I’ve been starting my interviews and guest blogs for the upcoming launch of Silver Justice, my newest novel that will release on July 23. As part of that, I’ve been asked time and time again about the underlying framework for the novel, namely the cause of the 2008 financial crisis. The book is set in New York, and follows Silver Cassidy, an ass-kicking FBI Agent who’s running a serial killer task force that’s hunting a brutal murderer of financial industry players. A big part of the plot involves the slow unveiling of my supposedly fictional account of why the 2008 crisis happened, resulting in the worst recession in our lifetimes. I already know this is going to be a book that polarizes readers, who will either love it or hate it. It’s a shocking ride, and the conclusions it draws are disturbing at a very basic level. Many don’t like living in a world where things are deeply disturbing, so they’ll hate it, rather than becoming outraged or curious. I get that. It’s worth the risk.

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BREAKING NEWS: New in-depth interview with yours truly on craft, self-publishing and the price of coffee is worth a look.

NEWS: I was fortunate enough to be named one of the top 100 indie authors for the 3rd month in a row. #50.

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As part of writing it, I was forced to become somewhat of an expert on everything from Keynesian economics, to fiat currencies, to the creation of the Federal Reserve, to how and why the IRS was created and by whom, to why the gold standard mattered, to the reasons the dollar has lost 90+% of its buying power since 1971, to fractional reserve banking, to market manipulation and how arcane instruments like credit default swaps and other derivatives work. The tail wagged the dog in this case. By the time I was done, I became convinced of two things: 99.999% of all people have no idea why the middle class is being wiped out and the world is in the pooper and getting worse as we speak; and that that’s not accidental. The ignorance is by design. It’s encouraged, and there’s a big machine devoted to keeping reality from slipping into the equation.

Now, I can appreciate how there are many more important things to do than know about why the biggest financial calamity of our lifetimes took place. I mean, there are reality TV shows to follow, and claims that America’s got talent, and the search for the very best dance crew, whatever the hell that is. I get that most are otherwise occupied, and prefer to debate one political party’s invented rhetoric over the others, or consider which mammoth flat screen TV would look best in the living room. These are heady times. But it occurs to me that ignorance has an incredibly high cost. As an example, the Fed revealed a week or so ago that the average middle class family’s net worth has dropped to where it was in 1982, erasing 30 years of savings since the financial crisis in 2008. That means that if the average was $78K in 82, it is still $78K in 2012.

The ugly truth is that it’s much worse than that. An ounce of gold was $360 in 82. It’s now $1600. So it takes almost five times more dollars to buy the same commodity. That means that a dollar in 82 had five times the buying power it has today. So really, the middle class has lost five times its net worth from 82, when adjusted. The short version is that most of the wealth accumulated by the middle class over the last 40 years has been confiscated – stolen by the relentless erosion of inflation, and by the markets in 2008. (By the way, anyone who thinks measuring the value of the dollar against an ounce of gold is silly would be advised that until 1971, gold was money, for thousands of years. It was only once the US violated its agreement to stay on the gold standard, got caught doing it, and then abruptly announced it wasn’t honoring its agreement anymore, that the new folksy wisdom that ‘gold isn’t money’ started being advanced by the media. Until then, of course it was. FWIW, it still is. It’s just that a collection of uber-rich bankers have spent the last forty years trying to convince everyone that it isn’t, because otherwise people would rebel and demand that the money they are working like slaves for actually possess some actual worth, as opposed to a mere promise of steadily declining worth from the government.)

I also understand that blogs that aren’t railing against free books, or are pro-kitty, or that purport to offer writing tips, don’t get read as much. They aren’t as popular. Because most people’s heads hurt when they are required to think, and to consider any sort of a macro picture of reality that diverges from whatever is advanced as the truth by the media and its owners. People want to believe that the system works, and protects them, and even with its flaws is still the best ever. They have a lot of emotional investment in that idea. So even when a chink appears, and it become obvious that most or all of it is an obvious lie, human nature is to ignore the data, and instead focus on more pleasant things.

I’m here to tell you that there’s a cost to that. In real terms, it’s a cost where most will be wiped out within another 10 years, if they haven’t already been. By the statistics, I’m saying many already have been. But some haven’t. They think it’s all going to somehow get better. That’s because they are ignorant of what is actually taking place, and what the true drivers are. The precarious construct that is their reality has a very, very expensive price tag. And I’m afraid for most, the price will be everything they have – just as in the Great Depression, when millionaires (and there were many in the US by the late 20s) discovered after a few years that they were penniless, and owed everything to the bank. It was considered impossible until it happened. Right now, tell someone with a two million dollar home in Scottsdale or a one million dollar home in New Jersey or a five hundred grand home in San Diego that they could be close to penniless in no time, and they would sneer. Just as people sneered in the 20s.

The research I did for Silver Justice has changed my perception of reality to the point that virtually anything is possible, and it appears that the real powers that be are hell bent on destroying the prosperity of the middle class, just as they did in the Great Depression (about which I could write a book). And my hope is that Silver Justice gets enough traction so that it makes people question the illusory status quo and wonder how much in it could actually be true. While I’m normally aggressively self-promotional in a transparent way, this book is different, and so is this blog. I’ll write another one when it launches, but let me just say that what I’ve learned has me pretty glum about many peoples’ chances moving forward, unless there’s a massive change in the majority’s awareness. The only hope is that they figure this out while there’s still time. Silver Justice is my small effort to move people in the direction of that requisite awareness. We shall see whether it has any effect.

End of rant. For now.

For a synopsis of Silver Justice, as well as a short interview, click here.

 

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Comments

  1. Sat 07th Jul 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Have you read “The Creature From Jekyll Island”? Not fun reading, but eye-opening.

    Reply
    • Russell Blake  –  Sat 07th Jul 2012 at 6:09 pm

      Of course. One of the books I recommend for a background of how the world really works. Another brilliant one is The Fruits of Graft. Should be required reading in any college economics class. But of course, never will be.

      Reply
      • Tim Dittmer  –  Sat 07th Jul 2012 at 6:19 pm

        I could see you heading this way in The Manuscript. A little different from my own cynical and jaded viewpoint, but in the neighborhood. Push on. Push on.

        Reply
  2. Sun 08th Jul 2012 at 7:23 pm

    Again, love the macroecon in an author’s blog. People are too complacent, sometimes, when reality is too harsh. Can’t wait to read your book.

    Reply
    • Russell Blake  –  Sun 08th Jul 2012 at 8:50 pm

      Thanks, Lillian. I’m not just a pretty face in a man thong and a bandana. Mostly. Although let’s not discount that, either.

      Reply
  3. Mon 09th Jul 2012 at 8:31 am

    Well Done!
    I’ve been writing about the concept in my little weekly newspaper column for years.
    I hope you sell millions of this one.
    All the Best,

    Susannah

    Reply
    • Russell Blake  –  Mon 09th Jul 2012 at 11:11 am

      So do I. Then the question is how to get it out of dollars…

      Appreciate the warm wishes.

      Reply
  4. Mon 09th Jul 2012 at 10:33 am

    Russell,
    You are so bang on it’s scary.
    Many years ago I read a novel called the Jesus Factor. The plot, though fascinating, doesn’t relate to the point I would like to make here – namely, in the book, there was short blurb about government’s plan to keep the population calm as it careened toward the ultimate disaster. The plan was simple. Show porn on all TV channels.
    It appears the plan has been implemented, after a fashion.
    Keep up the fantastic work, my friend.
    Bert

    Reply
    • Russell Blake  –  Mon 09th Jul 2012 at 11:22 am

      Thanks for the kind words.

      Yes, the dumbing down of the masses has been underway ever since the government became some kind of mercurial parent whose job it is to educate the citizenry. Of course it will decide that the version of reality taught from the earliest days will be its spin. I never learned in high school about us knowing about Pearl Harbor in advance, or that Gulf of Tonkin never happened, or that the Spanish American war was started after a boiler on one of our ships exploded and we told the world we were attacked. I didn’t know that Nixon was legally obligated under Breton Woods to keep the dollar on the gold standard, and that he only took it off after the French caught us red handed having violated our agreement and lied to the rest of the world. I read a few paragraphs in high school about how the government lied to and broke every treaty it ever had with the Indians, but I thought that was some distant past and we were above that. I had no idea that was the modus operendi. Living outside of the US now for almost a decade, I can understand why many cultures dislike America. It isn’t because we have the hottest blondes, or that they are jealous of the US lifestyle and its freedoms. It is because they have a different version of history than that taught in American schools – one that is much closer to the truth. And they view the American government, as opposed to the American people, as a crooked, corrupt, malevolent entity that routinely violates the rights of others, goes to war to further its selfish interests (as in Iraq, and Afghanistan – the longest war in American history, but one that was never declared – shades of Russia), which largely involves furthering the interests of its banking and corporate puppeteers.

      That’s why other countries dislike us. We were supposed to bring in a new era of stability with the dollar being stable, we violated that, knowingly and willfully, and the rest of the planet has suffered since then. Everyone loses, including Americans, but you’ll never hear that on CNBC or the WSJ or any of the other controlled media outlets. They keep the approved spin going at all costs.

      Once you’re out of there for a while, it becomes very obvious. Just as the images of singing tractor workers in the USSR were ludicrous from the outside, but taken as gospel within the country. The machine knows that most won’t think critically, and will believe whatever is advanced. Very much like the Matrix – plug in and enjoy the reality that’s entirely illusory, or take the red pill and see the truth – which is always unpleasant. I took the red pill. Problem is once taken you can never go back.

      Great film for that reason, BTW. Right up there with Fahrenheit 451 as thinly veiled social commentary.

      Reply
  5. Mon 09th Jul 2012 at 8:20 pm

    It’s been so many years ago, I don’t remember when I took the red pill. Once, in frustration, I pretended that I hadn’t taken it – of course that was a waste of time – you can’t untake it, even for a minute –
    I do have a fantsy where I wake up on a day when, half the world took it, by mistake, with their orange juice.
    Keep up the fine work – I’m looking forward to your new book.

    Reply
    • Russell Blake  –  Tue 10th Jul 2012 at 3:07 pm

      The curse of the red pill is a profound one.

      Reply
  6. Tue 10th Jul 2012 at 9:56 am

    It is mind boggling how much we novelists have to learn in research to write a novel. As was said in the past,
    “Fiction can change the direction of mankind’s thinking”
    and I still believe it.
    We as novelists are not perfect thinkers, but deep thinkers and I laugh at the sneers a bad reviewer gives books, many my own for writing any form of back story.. “What a waste of reading time”!!!
    Europe is in a posituion the US. will be in about 2-3 years time. A very small middle class with mostly poor workers working for scraps thrown out by the rich.
    Sounds like mankind a few centuries ago?
    What worries me as an author is that the market of intelligent readers could be getting smaller. Readers of tomorrow don’t want reality, but death and action from page one and non-stop heart racing fantasy stories to the very end.
    Also the ease of a review seems so stupid these days. Anybody who decides to give a review less than halfway into a book is not a reviewer- just somebody who has a gripe that you didn’t write the novel just for them.

    I think your next novel is spot on and I will be looking forward to read it.

    With every form of downhill motion humanity begins, there are many who peddle against the slope and head the other way. I expect to be one and hopefuly we still have an intelligent reading market a decade or so from now.
    Our job of fictional writers is to keep humanity sane!

    Reply
    • Russell Blake  –  Tue 10th Jul 2012 at 3:06 pm

      In the end, we are all dust. I would really hate it if I had kids, though. What’s the world going to look like in 50 years? Not good, I think. This will be the first generations where kids have far lower prospects than their parents. We are already seeing that. Not a good trend.

      Reply
  7. Tue 10th Jul 2012 at 11:39 am

    Yeah I studied these figures as parts of my economics course at University. They really scared me.

    Reply
    • Russell Blake  –  Tue 10th Jul 2012 at 3:05 pm

      They should scare any thinking person. There is no way the math works in any way but either sovereign default, or runaway inflation. I believe it will wind up being the latter. I think the rich are wisely using their virtually infinite pile of dollars right now to buy hard assets that will maintain value once it really goes parabolic. For all the headlines about deflation, I am not seeing it. I’m seeing food and energy costing way more this year than it did three years ago. I’m seeing health care costing way more. So the essentials are steadily increasing in price, for all the talk being that they are decreasing, which is what deflation would be. The truth is that inflation and deflation are purely money supply and velocity issues, and there is no way to increase the amount of liquidity as has been done without inflation being the end result. It will just take time to work through the system, but it’s as sure as death and taxes.

      Reply
  8. Linda Q
    Wed 18th Jul 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Loved the book. Was fascinated and disturbed by your presentation of the financial industry and government (lack of) oversight. I’ve been appalled for years at how our govt regulates our lives, but fails in their most basic responsibilities. They continue to create additional laws that they don’t bother to follow or enforce.

    The problem is that the issues are so large and overwhelming, that, as an individual, it doesn’t seem like there is anything we can do. Our elected representatives are not doing their jobs. Frequently, our choice on election day is the lesser of the evils, not selecting a truly qualified candidate. Very frustrating.

    Keep writing – I love your thought provoking books. Maybe if enough people read them, they’ll start thinking for themselves and looking at things critically (ok, I know that’s a pipe dream – lol).

    Reply
  9. Aine
    Thu 19th Jul 2012 at 6:42 am

    I will buy your Silver Justice when it comes out and will put a link to this blog on my FACEBOOK pages, so that perhaps some of my friends can take time out from cute pictures to read your rant.

    Reply
  10. Fri 31st Aug 2012 at 5:58 pm

    Some excellent advice here. I suspect some who are just starting out (like me) will baulk a bit at the cost of getting a cover made. And the cost of an editor (though my god it would save SO much heartache!) For formatting yes, it’s a nightmare. Even when you buy that it can STILL be a nightmare (as I’m discovering).

    All in all, excellent advice. ;-{}

    Reply

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