Unlike the normal business cycle that allows for a recession every few years to clear out the mal-investments and keep the system functioning properly, the current cycle has been artificially induced with money that has unseated the foundation of good financial practices and caused a series of bubbles that must pop at some point. When this happens the business cycle will be heavily damaged and will take many years to reestablish some type of normalcy.
If you think of a cycle as a pendulum swinging back and forth, you must realize that the further it swings to one side, the further it will swing to the other to balance itself. That is what we must realize with the current bubble boom in the financial sectors. The further out of balance they get, the further they will need to swing back to preserve equilibrium. When these bubbles finally pop, the offsetting swing will be monumental. A normal recession of a few years will be exaggerated to a multi-year disaster.
These are the type of conditions that usher in depressions of long duration. This bubble induced mania is far beyond anything experienced in human history and will result in an equally disastrous financial contraction destroying paper assets and making hard assets desirable and difficult to acquire in the aftermath.
In this type of situation, hard assets and a wide knowledge base are as good as it gets. The ownership of capital equipment that produces necessary consumer goods and the ability to finance yourself internally combined with sufficient knowledge to use these resources will provide a safe harbor to get through the difficulties that arise. Becoming your own bank requires the ability to store financial assets such as precious metals and diamonds that have universal value. This is one of the few ways to store wealth that can survive such market destruction.