The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Shop as usual, and avoid panic buying.

I'm not a doomsday scenario kinda guy, but the Bush years have meant fiscal policy of the sort that usually gets college freshmen a stern lecture on credit cards not being "free money." They've outspent every previous administration and cut government revenue. Sadly, the voodoo economists are still in control-- and it isn't wealthy Republicans who'll find there's hell to pay when the bill comes due. The Bushies have seen to it that they're well provided for.

Doomsday for the dollar may in fact not have arrived. But arrive it will as time runs out on the pact that the US made with the devil – enjoy yourself as much as you can, have your every wish granted for, the punishment will be in the future. As 16th century playwright Marlowe put it:

“Ah, Faustus, now hast thou but one bare hour to live and then thou must be damned perpetually.

Stand still you ever moving spheres of heaven that time may cease and midnight never come”.

Midnight is at hand for the $800 billion a year US current account deficit which has been financing not just the US consumption binge and the Iraq war but the global asset price bubble which is affecting, to varying degrees, assets around the world and of every variety.

So what does this mean for an Asia which has been the silent partner in the Faustian bargain, acquiring most of those excess US dollars in return for the ability to sell unlimited amounts of sneakers, toys and laptops to Americans?

Read on if you've got the stomach for it, but be warned: it's terrifying stuff. Consider the author's investment advice: "avoid the dollar like the plague."