Monday, December 23, 2013

Rome Did Not Fall in a Day

The following chart shows the natural log of real disposable personal income per capita. Once again, constant exponential growth shows up as a straight line when using natural logs.


Click to enlarge.

There are at least a few things worth considering.

1. Due to rising income inequality, the typical person isn't doing nearly as well as this chart would suggest.

2. As automation takes on more and more human work, how will billions of people find employment? How much of this is seen in the chart?

3. The trend is definitely not a straight line. It is curving downwards with a very high correlation of 0.993. If the current trend continues, then we'll peak in 2058 (45 years from now). That's a big if. If I'm alive to see it, I'll be 94 years old. That's another big if.

4. It is mathematically impossible for this upside down parabolic trend to continue forever. There must be a failure at some point. If nothing else, I don't think any rational person would expect real disposable personal income per capita to ever fall below zero. That would happen in 2164. This would certainly not be the first failure we've seen in recent years. We live in the era of long-term trend failures.

5. Any failure would probably be to the downside, since that is the direction the data is being pulled (much like a camel's back when more and more weight is placed upon it).

6. Contrary to some, I therefore definitely believe that the long-term future is not so bright that I gotta wear shades.

“I believe in making the world safe for our children, but not our children's children, because I don't think children should be having sex.” - Jack Handey

Japan (our partner in ZIRP crime) must love Jack Handey quotes.

December 23, 2013
Japan’s Diaper Shift and Global Population Trends

As I concluded: “…world population could peak sooner and begin declining well below the 10 billion currently projected for the close of the 21st century.”

For what it is worth, I'm very much a believer in the theory. In some ways, we're like locusts and the lowest hanging fruit has already been eaten (USA prosperity analogy). I know it sounds grim, but that's what I believe. The good news is that I'm thankful every day that I was born where and when I was.

As seen in the chart, I'm not at all convinced that our children's children will be quite as thankful. It isn't that I think they will be unhappy being born in America. Far from it. I simply question the timing. It's not like I would tell them to move to China. Let's just put it that way.

Source Data:
St. Louis Fed: Custom Chart

9 comments:

Stagflationary Mark said...

Part of the climb was due to women entering the workforce. Two people working per household definitely tends to raise per capita income. That tailwind is becoming a headwind though.

It's yet another long-term trend that's rolling over.

Rob Dawg said...

The poors, they needs to dies faster.

Stagflationary Mark said...

Rob Dawg,

When Is Peasant Season?

The peasant season starts on October 1st , but in practice very few peasants are shot before the end of October & indeed the size & quality can be poor in that month. The glut of herds tends to start about two weeks into November & that is when the price generally falls.

Gallows humor. Sigh.

Rob Dawg said...

I always found late January best. Fat and lazy from a holiday binge. Seasonal layoffs. New tax laws. The weak get desperate and break from the norm. Hopefully this hunting season there is fat to flense from the carcases.

Stagflationary Mark said...

Rob Dawg,

I always found late January best.

I bought my house in late January of 1997. I think you are right. I'm an easy target now. I've lost mobility. More and more peasant hunters seem to have figured out where I live.

Fortunately, we've got a 50+ pound bird dog (lab mix). I say bird dog somewhat tongue in cheek. She had a 5 ounce parrot accidentally fall off the couch and onto her back once.

Our bird never admitted it was an accident of course. It was all just a part of her grand design apparently. From our dog Honey's perspective, that's 5 ounces of sheer terror. Bird personal space is very much respected.

Seriously. I could put both our big dog and our small bird on the floor in a very small room together. I wouldn't though. We love our pets too much to torture our bird dog like that! Hahaha! :)

Rob Dawg said...

Our kittehs are each athletic in their own ways. The little girl is wiry. Could take down anything twice her size but prefers discretion. The bully boy is mostly fur but all Norwegian Forest Cat. Yes, a real breed. Climbs anything that doesn't catch on his belly. The other boy is sleek and smooth and mellow. He'd just snag a mouse or lizard as he passed.

Were our civilization to collapse to them it would mean drinking from the toilet from necessity rather than preference.

Stagflationary Mark said...

Rob Dawg,

Were our civilization to collapse to them it would mean drinking from the toilet from necessity rather than preference.

Cat flushing our money down the toilet

Hahaha! :)

Luke Smith said...

Merry Christmas?

Stagflationary Mark said...

Luke Smith,

Perhaps? ;)