The Gowdie Letter
Friday, 21 September 2018
Gold Coast, Australia
Vern Gowdie, Editor
Are the [economic growth/productivity] numbers real? Is the news genuine or fake? Can you believe anything we’re told by corporate bosses?
It’s tempting to write that ‘honesty is a commodity in short supply’, but that would not be accurate.
We may honestly believe what we think or feel, but is that belief based on truth, half-truths or downright lies? Have we been manipulated into thinking and acting by a carefully co-ordinated campaign of misinformation?
Our belief systems could be based on a body of lies that we mistook as a version of the truth.
Those who leapt to Serena Williams’ defence over how she was depicted in the Herald Sun cartoon may genuinely believe it was racist, sexist or whatever other ‘ist’ they can think of to label someone with.
Personally, I think it was an accurate portrayal — in the context of an editorial cartoon — of what happened at the US Open.
People want to twist and turn it into something it isn’t to fulfil an agenda…and the easily-influenced crowd jump on the bandwagon.
What should have been an ‘open and shut’ case in truthful storytelling is all of a sudden, clouded by a campaign based on falsehoods. Ones that are delivered with the venom of zealots.
Those who disagree with me may tag me as a ‘denialist’ or ‘chauvinist’. Creating another narrative that helps them rationalise their version of the ‘truth’.
The outcry over the cartoon is simply a reflection of the lies and deception that exist in society.
This recent tweet from Dr Clay Routledge (Behavioural Scientist, Author, Consultant, and Professor) sums up the trickery:
‘We are living in an era of woke capitalism in which companies pretend to care about social justice to sell products to people who pretend to hate capitalism.’
Parties publicly preach what they do not privately practice.
Delusion creates the illusion.
It was Adolf Hitler who said, ‘What luck for rulers that men do not think.’
Those who control an agenda are well aware of this truth.
When it comes to thinking, people are inherently lazy. It’s far easier to go with the flow, parroting whatever is the popular view of the day.
Social media has spread the virus of ‘groupthink’ to all corners of the world.
Those who dare to question the adopted view are neatly pigeon-holed with a label ending in ‘ist’.
Earth Hour is a prime example of ‘groupthink’. According to earthhour.org.au (emphasis is mine):
‘The fight for our planet’s future is on!
‘Australia is home to some of the world’s most iconic and breathtaking natural landscapes and wildlife. But just like many of the natural wonders across our blue-green planet, we’re facing massive threats to our biodiversity due to climate change.
‘That’s why millions of people in over 180 countries are switching off their lights for Earth Hour as a symbolic gesture to show the need for stronger climate action.’
Turn off the lights for an hour and get that warm and fuzzy feeling. What a croc of the proverbial.
After the hour is up, we go back to turning on the air con or heater, hopping on a plane, driving cars, cutting down trees, breeding more livestock, powering up our electric cars, building factories, watching TV.
We pretend we’re concerned about the environment because to do otherwise you risk being labelled a ‘denialist’.
If we are serious about cutting CO2 emissions, the solution is pretty simple.
Stop spending. Make do with what we have for much longer. Reduce population numbers.
The following chart shows the dramatic increase in CO2 emissions since 1950:
Is it a coincidence the increase in emissions has happened at precisely the same time as a post-Second World War population increase (baby boom) and the rapid expansion in credit (to buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have)?
Source: Value Walk
The real solution to climate change is for fewer numbers of people, spending less, reducing population numbers and restricting access to credit.
The subsequent reduction in demand would result in factories (producing all sorts of things) closing the doors. Emissions would decrease. The Paris targets would be achieved easily.
Politicians would NEVER tell us to reduce the birth rate, lower the immigration number and holster the credit card. This does not fit the ‘growth, growth and more growth’ agenda we’re repeatedly told is good for us.
Instead, we’re forced into paying for expensive ‘solutions’ (which includes all the hangers-on) that fail to make one iota of difference to the problem.
This growth narrative is one that (almost) everyone has bought into without asking, ‘Why is this good for us?’
On balance, is it?
Both parents working longer hours to service debts. Children being placed in daycare and after school care. Stress levels rising. Tolerance falling. More households living from week to week. Congested roads. Younger generations that no longer see how it’s possible to ‘get ahead in life’. Greater layers of bureaucracy.
Family life — be it functional or dysfunctional — weaves its way into the fabric of society.
Placing undue pressure and stresses on families to ‘keep up with the Jones’s’ has unintended consequences (and associated costs) for the community.
This is not healthy.
Please don’t misinterpret my message as being anti-growth.
Steady growth at pace we can afford is good. But that’s not always how the world works.
Those behind the ‘growth’ agenda — politicians, bankers, corporates — have convinced us that we constantly need more.
For instance, we’re told we need an inflation target.
Why would you want prices to rise every year by 2 to 3%? Do you want to pay 3% more next year for petrol, bread, clothing, child care, alcohol?
I didn’t think so.
It makes no sense.
Inflation creates the illusion of progress, but it’s the equivalent of a dog chasing its tail. Lots of activity for no real gain.
The politicians want inflation to diminish the value of debt, enabling them to continue make big promises with borrowed money. But they cleverly disguise their agenda, by telling us that its ‘good for us’.
And they get away with it because ‘men do not think’.
Trees do not grow to the sky. Yet, we’ve somehow allowed ourselves to be convinced they can.
The truth behind the relentless pursuit of growth is slowly being revealed. Unfortunately, like most great revelations, the lie we’ve been living will only be truly exposed by an ‘event’ — a public airing for all to see.
But the truth is there for those who take the time to think.
In the book ‘On the Psychology of Prediction’, acclaimed psychologists Kahneman & Tversky wrote:
‘For if we can explain tomorrow what we cannot predict today, without any added information except the knowledge of the actual outcome, then this outcome must have been determined in advance and we should have been able to predict it.
‘The fact that we couldn’t, is taken as an indication of our limited intelligence rather than of the uncertainty that is in the world.’
When the next credit crisis hits and asset prices plummet, and mortgagee-in-possession signs pop up and retirees complain about the loss of their life savings…none of this will come as a bolt out of the blue.
All the information we need to make this prediction is known in advance, which is why ‘this outcome must have been determined in advance and we should have been able to predict it’.
However, people choose to ignore the truth because believing the lie is easier.
And the truth is this:
- Global debt has never been higher and with each passing day it continues to accumulate.
- Interest rates (the cost of debt) have never been lower. At some stage rates must move higher.
- The US share market is valued on one of the highest Cyclically Adjusted PE (CAPE) in its history.
- Property prices are valued on the highest multiple of household income in history.
The extremities of growth have been reached or must be very close to it.
We know from history (and physics) what happens when things get out of balance.
They correct in an equal and opposite fashion.
Predicting this correction in advance requires very little thought.
However, the ‘thought police’ in the media, investment industry and government, persist in promoting an agenda that encourages people to continue investing in over-priced assets and living a lifestyle they cannot afford.
The BIG FAT lie we’ve been living will be exposed. Unfortunately, due to the dumbing down of society, we’re ill-equipped to handle the truth.
And here’s another prediction: it’ll be open season on the once protected central bankers.
Someone has to be to blamed for this — as long as it’s not me.
Sounds a little like Serena Williams’ defence, doesn’t it?