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2022 is coming. Will it be better than 2021 or worse?

It's time I had another look at the housing market and made a few stabs at what the new year might have in store for us.

One thing is obvious, and that is, the world is in one hell of a mess. That is not the best time to buy houses, but what does it mean? To some extent the world has never been in quite this much mess since the beginning of the second world war. Let's start by trying to list where things are in chaos, and then see if we can see if it is possible for things to get better or to get worse. And if there is anything we can do about it.

Here are the various areas I will be looking at:
Politics and politicians
Discord and war

1 Politics and politicians

Politicians are people who think they know better how to run the world than anybody else. The result of this is that they are the most dangerous specie on the planet.

The way governments have treated (or should that be mistreated?) the covid-19 situation is on one level absurd, and on another pretty well on a par with a bad tempered baby throwing toys out of its pram. The fallout from this insanity will be with us for years. Those of us who have other medical problems haven't been getting treatment, and that includes myself, so I have first-hand experience of how rather a lot of us are being denied assistance that we need in various ways. That has caused rather a lot of unnecessary deaths. It has also raised the suicide levels through the roof in many countries. The number of deaths from covid-19 is roughly twice that of normal flu, and well below the usual level of road accident deaths. To say there has been an insane over-reaction is hard to ignore.

This all leads to at least two conclusions. First, science is being side-lined at the same time as it is making great strides against some very nasty diseases, and people are healthier now than they have ever been. However, it does seem to be the case that if you want to get scientific information these days the go-to places to ask is politicians, who aren't exactly the brightest or cleverest jokers in the pack.

When I first started studying politics and economics I learned the rule of unintended consequences. Politicians are particularly good at pushing ideas that over and over have the opposite effect of what they were intended to do.

How about a wonderful piece of current absurdity. Never mind whether climate change is important, or can be altered, let's look at the idiocies behind the ways politicians are trying to deal with it. The idea is to focus on garnering sun and wind power. Sounds great, except that it creates more problems than it solves. Sun power requires panels spread across land that could be more practically used to grow food, increases the world's albedo, and is made from panels that only have an effective life-span of twenty years, and are made from toxic chemicals. In a couple of decades' time, how are these things going to be disposed of without affecting the ground water. The same is true of batteries needed to store this electricity.

To make matters worse, governments are pressing forward with encouraging the spread of electric vehicles. How that helps is hard to explain as somehow the electricity has to be generated first. That requires coal, gas, or oil, which they are trying to ban. Last year coal use was up 11% in the US to cope. That makes a mockery of the original ideas. In other works unexpected consequences. In other words, total stupidity.

Why does no-one build thorium reactors? No or minimal toxic waste.

What about fusion technology? One company claims it will have a fully functioning reactor available by 2024. It can be moved on the back of a truck, and plugged in to a micro-grid thus creating a series of autonomous generating systems, which would reduce the 7% power loss from power lines, and would stop the blackmail threats that we have recently seen against the current system.
Naturally, governments aren't interested. Clearly the politicians have their fingers in a different pie. Make sure boondoggles go to certain companies so they can invest in those companies to boost their wealth. Why not? If you draw up the beneficiaries you know where to invest ahead of the rise.

What this all amounts to is that we are about to see more unintended consequences as politicians interfere ever more in the management (or is that mismanagement) of the world. As it is difficult to imagine just what next piece of stupidity is just around the corner it is difficult to prepare. One thing however, is obvious, we need to expect far more chaos, far more wastage of money, and misallocations of capital, and a consequent decline in living standards.

If that is how things are likely to pan out over the next few years then such a decline in living standards will put pressure on house purchase prices.

In several places there seems to be a move towards socialism, which costs money rather than making it. As Margaret Thatcher famously said, "Socialism is a great idea until you run out of other people's money".

In order to create socialism you have to find a way to make money. In a socialist environment there is so much interference and red tape that entrepreneurs go elsewhere, and the riches follow them. Capitalism provides an environment for progress. You dont get companies like Amazon and Apple in socialist countries. They would be banned. Look what happened to people like Jack Ma in China.

Sadly the world is more unsafe today than it has been for a very long time. This is the first time in these annual articles that I have felt it necessary to add a category to include the possibility of war breaking out. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

The real question to ask when it comes to politics is 'which side will win, governments or business?' If governments win, we are likely to get some difficult times regarding money, and that includes digital money. There is likely to be more regulation. Just look at the regulation most people have put up with over the past couple of years. Much more of that and there will be a plethora of bankruptcies. That's really going to improve economies and therefore wages, isn't it? The level of bankruptcies is bad enough at the moment, especially in China, but any more lockdowns and you can welcome in massive inflation, and collapsed currencies.

What are the odds? Hmm, not the kind of decision-making that appeals to me. I prefer odds to be in my favour. They clearly aren't. I would suggest that taking on more debt at this stage in the game would be unwise.

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