July 2, 2018
The current state of the financial markets and the global economy depends on one single resource that nobody, even such renowned economists as Paul Krugman or Robert J. Shiller and dissenters like Max Keiser and Jim Rickards, dares to talk about. In private discussions central bank managers told us that they were aware that none of the existing economic theories and models fit this new situation.
Yet, they do not broach it in their public speeches and lectures, preferring to deal with such topics as balance sheets and business cycles. All of which reminds one of a family visiting a terminally sick relative: everybody knows that he will never recover, and nobody whispers as much as a word about it.
All productive nations whether in East Asia or the West, have reached the peak of their 250-year-long development. Even the most devastating wars could not prevent their populations from growing in the long run. It is only now, during the many decades of peace and affluence, that the numbers of the inhabitants of the developed countries have been decreasing and the trend continues. The phenomenon has not been brought about by any famine or natural disaster but by the sheer fact that people do not want to have children.
Japan is an economic bellwether. The country refrained from mass migration and during the 2006-2016 period its population shrank by 0.5%, oil consumption dropped by 22%, car sales by 7% and GDP by 4%.
Japan is the first country to cope with the new reality and investors need to change their mindset to understand what this new reality stands for. In the past, every business cycle, recession or recovery, ended with a higher GDP and larger economy than before. In the future we will see the opposite: every business cycle will conclude with a lower GDP and a smaller economy than the previous one.
A shrinking population entails economic consequences. Oil…