On my annual pilgrimage south I ended up on an ocean beach called just that.
Palms, luxury villas and kite surfers all around me.
The resort in the bay is run by a crazy Austrian, who doesn’t move anywhere without bodyguards. Whatever the reasons, the man thinks he needs more than one.
The singer Falco from Vienna (of the “Rock me Amadeus” fame) used to stay here. He died here too, in a traffic accident.
Things get out of control easily in the south if you’re not careful; in his case he met his Maker courtesy of speeding bus on a bad night.
Here we are at the end of the second decade of this century, and I am typing this essay waiting patiently for the New Year’s party to start.
In the last twenty years we have seen the collapse of a tech bubble and the implosion of fake debt, aka the sub prime. Central banks have skillfully navigated between Scylla and Charybdis and managed to avoid the implosion of the system.
The world today seems to be convinced that with MMT, or Modern Money Theory (Trickery) we can replace work with money printing. This, combined with AI (artificial intelligence) might be the ultimate nirvana if it wasn’t for years of decadence and false economic theories.
As societies start to fragment, as we are seeing globally, the interconnectivity declines. Commerce returns to local, hoarding of money increases and it’s velocity drops. I don’t see much wrong with going local.
I am also convinced that the country to watch next year is China, as it is entering a traumatic squeeze with the end of its thirty-year growth spurt. When the going gets tough there, the government cracks down. And when that doesn’t work, China historically sinks into some kind of civil war. The action in Hong Kong this past year may be a preview of coming attractions for Beijing and Shanghai.
Beijing is also stepping up the battle to stop money flowing out of China - cash has been leaving the country at a record clip - total net capital outflows occurred for the sixth straight quarter and reached a new record of $221bn. The decline in official reserves was also a record at $161bn.
On average, the amount of money leaving China in the last few years is an equivalent to 6% of the country's GDP according to an estimate by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, even though anyone with an ounce of common sense knows that China's GDP is grossly overstated.
In total, China lost $1.28 trillion, which shows people voting with their money on the state of Chinese economy and confidence in the government.
Understandably, this is not the type of news that can be delivered in mass media by a news anchor with a twenty-three-word vocabulary and an impulse control problem, so you can read it here.
Europe has experienced serious blowbacks from its contracting standard-of-living as expressed by the Yellow Vests in France, the Brexit humiliation and the raising of nationalist movements in many nations.
The European banks, led by the sickest of them all, Deutsche Bank, suffer from a crushing burden of non-performing loans, bad derivative obligations and zero interest rates regime, which makes the operations of banking insane.
And then there’s Greta growling, “How dare you” at the world with that spittly grimace of pubescent moral superiority.
Luckily, these incidents of public madness always burn out.
Now I see two bodyguards flanking the patio, so the Austrian is here for a drink.
I don’t need bodyguards yet, but I learned that life could turn on a dime.
Tom Kubiak is the author of The Traveler