One of the things I have taught myself to do over the years was to think in different time frames. This includes very long geological epochs and astronomical eons.

Maybe it was an interest in dinosaurs and astronomy as a kid, but historical time frames was a concept I was familiar with. Perhaps that was the basis of this week’s time frame discussion of Trading vs Investing. Understanding the very  l o n g  term is an important concept, in terms of getting what the long cycles can look like as well as crowd psychology.

These days, the crowd is suffering from a malaise. They are fearful of losing their jobs, not interested in buying homes, deeply concerned about the future. Following a Great Recession, this is to be expected. So too is the rise of the End of Worlders and the Zombie Bears. These folks are best ignored, as they are money losers who can damage your outlook.

I bring all of this up, because I spent this weekend looking at new start ups. I had lunches and dinners with young entrepreneurs and techies, and their angel funders. (Josh describes all of the start ups here). The ideas, the people, the energy, the competencies are just astounding. It is impossible to be long term negative when you see what is coming down the pipe.

If you want to understand the future of America, if you want to grasp why we are not doomed, then you MUST spend some time with entrepreneurs like these. The creativity, business acumen, technological insights are uplifting, energizing, empowering. We have a fertile crescent of ideas, not just in Silicon Valley but in pockets throughout the United States, like NY, Boston, Miami, San Diego, Denver, Atlanta. That is where economic growth will come from.


The youth of America are full of ideas and energy. They don’t give a shit that their parents fucked everything up — they are going to steam roll over the old order and replace it with one of their own. They understand that future is not about the past. They know that they are a business of one, that no company or government is ever going to offer them economic security. They are their own team, brand and idea factory.

There are lots of things people are rightfully upset about — I lost my voice ranting last night about eejit economists who think the crisis was caused by “predatory borrowing” (it wasn’t). But that’s not what is going to be propelling us forward.

Don’t look to DC — the political debates there are laughable. Its like watching two different T-Rex debating who gets to eat the dead plant eater unaware of the the giant asteroid hurtling their way. Their  argument gets resolved when the asteroid turns their summer into nuclear winter.

The old order, the political hacks and hangers on, the whiners and recession porn stars and permabears — the dinosaurs — all have no idea WTF is coming their way. They are going to be mowed down like so many extinct species before them. They cannot see the asteroid hurtling their way from the deep black depths of space.

The Future of America is coming. It is not being driven by Goldman Sachs or the GOP or Obama. That’s old school, the old order, yesterday. It’s coming, and coming sooner than most people imagine.

When you get run over, don’t say you weren’t warned . . .


Tales from Lindzonpalooza (TRB, April 14, 2012)

After a recession, the least rational rise (temporarily) to prominence. Ignore them. (Washington Post, June 4, 2011 )

Category: Apprenticed Investor, Cycles, Psychology, Science, Venture Capital

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

117 Responses to “The Future of America”

  1. Julia Chestnut says:

    My dear BR, here’s my problem: I’m somebody’s mother. The time frame in which I need to see improvement in this broken society snaps down around my head as the lives of my children. Everything else I do – play the market, save, invest, learn, work, strive, clip coupons, think, plan, build, destroy – it all serves the single biological necessity to hang on to those children and see them cast me aside and survive on their own. The front part of my brain really isn’t involved, at some point: any threat to them gets me at the lizard part of the brain stem that responds and kills the threat.

    This isn’t a threat I can kill. And I somehow don’t have the luxury of an epochal view, because that isn’t how my genes are arranged. Accordingly, I hear you – but I have trouble feeling anything more than somewhat bleak and deeply stressed out. Struggling to keep it together on a deadline will do that, I guess.

  2. DeDude says:


    Yes this is a big problem – and we are ignoring it. A lot of people think that the success of the US was the result of some kind of magic “exceptionalism”. In fact it was the result of a accidential but brilliant business plan. We skimmed the whole world of their most brilliant people, by offering professional and personal opportunities they couldn’t get back in their old countries. As a result we could fill our Tech companies and Universities with the most outstanding talent, and our higher education system could become the envy of the rest of the world. Unfortunately what we offer today is much less attractive/competitive. The countries whose smartest people used to run away, have smartened up and realized that they must hold on to their talent with carrots rather than sticks. Houston we have a problem, indeed.

  3. cool says:

    This is indeed an uplifting article. What a relief. The problem is that it has NO DATA. So, I’m supposed to throw away all precautionary strategies just because this guy chatted with some bright young people? I work in a university. There are plenty of bright young people who are actually clueless about the economy or practically anything else. It the economy failed, they would be more lost than the rest of us. If things are so great, please show us why you think so–in realistic rational terms.

  4. 873450 says:

    @ashpelham2 Says:
    All of us in the middle. The ones who blow our money on stupid stuff. What’s gonna happen when we have less and less of it to blow?

    It is playing out in real time right now. It will not be long before we know what’s gonna happen.

  5. daniel friedman says:


    I enjoy your youthful optimism in this post. But here’s the facts: Even if we could ignore the ‘men behind the screen’, ie your reference to Goldman, the GOP, and Obama, the truth is, and I think you know this…are you ready? THERE IS SOMETHING ROTTEN IN AMERICA.

    All the optimistic moodmaking in the world won’t change that. The most positive thing to do right now – resist the corrupt power welders. Resist!


    BR: Yes, I have been discussing that sort of stuff repeatedly. This post was a change of pace.

  6. Greg0658 says:

    Jeff Hook I’ll be the minion you request .. 1st I find it incredible BR does all this and still eat sleep dogwalk drink be merry & trade .. I have time to read these – and have posted many times – hense almost all* go thru on trust – it may be appreciated that I follow and will followup posts vs. post and forget

    yes new arrivals seem to go into a 1st checkup phase – I don’t know this for sure for its top secret even to this 5 year plus reader/poster .. I have also gotten the wtf just happened to all my minutes of typing – and have learned to copy all posts before submit into a file with the internet code line to bring me right back into the thread

    here are my learned instructs: there seems to be a list of bad words that get you in the timeout box – f ‘ ism seems to be a bad word coming out of my mouth – not sure if the name database keeps distinct bad words for different people .. speaking of trade’g in derogatory terms like what happens in vegas stays in vegas seems another batch .. puting more than 3 links seems troublesome .. put’g in links that go to odd places can get the look at .. to many posts in a time period will get the slowdown .. email addresses that look temp probably get the initial slowdown

    * “awaiting moderation” happens to me too .. sometimes it looks just gone and still will show up

    here is the offical link:

  7. Greg0658 says:

    an fyi – my evolution intelligent design photo* in my essay has a blackhole spiral – but I wasn’t happy with how it turned out so I colored it black on black – which is natural since its a space blackhole and you can’t see it anyway since light can’t escape its gravitational pull (so I’ve been told)

    * had to lookup – Nov2005 looks like my start date

    ps – back to the upper issue – seems like Good with 1 “o” can get you in the tank too – but that seems like a bygone policy now (but again what do I know)

  8. Greg0658 says:

    pss – not everyone gets a response – heard things like “don’t feed the bears and they’ll go away”
    pssst – I appreciate being allowed to speak – HuffPo is so > why bother with 5000 entries on something (even tho I still do w/same handle) – who can follow that and still have a 3D life – or is it 4D now in the 21st ie: H W D and Time

  9. bergsten says:

    @Jeff Hook — “for the record” I was being quite literal when I blamed Internet Explorer for my lost comment. It had nothing to do with “moderated” comments (which, I am given to understand doesn’t happen, though some IP addresses are blocked and other things get captured (and later released) by the moody spam filters).

    And, I also know about “Copy/Paste” to not lose comment data.

    No, I managed to accidentally poke on a link, and when I returned back one page, the entire comment had vanished without trace. Time constraints (and perhaps better judgement and a bit of laziness) resulted in the “shorter” version.

  10. hammerandtong2001 says:

    There is a tide to the affairs of men…

    And so it shall ever be.

    May the generation following enjoy high tides and fair winds.


  11. Randel says:

    BR–I was glad to see your post. Your trip provided you inspiration and refuge for reflection. And you shared that with us. Thank you.

    I am sick and tired of hearing it is nothing but bleak. If that were true, one might as well drink the cyanide-laced Kool Aide now, deplanet, and go to heaven, run your own universe, or whatever.

    Folks, BR did not say it would be easy or hard going forward. History shows it will be hard and challenging. Life is for living, and BR’s post is actually the best since Bail Out Nation. It shows humanity striving. That is a good thing.

    My faith has it that God loves tough souls, and we have front row seats to one of the greatest shows ever. In the meantime before the sun blows up, or the asteroid hits, or the financial system needs a reboot and we need to change the color of our currency, let’s enjoy the life we have.

  12. Ziggy says:

    For any of you kids out there, know this – meaningful change, if it does actually occur – will essentially be a three phase process:

    1) Expanding awareness of the real problems (Big Picture is an essential element of this process)
    2) Period of transformation (may or may not be ugly)
    3) The aftermath of the transformation (fine tuning and adjustments)

    The awareness phase is taking a long time because the elite propaganda machine is unparalleled in their excellence at cranking out misinformation that leads to confusion among the Main Street proles. Believe me, Joseph Goebbels would be impressed. Someday, some one needs to write a history of this effort. The talent behind the propaganda machine may be chronically sick, anti-social psychopaths, but they’re damned good. The best ever, in fact. Progressives have nothing even remotely close to compare. Thus a bit of patience is counseled. Please note the recently accelerated efforts to limit access to the Internet. This would obviously put a severe damper on efforts to reform, and could perhaps kill it altogether. Heads up everybody!

    Ultimately, a widely shared vision will have to be advanced in order to drive transformative reforms. Hate can help motivate awareness but it can’t inspire good outcomes (and believe me, I can hate with the best of them). That’s why hopeful thinking as per BR’s original post are so important. Can’t let the goodness be crushed by the hate. We have to nurture and then protect the next generation of visionary leadership.

    Once the heavy lifting is done, there will still be a period – perhaps a long period – of refinements and adjustments. Actually, if we’re smart we’ll institutionalize the process of continuous improvement.

    Nothing will be easy. The elite’s evil brain trust makes the Nixon praetorian guard look like amateur hour. As bad as it is, it could get much worse. In fact, I’m pretty sure there are many within the evil brain trust who are counting on it.

  13. 873450 says:

    Twilight Zone Spiral

    @ louis Says:
    Everything ends.

    A different take – The Beatles rooftop performance is timeless. Millions have been watching it for 43+ years and millions more will be watching it 43+ years into the future. Everything is never ending and will always be there. With memory and imagination there can always be more.

    Another timeless video:

    “You’re traveling to another dimension. A dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. Your next stop: The Twiight Zone.”

    The Twilight Zone’s rotating spiral, eerie theme music and Rod Serling’s voiceover were imprinted into the baby boom generation’s memory. (It’s was so deeply embedded so early I can’t remember not being conscious of it.)

    Avoiding foreseeable catastrophe requires memory, will and imagination. Unfortunately, too many boomers coming into power and influence didn’t learn, forgot, ignored, distorted or stomped out essential lessons learned. Subsequent generations are being handed an unnecessarily problematic world and will resolve those problems in ways beyond most boomers’ comprehension.

    Great Thread!

  14. [...] a few. Sometimes it is important to notice good stuff is happening as well. Barry Ritholtz at the Big Picture had a great post up a few days ago talking about despite the financial mess we made there is cool [...]

  15. hr says:

    When the Singularity arrives, who is the surplus?

  16. Hanna says:

    Ziggy, I totally agree with you!!