Skip to main content

It seems that some on social media think I’m a pessimist, which really blows my mind (and hopefully the minds of anyone who knows me well).

Because… I’m not a pessimist. I feel super empowered to influence the direction of my life and of the world. And I’m probably the most contented man you’re ever likely to meet.

But the main reason that I’m so empowered and contented is that…I do not avoid and I do not seek to manipulate. Rather I deal. I manage. I navigate.

But to do those things, I must first understand (as best I can) the way things actually are or, even better, the way things are likely going to be. And this requires being wiling and able to see them clearly without flinching and without permitting my personal preferences and biases to taint the vision. I’m not perfect at that, but I’m far better than most, and this explains most of my success.

Alas, sometimes seeing things the way they are, or the way they are likely to become, means means seeing changes coming that others don’t. And sometimes those changes are unpleasant, at least to those who are psychologically attached to the status quo. I try to avoid such psychological attachments both because they create biases that distort my vision and because they create unnecessary suffering as a result of clinging to inherently impermanent things.

So, I’m not a pessimist. I’m a largely detached realist.

With the above in mind, I want to make clear where I stand on the United States. The US and much of the world is presently going through a Fourth Turning (read the book by the same name if you’ve not). Fourth Turnings are times of major social and geopolitical restructurings. The old crumbles or is destroyed to make way for the new. The paradigms and narratives that so long made the world sensical to us are suddenly gone, but new ones have yet to replace them. This leads to a sense of chaos and, for all but the most present and detached, also intense anxiety.

I have attempted to articulate over the last few years how I see things playing out over the next ten to twenty years. I have explained since 2012 and till I’m blue in the face how blockchains are going to replace our existing financial rails with something far superior, and how that’s going to disrupt the status quo in extraordinarily significant ways. I explained as early as Q1 of 2020 how COVID was going to transform our world and that we wouldn’t be going back to the status quo ante. I’ve explained how the US has lost and will continue to lose its ability to project power across the world (as well as its interest in doing so), and how that will lead to, among other things, the demise of globalization. I’ve explained how the dollar’s days as the world’s reserve asset are numbered, what’s likely to replace it, what the transition might look like, and what’s likely to happen once it’s replaced. And I’ve explained how AI is going to remake society in incredible ways.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended for You

Because so much of what I do is to anticipate and describe rapidly coming change, I suppose it’s only natural that those who fear change or who are attached to the status quo would consider me to be a pessimist. But…I’m not. I’m a realist. To the unattached, change is rarely “good” or “bad”, it just so very obviously *is*. And when you’re unattached, it’s actually quite predictable.

What will come

So, yes, the US is in for incredible change over the next five to thirty years. The US of 2050 will look very little like the US of today, and getting there will be painful for many (especially for clingers). But unlike much of the world, the US will come out on the other side stronger than ever.

Once this Great Transition is over, the US will be the world’s sole and uncontested superpower. China and Russia and the European Union will have collapsed because of too much central planning (which always makes any system susceptible to eventual black swans), geographic limitations, the US’s unwillingness to guard the world’s trade routes, and most importantly due to no good, horrible, terrible, demographics (e.g, China’s productive population will be about half of what it is today by 2050, and Russia and much of Europe don’t look all that much better).

The US is one of the only nations in the world that can be almost completely self sustaining

The US is now a net energy exporter, and its energy independence is likely to become even greater as more and more renewable sources come online. It has plenty of fresh water (occasional regional worries notwithstanding). It has some of the world’s best farm lands, and thanks to its vast natural gas resources is capable of producing all the agricultural inputs (e.g., nitrogen fertilizers) it will ever need. It has no neighbors capable of challenging its dominance and, in fact, its neighbors generally benefit from cooperating. It is re-industrializing as we speak at a pace that exceeds both that of the original industrial revolution and that of its globalism inspired de-industrialization, and the redomestication of manufacturing will only accelerate as the dollar’s reserve asset status wains and eventually collapses. Finally, its demographics (though not great) are the best in the world (thanks almost entirely to large amounts of immigration, which has saved the US’s ass compared to most nations).

The US’s main threats are simply its massive debt load and populist authoritarianism. But those debts that were run up in large part due to the US’s former commitment to policing the world and Baby Boomer extravagance *will* be (albeit painfully) tamed through bankruptcies/defaults, through high inflation and yield curve control, through massively enhanced productivity (a real possibility due to blockchains, Web3 and AI) or most likely through some combination of those things. Thanks to large amounts of immigration (pray we keep ‘em coming!) and reasonable fertility rates, the US (unlike any other developed country) has at least two more productive generations in the bullpen, which makes its present debt burden survivable (though painfully so).

So I see populist authoritarianism as the primary existential threat to the US Constitutional system. Somehow the US has managed for over the last 200 years to avoid authoritarian dictatorships, but…can we continue to do so?

Eventually decentralized blockchain governance will diminish the significance and capabilities of centralized political governance to such an extent that populist authoritarianism, or any kind of authoritarianism, won’t be too much of a threat.  But we must survive the next decade or so before we can breath a sigh of relief. I’m reasonably optimistic that we will make it, but…its going to be a tenuous time.