The Third Depression, from Greed to Green

Today (Tuesday, 29 June) the Dow Jones slid -268.22 points into the 9,000s (9870.30). It did so on reports of slumping growth in China (in part apparently caused by another computer error in hyper trading). There was the lingering effect of a low US consumer confidence report last week, a growing crisis in the Euro zone banking system punctuated this weekend by a pathetic performance of polarized leadership of the G20 in Toronto. The pundits are pussyfooting around commenting on an forthcoming report that 1.3 million American unemployed are about to lose their jobless benefits later this week. If no last minute inflationary spending is dolled up Obama-charm and doled out to postpone it, the surge of unemployment will re-cross the recession Rubicon of double digits at 10.5 percent.

Just as the world leaders of G20 were finishing up their ineffectual, photo-optical, solutions-optional junket weekend in Toronto, Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman posted an op-ed for the New York Times, Sunday (27 June 2010) entitled The Third Depression. In brief, he argues that we are in the first stages of a long and jobless depression similar to that following the Great Panic of 1873, with years of lingering economic instability and monetary deflation, rather than the more catastrophic mass-unemployment model of the Great Depression of 1929-1933.

Depression of the first kind has its sudden collapse and recovery like what happened in 2008, but the stuffings of potential growth have been knocked out. Whole sectors of the market do not recover. The sectors pretty much vanished, like losing part of the brain in a stroke. Recovery from an econ-stroke may take decades to find new sectors, new synapses pathways to jobs, such as the painstaking development of new pathways through a brain recovering healthy function. The Long D. is post-stroke sluggish. The Short D. is like a heart attack that skips a beat and takes a dramatic depression-juiced “jump out of your Wall Street window to end it all” impulse.

The first D. is like a ship cast in the doldrums, the second D. an auto wreck. Krugman’s observations are less Tex Avery comically taxing than mine:

“We are now, I fear, in the early stages of a third depression,” writes Krugman. “It will probably look more like the Long Depression than the much more severe Great Depression. But the cost to the world economy and, above all, to the millions of lives blighted by the absence of jobs will nonetheless be immense.”

America’s administration comes out of the G20 gathering seeking to spend its way out of economic problems whilst Euro-spooked Europeans and other economic powers endorse the other extreme: austerity cuts to whittle down a mountain of international debt should begin now, not later.

There is a failure of leadership in the early summer of 2010 that in my opinion sets the course for the economic crisis in October 2010, about which I have spent two years forewarning you all. I wrote the following prophecy in December 2007, published in mid-January 2008:

“There will be one nasty recession in 2008 the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the early 1970s… Deep recession is definitely going to happen whether there’s war or peace with Iran. There will be inflation, stag-flation, and gag-flation for those industries that don’t come along for the rise of the green economy when the value of the US greenback falls… The dollar will begin its slow and stately 36-year decline as the world currency…” (Predictions for 2008)

Around the time I released the above passage I appeared on a number of radio shows expanding the theme:

“I’m on record telling George Noory on Coast-to-Coast AM and later Whitley Strieber on his podcasted radio show Dreamland in late January 2008 that this recession was a probation period lasting two years. If in that time the economy’s core ills were properly understood and remedied, we would cautiously rise out of financial crisis. If not, then the hammer of catastrophic depression would fall. (Predictions for 2009)”

In a passage signed off in mid-January 2009 concerning the year 2010 I said:

“Prophecy’s koan about the economy in 2009 is this: our global economy is on probation for two years and the judgment is still out if it will survive. Whether we will reboot our economy in two years or less or be subjected to its meltdown in a catastrophic global depression in October 2010 or the spring of 2011 is up to acts initiated by us right now in the now. From past to future foolishness we are habitually tempted to skip over the core problem sitting in the present waiting for our past-future distracted attention. (Predicitons for 2009)”

Which brings us to what I wrote in October 2008 about the economy’s future crisis for Predictions for 2010:

“Wall Street was saved by the first stimulus in 2009, but no serious credit was lent to the real economy. Though 2009 will end with an Obama spin of the slow wheels of bureaucracy and legislation it is too slow and too gestured rather than a thrust substantive to modify or avoid the next great financial crisis unexpectedly exploding on the world around a year from the time of this writing (27 October 2009)…

“An important opportunity has been missed in 2009 by this US president and Congress to instigate real regulative reforms to the banking, real estate and stock market sectors. Any effort in Washington DC to pass real economic reform in 2010 will at best be stifled in new laws, defanged, written by special interests to ultimately water down and muddle two absolutes required for success in 2010: raise taxes, while cutting expenditures. This isn’t a Right or Left wing issue. This is a reality 2010 will see argued, tossed around and compromised, wasting another precious year to partisan posturing for the mid-term elections coming in November.”

The push-and-pull of Uranus (change) verses Saturn (anti-change) in the great global financial debate in this and the coming month of July will leave legislators the world over polarized in two camps: 1.) Spend our way out of recession to stimulate the global economy and damn the deficit; or, 2.) Face the global deficit now, slice the government sector and raise taxes to pay the deficit down before the economic time bomb of the deficit explodes.

Which is the right approach?

My “oracle” says, neither.

The solution is somewhere in the middle. It requires a virtuoso balancing performance of leadership saddled to an engaged citizenry. First upon everyone’s agenda: cut waste while artificially stimulating for a short time that which puts getting people back to work first.

My annual almanac prediction books not only predict the future but also describe potential futures we could activate by our present day actions. In Predictions for 2010, my oracle helped compose whole chapters providing my readers — who also include important and influential leaders of business and members of governments around the world — chapter long messages about alternative and positive future solutions to our problems.

The book foresaw the jobless recovery, but it did not stop there. Several chapters of detailed, systematic solutions flooded out of my keyboard in what became the fastest production of any book I have written: seven weeks.

It saw Health Care passing and more followed: a full chapter on food reform launched by a famous prediction offered by George Gurdjieff in 1924. He was a strong prophetic advocate for the future of America with one caveat. The process of America’s destruction would come from the collective misuse of its stomach (i.e. junk food) and sex.

The prophetic eye of oracle for 2010 delivered a long, stinging augury about a US quagmire in Afghanistan, chasing it with an even longer prophetic editorial on the Pentagon and the US Military Industrial Complex at a existential crossroad. A relevant future for the USMICX requires a shift in thinking not seen since the beginning of the Cold War in the late 1940s. It must metamorphose like the Roman Legions did to stay relevant once large scale wars vanished for two centuries during the Pax Romana.

I think of what the oracle said, while today I watch General Petraeus work hard at playing the change maker who says nothing change-worthy for US fortunes in Afghanistan as he sat before a congressional hearing that will grant him permission to run the War in Afghanistan on the ground. (Into the ground?)

We are halfway through 2010. Nature’s war against human abuse of the ecosystem magnifies. Leadership in an economic crisis polarizes and falters. Will the third depression in 137 years come to a head this autumn? The book I wrote to forecast this year’s events had more to say about better futures yet un-accessed but immediately available to us than it did running the more familiar account of the sum total of our stupid decisions making a mess of destiny. Whatever I am tapping into is sending more than a message of doom and gloom, but oracular opportunity. Such positive destinies are born in the passing before your eyes of a word, by the seeding before your witnessing consciousness of a field of mind sparking off an inspiration. A grove of solutions can be planted, and a harvest of better futures furrowed can come from the seedpod, opened, called Predictions for 2010.

Krugman thinks we are heading for the Long Depression. I am thinking that we can alter that course, even now; or, October might present us with Krugman’s Long Depression variety that by 2011 could jump out the Wall Street window, but not because of economics. For 20 years in the predicting field, I have logged this cautionary vision in the hope it will be heeded, as it still can, in time. Back in January 2008, I said:

“Mark me clearly… No man made effort will undermine the econ-artist game. If it collapses suddenly in 2008 or 2012, it will be from forces outside of human control. I have always warned that it is not the economy stupid but the ecology stupid that will break the world’s economies. Ecological disasters and climate change are the real creditors that will call humanity’s economic game off on account of rain, rising oceans, central continental droughts, famines, and so on. (Predictions for 2008)”

That is what stands in the way of our future: the ecology, says this stupid man to his fellow stupid friends. We have all got to stop being stupid about our abuse of the Earth and its climate for more reasons than clean air and water. Eco glow green is financially green, my fellow Muppets with strings to conditioned habits attached. Awareness is like the hand inside the Punch-and-Judy jive of ego. Put those puppet-parroting characters down and have your hands free for something better. Meditation is like sharp perception that cuts the puppet strings to our puppet masters. Go throw those programmed poses, Pinocchio, and really become a real boy, not a wooden ego.

Before my narrative gets any more Fozzie un-Bear-able, I would like to close this final blog for jumpin’ jehosaphats June on a positive presage before we leap into yumpin’ yiminy Yuly!

“The year 2008 marks the beginning of business shifting in the next 36 years from greed to a need to be green. It will be recognized that there is a lot of money to be made in earth-friendly industry. The moment has come. Entrepreneurs are getting it. Kermit the Frog is wrong, it IS easier being green, and you can make a lot of green doing it. Thus, as the greenback declines the green capitalist rises. (Predictions for 2008)”

John Hogue

(29 June 2010)

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