Monday, February 20, 2012


If you haven't watched the previous embedded video called "Century of Self" you are missing out! On this non-trading President's Day I suggest that you take an hour or two or four and watch the four part series I've put into one video.  It is really good and really scary.  I have taken a ton of handwritten notes over the course of watching the first 3 hours and I will summarize them soon.

I keep speaking to people that have no sense of what is going on in the world.  I had a conversation the other day with a health insurance client that was talking about buying a $85,000 sports car.  Yes, he is wealthy, but not THAT wealthy.  I finished the conversation with the notion that this gentleman has learned nothing from the financial crisis and he'll be the first one to cry about any catastrophic event that happens in his life.  He is clearly enamored with his wants more than his needs.  In fact, he is the perfect living example of what the Bernays wanted to create in America as highlighted in the video.

What is life like in Greece?  We hear words like austerity and see the riots, but what is the business of daily life like?  I've presented 3 stories below.  The NY Times piece is pretty good and optimistic while the other pieces....not so much.  Enjoy


The Way Greeks Live Now
I found an interesting article in the NY Times the other day about life in Greece and how the financial crisis has changed people's lives.  Some of the information presented in the story seemed to conform to my understanding of Greek life in that there were several brief interviews with families that had lost jobs and were changing their life-styles to cope.  While this information was in line with my way of thinking, the author, Russell Shorto, seems to spend most of his time highlighting successes in the midst of the Greek tragedy.  Several of the article's subjects are doing extremely well and actually increasing business.  Even as he covers the sad stories of families he suggests that since most have family homes in the country, there is still a way out for many that face hard times.

While I am an optimist, I don't buy all of the good feelings that Mr. Shorto describes as being the normal outcome in what I would describe as a worsening environment.  Since this was one perspective, I wanted to present some other ideas.

The 3 minute piece from gives us more details about the austerity measures and how they are changing daily life.  Medical services are becoming more limited and citizens are turning to help organizations to meet their needs.  RT clearly has an agenda and a bias, and so it is important to highlight that as well.  They are trying to show that the military has not endured many consequences resulting from economic cuts and the people have endured full force of the results.  There are political realities and deals being made in the process and it isn't surprising to note that Germany and France are tying aid to Greece with back room deals that demand that military purchases be made with proceeds of each life saving infusion of funding.

The New Poor
Unlike the first written piece from the NY Times, this article from Der Spiegel gives us insight into the trends Greeks are seeing that are not improving.  The article highlights how many singles have lost their jobs and then quickly lost everything else.  The homeless shelters and soup lines are seeing waves of "new" seekers looking for their services.

As we begin to hear more and more about a coming Greek default, these stories will get worse.  Upon default the human toll will be more worse as the cost of everything imported will become amazingly expensive.  Imported fuel, food, and everything else will be too costly to many.  Greece will become in time a very affordable vacation destination for richer Northern European countries as Mexico had been cheap for Americans for years.  While this will be painful, it is better to do this now and retain some national assets before selling them off and then defaulting after all the assets have been striped away and lost to global creditors.  Like everything in life, it is better to own up to responsibility and face consequences for actions early as a delay magnifies the damage and only serves to make the outcome more painful.


Goatmug is an investor that cares about you and your family. Goatmug's Blog - Financial Perspectives From The Mountain Top is a collection of thoughts on our economy and how it impacts the lives of investors and average people. While several specific investments are named in many of his posts, these articles are simply invitations for you to do your own research and reference to these securities does not constitute financial advice. Your situation is complex and unique and you should seek professional assistance with your trading and investing. Please visit Goatmug and share your comments at