Sunday 14 August 2022

Interesting times...

I've been busy with work, and part of the additional load has been my trying to plan a response to the coming economic 'circumstances'. This has led to me musing on a saying.

There are three curses, purportedly Chinese in origin, which sound like blessings but are definitely curses.

The curses are:

May find what you seek.

May you come to the attention of those in authority.

May you live in interesting times.

They are curses, because to find what you seek robs you of motivation, if the government take a personal interest in you it is generally not a good thing, and interesting times are times of trouble and stress. My aim at work is to keep the management of things boring, which is attained by paying attention and not letting things get out of hand.

We are most certainly living in such times, with the looming economic contraction due to inflation, and here in Europe, increasing energy prices due to the Russian War of Aggression against Ukraine. All of this is about to be further exacerbated by the current European heatwave's impacts on agriculture. 

But that is not all. 

Suppressed cries of anguish emerging from China indicate mass refusal to pay mortgages and attempted runs on banks being stifled by use of Covid measures being used to 'house arrest' those protesting that they cannot get their money. In a highly restricted authoritarian regime the first firm indication we may get of this chatter being real may be some sort of internal collapse leading to a major international impact. However even absent such issues, there is clearly a substantial supply side problem in China which is having impacts globally in the electronics industry, it's affecting me at work. This supply issue seems likely to be due to the Chinese government's zero-Covid policy.

David Starkey argues in the following video (30 minutes) that the current inflation spike is largely due to  'monetary easing'. As usual it is a well argued presentation and one with which I whole-heartedly agree.

Here in the UK we're facing the impacts of massive increases in European energy futures markets, and because our government has a scheme to manage energy prices, we know what is coming. By April 2023 prices will have gone up by 220%, i.e. a doubling then a fifth. People are rightly alarmed by this.

For the UK these interesting times are about to get more 'interesting'. The current heatwave has lowered the UK summer harvests already, inflation will drive industrial unrest, where employers fail to remain firm and not increase wages they will need to increase charges for services (more inflation). People will economise to try to cope with all the increasing prices, food to energy, the essentials of life. The result is an inevitable recession.

Dr Starkey closes his half hour talk by observing that the political opposition and the media, together with arms of government are refusing to contend with the source of much of the inflation, the monetary easing that paid for the UK's response to Covid. The reason for this silence being their support for the lockdowns and furlough payment schemes that have got us in this mess. I note that in the US the response has been to redefine recession, a response very indicative of the sort of progressive relativist pulp that serves as intellect in the upper echelons of the world's hegemonic power.

Against this background, if Russia starts to win in Ukraine, by sheer weight of attrition. Or if the rumours from China are true and precede some sort of economic collapse. Or some factor on nobody's radar. I'm sure I don't need to labour the point.

There are times to contract spending and tighten belts, such times are firmly upon us.

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