This paper is much better, in my opinion, than the one that preceded it. Here Martin discusses the collective conscious and cites psychological studies describing human behavior – valuable concepts to be aware of, for sure.
Two things I want to point out that strike me in this paper…
The first is that he states in the opening paragraph that, “We are beyond hope, and it is a sad day that it is just impossible to ever make a difference or avoid a catastrophe.” He continues later, “We are entering a new era where all that once was is coming to an end. The real issue is HOW do we rebuild what is going to collapse?” So, in his previous paper we are not going to encounter another Depression, but in this paper we are going to experience catastrophe and after the collapse we will have to rebuild!
Playing it both ways? Yes, this guarantees that he will be right regardless of outcome and can later quote just how right he was! I’m simply pointing out what I see, and I am seeing more of this. Still, Martin adds depth to the discussion and there is great value there as long as you keep it in perspective.
The second point is that Martin echoes Adam Smith’s “Everyone acts out of their own personal self-interest” line, and that “COLLECTIVELY the sum of all actions is the real trend.” Here I also disagree that it is happening. Is assuming more debt than you can repay acting in your own self-interest? Is voting for people who spend more than their government takes in acting in your own self-interest? Is allowing Wall Street to manipulate markets and buy politicians acting in our own self-interest? How about being underwater on your mortgage yet continuing to pay full amount on a debt owed that is secured by that underwater property – is that acting in your own self-interest (many are dipping into life savings in order to do so)? No, it seems to me that collectively we are FAILING to act in our own self-interest – that is the danger of this time! We have not forced the businesses to fail who should have failed, we have failed to recognize and to act in our own self-interest! And in fact that is what Martin describes to some extent when he says that it is impossible to avoid a catastrophe.
The fact of the matter is that our markets are not free and that people collectively are NOT acting in their own self-interest – they are acting in the self-interest of the few oligarchs who are obscuring and manipulating the markets, our economy, and our political system.