Right at the beginning of this year, there was a video going around that stirred a bit of controversy. A financial analyst named Porter Stansberry made an hour long lecture-style video called “The End of America,” by which he meant that we would lose our financial dominance and quality of life, not that the country would cease to exist.
Many people pointed out that Stansberry has been investigated and sued before, and that the video is ultimately an ad for his products. But neither of those things proves that he’s wrong. In fact, I already knew most of the information in his video, but I did learn quite a bit. What most impressed me is the way he collated the facts and used them to present his case–the logical order of the argument’s arrangement is very well done.
It’s a long video, and slow paced, but if you’re interested in the economy, it’s worth it. Still, here’s a spoiler: ultimately, Stansberry’s specific prediction is that our economy will be ruined when the American dollar is replaced as the world’s reserve currency, and panic results in runaway inflation and government confiscation of private wealth.
I was thinking about this video again during the recent debt ceiling debate, which proved to my mind that virtually nobody in Washington is even pretending to be serious about ever restraining our spending and paying off our debts, and the subsequent first ever lowering of our credit rating by Standard and Poor’s. Since that, though, Chinese officials have started calling more openly for a new world reserve currency, just as Stansberry predicted.
Is the rest far behind?
Incidentally, one good segment near the end of the video addresses the coming “higher education” bubble that’s about to pop. Law professor Glenn Reynolds over at Instapundit has been harping on this for a long time, and my own understanding of the state of American higher education makes me agree with them: so many people have so much student loan debt that can never realistically be paid off (and in this climate, won’t be a priority), that massive defaults are only a matter of time. When it starts happening, it will be just as destructive as the massive defaulting we saw in real estate a few years ago.
At the end of his video, Stansberry gives some generic “be prepared” advice, and then hawks some new materials that he wants to sell. Sadly for him, nothing in the video makes me believe that he has some secret that people need to know. Any of us can be safe by being responsible and educated in our finances, I’m sure. And frankly, the introduction to and tone of the whole video is pretty corny and manipulative, but again, none of that means he’s wrong. His case is strong.
Since both political parties are responsible for this mess, I hope this presentation transcends partisanship.
If none of Stansberry’s facts or predictions are compelling to you, though, consider a couple of old sayings: “Better safe than sorry” and “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.”