Home Richard Duncan: The Real Risk Of A Coming Multi-Decade Global Depression

Richard Duncan: The Real Risk Of A Coming Multi-Decade Global Depression

user profile picture Adam Taggart Apr 05, 2015
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Richard Duncan, author of The Dollar Crisis and The New Depression: The Breakdown Of The Paper Money Economy, isn't mincing words about the risks he sees ahead for the world economy.

Essentially, he sees the past 50 years of economic prosperity fueled by globalization and easy credit in serious danger of being unwound, as the doomed monetary policies currently being pursued by the word's central banks result in a massive multi-decade depression that spans the globe.

The first version of The Dollar Crisis, the hardback, came out in 2003, so I wrote it in 2002. And at that time, the dollar against gold was $300. So the dollar has lost more than 75% of its value since The Dollar Crisis was written, and I don’t think it’s going to stop here. I expect it to continue to lose value over the years and decades ahead.

But what we’re seeing is that the real theme of The Dollar Crisis was that the post-Bretton Woods international monetary system was fundamentally flawed because it couldn’t prevent trade imbalances between countries. And the US had developed an enormous trade deficit with the rest of the world and this blew the trade surplus countries like Japan and China into bubbles. And then, the dollars boomeranged back into the United States and blew it into a bubble, as well. I didn’t know when the housing bubble was going to pop in the US but I knew it would. And I wrote in The Dollar Crisis that when it did, we would have a severe global economic recession/depression that would involve a systemic banking sector crisis in the United States and necessitate trillion-dollar budget deficits and unorthodox monetary policy to prevent a Great Depression from occurring.

And so that’s what we’ve seen. The crisis arrived in 2008 and the government responded with trillion-dollar budget deficits and quantitative easing on a multi-trillion-dollar scale. So they have managed to keep this immense global economic bubble inflated through unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimulus in combination. And so that’s where we are now. We still have a massive global economic bubble that the policymakers have continued to keep inflated. And that’s what they intend to continue to do because they believe – rightly so, I think – that if they allow it to melt down, then it’s going to result in a depression at least as bad as that of the 1930s and 1940s. And they’re going to do everything in their power to prevent that from happening for as long as possible.

I think it’s horribly regrettable that we find ourselves in a position where we are on government life support. We should’ve stayed on the gold standard in 1968. The global economy would be much smaller today than it is, but we wouldn’t now be in this position where we have to rely on money creation on a trillion-dollar scale to keep our global economy from collapsing. But now that we are here, I’m not sure that there are other alternatives other than 1) keeping the thing inflated or 2) allowing a new Great Depression to wipe away globalization. And not just the savings of the American public, but a huge part of the global economy altogether.

This is not going to be a 1921-style two-year recession that we bounce back from after a little bit of pain and unpleasantness. After a 50-year global economic boon involving what is now a $59 trillion expansion of credit in 50 years, this isn’t going to be a one or two-year hard recession. This is going to be a multi-decade global depression and I’m not sure that anyone alive today would live long enough to see the recovery. I mean, it’s like Rome: when Rome fell, there was a recovery, but it was 1,000 years later. This is the kind of depression we're looking at if we allow this $59 trillion credit bubble of ours to implode.

It's hard for Duncan not to see this great economic unwinding as inevitable, but he does hold out some hope that if central banks are going to continue to print (as they very likely will), funneling that new capital into investment in new technologies and infrastructure is our best hope of potentially creating solutions that may enable us to extricate us from this mess. An exposition on this thinking can be read here.

Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with Richard Duncan (58m:17s)

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