Castles Made Of Sand

July 6, 2014

Economic suffering is occurring all around you. For the most part, it is confined to the voiceless and those that (socio-economically and/or demographically speaking) didn't have very far to fall to begin with.

For everyone else there is thin ice.

And those who ought to know better - people with a voice and the means for small options if nothing else - are living in a wonderland of hope. They are just inches away from a long fall into a cold and dark abyss.

How did this come to be? It is an old story, repeated over and over.

Currency and credit become untethered. Once the anchor is lost, the growth of debt-based finance commences. The expansion is geometric and all consuming.

Debt temporarily replaces capital and a false prosperity ensues. With it, patience is sacrificed for a frenetic anxiety in pursuit of the illusive and the allure of fast money.

We are all victims of this phenomenon. The big and fast easy.

I learned the lesson the hard way. As part of preparation plan, I wanted a greenhouse in my garden. I needed to do it myself, but as an amateur craftsman I soon learned that it would prove more daunting and expensive than I originally assumed.

But I wanted to prove it to myself and to others. So I kept looking for a solution. I found one.

It was cheap, but it looked impressive and it stood for a while. Just long enough to allow complacency to grow - along with the weeks and months of the new plants.

And then the big storm came and took it all away. I remember trying to rescue the cover in the middle of the night, in the darkness and pouring rain, feeling the reality - and the weight - of all those decisions in what had become a giant sail lifting me with it.

It took a full year later and much thought, obsession, and practice to rebuild. This time, with an immovable foundation. One built with patience and without haste. And one that unfolded at times much slower than I desired, and ended with a melodramatic closure.

The issue I overcame is small compared to what has happened on such a wide scale.

While it appears that we have so much, we are plagued not only by the allure of shiny things, but also by the amount we own and control relative to our neighbors.

What is even more dangerous is that our obsession and need for the end product now results in generation of lost information.

Sadly, most people, whether investing or evaluating life options, have little time for real discernment and thought. They only have time for performance, and little patience for understanding where the score comes from or how it is determined.

Most people can barely handle changing a light bulb, no less understanding how the electricity moves like magic through the walls.

That is the real tragedy - perhaps the immortal one in this cyclical crisis.

When we bust, real wealth is wiped out in addition to the fluff that came along with it. That kind of wealth is never to be returned, lost forever like when an old family member dies. They take with them a precious library of memories and experience - gone forever.

Building a foundation has become un-romantic. In much the same way that providing a valuable service or mastering a trade has become a “blue class” aspiration in a society obsessed with money for nothing and billionaires in glass houses.

Once you see the truth, it is difficult to not want to share it. It is part of our nature. If the storm is coming and you can see it on the horizon, you would want to warn those you care about the most. This is much easier said than done. And despite the brevity of collective memory, at least we have recent history to let the cycles speak for us.


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Man has had the ability to separate silver from lead for as far back as 4000 B.C.

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