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Make Your Choice: Change By Pain Or Insight

It's time to make the decision. Choose wisely.
Friday, March 2, 2018, 9:17 PM

Most experienced investors know the four most dangerous words are: This time is different

It never is. 

And yet one of my key predictions here at Peak Prosperity is that The next twenty years will be completely unlike the last twenty years.

So am I saying that things really will be different this time?

Yes, I am. But to understand why, you have to look closely at the unprecedented moment in history in which we live, as well as how the Three E’s – the Economy, Energy and Environment – all tie together now in a way they never have before.

For those who prefer their conclusions right up front, the simplest summary I can provide is that everything we think we know about "how things work" is just plain wrong.

This explains why, among many other grotesque distortions, the stock and bond markets are spectacularly overpriced and overvalued right now.

This danger is important to be aware of because when things correct, as they inevitably must, the next crash will be incredibly damaging. It could be as profound as that which dethroned Spain as a world power, permanently.

Peak Prosperity user Gyurash put this risk in context within his comment to our recent podcast on Economics for Independent Thinkers:

The mention of Paul Volker was interesting. I remember listening to a lecture given by Mr. Volker played on public radio in the mid 80s. He talked about the Spanish empire in the 16th century and the easy money train they had coming from South American gold and silver. He said that although it seemed to create great wealth it also made for a false economy in Spain. In addition to creating price bubbles, the Spanish did not use it to build much of anything other than big villas, built by itinerant foreign labor by the way, so when the gold and silver flow slowed when the biggest mines were effectively depleted, their economy crashed so hard that it never recovered, even up to today.

(Source)

Delusional Thinking

What’s worse than wishful thinking?  Delusional thinking. 

The sort of ideas that harm rather than help those who hold them.

Of the many current policy delusions I could rail about, perhaps the greatest of them all is the quite-impossible belief that we can have infinite growth on a finite planet.

I know, I know, refuting this is so brain-dead easy to debunk that it seems pedestrian, if not childishly so, to raise it here again. It’s quite an impossible proposition.

Even the most cursory of reviews of mining data (just one of many possible examples), show that many critical ores and minerals are vastly more difficult and expensive to extract and bring to market than they were just a few decades ago. And the trendlines keep getting worse.

But let’s go through this once again, because it’s such an important point.  For those of you already on my side of the boat, please bear with me.  Perhaps something new will emerge for you on this next go around.

The Harsh Math

Exponential expansion requires not just some new minerals coming to market, but exponentially more. 

It works out like this.  Suppose that 100 units of copper were produced in year 1, and output (as demanded by economic growth) was expanding at a 3% rate.  How long would it take for production to double?  The answer is that after 24 years we’d find that 203 units were being produced.  So a 3% growth rate means that it takes only 24 years to fully double production.

However, the more interesting fact is that over that same 24-year stretch, if we add up each year’s production into a cumulative total we discover that 3,546 units of copper had been produced.   How much copper would you guess was produced over the prior 24-year stretch (the one that got us to 100 units in the first place)? 

The answer is just 1775 units.  In other words, half the amount produced during the next doubling.  Going back further and adding up all of the doublings of copper production throughout all of history  we’d discover that each new doubling produced (and consumed) as much as the sum total of all the prior doubling periods combined.

You can prove this to yourself by looking at a doubling sequence such as 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 etc.  Note that 4 is larger than (0.25 + 0.5 + 1 + 2) and that 8 is larger than (0.25 + 0.5 + 1 + 2 + 4) and that 16 is larger than (0.25 + 0.5 + 1 + 2 + 4 + 8) and so on -- into infinity.

Again, each new doubling involves an increase that is larger than the combined values of all the prior doublings in history.

For the visually-minded, here’s that same idea expressed in an image:

How Many More Doublings Can We Possibly Have From Here?

Only the most delusional would argue that we can dependably double our extraction of key natural resources forever. 

Every two decades (or so), will we always be able to use twice as much farmland, twice as much fish in the sea, twice as much oil in the ground, as has been used before throughout all of human history?

Of course not. Planet Earth is a finite system.

This is why I claim that everything we think we know about "how things work" is wrong. Our entire economic and financial systems, their associated monetary models and their current financial asset prices, are predicated on the principle of continuous growth. And not just any sort of growth: Exponential growth.  Predictable doubling -- forever.

Look, it’s ridiculously easy to prove that there won't always be twice as much copper (or nearly any other key natural resource) as has been extracted throughout all of prior human history. Things run out. They deplete. They become more dilute as the high grades are exploited first.

At some point, doubling becomes impossible. That’s when you're past the point where half has been extracted and half still remains in the ground.  After that, there are exactly zero doubling periods remaining!  That's just elementary math.

Why care?

Because once the doubling periods are over, every single economic model and financial asset that is predicated on continuous expansion breaks. Our systems stop  steadily growing; and instead start increasingly shrinking.

This not a hard concept to grasp, intellectually, for most people with an open mind. But in practice, because it challenges our comfortable understanding of the world, because it collides with an entire Disney World of incompatible social belief systems, it’s pretty much impossible for the many people to even begin to wrestle with. Forget about a mainstream economist or central banker, whose salary requires them to adhere to the status quo.

The warning here is that we our deluding ourselves as a society. We are herding ourselves, lemming-like, straight towards the cliff ledge.

Think Critically!

Our mission here at PeakProsperity.com is to Create a World Worth Inheriting.  While we help people make informed decisions to imbue their lives with greater abundance and satisfaction today, it's our dedication to the long-term picture that shapes everything we do.

Very few voices are standing about waving their arms in the air like we are, warning of the approaching cliff.  We're aware that the point of no return might still be several decades out into the future, but we also realize that it could already be behind us. It's nearly impossible to know right now given the complex system that is our planet -- but given the existential risks involved, our opinion is that everyone should be mobilizing in response to this arriving (arrived?) crisis.

We often get labeled as narrow-minded “Malthusians”. Or accused of failing to account for human ingenuity. (Neither is accurate, we think.)

But in reality, we're simply data driven. The facts are what they are. Logic is what it is.

And we get it. It's both a factual and a logical nightmare for the infinite growth crowd that the earth is finite.

But as Einstein famously quipped:

And as you wrap your brain around the limits to growth, remember that you're subject to the same comprehensive programming that envelops us all.  The messaging that constantly reinforces the idea that endless growth is what we need, and what we can expect.

This programming is subtle, reassuring and ubiquitous; which makes it hard to resist.  Here’s a prime example:

(Source)

To an economist like Bernanke, there are only virtuous expansions.  Of course, the sort of expansion he refers to is exponential growth.  Which is absolutely destined to fail in the long run (and now, maybe, the short).

And when that happens, the fallout will be spectacular and highly destructive to the hopes and dreams of literally billions of people.

Make Your Choice: Change By Pain Or Insight

What’s unclear to me is if there can be any meaningful recovery from this next crash, whenever it happens and however long it takes. 

To return to the opening piece of this article, while I know that this time is different are dangerous words for investors to believe, the impending collision between delusional infinite growth thinking and resource limits and other realities will appear to the average observer like a gigantic change.  But, in fact, it simply will mean that humans are subject to the same limits as any other life form on earth. 

In other words, it really won’t be different this time. 

In boy-meets-girl story form, the plot line of the natural process for all forms of life is:

  1. organism finds tasty energy source
  2. organism expands exponentially into that energy source
  3. energy source dwindles even as organism continues into population overshoot, and then
  4. happy times turn into tough times, and organism population plummets

Given that literally everything we hold dear and take for granted, such as well-stocked supermarkets, 24/7 electricity, and an appreciating retirement portfolio are all themselves dependent on an economic model that requires perpetual exponential expansion, several questions emerge.

How can I protect myself, my family and those I care about? How can I secure a prosperous future? What do I need to do to develop the right mental models and belief system to deal effectively with the coming challenges?

You can either address these questions head-on now, while the world still works the way we're accustomed to. Or later, under crisis conditions.

We've learned that there are two ways that people change their beliefs and then their actions: by pain or by insight.

Most people go the pain route. And in the process, they waste a lot of valuable time that could have been spent constructively. It’s only after the heart attack, the divorce, the backing over the family dog while drunk—moments of extreme pain—that most people will begin to actively face the idea that they need to make different decisions in life.

But it doesn't have to be that way. Part of the beauty of being human is that we can learn from observation, reflection and experience, and can adapt. Critical thinkers have this ability to change by insight. They use new information to put new behaviors into practice until those practices become new habits. And with better habits, we achieve better destinies.

So which route will you choose? Pain or insight?

The story told by the Three Es is loaded with the potential for plenty of painful moments over the next few decades. Sadly, a lot of people will not take precautionary steps far enough in advance to matter. They’re just not focusing on the risks right now. As a result, much of the world will be forced to change its behavior via the pain route.

Use this awareness as a sense of urgency to prepare now. To secure your future prosperity, as well as to help those regretting that they didn’t follow your lead.

In Part 2: Steps For Changing By Insight, we lay out our prescriptive guidance what what to do now, in a world saddled with record debts, and a debt-based system of money that itself is utterly and completely dependent on infinite expansion, where something’s got to give

If you believe in eternal infinite growth, then sure, stay invested in stocks and bonds and go ahead and buy the dips.

But if you don't, take steps today to change your life by insight, secure your future prosperity, and serve as a model for others.

Click here to read Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)

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32 Comments

themccarthyfarm's picture
themccarthyfarm
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 4 2014
Posts: 26
I'm worried

I agree with almost everything Chris has said here.  But I have developed great double about what to do about it.  Ten years ago I thought it was imperative that everyone know this stuff and do something about it.  More and more I have come to believe it might not matter.

The things he is talking about are huge.  The world has never known a time when resources were declining.  That would mean that each year there is less of everything to go around.  People don’t like having less.  They tend to get mean and nasty and blame the person next to them.  Here in the US we already have animosity toward anyone who doesn’t believe like us.  The President is telling us that we aren’t getting our share and others are trying to take ours.

As recession/depression hits our leaders will be pointing at other continents trying to get everyone to turn their anger on those who don’t matter.  The military will attack those who our government say have wronged us and we will sacrifice whatever we have to in order get back the old plentiful life style we love so much.  The US alone has more than enough nuclear weapons to turn the planet into a glowing ball of dust.  Never mind what the rest of the world has.

Here in our own country we have over 300 million guns. Tensions are high now and will be much high when people are short on food.  What will happen when the majority of the population doesn’t have a warm place to sleep and an empty belly?   What will they be doing with their AR-15s and all that ammo?  Of course the government will be protecting those who have the money and the power and aren’t cold or hungry.  

Lets just say you spent the last 15 years preparing.  You have a house that provides all its own energy.  You can grow all your own food.  You have your own well that I can pump water with solar power or by hand.  You have a root cellar, a blacksmith’s shop, a wood shop and a lot of knowledge of how to use them.  You have some gold hidden away and every month people pay you to live in the rental properties you own.  But even with all that you can’t stop an anger mob, a 9mm bullet or a nuclear blast.

I am more worried about the anger we have than the Fed printing money.  

Thanks Chris for all you do.  I hope you are doing well.

Uncletommy's picture
Uncletommy
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
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Posts: 527
Critical "pre-tribulation" thinking?

Millennialist options for the post-Rapture generation. "What were we thinking"?

Pipyman's picture
Pipyman
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 24 2011
Posts: 56
Well Said...

I think you speak for most of the “veterans”. However, it is this deep, painful reality that keeps the preps in perspective. It prevents, the “just on more tin” mentality that characterises the fear stage. It enriches life, even in the darkness. Oh, and helps to keep your wife by your side....!

cowtown2011's picture
cowtown2011
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 12 2011
Posts: 45
Action

I think it's good to be aware of our predicament but worrying about things outside your circle of influence is a waste of time and energy. Some of the issues above have helped get clarity on what is important and focusing on those things. My life has improved whether we invent our way out of this or not.

For those interested in taking actions, you should check out Verge Permaculture on youtube. He is offering a free multi week course on permaculture. He speaks about many of the black swans identified above and things we can do improve our lives.

Thanks for the reminder to stay vigalent Chris.

DennisC's picture
DennisC
Status: Gold Member (Online)
Joined: Mar 19 2011
Posts: 300
Triggered Again

Do you do this on purpose, or what?  I was quietly enjoying my CC and Seven, along with my favorite rendition of Gumboot Cloggeroo, and saw your posting.  After this weekend's "pissa of a storm", I fortunately made it to the end of the song (my favoride part) before spewing:

There's fish and brewis and a quahog stew
And a bowl of clam chowder
Just see me reach for that Newfie Screech
When they deedle up the fiddle jig louder
Hear the french girl sing, and the guitars ring
And the squeezebox skweek-a-dee squakin'
Me and my Sue are gonna "hoop de doo"
Take her to the Gumboot Cloggeroo
And we'll do a little gumboot cloggin'
Do a little gumboot cloggin'

And then, as my mind tends to wander a lot, I thought of this:

Renewal.  Renewal.  Renewal.

locksmithuk's picture
locksmithuk
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 19 2011
Posts: 116
Banding together
themccarthyfarm wrote:

I agree with almost everything Chris has said here.  But I have developed great double about what to do about it.  Ten years ago I thought it was imperative that everyone know this stuff and do something about it.  More and more I have come to believe it might not matter.

As recession/depression hits our leaders will be pointing at other continents trying to get everyone to turn their anger on those who don’t matter. 

 

I have a natural inclination towards caution and WCS thinking (worst case scenario), and I recognise the familiarity of fear in many of the points you raise. However, I consider myself lucky enough to have viewed first- and second-hand something which you have not raised -: the togetherness of a population when being oppressed, brutalised, or duped by its own government.

Self-preservation circumstances tend to trigger a WCS train of thought in an individual - it's absolutely natural. But fast-forward, say, 50% through a journey of crisis, and collectively people start to wake up. The light bulb comes on, and they recognise the source of real danger. It's not their fellow man/woman [not on a large scale, at least]. Despite the seemingly mass obsession with the size of Kim Kardashian's arse or her latest baby's name, people are not dumb. When it really counts they can see through bullshit. Those who can't simply get left by the wayside as the hard rules of natural selection kick in.

I don't doubt that there'll be an unbearable amount of upheaval and suffering, but have faith - don't discount the ability of people to band together in times of crisis. I don't know whether this comes about through recognition of a common enemy or through an innate sense of species preservation. But it's definitely there. It's one of the biggest shames of our species, though, that it often takes a crisis to reveal itself... it should never get to that point.

 

thc0655's picture
thc0655
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 27 2010
Posts: 1577
Some lessons are too painful to recover from

I guess it’s been about 35 years now since a flood on a rain-swollen creek washed away a highway bridge on I-90 in upstate New York. It was late that night and there was almost no way for drivers to see the bridge had been washed away before it was too late for them to stop in time. The first car to stop in time screeched to a stop just a few feet from the edge. The two senior citizens jumped out and looked down into the abyss and saw the crumpled remains of the car ahead of them that had just suddenly disappeared from view. Without speaking they knew exactly what they had to do: they began running back the direction they had just come, waving their arms and shouting for drivers to stop. The first car to approach them was an old Cadillac with two men inside returning home from a bowling tournament. They slowed slightly as they approached the senior citizens frantically waving their arms. Maybe they saw the old people’s car stopped ahead on the shoulder. The driver of the Cadillac flashed the two senior citizens a crude gesture with his hand and resumed his speed. The old Cadillac plunged to the bottom of the ravine 75’ below with predictable results.

A lot of people are not going to make it.

MKI's picture
MKI
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Posts: 70
Why Malthus is often invoked

CM: We often get labeled as narrow-minded “Malthusians”. Or accused of failing to account for human ingenuity. (Neither is accurate, we think.) But in reality, we're simply data driven. The facts are what they are. Logic is what it is.

Thomas Robert Malthus was extremely data driven. Very logical. He dealt only with the facts. Very smart man.

The problem with Malthus? He couldn't account for everything. Nobody can. This is the problem with all who think they can predict the future. It's the same problem that Communist economic planners have. Bluntly, the world is too complex and black-swan-like to make predictions with confidence. "Data-driven" is often code for "hubris".

When Columbus sailed, everyone educated mocked him since they already knew the earth's diameter to a decent degree of accuracy since Greek times, plus knew the size of Asian continent. So they knew he could never make it to Asia in his tiny ship. They were right! Yet Columbus discovered something new by forging ahead...and his detractors looked foolish even thought they were 100% right! This is a lesson worth reflecting upon when predicting changes the economy, energy, or the environment.

CM: Exponential expansion requires not just some new minerals coming to market, but exponentially more.

This isn't necessarily true. It's the same mistake Malthus made. Fact: we really don't know what will be used in the future to generate economic growth or decline, nor how it might or might not happen. Just like rock oil, NG fertilizer, communications, and engines came out of nowhere to destroy Malthus' careful predictions, we don't know what the future will hold, thus to try to predict it with any confidence is not data-driven. Hell, a few nukes could destroy everything overnight. Or the discovery of fusion as an energy source could get us off the planet in style. Myself, I think the former more likely, but anything could happen.

We also don't know how the environment will effect us in the future. The decline of the number of species may have no notable effect on humans over the next 1,000 years. It may even have a positive effect. Who knows? Same with the economy.  It's impossible to predict. What do we know?

1) We are wealthier today than ever before in human history. This is due to technical innovation. We can use less to achieve more. A lot of this has happened in the last decade. Look at China, the internet, communications, etc., etc.

2) Everything mentioned about resources and the economy was flashing red 10 years ago. Yet there has been lots of money made during that time. Many people's net worth has doubled over this time by taking an alternative view (or what might be called here a "non-data-driven view". We could has said this since Malthus' time, and many have foolishly done so.

For an alternative view on the economy? Read this article at Vox: Thanks to a combination of greater energy efficiency, outsourcing of heavy industry, and customers generating their own power on site, demand for utility power has been flat for 10 years, and most forecasts expect it to stay that way. The die was cast around 1998, when GDP growth and electricity demand growth became “decoupled”: This sort of thing could happen to anything else in the economy, accelerating growth even as energy consumption declines. We simply don't know.

gyurash's picture
gyurash
Status: Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 7 2016
Posts: 5
Graphics and Stories

Chris, thanks for including the graphics. Pictures help tell a story that has perspective and scale. A good telling of a story can do the same, a kind of 'what if' tale. Tom Murphy over at Do The Math told a vivid 'what if' back in 2011 that I though really showed the ridiculousness of continuous growth expectations. https://dothemath.ucsd.edu/2011/07/galactic-scale-energy/

Indeed, even the current scale of the world economy is mind blowing. It is possible to define the total volume of oil used each year as a single space, given that an oil barrel holds 42 gallons, the number of barrels used each year is roughly known, and we know how much space a gallon of liquid is. Interestingly, the world has been using approximately one cubic mile of oil each year, every year. One of anything doesn't sound like much, the world is a big place, but I wondered, what does that look like. So I mapped out a square mile and put a cube on it. This is what it looks like:

pgp's picture
pgp
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Posts: 201
You Can't Escape Crowd-think

All very true but its also delusional to think that there is a way out.  Civilizations throughout history are described by prosperity, growth and inevitably collapse.

Its seems almost certain those civilizations were populated by a small proportion of practical realists who, like the same people today, complained about the glaring faults in society and political thinking and tried to do something about it.  The problem however is "the human condition", which is to believe and hope that everything will be ok or in thinking that the group to which they belong has all the answers.  In a phrase the problem is "crowd think". 

It is the all too human habit of relying instinctively on paralyzing crowd-think that makes almost everything the human race does, wrong.  The way we eat, the gluttonous energy consuming way we live, the way we grow food, the way we pillage the planet, the oligarchy of modern politics, the corruption of economic systems and even the way groups of people relate to each other.... these are all driven by crowd think.

Crowd think is the central pillar behind all religion and is the reason religions have survived for millennia.  Crowd think is what kept the uneducated Neanderthal alive and it is a survival characteristic shared by all animals.  It takes real awareness and education to know when crowd think is infecting our decisions.  So count on one hand the number of people you know who can truly think outside that box; who know when they are falling back upon hope and crowd think to balance their choices. 

We are all doomed by the things that make us human.  The pain from forced change or collapse is inevitable.  You can try and insulate yourself or escape to a distant land but you'd simply be trading one pain for another.  You can't possibly convince people that religion is based on superstition and has no valid basis in science so how in the hell can any group convince another that the learned-from-birth belief they have in their world is based on a self destructive infinite growth model destined for overpopulation and hunger.

Good luck getting the common people to understand (especially the one's that vote avidly for our current governments) that they shouldn't have children or that their cars, houses and white picket fences are part of an unsustainable delusion.  Or that their God is just a romantic wisp of hope in a world driven by the practical cruelty of Mother-nature's laws of physics and the mathematical inevitability of entropy.  Good luck telling people that the US constitution is outdated, that the US isn't the home of democratic superiority but merely the power-house of sweeping global corporatism, that secret agencies don't fight to free the world but instead often work (blinded by belief) only to suppress the real voices of truth and reason.

davefairtex's picture
davefairtex
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Sep 3 2008
Posts: 5322
at some point

At some point, the resource thing is going to matter.  At some point, the debt thing is going to matter too.  Which one will come first?

Peak oil - driven by peak US shale - probably happens in 2020-2021.  It might be trumped by a massively deflationary debt bubble pop.

My current favorite peak-oil-savior from the tech world is the self-driving car.  If we have a debt bubble pop prior to 2021, then peak oil won't have much impact, since the decline in consumption will disguise the decline in production.

But a debt bubble pop will greatly slow the deployment of pretty much any tech, due to the lack of capital to buy the new stuff.  So is 3 years enough time to deploy enough self-driving cars to move the needle?  Probably not.

If we have to depend on one of the magical new battery innovation technologies we hear about all the time - they are at least 5-7 years out, which is not soon enough to deal with peak oil, assuming no deflationary crash, and assuming one of these technologies actually ends up working.  That's a lot of slips twixt cup & lip there, and a short timeframe to get it right.

What's more, there is the political aspect.  Right now, with a global growth impulse under way, we are seeing lots of migration, serious political division in the US, a massive increase in deficits, we are at or near peak debt, and we see continued money printing by the ECB, mainly focused on saving the Eurozone by monetizing Italian sovereign debt.  The system appears to need constant propping-up by a nervous group of central bankers.  All the signals we get are telling us that things are pretty iffy, especially outside the US.

These are "the good times."

What happens during the upcoming contraction?  All the problems we see get magnified.  Migration becomes more intense, unemployment shoots higher, a lot of the walking-dead companies default, and "populism" gets a yuuuuge boost.  Trump appeared during "the good times".  Just imagine who will pop up when things actually turn down.  Populists will be elected to office literally everywhere.  That alone will blow the EU apart.  They will not survive the next downturn - strictly because of politics.  The downturn will also take down all the heavily indebted Chinese manufacturers.  The great depression hit the US hardest, because we were the exporter.  Same thing will probably happen to China, although it will be interesting to see how a command economy will end up navigating the crisis.

Individually we have the power to chart our own course.  Reduce debt, remain aware of the fragilities in the system (especially banking, bank deposits, and sovereign debt), expect the gang in charge to first lie, and then suddenly change the rules we all hold dear.  But I don't see Mad Max.  The US is the core economy.  I don't see it going the way of Zimbabwe.  That will happen to the periphery, not the core.

My plan: while all that stuff is going on, I want to try to be really clear about what sort of experience I want to create for myself.  I tend to focus too much on what is happening now, rather than what I'm looking to create.  (A lot of us here at the site tend to do this.)   This makes it more difficult for me to create something different & better.

Here's another point.  Although "the system" is giving off all sorts of iffy signs, there are definitely opportunities.  Example: someone who writes AI code: $300,000/year.  From what I hear anyway.  If you keep your eyes open, there are often ways out of the maze for individuals.  If you don't focus too much on "what is", of course.  If you are dead certain that your keys aren't in the kitchen, you will never find them there, even they if they are sitting on the counter right there in plain sight. 

My current signposts for trouble ahead: currently, my eye is on rising long rates, and rising BAA rates.

Based on some of my recent work, here are some fun housing market facts:

* rising 1-year rates are initially positive for home prices, but turn negative after an 18-month lag, with full (negative) effect 2.5 years in.

* rising 10-year rates are also initially positive for home prices, but turn negative with a 9-month lag, with full (negative) effect 2 years in.

* rising junk rates (BAA rates) are immediately (mildly) negative for housing prices, ramping up to very negative after 12 months.

* a rising BAA-AAA ratio is negative for housing prices immediately, ramping up to very negative after 9 months.

YMMV.  Not financial advice.  Etc.

thc0655's picture
thc0655
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 27 2010
Posts: 1577
Bonhoeffer on evil vs “stupid”

“Stupidity is a more dangerous enemy of the good than malice. One may protest against evil; it can be exposed and, if need be, prevented by use of force. Evil always carries within itself the germ of its own subversion in that it leaves behind in human beings at least a sense of unease. Against stupidity we are defenseless. 

Neither protests nor the use of force accomplish anything here; reasons fall on deaf ears; facts that contradict one’s prejudgment simply need not be believed- in such moments the stupid person even becomes critical – and when facts are irrefutable they are just pushed aside as inconsequential, as incidental. 

In all this the stupid person, in contrast to the malicious one, is utterly self-satisfied and, being easily irritated, becomes dangerous by going on the attack. For that reason, greater caution is called for than with a malicious one. Never again will we try to persuade the stupid person with reasons, for it is senseless and dangerous.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, from ‘After Ten Years’ in Letters and Papers from Prison

pat the rat's picture
pat the rat
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Joined: Nov 1 2011
Posts: 110
numbers people

We are numbers people we can't help it is just what we are. My wife hates it when I start to numbers and facts to some of are friends. She calls me her numbers man a badge I were with pride.

skipr's picture
skipr
Status: Silver Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 9 2016
Posts: 116
peak everything

If there's a severe economic downturn it seems to me that the price of silver could crash since the industrial demand will be next to zero.  That might be offset somewhat by safe haven demand.  Have any opinions on that?

That electric car stuff makes me roll my eyes.  The energy to charge them has to come from somewhere.  The vast majority will come from the usual fossil fuels.  It may actually increase the CO2 produced since there will be yet another inefficiency factor that's introduced.  Instead of burning the fuels directly in the car engine we would burn it some centralized and remote power station to generate electricity that will then be used to charge the car.  The additional inefficiency of converting that power plant heat energy to electricity, transmitting that electricity over miles and miles of power lines, etc will result in an increase of usage.  It's a win-win for the Koch brothers.  Increasing consumption under the illusion of saving the planet is a perpetual profit generator in the short term.

Self driving cars makes me think of the 60s song "In the year 2525."   They could also be used in a new episode in the Comedy Channel's South Park where self driving cars evolve (as long as it maximizes profits) to self driving humans.  At the front end is a combine in a factory farm that pipes the preprocessed food directly into the strapped in consumer's mouth.  Another pipe is connected to his other end which then pumps the left overs back into the farm.  A self driving CEO could be the ultimate horror flick.

A sterilized global ecosystem "Trumps" all of these other peaks.  The big question is whether it can recover after all of us humans kill each other and everything else off.

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After Ten Years ...

Hello thc0665,

I am torn between my appreciation, and then the horror of lost time today, simply because your quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer dove me down a brain-storming rabbit-hole of divergency - names, authors, characters - the clay in which to write and publish my book.

Surrounding me at given passages are books lain open, strewn about my desk and floor and chairs - the building blocks of their creation - then you throw in several paragraphs from Prisoner for God by Deitrich Bonhoeffer and break open yet another portal of investigation to migrate into.

To build you a picture and name but few of the authors I have strewn in array, I have : -

At the Mind's Limits by Jean Amery

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Simulacra and Simulation by Jean Baudrillard

Democracy Inc by Sheldon Wolin

The Great Shark Hunt Vol.1: Strange tales from a strange time by Hunter S. Thompson

Thomas Pynchon and Gravity's Rainbow

Edward Bernay's Propaganda

Umberto Eco - Foucaults Pendulum

... and now I also have Prisoner for God by Deitrich Bonhoeffer.

Why Bonhoeffer, and why write this post?

Because Part 1 of the book is After Ten Years, and the opening chapters first paragraphs fit the premise of this thread so tightly that it could well have been written by one of us, here, today: -

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote:

After Ten Years

Ten years is a long stretch in a man’s life. Time is the most precious gift in our possession, for it is the most irrevocable. This is what makes it so disturbing to look back upon time we have lost. Time lost is time when we have not lived a full human life, time unenriched by experience, creative endeavour, enjoyment and suffering. Time lost is time we have not filled, time left empty.

The past ten years have not been like that. Our losses have been immeasurable, but we have not lost time. True, knowledge and experience, which are realized only in retrospect, are mere abstractions compared with the reality, compared with the life we have actually lived. But just as the capacity to forget is a gift of grace, so memory, the recalling of the lessons we have leamt, is an essential element in responsible living.

In the following pages I hope to put on record some of the lessons we have learnt and the experiences we have shared during the past ten years. These are not just individual experiences; they are not arranged in an orderly way, there is no attempt to discuss them or to theorize about them. All I have done is to jot down as they come some of the discoveries made by a circle of like-minded friends, discoveries about the business of human life.

The only connexion between them is that of concrete experience. There is nothing new or startling about them, for they have been known long before. But to us has been granted the privilege of learning them anew by first-hand experience.

I cannot write a single word about these things without a deep sense of gratitude for the fellowship of spirit and community of life we have been allowed to enjoy and preserve throughout these years.

No Ground Beneath our Feet

Surely there has never been a generation in the course of human history with so little ground under its feet as our own. 

Every conceivable alternative seems equally intolerable. We try to escape from the present by looking entirely to the past or the future for our inspiration, and yet, without indulging in fanciful dreams, we are able to wait for the success of our cause in quietness and confidence. It may be however that the responsible, thinking people of earlier generations who stood at a turning-point of history felt just as we do, for the very reason that something new was being born which was not discernible in the alternatives of the present.

Who Stands his Ground?

The great masquerade of evil has wrought havoc with all our ethical preconceptions. This appearance of evil in the guise of light, beneficence and historical necessity is utterly bewildering to anyone nurtured in our traditional ethical systems. But for the Christian who frames his life on the Bible it simply confirms the radical evilness of evil.

The failure of rationalism is evident. With the best of intentions, but with a naive lack of realism, the rationalist imagines that a small dose of reason will be enough to put the world right. In his short-sightedness he wants to do justice to all sides, but in the melee of conflicting forces he gets trampled upon without having achieved the slightest effect. Disappointed by the irrationality of the world, he realizes at last his futility, retires from the fray, and weakly surrenders to the winning side.

Worse still is the total collapse of moral fanaticism. The fanatic imagines that his moral purity will prove a match for the power of evil, but like a bull he goes for the red rag instead of the man who carries it, grows weary and succumbs. He becomes entangled with non-essentials and falls into the trap set by the superior ingenuity of his adversary.

Then there is the man with a conscience. He fights single-handed against overwhelming odds in situations which demand a decision. But there are so many conflicts going on, all of which demand some vital choice — with no advice or support save that of his own conscience — that he is torn to pieces.

Finn

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New Republic of the Heart

A New Republic of the Heart addresses our global meta-crisis in all its aspects—environmental, economic, political, and cultural—from a breathtakingly all-encompassing perspective. Even more remarkably, it frames our global and societal crises and opportunities as challenges to us, now, personally—in terms that penetrate our usual abstractions and avoidance. In fact, our own future and the future of our very life-support system are shown to be utterly dependent on the quality, intelligence, tenderness, and courage of our ways of being.

We need Integral/Synthetic/Evolutionary thinkers ... Terry is one of the best

https://www.terrypatten.com/a-new-republic-of-the-heart/

 

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New Republic of the Heart

A New Republic of the Heart addresses our current planetary crisis in all its complexity and uncertainty, exploring the nature and implications of global citizenship, and clarifying a radical new understanding of practice and activism.

Part One summarizes our cataclysmic ecological predicament, the wholeness underlying our inter-connected, more-than-human world, and the evolutionary and integral visions that establish a basis for a more integrated consideration of how we live meaningful lives in a time of crisis.

Part Two explores an integral understanding of the nature of individual and collective spiritual practice, purpose, social responsibility, and evolutionary activism. These explorations point the way toward an integrated practice that is both personal and social and that enacts whole-system change—a process that is profound, radical, and all-inclusive.

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Wicked & Wise Series

A few years ago Alan Watkins noticed while watching a news story about a global crisis that he kept hearing about the same problems over and over again. “Why is it that these problems are intractable?” he asked himself. Thus was born Wicked and Wise: How to Solve the World’s Toughest Problems, which he co-wrote with Ken Wilber.

Many [business leaders] are beginning to realize that there is something else other than quarterly profit, there’s something else other than returns to shareholder, there’s something else other than just growth and the relentless pursuit of growth. More companies are recognizing social purpose is important. –Alan Watkins

https://integrallife.com/wicked-and-wise-climate-change-democracy-and-in...

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Embracing Your Inner "Mad Max"

I am attempting to be a smidgen humorous about this topic. 

DaveF wrote:

Individually we have the power to chart our own course.  Reduce debt, remain aware of the fragilities in the system (especially banking, bank deposits, and sovereign debt), expect the gang in charge to first lie, and then suddenly change the rules we all hold dear.  But I don't see Mad Max.  The US is the core economy.  I don't see it going the way of Zimbabwe.  That will happen to the periphery, not the core.

Oh no, no, no, no.

I think we are going to have TROUBLE with a Capitol T.  And the ability to imagine into this phase of trouble offers a kinds of "preparation" that is just NOT available to one who doesn't embrace their inner Mad Max -- or at least consider the possibility.

Consider:

They blew up 3 big skyscrapers in full view of everyone.  We have the videos.

Then they commissioned a scientific panel to say that it was all perfectly natural behavior of steel to soften and "collapse."  Think nothing of it.

Then they sold us the story in prestigious and reputable newspapers.  Sincere, honest and TRUSTED authorities lied to us.

And when scientists doubt this story their words are NEVER printed or discussed in said prestigious and reputable newspapers.  The average world citizen has no idea that some great intellects think the story is a lie.

Then the fake story is used to sell multiple wars that kill thousands of American soldiers and millions of ME Arabs including literally millions of women and children.  NONE of these wars has any link to the American citizen, yet they have PAID for those wars from their taxes. Trillions of dollars. Instinctively we sense that this is all deeply wrong (though we are confused enough to be mostly silent).

All this while domestic infrastructure decays, pensions implode, homelessness grows and the medical care system collapses.

At some point, during the collapse and the attempts by TPTB to hold it all together with increasing militant tactics and increased lying (Russian bots made you vote for Bernie and oppose the oil pipeline), a crack appears.  People start to catch on.  I agree with locksmithuk and themcarthyfarms, people are not stupid.  They can be deceived, but eventually they catch on.  Maybe during a 24 hour wait to get into the ER with a sick child we start think about how much our world has changed.  The sensed truth of how the world is and the official stories are not matching.    The magnitude of the deception breaks through.  

Then the shock, the horror, the rage.  First an foremost at ourselves that we permitted ourselves to be deceived so deeply and profoundly.  Then, at those who deceived us.

This is where you need your rifle.  (Along with you water filter, wood burning stove, hand saw and gardening plot.)

Got it?

 

 

 

 

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imagining mad max

SP-

Certainly what you describe is one possible outcome, and it may even be the outcome that happens in some parts of the world.  And it might even happen in parts of the US, too.

However, something I've noticed in my own life is that whatever I put my attention on - good or bad - tends to grow stronger in my experience.  Anticipation of something bad coming soon not only depresses me, it also seems to actually bring it into my experience.

About 15 years ago, I bought a bright red 3rd gen RX7.  Prior to this purchase, I had never seen an RX7 on the street, but after I got mine, I started seeing them everywhere.  What's that about?  We see millions of pieces of information every day, but our mind filters out the vast majority of them, only letting through the information we have decided in advance is important.  If you change your filters, you change your perceived world.

If you go through life with a Mad Max anticipation filter, then the information that will make it past your filters is stuff that is aligned with Mad Max.  You will tend to create for yourself the Mad Max experience.  It will be a self-reinforcing thing.

Is this what I want?  It is not.  I do not want to "imagine into" Mad Max, because that's not what I'd like to create for myself. Instead, I prefer to use different filters, so that (theoretically at least) I am led to have different experiences.  Its a big world out there.  We all don't need to have the same experience.

I guess the whole discussion ends up with the following choice: do you believe that you are a powerless victim adrift in a lifeboat, tossed mercilessly about by wind and wave, or are you the Captain of the ship, consciously charting your own course?

Of course I think I'm the Captain.  The course I prefer to chart is one that doesn't involve Mad Max as my own personal experience.  I believe that you too can choose whatever experience you prefer...and if you prefer to imagine yourself into a Mad Max experience...well we all have free will, don't we?  :)

Perhaps it also helps me because at some points in my life - key points - I have felt "led" to make some critical decisions that changed the course of my life.  Not ordered what to do, but just nudged to look at options that I hadn't previously considered.  Because of these experiences, I'm absolutely convinced life and the universe isn't this mechanistic, Newtonian construct.  There really is more to it.  Of course, if you aren't open to being nudged, then you will have that Newtonian, mechanistic experience...woohoo, free will again!

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It Could Be Worse

I hate to do the "I was sad because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet" thing.  But occasionally I stoop that level.

I'm currently reading "Astrophysics for People in a Hurry."  When the author gets to talking about iridium, he points out that a 2 foot cube of iridium weights as much as a Buick.  He goes on to say that a meteor, 6 miles in diameter, containing large quantities of iridium struck the Yucatan Peninsula 65 million years ago.  Coincidentally, or not, every land species larger that a carry on suitcase (including the dinosaurs, who had dominated the planet for 160 million years) became extinct at the same time.

I'd say a Mt. Everest sized meteor of Iridium trumps our global debt problem combined with all the other problems we face.

Feel better?

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SP, I fully agree except I'm

SP, I fully agree except I'm not sure the masses will wake up to the fact that it is their own government attacking them, at least not initially. The information just won't be out there and I see almost no chance of this ending through some natural organic market crash. It will be a fully engineered catastrophic event, I'm sure it's going on right now. 9/11 was a long-planned strategic event and we will see something like this but orders of magnitude greater. The MSM is bought and paid for so the average person will be led what to think. I've noticed that over the last few weeks Youtube has been on a binge deleting all videos pertaining to conspiracy theories about the ongoing terrorist attacks or school shootings being false flags (except for Alex Jones of course, because he blames Muslims which is exactly what TPTB want people to believe). This censorship will intensify.

I have noticed a visceral repulsion of people to opening themselves up to conspiracy theories, because it challenges their core beliefs. These beliefs won't shake easily, and can be directed to do great damage to innocent parties if the media spins it right.

But as social decay continues and it becomes obvious that the military is not on the average person's side, I think these illusions will fade. Probably like a lot of Eastern Europeans from the 90's would have no trouble believing that their own governments are/were evil, because they have direct evidence that they are.

I think I disagree with Dave to some extent, I see a full-on Mad Max scenario emerging. I get this from logically following through with what will happen. The trade deficit will end. That is a fact, and it will probably end abruptly. What is the consequence of this? The US economy is consumption driven, powered by the trade deficit. It is oil driven, powered by the trade deficit. Most jobs are in consumption or finance; both powered by the trade deficit. Agriculture is mechanized and average Americans can't do that hard labour anyways. After the final "event" the trade deficit and financial sector will immediately end. Immediately, unemployment jumps to 60% at least. Immediately, oil available will drop to 1/4 of what it is now, if we're lucky (due to the end of the oil trade deficit and the death of the shale oil patch once the financial system ends which props it up).

The suburbs will mostly be un-livable due to the cost of transportation and the inability of people to feed themselves because they will have no job and no way of growing their own food. A war zone. I see no way out of this. Maybe some miracle will happen but I can't imagine what.

I know this will happen and to be fair to dave, I admit that the current system has gone on much much longer than we originally thought, and focussing on these negative things has prevented me from years of otherwise positive life experiences, due to both financial positions and from a fear of taking on certain risks or doing things due to a fear of the system collapsing, which it hasn't, yet.

I guess one way to positively prepare for it rather than simply focussing on the negative to no avail is to move away from the cities, since most people there will end up dying anyways so they won't be able to get far into the hinterlands. Northern Canada looks good, and if you are American, why not Alaska? Or leave the continent altogether and go to Asia or South America. The latter may be a bit risky.

Also, I recommend buying an old vehicle like a Toyota Landcruiser without a computer chip, which will survive an EMP blast.

Edit: I think there may be a possible "positive" way out of this crash scenario. Since America is self sufficient in producing food, there is no fundamental need for people to starve. So the challenge would be getting the food to the people when unemployment hits 80% and they can't buy it. If the government / military set up a basic universal income system, or food stamps for everyone, and tasked the military with taking over food production and delivering it to the cities and dispensing it, then potentially we could avoid mass chaos. But this would be eerily communist and I don't think it would be very stable, certainly not a nice outcome.

The other option is that they will just abandon the metropolises and let the population automatically wipe itself out; this would be an easier route to take and based on what I have seen from the US Government of late, I can't imagine them intervening on humanitarian grounds.

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skipr wrote:If there's a
skipr wrote:

If there's a severe economic downturn it seems to me that the price of silver could crash since the industrial demand will be next to zero.  That might be offset somewhat by safe haven demand.  Have any opinions on that?

That electric car stuff makes me roll my eyes.  The energy to charge them has to come from somewhere.  The vast majority will come from the usual fossil fuels.  It may actually increase the CO2 produced since there will be yet another inefficiency factor that's introduced.  Instead of burning the fuels directly in the car engine we would burn it some centralized and remote power station to generate electricity that will then be used to charge the car.  The additional inefficiency of converting that power plant heat energy to electricity, transmitting that electricity over miles and miles of power lines, etc will result in an increase of usage.  It's a win-win for the Koch brothers.  Increasing consumption under the illusion of saving the planet is a perpetual profit generator in the short term.

Self driving cars makes me think of the 60s song "In the year 2525."   They could also be used in a new episode in the Comedy Channel's South Park where self driving cars evolve (as long as it maximizes profits) to self driving humans.  At the front end is a combine in a factory farm that pipes the preprocessed food directly into the strapped in consumer's mouth.  Another pipe is connected to his other end which then pumps the left overs back into the farm.  A self driving CEO could be the ultimate horror flick.

I actually diverge from most here because I am a big supporter of electric vehicles. I agree that the current hype around electric cars is overblown, but on a fundamental level, they make very good sense. I take a more rational fact-based approach to electric transportation (admittedly, years ago I had unwarranted optimism for the changes brought about by EV's) than the polyannas in the media, and on the other side the naysayers who can't see the benefit of a technology because they are turned off by the hype surrounding it.

Charging and driving an electric car requires less energy than a petroleum powered car does. Furthermore, a petroleum powered car requires liquid fuel -- gas or diesel, the two most difficult forms of energy to bring forth right now because they only come from oil and we have already passed peak conventional oil. The remaining oil is difficult and expensive. In contrast, electric cars are powered by electricity, which can come from a whole range of sources, from burning coal, to nuclear, to geothermal, to hydro, wind and solar. Any of these is more efficient than burning oil. And, equally importantly, will be longer lasting since oil production will the first thing that's going to tank. Electricity will basically last "forever" and I put that in quotation marks because I believe that the electrical infrastructure will go down before we hit any supply constraints due to natural resource depletion. There are huge amounts of coal out there and the world will end because of some other catastrophe long before it would run out of electricity. It is the cheapest and easiest form of energy to provide. It is now cheaper than it ever has been, not much more expensive than it was 100 years ago, on a direct cents per kW-hr basis. When you factor in inflation, electricity is astoundingly cheap.

EDIT: I finally found some statistics for electricity 100 years ago, rather than relying on my memory form what I read in a book a few years ago. Prices were about 6 cents/kW-hr. Now they are about double that right?

https://eh.net/encyclopedia/the-u-s-economy-in-the-1920s/

In a peak-oil type scenario, I have a really hard time seeing why owning an electric car, and promoting them, is a bad idea. Forward thinkers would have solar panels on their roofs which could charge their cars to allow for basic activities.

Detractors will point out, "But solar panels and electric cars are made with oil!". EXACTLY. That's exactly what we should be doing with the remaining oil resources -- building out a more efficient infrastructure which requires less oil to run!

It is also argued that we won't have enough lithium for the batteries. Wake me up when we have evidence of this. And the "first" real EV's used Nickel Metal Hydride batteries which have no lithium.

But I agree that the hype around self driving cars is nonsense.

And I also understand that in the Mad Max scenario I see ensuing, the whole system will go down so even an electric car isn't going to help you. In that respect I need to be realistic.

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Let's rethink this.  In a

Let's rethink this.  In a future of unknown restraints, why would we need a "car", electric or otherwise.  How about an electric bike- taking 1/10th the resources to build and power?  Heck, I'm just needing to get to my community garden to put in my hours and bring home a basket load.  Or a mule.....Aloha, Steve

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Empty shelves..

.

Just 3 days of slightly more snow in an average UK winter created delays in restocking, shortages & some panic buying.
...
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-43278380

Food for thought (pun intended)

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Julius Caesar: Act 2 Scene 2

Mark_BC-

I know this will happen and to be fair to dave, I admit that the current system has gone on much much longer than we originally thought, and focussing on these negative things has prevented me from years of otherwise positive life experiences, due to both financial positions and from a fear of taking on certain risks or doing things due to a fear of the system collapsing, which it hasn't, yet.

My advice: go where you are drawn.  When you visit a place, and find yourself saying, "I don't want to go back home" - try moving there.  That's what worked out for me.  Its a whole lot better than fleeing (to somewhere? Anywhere!!) just because you expect everyone where you currently are living to die.

My favorite quote, which I use on myself when I feel myself being overly worried:

Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard.
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.

http://www.opensourceshakespeare.org/views/plays/play_view.php?WorkID=juliuscaesar&Act=2&Scene=2&Scope=scene

In the play, would Caesar have survived for a day had he cowered in his house?  Probably.  But if he lived his life with that mindset, he wouldn't have conquered Gaul, or marched on Rome, or won the Civil War.  And his enemies may well have just decided to whack him the next day anyway.

If you can get to a point where you can eliminate the fear, you will hear the voice of your inner nature more clearly.  It has processed more information than your conscious mind can ever sort through, and it most likely already has the answer of where you could go and what you might do - but that inner voice cannot be heard clearly until you can release that fear first.

We are only here for a limited time.  Find a way to enjoy yourself wherever you are, work to eliminate as much fear as possible, and follow your inner nature as best you can.  Your inner nature will protect you better than your fear will.

I say this both to you, and to myself as well.  A lot of the stuff I write, I am writing to myself, first and foremost.

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thatchmo wrote:Let's
thatchmo wrote:

Let's rethink this.  In a future of unknown restraints, why would we need a "car", electric or otherwise.  How about an electric bike- taking 1/10th the resources to build and power?  Heck, I'm just needing to get to my community garden to put in my hours and bring home a basket load.  Or a mule.....Aloha, Steve

Got one.  Love it.  Dramatically more versatile than a regular bike.  Contrary to what you may think, you can get more, rather than less exercise.  I ride mine more often because I will take it on windy or hilly rides where I would leave a normal bike at home.  Plus, I only use the motor to assist, not transport which, in all but extreme cases, gives me a range of well over 60 miles.

If you haven’t kept up with e-bike technology in a while, you should check out mid-drives.  I was on the fence about converting one, when hub motors were all that was available.  The mid-drives take advantage of available gears.  Granted, on a recumbent, the term mid-drive is confusing.

Of course, a doomsday ebike would be best based on a cargo bike frame.

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The sides

The sides of the big conflict, as I see it, seem to be:

The citizenry

and

An international oligarchy

The oligarchy have high levels of control of the government through regulatory capture, but I believe that to consider *the government* to be the opposition seriously misidentifies this group.

The oligarchy includes the media, the owners of global corporations, private security firms, NSAs private contractors, high level LE organizations, NGOs, weapons makers, energy firms and the oligarchy exerts high degree of influence in scientific and medical establishments (through research funding, promotion,tenure, journal ownership).

And banking.

Previously, I explored the connection between one ethnic / tribal group and the oligarchy.  I have abandoned that viewpoint as the overwhelming majority of my Jewish family and friends do not share the values of the oligarchy and have no interest or knowledge of the oligarchy's actions.  They are "the citizens."  (Admittedly, a few are a bit cliquish and carry a tinge of superiority.  But most are not.)  I am now considering this mostly a red herring.

Just as the drone assassins are Americans, the overwhelming majority of Americans are not drone assassins.  So to identify drone assassins as "the Americans" seriously misrepresents the issue.

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Mad Max

Mad Max or not Mad Max this is the question.

One analysis on this thread I found very New Age. That if we think it will be Mad max then it will be. That seems rather facile as does most of New age thought. IE. we create our own reality. I have no idea whether we will experience a complete and violent collapse but I don't think my thoughts on the subject will affect the other 330 million other people in this country. As has been pointed out that grocery shelves are good for about 3 days w/o restocking. Try a week or two and I think the social fabric gets torn wide open.

Having been involved in these sorts of discussions for 50 years I have observed they always follow the same pattern. A. this is all going to shit. B. We need to prepare. We need to have our own food supply, water, power, etc. C when it all goes to shit there will be a lot of people unprepared. Many of these people will then find themselves in desperate straits. Desperate people become very dangerous. D We need to be well armed to defend our preparation castle.

That is the way the discussion always goes. There are some who believe in the innate goodness of human nature and there are those who do not.  Judging by the preps of the state, increased militarization of police departments, increased  surveillance, increase in incarceration rates, My guess would be that the state is preparing for some violent times ahead.

This site is devoted to a certain paradigm. As one poster has said embracing that paradigm has cost him not only money but opportunities to pursue activities that might bring more happiness. I don't spend a great deal of time here, though I have read this site off and on for 10 years (mostly off) as I find it too depressing on a regular basis. For me what is clearly lacking is a spiritual component to the discussions. There is a lack of visionary thought beyond what can be illustrated in graphs and charts. There is a useful purpose here but there are more useful purposes to be found. If I see Mel Gibson I will give him all your regards

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Mad Max

MM: There are some who believe in the innate goodness of human nature and there are those who do not.

A lot of wisdom in your comment. Not everyone here is defeatist, though (note my comment above).

One can accept the reality of human nature, as well as the current cultural implosion (truly breathtaking imo) yet remain energetic and hopeful about the future. A good way to start? Keep 10% of one's net worth in precious metals plus grow a garden with a hand-pump well (all cheap insurance). Then live a non-consumer, healthy, active, productive, happy, and hopeful life. At this stage, every possible future has a silver lining...just like 2008, I expect the next post-crash crisis will be even more profitable for the optimistic investor who can see through all the doom and gloom.

 

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Sounds like a perpetual

Sounds like a perpetual motion machine.

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