Value on the edge of a cliff — when wealth suddenly vanishes without trace — Part II

Dr Louis Arnoux
22 min readFeb 18, 2021

What all finance people should know to survive what’s in train since 2008 but never bothered to find out

As we explained in Part I, the above picture shows the what’s left of wealth once it has vanished. Some 2800 years later archaeologists dig them out and ponder. These are bronze axes from the transition from Bronze Age to Iron Age (à_douille_Riec-sur-Belon.jpg). The axes from this period, are found in the thousands in the Brittany and Normandy regions of France. They contain large amounts of lead rendering them useless for any practical purpose. Instead, they were hoarded as stores of wealth and prestige, as a form of proto-money. With the breakdown of Bronze Age civilisations and the transition to the Iron Age, their value vanished and the hoards were soon forgotten.

In a fairly near future, a similar fate awaits all current fiat currencies, most crypto currencies, and most existing wealth. Wealth holders, investors, financiers, bankers of all kinds would benefit to ponder.

In Part I, we reviewed the global cacophony of pronouncements about the ever-rising debt in the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic, how to finance responses to the Climate Emergency and other ecological threats, and the tsunami of Environmental and Social Governance funding (ESG) — all amounting to no more than a post-modern cargo cult. We contrasted this with a critical take on money, prices and the value of things as governed by social relationships, especially power relationships. We observed how wholly different matters were prior to the industrial revolution when both peasants and rural elites had a profound sense of how all value and wealth stemmed from harvesting energy from the sun, in the form of feed for animals and food for humans — wealth eventually stored in the form of gold and silver. With the emergence of modernity, this intuitive knowledge was lost. What prevails today, known as “economics”, is no more nor less than a dangerous perpetual motion machine fantasy completely disconnected from thermodynamic reality. We labelled it the Tooth Fairy syndrome, in recognition that it is steeped in magical thinking, belief in myths, all wrapped up in a semblance of rationality.

Dr Louis Arnoux

Louis is the catalyst and main author for the Fourth Transition Initiative and Cool Planet Foundation.