High on the Scriptures :: Wilfred J. Hahn

In recent issues, we have been reviewing major “human actions” that are affecting our world today. We continue here, commenting on four. Some of these are new and urgent; others we have touched upon previously.

To begin, we may wish to better understand the global disruptions of the past few years—geopolitically, economically, monetarily, and humanitarian-wise. For the most part, the narrative is quite simple.

There are three main impulses (among numerous others that we could cite) that are playing an overarching impact. In no particular order, a virus named Covid-19 erupted upon the world without warning. Policymakers around the world did everything they could—and more—to stabilize economies. They injected far too much monetary stimulus and subsidies into economies. The IMF estimated this support to have amounted to some $11 trillion by the end of 2022. For perspective, consider that this amount is equivalent to 10.8% of global nominal GDP, the latter an approximation of the size of the world economy ($101.6 trillion).

Were one to also add the direct fiscal support to households and businesses, total Covid-related stimulus would be equivalent to a staggering 17% of world GDP. Seeing actions of such magnitude worldwide, we can begin to understand how inflations of the scope prophesied in the Bible could come about. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine” (Revelation 6:6).

Recent actions of policymakers may have been the largest intervention since 30—32 AD, when Roman Emperor Tiberias was called upon to clean up a world financial mess. (The Global Financial Crisis of late 2008-09 was virtually a carbon copy.) Yes, there is nothing new under the sun.

It is not possible that such a large sum—equivalent to 17% of world GDP at $101.6 trillion—would not trigger enormous inflationary pressures. This has indeed happened and should not be a surprise. Terrible repercussions have followed. (Consider retirees depending upon their fixed pensions.) What happens next lies in the hands of the central banks and global policymakers.

Next, we cite two other great “human actions” that play a major role at this time. Firstly, without a doubt, a new global contender is presenting itself at the door. China openly reveals that it intends to surpass—and greatly distinguish itself from—the US. This initiative can be expected to lead to a complete redefinition of the entire world. To be sure, this is and will continue to breed disruption. An indication of the possible ruthlessness of this rivalry is shown by US actions to date. It is playing tough. Without doubt, these movements raise tremors globally.

We must mention climate change issues as the third in our abbreviated list of three key “human actions.” This ushers in great change with a wide range of impacts. It is certainly injecting much volatility into energy markets.

Looking ahead, we are sure to face further disruptions; some, if not all, may be unforecastable. Even the usually august WEF (World Economic Forum) describes the current global era as one defined by disruption.

Psychotropic Consumption Trends

We next turn to our fourth “human action” that we wish to discuss here. It is quite an alarming trend, affecting the entire world. It is the consumption of mood-altering pharmaceutical medications and psychotropics. This is a global phenomenon… however, much accentuated in North America and other high-income nations.

What is a psychotropic substance? Quoting healthline.com: “A psychotropic describes any drug that affects behavior, mood, thoughts, or perception. It’s an umbrella term for a lot of different drugs, including prescription drugs and commonly misused substances.”

To reiterate, all of these psychotropic substances target mood, stress and depression management. Some are legally dispensed with a doctor’s prescription. Cross-counter and illegal mood enhancers are booming as well.

There are five main types of psychotropic medications: antidepressant-meds.com, anti-anxiety medications, stimulants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers. It represents a vast and profitable business. (Have you ever wondered why so many TV commercials are promoting pharmaceuticals of various kinds?)

Consider some of the trends in psychotropic drug usage and mental ails that are already entrenched around the globe.

In 2019, 1 in every 8 people, or 970 million people around the world, were living with a mental disorder, anxiety and depressive disorders being the most common.

In 2020, the number of people living with anxiety and depressive disorders rose significantly because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Initial estimates show a 26 and 28% increase respectively for anxiety and major depressive disorders in just one year.

About 20% of respondents in the 2020 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) reported taking psychotropic drugs.

A study published earlier this year in the journal Psychiatric Services found that more Americans than ever before suffer from serious psychological distress (SPD). The researchers concluded that 3.4 percent of the US population (more than 8.3 million adult Americans) suffer from SPD.

A recent national survey on Drug Use and Mental Health found that nearly 20 percent of the adult population suffers from some type of mental illness. This compares to just 18.1 percent a few years ago.

We could continue presenting many more statistics on mental health trends and other phenomena (for example, approximately 100,000 people in the US die from oxycontin abuse every year! … more on this shortly).

Most alarming is the statement from the World Health Organization (WHO) that mental issues are a global epidemic.

The statistics we have mentioned allow little room for any optimism. These trends are not likely to reverse. The phenomena are clear. And their impact upon societies, economies, and financial markets is also clear. How so?

We quote an insightful report from Gavekal Research (to which this writer is a subscriber). It provides examples of the impact of various health deterioration trends.

Drug legalization and gig jobs: an important societal shift in recent years has been the legalization, or at the very least decriminalization, of drugs across most Western countries. This has helped remove the social stigma toward substance abuse. At the same time, young people not overly concerned about developing a career have been given the option to forego having a nine to five job, and instead work on their own schedules doing things like driving an Uber or delivering Doordash. This combination has meant that finding workers for entry-level jobs at retailers, fast food operators, restaurants and the like has become far harder.

Opioids: even before Covid, the US was losing about 70,000 people a year—mostly young males—to opioid drug overdoses—roughly the equivalent of the whole Vietnam War. Moreover, locking people down while also sending them into a health panic made a bad opioid situation far worse. During the pandemic, overdose deaths jumped up to 110,000 a year. (The US fentanyl epidemic is so bad that the US is one of the few Western countries to see falling life expectancy in peacetime. In fact, for the first time in modern history, life expectancy at birth is now lower in the US than in China.) And, if 110,000 Americans die every year from drug overdoses, that means that millions are probably regular users and thus not able to perform tasks like handling heavy machinery or doing health care work. (“Aging, Productivity and Inflation,” February 24, 2023)

Thoughts to Ponder

We have reviewed another “human action” that is potentially destructive for mankind. Indeed, some psychotropic drugs are intended as medications. This writer is most certainly not qualified to judge what serves as a legitimate medicinal prescription or not.

Yet, it cannot be denied that the boom in psychotropic drug consumption has occurred in recent decades. It tragically suggests that many people are wishing to escape reality. They are medicating their depressions … and again, it must be added, in record numbers.

It represents another attack on the human mind. (See “Endtime Stratagem: Super-Jamming the Mind” from the June issue.)

The Bible clearly indicates that we should not seek to escape reality but should be living with a clear mind. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). This verse couldn’t be clearer: we have been given a “sound mind” … assuming we wish to avail ourselves.

And if we were to find ourselves “conformed to the pattern of this world,” we are to renew our mind. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).

We can only imagine how many depressions could be avoided were humans to align their minds to the Bible.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27). Expending all one’s strength to love the Lord our God is sure to transform one’s mind.


Wilfred J. Hahn is a global economist/strategist. Formerly a top-ranked global analyst, research director for a major Wall Street investment bank, and head of Canada’s largest global investment operation, his writings focus on the endtime roles of money, economics and globalization. He has been quoted around the world and his writings reproduced in numerous other publications and languages. His 2002 book The Endtime Money Snare: How to live free accurately anticipated and prepared its readers for the Global Financial Crisis. A following book, Global Financial Apocalypse Prophesied: Preserving true riches in an age of deception and trouble, looks further into the prophetic future.

If you have questions or other perspectives, you can contact Wilfred at: staff@eternalvalue.com. Please note that for reasons of volume and investment securities regulation, he cannot give financial advice.