Doug Casey on What Comes Next…

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Doug Casey: It’s the Wile E. Coyote theory of economics. As long as you never look down after running off a cliff chasing the roadrunner, you can keep treading air. Unfortunately, although the power of positive thinking may help in many ways, it’s of zero use if you continue living above your means and making stupid decisions.

Louis James: Insolvency doesn’t seem to matter; as long as everyone has confidence that things will keep going, the experts believe they will. But in the real world, you can’t remain insolvent for long, even if “you” are the United States as a whole society.

Doug: Exactly. My thinking about the stock market is this: corporations have done as “well” as they have mainly by cutting expenses. Laying people off, that sort of thing. So the bottom lines have not fallen as far as we might expect – but the top line has been hit. Revenues are falling for corporations across the board.

L: And the market has to notice this reality sooner or later.

Doug: Yes. The world’s financial system has to adjust to a new reality, one with lower levels of consumption and differing types of production. The legions of unemployed are not going to go back to work anytime soon, at least not doing anything like what they were doing before the bubble burst. The economy is going to continue deleveraging. There’s going to be less debt to allow the purchase of all this stuff people have been buying, resulting in lower corporate earnings. So it’s hard to see revenues doing anything but continue to spiral downwards for years to come.

And then there are financial “accidents” waiting to happen.

L: Like the bank failures the government has admitted it expects this year? The FDIC says there will be more bank failures in 2010 than in 2009, with the spin being that 2010 will be the peak of the crisis.

Doug: Sure. But I also expect corporate bond failures. And there are other things out there. As Porter Stansberry (whose style as an analyst I really like) has pointed out, General Electric – which is really just a hedge fund disguised as an industrial concern at this point – is leveraged thirty to one. It’s a dead man walking. It’s the next AIG. When something like that happens, it really shakes Wall Street to its foundations…

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