But they’re destroying America. They might have good intentions, but they are working with bad models. Ones that lead to truly horrible outcomes.
One of the chief failings of central banks is that they are slaves to an impossible idea; the notion that humans are free to pursue perpetual exponential economic growth on a finite planet. To be more specific: central banks are actually in the business of promoting perpetual exponential growth of debt.
But since growth in credit drives growth in consumption, the two are concepts are so intimately linked as to be indistinguishable from each other. They both rest upon an impossibility. Central banks are in the business of sustaining the unsustainable which is, of course, an impossible job.
I can only guess at the amount of emotional energy required to maintain the integrity of the edifice of self-delusion necessary to go home from a central banking job feeling OK about oneself and one’s role in the world. It must be immense.
I rather imagine it’s not unlike the key positions of leadership at Easter Island around the time the last trees were being felled and the last stone heads were being erected. “This is what we do,” they probably said to each other and their followers. “This is what we’ve always done. Pay no attention to those few crackpot haters who warn that in pursuing our way of life we’re instead destroying it.”
The most compassion I can drum up for central bankers right now is to observe that they really do have an impossible job; and their training has been simply too narrow and dogmatic for them to detect the gaping, obvious flaws in their world views. They never studied energy resource issues. Nor did they have to take any behavioral psychology classes that would have explained to them how deeply unfair economic practices are socially corrosive. Nor any history classes that would expose how such actions proved ruinous when they were applied in previous societies.
But here we are. The fact that the central bankers are either accidentally ignorant or purposely too lazy to explore the wider world of ideas is not one you can ignore any longer. Real consequences are coming and there’s no ducking them. We’re all in this big canoe of life together and the Fed and our political officials are exhorting us to paddle faster towards the roaring falls ahead.
You need to understand this. If you want to have any chance of navigating the future successfully, you have to understand what they are doing, how they are doing it, and why it will fail. If you don’t take the time to sort out the mechanisms and implications…well, good luck. You’re going to need it.
For those who prefer to rest their future prospects on Knowing instead of (misplaced) Hoping, read on.