It has now been almost seven years since the world went through its last financial meltdown, or Black Swan, and from sixty-eight years of personal observation, it’s about time for another one, because they always eventually happen, no matter what the elites and the regulators promise.
A good definition of a Black Swan is at BlackSwanEvents.org:
“A Black Swan event is an event in human history that was unprecedented and unexpected at the point in time it occurred. However, after evaluating the surrounding context, domain experts (and in some cases even laymen) can usually conclude: “it was bound to happen”. Even though some parameters may differ (such as the event’s time, location, or specific type), it is likely that similar incidences have had similar effects in the past.”
As possible canaries in the coal mine, to mix two avian metaphors, look at the never-sinking stock market, 100% home loans, and the surge in merger and acquisition volumes on Wall Street. Or the panic when interest rates rise just a smidgen above their currently impossibly low levels.
Given those tinderbox conditions, if you are looking for the next Black Swan that could derail normal life, take a look at Europe.
Please read this in-depth and interesting opinion piece by Simon Tisdall of The Guardian, as reported by CNN.
It is hard to imagine any US bank, major company, or family that is not in some way exposed to the risks that these issues in Europe will quickly precipitate. If Greece becomes chaotic and turns to Russia or China for a bail-out, or Middle Eastern/African refugees continue to flood southern Europe, the short and long term consequences could be game-changing and largely unpredictable.
The mess in Europe is the result of several decades of:
Utopian, elitist politicians forcing their vision of a better world—never mind the unworkable details—on their countries.
Spending far beyond any means to repay, to prop up bloated welfare states, impossible labor union agreements, and economies hobbled by restrictive labor laws and other regulations.
Declining defense spending and the resulting understandable reluctance/inability to confront and to deal with evil, whether in the Middle East or Ukraine.
Although not identical, a version of this mess is also our future if we continue down the same road.
But Europe’s problems may much sooner rebound on us in ways that we cannot now envision long before we actually get there ourselves. Hopefully one result from the ensuing difficulties will be that we turn away, back to principles of thrift, less regulation, lower taxes, and a stronger defense. But if we elect more progressive utopian politicians of our own, we may well double down, and race Europe to the chaotic bottom.
For a short bit of prophetic musing three years ago, please visit The Greecehopper and the Ants. Or for a fuller treatment, please take a look at Will We Follow Europe Into the Abyss or Pull Back?
But I use Europe here as just one example of what could be the next event(s), the next Black Swan.
My main point, again, is that they always have happened and always will happen.
When you hear Wall Street or the President or the Fed stating that we now know how to end economic cycles and to regulate financial safety, they are wrong. There will be another financial
downturn, perhaps even a disaster. You can count on it and should prepare for it.
I have proposed Europe as a likely candidate to trigger that downturn—and you can easily think of many more—but my real focus is on how, as a believer in God and a follower of Christ, I should prepare myself and my family for it.
My thoughts on practical steps will follow in the next post, but let me conclude here by offering that God is always in charge, and He is never surprised. He uses Black Swans and financial crises to further His eternal plans for salvation and ultimate redemption. Re-read the story of the Tower of Babel, and think of our leaders and regulators. We need both, of course, but we need leaders with humility and Godly wisdom, not those overtaken by personal pride and hubris.
Anyway, the story confirms that God has been dealing with this issue for a long time, and He will again.
So, as believers, we should not fear the next crises, but, as good stewards, we should do our best to prepare for them.