Saturday, September 4, 2010

A sovereign debt and currency crisis?

Maybe I've been watching too many Peter Schiff videos lately, but I'm getting more concerned about our financial future. By "our", I mean North America, we are effectively a common market. The old joke about the Americans sneezing and Canada getting the flu is well know in these parts. Everyone says Canada is in good shape compared to our neighbour, but as I have said before if your biggest and best customer has money troubles, then how good is your business?
The stock market doesn't seem phased, it's been in rally mode this week - but with lower volume. I'm not an economist but I know volume can be a sign of conviction and enthusiasm. The lack of volume says something else, or it could just be the end of summer.
I know I said I wasn't an economist but I have managed my family affairs so that we have no debt and some savings. I always thought that debt was something you wanted to reduce as quickly as possible, and there really is no such thing as good debt (contrary to what many advisors will say) even if it is a mortgage or business loan. Debt means you are not in control of your future - the debt holder is. The more debt the less control you have, so getting rid of debt is always a good idea for individual, families and governments.
So when the financial crisis of 2008-09 occurred, as a result of excessive debt it wasn't a surprise. Peter Schiff was right. The debt owed by homeowners became more expensive because interest rates rose. Many found the new rates beyond their ability to pay, sold or abandoned their homes and the rest is history. Prices for US homes fell significantly for the very first time. The resulting recession, according to several knowledgeable people (including Peter Schiff) is just the beginning. That argument is clearly explained in the following video which is about 45 minutes long but well worth your time.

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