On this Throwback Thursday, as part of our In case you missed it series, we are re-running a piece by The Privacy Advocate that presages the pending collapse of the financial systems....or does it? Wise words from March of 2018.

On April 15, 1185, over eight centuries ago, a powerful  earthquake struck the East Midlands region of England near the town of  Lincoln.

Modern scientists estimate the magnitude of the  earthquake at 5.0 on today's Richter scale… which was a pretty big deal  back then.

Medieval England didn't have any earthquake-proof construction methods, and much of the region was leveled to the ground.

One  of the structures that was destroyed was the Lincoln Cathedral. And the  new bishop, Hugh de Burgundy, launched a bold reconstruction project to  rebuild an even better cathedral using the latest advances in  architectural design and technology.

De Burgundy's successors kept  making improvements to the cathedral, until, in the mid-1300s, the  cathedral's spire was raised to 160 meters (525 feet), making it the  tallest structure in the world.

Curiously, a severe economic  crisis broke out across Europe soon after as the King of England  defaulted on his debts due to military setbacks in the 100 Years' War.

Fast  forward several centuries to the late 1700s, when, in the town of  Ditherington, England, the local flax mill took the title as the world's  tallest building in 1797.

That same year, a major economic crisis  began raging in Great Britain and the United States after a huge real  estate bubble burst. Banks and businesses in both countries suffered  major losses.

The completion of the Equitable Life Building in New  York City in the early 1870s, which became the tallest building in the  world, coincided with the Panic of 1873, and the Long Depression that  lasted for more than a decade.

The New York World tower broke the  record for tallest building in the world when it was completed in 1890…  which also happened to be the same year that the economic panic of 1890  broke out.

Philadelphia's city hall briefly held the record for  world's tallest building when it was completed just in time for the  Panic of 1893– a crisis so severe that the US Treasury Department had to  be bailed out.

The Met Life Insurance Tower in New York City  shattered the record for the world's tallest building when it was  completed in 1907, just as the Panic of 1907 broke out.

(The Panic of 1907 was so extreme that it led to the creation of the Federal Reserve a few years later.)

Another financial crisis erupted in 1914, just on the heels of New York's Woolworth Building becoming the tallest in the world.

And  on the eve of the Great Depression, multiple projects were all simultaneously competing to become the world's tallest building, including the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, and the  Manhattan Bank Trust Building (now known as the Trump Building).

The  construction of the World Trade Center and Chicago's Sears Tower in the early 1970s, both of which became the tallest buildings in the world,  immediately preceded the OPEC oil price shock in 1973 and the subsequent  banking crisis and economic recession.

The Petronas Towers were  completed in 1998 in Malaysia, taking the title as tallest in the world,  right before the Asian Financial Crisis broke out.

Construction  of the Taipei 101 tower, which became the tallest building in the world,  began just months before the Dot-Com bubble burst and the Recession of  the early 2000s began

And of course the Burj Khalifa in Dubai  became the world's tallest building when its height reached 688 meters  (2,257 feet) on 1 September 2008… literally days before Lehman Brothers  went bankrupt and the Global Financial Crisis kicked off.

Is all of this just a crazy coincidence?

Or is there perhaps a link to the world's tallest buildings and economic crises?

It  certainly stands to reason that enormous buildings are extremely  expensive and require vast amounts of funding– something that is  relatively easy to come by when the economy is near its cyclical peak.

Ego  and hubris are also abundant when an economy is near the top, as booms  and peaks are often accompanied by ostentatious displays of wealth–  including ambitious construction projects.

During the 12th and  13th centuries, for example, when Italian city-states were the dominant  powers of Europe, there was practically a competition among the richest  citizens of Bologna, who built as many as 180 towers to show off their  wealth.

By the mid 1300s, of course, Bologna's power faded, and the city fell into economic obscurity.

It's  interesting to consider given the flurry of new projects, mostly in  Asia, that are feverishly being constructed to rival the tallest  building in the world.

From the Goldin Finance tower in Tianjin  (to be completed this year), to the Wuhan Greenland Center (also 2018),  to the Jeddah Tower in Saudi Arabia (as early as 2019), there is no  shortage of hubris, or debt-based funding, to drive these projects to  record heights.

All of these new towers, of course, are being  built at a time when financial markets are near all-time highs and  global debt is at an astonishing, record level of $233 trillion– several  times the size of the global economy.

Certainly it's possible that these historical examples are just wild coincidences.

But even if that were the case, a prudent, rational person still ought to recognize that economic booms never last forever.

There  are always periods of expansion, followed by periods of recession. And  the more excessive the boom, the more painful the correction.

We've  been living through one of the longest periods of economic expansion in  modern history– one that has been funded by massive quantities of debt,  cheap interest rates, and trillions of dollars of new money conjured  out of thin air.

It would be utterly foolish to presume that this  expansion will persist forever… and to willfully choose to NOT prepare  for the inevitable downturn.

Originally published at www.sovereignman.com on March 9, 2018.

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