If we wanted to increase the odds of financial/economic collapse to 95%, we would need to assemble the following ingredients: Concentrate central-planning power in non-transparent State and quasi-State agencies. Placing the levers of central planning in a few hands who are unbound by pubic scrutiny greatly increases the odds of catastrophic policy mistakes being made, and guarantees that those policy mistakes will be pursued with bull-headed determination until collapse occurs.
And talking about "would you buy stocks in the face of this data", for a preview of next time: we're fast on our way back to what "we" were 60-70 years ago, when there were 90%+ less "investors" relative to the total population than there are today. Talk about a dying breed. Banks are not the only zombies in our economies. We're all zombies. All our wealth has evaporated, and we're just not clueing in. Pension fund? Gimme a break. Value of your home? Get real. Indispensable at your job? Let's not go there. Look at the graphs for a while, and see you next time.
In October 2005, the normally conservative London Times acknowledged that the world's wealth may soon evaporate as we enter a technological and economic "Dark Age." In an article entitled "Waiting for the Lights to Go Out" Times columnist Bryan Appleyard reported: Oil is running out; the climate is changing at a potentially catastrophic rate; wars over scarce resources are brewing; finally, most shocking of all, we don't seem to be having enough ideas about how to fix any of these things. Almost daily, new evidence is emerging that progress can no longer be taken for granted, that a new Dark Age is lying in wait for ourselves and our children . . . growth may be coming to an end. Since our entire financial order from interest rates, pension funds, insurance, to stock markets is predicated on growth, the social and economic consequences may be cataclysmic.