Books: In a ‘death spiral’
‘The Day After the Dollar Crashes: A Survival Guide for the Rise of the New World Order', by Damon Vickers, Wiley 2011, 190 pages
Damon Vickers is a Seattle fund manager who, like Sarah Palin, uses folksy ‘straight talk' to captivate and terrify, asserting that "American Dream is dead" and the world is facing a "death spiral". He's an outsider, a maverick. How many fund managers do you know who confess to having lived in a car or a Buddhist monastery? And, like Palin, Vickers wears his green credentials on his sleeve: nauseatingly.
The central theme of Vickers' work is that we have all been too busy playing videogames and eating badly while those pesky liberals snuck up on us and created a bloated social security system. ‘They' snuck Obamacare through at 1am, obviously so no-one noticed. ‘They' are never clearly identified, but appear to be whomever is convenient - the liberals, then the ‘conglomerates', the ‘club of economic elites', the ‘healthcare industrial complex', the wicked Federal Reserve or quite simply ‘the Government'.
So, thanks to the ‘Illuminati' and the Democrats, the US is now sinking under a mountain of debt. This last bit is true, although Vickers' numbers seem a little rich. Okay, the US owes $13-14trn, but are there really $60-80trn in unfunded entitlements and $40-50trn in promises for new entitlements? Using a trick Vickers likes, that would mean around a million dollars for every working American. Too many numbers are thrown around in this book with little explanation and few footnotes - like when he tells us 97% of trees have been cut down in North America, and there are none left in Europe!
Anyway, the death spiral. Thanks to all this Illuminati-connived debt, the Chinese are going to wake up soon and say "we ain't buyin' another darn'd US bond". After 15 days of market gyrations, currency collapse and general world panic, we succumb to global revolution. Vickers gets carried away with some real "red meat for the blue rinses", describing terrified Americans who "lock their doors, load their shotguns, hide their children". He relishes this Armageddon, stating: "We need a social uprising." For we have sinned, with all those burgers and consumer debt.
Religion, whether Christian or Buddhist, is never far away as Vickers leads us towards a New World Order. "We are seeing a surge in spiritual consciousness that gives me great hope," he says. It also seems to give him great arrogance. Arguing for the power of positive thinking, he asserts: "We create exactly what we think... that may sound like new thought mumbo-jumbo, but your belief is not required for this to be true."
Anyway, we get to the New World Order, after the 15 days of Armageddon, by all grouping together in a small western-pioneer-town kind of way, which (somehow?) turns into a global government, a global currency and - yes, I'm afraid - a new global messiah. As Vickers says, "let's just hope we treat him right this time".
Christopher Walker writes on current affairs and investment issues and is a former investment manager