Politicians aren’t doing what needs to be done to get their economies on track

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  • World governments: aren't doing what it takes to get their economies back on track, says Clem.

    World governments: aren't doing what it takes to get their economies back on track, says Clem.

The markets are on hiatus waiting for the moment when the US debt ceiling is sorted out, then they might wait again for the “fiscal cliff” issue to be resolved.

However it is clear US politicians don’t have the guts to take the medicine they need to get their economy back on a sustainable path which will mean long-term stability.

Instead they will continue with their out of control spending.

Out of control spending is not just a US problem but a first world problem in general. Developed world governments are spending all available surplus resources and going into debt spending tomorrow’s income.

The politicians won’t stop the process. Big government has become ungovernable. The bubble is government spending and it can’t be deflated because it is such a huge part of GDP no one dare drag it down.

In fact is, the majority of people don’t want it dragged down. Only that minority of people who actually pay for the expenditure want it reigned in. They are the private sector tax payers, a dwindling number of people. The majority who receive this harvest want it to go on. Who can blame them?

The question is of sustainability.

Nothing that grows in a bounded arena can grow forever: not even algae. At some point the bounds of the space a thing grows in chokes off further growth.

It’s called “the logistic curve.” Think of it as the law of rabbits in Australia. Even an untrammelled pest cannot enjoy population growth forever, as some will be left starving after ever blade of grass is consumed.

All things being equal there is a maximum number that things can grow, too, and if that is exceeded a collapse follows. At best they will be unable to grow further.

It’s a depressing model and the governments of the west are literally hitting the ceiling of the logistic curve.

The risk is they don’t stop there.

In “Around the World in 80 Days” by Jules Verne, Phineas Fogg wins his bet by chopping up the ship he is sailing on for fuel for its furnaces. By doing this it allows the ship to go faster than the standard ratio of fuel carrying, to speed, to distance allowed for in normal circumstance.

Let’s call chopping up the ship an unorthodox measure. Phineas Fogg, “quantitively eased” the ship. It worked.

The thing reality was though that he would end up paying a significant bill for the privilege!

The risk is for the developed worlds’ economies is that the price for QE will have to be paid, if and when the great recession ends with a whimper not a bang.

As there has yet been much in the way of the main players showing real restraint or display a taste for unpleasant realities this suggests that stability is not a state of affairs we can expect for many, many years to come.

Perhaps that’s not a bad thing.

The Chinese say their character for chaos also means opportunity, and they should know.

Certainly continued chaos in the developed world will be a huge opportunity for the developing world. While the west continues to spend without constraint the developed worlds’ own logistic curve has plenty of upside.

Clem Chambers is CEO of leaving private investors website ADVFN.com and regular contributor to The Royal Gazette. This week's article is an extract from his latest financial book The Death of Wealth, out now on eBook. Follow Clem on Twitter: @ClemChambers

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Published Feb 16, 2013 at 7:58 am (Updated Feb 16, 2013 at 7:58 am)

Politicians aren’t doing what needs to be done to get their economies on track

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