8 really, really scary predictions
from fortune: Dow 4,000. Food shortages. A bubble in Treasury notes. Fortune spoke to eight of the market’s sharpest thinkers and what they had to say about the future is frightening… Nouriel Roubini: “We are in the middle of a very severe recession that’s going to continue through all of 2009 – the worst U.S. recession in the past 50 years. It’s the bursting of a huge leveraged-up credit bubble. There’s no going back, and there is no bottom to it.” (read the 7 other scary predictions here)
4 really, really bad scenarios
from cryptogon: I found this one most interesting: The Alternate-Dollar Nightmare: “The Number One vulnerability is the dollar itself,” Rickards concluded. “We’re printing them and shoving them out the door, and the Fed is basically out of bullets. So why hasn’t the dollar collapsed? The short answer is, global investors don’t have any other choice.” That is, there simply aren’t enough Euro- or Yen-backed securities for investors to shift their money out of dollars and into some other currency. But what if some kind of global coalition – say a trillion-dollar sovereign wealth fund allied with several countries around the world – banded together to create a gold-backed alternative to the dollar?
alternative currencies grow in popularity
from time: Most of us take for granted that those rectangular green slips of paper we keep in our wallets are inviolable: the physical embodiment of value. But alternative forms of money have a long history and appear to be growing in popularity. It’s not merely barter or primitive means of exchange like seashells or beads. Beneath the financial radar, in hip U.S. towns or South African townships, in shops, markets and even banks, people throughout the world are exchanging goods and services via thousands of currency types that look nothing like official tender. Alternative means of trade often surface during tough economic times. “When money gets dried up and there are still needs to be met in society, people come up with creative ways to meet those needs,” says Peter North, a senior lecturer in geography at the University of Liverpool and the author of two books on the subject. He refers to the “scrips” issued in the U.S. and Europe during the Great Depression that kept money flowing and the massive barter exchanges involving millions of people that emerged amid runaway inflation in Argentina in 2000. “People were kept from starving [this way],” he says.
video: lord rothschild on cnbc
downturn spurs ‘survival panic’ for some in US
from reuters: A paralegal, recently laid off, wanted to get back at the “establishment” that he felt was to blame for his lost job. So when he craved an expensive new tie, he went out and stole one. The story, relayed by psychiatrist Timothy Fong at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute and Hospital, is an example of the rash behaviors exhibited by more Americans as a recession undermines a lifestyle built on spending. In the coming months, mental health experts expect a rise in theft, depression, drug use, anxiety and even violence as consumers confront a harsh new reality and must live within diminished means. “People start seeing their economic situation change, and it stimulates a sort of survival panic,” said Gaetano Vaccaro, deputy clinical director of Moonview Sanctuary, which treats patients for emotional and behavioral disorders. “When we are in a survival panic, we are prone to really extreme behaviors.”
imf chief warns of riots in response to economic crisis
from paul joseph watson: The head of the International Monetary Fund has warned that advanced nations will be hit by violent civil unrest if the elite continue to restructure the economy around their own interests while looting the taxpayer. During a speech in Madrid, Dominique Strauss-Kahn said that “social unrest may happen in many countries – including advanced economies” if governments failed to adequately respond to the financial crisis. “He added that violent protests could break out in countries worldwide if the financial system was not restructured to benefit everyone rather than a small elite,” reports the Guardian.
arizona police trained for economic civil unrest
from kurt nimmo: Mike Sunnucks, writing for the Phoenix Business Journal, reports that Arizona state and local police “say they have broad plans to deal with social unrest, including trouble resulting from economic distress. The security and police agencies declined to give specifics, but said they would employ existing and generalized emergency responses to civil unrest that arises for any reason.”