Oh, woes is me...
The escalating debt crises on both sides of the Atlantic are complicating the process of investment decision making for the latter half of 2011 as sovereign default fears grow against the backdrop of a world economy still growing at a reasonable pace.
The Greeks are going to default, the Irish are going to default, the US is going to default, Upper Sloblovia is going to defualt--take your pick of a crisis for the financial media to focus on, and they are, in a sort of media ADD moment driven by too many identical stories in the same timeframe.
Here's the real deal as I see it--yes, these countries are going to default. You can likely add in China, Brazil and any other country that you wish. Now, they may not actually admit they're defaulting. They'll call it a "debt restructuring" or a "payment moratorium" or "debt forgiveness" or some such bushwa, but at the end of the day if the creditors are not repaid in the agreed upon manner, it's a default.
For us little folks, it's going to suck. They level of suck will depend on exactly how it goes down and the unpredictable reactions of people and parties around the globe. It could be a Recession Suck, Great Depression Suck or a Mad Max Suck, and no one has any clue which one it will be, and we won't until we're neck deep in it and see the suck going down toward our feet rather than up over our heads.
Various Intertubz pudits, your humble scribe included, have talked about various things you can do to help safeguard yourself and your family. You can pay down debt, do the "beans bullets and bandaids" thing, transfer some of your wealth into precious metals, go very liquid on your investments, move to a more self-sufficient place mostly removed for what we joking call "civilization"--the list is long and varied, and no solution or package of them is right for everyone.
No matter what path you chose (excluding sticking your fingers in your ears and going "la, la la"), the cool thing about it is that you will not only be protecting yourself, but setting yourself up for future prosperity--even if the event winds up being a Y2K Suck. No matter how it winds up, it's going to do us a huge service.
You keep hearing me mention that I'm listening to the audiobook version of Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged". (Yes, still. It takes like 58 hours--sue me.) The thing is scary prescient. I've heard a lot of people comparing our time to the fall of the Romans, and there is some validity to that. But "Atlas Shrugged" get to the real heart of the matter.
There are two and only two kinds of people--Producers and Looters. Producers make things and create wealth. They may or may not own a business--it's perfectly possible for a Producer to be the guy driving that dump truck you just passed. A Producer makes a positive impact in the world, creating wealth either large or small.
Looters, on the other hand, are a sink. They believe they are entitled to the things produced by others simply because they exist and that they "need" it. They need a place to live, food, a car, cable TV, Internet, self esteem, whatever--and it's not their responsibility to get it for themselves, but the responsibility of the greedy rich--by which they mean anyone who is a Producer--to give it to them, simply because they have the capability of providing it.
Yeah, I pretty much call "BULLSHIT" on that. Please, don't act surprised.
The coming suck is going to help you identify Producers and Looters with clarity, and you're probably going to be surprised at times who winds up in which category. I suspect we're all going to be surprised and just how many looters there are. (Heck, face it--Greece is a country of looters, top to bottom. We're going to find out that there are a lot of others.)
If you want to survive the coming suck, resolve to be a Producer in the most complete possible sense. Be aware that the time may come when you have to "shrug" and withdraw your talents from the looters, simply to reduce their numbers (as in, allow them to die crying out for someone to help them). But the time will come when the Producers shall inherit the earth--and make it a better place.