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The New Education Models Offering New Hope

More effective, cheaper, faster & possible today
Thursday, October 3, 2013, 6:09 PM

Executive Summary

  • The 4 higher education solutions of the Nearly Free University
  • How higher education can be both cheaper & better than today's alternatives
  • The catalytic roles played by both networking & network theory
  • Making decisions for yourself/your children in this new emerging education spectrum

If you have not yet read The (Needed) Revolution Emerging in Education, available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

In Part I, we surveyed the foundations of Higher Education and its obsolete Factory Model.  We described its predatory reliance on student loans to feed its bloated cost structure and its failure to provide students with the skills needed in the economy of the 2010s; i.e., the emerging economy.

In essence, the foundation of higher education has been completely upended.  Knowledge and instruction, once costly and scarce, are now abundant and nearly free. The only pricing power left to Higher Education cartel is the artificial scarcity of credentials.

That is not the power of a productive system; it is the power of a predatory system.

The Four Higher Education Solutions of the Nearly Free University

There are four broad technology-enabled solutions that would free higher education from its current cartel limitations on opportunities and accreditation... » Read more

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Off the Cuff: The Government Shutdown is a "Fiscal Suicide Mission"

A "one-size-hurts-all" outcome
Wednesday, October 2, 2013, 12:00 AM

In this week's Off the Cuff podcast, Chris and Utah Representative Ken Ivory discuss:

  • Impact of the Government Shutdown
    • A "one-size-hurts-all" policy
  • No one is stepping up to resolve the fundamental issues
    • "The system is broken"
  • States need to "own the problem"
    • Many are waking up to this reality
Insider

Peak 'Cheap' Oil: Shale Oil Proves Peak Oil Is Indeed Upon Us

We wouldn't drill for it if the cheap stuff were still here
Sunday, September 29, 2013, 10:40 PM

Ever the contrarian, I have been quite skeptical of the many breathless claims being made by wide swaths of the media about how a new energy bonanza is going to overtake the U.S. and eventually the world.  The subject, of course, is the new shale plays in both natural gas and oil.

While these plays are in special cases quite extraordinary, and the technology is just brilliant, many of the more exuberant claims made in the past about the potential contributions of these plays are now being dialed back. » Read more

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Off the Cuff: The Social Contract Is Fraying

It favors the government over the governed
Thursday, September 26, 2013, 2:20 PM

In this week's Off the Cuff podcast, Chris and Charles discuss:

  • Our Social Contract is Broken
    • Has been re-written to benefit those in power
  • Trust is Eroding
    • Faith in institutions like our justice & money systems is waning
  • New Models are Needed
    • Starting with education
Insider

Off the Cuff: Bernanke Spikes the Punchbowl

When prudence would dictate he take it away
Thursday, September 19, 2013, 11:18 AM

In this week's Off the Cuff podcast, Chris and Mish discuss:

  • The Fed's Fakeout
    • No taper for you!!
  • Happy days are here again
    • Markets everywhere party onward but shouldn't they do the opposite?
  • Precious metals popping
    • Dollar is down and gold is way up today
  • Investing Outlook
    • Is time to just start dancing to the Fed's tune?
Insider

Off the Cuff: Playing a Bad Hand

The game is rigged & the deck is stacked
Thursday, September 12, 2013, 12:04 PM

In this week's Off the Cuff podcast, Chris and Mish discuss:

  • Sanity on Syria?
    • The rush to war may be slowing down
  • Markets a-bubblin'
    • Irrational valuations everywhere
  • Japan's woes
    • Bug, meet windshield
  • The disability disaster
    • The new permanent form of welfare

This week, Chris and Mish look at the sorry cards on the table and wonder why anyone wants to play this game.

Stock market valuations are back to non-sensical levels. Even members of the Fed are beginning to admit that their liquidity policies are creating an ongoing stream of asset valuation bubbles. » Read more

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We're All Turning Japanese

Japan is the proxy for our future
Tuesday, September 10, 2013, 1:40 PM

Executive Summary

  • As goes Japan's efforts to rescue it's economy, so will go the U.S. and E.U.
  • Japan's options:
    • Outsource its manufacturing base
    • Replace as much human labor with automation as it can
    • Rush to trade its depreciating currency for hard assets around the world
  • What Japan is telling us about the Keynesian endpoint

If you have not yet read Part I: Abenomics' Dismal Anniversary, available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

Japan Is Reflecting the Future of Western Economies

While many observers continue to follow Europe as the proxy for post-growth dynamics in the OECD, it's actually Japan that merits the closest analysis.

Much farther along in its post-growth phase, bloated with government debt and having tried a number of big-bang initiatives over the decades, Japan not the U.S. or Europe is leading the way. The country has never really recovered from the gigantic property and stock bubble over twenty years ago.

As proof, just consider the biggest trading story of the past 12 months. Was it the Federal Reserve's intention to taper? How about the chaos in emerging market currencies in countries like India and Indonesia? Or perhaps the continued economic depression in peripheral Europe, as countries like Spain, Portugal, and Greece re-run the 1930s, with mass unemployment and people burning wood from forests to say warm? No, not even such dramatic suffering in Europe was enough to move markets or the EUR currency much this past year.

Instead, it was Abenomics and the front-running (and then chasing) of wildly huge moves in both the Nikkei and JPY that helped drive liquidity and speculative juices across all markets. It is not a coincidence that the peak of this frenzy in May heralded the peak in many markets.

But Japan has more than a financial problem. Despite the hand-wringing about Japan's debt, the world has ignored for some time now Japan's debt-to-GDP, GDP on an absolute basis, and Japan's low cost of capital. Japan borrows. Japan prints. Japan devalues. But the world doesn't care.

An issue the world may finally begin to care about, however, is that Japan has failed to launch itself out of deflation and is making very little progress in its struggle now. Indeed, Japan has a demographics problem and a resources problem that far outweigh its financial problems. To this point, instead of launching into recovery, Japan is running with the resources Red Queen, as every step of its currency devaluation is met with rising costs to import the raw materials Japan uses to make its goods... » Read more

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Off the Cuff: Poking the Stick

We may just get the trouble we're asking for
Thursday, September 5, 2013, 12:05 PM

In this week's Off the Cuff podcast, Chris and Mish discuss:

  • Syria
    • Hard to see an upside to intervention there
  • India
    • Showing us what a full-blown currency crisis looks like
  • Japan, Brazil, the PIIGS...
    • In danger of soon following India's lead
Insider

The Future of Living

The rise of 'vernacular artistry'
Tuesday, September 3, 2013, 11:35 AM

Executive Summary

  • Ready or not, the forces underlying the Long Emergency will force a return to the 'real' (vs the virtual)
  • What regions and town/city models will fare best in this future?
  • The age of the car is over: how will we transport goods and ourselves?
  • Which skills will be in greatest demand?
  • How to prepare ourselves emotionally for becoming less techno-dependent

If you have not yet read Part I: Returning to the 'Real'  available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

A Return To the 'Real'

John Maynard Keynes famously remarked, “In the long run we are all dead.” Which leaves the short to intermediate run, which is a lot. Start with the proposition that we’ll be compelled to reconnect our lives to biophysical reality, that is, nature. The techno-industrial adventure was about the exhilaration of overcoming natural limits — and the grandiosity in thinking that we could de-link permanently and put something synthetic and supposedly just-as-good in nature’s place. In the process, we de-natured ourselves and unplugged from the satisfactions found in being part of something wondrous and whole and larger than ourselves. We don’t have to reinvent the sacred. It has been there all along. We just ignored and disregarded it for about a century, and now we have to rebuild the social and logistical infrastructure for it.  That job will be easier than keeping the interstate highway system in repair.

Expect to be living a far less mediated existence, being more directly in touch with the patterns afforded by nature, the sun and moon, the seasons, the temperature, the sensations, the tastes and textures, the pains and pleasures. For the generation used to sensing absolutely everything through the tiny portal of a five-inch smart phone screen, this may come as a startling psychological shock, greater than the psychedelic drugs of the hippie days were to the Boomers. By the way, nobody should expect that the national electric grid will survive indefinitely, or that every locality will be able to generate its own electricity without the long commercial chains of mining, advanced metallurgy, and the manufacture of modular machinery.

Where to Live?

One of the first questions for people to answer for themselves, especially in a period of demographic turmoil, is what place do I feel okay about being in and how do I set my roots in it? ... » Read more

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Off the Cuff: Trouble Brewing Everywhere

Signs of weakness are appearing on a number of fronts
Thursday, August 29, 2013, 8:00 PM

<p>In this week&#39;s&nbsp;<em>Off the Cuff&nbsp;</em>podcast, Chris and Adam discuss:</p>
<ul>
    <li>Currency Chaos
        <ul>
            <li>Weaker currency markets are suddenly imploding</li>
        </ul>
    </li>
    <li>From the Outside in
        <ul>
            <li>Economic distress is moving closer to the core</li>
        </ul>
    </li>
    <li>Is a Financial Collapse Nigh?
        <ul>
            <li>Does Chris still expect declines of 40% or more?</li>
        </ul>
    </li>
    <li>The Syria Curve Ball
        <ul>
            <li>How would an open conflict change the game?</li>
        </ul>
    </li>
</ul> » Read more