The average person in the U.S. lives better than kings did in the 50s...and maybe even all the way up to the 80s.
Don't think so? Ask yourself this then: What king in those days had instant communications (à la the Internet, email and texting)? What king could order, say, truffles from Northern Italy at 3:30 in the morning? What king would even know where to look for something like truffles at 3:30 in the morning?
What king ever had high def TV? Or, better yet, 3D high def TV?
Or cell phones the size of business cards?
How about airbags? Segways? GPS technology?
Today we have laptops for under $1,000 that can run circles around the Cray (the big boy computer back in the late 80s) that would have cost you over $20 million (if you could have gotten your hands on one).
There are lightweight reading devices today that can easily hold over 3,000 books (you couldn't carry that many books in a wheelbarrow)...and we could just go on and on about breakthroughs in health, surgery, genetics and virtually everything in our everyday lives.
Yes, we probably do live much better lives than the kings did back then. But don't count on it lasting forever.
Why? Simple. We're starting to feel entitled to living like this.
It's a generational thing. Our kids have grown up this way. They're used to living like kings — but they don't really know it yet or know any other way. The older among us have also adapted to this elevated lifestyle. The scary thing is, young or old, we're all starting to feel a bit too entitled.
The danger here is that entitled people often begin to ignore (and arrogantly so) the basics. The word, complacent, comes to mind. Take economics, for example. It no longer bothers us when the government measures our debt in terms of trillions — although a trillion is an extremely tough number to imagine. Picture the generous population of California, from San Francisco to L.A. to San Diego (about 34 million)...now picture 29,500 Californias. That's a trillion people.
Next picture Texas. Big state, right? Texans brag about it all the time. It's a whopping 270,000 square miles. But you'd have to multiply Texas 3.7 million times to equal a trillion square miles.
Anyway, we're currently in debt over 13 trillion dollars. And it changes by the minute (for the worse). Watch the www.usdebtclock.org for the latest hair-raising number.
But does this kind of mega-debt rattle us? Naw, we still believe in spend, spend, spend.
The average person in the United States doesn't much believe in the virtue of productive work, or saving. Instead, they believe they have a natural right to spend and consume with virtually no limit. observed economic analyst Doug Casey.
Casey went on to note how Ben Bernanke called quantitative easing ‘printing money' in his previous 60 Minutes interview.
What's the problem with that? The obvious trouble with printing dollars out of thin air is that it cheapens the greenback. Other countries — the countries that used to buy our Treasuries — lose confidence in our economy. So what do we do? We resort to buying our own. Yikes! If the Fed is buying our own Treasuries and printing trillions of dollars, as Bernanke admitted on 60 Minutes, to bail us out of debt, we're certainly facing some serious inflationary trouble. Remember how big a number a trillion is...and we're talking $13 trillion here.
Where am I going with this talk about monstrous debt and us living better than kings?
Just this: We might want to get over ourselves long enough to see exactly what kind of predicament we're in. To say the least, it's a serious situation. And time is beginning to be an issue. To live better than kings tomorrow we'll want to take certain precautions today. Precautions...like not trusting the fate of our paper money, and the resolution of that $13 trillion debt, solely to the folks at the Fed.
It also means taking the personal precaution of actually hedging our dollars...and knowing that gold coins have historically served that kind of purpose extremely well.
Otherwise we may be in the unfortunate position of finding out exactly what it means to live like peasants.