I tried to think of a post where I would bring out the best of 2011 economically, but the best I could some up with was, “It could have been worse.” That doesn’t convey much fondness.
2011 was characterized by using debt to “solve” debt problems. Avoid default, extend the loan. Or, let a public entity refinance the loan.
2011 was a year of rebellion — more pointedly in the Arab world, late to Russia and China, and lazy in the US. Lefter then most leftists, like Marx, they assume that a wimpy “protest” will produce change. Sorry, you have to organize, produce leaders, and either influence existing parties or create a new one, or, fight (of which I am not in favor). If “Occupy” can’t do that, it ain’t worth a warm bucket of spit.
And personally, I am disappointed in those that have come out in favor of Occupy, not because their many contradictory causes don’t have merit, but because Occupy is so singularly ineffectual. “You say you want a revolution, weelll you know, we all would like to change the world.” Talk is cheap. Disorganized talk and effort is pollution, not cheap; we would pay to have it eliminated. Either organize, or be gone.
As far as the stock market went, it was volatile, but went nowhere. As for me, I had my worst relative performance calendar year in 12+ years being down 1% while the S&P 500 was up 2%, with dividends.
The US politics of 2011 was nothing abnormal — we have had other periods of delay and intransigence, but few where we ran such huge deficits, and for so little good. (Congress has not declared war, after all.) Personally, I am for Ron Paul, not because I like everything that he stands for, but because his delegates have the best odd of deadlocking the Republican Convention, and leading to the selection of another candidate far better than the midgets currently out there. Personally, I think primaries are overrated, and think we might be better off with conventions where parties analyze/fight over who would be the best candidate.
Never have we had a world so indebted, where there are so many fixed claims asking to be paid out at par. The future has ugly surprises awaiting creditors — you won’t get repaid in full, whether by inflation or compromise. Overages of debt clamor to become equity, and only such a change will heal the global economy.
If you are a lender, analyze your portfolio and adjust it where you can to the strongest borrowers.
But goodybye 2011, it was not a good year for me, and for many. May 2012 be far better, and may we see orthodox policies triumph, even if prosperity lags.
PS — and eliminate or curb the Fed, please. If there is dirty work to be done, let Congress do it so we can vote them out. Would that Ron Paul is our next President with a a compliant Congress that will rip out and eliminate our third failed central bank. We would have some hard times for a number of years, but once they end, the growth would be strong.