|What the entitlement culture is doing to the US
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"Asia has a big advantage," said our old friend Marc Faber, at yesterday's Halkin conference in London. "It doesn't have the same entitlement culture of the developed countries."
He was talking about zombies. People who take, but don't give. Parasites on the productive economy.
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Of course, zombies come in all shapes and sizes. Many are decent people...who work hard...do their best. They've been forced...or seduced...into zombiedom, often without realizing it.
Here's a note we found in our in-box yesterday. The writer explains why there are so many troubled zombies in the Midwest. They are zombies because they depend on government subsidies and giveaways for their money. They are troubled because they know the country is going broke:
I'm from Nebraska. Middle America understands the subsidies that benefit them (and they will be tireless in defense of ag subsidies especially; the fastest growing luxury car market in the US is Omaha. But they also understand that spending and deficits are on a crazy track that is undeniably unsustainable. And that, plus the fear of a government that it seems can only grow, overwhelm the desire for subsidies (and they know Republicans will never really stop ag subsidies since there are 3 times as many Senators from Nebraska and the 2 Dakotas as there are from California).
Zombies to the left. Zombies to the right. And zombies on every streetcorner when you're trying to get home.
The ag economy is thriving to a great extent because of the ethanol mandate which has been very effective in more than doubling the price of corn (now, often above the price of wheat per bushel, which until recently was unheard of) as we burn food for fuel.
It's the 'entitlement society,' as Marc puts it. Half the households in the US tap into money that doesn't belong to them - they're beneficiaries of money from the government. And they are not likely to give it up.
"Once you get into a situation like that, where people have a legal right to receive money from the government, it is almost impossible to stop it," Marc continued.
So what will happen now, one member of the audience wanted to know.
"I don't know. No one knows. But the best thing you can do to protect yourself is probably to buy a farm in a remote location."
Marc is not necessarily bullish on agriculture prices. Instead, he is bearish on central banks and central governments. Between the two of them, they will bring on a disaster. Having a little farm of your own may be a good investment - no matter what happens to the price of wheat and soybeans.
Some things are more important than money. Like survival, for instance.
"The history of the human race is a history of war," says Marc. "And the next war may not be groups of tanks facing off with one another. I can imagine that London's water or electricity will be cut off. Or, the system of internet connections...or the electronic banking system...will be shut down. We all depend on those things much more than we realize. Society has become very complex and very inter-dependent. A breakdown anywhere could mean a breakdown of the whole system. That's when you'll wish you had followed my advice and gotten a farm where you could be more or less self-sufficient...at least for a while.
"That could be the most important investment you ever make."
In terms of return on investment, a farm may not be the best move you ever make. But neither is a smoke detector. But now, central bankers and central governments have matches in their hands and pyromania on their minds. It's time to take precautions.
Bill Bonner is the President & Founder of Agora Inc, an international publisher of financial and special interest books and newsletters.
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