What Drives Our Economy?

As people who follow our books and newsletters know, we have a very different view of what actually drives our economy.

We believe the key driver is new generations doing predictable things as they age.

When we’re young, we drive innovation and inflation. After all, it’s expensive to raise kids and incorporate them into the workforce. As we age and raise families, we drive massive increases in productivity, income and spending. Then, as kids leave home, and retirement (and death) looms, we save and downsize.

In short: Governrnment policies don’t drive the economic train. They’re simply conductors on the coaches. They’re reactive.

Governrnments raise interest rates when the economy or inflation overheats. They lower rates and run deficits to offset a slowing economy. It’s what they’ve done for the last several years.

When real financial crises or emergencies strike, they go one step further: They print money and inject it into the financial system to create liquidity for banks, and they lower interest rates for long-term loans to boost the private sector.


These Keynesian policies, which have become the norm since the 1970s’ recessions, have given governrnments and central banks the illusion they can run and regulate the economy like a machine.

This may just be the greatest mistake and misperception in economic history!

Where it Goes Wrong

Organic entities, like the human body or the economy, are not regulate-able like a machine or motor (or another inorganic object). You can run a motor continuously at a certain speed or output. You can manipulate inputs and controls to change speed or power. That’s how machines are designed. But complex, interactive, organic processes follow their own course, depending on their needs.

Our bodies need sleep. We need to inhale and exhale. Eat and eliminate. If you doubt that then avoid sleep for several consecutive nights and see how long, and how well, you function.

In the same way, our economy needs to grow and expand, then slow and rebalance, like inhaling and exhaling. Just like our waking and sleeping patternrns, where we tend to be awake and functioning two-thirds of the time and asleep one-third of the time, our economy tends to grow two-thirds of the time and then slow for maintenance and repair, debt deleveraging, cost-cutting and consolidation for the remaining one-third.

Forcing the economy to grow and function without that rest period is like depriving the body of sleep. It can only lead to chaos, insanity… and eventually death.

A look back, provides evidence to support this view.

Our last boom, prior to the ’80s, was from early 1942 into late 1968. Then we declined into late 1982. That formed a cycle of 27 years of growth and 14 years of decline (two-thirds up-time and one-third downtime.)

Economists, who have rarely run businesses (or likely had any sex, in my opinion), not only don’t understand the demographic dynamics that create innovation, growth and slowing in natural cycles, they don’t comprehend that our greatest innovations come in the very slowdowns that create challenges and force consolidation, cost-cutting and new breakthroughs.

Then those new innovations are adopted progressively in the next boom until the economy is saturated and growth naturally slows down again. The same occurs with demographic waves of boom and bust, alternrnating between innovation and growth.

Businesses and consumers only become more complacent, inefficient and indebted during the good times. That’s why we need the shakeup.

My point is this: If we don’t allow the economy to move through its natural cycles of growth and slowing, innovation and adoption, investment and deleveraging, then the very innovation that drives progress will wind down and lethargy will overcome us.

We need to slow and deleverage for several years. That’s when we can eliminate massive amounts of debt, force consolidation in business and governrnment, become more efficient, and create new innovations to spur long-term growth and productivity.

And despite all central bank efforts to keep us operating, like a crack addict jacked up to a cocaine IV, the time will come when we’ll just crash. When the economy can no longer stand up under the ever accumulating debt. When we’ll simply collapse from sheer exhaustion.

We see that happening in the months and years ahead.

Start preparing now.



Ahead of the Curve with Adam O’Dell

Our Friend, Fibonacci

Leonardo Pisa was a brilliant 12th century mathematician, who described the natural mathematical order inherent in a wide range of systems.