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April 29, 2008

The Trouble With the Doom and Gloomers
by Marco den Ouden

I originally wrote this article in November 2003 but did not publish it, partly because I thought I might be wrong. Maybe the doom and gloomers were right and gold was going to $5000 an ounce. Maybe the mother of all depressions was just around the corner. But now, with inflation fears all around, gold topping $1000 and ounce in March, the contrarian in me says this is the time to publish it or be damned. Please remember in reading it that the pamphlets and predictions cited were from 2003.

“In the coming months a new terrorist attack on US soil will devastate the Dow!” screams the headline. “Panicked investors will flee to gold, driving it to $3,000 even $5,000 an ounce on a spike.”

This is the come-on leading off a 24 page booklet that arrived in my mailbox recently. The pitch is from James Dines, a financial newsletter writer. Of course, the argument is that you’ll need his US$195 a year newsletter to save your portfolio from disaster and even profit from the predicted turbulent times ahead.

Dines is hardly alone. Nick Guarino writes a tract called the Wall Street Underground. Not as refined as the urbane Mr. Dines, Guarino opines in his August-September 2003 issue that “I’m so excited I can hardly stand it! It’s our tenth anniversary and we are about to celebrate it with another no-shit stock market wipeout.”

Guarino goes on to predict the market will crash yet again and that the bull we’ve been riding since October 2002 is actually a “sucker rally”. Full of venom, Guarino believes that Wall Street is “nothing more than a conspiracy of fat cats out to screw the ignorant masses out of their money”.

He predicts a 6000 Dow sometime in the Spring of 2004 with gold hitting $400 an ounce, a remarkably timid projection for gold from such a gloomy Gus.

Dines and Guarino are just two of a number of stock market analysts that can best be described as the doom and gloom crowd. They like to scare folks into believing the end of the world, financially speaking, is nigh. Their arguments are subtle and variable according to circumstances. But they are hardly new. They were riding high in the late 70s as well. Back then the doom and gloomers included such luminaries as Howard Ruff, Harry Browne, Jerome Smith and the Aden sisters.

Inflation was high and moving higher. And there was a palpable feel that the currency could become worthless – a hyper-inflation like Germany had in the 30s or Hungary in the 40s. I lapped up their stuff as did many others. I stood in long line-ups at the ScotiaBank in downtown Vancouver to buy gold and silver bars on paydays as the price of gold soared in 1979 to peak at over $800 an ounce in January 1980.

I subscribed to a few of their newsletters, read their books and followed some of their advice. I even went so far as to follow up on Howard Ruff’s advice to stock up in case there were riots in the streets and you had to stay cooped up for an extended period. Ruff, of course, recommended building and stocking a wilderness retreat where you could hide out armed to the teeth to save yourself from the collapse of civilization as we know it. But I couldn’t afford a wilderness retreat, so I just bought a bag of unprocessed wheat which I hung in the attic. Of course, I had to buy a grinder too!

Foolishly I held on to my gold which I bought all the way up as it went all the way down again too. Not one for grinding wheat and baking my own bread, I eventually chucked the “supplies”. At least I resisted the invocation to arm myself to the teeth, though one of my friends who shared the communal house we lived in at the time slept with a loaded Smith & Wesson 38 under his pillow. He relented and put it away in his dresser when I argued that I might accidentally stumble into his room half asleep instead of the bathroom next to his room, and I didn’t particularly want to get blown away in the middle of the night. Yeah, he had camouflage army fatigues too.

Back then  the argument was that the US government (always the villain with the doom and gloomers) was inflating the money supply at an unprecedented rate and the German scenario of runaway inflation, people shopping with wheelbarrows full of useless currency, was just around the corner. Or if the American government managed to get that under control, then surely there would be a depression.

The economics seemed sound enough. And it all goes back to the definition of money.

Money is a medium of exchange and a store of value. It brought humanity out of primitive barter society into civil society. As Alan Greenspan puts it in Gold & Economic Freedom, a tract he wrote years before he became Fed Chairman, "the existence of such a commodity is a precondition of a division of labor economy." Without it, "men had no means to store value, i.e. to save" and "neither long range planning nor exchange would be possible."

Greenspan goes on to explain that money must be a luxury good, that is, something relatively scarce. Thus, in post-war Europe, cigarettes served for a time as money because of their scarcity. Over the ages, precious metals became accepted as money because of their scarcity, their homogeneity and their divisibility. It was easy to divide gold into equal size and weight coins or wafers. They were portable.

Eventually kings and other rulers took control of money and became the sole minters of coinage. Dishonest rulers sometimes cheated the people by a practice known as clipping - shaving tiny bits from the gold coins and melting the shavings into new coins for their own profit. The untrained eye did not detect the altered coins until it was too late.

Honest rulers countered this practice by introducing the ribbed edging on coins. This edging made it impossible to clip coins and demonstrated to the people the faithfulness and dependability of the ruler's coinage.

As society and commerce grew, it became impractical to carry around heavy bags of gold to make transactions. As Harry Browne explains it in his first book How You Can Profit From the Coming Devaluation (1970), warehouses started storing gold and issuing receipts to the owners. These warehouses were the first banks and the warehouse receipts were the first paper currency. As long as the receipts represented real gold, actual stored value, this was a sound and honest practice.

But then governments started issuing fiat money - paper currency that is not backed by gold. Either they issued warehouse receipts (bank notes) in excess of the actual amount of gold held in storage, or they dispensed with gold altogether and made the issued paper legal tender by legislative fiat. Without the physical restraint of having to have the actual gold in storage, governments could and did issue money at whim. Thus was born inflation.

In a brilliant chapter called What is Inflation?, Browne introduces the hypothetical case of a couple of perfect counterfeiters (he suggests it is the reader and himself in partnership). They go into a town and spend $20,000 in crisp new $20 bills. They leave town with $20,000 of goods. The townsfolk thank the visitors for their extravagant spending and think their lot improved by the passing through of the strangers. But has it?

As Browne puts it, "It’s obvious we have benefited from the situation. We traded paper dollars that have no real value for products that have real value."

But "assuming that no one ever learns our little secret," he asks, "has our gain actually hurt anyone else?"

Think about it a bit. Who loses? The merchants don’t. The bills are perfect and are just passed on to others in purchases, change or deposits in the bank. If we as the counterfeiters aren’t hurt and the merchants themselves aren’t directly hurt, who, if anyone is?

The answer is everyone is hurt a little bit. Think of it this way, says Browne. Before we came to town, it had a certain amount of goods owned by the people of the town. After we leave it has fewer goods, and more money to bid for those goods. Less supply (fewer goods) and more demand (more money) means prices will rise. Inflation! That is the cost of perfect counterfeiting.

The conclusion is obvious. When governments inflate the money supply (i.e. - issue paper money in excess of actual value stored) we have inflation. Prices rise. You can see why I like Browne’s book. The theory is elegant, straight forward, logical and is just plain common sense.

This, in a nutshell then, is the gold bug's theory of money. Gold is money. Paper currency ought to be warehouse receipts representing actual tangible gold in storage. When governments cheat and issue more paper than they actually have gold, they are creating inflation and are practicing a modern version of the ancient dishonest practice of coin clipping.

During the seventies, inflation raged. Hard money pundits such as Jerome Smith and Harry Browne predicted a hyper-inflationary blowout. And it looked like they might be right. Inflation, Browne explained, feeds on itself. To avert recession and keep interest rates down, the government must inflate at an ever greater rate just to stand still. The comparison was made to a junkie who must take larger and larger hits of heroin to achieve the same high.

In January 1980, after gold had jumped from $218 to $684 in a year, most of the increase in the preceding six months, Smith published an article in his World Market Perspective called "Hyperinflation Now". "With a trebling of the dollar price of gold and a six-fold increase in the price of silver," wrote Smith, " hyperinflation began in 1979."

On January 21, 1980, gold peaked at $850 an ounce. But then something unexpected happened. The price of silver and gold began to moderate. And by mid-1982, gold had dropped to just $304 an ounce and silver was down to $5.10. The hyper-inflation and depression predicted by the doom and gloomers did not materialize and gold remained in a funk for twenty years. What happened? Why were their predictions so wrong?

Several reasons. The Federal Reserve in the US and other national banks let interest rates climb to the high teens to combat inflation. The masses in India, a country where precious metals are popular in ornamentation and utensils, began to melt the family silver and sell it into the richly priced market. Huge supplies of silver came on stream.

The conservatives, Reagan in America and Mulroney in Canada, started on programs of deregulating the economy and privatizing government operations. But while they were expected to slay the twin dragons of inflation and deficit spending, they failed on the latter front. The national debt of both countries rose to staggering proportions during their tenure. A new monster was rearing its ugly head - insolvency. Some smaller governments (the City of Cleveland and Orange County, California, among others) went bankrupt. Everywhere governments were being forced to the wall by their huge debts.

This set the doom and gloomers off again and we saw folks like James Dale Davidson and Lord William Rees-Mogg come out with The Great Reckoning: Protect Yourself in the Coming Depression in 1991. Doug Casey come out with Crisis Investing for the Rest of the 90s in 1993. It echoed a familiar theme. Disaster was around the corner.

Davidson and Rees-Mogg’s earlier work, Blood in the Streets, published in May 1987, predicted a 1929 style stock market crash. A few months later the October 1987 crash happened. They predicted the Japanese stock market crash. That happened too.

Clearly Davidson and Rees-Mogg are no pikers in the economic analysis game. And their new tome predicted the worst was yet to come.

They base their predictions and analyses on a broad theory of history they call megapolitics. This is a theory based on power and the physical limits placed on the exercise of power. They also make a great deal out of cyclical patterns in history. Thus on the basis of five great credit cycles over the last 300 years, the last ending in 1929, and the circumstances surrounding these booms and busts, they predict an impending collapse greater than the Great Depression. You might say that they are predicting the mother of all depressions.

They are very careful to hedge their bets though. "Our own view is that cycles and patterns from the past are good ways to explore what may happen, but not the basis for forming a view of certainty," they say. "In human affairs there is no certainty about the future."

The broad sweep of the book is too complex to go into in detail here. They deal with the information revolution, the relationships and patterns emerging from the economies of Britain, America, Japan and Germany, the rise of Islamic fundamentalism as a greater threat to Western society than Marxism, increasing crime and violence in urban centers and so on.

The important thing for our consideration here is their arguments for a deflationary depression in the 90's. These include rising debt to GNP, high returns on investments that outstrip growth in profits, debt compounding faster than income, debt growing in proportion to the money supply and so on.

They argue further that deflation is not a conscious policy on the part of authorities, but rather "the culmination of an historic process that takes years to unfold." The reason a deflationary depression will come, they say, is because after years of inflation and deficit financing and the buildup of huge national debts, the time has come to pay the piper. The excess debt must be liquidated. The alternative to deflation, inflation, is worse and politicians know it. Nevertheless, they again hedge their bets by saying a hyper-inflationary depression is a possibility. "You should prepare yourself for either outcome, which means remaining alert to the dangers of both."

One of their more interesting analyses is the list of parallels between the 1920's and the 1980's (23 altogether). Everything from the abandonment of the gold standard to lower inflation to Republicans in the White House to Prohibition and today's "War on Drugs". But again, they cite a host of differences as well (20 this time).

The upshot of the entire book is a list of guidelines to steer yourself safely through this "age of crisis". Many of the suggestions are good common sense and worth following in any kind of economic climate. Advice such as put your business on a sound footing, maintain adequate insurance, connect more closely to family and neighbours and even turn off the television and read or play chess instead.

But as we know, these dire predictions did not come true either. The 90s were boom times. The stock markets soared throughout the decade. Where did the doom and gloomers go wrong in round two?

The best explanation came from the bulls. Canada’s own Pat McKeough  with Riding the Bull in 1991 proved to be the prescient one as he argued that liberalization of the economy, lower taxes and free trade would spark an economic revolution, a booming economy and a soaring stock market.

On the debt issue, a socialist government in New Zealand did the unthinkable. It adopted a hard stance on the problem, privatizing, deregulating and freeing up their economy and tackling the national debt head on. Their finance minister Roger Douglas was knighted and became a conservative folk hero.

Clinton in the U.S. and Chretien in Canada followed up on the deregulation and privatization begun by their conservative predecessors and also began to attack their deficit problem, though not with as much zeal as the Zealanders. In the mid to late 90s it looked like the debt monster was on the verge of being slain.

Why did the predictors of doom and gloom for the nineties go wrong?  The main reason is that they underestimated the intelligence of their opponents. They predicted that politicians would continue to be seduced by the lure of inflation and deficit spending.

What they didn’t count on was a major paradigm shift in public opinion. Here in Canada, for example, the Vancouver Board of Trade originated its debt clock. This huge, constantly clicking counter, lodged in a prominent window in the Bank of Hong Kong downtown, galvanized public opinion against profligate government. BCTV’s Newshour, the most watched local newscast in Canada, installed the debt clock in its studios and broadcast it every night on the news for over a year. Similar attacks on wastrel governments in other Canadian cities produced a grass roots groundswell of public support for fiscal responsibility.

In Alberta, Ralph Klein became the province’s most popular politician by wrestling the provincial debt to the ground. In Ontario, after several years of NDP socialism, the people elected Tory Mike Harris on his promise to emulate the Klein revolution. And federally, Paul Martin has been able to effect a concerted attack on the deficit and is now the successor to Chretien as leader of the Liberal Party.

Politicians in democratic countries don’t have the power to run roughshod over the people. They answer to the people. If the people want fiscal responsibility, they will get it because they control the coin of the political realm, their votes.

One need only look at the remarkable story of Brazil to see how a determined government with visionary leadership can do a complete about-face on bad policy, driven by necessity and the market. Brazil was running as high as 5000% annual inflation until 1994. Then, in July of 1994, Finance Minister Fernando Henrique Cardoso put together a team of foreign-trained economists to reform Brazil’s monetary system. He did. Inflation slid to 23% the next year and then declined to 4.5%. Cardoso became President of Brazil and and continued to work on cutting government spending. Brazil did not introduce gold backed currency to accomplish this change.

After the doom and gloomers success in the seventies and their failure in eighties and nineties, they came back with a vengeance in different garb in the late nineties. The new scare for the next decade was Y2K. Remember the dire predictions of the collapse of civilization when the Y2K bug kicked in at the turn of the century?

There were two distinct camps on the Y2K analyst landscape. One camp actively worked to make corrections, rewrite code, replace old computers with new, make emergency plans and so forth. These were the moderate Y2K analysts.

The other camp argued that it was impossible to fix the problems. First they argued that there were not enough programmers to go through millions of lines of code. Secondly, they said there was not enough time to test all the embedded chips. They predicted the complete failure of our banking system, our communications systems, our energy supply, and even our food supply. They argued that the only thing people could do to ensure their safety and survival was to retreat to the wilderness with a huge collection of supplies and cash and armed to the teeth. (Doesn’t that sound familiar?) They predicted the "end of the world as we know it" and even had a website with that name. Yes! Thendoftheworldasweknowit.com! This camp were the apocalyptics.

The trophy for Best Doomsday Prophet goes to Gary North, an historian. North not only held the most pessimistic views on Y2K, he believed the problems were unsolvable in nature. As he put it, "I'm saying that it's over. Right now. It cannot be fixed." The problem, he said, was systemic so we better head for the hills. North had over 3000 pages on his website to support his arguments.

To some extent North exemplifies a mindset of the more extreme of the gloom merchants. They aren’t merely predicting the end of the world as we know it. They actually hope for it.

A leading critic of North’s scare mongering, Steve Davis, a moderate and the author of  Y2K Risk Management, pointed out that North is a leading spokesman for a fanatical religious movement called Reconstructionism that longs to see the collapse of the U.S. government so it can be replaced by a strict theocracy. He quoted North as saying "So, of course I want to see Y2K bring down the system, all over the world. I have hoped for this all of my adult life. In my view, Y2K is our deliverance".

Few of the doom and gloomers are religious fanatics like North, but many share his visceral hatred of the American and indeed, all governments. They want catastrophe to strike as a slap in the face to the statists of all varieties. An “I told you so” for the ages.

When Y2K rolled around with no effect, the disaster mongers had no choice but to go back to the economic arguments. And, fortuitously, the mother of all stock market crashes happened to lend some credence to their scenarios. Sure, they predicted disaster for the nineties. They were just a decade ahead of their time! Now they’re back on the same kick that they were on in the late seventies and early eighties. Not only has disaster struck as they predicted, but we ain’t seen nothing yet. The worst is yet to come. And that brings us back to the present – the Guarinos and Dineses and sundry other prophets of doom.

The argument today is that the massive debt incurred by governments and individuals over the last ten to twenty years must be liquidated and that such liquidation will result in disaster -  a depression, a further collapse of stock values and so on.

While it’s true that governments were tackling their debt problems going into the late nineties and started running surpluses (and Canada still is), the government that matters in their eyes, the United States government, has faltered. The war on terrorism is taking its toll. From a surplus at the end of Clinton’s term of office, the US government has slipped back to an annual deficit of over half a billion dollars a year with an accumulated national debt of $7 trillion. That’s a seven followed by twelve zeros and that ain’t chicken feed. On top of that, consumer debt is also a serious problem. So of course, a modern version of doomsday must play itself out.

Will these worthies be any more accurate than the doom and gloomers who predicted disaster for the eighties and nineties? In a word – no! While there is a logic to much of their reasoning, there are some fundamental flaws as well.

Most of them, especially the hard money crowd, are influenced by the Austrian economics of Ludwig von Mises, one of the greatest unsung heroes of the twentieth century. A key element of Misesian economics is the impossibility of economic calculation without a market. Mises argued that economic choices were subjective. People act as individuals pursuing their own goals and interests. Sometimes these interests include other people either as families or businesses.

Mises argued that the economics of central planning and government control must fail of necessity because no government agency has the resources to know and understand all the desires, hopes, dreams and economic choices of all the myriad players in a society.  All it can do is reward the hopes and dreams of some at the expense of others.  

Furthermore, Mises argued that central planers must fail because they cannot predict the future. They cannot predict what new scientific advances will be made. They cannot predict what new inventions will be made. They cannot predict how people’s tastes will change. So any attempt to dictate these things will foil the natural course of events. And the natural course of events is constant progress as people seek to better their lives by interacting with others.

It is this subjectiveness of individual choices and the essential unpredictability of the future that is at the core of Mises philosophy. Yet the doom and gloom crowd maintain that they can predict the course of future events from the past, whether by analyses of past booms and busts or great cycle theories, the megapolitics of Davidson and Rees-Mogg. Ironically, they often invoke Misesian economics to justify their predictions. It can’t be done. The future is unknowable. Davidson and Rees-Mogg, more erudite and moderate than most, had it right when they said “In human affairs there is no certainty about the future.” How the US debt problem resolves itself remains to be seen, but there is no inevitability about economic collapse and depression, though it remains a possibility.

Some are viewing the decline of the American dollar as symptomatic of the faltering US economy. But the American dollar is under constraints today that central banks weren’t under thirty or forty years ago. Today money traders in all the major centers of the world can respond to changes in the world instantly. Currencies float freely against each other in an international money market. We truly live in a world where money is a commodity, responding to the market influences of supply and demand. Governments, in fact, are in the "business" of supplying money. Because there are many such "businesses", they compete to provide stable and reliable currency. Competing governments, once thought of as a contradiction in terms, are now a reality.

Certainly governments have the power to run amok, to inflate the currency willy nilly, but they cannot do it without consequence. They are held in check by market forces. And in the end, since gold, silver and other precious metals are freely available for purchase by citizens, they are measured in those terms as well.

Where the US dollar ends up is, in the end, a question of US government policy. It can and will do what is necessary to maintain a stable dollar. I believe the dollar currently is in transition as a deliberate policy. The doom and gloomers maintain that the US government has lost control of the currency.

Julian Simon & Falling Commodity Prices

While the gold bugs believe that gold will soar inevitably as a result of failed US monetary policy, there is a greater economic force at play that they ignore. An economic force that says any such surge in the price of gold must be temporary.

Economist Julian Simon, author of The Ultimate Resource set out to challenge the predominant doom and gloomers of the last few decades, the environmentalists. Amid almost daily cries that the world was overpopulated, that our air and water was deteriorating, that food would become scarce and expensive as a result, that the world was on the threshold of ever increasing scarcity, Simon pulled out his tables of facts and figures to prove that food production per capita has been steadily increasing, that air and water are cleaner than before and improving, that the price of resources was declining and so on.

Simon challenged his detractors to a bet "that the cost of non-government controlled raw materials (including grain and oil) will not rise in the long run". In 1980 Paul Ehrlich, the fear-monger about over-population, took up the challenge. Simon let Ehrlich choose five commodities. Simon’s bet was that the commodities would be cheaper after ten years. The commodities chosen were chromium, copper, nickel, tin, and tungsten. They bought, on paper, $200 of each, then waited ten years. In 1990, Simon collected a check for $576.07, the amount by which the aggregate price of the commodities had dropped. Tin, for example, had dropped from $8.72 a pound in 1980 to $3.88 in 1990.

If Simon’s thesis is correct, and it appears to be, why should this not also apply to gold? Shouldn’t the price of gold drop over the long run? And in fact, since the U.S. government unpegged the price of gold from $35 in the early seventies and allowed it to float, the price found a level, surged briefly (very briefly) to $850 an ounce) and has continuously dropped since then. (With short term fluctuations, of course. Simon’s thesis is for the long term.) In real terms, it has dropped considerably. The current three year bull market in gold can be seen as one of these fluctuations.

In the end, the market, as it always does, determines what is money. It’s all well and good for the gold bugs to assert that gold ought to be money. Or for governments to assert that dollars, francs, lira or pesos are money. Whether they are money or not depends on what the consumer mandates. In a country with questionable money, the former Soviet Union for example, the local money runs in tandem with a market established money. The ruble appeared to be money on the surface. The American dollar was used as money in a thriving black market. The ruble market encountered shortages and scarcity. Anything was available in the black market.

Until a black market economy establishes itself using gold as money, fiat currencies will continue to be effective money. The cyberspace company, e-gold, is in fact, trying to establish a cyber-market operating on gold. Personally, I don’t bet on them succeeding. Their market will be limited to die hard gold bugs. As long as governments maintain some semblance of fiscal responsibility, people will retain their confidence in its marketability and fiat currency will be king.

Gold and other precious metals are commodities, like copper, tin, wheat or pork bellies. They are not "money" in any practical sense at all. I cannot buy my groceries with gold. I cannot pay my phone bill with gold. I do not get paid by my employer in gold. But I do carry out all these transactions in Canadian dollars. Now if that ain’t money, what is?

Ten Year Cycles in Doom and Gloom Predictions?

The predictions of doom and gloom, interestingly enough, seemed to be coming in ten year cycles. Browne and the gold bugs in the early seventies were dead on accurate as inflation soared. They then repackaged their material in more strident turns as inflation increased towards the end of the decade and into the early 80s. Howard Ruff published Survive and Win in the Inflationary Eighties in 1981, a last hurrah for the gold bugs as gold entered its twenty year bear market. Then the megapolitics of The Great Reckoning came along in the early 90s. The argument of an impending depression in the nineties based on great cycles also proved to be wrong. Then came the Y2K scare as Gary North and the apocalyptics hoped for the end of the world as we know it. We’re still here!

And now, after a major bear market, the 9/11 terrorist attacks on US soil, the war against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Saddam in Iraq, and mounting US deficits, the doom and gloomers are back in style with a vengeance.

Whether they are correct in their predictions remains to be seen, but in the end, life goes on. Disaster is relative. In the seventies I was a young man starting out in the workaday world. I was not invested in the market at all, did not even know there was a recession on or that there was a bear market in stocks. Towards the end of the decade I started to pay closer attention to forecasts of disaster as inflation started to soar and bought gold and a bag of wheat. But life went on. I continued at my job and never missed a day’s pay. I never experienced any real disaster other than in my mind – a fear of hyper-inflation.

People are more resilient and self-reliant than the doom and gloomers give them credit for. Barring war, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and fires, life goes on for most people - barely paying attention to the price of the dollar or the vagaries of the stock market. In the scheme of things, they are not as important as family, having a roof over your head and food in your stomach.

As far as investing goes, in any market, even a bear market, some investments continue to go up. There is no magic to picking successful stocks or investment. Use the time-tested philosophies of Warren Buffett or William O’Neil (How to Make Money in Stocks) and you can’t go far wrong. Gold? As long as it stays in an upwards trend, it can continue to be a good investment. But watch for it to hit a peak and continue on its long-term inevitable down-trend.

The doom and gloomers are doom and gloomers for a reason. Fear is a powerful motivator and a good marketing ploy. There are millions of dollars made capitalizing on the fears of the masses and if they can add to the fear, they add to their profits. So when a fat pamphlet arrives in your mailbox screaming disaster is afoot, remember they are preying on your fears. They are trying to sell you a product. And they are not new. Prophecies of the end of the world have been promulgated and regurgitated since time immemorial. They have always been wrong, and, in all likelihood, they will be wrong again.


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