I have returned to New York to learn that the rich are in a state of near-hysteria because their net worth is declining. One of the most e-mailed stories in The New York Times earlier this week, “It’s Not So Easy Being Less Rich,” has an anecdote about a guy who’s afraid that his wife is going to leave him because his net worth has declined from $20 million to $8 million.
When I told a dear friend the story last night, she quipped: “That’s not a wife. That’s a hired hand.”
Here’s the link to the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/01/fashion/01rich.html?pagewanted=1&ei=5070&em&en=3b3f8caa8932045c&ex=1212811200
That fear of falling wealth has prompted me to repackage the bottom of my May 7 post on “The Coming U.S. Depression” (http://astrologymundo.wordpress.com/2008/05/07/the-coming-us-depression/), which was too long for most folks to slog through.
Here’s what you probably didn’t read:
We’re going to have to adjust our thinking in the U.S. because the numbers we live by will be going down over the next few years, probably through 2018. If you want to know the astrological reasoning behind this, please go to my blogroll and click on Ray Merriman, whose excellent columns explain how the Saturn/Pluto cycle plays out in the economy.
According to Merriman, who is well-respected in financial circles, the period from 1982 to 2000 was one of expansion. No kidding: The bull market started in 1982, and with a few bumps in the road, continued until the tech bubble burst in 2001. Merriman expects that the period from 2000 to 2018 will be one of contraction. What’s going to be expanding in this period is debt, not assets.
As some of you know, I spent the winter in California, instead of New York, where I normally live. I’m an Army brat and have lived all around the country, but basically I’m an Easterner. Sometimes the smug nature lovers of the American West get on my nerves. “We’ve got 360 days of sunshine here,” they say. “But how many bookstores, museums, and theaters do you have?” I ask.
I’ve been a culture junkie most of my life, but maybe counting days of sunshine isn’t a bad way to measure happiness. We’ve got to find a better way of keeping score of our progress than the gross domestic product, particularly in an age where growth isn’t sustainable.
Two Canadian economists have tried to solve the problem by developing an Index of Economic Well-Being that has four components: per capita consumption, societal accumulation of productive resources, income distribution, and economic security. To read more about the index, click here: http://www.insee.fr/en/nom_def_met/colloques/acn/colloque_10/sharpe.pdf
From 1980-2001, Norway showed the biggest increase in economic well-being, followed by France. Of the nine OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) nations studied by economists Lars Osberg and Andrew Sharpe over the two-decade period, the four Anglo-Saxon countries (Britain, Australia, Canada, and the U.S.) fared the worst. I guess the WASP work ethic can only take you so far, particularly if you’ve been laid off from your job and you’ve lost your health insurance.
Given the recent food shortages, maybe we’ll take a page from the Mormons and other survivalists by stocking up on food and water. We’ll get a whole new set of things to brag about at cocktail parties. (I know, Mormons don’t drink. I only said that we might take a page from them, not the whole book.) “I’ve got 300 lbs. of rice and 60 gallons of water in my pantry” may replace “I bought this great biotech stock that has doubled in the past two months,” or “The value of my home has increased 300% in the past three years.”
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.