Bill Bonner March 1, 2017
BALTIMORE – The Dow, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq remain near record highs and are up about 10% since Election Day. Fed officials say they could raise interest rates “fairly soon.” Blah… blah… blah…
The economy is a learning machine. So is a person. We’re not talking about the kind of faux “learning” you do in school. Much of that is negative – ideas, information, and skills that destroy or delay real learning. In fact, some people stay in school to avoid learning.
Learning can be painful, humbling, and hard. And only win-win deals teach you anything useful. Economist Adam Smith described the process more than 250 years ago. Willing buyers and sellers discover what things are worth (what someone is willing to pay).
This information directs – like an “invisible hand” – investors, producers, and consumers. Result? More wealth (or, in other words, satisfaction). This learning metaphor is more useful than we thought: How do you learn? By trying. When do you try? When you have to.
Why does extreme poverty persist in Baltimore and other places? Because the feds pay people not to try – and not to learn. Why do rich kids often get nowhere in life? Because their parents give them money; they don’t have to figure things out for themselves. They spend; they don’t learn.
Why does the U.S. economy stagnate? Because fewer people are learning. The zombies don’t have to learn. The cronies learn the worst lesson of all: that crime pays.
Today, smart mommas want their babies to grow up to be Washington lawyers or Wall Street bankers or crony hacks. That’s where the stolen money is – and they know it. But that is not how an economy learns.
Those are win-lose deals forced onto people by regulations, legislation, and the fake-money system. Some people win; most people lose. Those who aren’t in on the larceny get stuck in lower-paying, lower-learning jobs.
They’re at the checkout counter at Sheetz gas stations in Virginia. Or clearing away trees from the power lines in Ohio. Or they have no work at all. Economist Nicholas Eberstadt at the American Enterprise Institute think tank:
Between 2000 and 2015, according to [government statistics office the Bureau of Economic Analysis], total paid hours of work in America increased by just 4% (as against a 35% increase for 1985-2000, the 15-year period immediately preceding this one). Over the 2000-2015 period, however, the adult civilian population rose by almost 18% – meaning that paid hours of work per adult civilian have plummeted by a shocking 12% thus far in our new American century.
What do you learn when they have no work to do? Not much. According to one study, unemployed adult Americans dedicate 2,000 hours to TV and the internet a year. You learn by satisfying demanding customers and impatient bosses; you learn nothing from watching TV or surfing the web.
But it could be worse. And it probably is. Our brother-in-law, a retired preacher, enlightened us.
“I couldn’t believe it. I’ve been telling everybody that we live way down here in the rural Virginia mountains and how nice everyone is. It’s just like The Andy Griffith Show. But then the police showed up and arrested everyone in the house down the road. They were running a drug business. They had more than $100,000 in cash. Imagine, here in Nelson County.”
According to the DEA, in 2015, more Americans died from drug overdoses than from traffic accidents or guns. Washington spends trillions of taxpayer dollars to stop terrorists. But that year, Americans were 3,096 times more likely to kill themselves by drug overdose or suicide than to die in a terrorist attack.
Read More: www.acting-man.com/?p=48709