An optical illusion, clouds rolling in over the mountains looks like a Tsunami, Geneva, Switzerland.
7,600,000,000,000 Dollars of Debt Must Be Rolled Over In 2012…
When it comes to government debt, it is not just new debt that is the problem. Every single year, governments around the world must “roll over” gigantic mountains of debt that come due. That means that the actual borrowing that takes place each year is far greater than the yearly budget deficits that you see talked about on television. In 2012, a total of 7,600,000,000,000 dollars of debt must be rolled over by the G-7 nations, Brazil, Russia, India and China. When you add in interest payments, that number rises to over $8 trillion. And that does not even include any new borrowing that all of those nations will do in 2012. This is a debt bomb that could devastate the entire global economy at any time. Everything will be fine as long as global lenders are willing to lend these countries gigantic mountains of very cheap money. But if that changes, and there are already a multitude of signs that a massive global credit crunch has begun, it will mean a complete and total financial nightmare for the entire world.
“To climb mountains is to make decisions…. Good decisions are contextual, based on actual circumstances, and cannot be reduced to a set of rules…. In fact rules, guidelines, and codes, although useful for introducing concepts, ultimately become counterproductive when it comes to actually making choices… The simplest climb involves circumstances far too complex to be adequately addressed by rules. The mountain environment itself forces you to rely on your own skills of observation, your understanding of what you observe, and an accurate assessment of risks and of your own abilities.”
The authors continue: “Rules must be replaced by that mysterious quality called judgment. The acquisition of judgment begins with a mountaineer’s very first climb and continues throughout the climber’s entire career. It is a process that cannot be bypassed nor ever be considered complete.”
Principles that help guide decision making are:
Anticipate changes. “Continually look forward. Every change in terrain, route difficulty, or hazard may require a new strategy, mode of movement, or protective system to deal with new circumstances.” (p. 15)
Keep options open. “Any given decision can either maximize or limit other possible options in the future.”
Analyze benefits and costs. “Addressing one risk or solving one problem often entails introducing other risks or aggravating other problems.”
Maintain momentum. “Staying focused on forward movement means always being a little bit stressed, but in such a potentially dangerous environment, some level of stress is, arguably, appropriate.”
Gather information. “Preparing ahead of time will give you a head start…. Above all, remember what you see. Every glimpse is a new piece of the puzzle.”
Recognize and correct errors. “Rather than expecting perfection, strive to recognize errors as early as possible, and take steps to correct the situation. Do not carry on blindly, hoping that everything will work out. Denial causes delay, piling error upon error until only good luck can prevent things from spiraling out of control.” (p. 16)
Assess your own skill and knowledge. “An honest and dispassionate self-critique is indispensable. For example, the capacity to observe, predict, and respond to cues improves over time, just as movement skills and climbing ability improve with practice; but on the other hand, competence can be degraded temporarily by states such as fear or fatigue or by inadequate information and inaccurate perception.” (p. 17)
Alpine climbers take on considerably more risk than traders. After all, traders lose only money; climbers can lose their lives. But the way to the top demands similar decision-making processes.