Your Chance to Interview Chris

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  • Thu, Jan 19, 2012 - 03:23pm



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    Many of us who are

Many of us who are transitioning to a “simpler” more “resilient” lifestyle may be using existing technologies to help in that transition.  Solar systems, both PV and thermal, wind, geothermal, micro hydro as examples of taking more personal control of our energy needs (often at considerable expense), but other technologies used in personal food production, transportation, etc may also be part of our plans.  While these may be considered “logical” decisions to reduce our dependency on more centralized systems that are out of our control, create a smaller energy and environmental footprint and so forth, I worry that a failed inverter, panel, bearing, or any other component of these systems can substantially reduce their effectiveness or render them completely useless if repairs are not possible.  These possible failures could come one day, one year, or ten yrs into the future.  I know there is a large range of possible futures ahead of us, but if you had to assign probabilities how likely do you think it is that the support of these existing technologies will be able to continue into the future?  Do you think system analysis of the inherent weak points should be done now, so as to inventory components that are likely to fail before the useful life of the systems can otherwise be obtained?  I ask the question because, obviously, existing presonal capital would need to be used to inventory replacement parts rather than for implementation of additional planning options.  We have probably all personally experienced or heard of equipment failures that even now can not easily be repaired because of the inability to find proper replacement parts.  As a rule that is why my personal plans try to eliminate the use of more complicated systems (e.g. passive solar vs geothermal) where the choice is feasible. Because low tech solutions are not always possible, I wanted your feedback  for what I consider a very important planning question.

  • Thu, Jan 19, 2012 - 04:11pm



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    echo of safewrite


I have three home-school teenagers and a 9 year old with Down Syndrome.  They have watched the crash course, live a homestead lifestyle, and like life on our remote farm.

But …

But they are ‘normal’ kids with dreams, hopes and desires and (as I have asked the forums elsewhere here) how do you balance your children’s natural optimism with the harsh reality & very real probability of post-peak world in their lifetime?

Can you ever see creating a crash course for teens?  Perhaps a forum here on CM for teens and family?



  • Thu, Jan 19, 2012 - 07:15pm



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    Poet’s Questions

Dear Chris:

Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions. Here are mine:

1. What advice do you have for skills, jobs, and careers that may remain viable in the coming 20 years? Do you have anything in particular for parents of young children who have limited time outside of work and child-rearing?

2. What advice for meeting the next 20 years, do you have for those who are elderly, poor, members of religious or racial minorities, those with physical or mental disabilities or those taking care of family members with disabilities (such as autism or MS, etc.)?

3. Are you still hedged 80/20 in your inflation/deflation outlook? If not, how has that changed, and was it recent?

4. I believe you’ve read John Michael Greer’s Long Descent. What do you think of his idea of a long descent for civilization, like stair steps, rather than a sudden collapse into chaos?

5. Do you have an “outside-of-the-US” escape plan in place, or are you pretty much decided on your current home in New England?


  • Fri, Jan 20, 2012 - 05:33am



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Greetings Dr. M,

  1. How in the world do you write about the same subject matter month after month, year after year, and still make it an interesting read? I find myself doing a great deal of this for my business and I must say that the “creativity-on-demand” aspect of it is not easy. How do you motivate yourself to write?
  2. What is next for you, business-wise? I’ve been around for awhile and I must say that any normal human in your shoes would be completely burned-out with a near-terminal case of MFS (Macroeconomic Fatigue Syndrome) at this point. If you could completely walk away from today, what would you pursue next?


Also, I regret to inform you that Captain Sheeple has a question for you:

The day finally comes to cash in your gold coins, so you go to your safe deposit box and pull out nine bags filled with gold coins and take them to your nearest gold dealer. Upon inspection of the coins in each bag the dealer says “Wow, you have a lot of gold here, but I’ve got to tell you that one bag is full of tungsten-salted gold coins”.

“How do you know that?” you ask. The dealer replies ” in one bag, all the coins weigh 1.1 ounces each, instead of an ounce each. The current tungsten alloy being used in fake gold coins is slightly heavier than gold.” He then says ” I won’t report you to the GCP (Gold Confiscation Police) if you can tell me which bag contains the tungsten- gold coins by using my digital scale one time, and only one time.”

So how do you tell which bag has the fake gold coins by using the dealer’s scale only once?



  • Fri, Jan 20, 2012 - 07:22am



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    Retirement Savings

Chris, I’m a single guy, work as a Registered Nurse. Have a 403b and Roth IRA. If you were me, would you pull all your money out, pay the taxes due and penalties and use the rest to buy and hold precious metals? What would CHRIS do?


Charleston, SC

  • Fri, Jan 20, 2012 - 03:58pm



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    Retirement Savings +1


What is your advice about leaving some money in “the system” (e.g., banks, brokerages, credit unions), especially with regard to retirement funds? Although I have withdrawn about half of my IRA/401(k) money, and have the rest in conservative Stable Value Funds, CD’s, money markets and conservative stocks (< 5%), I am hesitant to withdraw the rest from the system. I wonder if TPTB will come up with some way to indemnify holders of retirement accounts and other accounts that is better than my holding cash and PM’s. I am close to retirement age and my earning years are drawing to a close. I just can’t get my head around storing enough cash and PM’s to last for 20 years of retirement!


  • Fri, Jan 20, 2012 - 05:20pm



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    Time to buy Silver?


A few months ago you were expecting a downfall in Silver prices and said that you would inform us when it was time to buy.  I can’t remember if you put out an alert saying you are purchasing (I already did at $26), so, I have the following questions:

  1. Silver prices have been and are still down from their highs of around $48/ozt, have you purchased more yet?  Please expound on your decision.
  2. Can you give another update on where you see Silver/Gold prices heading in the near and not-so-near- future?
  3. What triggers are you currently looking at that will influence the prices of Gold/Silver?



  • Fri, Jan 20, 2012 - 05:45pm



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    Student discount?

 Hi Chris,

I don’t know if this question has been asked to often by others already but I was wondering if you could provide a “student discount” for the internal page.

Please let me explain why:

– Most students (including me) live on a very tight budget. The current rate for the internat part of the page is too big for my available funds.

– Manyof us are well connected and pass the ideas on 3E on. I have bought the CrashCouse book as a gift and led many friends to your homepage but we all are only using the external part due to the high costs associated with the professional membership.

– Most students (again, including me) that I know are not into stocks, bonds etc. so there’s little financial benefit that we could gain in case this isdiscussed internally.

– You would reach a broader audience and could help to raise awareness. If you get the students, there’s a good chance you reach their families & friends too.

– Each one of us should be able to provide a high school / university enrollment certificate & a personal statement why we should get a discount. It’s handled similar on other pages (trendsresearch… etc)


Food for thought. Thanks and pls keep up the good work.

  • Fri, Jan 20, 2012 - 05:51pm



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    Political kabuki

One of the reasons your site has become one of my favorite resources is the fact that you don’t  buy into the left/right false paradigm. It seems that the animonsity between the political parties has risen in direct inverse correlation to how little they actually differ.

We are on the threshhold of great changes for our civilization whether we are ready or not. Neither the left or the right have proposed anything even close to a viable plan to address even a fraction of the issues we face.

My question is this: How much do you feel the distraction of this false political dichotomy has actually prevented people from becoming aware of the issues you address in “Crash Course”?  Do you believe that people in high political offices are aware of the coming crises but intentionally don’t address it because the solutions necessary to ameliorate the problems would be so painful that they would destroy any chance of reelection? 

Thank you!

  • Fri, Jan 20, 2012 - 06:00pm



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    Questions for Chris

What’s the most likely course for the Great Contraction, financial crash and chaos or a more gradual deleveraging through inflation and energy cost rises?

We as a people are woefully unprepared to fix things ourselves and keep some semblance of necessary services running, because we’ve been led into a society of extreme specialization.  Should younger folk today concentrate on learning a broad range of practical skills or trust that doing one thing very well will be of value in the future and of greater recompense today?  Of course a lot depends on that “one thing.” 

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