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Our Future Is (Literally) Crumbling Before Our Eyes

Our reinforced concrete infrastructure sends a dire warning
Wednesday, July 6, 2016, 1:10 AM

The sorts of predicaments the world faces -- ranging from over $200 trillion in debt, to our unsustainable addiction to fossil fuels, to our over-stressed ecosystems -- all require that we get deadly serious about confronting them ASAP, and make difficult decisions and trade-offs.

However, our global leaders always seem to opt to kick the can down the road if at all possible. Short-term thinking and near-term priorities dependably get precedence over doing the right thing for the future. Tomorrow’s generations are thrown under the bus by selfishly motivated actors today.

As I’ve put forth over and over again: we’re simply not going to make it unless we get much more serious about our efforts than we have been to date. » Read more

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Fortunes Will Be Made & Lost When Capital Flees To Safety

As safe havens are tiny markets
Friday, June 24, 2016, 4:46 PM

Little did I realize when creating the short video below how prescient it would quickly become in the wake of last night's Brexit vote...

It's message is simple: there's a preponderance of data that shows the world's major asset markets are dangerously overvalued. And when these asset bubbles start to burst, the 'save haven' markets that investment capital will try to flee to are ridiculously small. Investors who do not start moving their capital in advance of crisis will be forced to pay much higher prices for safety -- or may find they can't get into these markets at any price. » Read more

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Tensions Between US/NATO & Russia Are Flaring Dangerously

A cornered bear will ultimately use its claws
Friday, June 17, 2016, 5:16 PM

As if there weren’t enough crises to worry about in the world already, from shooting rampages to accelerating species loss, the US and NATO continue to ‘poke the bear’ and risk an outbreak of war with Russia.

I wish this were idle speculation. But if you haven’t been paying close attention, you'll probably be shocked at just how much direct military and diplomatic provocation has been going on between NATO/US and Russia over the past several years -- and in recent weeks, in particular. » Read more

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An Everyman's Guide To Understanding Cryptocurrencies

What are they exactly? Why consider owning them?
Friday, June 10, 2016, 5:51 PM

When an asset rises by almost 30% in a few weeks, it tends to attract attention.  Recently, that asset was bitcoin (BTC). The price of BTC in dollars rose from $454 on May 23 to $590 on June 6th.

When an asset doubles in a matter of months, it tends to attract attention.  The cryptocurrency Ether (part of the Ethereum platform) doubled from around $7 in April to roughly $14 in early June.

Are these cryptocurrencies mere fads? Or are they potentially game-changing alternatives to the conventional currencies such as the U.S. dollar, Chinese RMB, Japanese yen or European Union euro? » Read more

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Grasshopper Nation: Planning For Those Who Aren't Prepared

Whom will you help? And how much will you be able to?
Friday, June 3, 2016, 9:40 PM

Our resources are finite. Most of us don't feel we have all that we require to meet our own needs and goals. And the best-laid preparations of the most planful of us can suddenly become woefully insufficient if too many unexpected family, friends and neighbors show up demanding our charity. » Read more

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Observations From The Heart Of Silicon Valley

The calm before the storm?
Thursday, May 19, 2016, 8:11 PM

Yesterday I made the 2-hour drive back to Silicon Valley, where I lived for 15 years before moving out to the country.

I rarely go back, as I miss very little about the hyper-elite scene there. When I do, though, I feel I have a useful 'insider-now-outsider' perspective that allows me to see things there more accurately than those who live in that fishbowl 24/7.

What hit me most strongly upon arriving back in the Menlo Park/Palo Alto area, is how little of the craziness has changed since I left 4 years ago. I don't mean 'unchanged' though; rather that the same craziness is there, just more extreme than ever. » Read more

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Which Countries Will Be Tomorrow's Winners & Losers?

Resources, capital flows & demographics will be key
Friday, May 13, 2016, 8:23 PM

The dictum “demographics is destiny” proposes that all the complexities of finance, society and politics are ultimately guided by demographics: the relative size of each generation, birth rates, death rates, etc.

Where does this lead? If geography and demographics have already defined which nations will be attractive to capital and most likely to accumulate productive capital in their domestic economy, and those nations that will struggle due to high costs and low rates of capital investment, in effect Nature (geography) and Culture (demographics) have already picked tomorrow’s winners and losers. » Read more

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The Inevitability Of Unintended Consequences

Why central planning efforts will ultimately backfire
Tuesday, May 10, 2016, 2:04 AM

Anyone involved with managing projects, people or systems knows that the only thing that can be planned with absolute certainty is that things will never go 100% according to plan.

This is true even in exceedingly simple situations, which we've written about at length here at Peak Prosperity (the uncontrollable nature of the straightforward Beer Game detailed in this post on the Bullwhip Effect outlines this well). And it's one of the truisms that gives us the most confidence that the world's central planners will eventually lose control of the global systems they are trying to manage via increasingly heavy-handed intervention. » Read more

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Chaos & Volatility On The Rise

The systems that support us are breaking down
Friday, May 6, 2016, 8:01 PM

No, that’s not a ‘click bait’ sensationalist article title. Things are getting ‘weird’ out there if you’re trying to be polite, and downright chaotic if you are being blunt.  Everywhere we look, we see signs that the systems that support us are breaking down. 

All of these are signs that the status quo has failed and continues to fail us. But the form of power expressed by our so-called ‘leaders’ today seems nearly incapable of healthy introspection coupled to correct action; preferring instead to do more of the same things that got us into this mess in the first place. » Read more

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Why We're So Unhealthy

Our system makes & keeps us sick
Friday, April 29, 2016, 7:31 PM

I was fortunate to attend a permaculture conference, 'Better Soil, Better Food...A Better World' at Tara Firma Farms in Petaluma, California this past weekend that Adam Taggart (co-founder of Peak Prosperity) was responsible for producing. Joel Salatin (author of nine books, including Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front and head farmer at Polyface Farms, Virginia), Paul Kaiser (Singing Frogs Farm, Sonoma, California), Toby Hemenway (author of Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, 2nd Edition), and Robb Wolf (author of The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet) were on hand to explain the connections between the way our food is grown, processed and distributed and our ill-health.

Though these connections are common sense—we all know about garbage in, garbage out—the linkage between our extractive, monoculture agriculture and all the other subsystems of food and health remains opaque to most Americans. » Read more