Daily Reckoning contributor James Howard Kunstler has peered into his own crystal. It presents a scene of horror, of dismal portents:
If 2021 was the year of maximum corruption, political decadence and [lunacy] in U.S. history, 2022 is looking like a convulsive snapback to the harrowing rigors of reality, spiked with shocking losses, reckonings and not a little retribution for the rogues and reprobates who drove our country into a ditch? Welcome to the banquet of consequences.
These and other ghoulish visions parade before his disbelieving eyes:
After two decades of papering over our inability to pay for running our society, the Federal Reserve has finally achieved old-school inflation ? the destruction of money itself ? not just the pumping up of share prices, their specialty for so many years?
What I predict for 2022 is that the Federal Reserve will embark on a much-heralded tightening program ? and then abandon it at the first sign of trouble, the inevitable stock market downturn. Then the Fed will be back to buying our own debt paper and attempting to stuff interest rates back down, if they can, which may not be possible anymore. The Fed soon loses all control over American money. They may try to retire ?old? dollars and replace them with ?new? dollars backed by something, gold and silver being the obvious candidates. That will lead to a severe upward repricing of both metals. Let?s predict gold at $5,000 and silver at $200 by the end of 2022.
What of Bitcoin?
I kind of doubt Bitcoin and its imitators will survive a whole lot longer after the financial system is forced to recalibrate to reality. They have thrived solely as targets of speculation. The blockchain is very clever, but ultimately Bitcoin and its ilk represent? nothing? no-thing(s). They attracted a lot of money that was just sloshing around the system during the years of artificial pseudo-prosperity, and that?s over. Anyway, they depend utterly on a stable internet and electric grid to function and you?d be surprised at the fragility lurking in both those systems. Early 2022 may be your last chance to get out of Bitcoin with anything to show for your adventures in it.
How many of James? projections will manifest this year? All of them? None of them? One of them?
The Year of Breakdown
Another Daily Reckoning contributor ? Charles Hugh Smith ? divines that 2022 will be the ?Year of Breakdown?:
Predictions are hard, especially about the future, but let's look at what we already know about 2022. Viewed from Earth orbit, 2022 is Year 14 of extend and pretend and too big to fail, too big to jail and Year 2 of global supply chains break and energy shortages?
I often refer to first-order and second-order effects, and that's the story that will be told in 2022 with explosive results. First-order effects: Actions have consequences. Second-order effects: Those consequences have consequences?
2022 is the year that the second-order effects come home to roost: All the risk that has been transferred to the financial system as a whole will generate consequences the Fed and other central banks are unable to control. The stupendously toxic incentives to speculate will generate consequences the Fed and other central banks are unable to control. The stupendously toxic wealth inequality will generate consequences the Fed and other central banks are unable to control?
If we look at the fragility and instability of essential systems, it's clear that 2022 will be the year of breakdown.
Indonesia Bans Coal Exports to Head Off Blackouts

Over the weekend, Indonesia?s government announced that it was banning coal exports for the month of January, after supplies at domestic power plants fell to critically low levels, raising the risk of widespread blackouts.

Despite being the world?s biggest exporter of thermal coal, having exported some 400 million tons in 2020, Ridwan Jamaludin, an official at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, announced that the government was prioritizing local power generation capacity.