Housing Bubble, Dot-Com Bubble, Central Banking Bubble – Anthem! by W. Ben Hunt, Ph.D.

salient-epsilon-theory-ben-hunt-anthem-october-14-2016-alien

Ash: You still don’t understand what you’re dealing with, do you? Perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility.
Lambert: You admire it.
Ash: I admire its purity. A survivor … unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality.
Parker: Look, I am … I’ve heard enough of this, and I’m asking you to pull the plug.
[Ripley goes to disconnect Ash, who interrupts]
Ash: Last word.
Ripley: What?
Ash: I can’t lie to you about your chances, but… you have my sympathies.
? “Alien” (1979)
salient-epsilon-theory-ben-hunt-anthem-october-14-2016-alien-nation

Det. ‘George’ Francisco: You humans are very curious to us. You invite us to live among you in an atmosphere of equality that we’ve never known before. You give us ownership of our own lives for the first time and you ask no more of us than you do of yourselves. I hope you understand how special your world is, how unique a people you humans are. Which is why it is all the more painful and confusing to us that so few of you seem capable of living up to the ideals you set for yourselves.
? “Alien Nation” (1988)
salient-epsilon-theory-ben-hunt-anthem-october-14-2016-karl-marx

The less you eat, drink, buy books, go to the theatre or to balls, or to the pub, and the less you think, love, theorize, sing, paint, fence, etc., the more you will be able to save and the greater will become your treasure which neither moth nor rust will corrupt—your capital. The less you are, the less you express your life, the more you have, the greater is your alienated life and the greater is the saving of your alienated being.

[drizzle]? Karl Marx on Alienation, “Economic Manuscripts” (1844)

The paradox and the tragedy of modern man. When we spend rather than save, we live more fully. We avoid the alienated life. But we create our alienated being, which is far worse. Without savings and capital, our labor is reduced to a commodity, something we must sell to our dying day simply to live. We must work to live, rather than work to BE. Our labor, our government, even our very thoughts become an alien thing to us, and us to them. Sound familiar?

salient-epsilon-theory-ben-hunt-anthem-october-14-2016-slacker

salient-epsilon-theory-ben-hunt-anthem-october-14-2016-washington-post

Most of the blame for the struggle of male, less-educated workers has been attributed to lingering weakness in the economy, particularly in male-dominated industries such as manufacturing. Yet in new research, economists from Princeton, the University of Rochester and the University of Chicago say that an additional reason many of these young men — who don’t have college degrees — are rejecting work is that they have a better alternative: living at home and enjoying video games. The decision may not even be completely conscious, but surveys suggest that young men are happier for it.

 

Young men without college degrees have replaced 75 percent of the time they used to spend working with time on the computer, mostly playing video games, according to the study, which is based on the Census Bureau’s time-use surveys. Before the recession, from 2004 to 2007, young, unemployed men without college degrees were spending 3.4 hours per week playing video games. By 2011 to 2014, that time had shot up to 8.6 hours per week on average.

 

A few decades ago, an unemployed person might be stuck on the couch watching TV, isolated and depressed. Today, cheap or free services such as Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube and Netflix provide seemingly endless entertainment options and an easy connection to the outside world. Video games, in particular, provide a strong community and a sense of achievement that, for some, real-world jobs lack.

Ana Swanson, Washington Post, “Why amazing video games could be causing a big problem for America”, Sept. 23, 2016

Robert Putnam (one of the good guys in academia, btw) wrote a famous book called Bowling Alone, where he chronicled the dissipation of civic groups (like bowling leagues) that had — truly — made America great. But today, community is back! It’s just not IRL, as the kids would say. The Marxist revolution isn’t coming out of Venezuela or some such failed state. It’s coming out of Call of Duty.

salient-epsilon-theory-ben-hunt-anthem-october-14-2016-ayn-rand

At first, man was enslaved by the gods. But he broke their chains. Then he was enslaved by the kings. But he broke their chains. He was enslaved by his birth, by his kin, by his race. But he broke their chains. He declared to all his brothers that a man has rights which neither god nor king nor other men can take away from him, no matter what their number, for his is the right of man, and there is no right on earth above this right.

Ayn Rand, “Anthem” (1938)

Believe it or not, I’m actually not a big Ayn Rand fan. I appreciate her thesis. Really, I do. But man is a social animal. We are hard-wired to care about the We as much as the I. Unless you’re damaged.

 

Any writer, I suppose, feels that the world into which he was born is nothing less than a conspiracy against the cultivation of his talent — which attitude certainly has a great deal to support it. On the other hand, it is only because the world looks on his talent with such frightening indifference that the artist is compelled to make his talent important.

James Baldwin, “Notes of a Native Son” (1955)

On the other hand, I’m a big James Baldwin fan. Here’s a man who experienced profound alienation, from his family and his church and his country (Baldwin’s FBI file was almost 2,000 pages long … talk about a badge of honor). Yes, the world is both a conspiracy and frighteningly indifferent to everything, including talent. Baldwin’s answer: get over yourself already. Make your talent important.

 

Gerald O’Hara: And what does the captain of our troops say?
Ashley Wilkes: Well, gentlemen, if Georgia fights, I go with her. But like my father I hope that the Yankees let us leave the Union in peace.
Man: But Ashley, Ashley, they’ve insulted us!
Charles Hamilton: You can’t mean you don’t want war!
Ashley Wilkes: Most of the miseries of the world were caused by wars. And when the wars were over, no one ever knew what they were about.
Gerald O’Hara: [the other men protest] Now gentlemen, Mr. Butler has been up North I hear. Don’t you agree with us, Mr. Butler?
Rhett Butler: I think it’s hard winning a war with words, gentlemen.
Charles Hamilton: What do you mean, sir?
Rhett Butler: I mean, Mr. Hamilton, there’s not a cannon factory in the whole South.
Man: What difference does that make, sir, to a gentleman?
Rhett Butler: I’m afraid it’s going to make a great deal of difference to a great many gentlemen, sir.
Charles Hamilton: Are you hinting, Mr. Butler, that the Yankees can lick us?
Rhett Butler: No, I’m not hinting. I’m saying very plainly that the Yankees are better equipped than we. They’ve got factories, shipyards, coalmines… and a fleet to bottle up our harbors and starve us to death. All we’ve got is cotton, and slaves and… arrogance.
Man: That’s treacherous!
Charles Hamilton: I refuse to listen to any renegade talk!
Rhett Butler: Well, I’m sorry

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