A Financial Fire Is Coming.
Which Assets Might Remain On The Other Side?
From Charles Hugh Smith:
Your skills, knowledge and social capital will emerge unscathed on the other side of the re-set wormhole. Your financial assets held in centrally controlled institutions will not.
The “fix” for insolvency has been higher debt and debt-based spending–in essence, borrowing from future income to fund more consumption today. But each unit of new debt is generating less economic activity/growth. This is called diminishing returns: eventually the costs of servicing the additional debt exceed the increasingly trivial gains.
History suggests the privileged Elites will pursue two basic strategies to expropriate the income and wealth of non-elites:
Any “money” held in a centrally controlled institution can be expropriated overnight. The rules will change without warning, so there will be no opportunity to escape the system.
Direct expropriation takes many forms. Your funds could be “bailed-in” (transferred to the bank). Large currency bills could be declared worthless. IRA and 401K accounts could be transferred into government bonds, to “protect the account owners from risky investments.” (Naturally, any expropriation will be presented as “for your own good.”)
Or a new currency could be issued that strips away 90% of the purchasing power of the old currency. It could be a New Dollar, an SDR global currency, or a state-issued cryptocurrency. The point is to strip away 90% of the wealth held in the old currency.
Indirect “stealth” expropriation has several forms: slow currency devaluation, also known as inflation, or higher taxes and junk fees (not called taxes, but you receive no additional value for the higher fees).
So what’s difficult to expropriate? I present some answers in my books An Unconventional Guide to Investing in Troubled Times and Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy.
It’s impossible to expropriate one’s skills, experience and social capital. These are intangible forms of capital and so they cannot be confiscated like gold, currency, land, etc.
Land and homes are difficult to expropriate for two reasons: private property is the backbone of capitalism and democracy, and the state confiscating private property would very likely spark a political insurrection that would diminish or threaten the power and wealth of the privileged Elites.
Secondly, it’s very costly for the state to maintain the productive output of real property it has confiscated. Guards must be posted, sabotage repaired, and the immense difficulties of coercing a rebellious populace to continue working what they once owned for the benefit of the state and its privileged Elites must be solved and paid for.
As a general rule, whatever the super-wealthy own will be protected from expropriation. Private real property is the foundation of the Elites’ wealth, and while the land of debt-serfs may well be confiscated for back taxes (the wealthy will buy exemptions from rising taxes), those who own land and buildings free and clear constitute a political force to be reckoned with.