In Jim Cook's Archive


Anyone who has read our newsletter for a long time will recall my frequent mention of Dr. Kurt Richebacher. This able, free market economist passed away in early September at his home in Cannes, France.

For years I talked with Kurt by telephone at least once a week. We became friends. On several occasions he visited our office. I was initially attracted to him because he was the only economist who delivered the kind of dire warnings that would motivate people to take protective measures. He didn’t advocate gold, but he made an argument that was good for hard assets. He didn’t see the same kind of dangers that I saw from inflation. He warned more about contraction and economic collapse. About the current mortgage crisis he said, “The recklessness of both borrowers and lenders has vastly exceeded our imagination.”

About two months ago I called him. He told me he had lost his eyesight. He was terribly upset. Later he advised it was permanent. I could think of nothing worse for someone who studied economic statistics. A few weeks later I heard of his passing. I will miss his personal lectures on the dire state of economic affairs in the U.S. Although his gloomy predictions have yet to unfold in their full fury, that does not mean that our economic sins will never catch up with us. Kurt’s dismay over low savings, loose money, government deficits, overconsumption, weak production, the trade deficit, huge credit derivatives, speculation and excess leverage in financial markets was well founded. He is gone now, but his warnings are as potent as ever.

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