Saturday, May 22, 2010

The "Point of No Return" & the Train Metaphor

America can and will reach a point of no return if her leaders and citizens do not wise up and turn from their economic, ethical, and theological sins. What I mean is that Americans, for too long, have had a hand in perpetuating the problems in this country by being too supportive of the very things that will hurt them. The biggest example of this is the support of the vision of Barack Obama - actualized by his election as POTUS. I do believe that if Americans continue to support or act in ways that will eventually hurt them, their actions can not go on indefinitely and their Wile E. Coyote cliff-walking acts will condemn them. People who walk off cliffs without parachutes will have a hard time surviving once they hit the ground. In the same way, a country that strangles itself via inflation, and excessive regulation, will lose all their economic steam and will grind to a halt.

Perhaps this metaphorical grind to a halt is the point of no return; if that is true, then the only way to get the economic train moving again is to find more coal to throw in to the engine of the train. But a crew that has to find coal en route to their destination is a crew that has to take time off from manning the train; and an unmanned train with no steam is a train that is going no where until the crew gets off the train, locates coal, acquires the proper tools to bring the coal back to the train, and then has to return to the train to get it moving again.

The preceding paragraph could be a metaphor for the time-consuming process of getting the economy moving again once it likely (and unfortunately) stops. The time will come when people will have to begin saving and investing to produce by honest means.

Eureka! I just got another idea for a metaphor. To understand it, you must recall that the crew had to leave the train - and they had to leave all those passengers behind. (Keep in mind that the conductor of the train and the crew members do not serve as a metaphor for the POTUS and Congress or any one group "running the economy." Rather they should be seen as general metaphor for producers in an economy, perhaps a single business entity.)

At one point in time, all those passengers were serviced by attendants, eating as much they liked and what they liked, as long as the reserves weren't depleted. But what do the people do once they are left en route to their destination. People would have to eat and drink much less, which could be seen as a metaphor for the drop in the standard of living which will come once the economy comes to its halt.

It will be through this necessary correction period that people will learn the true meaning of under-consumption and savings to produce real wealth. I think the metaphor ends here, but the learning doesn't.

In the following articles and video several commentators discuss the economic version of the "point of no return" idea; and Thomas Sowell takes on the ethical and ideological version of the idea. Perhaps my metaphor goes beyond the intention of the writers of the articles, but hey creativity is what this blog is all about, right?

"Have We Crossed the Point of No Return?"
-Phillip Baggus
"A Point of No Return?" -Thomas Sowell
"The Point of No Return" -Peter Robinson

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