Sunday, February 3, 2013

Book Review: Aaron Clarey's Enjoy the Decline is awesome

I just finished a few minutes ago Captain Capitalism finance blogger Aaron Clarey's newest book Enjoy the Decline (PaRic Publishing 2013, 219 pp, ISBN 1480284769) and it is outstanding. If you haven't already purchased a copy, please be sure to order one today from available now for $14.99 in paperback or $7.99 in Kindle e-book format. Clarey is also the author of Worthless, Behind the Housing Crash and several other non-fiction finance and economics books.

Clarey explores the trajectory of America's democracy which is, as the title suggests, a decline, and discusses practical strategies for surviving the collapse of the familiar way of life. "But as evidenced recently," Clarey writes, "the electorate is impaired, it's ignorant, it's naive, and it's brainwashed. Consequently, the people not only get the government they deserve, the minority gets to unjustly suffer the consequences."

The consequences of 237 years of democracy of course are James Madison's prophesied time of "daring depravity" in which, as Madison warned, "The stock-jobbers will become the pretorian band of the Government, at once its tool and its tyrant; bribed by its largesses and overawing it by clamours and combinations." The nature of an inflationary economy is the distortion and destruction of value, wasting away all things peculiar, political, social, cultural even ecclesiastical. Clarey writes "we must accept that the United States is in decline" and gives the example of how in 1965 we had near-ubiquitous high performance, well engineered automobiles left and right such as the Shelby Mustang and in today's world we have the Chevy Volt electric vehicle which gained notoriety for its numerous glitches and taxpayer subsidization.

The America of times past, to use my own military aerospace allegory, essentially believed and lived by an ultracompetitive, moxied doctrine of higher, faster, farther in which we pushed envelopes and broke barriers. Today, America is a nation of "just enough, that's fine, stop right there" both as a result of the dilating and increasingly unaffordable cost of pursuing exceptionalism in a hyperinflationary marketplace and the cultural/political contamination of a highly determinalistic, micromanagerial corporate style thought which only sees the need to acquire higher levels of profit in response to higher levels of inflation. The corporate mindset sees wide market diversity during times of scarcity as "waste" and therefore seeks to consolidate production and limit choices by maximizing commonality.

The beginnings of this were first seen in the early decades of the 20th century just after the creation of the Federal Reserve and during the Great Depression when numerous banks and corporations lobbied the U.S. government to create "standardization" boards which effectively stripped out market diversity and brought about today's present-day world of highly regulated production which suits only individuals and businesses which have the economy of scale production and financial compliance cost buffer to remain competitive in an anti-competitive world. Hence, today you have the Chevy Volt as the politician-approved vehicle for the masses.

Clarey gives an important exhortation to readers which probably has the highest applicability to early Gen-Xers and that is first and foremost to recognize that you personally likely had no direct role in destroying America's economy, thus you should not allow politicians, media or spouses to place recession guilt on you. Secondly, one should not worry about things you have no control over. There is no way to avert the collapse and crash of America's inflationary economy. When you go for an inflationary economy, you put Sir Thomas Gresham in the fiscal driver's seat (bad money drives out good under legal tender laws) and as Ludwig von Mises warned, "There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion."

Clarey also identifies the Left and the role of their subcostituencies in worsening the decline by perpetuating distracting, revolutionary campaigns of race/gender/class conflict which "make irrational demands of society" and give justification for the legitimacy of our inflationary regime. "Yes," Clarey writes, "through fanciful financing, class warfare, and Keynesian voodoo we can delude ourselves that government has some kind of inherent value, but in the long run, unless the people and society are put first, that society will collapse."

Readers should recognize there is no political solution to the current crisis. Like the Weimar Republic which was perpetually looking for a savior in its death throes and saw putsches, revolution and counter-revolutions all in vain, the United States today is constantly seeking in a knee-jerk fashion political solutions where there are none. This is not to say that you should not vote, but it is also to say don't be so easily deceived by messianic political figures and movements promising a get-rich quick scheme or a sudden renewal of the American way of life.

Since the collapse comes one way or another, there are certain occupations which Clarey explores as being somewhat crash-proof that he offers to individuals looking to brace themselves and subsist during this time of turmoil, specifically careers with relatively inelastic demand such as skilled labor, STEM or military. Ultimately however there are no guarantees to life, so the mistake is to waste one's youth pursuing other people's dreams and government-inspired visions which only serve to benefit - fuedalistically - controllers of the system.

Readers should know above all else that they have only one life to live, so make the best of it and stay grounded in truth. Investor intelligence is the key to success in finance and the ability to recognize and judge value discerningly applies not only to financial but life matters as well. Clarey's book is a booster rocket in assisting American minds to reach escape velocity from the dense, oppressive gravity of government ponzi schemes and special interest lies. You don't need to be an economist to understand or appreciate his book. It's short, forthright and a liberating read you won't want to miss.

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