Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wake Me When it's Over?

Most people I know and care about are currently in an enormous state of denial about the catastrophic economic upheaval in the world.

They walk around with their hands over their ears, their eyes fixed straight in front of them, the cliff face about 100 yards ahead, and keep saying nah-nah in a loud and piercing scream.

Even when faced with zero value portfolio statements from their broker/advisor, they refuse to listen to the advice they've asked of me and others who are a little more awake to the burgeoning crisis. Convert to cash? Convert to a 1% GIC? No, no, they bleat, the markets will pick up. I've already lost a ton, I can't afford to lose any more. Duh, I say. Duh.

Don't ask me then. Don't ask me what you should do about your house now worth $250,000 with a mortgage of $300,000. Don't ask me about the bargain of an SUV on the dealer's lot.

No, no, they say, hands over their ears again when I mention supermarket aisles with empty shelves, it's only temporary.

I hear of continuing unrest in Europe and read in the Irish Times a devastating article from the country of my birth and where many of my family still reside, all dismounting or been thrown from the Celtic Tiger that has stumbled and fallen and needs to be shot and put out of its terminal misery.

The province of Quebec has posted a loss for its provincial pension plan of 40 billion dollars (some sources say it's actually 46 billion). What do these pensioners live on now? It seems like no sacred financial trust was immune from drunken bankers crapshooting in Vegas with their retirement money.

Each day brings fresh reports of more misery, more losses, more fraud, more economic turmoil.

But hey, wait a minute: I read of a new industry that is doing incredibly well in the U.S. and growing in leaps and bounds:

Yes, the Trash-Out Industry, they go in on behalf of those drunken bankers to clear out the sad remains of the broken dreams of foreclosed houses.

This is the newest growth industry. Invest in that for high returns. If you can stand the stench. I know I couldn't.


  1. That's an incredibly sad thing to see, but those people doing that job weren't unmoved by it either. They're just making a paycheck like anybody else. And the owners did have enough time to move their belongings out of their houses and put them in storage maybe.

    There seemed so much desperation there. As if they were fleeing for an enemy. As if their lives depended on getting away on time. This I do not understand.

    They left behind valuable items and keepsakes. Why do that? There must be something very sad and confusing going on there for these sort of situations to happen.

  2. I'd say Irene, they couldn't even afford the storage.
    And it is so very, very tragic that they left such personal items behind. As if their lives were completely shattered and unrecoverable.
    My heart breaks for their misery and destitution. I could not profit a penny from such agony.

  3. What an horrendous state of affairs, WWW! Like Irene, I cannot imagine a scenario where someone who had sufficient warning of impending foreclosure (as the men say these people had) would have left so much behind.

    So much good stuff going into land-fill when there are families, (probably living within 50 miles or so) who could use it. It's just the height of ridiculousness.

    If things are going to get as bad as you suspect, every single thing they are trashing would, in the future, become a thing of value, because there will be hardly any new stuff in the stores.

    It was like that after WW2 - everything was treasured, nothing thrown away.

    There must be a better way than saying that co-ordination with charities is too difficult.

    I feel for the families who had to leave, but I also feel angry for the waste being perpetrated here.

    "Waste not want not".....I had it drummed into me as a child.

    GRRRR!!!! Makes me angry.

  4. T:
    I'd say shock, rage and depression have a lot to do with abandoning their lives. Our dependence on material emblems for self esteem is major. When these are gone what is left? I
    t is our consumerist, disposable and planned obsolescence culture.
    It has done immeasurable harm.

  5. Amidst all this I think about what I read about Germany in the early 30s and if the Americans have a so called "savior" like Hitler in their future when their economy really tanks.Desperate times call up desperate solutions. Time will tell.
    You say what needs to be said.

  6. Wherever there is a financial niche, someone will step in and make money out of it. That's been human nature since time immemorial.
    It's also human nature to walk around with our heads in the sand. If we didn't, this present crisis would not be happening.

  7. A very sad video. All those relics of what was once a happy life just being thrown out. I couldn't do the job myself, it would be so depressing chucking out so many beautiful and usable things.

    It makes me wonder whether it would actually make more economic sense to keep people in their homes rather than go through all the upheaval and waste and cost of relocating people and reselling the houses. But of course capitalism doesn't work that way.

    Re the economic crisis, many Brits actually think the situation will have improved by next year. Are they mad or do they know something others don't?

  8. GFB:
    that is the danger in times likes these, though I truly believe Cheney et all grabbed fascism when they could and plundered the US treasury for their own nefarious purposes.
    Let us hope that Obama has the vision and courage to implement it.

  9. RJA:
    I was at a class once where we debated that 95% of the population goes around fast asleep, while 5% are awake and aware.
    I think the 5% now blog.
    Maybe more people will wake up?

  10. Nick:
    Exactly regarding capitalism, even if those people could pay some token rent to the bank?
    I keep thinking there must be a kinder gentler way. the abandoned photos say so much.
    Improved how? No one can answer that question. I'd rather not live in that bubble but prepare.
    It will get better in the long run, though 'long' is relative. I might be 80.


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