I always decline to give a specific answer, because, you see, as soon as you get one specific prediction wrong, there goes your entire reputation. One reasonable way of thinking about the timing is to say that collapse can occur at different times for different people. You may never quite know that collapse has happened, but you will know that it has happened to you personally, or to your family, or to your town. The big picture may not come together until much later, thanks to the efforts of historians. Individually, we may never know what hit us, and, as a group, we may never agree on any one answer. Look at the collapse of the USSR: some people are still arguing over why exactly it happened.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Brick by Brick
I love to read Dmitri Orlov's work. Very clever guy. When asked when the "collapse" he foresees will occur, he demurely said:
I spent the holidays with family back in my hometown. Orlov's words echoed in my ears the entire time. I ran into dozens of old friends from my school days at the various holiday parties and functions - and in listening to these folks and the impact of the financial crisis I was dumbfounded by how many white, educated, middle aged people were for all intents and purposes DESTITUTE.
The story seemed to have a common thread - divorce. It went something like this:
During the 1995 -2005 period many people of my age prospered. Of course, no one can remain satisfied for long... so rather than tolerate each other, couples decided to divorce (I am being politically correct here, and I should not be: In each case the wife filed for divorce). Initially, everything was fine. Hey, if I got the house, car, and a monthly stipend of $10,000, I'd be fine (and in that scenario, what is her incentive to remain married?), too.
Ah, but the "best laid plans of mice and men"....
I imagined, while listening to these stories, that perhaps the individual (ok, in these cases they were all men) on paying side might lose his incentive to work hard - you can't get blood from a stone - long before the economy started to go off of a cliff. You see, these folks likely had little in the way of SAVINGS. Big house with a big mortgage, leased cars, company stock, 401k, etc... but remember: This is Metro New York. If Hubby worked for Lehman or Bear Stearns his life savings went kaput, and even if he did not, it is likely his fortunes are tied to Wall Street in some way.
Now we have the sad case of the 40 something divorcee with 2 kids losing her home, moving into a cramped apartment and having her monthly stipend reduced to $1,500. Egads! She is going to have to go back to WORK. Him, too, and not at his former salary. Talk about an adjustment.
Just consider for a moment that a couple with a $1mm net worth will pay nearly 20% of that in legal fees during the divorce, and now they have 2 households to pay for. Well, the lawyers took their $200k, and the market crash took the other $800k, and the economy took their jobs...
So what's this gotta do with Orlov's explanation of "timing"? The "Wall" is not going (I hope) to come crashing down - it is much more likely to come down "brick by brick". What really matters is your brick. Once your "Brick" comes out of the "Wall", it is not very likely to get back in (especially if you are in your late 40's or early 50's). Life can, and given enough time will, be humbling. Divorce is the last thing you need in a time like this. Get along with your significant other - you need them and the rest of your family - more than you know. Besides, if you have kids, you are stuck with them anyway.
If you are a divorce lawyer, now would be an excellent time to head back to Dental School.
Mentatt (at) yahoo (d0t) com
Posted by The Short Story Man at 8:40 AM