Small silhouette of Doug Wolkon WELCOME TO PLURANOMICS, THE ECONOMICS OF MANY.

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Open for Localism

Why is our ability to economically coexist together so dam complicated? If we are so smart, why is our economy so stupid? Future contracts, derivatives, insurance. Did we build this global economy house of cards, or did we inherit it? Either way, can we please take it down before it crumbles?

With China raising interest rates twice in the past month; and oil, electricity and gold perpetually rising in US Dollar terms, the purchasing power of the US Dollar is nearing panic mode. A frenzy-like rise, if you will. Gold is trending like it may even be the next Google, or will it be oil? The continued rise in oil specifically, will have dramatic effects across the U.S. and Europe’s economy that will be felt for years to come. It is no help that our seemingly long time best bud, China, is now in control of world interest rate levels, and on their way to world economic dominance. In my opinion, such a rising interest rate environment will instantaneously crater what’s left of the fragile US housing market, bankrupt Wall Street (again), and take down our interest-tied, debt-ridden municipalities with it.

Personally, I find myself at odds with the whole thing. Please let me explain. I saw and bought Gold at $400 per ounce in 2004 and hung tight with it as it tripled in price, right up until this moment. And in my opinion, as the U.S. and Europe are forced to borrow more and more to pay for increased borrowing costs (higher interest rates), and caught in a perpetual cycle; Gold is ripe to double or triple in price again from this point forward. However, I am at the point where I am fearful to root for Gold’s rise any longer. You see, I am betting my personal investment savings on Gold, and as Gold rises in price, the dollar is plummeting in relative terms; and although it seems like I am “winning” the financial poker game, I view myself truthfully shortsighted in my financial glory. I am very concerned that if Gold continues to rise further and further, the economic riches that find their way into the American economy will be gone for a long, long time; and potentially chaos may even pursue.

I am fearful of such an outcome; the unknown of it all. But inside, I hope things will turn out different. I hope we won’t depend on bailout funds this time around, because the tens of trillions of dollars required won’t be there. I hope we consciously shift our intentions now, so there will be a new outcome, while the U.S. Dollar’s purchasing power is still trusted. I hope we become  aware of our economic reality, embrace a different financial strategy, and start saving some usable acorns like renewable energy just in case its a long, long winter.

In my opinion, we have two choices: 1.) we can freeze-up and hoard our tremendous personal and institutional savings, which will only create more panic, more empty houses, more unused cars and higher unemployment, or  2.) we can invest it calmly and intelligently to our own benefit. You see, our weakness is also our strength. As I described above, the economic system is currently very weak, so a strategic attack or aggressive investment now would be both economically and financially advantageous. Makes sense, right?

Attached is an outline of such a strategic attack called a Local Investment Fund, with a focus on renewable energy and real estate. As investors, our timing to acquire local assets at rock bottom prices, as well as create energy competition in the local markets, is impeccable. Remember, only a 5-10% allocation of our savings towards such a fund would dramatically shift the economic energy to the local economy. The local economy will soon prove to be the best place to protect our savings while improving our lifestyle and happiness. The Local Investment Fund will be invested locally, in front of our own eyes. Such a local investment strategy allows us to physically touch and feel the assets that comprise our savings, actually explain how our financial return is generated, and personally meet the team that is responsible to protect and grow our savings; all the while igniting local job growth and lowering cost of living.

Happy New Year!

Local Funds Coming Soon!

It sure feels like its high time to mix things up. Federal, State and Municipal governments are failing. Investment Ponzi Schemes are becoming more popular in the digital investment world. And our own Federal Government is using one credit card to pay off another. Isn’t it time we made things a bit simpler, less stressful, more playful, and have work available for all that want it?

What if, we the people, tried something new, brand new. An original plan that not only invested to secure our savings, but also made investments to positively impact the quality of our own lives. What I am suggesting is we organize our investment savings differently.

Please consider the possibilities of an all new Local Investment Fund. A Local Investment Fund will create investment return by acquiring local real estate, as well as building and generating wind and solar energy. The Local Fund would even lend money to a few local businesses that had staying and/or growing power. The Fund would be a community-minded landlord, utility, and bank, all-in-one; formed by local residents to invest in their own Counties and communities. The investments would help stabilize living costs, as well as grow the local economy and generate a strong dividend yield to its local investors.

A Local Investment Fund will be the first of its kind to provide both an offensive and a defensive engine to the local economy. For example, if the local savings and investment community owned the real estate leased by the local coffee shop or brew pub, wouldn’t it think twice about raising their rents? Or said differently, wouldn’t such a rent rise just equate to a more expensive cup of coffee or draft beer for that local resident investor? Wouldn’t the investor be in effect, raising the rent on itself? The same balanced investment characteristics are true for local renewable energy investments as well.

The new strategy would make investments in our lifestyles, in the here and now, contrary to some unknown place and time like in “retirement”. I personally, don’t want to think about the future anymore. I want to invest in the now. To invest to organize our economies with minimal commutes, and educate our communities through the act of sustainability. To invest until we discover a way to lower our energy costs while minimizing our impact on the land that feeds us every day.

Could you imagine the implications of this new way of organizing our economy? Entire Counties would go completely off-the-grid. Local jobs would be humming with billions of dollars being directly pumped into the local markets, businesses and economies. Local innovation would sky-rocket as new ideas would flood the streets. Local tax revenues would also rise, bolstering the desperate city coffers.

Local Funds are the true contrarian play in today’s most finicky global economy. The people of each community have to be the ones to change the direction of their economy by investing in their own land, in their own energy, and in their own people; with their own savings.

In a land called…

In a land called Nacirema, things are a bit backward from what you might expect.

Imagine walking down the street mid-day in Nacirema and a complete stranger stops and asks you to give him your hard-earned money. Not just all the money in your pocket, but all your life’s savings. He introduces himself as the “money-keeper” of the Nacirema tribe and promises you that he’ll watch over your money. He cannot tell you exactly where that is for security purposes and although you can’t see or touch the money once you give it to him, you are assured it will be safe. Since you’ve never met this person before in your life, he pulls out a small piece of paper and writes down three little letters “I.O.U.” to ensure you that he is good for it, and then asks you to sign it. He says you can present this piece of paper to him every time you want some of the money back or to give him more of your savings in the future.  He further reassures you that he has possession of many, many Naricema people’s hard-earned money and again promises that your money is safe in his hands.

“This is crazy” would be an honest first reaction. How could anyone in their right mind give their life savings to a complete stranger? But as mentioned, everything is backwards in Nacirema, and if you flip the letters around you’ll learn that Nacirema backwards spells American. In America this complete stranger is better known as a “bank”. But unlike in Nacirema, we do not even get the privelege to meet this stranger on the street. However, we somehow accept this mysterious “bank” entity as being safe and secure, just because…

Perhaps it is time we reconsider this false notion by trusting and investing our money in ourselves and our communities so as to protect the very livelihood we’ve worked so hard to attain. Or would that be considered “crazy”?

Economic Detox

So what is an Economic Detox? Raw green vegetables consumed through a straw is the food equivalent. Think diarrhea. I know what you are thinking, “yuk”. But as Wall Street has learned the hard way, we have no choice in the matter. Our economy is detoxing whether we like it or not; dropping our excess weight in order to regain our balance; flushing our obese corporate and government costs down the toilet in support of the long-term prosperity of the quicker, lighter, faster and more profitable Mom and Pop entrepreneurs. Continued »