the life savings of so many are wiped out? How do retired persons or those about to retire who did the “right thing” now face that they have nothing of substance to live on? How do businesses large enough to be publicly owned companies continue to retain workers when their capitalization has been practically erased? What is the effect of such extreme socioeconomic changes just before a presidential election?
This is not good news. There is no apparent silver lining. We have taken on the task of warning of approaching storms. It is time to hunker down. This one will be a doozie.
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Monday, August 11, 2008
Friday, August 1, 2008
There is more and more talk about the Great Depression, and still more denial that its 21st century version is fast approaching. The fashion trends for the fall are expressing what our collective unconscious "knows." The quote below from the New York Post heralds this new trend. Expect fashions to get much more plain and depression-era like in the next few years, as this year's is a "lighter" version of the 1930's fashions.
"The duds say it all-- and it's depressing. Taking a cue from the grim economy, this fall's fashions at Banana Republic, Gap and H&M are featuring a distinctly Depression-era trend of cloche hats, pencil skirts, conductor caps and baggy, vintage-style dresses. One of the most popular styles appears to hark back to the impish newsboy getup of the 1930s baggy trousers, caps, pinstriped vests, oxford lace-up shoes and utilitarian handbags."
-- The New York Post, July 28, 2008