2012: The Mayan Prediction

Alternative Thinking in Economics

I have a friend named Maya, who is very talented at advanced statistics. Over the weekend, together with some others across North America, we sat down to look over the numbers pertaining to unemployment. At least one was online via the telephone (that would be landline to you data comm and SS7 aficionados), the others communicated over the Web.

In looking at those numbers, together with correlating data, we arrived at some rough calculations that might give one pause.

It is important to mention the correlating data, as many commentators today simply ignore them. By correlating data I mean commercial real estate numbers, predicted foreclosures over the next year or so, debt generated by known leveraged buyouts, and various commercial financial vehicles (i.e., SPACs, STACs, BDCs, etc.), the recent COP report by Prof. Elizabeth Warren, the recent SIGTARP report from I.G. Neil Barofsky, growth in the national debt and deficit spending -- primarily from the two major causes (monetization of the debt and that "Forever War" spending), and shrinking tax revenues, expecially at the state level.

From our very rough calculations and data, Maya arrived at the conclusion that real unemployment at the end of 2012 would be approximately 40 to 45 percent.

Obviously, serious action is required.

In all fairness to President Obama, he entered the White House at the most terrible of times. But in all fairness to the American citizenry, he brought in a demolition crew to put the house in order.

And when constructing or remodeling a house, one always brings in a construction crew. Any other behavior is highly suspect.

There is a news show on NPR which is fond of putting forth memes or topical political thought in six words.

Gerard Celente has a great one which fits that limitation and describes the problem with America today: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, bullets, bombs and banks.

(True, I would make an exception with at least, or only three people at Harvard, Elizabeth Warren, Richard Parker and Lawrence Lessig, but many others have posed some serious problems to this country's economy and financial well-being.)

Annalee Newitz, wrote an excellent piece in the last issue of 2600, the well-known hacker's magazine. She had an excellent phrase: "hack, subvert and reconfigure.."

Ms. Newitz wasn't referring to computers, but to social and other types of systems in general.

I would suggest another six-word description of how to address this issue and bring in future revenue:

Hunting licenses to hunt congressional critters.

Now, I am not advocating violence of any sort. My suggestion would encompass the use of paintball guns and paintballs, of course.

This would be positive from many economic aspects. First, those hunting licenses would bring in much needed revenue, increased revenue streams for retail cleaners, more jobs as many congressional critters would probably hire more bodyguards, and it would be an awesome stress reducer -- thus lowering medical costs. (I can just imagine the dramatic jump in the GDP!)

The Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig, has recently reached the most logical conclusion that until we fix congress, nothing of any importance can truly be accomplished.

In other words, we are all simply spinning our wheels.

Prof. Lessig's excellent site on this matter is worth perusing.

The end result of the Rumpelstiltskin economics as practised by the banksters will most likely lead us to further catastrophes.



ok, now not that I do not think we need a real jobs program and a host of policy changes...

but James, one of the rules of EP is no economic fiction.

You cannot claim a 40-45% unemployment rate with no graphs, calculations and statistics.

That's 3 times what U6 is currently so posting up some serious doomsday type of predictions with no data....


True, but I had an ulterior motive

You are absolutely correct, Robert, but it would have taken oh so loooong to write a post with all those calcs, but the principal reason was to make a point and direct readers to Lessig's post on fixing congress.

When I have a great, great deal of time in the future I will attempt to list all the numbers.

But then again, I did mention that they were rough calculations and a prediction, which hopefully will never see the light of day!

And that's a pretty neat Mayan calendar, you must admit?


Seriously, I can find 101 sites with economic fiction on them. That's the point of EP, if you're going to make such an outrageous claim and frankly 45% U6 in less than 2 years is...there would have to be an economic or some sort of disaster to have that......you need to back it up.

That's the entire problem! Way too much economic fiction and the point of EP is to get people to learn about econ, start working with economic data, understanding it, understanding theories the causes, effects as well as throw around a whole lot of outrage and much of that outrage is over...

economic fiction. Seriously, we post things that are not true and what is the difference between us and Glenn Beck?

Okey, dokey

And your buddy, Yves Smith is certainly one of them!

But, if you wish to remove this post go ahead.

From time to time, the way you conveniently contradict yourself leads me to believe you suffer from Asbergers (also, a complete lack of even the most unsophisticated sense of humor is a strong indicator in that direction).

But, if you wish to drive everyone away from your site save for those N.A.M. and US Chamber of Commerce trolls, that's your choice.

Alternative thinkers

Stuff you won't read in WSJ or even Ivy League and definitely not University of Chicago:

Samuel Bowles- incredible work on inequality.

Bill Mitchell and L. Randall Wray - development of the Modern Monetary Theory and Full Employment.

Obviously, there are many others but this a good start.

RebelCapitalist.com - Financial Information for the Rest of Us.

The fundamental problem is political.

I have been saying this for some time, so I certainly don't disagree with Lessig. However, the "solution" to fix Congress is overly simplistic, IMO. It just doesn't seem pragmatic to me that this can or will happen quickly enough to reverse our present predicament. And I am a firm believer that if you assert that Obama and his team are smart (and very many do), then you must conclude that they understand this very well and have no other option than to continue to sell their ability to "control" the situation.

I am not invested in any kind of financial markets, yet I have followed Celente on and off for over a year now. I find his observations and projections to ring "true" to my "gut instincts". Moreover, I'm not sure anyone today can do more that take a broad assessment of trends and conditions to corroborate what "seems right" in their own experience. Official government statistics and the "message" they send seems so manipulated to me that they are not to be considered reliable, or truthful, in any way, shape or form. For instance Charles Biderman's Trim Tabs has been following real unemployment by tracking on Federal and State collections of income tax withholdings. Using this method, Biderman has concluded that unemployment is much higher than the "official" numbers of the BLS. Likewise, John Williams has backed out various changes to reporting methods and definitions enacted over time, so that current levels of various government reported indices can be compared to historical levels on a fair and equivalent basis.

In short James, and I am speaking for myself here, I have little argument with the projections of your friend Maya. We are, IMO, early in a very serious deflationary cycle. There is an enormous amount of deleveraging that must take place globally, no less in the USA. No amount of QE by the FED nor guarantees by the US Treasury and FDIC can avoid this inevitability. Ultimately, the bond vigilantes will create the balance.

In the meantime, it remains to be seen how much honesty is left in DC, and how much gullibility remains in the population at large. I have been firmly in the skeptical camp about our future for quite some time now. Many would refer to me as a "doomer", if they could converse with me at length. But the truth is that I am acutely pessimistic about the future of the US because, as I see it, the credibility of the US government, and it's agencies, have been seriously corrupted by the revelation of past lies and distortions. I really have to wonder if we will ever get to the point where we, as a country, can reach a consensus opinion of the "facts".

Thank you, commongood

While I'm saying OK to Robert should he wish to remove this post, I stand behind what my bud Maya said, as one of her volunteer duties is to forecast the year-ahead prediction for the state's total food banks.

Unerringly, she has been spot on over the previous seven years.

But, Robert prefers the fiction of the recent Yves Smith interview at her site with Risk Analytics, which while accurate in certain places, moreso acts to obfuscate the abject crimes and absolute corruption taking place.

The suits all like to stick together, whether their wearing women's apparel or Armani.

I do not appreciate that comment, fix or unpublish this post

I'm sorry, no you cannot just claim economic Armageddon without some serious statistics and reasons for such a projection. This site is not for fictional econ.

Why is that? Because that's a huge problem, fictional economics, from Academia to pundits and more importantly...

this site has one thing, it's credibility. The reason we have so many readers is because every writer makes a point to cite their sources, graphs their stats and argue their points in sound economic theory.

You are HURTING THIS SITE'S CREDIBILITY writing up some "end of the world" Mayan calender crap with zero facts!

What would happen if I let anyone just write up any sort of fiction with them proclaiming the end of the world with no real data, no factors, no elements?

You cannot say hey, my bud here thinks we'll have economic Armageddon at the end of the Mayan calender.

That is 100% conspiracy theory thinking!

Well, one thing for certain is this site would fail. We have plenty of facts, data, theory, statistics which show the U.S. is structurally in terrible trouble, the middle class is being wiped out and the financial sector is not only running their global gambling casino, they are bringing down the real economy right along with their short term and bad bets.

There are plenty of other places to write doomsday "predictions" with no facts cited. EP ain't it.

Now your other posts are loaded with citations and well documented, but if this was a first post, you can bet it would be deleted. As it is, I am cringing when I see the title and implications.

I have no idea what you are talking about with Yves Smith either.

At this point though, either FIX THIS POST with some facts on why you believe 2012 is Economic Armageddon and state clearly this is your opinion or unpublish it.

and no "my bud Maya" which I will assume is a reference to Mayan is CT, which is a site bannable offense. No CT period. (CT = conspiracy theory). You will see similar rules at places like Dailykos, open left and so forth almost for the same reasons and yes believing 9/11 didn't happen or the U.S. imploded the buildings themselves is CT.

All of your other posts again are fine, well cited, facts there, everything is backed up, insightful but this one...

ok, maybe I"ll getting a little intense

I really have issue with economic fiction and spin and that's because I must swim through miles of it from Academia to lobbyists to get to the objective details per issue...

but that said, I still want you to tighten up this post with some verified facts. It really is important to our readers to make sure we can back up with statistics pretty much everything we talk/write about.

In agreement, also

Also, I agree. Politics is what they use to screw us all economically, and to ignore that is to profess neverending ignorance.

Fiction or non-fiction

James may be slightly closer to fiction today, but he certainly is painting the USA picture of future years if we the American citizens do not take back control of our congress.
The ivy league education system in this county also needs a
reality cleansing. Although the problems we face are festering accumulations of poor policy's done with good intentions. We cannot blame anyone, but ourselves for the dire circumstances. If you want facts to support James W. assertions then read the Standard & Poor's 500 report based on 2008 data titled S & P 500: 2008 Global Sales. It shows the declining tax revenues our government is taking in from USA corporations.
Our corporations now pay more overseas taxes to foreign nations than to the USA! What do you think the data will show for 2009?

I stand corrected on the Mayan end of the world!

My apologies to James for the New York Times is now referencing the Mayan calender and the year 2012 to be the end of the world.

When the Mayans envisioned the world coming to an end in 2012 — at least in the Hollywood telling — they didn’t count junk bonds among the perils that would lead to worldwide disaster.

Maybe they should have, because 2012 also is the beginning of a three-year period in which more than $700 billion in risky, high-yield corporate debt begins to come due, an extraordinary surge that some analysts fear could overload the debt markets.


"Meaning" of the Mayan "Prediction"

Several months ago I heard a Ph.D. in astronomy from JPL who is the world's top tracker of near-earth asteroids (sorry I can't remember his name right now), respond in a public lecture to a question about the Mayan "end of the world" calendar with the statement that the Mayan calendar is cyclical, like a year is cyclical; a year has 365 days, then it starts over. He said 2012 was just a starting-over point, and seemed disgusted anyone would take this seriously. I realize this has not a damn thing to do with economics, but there have been so many references in this thread that I thought maybe it's not entirely off-topic. (But if you want to take it down, I would understand).

Ray Joiner

2012...A Joke?

LOL! Witty article about your statistically-inclined friend, Maya. However, there is nothing funny about the statistics on December 21, 2012. Actually, it should be of serious concern to all of us humans. The actual significance behind the 2012 Calendar could be ominous. I recommend you do some serious online research or get yourself some reading material on the Mayans and their prophecies. Doomsday 2012 is much more than just a Hollywood story or the butt of end-time jokes. If you devote some study into this bizarre 2012 date, you'll find the science behind the 2012 phenomenon. In actuality, there is a profusion of “coincidences” that come to pass in 2012. There is the sudden conclusion of both the Mayan AND Aztec mesoamerican calendars, a rare galactic arrangement and various other astonishing astronomical events happening in the year 2012. Look into it and think for yourself rather than ridicule or even fear this approaching date.

2012 debunked

NASA. It would really help if one bothered to understand the science and archeology actual findings.

Ok! We seem to be getting visits from the conspiracy theory crowd.

From now on these CT comments will be deleted.

While we're a Populist layman's economics blog, we just don't have enough tin foil for your hats here!