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

for addressing the details of certain assumptions Mr. Duncan has in his thesis that didn't quite add up. There was no reference to actual resources (in the video that was referenced) to explain how this "free money" actually adds anything of value to the economy.
I did understand how the parlor tricks work to make it appear to be "free money", but I'm more inclined to take my daddy's simple advice, "If it sounds too good to be true it probably is."
The one example that Mr. Duncan used to prove that government could do a good job at something "the internet" is debunked here.
Apparently there were better options than our current internet that were not followed, that would have been better.

Jennifer… the bond holders, all bond holders, keep getting paid in this scenario… The idea that Duncan calls, "debt cancelation" really is just another way of saying something many of us believe anyway… i.e. that the FED's balance sheet will effectively become an everlasting roach motel for some fraction of the debt., and that it will probably grow even larger in the future when the next downturn happens.  The FED will never admit this though because it would a clear admission that the monetary system is merely a Ponzi scheme (which it is).  Their last threads of credibility lie in the idea that they could both increase interest rates and someday unwind (sell back into the market) some of the debt on their balance sheet.  
As DaveF says above… there is no free lunch… at some point;

    The dollar would likely suffer.

I found this interview extremely interesting as it provided  a view of the economic world that challenged my views and thus caused  some introspection of these views.
I have long been an opponent of genetic engineering, perhaps I am a Luddite like a previous commentor,  but  I do not see anything good coming from this branch of science. In agriculture it overlooks the adaptive nature of nature and we get weeds that are super resistant to herbicide necessitating even more use of Roundup on food crops or similarly pests that become resistant to bt. A better approach is to work with nature, allow for a not quite perfect result, and produce food or other products that are  healthy for the people and animals that eat them and the environment in which they are grown. The extra money a farmer may make becomes a short term benefit anyway as others match his production and the price drops. The consumer benefits from a cheaper product but not from eating something of dubious effect healthwise. Medical genetic engineering is also unwise in my opinion. We all have to die sometime and the ethics of disrupting nature at the level of gene manipulation are suspect. Why do we value life so highly in this regard yet treat it so cheaply with regard to making money and making war? Easy to say I know when one is personally not directly affected by some affliction.

Richard Duncan did not mention the other important things that should have been done having got into the position of having to bail out the economy/banks and that includes the reinstatement of Glass Steagall and the breaking up of the 'too big to fail banks.' Maybe if the gold standard was still in force the banks would never have grown and gained so much lobbying power that they were able to remove Glass Steagall? Would his recipe for future economic success really work for the man in the street with a political system that is a democratic charade. 

The development of better energy storage would be very positive in my view as it would enhance the desirable societal move to smaller local resilient communities.

Thanks for a very interesting discussion.


Sorry, mistakenly saved





"Got to keep the Ponzi scheme going.  17 more years, please.  (I'll be 70 then) Anything more will be a bonus."
I'm I get a vote?  ;-)

… doesn't mean you have to throw away the whole salad bar.
 I confess I'm feeling quite skeptical about some of the things he's said, and the possible long-term implications of some such policies (that others have already brought up here) are worrisome.  But at the same time, I'm not going to let the parts I disagree with make me discard or write off everything he says. 

For example I can see the merits of funneling QE money into certain areas and research projects IF THE MONEY IS GOING TO BE PRINTED ANYWAY.  Perhaps my focus would be a little different than his in some areas; I would focus much more on things that contribute to better quality of life and ways to build better efficiency into our infrastructure and systems of support, and a lot less on technologies and areas mostly geared towards maintaining growth and keeping the status quo going.  I too would much rather we not continue the QE game and mindset of never ending growth at all costs and go about things more honestly and sustainably.  But I know myself and people like me don't control monetary policy and LIKELY NEVER WILL ANYTIME SOON… the status quo is just not inclined to allow that extreme level of change, not until the system has already been seriously disrupted or outright collapsed (and by then controlling monetary policy is largely a moot point).  But the chances are more favorable if instead of trying to fight the system and stop the QE money flow, there is a focused effort in redirecting that money into more useful areas.  I personally favor the 'X-prize' model where very significant cash awards are granted to those individuals or companies large & small who achieve some predetermined stated objectives within certain fields of science, engineering, and medicine.  I know Chris proposed something similar in his last report.

That being said I don't think the odds of this happening are very high either… even less drastic changes like this are going to face some opposition from the status quo.  But IF one still is committed to trying to work and change the system by working within it (I'm past that point myself but I know many people who care that still try to work within the system), the odds of pulling this off are still far better this way than fighting the status quo head on.  Just because one tries for the little or partial victories doesn't mean one gives up on the bigger dream…

So, are you saying that the government borrowing money to drop bombs on brown people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya; to militarize every police force in the US, and to spy on Americans in every conceivable way is OK because it "preserves our most precious inheritance: liberty", while spending on R&D that could result in a better future for us and all of humanity is off limits because it counters Ayn Rand's ideology?
I believe this is the distinction between wasteful and purposeful spending is what Mr. Duncan was talking about, given that deficit spending is going to happen regardless.

Mr. Duncan is apparently of the 'they'll think of something' school of caring for the only real store of wealth, the earth.  Les Phelps helpfully linked an article on today's Daily Digest ( that is a reminder and update of The Limits to Growth, published around 1972.  Last year I was fortunate enough to attend a presentation by Dr. Dennis Meadows, one of the authors of The Limits to Growth, in which he acknowledged that what they wrote more than 40 years ago has turned out to be largely right and the projections still accurate.  Another attendee of the presentation, John Michael Greer, recently wrote:

[quote]It probably needs to be said that very few of us are in a position to go whole hog with LESS (an acronym he came up with that stands for Less Energy, Stuff, and Stimulation)-though it's also relevant that some of us, and quite possibly a great many of us, will end up doing so willy-nilly if the economic contraction at the end of the fracking bubble turns out to be as serious as some current figures suggest.  Outside of that grim possibility, "less" doesn't have to mean "none at all"-certainly not at first; for those who aren't caught in the crash, at least, there may yet be time to make a gradual transition toward a future of scarce energy and scarce resources.  Still, I'd like to suggest that any proposed response to the crisis of our time that doesn't start with LESS simply isn't serious.[/quote](bold mine)

This article may be posted on Greer's blog, but I read it in that rarest of entities, a paper publication that doesn't appear online.  The Wheel of the Year 2015, published by Four Quarter Interfaith Sanctuary.  (

My point here is that until Mr. Duncan at least attempts to understand the natural energy and resource limitations to growth, their environmental effects and incorporate them in his thinking, he will probably not find an appreciative audience here where all three E's are the basis of our deliberations.

Mr. Duncan is from the Krugman school of economics and believes in Keynesian economics.  A couple of issues with his world view. Complex system such as our global financial game are inherently unstable.  More QE will eventually tip this over the edge and then when a lost of faith in all currencies happens there is the need to carry one's savings into the post $IMF system.  Gold is the only medium that will serve this  role.
The future is clearly broken into 3 periods.

1.) Current one (Time to prepare)

2.) Hyperinflation.  Deflation is impossible in a world of printing presses. When push comes to shove all liabilities can be preserved in nominal terms just not in real terms, Very simple concept.  Gold will not be valuable. Shelter, food, water and energy.  Individuals whom have capabilities in theses areas will be fine because of their ability to barter.  I have the ability to purify almost any water source in large quantities no matter it;s quality.  I will also be constructing a wood gasifier to produce a gas to run my generator.

3.) New world.  Gold will be become separate from currencies as a way to store ones excess production in this new monetary world.


That is how I see it.



That's it. All too hard. I'm away with the fairies.
What if we just have the whole story wrong? 

Reality ends here. Please mind the gap. 
Imagine this. All the wealth of the planet is being siphoned off according to plan. Someone else's plan. These wars, alarms and excursions are all a charade to distract us from the main show.

But what is the main show? Let us amuse ourselves with the thought that someone actually understands gravity. And the Main Show is not even on this planet. And that is where all your money is going.

My understanding is that is what Catherine Austin Fitts argues. Maybe she just likes the attention. Or maybe it is not healthy for the inmates of death row  to dwell too long on the future.

PS. I can think of a few genetic improvements for humans.  Ovulation as an act of volition anyone?

Richard is such a breath of fresh air!  The intellectual cul de sac most market commentators have been stuck in since '08, has been frustrating and mind numbing.  Anyone with a shred of intellectual honesty, would have to admit that the economic models they've been using have NOT been useful in either understanding our economic situation, or predicting outcomes.  Yet, despite those failures, most persist. We need more people like Richard, who can think outside the box.  Although he wasn't specific, Richard hinted at revolutionary changes that might well await us in the future.  Catherine Austin-Fitts has been talking about this very thing for quite awhile. Her views on the technological advances that have been made within black budgets since WWII would be a nice adjunct to Richard's interview.  Such advancements once revealed, may solve many seemingly intractable problems, e.g., energy.  For some reason, most commentators do not want to look at the role that axis loot from WWII, money laundering and other off balance sheet shenanigans play in the larger economy.  I would like to see Peak Prosperity continue to step out of the box with regard to this issue.  An interview with Catherine Austin-Fiits would be a great start!

Mr. Duncans analysis is painfully academic.
Not only is it a fantasy but it also presumes a structurally stable economic environment that is devoid of any black swan events in an unlimited time frame.

It also presumes that trillions of dollars of printed money will lead to these remarkable scientific discoveries as if money is the only obstacle.

This is simply an academic musing.

I would never presume to speak for Mr. Duncan, but I don't think that he believes deficit spending is a good idea, but merely the best of worse alternatives. Particularly, since it appears that deficit spending is going to continue to be the course we take, what we spend money on could make some difference in terms of eventual outcomes.  I understood his deficit spending solution as a stop gap only.  That  is, spend the money on things that are actually needed, with the possibility of mitigating some of the eventual consequences of current and previous deficit spending.

The paradigm is broken, pure and simple.  What is the paradigm?  Capitalism, fractional reserve banking, and the need for constant economic growth to support it.  The paradigm was conceived and gradually implemented beginning several hundred years ago, when planetary resources were perceived as infinite.  In my view, it's brilliantly conceived, and has served us extremely well since its inception.  Unfortunately, the paradigm is intrinsically unsustainable on a finite planet, and we've reached a point where it's beginning to fail at an accelerating pace.  The party was great while it lasted, and I'm grateful to have been able to participate in what I regard as the best time ever in human history to have existed.  I consider myself eternally hopeful for the future - but, shall we say, very cautious.
I believe people like Steve Keen and Richard Duncan are well aware of this failed paradigm.  Essentially, our civilization has a tiger by the tail, and can't let go.  Letting go (of the paradigm) would cause a repeat of the financial collapse, economic depression, and ultimately, war - just like the last time around, in the 1930's and '40's.  Of course, this is unthinkable.  So, as the responsible thought leaders that they are, Steve and Richard are proposing possible solutions: Steve with his 'debt jubilee', and Richard with his advocacy of massively increased government borrowing directed toward R&D projects which might help mankind extract itself from this morass.  I believe both of them are taking their responsibilities seriously, and admire their efforts in this regard.

Personally, I have never trusted authority, even when I was benefitting from it.  And unfortunately, the powerful interests which are vested in the current paradigm continue to profit from its continued existence, so I think it's extremely unlikely that any meaningful change will be allowed.  Consequently, my faith in our global leadership to enact Steve's or Richard's proposals (or anything else significant) is minimal.

I believe we will (maybe soon) reach a point where, in order to purchase the goods or services we need, we'll be met with the question, "Whadaya got?".  At that point, what will your answer be?

We've reached a point where the powers-that-be have no alternative but to undermine the value of global currencies, and this is what's happening.  In my view, precious metals (in bullion form, not financial) will become a more and more acceptable medium of exchange in black markets which I believe will form, even in developed countries, as artificial prices which are increasingly fixed by desperate governments are ignored by the population at large.

Of course, as more and more people opt for currency in precious metal bullion (rather than paper or fiat) form, this removes value from the global economy, which will accelerate its collapse.  So the act of purchasing and holding precious metals becomes self-fulfilling.

Ultimately, on a sinking ship, the question becomes whether to man the pumps, or to get into a lifeboat.  Steve and Richard are advocating continuing to man the pumps - which is admirable.  I would expect nothing less from them.  However, I consider myself as sovereign and autonomous, not possessing the duties and responsibilities of a national or global thought leader.  Unsurprisingly, I've opted for the lifeboat.

Is this selfish of me?  Yes, most likely.  Is it a rational act of self-preservation?  Yes, most likely.

Aye, and a Mans a Man for all that, for all that.And all that.
Robert Burns. ( for Sasanacht, and other strange folk.)

A Man's A Man For A' That (Opening of Scottish Pa…:


Just think - $85 billion is say Solyndra, or Fisker/Fiskar. Mr. Duncan assumes a positive yield from government borrowing and picking winners. Go back to the beginning. Over-leveraged, over indebted investors/investments fail. The bad loans sink some banks and wipe-out equity investors. Some creditors are shifted to equity stakes in companies that are not totally w/o value. What is completely being overlooked is that the reset in asset values allows for adequate reward for the risks taken, which are lower at lower prices/values. The bubbles were overblown by the Great Satan Alan Greenspan,  So now you have a situation where asset prices are overly high due to artificially low rates… On the way up yields were increased, but now at higher asset price/value levels, there is again poor risk/reward. so cash is a viable option, even with diminishing purchasing power. 
AND I will answer Mr. Duncan's question… What comes after QE4 - why QE5 of course!  Well maybe not - at some point, something has to give and the Fed does not control the entire world and all possible black swans.  

"This time, it's different."
This pic (from my back yard, under a month ago) does a good job of summarizing where I feel we are right now.  We don't have ten or twenty years to grow our way out of this mess. Something's gonna give.


"This time, it's different."
This pic (from my back yard, under a month ago) does a good job of summarizing where I feel we are right now.  We don't have ten or twenty years to grow our way out of this mess. Something's gonna give.


Excellent points I couldn't agree more.

I share your point of view–completely!