Done in by Debt

An Englishman has been done in by debt. “Dereck Rawson committed suicide in May after amassing 100,000 pounds in credit card debt,” reports the Daily Express.

“Another recent high-profile case involved a penniless pensioner with 20 cards who suffered a mental breakdown brought on by the stress of a 30,000 pound debt,” continued the Express. Apparently, the old man was perfectly at ease having no money.

The news prompted credit card companies to agree to a voluntary program of credit restraint. Swapping information on their customers, they agreed to limit each client to a maximum of six credit cards.

Old friend Doug Casey tells us that the government of Argentina is adding to its gold reserves. “The purchase is significant because before the most recent Argentine crisis, their central bank kept 100% of their reserves in dollars. This proved disastrous when the dollar stumbled from mid-2000 to early 2003 [when their reserves bottomed out at $8.3 billion].”

What the Argentines don’t know about worthless currencies is probably not worth knowing. They must “see the handwriting on the wall when it comes to the U.S. dollar,” Doug writes.

“Church reviews its policy on ethical investments,” reads a headline in today’s Daily Telegraph.

The Church of England has been unwilling to invest in weapons, pornography, gambling, alcohol, tobacco or newspapers. We understand about the newspapers; why encourage people to waste their time? But why the Church would have a position against tobacco is a mystery.

Still, the Church of England takes a flexible view of vice, at least where there’s money to be made. Church commissioners “are reviewing their ethical investment policy to ensure that they are maximizing their returns,” says the Telegraph. With 3.9 billion pounds to invest, there is a lot of money at stake. Commissioners say their policies have cost the Church an estimated 70 million pounds over the last 6 1/2 years. Church finances are said to be in a “parlous state,” requiring cutbacks of clergy posts. Commissioners say their policies may have been “overscrupulous.”

“Any fool can be brave on a battlefield,” said Ashley Wilkes in Gone with the Wind.

On the other hand, alone, in the dark of night, even breathing can take courage.

Christopher Reeve, RIP.

Bill Bonner [send him mail] is the author, with Addison Wiggin, of Financial Reckoning Day: Surviving the Soft Depression of The 21st Century.