Social Volatility & the Increasingly Hollow Economy

Dawn J. Bennett, host of Financial Myth Busting with Dawn J. Bennett, recently wrote an article titled, “The Center Cannot Hold,” in which she discusses the connection between social unrest and the increasingly hollow economy we face.

In early July, the nation experienced a wave of senseless violence that left Americans in shock and disbelief. Two unarmed black men were fatally shot by police, which sparked protests across the country. The horror continued when a military veteran shot and killed five police officers and injured seven more during what began as a peaceful protest.

“I believe there is a connection between this societal volatility and our increasingly hollow economy,” said Dawn J. Bennett. “Wage stagnation, income inequality, economic insecurity… all of these play a part in creating the current combustible atmosphere.”

According to Bennett, the U.S. is already in a recession by so many measures. For instance, labor market conditions, the corporate bond market, and inventory accumulation are all recessionary. Not to mention, corporations are more leveraged now than they were in 2007, and though stock markets are hovering around record-highs, earnings have fallen to 2011/2012 levels. Meanwhile, “safe haven” investments increase, which shows the division in how the markets are being viewed.

“Zero or negative interest rates, combined with huge amounts of cash being pumped into the markets, led us into an extreme fantasy land, causing a speculative frenzy,” said Bennett. “However, the central bank tide that has raised all the boats of our markets feels not only like it’s about to recede, but even completely dry up and leave the boats sitting on sand.”

It’s human nature for Americans to turn to someone to place the blame on for this social and economic situation we’re in. But, who’s the real villain here?

“The first people we should point fingers at is… us,” said Bennett. “We claim to be victims, saying that we had no part in landing ourselves in this quagmire, but we need to accept personal responsibility, analyze our own role. If we made better choices in life and the voting booth, if we paid better attention, were more rational and wise and prudent and thoughtful, we wouldn’t be in this mess.”

She continued, “In the end, we cannot rely on Yellen, Obama, Clinton, Trump, or anyone else. Only we can make the changes in our lives and government that must be made if we are to once again look forward to a bright American future.”

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