My father-in-law never had to invest in the stock market. He dabbled. For him, it was more of a hobby than anything. His wealth came from one place — his job. He spent forty years doing the same thing. Eventually, his boss partnered with him to buy some real estate.
He became a landlord.
My in-laws paid off their house ages ago. They recently built an extension, using money they inherited from their parents, who’ve owned hundreds of acres of land since the early 1900s. Whenever they need a little quick cash, they sell some of their timber.
My in-laws eat out two or three times a week. They’ve never struggled financially, not even during the last recession. So in addition to a nice job, they had generational wealth to draw on.
They’ve always been insulated.
They don’t pay attention to the news. They don’t worry about poverty or climate change. They don’t donate to any charities. They shop on Amazon and watch shows like The Carbonaro Effect.
It’s always on…
Comfortable is the new rich.
Most of us would kill for the kind of certainty my in-laws have always enjoyed. Imagine how wonderful it would be to wake up and go to just one job, knowing that if you worked hard enough, you’d get to live in a nice house with plenty of room to raise a family.
My in-laws never considered themselves rich. But they are, compared to my generation. To us, being rich means you’re free of debt. It means you don’t have to worry too much about losing your job, along with your health insurance. It means only having to work 40 or 50 hours a week instead of 60, or having to string together three income streams.
It means a little comfort and safety.
We’re starting to feel completely trapped.
The life my in-laws take for granted is slipping out of reach for most of us. We can see it shrinking into the horizon.
We can’t reach far enough.
We’re starting to realize we might never get to buy that nice home. No matter what we do, we’re doomed to spend the rest of our lives browsing Zillow late at night when we can’t sleep.
Here’s the bitter truth:
Nobody is going to forgive our student debt. Nobody is going to raise our minimum wage. Nobody is going to give us a bonus, or a bigger salary. Nobody is going to give us affordable healthcare. Nobody is going to give us a tax break, or an actual stimulus. The slightest whisper about any of this makes our so-called leaders bristle and hiss. If they’re not actively against it, they’re too timid to fight for it.
Instead of using their vast wealth to do something productive, the world’s elite are trying to sell us bitcoins.
We’re getting more desperate than ever.
Look at what’s happened so far this year. Moms are selling their bodies on apps to make ends meet. Redditors are trying to get rich by buying up stocks from failing companies. And while this might look or sound empowering on some level, the truth is we just need the money.
We’ll do anything.
We’ll even revive a dead-end technology with no proven track record of stability, and try to make it a “store of value.”
Influencers and politicians are posting photos of themselves with laser eyes now, trying to rally a worthless digital coin to $100,000 while making promises to liberate us from fiat currency and the oppressive institutions of centralized finance. Our ears are perked, because it sounds just insane enough to pull off. 2020 broke our minds. If murder hornets can exist, so can a miracle coin that will make us all millionaires one day.
People are putting aside half their paychecks for this asset, even when we know it can’t go two weeks without crashing. Now it’s taking tech stocks down with it every time it tanks, because the mighty Elon Musk and Jack Dorsey have tethered their reputations to it, and so have titans like ARK Invest’s Cathie Wood and MicroStrategy’s Michael Saylor.
Stop and laugh for a minute.
Because this is crazy.
This is what happens when an unsustainable financial system approaches collapse. Everyone starts losing their minds. They start turning toward quick wins and fantasies. They start chasing daydreams and bad ideas that have already failed several times. They do the same thing as before, hoping and praying for a different outcome.
They do it bigger.
We’re in Gold Rush 2.0.
This week the bubble surrounding this worthless coin popped again, following honest assessments from a few level-headed people like Bill Gates and Janet Yellen, but also Nouriel Roubini — sometimes called “Dr. Doom” for his grim forecasts. They’re worth listening to.
Unfortunately, we aren’t.
Instead, some of us are trying harder and praying louder than ever.
This coin keeps coming back from the dead because people keep wanting to believe they can find gold somewhere that it doesn’t exist. We used to pan for it in California. Now we mine for it on computers.
Like historian H.W. Brands wrote:
The old American dream was the dream of the Puritans…men and women content to accumulate their modest fortunes a little at a time, year by year by year. The new dream was the dream of instant wealth, won in a twinkling by audacity and good luck. This golden dream became a prominent part of the American psyche only after Sutter’s Mill.
History doesn’t repeat, but it often rhymes.
The gold rush wound up bankrupting hundreds of thousands of gullible Americans, who gave up their lives to head out west for the promise of riches. Now we’re about to see a reboot.
It’s not going to be pretty.
It’s going to get a lot worse.
Instead of facing reality, the influencers behind this scam are doing the only thing their egos allow them. They’re buying even more of this worthless coin, in order to halt a massive selloff that should happen.
They’re going on national television to make more grandiose claims. They’re nurturing mania. Meanwhile, their companies suffer immense losses on the stock market, and they pretend it’s nothing.
It makes a twisted kind of sense.
When your lies start to unravel, then your best bet is to lie even harder. Make even bigger, bolder promises. Do whatever it takes to win back everyone’s trust. This is a classic con artist move.
Americans excel at it.
America is a country full of con artists.
In some ways, being a con artist feels like the only real way you can get rich anymore. Everyone’s doing it now. You can do it with real estate, fitness, or tech. You can do it with electric vehicles and promises to save the planet from climate change. You can do it through companies that promise to pay people well, but steal their tips behind their backs. You can do it with meme stocks, or multi-level marketing, or YouTube channels.
The possibilities are endless.
We used to want to build our own companies. Now we all want to build our own bubbles. We want our own easy way to get rich, because the slow hard way doesn’t work any more.
If it’s not extinct, it’s definitely endangered.
So, I honestly believe bitcoin could reach astronomical prices over the next year. It shouldn’t, but it probably will — because everyone’s desperate for an easy answer to their financial woes. It’s going to happen because the obscenely rich will keep pumping up the price, telling everyone it has magical anti-inflation properties to protect them in a crisis.
Then one day, maybe next year, the last wave of wild-eyed investors are going to wake up and realize they paid billions of dollars for a bunch of make-believe coins they can’t actually do anything with, other than trade back and forth like beanie babies or Pokemon cards.
And that’s when the economy will collapse…