About a year and half ago, the article When do we all know and discuss that things have really changed? was written. A few responses were given; most notably on hunger (which is an excellent way to for people to take notice).
It is a bit disheartening, in that it takes an empty belly to know that things are different, but probably the most realistic. There’s always a bit of hopium that exists, perhaps, that people might take notice of things without getting hungry, but hunger really grabs you. There’s a quote many of you have heard of, “A nation is only five/seven/nine meals away from anarchy,” and it fits.
The odd part of the hunger thing is that it is sometimes brought about by human stupidity – and not just in the management of crops and/or transportation, or by failing to plan for things like weather. The financial system of country can be driven into the ground, and with it, the ability for commerce to happen (and you get the not-eating/uprising thing again). This is happening today, in India (as a good amount of cash is declared useless), and it has happened before; a wayward central bank goes bonkers, and then the predictable happens. If interest rates go up in the US, a lot of overleveraged and “overbought” assets can crash to the ground, and we may be in for yet another “rhyming of history.” Oh well.
As far as non-hunger related wake up calls, the recent US election has done a number on the general punditocracy, of course. Perhaps the cracks are beginning to show, even without hunger. Six months ago we brought up a few graphs that showed some interesting data points. Maybe this is another wakeup call; the graphs are a getting a trifle scarier, at least for those who pay even small attention to such things.
- Do you think Brexit/the US election has been a wakeup call for the elites? Is this putting any sort of fear into the folks at the top?
- Will this new normal be assimilated?
- If we get down to no ice in the Arctic in a few summers, will this be sufficient to wake up anybody?
- Will it take the loss of a few cities on the coast in hurricane season?
- In the final analysis, is it possible that it will only take hunger for people to wake up?