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Potemkin
12-15-2008, 09:57 PM
http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSTRE4BF02420081216?pageNumber=2&virtualBrandChannel=0&sp=true

Downturn spurs "survival panic" for some
Mon Dec 15, 2008 8:31pm EST


By Nicole Maestri

NEW YORK (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."

The U.S. recession that took hold in December last year has threatened personal finances in many ways as home prices fall, investments sour, retirement funds shrink, access to credit diminishes and jobs evaporate.

It is also a rude awakening for a generation of shoppers who grew up on easy access to credit and have never had to limit purchases to simply what they needed or could afford.

Instead, buying and consuming have become part of the national culture, with many people using what is in their shopping bags to express their own identity, from the latest gadgets to designer handbags.

For those who need to abruptly curtail spending, that leaves a major void, said James Gottfurcht, clinical psychologist and president of "Psychology of Money Consultants," which coaches clients on money issues.

"People that have been ... identifying with and defining themselves by their material objects and expenditures are losing a definite piece of their identity and themselves," he said. "They have to learn how to replace that."

DEPRESSION TRIGGER

Beth Rosenberg, a New York freelance educator and self-professed bargain hunter, said she stopped shopping for herself after her husband lost his publishing job in June.

She is now buying her son toys from the popular movie Madagascar for $2 at McDonald's, and is wearing clothes that have hung untouched in her closet for years. She said it has been stressful to stick to an austere budget after she used to easily splurge on $100 boots.

"I miss it," she said of shopping.

Resisting temptation now could be even more difficult, as struggling retailers roll out massive discounts to lure shoppers during the holiday season.

Fueled by easy access to credit, a housing market boom and rising investments, U.S. household spending accelerated in much of the past decade while the savings rate declined.

After the attacks of September 11, 2001 killed thousands and shuttered U.S. financial markets, consumers were encouraged by politicians and business leaders to spend as a way of saving the economy and proving capitalism could not be crushed.

"We're getting these messages that it is, in effect, patriotic to spend money," said Stuart Vyse, a psychology professor and author of "Going Broke: Why Americans Can't Hold On To Their Money."

The United States is deeply dependent on such spending, with consumption generating two-thirds of economic activity. But problems arise when consumers become dependent on buying goods and services to cope with their emotions, Vaccaro said.

"We have difficulty handling our internal emotional state in other ways when we can't do that," he said, prompting some to seek out immediate gratification through drugs or alcohol.

MOURNING A WAY OF LIFE

Besides an increase in shoplifting, psychologists said retailers need to be prepared for more instances of violent behavior like that seen at a Wal-Mart store in Long Island, New York the day after Thanksgiving.

"I wouldn't be surprised if we see an uptick in crime, related to stealing," said UCLA's Fong. "I wouldn't be surprised if we see more workplace violence and more violence at the malls."

A throng of shoppers seeking rock bottom prices on flat-screen TVs and computers surged into the Wal-Mart store in predawn hours, trampling and killing a worker in the process.

Fong said many shoppers have never stopped to think about why they were buying items, and it was easy to ignore looking deeper during a boom that support such spending.

But now, patients that can no longer shop to relieve stress have become anxious or depressed, he said.

Others fume: "'I used to be able to afford that, I should be able to afford that now, I deserve that stuff,'" he said.

But Vaccaro said the downturn could be a time for shoppers to pause and study what they are attempting to achieve or what void they are attempting to fill by spending.

"We don't buy products, we buy feelings," Vaccaro said. "We're buying the anticipation of the feeling that we think that product or service is going to give us."

Gottfurcht said he encourages clients to take a walk or do some deep breathing before making a purchase to avoid an impulsive buy. He also recommended that clients keep a journal, noting how they felt when bought an item.

He said clients should then check the list a week later to see if the "glow" of that purchase has worn off, and it only satisfied an immediate want, not a true need.

The greater opportunity of the downturn, Vaccaro said, is that it represents a chance to move away from "irrational" and "careless" consumerism toward "a more discerning consumer."

(Reporting by Nicole Maestri; Editing by Michele Gershberg and Eddie Evans)

CanadaSue
12-15-2008, 10:20 PM
Excellent article & outlines many of the issues people face when they have to curtail spending. It also makes pretty clear that it's not as easy as 'just say no'.

For many people, especially younger ones, shopping is a deeply ingrained habit. We became used to having things. Our parents were more easily able to buy for us as the prices of many toys & other goods dropped. With our kids, many things are proportionately even cheaper or appear to be. They've grown up in homes where credit was easy & almost always available.

Now that's drying up & they're bewildered as young adults. They can't NOT shop as they've become addicted to feel good shopping. Instead of buying higher end items, they still buy - just in the cheaper stores. That's no solution though, it just prolongs the pain of geting out from under.

But they don't know what else to do.

Mikala
12-15-2008, 11:06 PM
I'm sorry - I'm sure I may get slapped up side the head for this but...........

If this is what we have become then I'm glad for the current economic crisis. Before you start blasting away at your keyboard, wait one sec.

I'm AM sorry for those who cannot afford to eat properly, I am sorry for those who have lost their jobs, homes (when they were bought PROPERLY), for those if they cannot afford heat, etc.

But come on. Survival panic is when you cannot afford the necessities, not when you cannot buy new shoes (unless it is for a child who has none, etc). Is this what we have become, a bunch of entitlement sissies? We lost our idenitfy with our shopping bags? Our well-being is tied to our credit line.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE shopping for clothes, shoes, handbags - hell, I love to shop.

I still can, but I don't because it would be unwise. I could end up unemployed anytime now, and I understand that and plan for it.

I can easily adapt my "idenity" from shopper to frugal chick. I won't become depressed and I won't shoplift.

Ought Six
12-15-2008, 11:38 PM
Poor babies. I have lived just about my entire life without credit. If I cannot lay my hands on the cash, I do not buy it. At most, when I was younger I would hit up my parents for major car repairs, and pay them back pretty quickly. In 2001, I cashed in my 401k with all the early withdrawal penalties at least partially to pay back my folks for covering an engine rebuild on my car. I still have no credit cards, and do not want any.

CanadaSue
12-16-2008, 12:10 AM
True, 'survival panic' is putting it far too strongly. The entire article reeks of an entitlement attitude. The laid off paralegal comes across as though he was 'owed' a tie, etc.

But like it or not, many people DO feel that way. "I spent umpteen years & thousands of dollars training for a certain field & can't get hire. That's wrong - I'm OWED better!" "I finished school with good marks. I'm OWED a job with a good pay & decent bennies!"

Failure to Adapt to Reality is what it is. I can't understand INITIAL shock, anger, bitterness; all those negatives when what you planned on doesn't work out. But since when are we owed certain outcomes? If life is anything, it's uncertain & those who ADAPT can survive & thrive. It's those too old or otherwise too stuck in old paradigms that rail against the fates, refuse to change habits now self-destructive, then beweildered, wonder what went wrong?

The last few decades have been charactorized by excesses of all sorts. WE, recognize it, those of us who grew up in a time when you worked & saved before buying your first anything, when you had a reasonable amount of stuff. Our kids, the younger generations, have been brought up to change wardrobes as often as they changes their minds because they could. Stuff was cheap, plantiful & so was credit.

They simply don't know any differently. For them, it's not a case of reverting to old ways - this is the only way they know. They have to completely relearn & that's damned depressing for a great many. Don't forget - this is a generation that sees history, if they learned much of it, as theme park material. They're the coddled products of a comfy lifestyle earned on the sweat, tears & blood of generations past. I am of course, referring to the middle class kids & youth.

The kids of immigrants working their asses off are seeing a completely different example. They're watching mom & dad work all hours, often doing their homework at the small businesses where their parents work & are being hammered with the message that education & hard work are the key. For the most part, they'll do fine.

The kids from the ghettos, for want of a better word - I don't know. They've wnated so long without solid examples of what to do, many are beyond hope of anything but a mean life of theft, fraud & 'getting theirs' at the expense of anything else.

This downturn will try them all in ways we can't compltely forecast & I'll be damned if I know who'll survive best in the short term.

frodo
12-16-2008, 12:51 AM
I'm a little less censorious about people who think they are "owed" something, mainly because for the last Twenty years marketers have told them this very thing.

"You owe it to yourself to have a nice car"

"You worked hard all your life and you owe yourself (insert Manolo Blahnik shoes, Porsche, Rolex, etc. etc.)"

"You've achieved a lot and you deserve (insert holiday, Porsche Cayenne, etc. etc.)".

"Celebrate your success with (insert holiday, Porsche, etc.)"

The messages are endlessly trying to get you to part with hard earned cash "To stimulate the economy", but in actual fact they are telling you to ******bate the economy.

Seriously, when was the last time anyone saw an ad saying "This is the only car you will ever need to buy". When did you last see an ad extolling thrift and financial prudence (except for one VW ad many years ago.)

Nope the message has been spend! spend! spend! Over here it's still Spend to save the economy! In fact, when inflation was roaring, thrift simply ensured your savings became worthless.

It is unreasonable of any of us to expect that Generation X, Y or whatever to suddenly "unlearn" everything they have been taught about the economy since they could read and watch television.

M Fox
12-16-2008, 02:54 AM
At a family dinner a couple nights ago, I was talking to an early-twenty-something guy about college. He has just finished his first two years of college (AA in liberal arts, first part of a 4 year program). He wanted to transfer to another school that had a program he was interested in, but it would be about $80K for 4 years. :devil83: Another school has a 2 year program, and that one is $50K for the two years. He wants to do the 4 year program, and acknowledged that he'd need to work a year or two :re: until he could afford it.
The back story on this is that he is married and living with his wife's parents. I don't know whether to :rofl: or :(

M Fox
12-16-2008, 02:56 AM
One thing that DH and I have discussed is that the average IQ in the US is 98.
AVERAGE.
Just let that one sink in...

Malcolm
12-16-2008, 04:35 AM
Sit back and start writing a book "with a Waltons" theme. There might be money in this.

Therese
12-16-2008, 05:20 AM
I'm sorry - I'm sure I may get slapped up side the head for this but...........

If this is what we have become then I'm glad for the current economic crisis. Before you start blasting away at your keyboard, wait one sec.

I'm AM sorry for those who cannot afford to eat properly, I am sorry for those who have lost their jobs, homes (when they were bought PROPERLY), for those if they cannot afford heat, etc.

But come on. Survival panic is when you cannot afford the necessities, not when you cannot buy new shoes (unless it is for a child who has none, etc). Is this what we have become, a bunch of entitlement sissies? We lost our idenitfy with our shopping bags? Our well-being is tied to our credit line.

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE shopping for clothes, shoes, handbags - hell, I love to shop.

I still can, but I don't because it would be unwise. I could end up unemployed anytime now, and I understand that and plan for it.

I can easily adapt my "idenity" from shopper to frugal chick. I won't become depressed and I won't shoplift.

A lot of people don't have that ability to adapt. Y2K, though it never became a real problem, got a lot of people into the mentality of what to do if things should start to go down - so there is greater awareness and they already have the ideas of what needs to be done. Do they have the ability now to do what they know needs to be done? Knowing and not being able to do much of anything greatly adds to a sense of panic. Then there are many, many more who don't understand at all what is coming down. The adjustment they need to make from an entitlement mentality to reality will be quite difficult for many and the shift will be too late.

What are they going to do during this process of shift? I think it would be foolish to believe that many will simply go peacefully into the night.

Survival panic is according to whatever people think it is they need to survive. It will start with the non necessities as they have become necessities for them. They don't understand what is truly a necessity and what isn't. So I do expect to see panic as things that are not necessary for survival become unavailable and starts to fuel fears of worse setting in.

rb.
12-16-2008, 07:48 AM
Survival panic is when you cannot afford the necessities, not when you cannot buy new shoes (unless it is for a child who has none, etc).

I totally agree. We've just, in the last two years, been able to "shop". For a few years before that we were paying the bills without stress. And before that, it was a struggle for survival for several years. My "survival panic" does not have to do with shopping, but a fear of returning to that "survival mode" we used to live in. It's very, very stressful, and as the mother, wife, household manager, and the bookkeeper, I feel our survival is all on my shoulders. Just had this convo with DH in bed last night, as that stress, and the stress of my mother dying, and the upcoming responsibility of caring for an ill (and drunk) father, has become overwhelming. If these people are in panic mode, maybe they should come talk to me to put it all in perspective. :re:

A.T. Hagan
12-16-2008, 09:42 AM
When you're having to decide whether to make the mortgage payment or pay for heat in mid-winter I can see having a feeling of 'survival panic.'

But this? "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."

:lol: :lol: :lol:

Welcome to the New World Order baby.

.....Alan.

frodo
12-16-2008, 03:59 PM
If you look at a lot of old buildings and institutions, you will notice the spikes on the cast iron fences, large locks, gate houses and walls.

They look highly decorative don't they?

When they were installed, it wasn't for decoration.

Think about it.

angelsea
12-17-2008, 10:06 AM
rb. Sorry you are going through the stressful situation. I can only imagine. As far as shopping goes, it's highly overrated. I used to love going out shopping for just little things. I have taught myself that food and fuel are the 2 most important things now. If I need clothes, I go to Salvation Army store. Going there to shop can also be addicting, as there are tons of nice clothes that people donate. I always say to myself...is this something I need or just 'want'. I stick to the 'needs'. I don't know if any of you are having problems buying gifts this Christmas, but we are. Each child get's 1 present ( not a major purchase). I remember the days not long ago that we would spend at least $200.00 on each kid...not anymore....$30.00 each is it. It has taught us that Christmas is not about killing ourselves shopping, but just being with one another. More like an old fashioned Christmas. Life is a roller coaster ride. Sometimes things are good, sometimes bad, and we all need to learn to be more open and flexable according to the times we are in. RB. I wish you a stressfree Christmas and also to everyone else.

Fiddlerdave
12-17-2008, 10:33 AM
And before that, it was a struggle for survival for several years. My "survival panic" does not have to do with shopping, but a fear of returning to that "survival mode" we used to live in. This is the exact description of what can be the worst of bad economic times.

For many, while the fear of literal survival, of being able to eat can get strong at times, its the grinding day-to-day basic "survival" without hope of improvement that can be the most difficult to deal with. And the minds insistence on listing the pain of each likely upcoming problems.

"When the worn-out tires finally go flat, we will have to give up any meat at all for a month to get some used ones."

"Am I looking too shabby to keep my job? Goodwill has had no shoes for sale, and these are taped together. Getting shoes can't be done. I will keep my feet under my desk as much as possible, but if they see or someone complains?"

"Some thief picked the apple tree clean. I guess it is crackers for desert again."


It just gets so damn old living like that.

flourbug
12-17-2008, 11:20 AM
"When the worn-out tires finally go flat, we will have to give up any meat at all for a month to get some used ones."

1) If you can buy new tires for a car with what you save from giving up meat for a month, you're eating too much meat. 2) Who can afford a CAR? Insurance, registration, gas - all $$$ that can be put to better use. Use public transportation, a bike, or your feet.

"Am I looking too shabby to keep my job? Goodwill has had no shoes for sale, and these are taped together. Getting shoes can't be done. I will keep my feet under my desk as much as possible, but if they see or someone complains?"

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51T5SZM5HJL._SL500_AA240_.jpg
Perfect use for that car you aren't using any more. Those leather seats will give up a lot of shoes - and use the worn tires for the soles. Do you think you'll be the ONLY one without shoes in that scenario? You'll have people BUYING handmade shoes from you. Sell the rest of the car for parts and buy a bike.

"Some thief picked the apple tree clean. I guess it is crackers for desert again."


Poor you. No apple pie for dessert. :( Can't help there. No substitute for a nice fresh apple. Better luck next year.

BirdGuano
12-17-2008, 04:58 PM
"Some thief picked the apple tree clean. I guess it is crackers for desert again."


Hey no dessert, but now you have long-pork jerkey for a couple of months.. look on the bright side. You can get those new tires !

:D

Whatever happened to "adapt, improvise, overcome".

janetn
12-18-2008, 04:25 PM
I have personally witnessed this "deserve it" mentality. A friend of mine has been living on easy credit for years and now has hit the brick wall. She is now on antidepressants. Amazing simply amazing.

I am old enough to have lived through the 70's I remember well what those times were like. The 30 somethings have never experienced hard times. They have no experience to draw from. The easy credit you deserve it shop till you drop culture is all they know. They are about to recieve an education courtesy of reality. It will hurt, but they may turn out to be better individuals for it. We might even end up with a better country. At least a more grateful one anyway

flourbug
12-18-2008, 04:49 PM
The 30 somethings have never experienced hard times.

30 somethings lived through the .com bust. A lot lost their jobs and couldn't find any replacements in the field where they had a degree and experience. They know they could lose their jobs now, they know they might need to change careers again. But I don't think the reality of not being able to get ANY work, losing ALL you have because you cannot pay for or pay to store it, being homeless, and being truly hungry, has hit many people yet, no matter what age. We still have our safety nets. Families can, and will, take in relatives. We have social services, unemployment, food stamps, welfare, disability, medicaid.

Wait until millions are living in tent cities or their cars and there are no services at all to help them.

BirdGuano
12-18-2008, 05:52 PM
Sorry Flourbug, but the Dot.com crash was NOTHING like the 70's, so I still believe the <30 generation has no clue.

flourbug
12-18-2008, 06:10 PM
BG, there's an old saying: A recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose your job.

I was employed during the 70's. I was very young but did VERY well - bought houses, cars, invested heavily, and at the end of the decade designed and built a 5000 sq ft home. During the next downturn I did equally well - my business took off like a rocket in 1986. But in 2001 both Jason and I were laid off on the same day. Like most of our friends he couldn't find a job for well over a year. People who had put $120,000 into their education and had years of experience were lining up around the block for part time $20k per year work. Just about every job in his field went to India. Jason worked for several startups for a PROMISE of pay "when they hit it big". Of course, they never did, and he never got paid. It took several years before the employment situation got better.

Trust me, they have a clue and see it repeating today. But I don't think ANY of us have a clue about what is to come.

BirdGuano
12-18-2008, 06:16 PM
But I don't think ANY of us have a clue about what is to come.

It's one of the reasons I don't sleep much anymore.

watcher
12-20-2008, 06:57 AM
How true...we don't begin to understand how bad things may get. I tried to convince my sister-in-law that mindless Christmas presents for everyone this year was a bad idea. We're all over 45 years old for chrissakes and these are uncertain times. I suggested we take care of the kids and FORGET about exchanging gifts...just get together as we usually do and save the money we're spending on things that noone will remember a week later. Nothing doing...as informed as she is she absolutely insists on the whole enchilada when it comes to the CHRISTMAS EVENT. Rather than stand my ground I caved...and am feeling like a damn fool. As much as I admire the woman and her ususal common sense I have to add her to the list of "I sorta have a feeling things are gonna get a whole lot worse but maybe if I carry on the way I always do it'll go away" people. To be honest, despite the signs and obvious indicators, I can't fully imagine the scope of what's to come...and I lived through both the 70's (insulated from the economy somewhat when attending college) and 80's (unemployed for almost a year...had to live with the parents for awhile and finally ended up relocating to the big city "until things improved"...stayed there for 27 years).

So how bad could things get? Bad enough for many of us to radically alter our attitudes and lifestyles in advance, where possible. For those that refuse to accept the inevitable, the impact of this fall may prove fatal. In the meantime, I have to finish up the Christmas shopping.

BirdGuano
12-20-2008, 12:30 PM
I have to add her to the list of "I sorta have a feeling things are gonna get a whole lot worse but maybe if I carry on the way I always do it'll go away" people

This is actually pretty common animal behavior, witness Skinner's Pigeon (http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Skinner/Pigeon/).

Coyote
12-20-2008, 03:47 PM
The guy in the original article isn't suffering from "survival panic". He's suffering from narcissistic entitlement. A shoplifting charge would be a good start on his road to reality.

The doomers are out in full force on this one. The '70s were a hard time for many, not most. Americans had the highest standard of living in the world and probably one of the highest ever seen at that time.

But I don't think ANY of us have a clue about what is to come.
I agree fb. And those who are prone to high anxiety are spouting doomer scenarios with nothing to back them up. But I do think history is a great teacher. The current economic downturn will pass and the anxiety prone will be on to their next scenario of doom.

BirdGuano
12-20-2008, 05:18 PM
And those who are prone to high anxiety are spouting doomer scenarios with nothing to back them up. But I do think history is a great teacher. The current economic downturn will pass and the anxiety prone will be on to their next scenario of doom.

OR this time it could be systemically different. :D

That's a rather sophist statement, considering the "backup" available out there in academia-land.

...all our norms about 100 year storms, spreads in the bond market, world events - no longer have any value because when a system changes, all the old relationships die. So we live at a time when Black Swans not only occur but could be common.
John Robb (http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/about.html) in his presentation to the Boyd 2008 Conference (http://boyd08.wordpress.com/)

Coyote
12-20-2008, 06:17 PM
Yeah, I know. This time it's different. Just like every other time...:D

Whether it be nuclear war, y2k, pandemics, economic collapse, etc. the doomer drum beat doesn't change. It's always a worst case scenario. And it never happens.

BirdGuano
12-20-2008, 06:25 PM
Yeah, I know. This time it's different. Just like every other time...:D

Whether it be nuclear war, y2k, pandemics, economic collapse, etc. the doomer drum beat doesn't change. It's always a worst case scenario. And it never happens.

And of course we KNOW Black Swans cannot exist because we only see White Swans. :D

dyrt
12-20-2008, 07:00 PM
It does not matter if the future turns out to be doomer or golden. See each day as the same. If a person is losing sleep and worrying about it they are already in hell.

Embrace the world as it is. Get up and be happy to be alive no matter the circumstances of the world on the day you awake.

It is good to prepare for tough times but do it with joy. Every day is a blessing.

Ross
12-20-2008, 07:02 PM
Coyote said ...
the doomer drum beat doesn't change. It's always a worst case scenario. And it never happens.
It is happening now , open your eyes .

BG said ...
It's one of the reasons I don't sleep much anymore.
If true , try a blood pressure tablet just before bed time , it worked for me .
Scientists have found that even if you are not above but close to
the border line there is a real and long-term benefit to your health .

BirdGuano
12-20-2008, 07:10 PM
If true , try a blood pressure tablet just before bed time , it worked for me .
Scientists have found that even if you are not above but close to
the border line there is a real and long-term benefit to your health .

It was a metaphor, but thanks for thinking of me. :D

I sleep just fine. I've seen this coming for a while and prepared for the storm.

Coyote
12-20-2008, 07:13 PM
Ross, I'll promise to open my eyes if you'll promise to get a grip.

It is happening now...
What is happening now?

BirdGuano
12-20-2008, 07:16 PM
Ross, I'll promise to open my eyes if you'll promise to get a grip.


What is happening now?

I see this is heading for the dungeon. :rolleyes:

Ross
12-20-2008, 07:27 PM
What is happening now?
Coyote you are probably a nice chap , I have no desire to offend you .
After saying that it is a complete mystery to me how you can possibly
be in denial of what is unfolding . All I can suggest is that you continue
reading this section of the website until the penny drops.

flourbug
12-20-2008, 07:27 PM
I see this is heading for the dungeon.

Not necessarily... just play nice. :)

Coyote
12-20-2008, 07:35 PM
Ross, I am a nice chap and I'm pretty sure you are to. And I know there is a lot of concern about the economic down turn right now.

I also know how anxiety can lead to generalized fears like "it's happening now" and "how you can possibly be in denial of what is unfolding".

My question is an honest one. What is it that you think is happening?

We have lived and prospered through far worse times than these.

Misty
12-20-2008, 08:04 PM
It is good to prepare for tough times but do it with joy. Every day is a blessing.

If you can't do it with joy, at least perhaps you can do it unemotionally or with quiet satisfaction. Yes, seeing each day a a blessing is always the best way to live. It's possible to prepare for possible adversities while simultaneously having an inner peace and gratitude for the good that surrounds you each day. One doesn't necessarily exclude the other. Just because you prepare for winter doesn't mean that you don't enjoy dancing in the sun year 'round.

Renegade
12-20-2008, 08:08 PM
What is it that you think is happening?

if you have to ask, then you live in a better area than I do or you're economically set up well enough to not notice...:cool:

Coyote
12-20-2008, 08:34 PM
Ren, I know perfectly well what *I* think is happening, I was just wondering what Ross thinks is happening.

I don't buy the doomer BS at all.

It's certainly possible that I live in an area that is better off than yours. We are running an unemployment rate of about 5%, expected to go as high as 7% in '09. Hardly the great depression.

Look at the original article. It's about some nitwit who stole a tie! The doomers are being rode hard by their anxiety and a merciless press.

We have lived through many recessions and a few true depressions. We'll make it through this one too.

angelsea
12-20-2008, 08:57 PM
I am 52, and I have never seen times like these....ever. Don't call me a doomer..I can tell by looking at my ever shrinking pay check. I make half of what I made last year, and more bills to pay. Thank God I am stocked up at home tho. I have been storing canned goods for almost 3 years now. All my adult children had to move home, as they could not afford the high rent rates around Boston ( except one who is in University at Amherst).

Ross
12-20-2008, 09:14 PM
Coyote ...

Firstly I think you should accept that most financial commentators
are trying to act responsibly . That means either understating the
problem or putting an optimistic spin on the news.
What I am saying is that you are being almost universally
lied to , although mainly by omission of the truth .
Recognizing that you are not hearing the truth is one of the
most difficult things to accept . I have great difficulty with it,
and continually find myself wanting to believe what I hear
in the media from people that I normally trust and like.

Yes you may only have 9% unemployment in your area next year
but I would be amazed if even in the best areas it is less than 12 to 15%
the following year .


I expect in the longer term
What inevitably happens to any
organization/state or country that builds an enormous debt
with no prospect of repayment .

In the short term

- Between 15% and 20% average unemployment within 24 months
with all the attendant pain of homelessness , illness , crime
, Social unrest ( riots , looting )
- A further massive drop in the stock market , this time driven
by actual financial desperation rather than anticipation of
trouble.

- Deflation leading to a chain reaction of financial collapses
within the US along with an attempt to create inflation
leading to a debauching of the currency but a reduced ability of
people to afford goods even though they are cheaper ( in
non-inflated terms ) .
- The probable futile attempt to counter deflation
may destroy remaining personal savings ( such as they are ).

- Bankruptcy of many states/municipalities and the withdrawal of a
whole range of services that you have come to expect and
many essential services that you are barely aware of .

- The inability of Governments to fund services and the shortage of
money ( via destruction of credit ) will lead to a
ramp up of interest rates in an attempt to acquire money ,
causing further pain and the almost total collapse of the building
industry along with many remaining activities .

- Politicians will excerbate the situation by implementing more taxes
rather than reduced government spending , thereby destroying the
incentive and ability to save/re-build/create . Nothing kills a nation
faster than withdrawal of property rights.

- Global deflation and global recession ( probably depression )

- etc , etc , etc

Yes I know you will make it out the other side maybe 3 years from now
but it will be a very different America . Unless there is some amazing
set of scientific breakthroughs you will for a time have a much
lower standard of living than in recent history .

Please tell me I am wrong and explain why , because I look forward
to hearing some good news.

dyrt
12-20-2008, 10:27 PM
Ross, you do understand that your predictions are a product of your imagination, don't you?

If you want good news, then conjure a different future. After all it is all made up.

Good news of the day:

Almost everybody in the country is working, has a roof, fresh water and food. Wow, what a great day!

Ross
12-20-2008, 10:39 PM
Ross, you do understand that your predictions are a product of your imagination, don't you? Great , I can relax then . :beer:

Coyote
12-20-2008, 10:55 PM
Good news of the day:

Almost everybody in the country is working, has a roof, fresh water and food. Wow, what a great day!
Thank you dyrt.

Ross, I have some honest questions...

What makes you think that commentators who are understating the situation are acting responsibly?

What makes you think that commentators have any idea of what they are talking about?

Do you realize that commentators are paid to generate "buzz" and therefore ratings?

What makes you think that unemployment in the US will rise to 15-20% in the next two years?

What makes you think that our states will go bankrupt?

Do you realize that even if the unemployment rate hits 10% that means that 90% of the work force is still employed? We can regroup and put those folks back to work. We have done it before.

Detroit and Michigan are the hardest hit area of the country right now. There has been no riots or government collapses. No looting has taken place.

The credit bubble has burst and that is a good thing. It wont take much for the philosophy to turn back to producing rather than consuming. Saving rather than borrowing.

I hope that the standard of living does come down in our country. It has been unsustainably high for far to long. This is not a bad thing. It is a natural swing of the pendulum.

BirdGuano
12-21-2008, 12:46 AM
Almost everybody in the country is working, has a roof, fresh water and food. Wow, what a great day!

Yes we are better off than 95% of the world population. Celebrate !

It also does not mean we aren't entering a flat spin economically.

Pollyanna BS is a bit tiring as well, CNBC is a good example of it given the evolution of this particular set of circumstances. :D

Ross
12-21-2008, 01:57 AM
The credit bubble has burst and that is a good thing. It wont take much for the philosophy to turn back to producing rather than consuming. Saving rather than borrowing.

Coyote I like your optimism . Sadly the situation is similar to an unemployed
person with a credit card $200,000 Debt at 15% interest . Even if he gets
a job it had better be a good one or the debt is going to get worse.

I cannot spend time debating with you , just read the news in this
section regularly and you will get the picture .

Glenn 50
12-21-2008, 04:15 AM
Coyote I like your optimism . Sadly the situation is similar to an unemployed
person with a credit card $200,000 Debt at 15% interest . Even if he gets
a job it had better be a good one or the debt is going to get worse.

I cannot spend time debating with you , just read the news in this
section regularly and you will get the picture .

No don't "just read the news in this section regularly"...read the UK papers, the Euro papers...there's a world out there that is near tipping point economically.
Asia, the Pacific, the Americas in fact the whole world is going to be in strife for a number of years. There is a lot happening out there.