• Podcast

    Chris and Becca Martenson: The Magic Of Rowe

    So what exactly happens at Peak Prosperity's annual seminar?
    by Adam Taggart

    Wednesday, March 1, 2017, 9:43 PM

The Peak Prosperity annual seminar is just a little over a month away now.

It will be held from April 6-9th, at its traditional location, the bucolic Rowe Conference Center in Rowe, Massachusetts. More information regarding the seminar and how to register can be found by clicking here.

So what exactly happens at these seminars?

That's the focus of this week's podcast. Chris sits down with his wife Becca, who is an integral presenter during the Rowe weekend (along with Chris and me), to shed light on the material and the "magic" that happens when bringing like-minded PPers from all over the world together for several days.

Why come? What happens there? What can you expect to get out if it if you attend?

The Martensons, who have been offering and honing this annual gathering longer than I've known them, lay it all out here. As Becca succinctly puts it:

One of the beautiful things about Rowe is its natural setting. We’re plucked out of the matrix there, big time — there’s not a whole lot of Wi-Fi, OK? We remove ourselves from the regular inputs of the world and, instead, we get this incredibly fulfilling transmission of what it's like to be in community with similar minds, where we can openly talk about what’s important without being dismissed, mocked or shamed.

There we are, discerning adults looking carefully at the future and making good decisions based on what we see coming. It's a gift to be in the soup of a whole bunch of really interesting, amazing people for whom this material not a 'freak-out show' — we’re all grown-ups here talking about this together.

If you're inspired to come after listening to this podcast, click the big button below:

Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with Becca Martenson (43m:23s).


Chris Martenson: Welcome, everybody, to this Peak Prosperity Podcast. Let me see, this must be Sunday, and it is February 26. I’m sitting here with Becca Martenson, aka the person that I am married to. Hi, Becca.

Becca Martenson: Hi, Chris.

Chris Martenson: You just came back from an exciting week and we’ll hear about that. The purpose of this podcast is to both do a little state of the world update and that’s a lead-in to talking as well about the Rowe Conferences coming up in April and why we hold it. Let me start here; the Rowe Conference is wonderful. I would not think of not doing it, and it takes an enormous amount of effort to hold space for four days and be in charge of making sure everybody’s having as best an experience as we know how to deliver. We take that very seriously, but here’s the question, why would we take that time to do that? And to put our time into that conference?

The reason is because it is worth it; it’s worth it, and what’s worth it is not that we put on this super-great thing. We do, we take it seriously, and we’ll do our very best job to hold up our end of the bargain to bring our full-selves, give a great seminar. But the magic, the magic is in watching what happens when people get together and they can actually talk about what’s really happening in the world. Because you all know this, if you’re listening to this, you have this experience of thinking thoughts that you don’t feel you can talk about with the people around you, right?

This is only become extreme this year, where there are people who were reporting on our website as recently as this morning, that they have friends who because of political developments, that they can no - had to carve out one other giant area of can’t go there.

Becca Martenson: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Chris Martenson: Can’t talk about this stuff anymore, right?

Becca Martenson: That’s right.

Chris Martenson: Because it’ll get extreme, so.

Becca Martenson: Yeah and the feeling of freedom that we’ve seen people experience time and time and again at Rowe, the freedom to express; the freedom to say exactly what’s on their mind; with a room full of people that are not going to think that they’re crazy. They’re not going to belittle, like there’s no shaming going on here, there’s no oh, you conspiracy nut, you. How could you possibly consider something like social unrest; why you -

Chris Martenson: Don’t take my hope away.

Becca Martenson: Come on, be optimistic. Yeah, so to be able to be in a room of people, where you can just relax and speak your truth is one of the biggest gifts I think that the workshop really offers. I’ve heard that as feedback, honestly, from the very beginning.

Chris Martenson: Yeah, so before we go to all of the wonderful benefits of Rowe, and what we are going to be doing there, as well as maybe some of the things that happened last year. Let me, so I just came back from another wealth conference, and it was down in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. Because that was the scheduling -

Becca Martenson: Good idea.

Chris Martenson: Not an accident; that’s what they do on purpose. I felt a little disconnected, strangely out of place - gosh, I mean just straight-up, and I don’t have time and room in my life for becoming numb and immersing into the numbness that other revelers were. I don’t want to be this proverbial stick-in-the-mud, but I feel a sense of urgency now, Becca, that doesn’t allow me like I would have felt. Instead, I went out, saw everything, saw a float go by, gathered everything I can from this and went back to my room and continued writing and developing more content. Thinking through how I can reach more people this year, because this is the year.

Becca Martenson: Yeah.

Chris Martenson: Or next year, but somewhere in here, these bubbles are going to pop, and it’s going to be for the most of those unconscious people who didn’t want to see this coming, who couldn’t look at it, who weren’t’ able to face it. For whatever reason, they weren’t aware of what’s happening. They were buying into the cultural mean that everything is awesome.

Becca Martenson: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Chris Martenson: Big Trump rallies, stocks at all-time highs; that means things must be okay. They’re going to be blindsided; it’s going to really hurt so when these bubbles burst, here’s the best I can imagine. This is like 2008, but worse because we don’t have some of the capital we had in 2008, which was the Central Banks had enough capital to bail out all of their buddies and the big banks who were in danger of collapsing, and somehow they were able to get away with that. Trust me; they can’t get away with that this time.

Becca Martenson: Why? Why do you think so? Can I just ask you that?

Chris Martenson: Yeah, because you know Marine Le Pen is dangerously close to winning the Presidency outright, she’s ahead in every single poll. And because Trump won and because they’re trying to suppress this and pretend like it was oh, it was the Kremlin, the Kremlin now controls American politics.

Becca Martenson: Right.

Chris Martenson: That passes for legitimate thinking in some circles these days, but if you still said well, wait a minute, I believe in a deep state in the United States. They’re like oh, that’s nuts.

Becca Martenson: Right.

Chris Martenson: Like, can you feel the tension in those two belief systems? Holding those two?

Becca Martenson: Yes.

Chris Martenson: The Kremlin’s controlling everything. You know what’s crazy? If you look at a pie chart of the world and this whole pie chart is the world economy, NATO is half of this pie -

Becca Martenson: Mm-hmm.

Chris Martenson: And Russia’s 6%. It’s this little ledge off to the side and you have to circle that wedge and point at it and go oh, my God. They’re going to take us over, right? That’s the statement.

Becca Martenson: But you said - you made a statement that you didn’t think that we would be able to bail out the banks again?

Chris Martenson: No, because the political capital isn’t there right now.

Becca Martenson: Okay.

Chris Martenson: So, Greece is going to go just catch on fire and burn up and Merkel is dangerously close to losing outright in this next election, which is coming up soon.

Becca Martenson: Whoa.

Chris Martenson: She’s way behind in the polls.

Becca Martenson: Wow.

Chris Martenson: Who’s ahead? These are people saying the same thing, which is you can’t give to just the 0.1% anymore.

Becca Martenson: Yes.

Chris Martenson: And that’s what a bail out to the big banks is and by the way, what have they learned in all their recent crises? Nothing.

Becca Martenson: Yeah.

Chris Martenson: They have the same stupid shit on their books; they have the same dumb mistakes they’ve been making because they know they’re going to get bailed out. And they’ll try, but this time it comes with consequences, guaranteed.

Becca Martenson: Mm-hmm.

Chris Martenson: So, I don’t think they’ll be able to really bail out, plus it’s much - it’s bigger than they are this time. It’s really, really, really extreme, how -

Becca Martenson: It’s building, we can feel it.

Chris Martenson: Yeah and everybody can feel it and that’s just even on the economic side, but on the other side, we have to look at the geopolitical tensions. It’s, again, surprisingly not in the news, but the United States has war ships around the South China Sea Islands and China is saying very dire things, like get the heck out of here.

Becca Martenson: Right, back-off!

Chris Martenson: Or this will go military and get hot, jets have been encountering and doing fly-bys. It’s really a lot hotter, meanwhile we’re just all Kremlin phobia over here.

Becca Martenson: Right.

Chris Martenson: Which like is this what people were like in the McCarthy era? Were there people like me looking at this going this is so thin and shabby. How is this a thing?

Becca Martenson: Well -

Chris Martenson: Here we are -

Becca Martenson: Can I just go back to what you were talking when you were down at the Mardi Gras which I don’t want to be numb anymore, right?

Chris Martenson: Mm-hmm.

Becca Martenson: I don’t want to go out. I can’t ignore this, and I can’t go out and drink and forget all of this. But that is what’s being asked of us, culturally on a large scale; numb and forget; numb and forget; numb and forget.

Chris Martenson: Ask is a polite term; it’s being demanded of us.

Becca Martenson: Right, but what’s it like - I’m going to loop back into Rowe. Like to be able to come into a container where you don’t have to be numb. Where you don’t have to pretend to be numb or you can just say what’s on your mind.

Chris Martenson: Right, you can look across to the other person and say what do you think about living in a town where there’s three days of food in the grocery store? And the other person will sit back thoughtfully and say yeah, I’ve thought about that, and here’s what I’ve done.

Becca Martenson: Yeah, right.

Chris Martenson: How different of an experience is that from somebody saying oh, my God, I have to react very badly to you. I don’t know why, but I’m programmed to react this way.

Becca Martenson: That’s right.

Chris Martenson: That’s what I experience in our culture, is there a lot of programmed reactions.

Becca Martenson: Yes.

Chris Martenson: Where, when I talk with somebody, they’ll come up with a very strong belief and I know it’s a belief because it’s emotional, and you scratch at it and there’s no data under that. They have nothing to support it; maybe there could be data, but they don’t have it, it doesn’t matter.

Becca Martenson: Mm-hmm.

Chris Martenson: So I’m feeling that polarization, that sense of entrenchment, that sense of people retreating almost lizard brain stem into their most defensive positions and putting up bullworks around them.

Becca Martenson: Yes.

Chris Martenson: And saying, you shall not pass, right?

Becca Martenson: Yes.

Chris Martenson: Those aren’t conducive areas for surfing and being limber during a big crisis.

Becca Martenson: Right.

Chris Martenson: So, I think one of the greatest features of getting people together at Rowe, these are the super-users of the website; they’re able to both hear the message of unsustainability that we’ve got. And then, be able to do something about it in their lives.

Becca Martenson: Mm-hmm.

Chris Martenson: But this is my belief and I could be wrong. I’ve been wrong for a couple of years, but my belief is that they can’t keep this stitched together forever. Why? Because underneath, none of it makes sense.

Becca Martenson: Right.

Chris Martenson: Even like at the highest level; we’re going to have infinite growth forever if we could just get 5% growth. So, I was at this wealth conference, it was in Washington, DC there was this guy - Brad - I think it was Bentley? Anyway, I might have that wrong, I’ll remember it in a second, but Brad for sure, really well-coiffed, silver-fox 55-plus year old telling and he was the head of the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp so he should be able to think long-term. So I asked him a question, which was around the chart of the IOUs in the United States, which is all the debts, plus all the liabilities that are unfunded. There’s this chart put out by Ray Dalio of Bridgewater Associates and it said we have 1,100% debt-to-GDP. So, I relayed the chart to him, verbally, and I said how can we get out from that?

Becca Martenson: Right.

Chris Martenson: He said rapid growth.

Becca Martenson: Rapid growth, yeah. Did he really?

Chris Martenson: Mm-hmm.

Becca Martenson: Oh, that’s hilarious.

Chris Martenson: So, I said that’s interesting, it tripled from the years 1990 to 2000. You know how we got into that? Rapid growth, right. It doesn’t even make sense even like however you do it, right?

Becca Martenson: Yeah.

Chris Martenson: The only way that chart makes sense and I’m surprised a man of his caliber wasn’t able to come up with this and say we have to begin to live below our means.

Becca Martenson: Yes, yes.

Chris Martenson: That’s it; we live beyond our means for awhile and then we have to live -

Becca Martenson: Yes and then we have to swing back.

Chris Martenson: Live below our means for a while, right? It’s like we’ve harvested a million tons of bluefin tuna out of the ocean and we can’t do that anymore because they’re 95% gone. So, guess what, you have to harvest many, many fewer tons out of the ocean; you have to live below the means because you’ve overdone it, right.

Becca Martenson: Mm-hmm.

Chris Martenson: So, we’ve overdone it ecologically, we’ve overdone economically, and we’re going to discover in the next two years, maybe three at the outside, that we’ve overdone it on the energy side, as well. Because we haven’t invested, there’s a trillion dollars of missing investment from the big oil companies. That means that their oil projects that have been deferred, delayed, cancelled not happening; it will take years to ramp them back up. We’re swimming in this idea of abundant energy simply because oil is cheaper than it used to be.

Becca Martenson: Right.

Chris Martenson: And everybody who’s watching the data is looking at it behind the scenes, going oh, no this - we have a supply problem at some point, and that supply problem either ends with war or very high prices. Those are the only two ways to limit demand.

Becca Martenson: Mm-hmm.

Chris Martenson: That’s it.

Becca Martenson: Which way do you think our country would go?

Chris Martenson: Hmm, hard to choose, but both of those are obviously very bad for a global just in time integrated economy. War, because it shuts trade down; high prices because you take $200 trillion dollars of debt worldwide and you throw $150 a barrel oil at it, and it doesn’t work.

Becca Martenson: Mm-hmm, it slows things right down.

Chris Martenson: It just doesn’t work, flat out doesn’t work.

Becca Martenson: That’s a rock in a hard place is what I’m hearing.

Chris Martenson: It totally is, and you got to believe there are people who are thinking this through.

Becca Martenson: Oh sure.

Chris Martenson: Which of course, you know, we detailed that article recently about the wealthy people out in Silicon Valley who are preparing -

Becca Martenson: Bunkering up, so to speak.

Chris Martenson: Bunkering up, right? Listen, I could poke a hole or two in their plan, if their plan is I’ve got a jet with a pilot who’s going to get me to New Zealand when I decide the time is right. And they’re two holes in their plan; one is shifting baselines. One, things will sort of be getting bad slow enough that they won’t recognize it until it’s time to get out and then it’s too late. The second is there’s a bunch of events where you could imagine - if it’s war or if it’s some other event, or the grid goes down where the navigation systems don’t work the same. So, to anybody rich listening, make sure your pilot is capable of celestial navigation, because New Zealand is a tiny little thing in the middle of a very big ocean. When you’re trying to get there on a single tank of gas; you don’t have a lot of time to cruise around. Maybe I should have gone left at Orion? Dammit, you know.

Becca Martenson: This came out of the conversation you had with that group of Seals, the Seal Team, right?

Chris Martenson: Right.

Becca Martenson: Where that was their level expertise and training.

Chris Martenson: Some of them were Seal, but there were Rangers and Generals and all this and that. But it’s a crew of military guys who provide protective services for mainly major corporations, but also wealthy people. They had come through the front door after reading the Rich People Preparing piece and they were fascinated. Of course, they’re from the military so they don’t have to spend any time -

Becca Martenson: You didn’t have to convince them?

Chris Martenson: Convincing them that sometimes stuff goes pear-shaped.

Becca Martenson: Right.

Chris Martenson: They have the - if you one, you have none philosophy, meaning that stuff breaks so never put one of anything in your pack, if it’s vital. You always have two or more, and the second thing is that - this was one of their statements; nothing you read about in the news is how it actually happened.

Becca Martenson: Yeah.

Chris Martenson: They already know that, so I have to do a lot of de-packing and - I was at the wealth conference, and there’s these guys, I’m having breakfast with them. I had to explain to them how Janet Yellen was responsible for their pain as trustees. They were like what? They chose to make super low rates and that screwed your returns, right?

Becca Martenson: Right.

Chris Martenson: Like, oh but markets set rates? I’m like no.

Becca Martenson: People set rates.

Chris Martenson: No, no they choose on the short-end. But they’re like but the long-end. You heard about Operation Twist, right? Where they sold off the short-end of their curve and bought the long-end specifically to drive rates down? You know how the ECB is buying $130 billion a month, the Bank of Japan is, there’s $200 a billion a month specifically suppressing the long-end of the curve. They’re like what? How did these people not know this? How do trustees of pension funds not know the base forces that are making their job impossible?

Becca Martenson: It must be in their best interests to do so, psychologically.

Chris Martenson: Psychologically.

Becca Martenson: Yes.

Chris Martenson: Right.

Becca Martenson: It’s too hard to look at, because if you actually look at that, that screws your entire job, right.

Chris Martenson: Never expect a man to understand something if his job requires him not to.

Becca Martenson: Exactly.

Chris Martenson: So, there’s a little of that but mostly it’s emotionally challenging.

Becca Martenson: Yeah.

Chris Martenson: Because to believe in that is to believe that well, what does it mean if the Federal Reserve is not on my side? Whose side are they on? Well, the big bank side, that’s their client, that’s who they serve. So, it gets me all the way down, in the United States, in some other western countries we have the most elegant propaganda machine running, which does an exquisite job of hiding stuff in plain sight from people.

Becca Martenson: Yes.

Chris Martenson: For anybody who bothers to sit back and look at this, you go oh, that’s not at all what’s happening. The Fed could care less about my inflationary experience.

Becca Martenson: Right.

Chris Martenson: They don’t really care, right, but they repeat it, repeat it, repeat it and then never ask the proper questions. So, a lot of what we do at Peak Prosperity is we’re asking the right questions, right?

Becca Martenson: Yes, that’s right. Peeling back the covers.

Chris Martenson: How does infinite growth work? Like, well it doesn’t; that strategy, that tactic it’s running up against its very limits right now. Then these pension guys and gals would back up and go yeah, but a hundred years of returns, how can you argue with a hundred years of returns? Well, I can’t but you know the last ten years now, coming on actually 14 years, we discover that world growth has been below the trend that was required where everything sort of worked for over ten years now. By sort of worked, I mean we’re doubling debts at twice the rate that the economy was growing. So, now that growth is even slower that’s gone way off the rails. We’re still accumulating debt at the same rates, but now growth is even slower and so we have over ten years of data which means the financial industry is behind the medical industry which takes ten years to figure out if failed procedures don’t work and there are better ones.

Becca Martenson: Not doing them anymore.

Chris Martenson: Right? So it’s not about the data and it’s not about the logic and it’s not about the anything, it’s just that -

Becca Martenson: If only.

Chris Martenson: Yeah, I know. Really, that gets us down to what the Rowe Seminar is about in many ways. Yes, people gather and we get to talk to each other, that’s all awesome. But it’s getting into the softer sides of what the implications of all this data really is for me. We’ve got things like emotional capital, social capital, knowledge and skills, time. By the way, time capital for me, just to expand that one out a bit, is really falling back in love with the sacredness of our time here.

Becca Martenson: Yeah, each moment.

Chris Martenson: Each moment; it’s not about making awesome checklists so I can get more stuff done every day. The time capital thing is not a masculine, let’s be more -

Becca Martenson: Goal oriented.

Chris Martenson: Goal oriented.

Becca Martenson: It’s about what can we do? How can we make the most out of this moment right now.

Chris Martenson: Right.

Becca Martenson: Yeah, and so we had that possibility of sinking into the moment with a group of people, in that container, and the one of the beautiful things about Rowe that I so love is the natural setting. That we’re plucked out of the matrix there, big time, I mean to warn everybody there’s not a whole lotta Wi-Fi, okay. You can go to one place and get Wi-Fi, but otherwise, we’re cut-off from the regular inputs of the world, and instead in their place, we have the natural world surrounding us. So, again, all of that container supports that intention to be really present.

Chris Martenson: Right, so again, for anybody listening, if you’re intrigued at this point you can find a link to Rowe on our website, and it is April 6th to the 9th; that’s Thursday through Sunday. It’s in Rowe, Massachusetts; you can sign up through the website or at Rowe -

Becca Martenson: It’s Rowe Conference - oh, I can’t remember.

Chris Martenson: They’ll look it up because it’s either Rowecenter.org or Roweconferencecenter.org.

Becca Martenson: Yeah, exactly, I think it’s Rowecenter. Yes, so one of the things that I’m looking forward to seeing if it gels again this year -

Chris Martenson: Oh, Rowecenter.org.

Becca Martenson: Thank you for that clarity, Mr. Martenson, so people can go to Rowecenter.org.

Chris Martenson: I always forget if conference is in there, but it is the Rowe Conference Center, but it’s Rowecenter.org. Okay.

Becca Martenson: Yeah, so what I was about to get into was, one of the things that have happened in the past, is that sometimes people will come with a density from a particular geographic area. Okay, so last year a number of people came from - I’ll just say the Eastern Massachusetts/Southern New Hampshire area.

Chris Martenson: Right.

Becca Martenson: And they bonded at the workshop; they got together and they bonded and they set up times to get together outside of the workshop, and have been doing things together. I always love hearing those stories and in the past we’ve had people that have tried to bring their friends for that same thing. When you come and you get this transmission of oh, gosh what is it like to be in community with people where we can talk about what’s important without feeling ashamed? If people can come with somebody from their geographic region, it just helps because it’s somebody that you’re anchored to when you get back. So, that’s something that I would recommend.

Chris Martenson: Well, a group came from our neck of the woods and has formed a group that is still in operation, how many years later?

Becca Martenson: Five years. Okay, I want to talk about this because this is amazing. This is a group that I am a part of that Rowe 5 - it might even be six years ago.

Chris Martenson: It was just before the 2011 earthquake; it was before then.

Becca Martenson: Yes, that’s right. Time is moving fast. So, there was a density of people from our geographic region, from the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts. I think it was maybe six or seven people from the area, and they set an intention to come back and to get together back at home. In the beginning, it was basically a resilience group. It was that core group of people that came to Rowe, plus significant others that hadn’t been at Rowe, plus some friends that seemed interested. For the first year, this group was a resilience-based group; we talked about systems and structures and stored food. Talked about solar systems and all of that stuff, and right after we started that group, we had a serious hurricane up here. Hurricane Irene came through.

I remember when Hurricane Irene was coming through and everybody was freaking out in the community. Everybody in our group was relaxed; I remember seeing them at the store like yeah, I’m good; we’ve got everything we need. So, there was that immediate testing of what it’s like to prepare in some way for unexpected outcomes and then have that benefit immediately. So, that was super-cool. But the deeper cooler thing that’s happened is that this group has come together every other week for five years. That’s a long time. It’s expanded and deepened so far beyond resilience training so on the logistical level we do work projects with each other. We do stocking together, we’ve moved everybody if they’ve moved over those five years.

But in addition, during those five years everybody has gone through some hard times, and there is a way that we have been able to circle, support, and be present with people during divorce, during children with drug addiction issues, during major breakups, during death of parents. This is normal life hardship, right; we don’t need to wait for the big calamity that we’re imagining might happen. Life has hardships along the way.

Chris Martenson: You shouldn’t even be waiting for the big calamity, we’ll figure out how to be together during tough times. No, this is like training wheels.

Becca Martenson: It is training wheels.

Chris Martenson: This is real life and this was how life was always supposed to be and one of the big features of our modern culture is people reporting being - feeling desperately alone.

Becca Martenson: Disconnected.

Chris Martenson: Isolated from each other, from nature, from the sacredness of life, from the rhythms of life. So, being human is messy.

Becca Martenson: It is messy.

Chris Martenson: It’s not easy, right?

Becca Martenson: That’s right and disconnection is the core wound that is fueling the entire problems on the planet right now. Yeah, this was something that happened organically; it came together and it lasted, it’s still continuing to this day. But that came out of Rowe. It’s a teaching story and so, if there are folks listening that might have a few people in your community that you can talk to about this stuff; if they can do it, bring them along.

Chris Martenson: Then there’s this other group that came last year and they’ve been meeting together a bunch of times. When I gave a talk at Harvard last year -

Becca Martenson: That’s right.

Chris Martenson: Many of them showed up and we went out for drinks afterwards and it was wonderful. They’re busy bonding, as well. So, that’s one model which is don’t come along, bring as many people from your community as you can.

Becca Martenson: Yes.

Chris Martenson: If you can achieve a critical mass grouping, that’s fantastic. All right, I want to talk about skinnying that model down a bit. You want to know what I think the number one value of the Rowe Seminar is? We have ten years of experience now. So, I think we can say this, saving relationships.

Becca Martenson: Okay, yes that’s true.

Chris Martenson: It has a very high value, because let’s be clear, breaking up is expensive and destructive.

Becca Martenson: Painful.

Chris Martenson: Painful and all of that. So, we’ve had - I can’t tell you how many experiences. Some might be thinking right, the guy is going all crazy on the prep side and the woman’s freaking out about that. You’d be surprised how often it’s been split.

Becca Martenson: Yes, absolutely.

Chris Martenson: 50/50, where sometimes it’s the man and then flip it, where the woman’s holding that point of view. This is not a gender statement in any way, shape, or form, but it’s been true and what we do is magic. It’s not a case of getting the reluctant partner to see the point of view of the partner who shares our view, that the world needs to be prepared for and all that. It’s that we bring both of them to each other’s position.

Becca Martenson: Yes.

Chris Martenson: Here’s a concrete example, where one of the partner - the one that’s seeing the threat in all of this, goes we need to be safer and I don’t like where we live. I’ve analyzed it and it’s not safe here; this isn’t where I would choose to ride this out.

Becca Martenson: Right.

Chris Martenson: Idaho or somewhere else, right?

Becca Martenson: Yes.

Chris Martenson: The other partners like no, this is my life. We have all the kids inserted here. With Prosper, we talk about the eight forms of capital and once you can open up and understand that social capital is a form of capital.

Becca Martenson: Yes, valuable.

Chris Martenson: You can’t buy it or accelerate it.

Becca Martenson: That’s right.

Chris Martenson: So, you have to think carefully before you would toss in the dumpster 10 or 20 years of social capital build up in favor of some material or physical safety that might exist with a more remote location, so we’re going to get both parties to see each other’s side. We have a calm, gentle way of saying this isn’t irrational, this is rational; your partner may be presenting in a highly excitable way. Once we calm that down, here’s what they’re reacting to. So, now both parties can see each other’s positions. If you’re listening to this and your partner isn’t onboard, worse they’re hostile to any of this, I kid you not, the best counseling weekend you could go to will be this one.

Becca Martenson: I’m remembering back to when we were doing a seminar, this is pre-Rowe, we were doing a seminar in Denver.

Chris Martenson: Right, that was 2009.

Becca Martenson: Yeah, we were doing a seminar in Denver, and we weren’t getting into the reluctant partner stuff at all.

Chris Martenson: I don’t think we had that framing then.

Becca Martenson: I don’t think so either, but there was a woman that cornered me in the bathroom and she said “I am learning so much about relationships just watching you two give the seminar then I did at the relationship workshop I was at last weekend.” I’m like that’s very nice; that’s not our intention, but I’m glad you’re getting that. That’s wonderful. But when we bring total acceptance to both parties, right. This is not about convincing or making the person who doesn’t perceive it the way we perceive it at Prosperity; wrong or bad. This is not about making them bad.

Chris Martenson: Or convincing them.

Becca Martenson: Or convincing them, it’s saying yes, I see how you feel that way. There you are and to honor the perspective of everybody in the room while having the normalizing of the prospective that we’re talking about. The discerning adult future perspective, like looking carefully at the future, and making some good decisions based on what we see coming. To be in the soup of a whole bunch of people for whom this is not a freak-out show, we’re all grown-ups here talking about this together. That is really transformative for the partners, outside in the mainstream culture. Their position is highly reinforced, right? The position of don’t worry about it, there’s nothing to look at here, everything’s going to be fine. That is reinforced by the dominant culture big time, so there’s a flip that happens we create our own little culture inside Rowe. We are very grounded and calm and stable when we talk about this, because we’ve been doing it for a long time.

Chris Martenson: Yeah. If you have a reluctant partner or if you have family members or co-workers or colleagues we will be talking about how you go about talking about these sorts of things. There is a way, there is a method to the madness and so we’re going to spend more time on that this year. Part of the reason we went to a Thursday to a Sunday, it used to be Friday to Sunday, is we needed the extra day for you all to meet each other in a more luxurious way. Not a crammed schedule -

Becca Martenson: Yeah, that is our way.

Chris Martenson: Yeah.

Becca Martenson: We have a lot of material to share and we want to give it all to you.

Chris Martenson: Yeah, we could spend a whole week on it. But we’re going to be spending more time on that exact dynamic, which there’s two themes that come up every year. One is that, which is how do I talk about this stuff, right?

Becca Martenson: Yes.

Chris Martenson: We’ve got some great ideas and it’s a function of what you say, how you say it, when you say it; got some ideas around that. The second is that sense of leading two lives.

Becca Martenson: Yes.

Chris Martenson: The life I’m leading and this other one that I feel like I should be leading. Come on; let’s be clear about this, most jobs and most things that - busyness that we’ve created for ourselves in this modern culture is bullshit.

Becca Martenson: Mm-hmm.

Chris Martenson: There are a lot of bullshit jobs out there - I -

Becca Martenson: Let’s define bullshit, okay?

Chris Martenson: I left my job at Pfizer, which was in management, corporate and all that stuff, but when I had my epiphany there is a whole ship of Chris Martenson’s that could sink in the north Atlantic and nothing would happen, right. That company would be fine, right?

Becca Martenson: So, you’re speaking to the meaning; there is no meaning in that job especially for you personally, let alone larger meaning.

Chris Martenson: Right, but there is a lot of meaninglessness in the lives we’ve created for ourselves. The closest thing I think we have to a major ritual in this country, where everybody sort of gets together, they set things aside and they sit down, a lot of preparation goes into this; preplanning, is the Super Bowl.

Becca Martenson: Yeah.

Chris Martenson: Think about the meaninglessness of that though, because what happens whether this team wins or that team wins? Nothing at all happens; the bumble bees are still disappearing, the tuna are still disappearing. We still haven’t found a way to renew our sacredness and appreciation of each other and for life. Nothing really happens.

Becca Martenson: Not more connected.

Chris Martenson: Not more alive; maybe the next day more hung-over. This seminar is the anecdotes to that, on the one hand people encounter this material; this is dark and scary. It’s true, we’re asking people not to engage with information; we’re asking them to take an emotional journey.

Becca Martenson: Yeah, it’s stimulating no doubt.

Chris Martenson: What comes out of that?

Becca Martenson: What comes out of our emotions being stimulated?

Chris Martenson: Eventually, for me, I love my life right now.

Becca Martenson: Yes.

Chris Martenson: I have an awesome life right now. I get to live the life I was meant to live. My gifts authentically come into my work. I had to take some risks and create this job for myself. There wasn’t exactly a Peak Prosperity University, like here’s how you tell people stuff they don’t want to hear and make money.

Becca Martenson: It started with a blog.

Chris Martenson: But I was following my passion. I had the luxury of being able to do that and you weren’t fighting and being resistant. I had lots of support. Still, everybody has the opportunity to bring meaning back into their lives and that’s when we go into this leading two lives part. A lot of people treat it binary; as soon as I quit this meaningless job and I start that one, that’s when the meaning starts. No, it starts right now in the context of your current job, and maybe as you migrate you’ll get more of it. There’s no waiting.

Becca Martenson: That’s right, you choose meaning now.

Chris Martenson: That’s why I’m so excited to give this seminar this year in particular, because the time is now.

Becca Martenson: Yes, because we need people living in their gifts.

Chris Martenson: Right now.

Becca Martenson: We need it desperately, plan it -

Chris Martenson: I need people living in their gifts; I need allies, you need allies; we need to find each other.

Becca Martenson: That’s right.

Chris Martenson: We need to develop a plan for how we’re all going to get together, so a lot of the seminar for me is not about bringing people and scattering them back to the winds. But I’m here to meet people, to make and form relationships with the people who are on my team.

Becca Martenson: That’s right.

Chris Martenson: Our expanding tribe because let’s be clear, we can’t keep on with the status quo, it’s killing us. It’s killing the planet, so yeah, let’s get on with it.

Becca Martenson: I was remembering back to the early seminars, when we would sit in a room, and there would be like eight hours of slides. Our entire goal for that, to give all the slides was to meet two people. Let’s throw out all this information and see where it sticks, and let’s find two people out of this room of 50 that have to come hear this. To find those two people that resonated, like that was the original goal of doing the seminars.

Chris Martenson: Sure.

Becca Martenson: So, in many ways that original goal still holds for our seminars now. They’re a lot better and more fun now.

Chris Martenson: Right. All right, so we will be going through all eight forms of capital to varying levels of depth. I don’t have an agenda out because we don’t know yet how it’s all going to present. We’ll be prepared to do anything. We have a lot of material. So, let me skinny it down to you, the individual. You’re thinking of coming alone, last year we had somebody come from Scotland, somebody come for the second time from Yellow Knife, Canada.

Becca Martenson: Canada.

Chris Martenson: Which took five separate plane trips; I think the first one had pontoons on it.

Becca Martenson: Yeah.

Chris Martenson: Somebody came in from Singapore. So, people do come from all over. They come to this rustic place without a lot of cell phone reception or -

Becca Martenson: Any cell phone reception.

Chris Martenson: There is Wi-Fi in one of the buildings, but there’s no - you will be -

Becca Martenson: Just be prepared.

Chris Martenson: This is the rustic chic thing that rich people pay a lot for right now, and we’re charging a lot less than that so you get the whole experience.

Becca Martenson: Unless you realize just where your Internet addiction actually is.

Chris Martenson: Yeah.

Becca Martenson: Just so you know.

Chris Martenson: All right. Well, that’s why individuals come, as well. It is for all types and stripes of people

Becca Martenson: You never know who is going to show up. That feels good. Anything else you want to say about this?

Chris Martenson: That’s it; April 6th to the 9th, we’re having our annual Peak Prosperity seminar, it’s at Rowe and that’s at Roweventer.org. Check the link below this, but if you’re listening on YouTube or iTunes, Rowecenter.org and you’re looking for the Martenson Retreat, Peak Prosperity. You’ll find either of those two terms and or come to PeakProsperity.com and we’ll have a link to it there as well. Love to see you there.

Becca Martenson: Yeah, look forward to it.

Chris Martenson: Again, we don’t know how long we’re going to be doing these in the future. We just don’t know, but I do know we’re doing one this year.

Becca Martenson: That’s right.

Chris Martenson: So, if you’re thinking of coming, now’s the time.

Becca Martenson: Now’s the time.

Chris Martenson: That’s it, no time like now. All right, well with that, Chris Martenson here, closing out. Becca?

Becca Martenson: All right, good to talk to you all.

Chris Martenson: All right, bye.

Related content
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  • Thu, Mar 02, 2017 - 6:13am



    Status: Gold Member

    Joined: Sep 03 2009

    Posts: 408


    Brad from PBGC

    Who was the guy from PBGC that couldn't address your question about exponential growth?  

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  • Thu, Mar 02, 2017 - 11:09am

    Chris Martenson

    Chris Martenson

    Status: Platinum Member

    Joined: Jun 07 2007

    Posts: 6388


    This was the gentleman

    Bradley Belt.

    Bradley Belt is the former executive director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) in the United States, and an expert on retirement security and its impact on financial markets and the economy. He was appointed by President George W. Bush to replace Steven Kandarian and later resigned on March 23, 2006.
    He currently serves as the CEO for Palisades Capital and the managing director for the Milken Institute. Eisenhower Fellowships selected Bradley Belt as a USA Eisenhower Fellow in 1997. Belt was named one of SmartMoney's "Power 30" in finance and one of Workforce magazine's "10 Most Forward-Thinking Leaders in Workforce Management." He is currently Vice Chairman of Orchard Global Asset Management.

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  • Thu, Mar 02, 2017 - 11:12am

    Chris Martenson

    Chris Martenson

    Status: Platinum Member

    Joined: Jun 07 2007

    Posts: 6388


    And just for kicks...IOUSA

    And here's the chart that gives me pause...

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  • Thu, Mar 02, 2017 - 12:31pm



    Status: Bronze Member

    Joined: Apr 14 2009

    Posts: 149


    the chart

    what do you know
    it looks like a reverse image of energy supplies 

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  • Thu, Mar 02, 2017 - 1:35pm



    Status: Gold Member

    Joined: Sep 03 2009

    Posts: 408



    Worth noting that PBGC did an RFP in 2015 for $25B in passive equity (ditching active management), and just last month they issued an RFP for $7B in LDI overlay strategies (de-risking). This is how pension systems wash their hands prior to significant headaches. They have about $88B in total.  How much in total ERISA assets are there?? About $25 Trillion. 

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  • Thu, Mar 02, 2017 - 1:59pm



    Status: Member

    Joined: Jan 13 2017

    Posts: 4


    Turning Point Conversation

    I had a chance lunch with David Walker a number of years ago and it changed my life.  His book IOUSA started me down the rabbit hole of what is really happening with our economy and ultimately led me to Peak Prosperity.  I keep hearing the word "inevitable" but then am amazed as to why it has not fallen already. 

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  • Fri, Mar 03, 2017 - 1:16pm



    Status: Member

    Joined: Jan 29 2012

    Posts: 129


    Good Info for Forwarding

    Thanks Chris & Becca for explaining the Rowe Conf for people who haven't been before.  I have already registered and have another Texas couple who have registered as well...I hope to bring at least one other couple and your podcast is a great way to give them some more color around what to expect.  You forgot to mention how much fun the social aspect after hours can be (if not too tired)...its a fun community!  Hope Becca brings some more of the homemade cider and you bring your guitar.  Also for anyone interested in hearing more about Costa Rica as a potential retirement/vacation spot or a cost effective "Plan B" look me up...its one of the healthiest and sustainable places I have been to so far with excellent biodiversity, low energy use and a relaxed friendly atmosphere.  See you there.

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  • Fri, Mar 03, 2017 - 5:33pm

    Chris Martenson

    Chris Martenson

    Status: Platinum Member

    Joined: Jun 07 2007

    Posts: 6388


    That's awesome!

    CleanEnergyFan wrote:

    Thanks Chris & Becca for explaining the Rowe Conf for people who haven't been before.  I have already registered and have another Texas couple who have registered as well...I hope to bring at least one other couple and your podcast is a great way to give them some more color around what to expect. 
    You forgot to mention how much fun the social aspect after hours can be (if not too tired)...its a fun community!  Hope Becca brings some more of the homemade cider and you bring your guitar.  Also for anyone interested in hearing more about Costa Rica as a potential retirement/vacation spot or a cost effective "Plan B" look me up...its one of the healthiest and sustainable places I have been to so far with excellent biodiversity, low energy use and a relaxed friendly atmosphere.  See you there.

    Well, that's just plain awesome, you are doing it right!
    I certainly hope you manage to bring an entire tribe along, that will serve you very well.
    And, yes, the partying and socializing is as worthwhile as anything else, of course.  Becca and I will both be very interested in your Costa Rica project, as we are being crunched by wacky weather here in New England that seems to only be getting wackier.
    See you soon!

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  • Fri, Mar 03, 2017 - 9:08pm



    Status: Member

    Joined: Sep 25 2015

    Posts: 1


    Conference Schedule

    I was just wondering about the start time of the conference on April 6th, as I've looked at the information both on here and the Rowecenter.org website and can't seem to find it. I only ask because i would really love to attend, but I'm getting off of work that morning on the other side of the country. Thanks for any info anyone can provide.           

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  • Sat, Mar 04, 2017 - 6:35am

    Chris Martenson

    Chris Martenson

    Status: Platinum Member

    Joined: Jun 07 2007

    Posts: 6388


    Rowe timing for Thursday

    Clark179 wrote:

    I was just wondering about the start time of the conference on April 6th, as I've looked at the information both on here and the Rowecenter.org website and can't seem to find it. I only ask because i would really love to attend, but I'm getting off of work that morning on the other side of the country. Thanks for any info anyone can provide.           

    Happy to answer.
    Our schedule looks like this, BUT we've added an extra day and so we start on Thursday....  So where you see Friday below, just mentally insert Thursday.  And where you see Saturday mentally insert another day that looks just like it which will be Friday.

    Sunday is jsut the same as it appears.
    So if you showed up by ~8:00 on Thursday night, you wouldn't miss any programming...but it's always nice to mingle and have dinner if you can make it.
    We'd love to see you there.

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  • Sun, Mar 05, 2017 - 1:43am

    Abandon Ship

    Abandon Ship

    Status: Member

    Joined: Apr 21 2009

    Posts: 19


    Any chance of a VC Rowe?

    Chris, I was wondering if you could host an international Rowe convention via video conference? I would love to come along an attend in person but it is unlikely to happen living so far away (Brisbane Australia) with many commitments. But a video conference might make it feasible. Any thoughts?

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