October 1929, across from the New York Stock Exchange. Getty Images

By Max Abelson
July 13, 2010 | 9:25 p.m

"Life is such a fucking disaster," a prominent New York hedge fund manager said recently. "We all live in some kind of world we create for ourselves. And I think that what happened is that built into that world were very enlarged expectations about what life was going to be. There's been this sensation of excessive expectation that, frankly, became unsustainable."

He had just returned from his ranch in the wilderness of central Idaho. "I just like it because it's massively low human density. It would be a place you could hole up in. But, gosh, I hope that doesn't happen."

Last week, not very far from the hedge fund manager's ranch, the billionaire John Malone gave a little-noticed interview to The Wall Street Journal from Allen & Co.'s annual Sun Valley conference. Asked about the biggest risks to Liberty, his media conglomerate, Mr. Malone said his concern was this country's survival. "We have a retreat that's right on the Quebec border. We own 18 miles on the border, so we can cross. Anytime we want to, we can get away."

His wife is more concerned: She's already moved her personal cash to Australia and Canada. "She wants to have a place to go," said Mr. Malone, No. 400 on this year's Forbes list of the richest people in the world, "if things blow up here." …

Part of what makes this second wave of gloom different is the sense that the rot isn't going anywhere. You read through The Times and worry that the country will sink into a third depression-Paul Krugman said a few weeks ago that it already has-unless the U.S. government does something serious. But then you think about where money for another stimulus would come from, and what will happen if trillion-dollar deficits get worse.

"I think that a lot of people are becoming realistic over the outlook, because let's face facts," said David Rosenberg, the chief economist and strategist at the investment firm Gluskin Sheff. "It's going to leave some pretty deep emotional scars, don't you think?" …

"Humans have this poignant desire to feel that we're in control," the hedge fund manager said. "I know there will be abrupt change." …

The New Doom: A Second Wave of Economic Pessimism Spreading Outside Wonkdom

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  1. Anonymous said...

    This "life" has always been unsustainable. There is nothing the modern world does that isn't.

    I have to laugh at the people that think they're going to run off into the woods and survive, especially these rich sloths. Just imagine what our wilderness areas are going to look like as they're invaded by 4x4's, RV's and gun-toting "survivalists" in about, oh three weeks or so after the "crash".

    They'll soon be eating each other after having decimated everything else.

    We all bought into the lie that this life was going to last forever, never realizing just have unbelievably fast we were destroying everything.

    There is a solution -- but as of yet, nobody wants to talk about it, let alone deal with it. ~Survival Acres~  


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