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Latest Issue

Slowing but Not Stopping (Yet)

November 8, 2019

If you are a computer (other than the newest experimental quantum ones), your world is entirely binary. Everything is some combination of zeroes and ones. The machines can do marvelous things with those two digits but they have limits.

We humans don’t have to think in either/or terms, yet we often do. I see it in the economic outlooks that cross my screen. Some forecast imminent doom, others endless boom. But in reality, there is lots of room between the extremes.

I’m known as the “Muddle Through” guy, which is another way of saying I think “both/and” instead of “either/or.” We can have both a successful outcome and difficulty getting there. And that’s been my economic outlook for a long time. We are entering a rough period and eventually recession will come, but it will be survivable.

The real damage will come in the “echo” recession that I think will follow. Policy changes, mostly of the political backlash type, will ensure the mid-2020s won’t be fun. Ray Dalio just wrote another piece that I will excerpt and link to below, but I was struck by how similar our worries and concerns are. We are approaching a crisis unlike anything we have ever seen, what I term The Great Reset, without any kind of realistic plan.

But that is more than a few years down the road. Today I want to focus on that “entering a rough period” part that comes first. The signs are growing clearer and the bumps bigger.

Technical Recession

For now, the global slowdown is less visible in the United...

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