As noted in the introductory text, my model is based on a combination of the Kondratieff wave, Elliott waves, Austrian economics, and the law against recessions. Austrian economics is the basis for everything, but is not called out explicitly here because it is just background information. The Kondratieff wave and/or Elliott waves, along with the consequences of the enforcement of the law against recessions, are the basis for describing the specifics of what is going on at any given time.
What is the Kondratieff wave?
Nikolai Kontratieff (1892-1938) was a Russian who came up with an observation that capitalist economies go through cycles that consist of four phases – growth, stagnation, disinflation (the plateau phase), and then depression. The entire cycle lasts several decades. I have seen it postulated that the cycle is related to the span of a human lifetime – which may explain why the cycle seems to be longer these days (it was originally estimated to be about 50 years long – it seems that it can go up to about 80 years, at least in modern times).
The four phases are –
1. Growth – the initial growth period coming out of the previous depression.
2. Stagnation – the growth reaches a point where it is not sustainable anymore and inflation gets out of hand.
3. Disinflation – the inflation is wrung back out of the system (often by way of a recession) and then there is a period of declining inflation with lower real economic growth than during the Growth phase. This is the period during which financial markets go way up – leaving the people with a feeling of great prosperity even though actual growth is lower than during the Growth phase and the people are not actually as much better of as they feel they are. That is why it is also referred to as the plateau phase.
4. Depression – Circumstances in the Disinflation phase finally reach the point where the financial markets can’t keep going up anymore, so they start going down in a big way, and the Disinflation also finally reaches a point where it tips into deflation. Also, commodity prices, which peak at the end of the Stagnation phase and then decline again during the Disinflation phase, start going up again in a big way, which helps tip the economy into a downturn.
The previous Kondratieff cycle ended in the late 1940’s. In the current one, the growth phase lasted from the late 1940’s until about 1966, the stagnation phase lasted from about 1966 until 1982, the disinflation (i.e., plateau) phase lasted from 1982 until 2000, and the depression phase of the current cycle started in 2000.
Why have we not ended up in a depression yet?
Probably in response to the recession of the early 1970’s, a law (called Humphrey-Hawkins) was passed by Congress in 1978 that stipulates low inflation at full employment (in other words, in effect, a law against recessions). The law tasked the Federal Reserve (the Fed) with ensuring that another recession (and by extension, another depression) would not happen again. In the late 1970's, essentially as soon as the law was passed, inflation took off, so the Fed had to deal with that first - and when that had been accomplished by way of a bad recession in the early 1980's, the Fed went back to fighting recessions. (Actually, the downturn would have happened anyway – see item 3, Disinflation, above – but common lore has it that the Fed engendered the recession of the early 1980’s to wring the inflation out of the system; actually, all the Fed did was to play along with what would have happened anyway.)
From the early 1980's onward, the Fed focused on full employment (since consumer price inflation was falling – that was the beginning of the disinflation phase).
Until the fall of 1987, things pretty much went on their own - but then came the stock market crash of 1987. The job of the Fed was (and is) now to keep things going no matter what, so the Fed made the "we will provide all the necessary liquidity" announcement on the evening after the stock market crash and things went right back up after that and kept going from there (because confidence was restored).
Then came the oil war of the early 1990's - and a recession was unavoidable. But as soon as that was over with, the Fed was right back to getting the economy going again.
During the 1990's, every time the economy wanted to falter, the Fed provided the necessary liquidity and things came back up again (and because the economy had transitioned from phase 2, the growth phase, to phase 3, the plateau phase, of the Kondratieff cycle during the late 1970's/early 1980's, the increased liquidity went primarily into the stock market, rather than into consumer prices, so the stock market went up, eventually way up, and consequently confidence was maintained).
When the economy wanted to falter in 1998 again, the Fed pumped the system again, and the result was that the stock market went into the stratosphere, essentially going exponential (in the big picture) at that point. The economy developed tremendous momentum - in effect, it went into a bubble (just like the stock market did during that time). Then the Fed pumped even more money into the system as insurance against Y2K - which made the market go up even more - and then the Fed withdrew that money after the 1st of the year (in 2000) when it became apparent that Y2K had not been a problem.
That was when the first hint of stock market downturn came - the market turned down when the Y2K money was taken out.
Later in the year, the market went down more - but Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's attitude was that "the Fed's job is to keep the economy going, not to keep the stock market going - as long as the economy is doing fine, we will let the stock market do what it wants to, we are not here to provide guaranteed profits to speculators." So the Fed let the stock market go down. (The economy continued, I think, simply because of sheer momentum from the late 1990's.)
However, by the end of 2000/beginning of 2001, it was becoming clear from the statistics that the economy was beginning to be affected in the context of the stock market downturn - so Greenspan started cutting interest rates aggressively at the beginning of 2001 in a bid to prevent the stock market downturn from impacting the economy. As 2001 wore on and it became apparent that the stimulative effect was not being passed through quickly enough, Greenspan cut even more - and the stock market went sideways in the process. Essentially, the economy was just coasting along, not going up much, or down, under the circumstances.
Then came the attacks of 9/11 - and the stock market had to be closed. When the market re-opened a week later, the market crashed because of all the sell orders that had accumulated in the meantime. However, the Fed made efforts to stabilize the market (and the economy) anyway, and once confidence was restored, the market went back up and so did the economy (the economy flat-lined at zero growth in the aftermath of 9/11, but then went back up again, eventually quite smartly, i.e., even at a high rate of growth for a time).
Once the market and the economy had gone back up, Greenspan explicitly stated, in a speech at the beginning of the year a few years ago, that the stock market could not be allowed to go back down again (because of the impact that would have on confidence and the economy, given what had happened in the meantime, both in the stock market and in the society).
In the time since then until Greenspan's term ended, the stock market went essentially sideways (at a high level) and the economy has been maintained at a positive rate of growth, which varied over the course of time, but stayed definitely positive. The reason for the positive growth rate was very simple - and very specific. The highest (nominal) growth rates reported by the Fed were at the times of the highest federal deficits (in real-time). In other words, the growth rates were deficit-driven - and still are. The growth rate is now way down, but so are the reported deficits (and, in fact, the growth rate is down even more than the deficit) - and if there were to be no deficit, the reported growth rate would probably be zero (or, more likely, less). In other words, the government is spending us into positive growth rates - and the national debt is rising accordingly (going exponential, slowly but surely - we are in a massive knee of an exponential right now that is lasting a few years, the exponential is so big).
In the meantime, Greenspan's term has ended and a new Federal Reserve chairman has been sworn in - a former Princeton University economics professor (who earned his Ph.D. at MIT) named Ben Bernanke who, according to his biography, is regarded as the country's resident expert (among economists) on the Great Depression. In other words, it is obvious why he was picked as the next Fed chairman - he is to ensure that the country does not suffer another economic downturn, despite the fact that we are due, time-wise, for another depression. (The Kondratieff cycle, among other methods, predicts that.) The idea is, apparently, that we won't do the sorts of things that got us into the Great Depression of the 1930's and, therefore, we will avoid getting into a depression this time.
However, Ben Bernanke had a few slip-ups early in his tenure, a tenure which started at the end of January 2006, and so the stock market went down a little in the context of those slip-ups (and, even, really, in response to those). Once Bernanke got his footing, the stock market went up and has held up quite well ever since - and the Fed has made clear that it intends to make sure that there is no significant stock market downturn for the foreseeable future. So far, they are doing it (as of early February 2007).
As for the other markets (besides the stock market), the Fed could, generally-speaking, not care less about those and that is why those markets are operating 'normally' (i.e., in terms of what market traders expect as normal operation price-wise). As long as confidence is maintained - and, therefore, the stock market stays up (as well as vice-versa) - the Fed could not care less what happens to the other markets (within reason - for example, the Fed does not want the currency markets to get too out of whack) because most people do not follow those other markets at all; as long as the Dow stays up (and gas prices don't go TOO high), most people will be happy and will not even notice all the other stuff that is going on.
So, precious metals prices can be up (they are, dramatically, since 2001), industrial metals prices can be up, in some cases way up (they are), quite a number of other commodity prices are up since 2001, and the Fed does not care (it lets those prices do what they want) because most people do not pay any attention to them and so confidence is maintained.
In terms of the Kondratieff cycle, we have transitioned from phase 3 (plateau phase) to phase 4 (depression phase) sometime around the year 2000 - and commodity prices are up accordingly (commodity prices rise near the beginning of phase 4, as part of the start of it). However, normally, stock prices fall in the early part of phase 4 - but because having that affect the economy would portend a loss of confidence and the Fed is supposed to keep things going at all costs, which means keeping confidence going no matter what (and the Fed had the perceived power by 2000 to keep the economy going, given what had happened in the previous 20 years, which convinced people that the Fed had the capability to keep the economy going if the Fed did the right things), the Fed did what it needed to do to prevent the stock market downturn of the early 2000’s from affecting the economy (too much) and does what it needs to do in the meantime, now that the stock market has come back up, to ensure that the stock market stays high so confidence will not be lost. Consequently, the normal transition from phase 3 to phase 4 of the Kondratieff cycle has not been allowed to happen - only the parts that will not crash confidence have been allowed to happen.
In other words, the Fed is propping the stock market up artificially in a bid to prevent a major economic downturn from setting in - which probably also means that when the Fed can't do that anymore, a truly major economic downturn will set in (and the Fed has already specified scenarios in which that can and will happen in the not tremendously distant future if the politicians do not change the way they are operating).
As Greenspan has said before, and Bernanke has been saying in his time in office as Fed chairman so far, the Fed will continue to do its part in holding up the bargain of keeping economic growth going (more specifically, full employment at low inflation, within reason). As long as the politicians do the same thing (hold up their end of the bargain), economic growth will be maintained - but the Fed has already repeatedly told the politicians what they have to do (because those things are legally in the purview of the Congress, not of the Federal Reserve) and, of course, the politicians are NOT doing those and that is why the Fed keeps warning them, and the Fed has already noted, repeatedly, that if the politicians do not change their ways (i.e., get budget circumstances back into line), the system will not hold up despite the best efforts of the Fed. I think the system will not hold up, but I also think it might be a few years before the situation builds up to the point where the system can't hold up anymore (I think no later than 2010). The time is not far off, in terms of years, but we are not there yet.
(I will note that in the context of letting the other markets do what they want, but preventing the stock market from going back down, the idea is apparently that as long as the other markets are allowed to operate freely, we have a free-market capitalist system, rather than a communist system; the fact that the stock market is controlled does not play into the picture because at least most of the rest of the markets aren't controlled, at least in terms of being heavily controlled, so as long as the amount of control, overall, is very limited, we can still claim to have a capitalist free-market system. We are just trying to smooth out the bumps that can occur along the way, as the saying goes.)
Note: The Humphrey-Hawkins law has expired in the meantime (in 2000), but the Federal Reserve has made very clear that it intends to continue to operate in the spirit of the law, which is also why the Fed chairman continues to report to Congress twice a year on the state of the economy, testimony that used to be called the Humphrey-Hawkins testimony, but which is now simply called the semi-annual report to Congress (done once in the winter and once in the summer). (Operating in the spirit of the law is also why the Fed continues to do the once-every-six-weeks FOMC meetings.)
However, there are also other external circumstances (that the Fed has no control over) that can result in an upset of the markets, and even the financial system, and happenings such as the stock market sell-off in Shanghai and the problems in the sub-prime mortgage market in the United States can certainly be such a trigger – as actual sell-offs in the market (also world-wide, i.e., in the rest of the world) make evident.
Note in the summer of 2008: The high gas and food prices that have developed in 2008 are certainly doing it – in addition to the problem in the real estate market, which has been festering for a couple of years already, and the upset in the financial system that started in early August 2007 and the resulting credit crunch. It should be noted that although most people did not become aware of the crisis in the housing market until the spring of 2008, it had in fact been festering for a couple of years already.
Note on Wednesday September 24, 2008 – As of the middle of last week, the credit crunch has developed into a full-blown seizing up of the credit markets, as I knew it eventually would, it was just a matter of time. The country is now in a full-blown financial crisis, as I knew would eventually be the case, and massive and absolutely unprecedented efforts are being made to try to get back out of it. The Fed has gone to extraordinary measures during the first few days – and as of a few days ago, the federal government itself has intervened with a proposed massive bailout plan in an effort to stem the crisis. The bailout plan, currently pegged at $700 billion, must be approved by Congress – and it remains to be seen if that will happen (there is apparently very significant opposition). I will note that the issues surrounding the plan have been brought up extensively in the media during the past few days and it is clear to most people in the meantime that we have a massive problem, one way or the other. If the bailout plan passes, even that is regarded as quite a problem, given its sheer size and the fact that all of it will be borrowed money, thereby adding to the country’s already massive federal debt. Moreover, there were other much smaller, but still quite large, bailouts of individual companies in the past several days, which were done in an effort to restore confidence. Unfortunately, such has not happened yet – and, in fact, the bailout of American International Group, the large insurer usually known by its initials AIG, was initially pegged at $40 billion when private bailout efforts were underway, but ended up being $85 billion when the Fed took it over just a day or two later, which resulted in a further lack of confidence, rather than a boost to confidence. I think that was probably because of the sheer size of the bailout and probably also because of how quickly the bailout amount grew. I suspect the current proposed federal bailout of the entire economy will also not restore confidence, simply because of its sheer size and scope. There is already strong evidence that that is the case. In fact, according to my methods, the time for confidence is over with – and that appears to be the case, but it remains to be seen how the $700 billion federal bailout of the entire system will play itself out and what the reactions will be. So far, the bailout is just a proposal.
Note on Friday October 3, 2008 – The bailout bill failed in the House (by 23 votes) on Monday September 29. As soon as the bailout bill failed, the stock market started tanking, and ultimately the Dow went down 777 points on the day. In response, there was a mad scramble by the politicians to try to come up with a version of the bill that would pass – and also a decision to have the Senate vote on it first (because more Senators could vote yes on it without having to worry about voters because they are not up for re-election this November; only one-third of the Senate is up for re-election every election cycle). The Senate vote happened on Wednesday – and the new bill passed by a wide margin there. Then the House voted on the new bill on Friday – and also passed it by a wide margin (the word was that many politicians who voted against it on Monday were scared by what happened in the stock market after the bill failed in the House on Monday). But, interestingly, what happened after the vote in the House on Friday was a classic case of “buy the rumor, sell the fact” – as soon as it was clear that the bill had passed the House, the stock market started falling, and kept doing so for the rest of the day, ultimately closing down more than 150 points on the day. I think what happened – and this was confirmed by reports on the internet later – was that as soon as the vote was over with, the traders started focusing on economic news out there, all of which on the day before the vote in the House and on the day of the vote in the House was bad. When the traders came to that realization – and realized that it indicated that the economy was accelerating downward faster than the bailout package could probably keep up with it, in part because they realized that the bailout package would probably take at least several weeks to implement (weeks that the economy probably does not have anymore) – the traders decided to get out and be safe rather than take a chance on things.
Note on Monday October 6, 2008 – The market was dramatically lower today. The Dow was down some 400 points by only about an hour into the day and down some 800 points later in the day, to nearly 9,500. Then, in the final hour, the market recovered some, even briefly making it slightly above 10,000 again late in the day – but the traders could not hold that, the market dropped back below 10,000 in the final couple of minutes (I think they were trying to get it to close above 10,000 despite the big drop – they failed). According to news reports, several more banks in Europe had to be bailed out over the weekend – and I think that spooked the traders; by Monday morning, most just wanted out, and we got a big sell-off accordingly. I think that is the beginning of the big sell-off that I have been anticipating for a long time already. The traders had time over the weekend to think about what happened on Friday – and then more bank failures happened (in Europe – which probably gave them the sense the crisis was spreading), which probably just confirmed their worst fears. So when Monday came along, all they wanted to do was get out. There are thousands of stocks on the New York Stock Exchange – and according to reports that I read on Monday morning, very, very few of them were going up. The selling pressure was immense. A time that I have been expecting for a long time has now arrived.
What are they?
Elliott waves happen at all degrees of trend. As such, they reflect circumstances in the time-frame of the Kondratieff wave as well as circumstances at larger time scales, even much larger time scales, and also smaller time scales, even much smaller time scales (all the way down to a tiny fraction of a day). Elliott waves (which were first documentably observed by Ralph Nelson Elliott in the 1930’s) have historically been used to analyze financial markets, although they can be (and, in the meantime, are) used to analyze other measurable social phenomena that involve masses of people (see Elliott Wave International and Socionomics).
An Elliott wave, nominally, consists of the following –
Wave 1 – the first impulse wave (up in a bull market, down in a bear market on the degree of scale under discussion)
Wave 2 – the first corrective wave (usually a sharp wave in the opposite direction from that of the first impulse wave)
Wave 3 – the second impulse wave (up in a bull market, down in a bear market on the degree of scale under discussion)
Wave 4 – the second corrective wave (usually a sideways wave in the opposite direction from that of the impulse waves)
Wave 5 – the third impulse wave (up in a bull market, down in a bear market on the degree of scale under discussion)
Waves 1, 3 and 5 also consist of impulse waves. They have the same set of waves just described, but at a lower degree of scale. (Elliott waves are fractal – they look the same in form, nominally, no matter what degree of scale they are on.)
Waves 2 and 4 are corrective waves – and, as such, have only three waves, not five, which are labeled A, B and C. However, waves A and C are impulsive waves and are, therefore, as described above. Wave B is a corrective wave and, therefore, has the same overall form (A,B,C) as the larger corrective wave that it is part of (wave 2 or 4 as described above – the main difference between waves 2 and 4 is that wave 2 tends to be a sharp correction and wave 4 tends to be a sideways move).
The Elliott wave in the stock market that has historically been about 60 years long corresponds, in the big picture, to the Kondratieff wave (which is actually measured on the basis of commodity prices, not stock prices). A major Elliott wave started in the early 1930’s – and lasted until early 2000. The first wave lasted until 1937, the second wave until 1942, the third wave until 1966, the fourth wave until 1982, and the fifth wave until early 2000. Another major wave (in this case, to the downside) started in early 2000 and the initial big wave down happened during 2000 (which was waves 1-3 of the next bigger wave, the A wave), then came a sideways movement for most of 2001 (which was wave four of the bigger wave, wave A) and then came the big sell-off after 9/11 – which was the fifth wave down (of the larger A wave down). Since 2002, we have been in a large secondary bounce (a B wave) up in a bear market – which, true to form, looks like a major new bull market to a lot of people and even reached new (nominal) all-time highs in late 2006. (The new all-time highs were not real highs because several years of consumer price inflation had happened, albeit at a low level, in the meantime since 2000, and also because commodity prices were way up in the meantime. In other words, the new highs in the stock market, which did not go a lot above the highs in 2000, did not mean what the highs in 2000 did – the new highs in and after 2006 just did not go high enough to accomplish that. And then the market came back down again. Update on September 24, 2008 – so far, at least, in light of what the stock market has done in the meantime, the new highs from late 2006 onward look like just a massive false breakout to the upside; update on October 6, 2008 – that is even more apparent in the meantime.)
As of early March 2007, we are probably in the early part of the major downturn that will hit for real (update in summer 2008 – the market did go higher later in 2007, but topped out in October and we are now at a point where a major downturn in the stock market is happening; update on October 6/9, 2008 – that major downturn is now deepening). Given what has happened so far (until late 2007), and the (over) confidence that has been generated in an effort to keep a major downturn from happening (overconfidence always happens anyway in the B wave of a bear market – because most people think it is the beginning of a major new bull market – but this time around, the Fed has really worked at keeping the confidence going and building it up as much as possible even more, thus causing the situation to truly go to an extreme; and other central banks in the world have worked at doing the same thing this time around), the consequences of the real downturn, when it happens, will probably be quite difficult.
That is when the true depression will probably kick in – and this time, given the way things have been handled on the way to getting there, the depression will probably last a long time.
Let’s look at the bigger picture. As I noted before, the previous large Elliott wave started in the early 1930’s (right in the depths of the Great Depression – at a time when most people thought the stock market could not possibly go back up again, which is exactly when it did just that, like usually happens!). (I might add, on a smaller scale, the stock market also took off in 1982 – at a time when most people thought that was totally unrealistic and wondered why it was doing so.)
The Elliott wave that started in the early 1930’s was wave 5 of an even bigger Elliott wave that started in the late 1700’s (in the time frame of the Declaration of Independence from England and the founding of the United States). Prior to that, there had been a time of about 60 years of severe economic difficulty in Europe (since the 1720’s) because of crashes due to the South Sea bubble (in England) and the Mississippi bubble (in France, which also affected the rest of continental Europe). In effect, that was an entire Kondratieff cycle (from the early to the late 1700’s) in which not much happened, the economy stayed down. Those big crashes were at a time when Europe was approximately 250 years past the time when Europe was first really getting going again after the big downturn (which lasted centuries) following the collapse of the Roman empire. As noted, there were about 60 years of down time after the South Sea and Mississippi bubbles – and then America started coming up (in the late 1700’s). We are now about 250 years past that time – and are due for a really big downturn again, the largest one in about 250 years. We have reached the end of the Elliott wave that started when America was founded.
In other words, we can now expect (in the not too distant future, I suspect it will start in the next few years after 2007, and if we are unlucky, already in 2007) a downturn that will be of similar magnitude to the downturn that happened in the advanced Western world (which did not include the new world of North and South America at the time) after the end of the previous approximately 250-year Elliott wave in the Western world that started in roughly 1500 and ended in the South Sea and Mississippi bubbles of the early 1700’s (bearing in mind that the new world did not really get going until the 1800’s – which is when the nations of South America were formed in the first half of the 1800’s and Canada became a nation in 1867).
What am I trying to tell you? Protect yourself and do not make the same sorts of mistakes that most people are (and will be) making, which will cause them to lose everything or at least nearly everything.
The stock market will turn down when people least expect it to (i.e., analogous to what happened in the early 1930’s and in 1982, but the other way around) – and, in fact, we already got a small foretaste of that in late February and mid March 2007 when confidence had just reached a new 5 ½ year peak since the downturn of the early 2000’s (as reported in the media) and people, in the days leading up to the downturn in the stock market, were reporting that they really did not think a stock market downturn could happen anymore. That is the way it always happens – the downturns happen when most people least expect them to. That is also why most people get caught in them (every time!) and lose what they have, or at least a lot (even most) of what they have. That dynamic is helped along by the Fed (and other central banks) this time, which keeps telling people that everything is OK and that there is no reason to worry (because it is the job of the Fed, and other central banks, to keep confidence up). The problem is that when the Fed finally gets overwhelmed (which is inevitable sooner or later; note on September 24, 2008 – it just happened about a week ago), the people who believed the Fed are going to be left holding the bag. It is NOT the Fed’s job to protect the people from the consequences of the Fed’s actions (or the consequences of the actions of the politicians which undermine the Fed), it is only the job of the Fed to try to keep things going as long as possible to keep the politicians happy (i.e., the Humphrey-Hawkins law – and even before then, the job of the Fed had to do with making sure the banks were OK, not with making sure the people were OK; a job of the Fed had also been, before 1978, to try to even out financial and economic cycles – and the dollar has paid the price, it is down well over 90%, about 97%, since the Fed was formed in 1913).
Why am I putting it in these terms now? Because the stock market went into a major exponential, going essentially vertical, in the late 1990’s (topping out in early 2000). After the major stock market downturn of the early 2000’s (which the Fed prevented from affecting the economy in a major way – mainly by keeping confidence up among the people), the recovery in the stock market has had the opposite complexion of the move of the late 1990’s – the fast move came first (coming out of the bottom) and then the market flattened out in a big way, with the Dow actually moving essentially sideways for the past few years (as of early 2007). That is a classic indication of a bear market bounce (aside from many underlying technical characteristics of the move that also indicate that), which means the move from the early 2000’s is probably not a new bull market (which one should not expect anyway coming out of a market that has gone exponential). In other words, the market over the last few years has displayed characteristics that are not consistent with a new bull market, but are consistent with a bear market bounce – and then the Dow struggled to a new high, only to lose it again in a flash when the news turned bad (which is also consistent with a bear market bounce). That is not good – it is not a sign of a healthy market. Consequently, I do not expect this market to blast off to major new highs – and I do expect it to start acting much more like an obvious major bear market move as time goes on (which it is doing more and more as 2008 is progressing, especially in September 2008, and especially late on Friday October 3, 2008 and on October 6, 2008 – and that is why America is now in emergency mode, trying to prevent a massive downturn from developing, one will develop very quickly if nothing is done, by the authorities’ own admission; it remains to be seen if the effort will work, and I do not think it will, at least over a longer period of time, but it is not yet obvious as of September 24, 2008 that it is not working, although there are plenty of signs of trouble already which I expect to see continue to progress; note on October 6, 2008 – it is quite obvious in the meantime that the effort is probably not even going to work over a short period of time, given what has happened over the last couple of market days).
It is up to individuals in the society to see what is really going on in the big picture and do something, themselves, to protect themselves from the consequences of it. That is what I intend to help other people do.