If in doubt, read the official motto of the U.S., for sixty years now found on all U.S. currency printed or minted: “In God We Trust.” Are you ready for the next tsunami?
Tsunami Heading Your Way
By Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser
Remember the seaquake that sent flood waves of up to 25 ft. (~ 9 m) over the shores of the city of Fukushima, Japan, in 2011. Those tsunami waves flooded the lower parts of the local nuclear power plant (where, not so wisely, the emergency generators for critical cooling were located) and, eventually, caused a partial meltdown of some of the plant’s reactors.
As any mariner knows, a rising/falling sea raises/lowers all ships alike. However, the tsunami I’m referring to is not one that is caused by heaving or slipping parts of the earth’s crust but by the people who want change of the powers that govern in a variety of countries. No matter where you look, many people appear to be dissatisfied with their current leaderships.
As an example, just look at the recent decision by U.S. citizens to vote for an “anti-establishment” candidate. Similar shifts of seismic proportions have already been seen elsewhere (e.g. “Brexit”) and can reasonably be expected to come soon to other places as well.
The widespread desire for change cannot simply be swept under the rug and forgotten.
The Desire for Change
No doubt, some folks like change just for change’s sake and others prefer for everything to stay the same, ad infinitum. Neither one of such propositions is reasonable or wise. Change is occurring all around us all the time, even naturally, whether we like it or not. Change of what and why, you may wonder? Indeed, that’s the question to be answered. Perhaps, gambling (odds) may provide a clue to the puzzle:
Any coin has just two large sides. When flipping it high into the air, it will land on one side or the other 50% of the time. For a brief period, one could be fooled into thinking that one can beat the odds but only until luck (and statistics) get the upper hand. In the end, “the house” always wins. It’s no different in other fields.
Despite all claims, projections and pronunciations to the contrary, the system will eventually return to the long-term rate of development. That path can be convoluted, often counter-intuitive, or even appear to be against all better wisdom of the time. It is also known as return to the mean, even as “nature” always seems to be finding a new wrinkle of sorts that complicates everything.
Without any expectation for more success, increased longevity, or life in general, even when such is only hoped to be reaped by the next generation, there would be little incentive to labour all life. That’s why civilisations continue to evolve, inventions are made, and new ideas arise.
New ideas for methods and products, operating principles, procedures, and the like arise constantly. Some are good ideas but many are bad, they are neither new or have previously been discarded for good reasons. One such poor “idea” is that “money grows on trees.”
The most surprising aspect of that are the never-ending promises of “getting-rich-quick” by forking over a small fortune to the latest guru and leveraging your resources to the hilt, or — conversely — “getting-rich-slowly” by investing in “safe” high-yield assets.
Oh yeah, safe assets and high but also safe yields. Well, you may find one or the other but both conditions rarely are combined. More likely than not, the yield is inversely related to the risk of loss.
The Holy Grail of “Safe”
Nothing lasts forever and there is no such thing as “safe.” Anything may appear to be “safe” for a while, a long while, or even longer but – and that is a guarantee – it will not last forever. From changes in perceptions, politics, and technologies, there is always something entirely unexpected. Like a quantum leap in technology or a new vision or international conflagration. Like a new war, an unexpected, or unforeseeable event, etc. In short, any specific investment could go sour, even the whole economic system could collapse. Over time though, a new system would develop that could be quite stable for a long time hence.
One of the most profound of such (potential) changes is the idea that money (in the form of “legal tender”) is no longer a store of value. Instead, as some academics proclaim, “wishful thinking” would be just as fine. Why work hard for years to save your pennies (the actual coins will probably soon become a memory of the past) or simply “live within your means?”
Ha-ha – what an outdated idea! Don’t you realize that we know better now? Riches can be created from social media Apps, your i-phone, or (outdated) lap/desktop computer – just by clicking the (right) button. Yeah, just “made” another M (or MM) myself; you backward fool, don’t you know, free money lies around, nearly everywhere, one just needs to pick it up!
If life were really that easy, who would ever want or need to work at all? No wonder, if you read some of the many financial advisories: One half says that we are on the cusp of a great new “get-rich-easy” period, the other half warns of a cataclysmic collapse to come soon. Perhaps, they can both be right: Some are getting rich and the others will become destitute.
Which Fate would You Prefer?
Mind you, that’s just a rhetorical question. But it is not just some small selfish part of humanity that may want to take “unfair” advantage of the world around them. Actually, “nature” provides a plethora of examples, every day. There is an endless and constantly adapting and evolving variety of organisms that find the “new niche” (like your abode) to be a perfect place for habitation. My dearest only has a laconic remark in response: “Hubby ZERO, Nature ONE.”
The world is a highly complex system of constant give and take. Even the best laid plans may fail due to unforeseen circumstances, new developments, or natural events. If in doubt, read the official motto of the U.S., for sixty years now found on all U.S. currency printed or minted: “In God We Trust.”
Are you ready for the next tsunami?
Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser is a professional scientist with a Ph.D. in chemistry from the Technical University, Munich, Germany. He has worked as a research scientist and project chief at Environment Canada‘s Canada Centre for Inland Waters for over 30 years and is currently Director of Research at TerraBase Inc. He is author of nearly 300 publications in scientific journals, government and agency reports, books, computer programs, trade magazines, and newspaper articles.
Dr. Kaiser has been president of the International Association for Great Lakes Research, a peer reviewer of numerous scientific papers for several journals, Editor-in-Chief of the Water Quality Research Journal of Canada for nearly a decade, and an adjunct professor. He has contributed to a variety of scientific projects and reports and has made many presentations at national and international conferences.
Dr. Kaiser is author of CONVENIENT MYTHS, the green revolution – perceptions, politics, and facts
Dr. Kaiser can be reached at:firstname.lastname@example.org