What Would You Do?

November 19, 2003


What would you do if you woke up one morning, fired up your browser, and were faced with the strange creature above staring back at you? No matter what you did, you couldn’t get out to the internet. This cheerfully sinister little space bug man was blocking your path.

This is what happened to me on Monday, and it was a terrible surprise. I thought I’d been hacked, and this little man hardly looked cute to me after trying again and again to get through him. In truth, this was some kind of a new security feature by my ISP here in Taiwan. I don’t know if you’ve ever been locked out of the internet, but it is a terrible experience.

I was so happy to be back online that I thought I’d finally put up a new entry on the new blog. Life has been busy lately for both me and my partner Rich Lancaster. We run the site together from opposite sides of the planet – Rich in Seattle and me in Hsinchu, Taiwan. We meet out here in cyberspace. This was my week to put up the links on the homepage, but I was locked out, so I couldn’t. My apologies!!

I’ve been in Taiwan for about 3 months now, and it is interesting since I don’t speak Chinese. But it is not really necessary to function, since Taiwan is part of Western Civilization, and Western Civilization is basically ‘plug and play.’ I’m basically a functional illiterate here, but you don’t have to be able to read in the plug and play world. All the elements of western society are here: Roads, cars, busses, modern department stores and grocery stores.


I have been thinking about the signatures of Western Civilization – what are some of the defining characteristics? Feel free to add your comments below on what you think. To me, it has to do with roads and the internal combustion engine, allowing for the expansion outward. Western Civilization is characterized by sprawl, even in a country as tiny as Taiwan. One thing is certain, though. Western Civilization is huge. It encompasses the planet.

And you know what they say, ‘The bigger they come, the harder they fall.’

Being so close to China, I hear a lot more news. The problem for Taiwanese manufacturers is the same as for American or European ones. China is simply flat out the cheapest place to make anything, so all production is moving there. I didn’t know how much until I moved here, but Taiwan makes a lot of computer equipment. They are number one in market share for 14 computer products, including:

Notebook PCs, LCD Monitors CD-R Drives, CD-RW Drives, the disks themselves, DVD Drives, PC Cameras, Ethernet Cards, Ports, Hubs, ADSL Modems, Wireless LAN devices, Analog Modems, IC Foundry, Mask ROM and IC Packaging

Amazing for a tiny country of only 22 million. But alas, all of this production will be moving to China. What will Taiwan do? What will we all do? This is the great hollowing out of industry that is happening all over the world so that China may work hard and join the ranks of Western Civilization with the rest of us.

I just wonder if China joining the party will be the end of the party for everyone. How will planetary systems deal with a billion more cars, refrigerators, air conditioners, and all the other trappings of the good life? We’ve already taxed global resources to the max. To say nothing of the fiat currency system upon which it is all based. Gold is really heating up now. She kissed $400 yesterday. Rich and I have had the debate going since our predictions last year. I didn’t think Gold would get past $400 this year, while he predicted a high of $450. He’s got a month & a half for a 12% rise or so…

It is early for you, but it is late for me. 10:30 pm is bedtime in Taiwan, but market open time in the U.S. Stocks are off to a positive start…barely. Gold has stood back down to 397. She’d have to fall a long way for my prediction to come true. The winds of inflation and uncertainty seem to blowing too hard for that to happen.


Posted by manystrom at 10:37 PM | Comments (165)

Tipping Point for Gold

November 15, 2003

Gold still hovering around the mid to high 390's - I think in the grand scheme of things the $400 mark will be considered from an historical perspective as the Tipping Point for the POG.

I've not written off a total collapse in commidity prices yet - ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN - but I am detecting inflation starting to really make a difference. A friend of mine in construction said lumber and other products are rising astronomically right now and he's being told to expect more of the same by his suppliers. I think the monetary stimulus is really kicking in for good and bad - the veneer will come off completely over time but for now no one is putting it all together in the mainstream. We're living off the rarified exhaust given off by the super heated monetary engine - called the US$.


Posted by rlancaster at 02:53 AM | Comments (109)

New Journal Format Starts Now

November 03, 2003

Welcome to the new Journal format for We hope that this will become a more active and trafficked part of the website, with more frequent updates by myself and partner Richard Lancaster.

The archives of the old journal can still be accessed here: old journal, but recently the pages have fallen into disrepair due to lack of attention. This new system, based on the open source Movabletype engine, is much easier for us update from anywhere on the web. No cumbersome HTML required, which means we can concentrate on the ideas, and get them up quickly. This tool also allows for instantaneous reader feedback.

As editor of this website, I often receive information and notes from readers that are interesting and that I feel would be of value to other readers as well. But due to time constraints, they often times get buried in my inbox, never again to see the light of day. With this new system, reader feedback is also instantaneous. You can comment on anything that we write, and you can comment on comments, as well. And you can do so anonymously, if you please.

We hope this will become a more active community for those interested in the various aspects of the unfolding of the Second Great Depression.

If you’re a regular reader, please take the time now to test out the site – just say hi – let us know you’re out there. It is for you that we continue to maintain the site.


Michael Nystrom

Posted by manystrom at 01:35 PM | Comments (84)
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