Richard Duncan, formerly of the World Bank and chief economist at Blackhorse Asset Mgmt., says America's $16 trillion federal debt has escalated into a "death spiral, "as he told CNBC.
And it could result in a depression so severe that he doesn't "think our civilization could survive it."
Why does that sound so familiar? Oh, right: from John D. MacDonald's The Green Ripper (1979)
How did the conference go?" I asked.
He shook a weary head. "These are bad days for an economist, my friend. We have gone past the frontiers of theory. There is nothing left but one ugly fact."
"There is a debt of perhaps two trillion dollars out there, owed by governments to governments, by governments to banks, and there is not one chance in hell it can ever be paid back. There is not enough productive capacity in the world, plus enough raw material, to provide maintainance of plant plus enough overage to keep up with the mounting interest."
"What happens? It gets written off?"
He looked at me with a pitying expression. "All the major world currencies will collapse. Trade will cease. Without trade, without the mechanical-scientific apparatus running, the planet won't support its [a number] billion people, or even half of that. Agribusiness feeds the world. Hydrocarbon utilization heats and house and clothes the people. There will be fear, hate, anger, death. The new barbarism. There will be plague and poison. And then the new Dark Ages.
"How much time have we got?"
"If nobody pushes the wrong button or puts a bomb under the wrong castle, I would give us five more years at worst, or twelve at most."
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