Something like the plot of Atlas Shrugged seems to be playing out across America.
In the novel, corruption and mediocrity spread through institutions including the power company and the bureaucracies charged with keeping the lights on in New York City. Eventually they fail entirely and the lights go out in the city's high-rise buildings.
Here in real world, it would be no surprise to many if a big city went dark tomorrow. It seems the unthinkable is becoming more and more thinkable as time goes.
This raises questions for investors who want to protect themselves from rising risk factors.
At least some demand for physical bullion always comes from people concerned about emergency preparedness and barter. This demand only figures to keep growing as the institutions which make up the basic plumbing of our modern economy stop working right.
The flaw in concentrating so much power in so few institutions is now on full display.
The massive corporations running things like the power grid struggle to hire or train enough people with the skills needed to maintain the infrastructure. The debate as to why is long and complicated, but among the reasons are the deficient U.S. education system as well as government programs encouraging people not to work.
Corporate leaders' focus is not on excellence but instead on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs and promoting green energy. All of this is goaded on by government regulators and politicians.
People are now experiencing the results. The lights went out for 4.5 million people in Texas two years ago. Winter weather froze roughly half of the wind turbines which provided something like 25% of the power generated in the state.
There have been many recent headlines about foul-ups – diesel shortages, train derailments, air traffic shutdowns, and explosions at food processing plants.
With the embarrassing withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in the rearview mirror, the recent balloon fiasco is a more humorous example of missteps in the category of U.S. defense.
The attack and destruction of the Nord Stream Pipeline may be another example, only it isn't humorous at all.
More than a year ago, Joe Biden and Victoria Nuland went on camera to float threats to destroy that pipeline if Russia would invade Ukraine. But when the pipeline blew up in September, Biden and defense officials told Americans and our European allies that someone else was behind the sabotage.
Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh laid the whole scheme out in detail February 8th.
By his account, many people in intelligence and in military leadership thought it was a stupid and dangerous idea – tantamount to an act of war against both friend (Germany) and foe (Russia).
If reports of covert actions by U.S. special forces is true, Biden and his handlers risked inciting World War III against nuclear-armed Russia without consulting Congress, gaining the approval of Americans, or even giving our NATO ally Germany a “heads up” in advance.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump Jr. isn't the only person wondering if the spate of train derailments and other industrial accidents now plaguing our country aren't accidents at all. Could they be deliberate attacks on our critical infrastructure, perhaps in response to the U.S. involvement in Ukraine and the destruction of the Nord Stream pipeline?
More people are positioning some of their investments for the unthinkable, and it is easy to understand why.
A few years ago, less than 1% of Americans imagined needing gold and silver for use in barter. Everyone else assumed ATMs, credit cards, and banks would always function to process payments. Today the proper functioning of our financial system isn't nearly as certain for a whole lot of people.
This is why interest in physical precious metals is through the roof. Gold and silver are a store of value for self-reliant people. Bullion can, and often has been, used as money in a crisis because it is almost universally trusted and valued everywhere.
Investors who hold it aren't totally dependent on the complex and rickety financial system.
They aren't betting all-in on the electric grid or the internet to function. It is a value proposition that gets more compelling by the day.