inflation, debt, and general madness

Tokyo, 2010.06.26

This morning during a conversation with my mother I explained my upcoming quest for investors in our business. It led to some surprises.

I happened to mention our projected "average purchase" for our first year: some ¥170,000. That comes out to about $CA2,000. She remarked that the wedding rings she bought in 1970 cost $15 each.

$30 for two solid gold wedding bands. Knowing what a gold band costs today, I can assure you that gold has appreciated in a value. Just a bit, mind. To the tune of about 60x. Which means that compared to gold, today's money is worth about 1/60th of what it was forty years ago.

Which is damn depressing. But for kicks I started looking into the health of the global economy and since of course all roads lead to Rome that meant the US economy. I eventually learned that the clear facts are all to be had at US Debt Clock. The figures are staggering. Here are some samples: Personal debt per citizen: $53,326 Average savings per citizen: $1,104

I can't think of any commentary that wouldn't leap to mind of anyone who can read. But here are two more fascinating numbers.

Total US assets per citizen: $236,200 Total US debt per citizen: $353,000

It would seem that there's $1.50 in debt for every $1 of assets in the US. Rather breathtaking. Paralyzing, also.

The site rounds out its US-centric figures with some wonderful news from the rest of the world. The UK's external debt is well above 400% of GDP, for instance. And Japan's public debt has climbed above 200% of GDP.

Is it time to move to the developing world?

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rand()m quote

(In which I leave the final word to someone else.)

Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.

-Abraham Lincoln