The Coming Cultural Shift

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The Coming Cultural Shift

 Hey all --

Below is a link to a fine piece (IMO) from alt-market.com -- it discusses 7 things that indicate a culture in decline or the throes of painful change.   The US shows signs of all seven.  The OWS movement is I believe a reaction to these symptoms of decline.  So, for that matter, was the original Tea Party movement.  A number of these issues get discussed here at CM.com.  

I post this link not because I believe we are ripe for a descent in chaos per se, but rather because it is clear to me that our society is suffering from so many stressors that *something* is coming down the pike.  Some sort of serious change and/or disjunction.  We CM stalwarts have all looked SHTF in the eye and have taken whatever steps we can and/or feel appropriate.  But a descent into chaos is possible -- a low probability/high effect event -- so if this article spurs anybody to take their actions up a notch or three, then this post has served its purpose.  

http://alt-market.com/articles/296-breaking-points-recognizing-the-signs...

Viva -- Sager

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yep

I have been talking about this since the dems and repubs tried to get a handle on the over spending at the fed gov level and failed back in august.  i think that was a turning point.  the repubs had control of the situation.  either the dems would back off the out of control spending or not - that is what the conservative media was saying.  however, the repubs were in the position to force spending cuts and you know what ?  They did not do it, instead they gave obama a blank fed res check for 2.4 trillion and ran for the hills without cutting anything.  total collapse of the repub and tea party gig.  that got me to thinking - why did that happen.  then i started digging and the truth is that they can't cut spending.  if they cut spending in any meaningful way there will be a social problem.  we are spending somewhere between 40 and 45 percent over the inbound revenue stream.  that is huge.  the truth is they are not wasting much money right now.  the crazy loan to the solar company is chump change.  no, the truth is they are spending on the stuff they said they would spend on i.e. social security, medicare, medicaid, the military, food stamps, section 8 housing, agg subsidies, you name it.  to cut the fed gov back to revenue stream would mean really serious cuts in spending.  cutting 40% of fed gov spending would be a very big deal.  there would be social problems - violence.  you take away people's food and places to live and they go crazy.  so they are not going to do it.  they are going to print - and they are going to keep printing.  the fed res is forcing interest rates down for long term debt.  the fed gov is going to sell a lot of long term debt at very low interest rates.  it all makes sense when you look at the big picture.  but it is not sustainable unless it is handled very well.  we could inflate our way out of debt over time.  it is just a form of default where the CDSs don't kick in.  i do not think it will work in the long run but they are giving it a shot as it is their only way out.  we will just have to see how it goes.

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Right you are

Dshields

 

You have learned a lot in the time you have been here. You are absolutely right that the Federal Government can’t cut spending in a meaningful way without tanking the economy. I laid it out pretty thoroughly in the Situation Analysis of my What Should I Do article on financial planning. As you say 43% of federal spending is borrowed, which is 10% of GDP. A decline of 10% is a benchmark of a depression, and would probably start a deflationary spiral that would wreak our economy like the 1930s. We are truly caught between a rock and a hard place.

Travlin

 

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So what now? Where should we invest when the crisis hits?

OK, I agree long term whether we have dems or repubs in control, nobody will be able to fix the problem with excessive US debt versus US revenue shortfall without crippling the economy in the US.  Eventually, the fed will have to start printing money to pay all the bills.  I don't know if we will see the squeeze on US teasuries in months or years but I feel confident, it will happen.

I'm very heavy right now on insured muni's fund because of the very nice tax free income stream of 6%+ and the relativie saftey of being insured as well well diversified in the funds.  Also, municiple governments usually don't need voter approval to raise property taxes if they need more money.  They almost never default because of this.  That said, if bonds become junk, the muni's will suffer as a similar asset whether it is warranted or not.  Plus, rates and inflation will go through the roof, so 6% won't feel very good at this point.

So here are my questions:

1. What is the first indicator bonds are about to sink and it is time to move my money out the insured Muni funds has arrived?

2. Where do you park your money once the indicators tell us the spiral is about to begin?

 

I would appreciate the thoughts of the community here.

Thanks

Harvey

 

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Cohenhs, R U Sure...?

In your post, above, you said, "municiple governments usually don't need voter approval to raise property taxes." Is that true? I thought voter approval was required in order for munis to raise property taxes above and beyond a certain percentage (a number I can't remember) .... 

If your right, that's frightening.... one more thing to think about.....

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dshields wrote:  it all
dshields wrote:

 it all makes sense when you look at the big picture.  but it is not sustainable unless it is handled very well.  we could inflate our way out of debt over time.  it is just a form of default where the CDSs don't kick in.  i do not think it will work in the long run but they are giving it a shot as it is their only way out.  we will just have to see how it goes.

dshields - you are right, that's the way I see it as well.

Here's  a recent article by Ray Dalio (he is a hedge fund manager focusing on macro trends).

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/ray-dalio-whether-current-hopeless-mob-rule-deleveraging-can-lead-ascent-another-hitler

If we calm down and work together to properly manage this difficult situation – for example, if we can properly distribute both the austerity and the increased efforts that are required to manage our debt burdens – we can get through this deleveraging without great pain. If we can’t, we may experience an economic, social and political collapse.

He talks about a 3% cut in spending, 3% raise in taxes and hope for a 2% growth in GDP (comparable to income growth) => deleveraging could be managed in an orderly fashion. But the policy makers and treading a very fine line. 

 

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3 + 3 = 6
sundarb wrote:
dshields wrote:

 it all makes sense when you look at the big picture.  but it is not sustainable unless it is handled very well.  we could inflate our way out of debt over time.  it is just a form of default where the CDSs don't kick in.  i do not think it will work in the long run but they are giving it a shot as it is their only way out.  we will just have to see how it goes.

dshields - you are right, that's the way I see it as well.

Here's  a recent article by Ray Dalio (he is a hedge fund manager focusing on macro trends).

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/ray-dalio-whether-current-hopeless-mob-rule-deleveraging-can-lead-ascent-another-hitler

If we calm down and work together to properly manage this difficult situation – for example, if we can properly distribute both the austerity and the increased efforts that are required to manage our debt burdens – we can get through this deleveraging without great pain. If we can’t, we may experience an economic, social and political collapse.

He talks about a 3% cut in spending, 3% raise in taxes and hope for a 2% growth in GDP (comparable to income growth) => deleveraging could be managed in an orderly fashion. But the policy makers and treading a very fine line. 

A 3% tax increase and a real 3% cut in spending is only 6%.  We are over spending by 40 to 50 percent now.  What do you want to do about the other minimum 34% of the over spending ?  I think the other 34% is a real problem.  The politicians have not been able to cut any.  A real 3% cut in spending (not a 3% cut in the growth of spending) does not seem politically possible at this time.

 

 

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cohenhs wrote:OK, I agree
cohenhs wrote:

OK, I agree long term whether we have dems or repubs in control, nobody will be able to fix the problem with excessive US debt versus US revenue shortfall without crippling the economy in the US.  Eventually, the fed will have to start printing money to pay all the bills.  I don't know if we will see the squeeze on US teasuries in months or years but I feel confident, it will happen.

I'm very heavy right now on insured muni's fund because of the very nice tax free income stream of 6%+ and the relativie saftey of being insured as well well diversified in the funds.  Also, municiple governments usually don't need voter approval to raise property taxes if they need more money.  They almost never default because of this.  That said, if bonds become junk, the muni's will suffer as a similar asset whether it is warranted or not.  Plus, rates and inflation will go through the roof, so 6% won't feel very good at this point.

So here are my questions:

1. What is the first indicator bonds are about to sink and it is time to move my money out the insured Muni funds has arrived?

2. Where do you park your money once the indicators tell us the spiral is about to begin?

 

I would appreciate the thoughts of the community here.

Thanks

Harvey

I am not sure what the first question is asking.  As far as the bond market goes, a lot of people feel there is a bond market bubble and when interest rates eventually go up, and they will sooner or later, there will be a blood letting in the bond market.

If we go deflation and not inflation pretty much everything will go down.  The trick is to put your money where it will go down the least.  It is hard to say.  Experts would say buy stuff like commodities.  Something that actually has an intrinsic value all its own - not paper.  If there is inflation due to fed res and fed gov tinkering in the markets (like that just love to do) then it may well be that commodities might also be a good place to be.  These are really tough questions that the experts have trouble with.  Gold bugs would tell you to buy gold.  Oil people would tell you to buy oil related things.  Nobody really knows. 

 

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deshields, I respecfully

deshields,

I respecfully disagree with something you said. (and I really mean the respectful part)

Government wastes an incredible amount of money.  1 trillion $ in defense.  Pensions that are mathmatically impossible continue to be funded, in part, with taxpayer money.  Medicare waste seen first hand (aunt). Illegals are well cared for at our expense.   I have worked for the private sector, a state, and the federal government.  UNBELIEVABLE waste at the federal and state levels.  When a senior manager walked through our federal facility and asked how many people worked here, the answer was half of them.  It was hard to believe the number was that high.

We can solve the debt issue with forgiveness or bankruptcies.  We can lower our standard of living to deal with these realities.

But the resourse and energy limitations will bring on social unrest and violence regardless of what polital decisions are made.  We can't legislate new laws of thermodynamics to placate the last  2 E's.

Peak Oil = Peak Food = Peak People

Nate

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Nate wrote: deshields, I
Nate wrote:

deshields,

I respecfully disagree with something you said. (and I really mean the respectful part)

Government wastes an incredible amount of money.  1 trillion $ in defense.  Pensions that are mathmatically impossible continue to be funded, in part, with taxpayer money.  Medicare waste seen first hand (aunt). Illegals are well cared for at our expense.   I have worked for the private sector, a state, and the federal government.  UNBELIEVABLE waste at the federal and state levels.  When a senior manager walked through our federal facility and asked how many people worked here, the answer was half of them.  It was hard to believe the number was that high.

We can solve the debt issue with forgiveness or bankruptcies.  We can lower our standard of living to deal with these realities.

But the resourse and energy limitations will bring on social unrest and violence regardless of what polital decisions are made.  We can't legislate new laws of thermodynamics to placate the last  2 E's.

Peak Oil = Peak Food = Peak People

Nate

I'm not sure where we disagree.  I defense part I am not sure about.  I have not studied to sufficient depth the way the defense money is spent.  I do know we can not just shut down the military.  On the other hand, we have multiple useless wars on our hands.  Much of the money for these wars has been done "off budget".  I do not believe in off budget.  I do believe we should shut down the wars and cut the military in half.  On the other hand, the half that remains needs to be well funded and supplied with the finest weapon systems possible.  They need to be paid well.  We need to stay home and mind our own business unless attacked.  If attacked we need to be able to move fantastic fire power to anywhere on the planet and apply it liberally against out attackers.  Once done, maybe a month, we come straight home - no nation building.  During the month we are at war we lay waste to the attackers.  Take down their entire infrastructure and command/control systems.  People with no food, water, electricity, oil, bridges, railroads, leadership, military assets, etc. are not going to be much interested in attacking us some more or again for some time.

I can tell you right now that Americans are not going to be interested in lowering their standard of living.  The entitlement mentality of the class of dependency will not accept that.  There will be violence.  I hope the governments at various levels are getting prepared for that.  For the fed gov to move spending to be in line with revenue will require 40+ percent of fed gov spending to be ended.  40% of social security, medicare, medicaid, food stamps, agg subsidies, section 8 housing, student loan guarantees, the military, fed gov employees, the EPA, USDA, dept of ed, you name it.  When that happens all hell is going to break loose.

 

 

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dshields wrote: A 3% tax
dshields wrote:

A 3% tax increase and a real 3% cut in spending is only 6%.  We are over spending by 40 to 50 percent now.  What do you want to do about the other minimum 34% of the over spending ?  I think the other 34% is a real problem.  The politicians have not been able to cut any.  A real 3% cut in spending (not a 3% cut in the growth of spending) does not seem politically possible at this time.

There are only 3 ways to repay borrowed money:

1. pay it down through growth (we're hitting the wall here because of energy constraints)

2. default on the debt (not a likely option because the Fed doesn't like it, bank books will be destroyed)

3. print away (the path of least resistance)

You're right in that we need a lot more cuts, but nothing is happening - which is what Ray Dalio is highlighting. No intelligent discussions, no practical ways to ease the predicament. 

The only real plan I've seen that has meaningful spending cuts is Ron Paul. But Good luck getting that passed through the legislative system.

Also as someone noted in another thread, Austrians vs. Keynesians is getting us nowhere, because one solution requires risking the worth of currency, the other requires unbearable short-medium term pain.

NO ONE is even talking about the practical, finite limits we face because of the resources.

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Agree with you
“You cannot solve this world’s problems with the same thinking that created them” - Albert Einstein

Traditional economic models are junk. Anything that depends on growth is junk. I continuously note that Austrians vs. Keynesians is a pointless, misguided debate on multiple sites and threads.

As soon as someone starts promoting sound money through classical economic theory, says a real free-market has never been tried, or real communism has never been tried. When someone goes down one of these roads I become ill. None of them will ever be successfully tried as long as there is a representative democracy with polarized views tugging against eachother. The politics, economics, social dogmas, and enviromental limits need to be encompassed in a comprehensive system that replaces the old paradigms.

Whether libertarian, conservative, progressive, liberal, etc.. your ideological platform is incomplete. Debating who's tax plan is best, is useless when money itself needs to be reformed. Arguing individualism vs. collectivism is useless is the underlying economic model of either is based on infinite growth. We could continue on this path and institute a debt holiday like Jubilee, but that is just a admittance that the current path is intrinsically flawed.

Invisible hands, animal spirits, booms and busts, fiat currency, gold backed currency, supply side, labor reflected in value, all of these practices and theories are fun to debate, but none of them will hold up to scrutiny when energy and the enviroment come into play.

I was hopeful this forum would be the place that real solutions would be presented and debated, but most threads end up being dominated by Libertarian, Conservative, and Liberal viewpoints based on things the 3 E's are in opposition with. Ayn Rand, Hayeck, and Keynes are not prophets who's works just need to be studied in order to find the key solving global crisis. They were flawed people with opinions that were based on some well thought out arguments. Einstein is absolutely correct. We need to look passed these subjective theories, and arrive at a scientific solution to the real crisis we face.

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Same 'ole, same 'ole...

Rhiter,
I know exactly what you're driving at, and I'm not even going to get in to it, but here's this:

The thinking being used is so perverse and amalgamated that it's not even close to what was used at the onset of our nations founding.
In other words, almost any thinking that would have been used by logical men who understood pre-industrial economies would suffice now. Central planning is the problem - yes, central planning.
"But that's not what America has!"

Certainly not superficially, but we are slaves to planned obsolescense, a macro-economic system that projects consumption and adjusts production to meet demand and at the heart of it all is the economic elite.

I want to take a minute and put this ugly picture in a philosophical frame - as if it wasn't ugly enough - this is a reflection on mankind.
Control denotes power and power is a pearl that man is not going to just forget about if there's enough central planning.
RBE or not. This is a symptom of the human condition.

Now, I think the point of this article was really missed by all the posts above. Not saying that's good or bad, but this piece is putting forth an argument that the changes taking place are to continue to bend social acceptability into a masterpiece of social disestablishment. There is no real "glue" holding us together, and the quantity of us is deteriorating our appreciation for life in general.

The obvious tie-in to the 3E's issues is that there is going to be a fight.
Whether or not that's discussed... well, I think most people (myself included) don't want to admit just how bad this could be.
And why not? the horrors that were ever-present for the preceeding period of human history - starvation, lack of control over the environment, sanitary and nutritional failures, dramatic diseases and mortality - are all going to come flooding forward when the dam breaks, and there's only so much 'high ground'.

The coming cultural shift is going to be a xenophobic, isolationist balkanization that destroys the last bastions of global empires; sacrificing them on the alter of energy as they try and grab what they can.

I've argued against this mentality for a long time. I don't want to believe the worst and I don't think that "thinking" the problem through has merit anymore. The sentence has been handed down, and the pennance is a future of less resources, spread across a backdrop of greater demand.

Cheers...
Aaron

PS:

Quote:

Ayn Rand, Hayeck, and Keynes are not prophets who's works just need to be studied in order to find the key solving global crisis. They were flawed people with opinions that were based on some well thought out arguments.

Add peter joseph to this list.

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Assumption?

Alpha Mike,

You know what I'm driving at? Are you assuming I'm a devotee of Peter Joseph? I think he is on to something, and he quotes some of my favorite people, but that's where it ends. As far as the Mad Max world you seem to be anticipating, I'm indifferent to it. I'm ready for it if it occurs, and hopefully working towards it never occuring. You seem to me to have a dark picture of human nature. This is where I do lean toward the Peter Joseph's of the world as opposed to your projected world view.

As far as my critique on economic philosophies, and where the world is heading, I'm more in line with Rob Hopkins than Peter Joseph. Localization of resources, and globalization on intellectual collaboration. Government, in whatever form it assumes, should only serve the people who agree to the social contract it entails. That social contract is the glue that binds us.

The article Sager posted is good. I always wonder what the perspective is though. What are you comparing something to when you label it bad, chaotic, in decline? No Ipads or no sewage system? No grocery stores or militia bands shooting up the city? I went off on the tangent I did because the very next post was about Dems, Reps, and the battle over spending.

I'm all for preparing for the worst, but how about trying to find a viable solution to avoid it?

"It will get worse before it gets better", "It's always darkest before the dawn", or more fittingly "you have to crack a few eggs to make an omlete"

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Recanted

Rhiter,

You're right. That was uncalled for.

Either way, let me explain why is said what I did:

Quote:

You know what I'm driving at? Are you assuming I'm a devotee of Peter Joseph? I think he is on to something, and he quotes some of my favorite people, but that's where it ends. As far as the Mad Max world you seem to be anticipating, I'm indifferent to it. I'm ready for it if it occurs, and hopefully working towards it never occuring

1. I've never been anticipating a "Mad Max" world. I've got over 2 years of saying that I expect a graudal decline with a steadily decreasing standard of living, and a proportional increase in acts of depravity. It's only recently that I've even entertained just how drasticly disproportional the ability to feed ourselves without modern luxry, and the demand on both food and resources are. This disparity can and will increase the magnitude of the collapse, and should be considered.

2. "I hold out hope for the Zeitgeist Movement because it seems like the epitomy of the positive view."
-Rhiter
http://www.peakprosperity.com/comment/101041#comment-101041

My assumption was incorrect, and I apologize.

Please don't take the above as an attack, because during that conversation, you were one of the more level-headed folks there, and I appreciate your point of view, but my view of human nature isn't uniform. Each person is different, and I simply recognize that regardless of influences or existential dynamics, there are a lot of dark souls out there... and it's important to consider how this gradient will play out.

In any case, the article is discussing the propensity for violence based on some social changes that are going to increase the volitility of a collapse. I'd like to discuss that more, and hear the opinions of others.

Objectively, I can't find a reason that things wouldn't be *much* worse than I've long thought/hoped...

Cheers,

Aaron

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sundarb wrote: dshields
sundarb wrote:
dshields wrote:

A 3% tax increase and a real 3% cut in spending is only 6%.  We are over spending by 40 to 50 percent now.  What do you want to do about the other minimum 34% of the over spending ?  I think the other 34% is a real problem.  The politicians have not been able to cut any.  A real 3% cut in spending (not a 3% cut in the growth of spending) does not seem politically possible at this time.

There are only 3 ways to repay borrowed money:

1. pay it down through growth (we're hitting the wall here because of energy constraints)

2. default on the debt (not a likely option because the Fed doesn't like it, bank books will be destroyed)

3. print away (the path of least resistance)

You're right in that we need a lot more cuts, but nothing is happening - which is what Ray Dalio is highlighting. No intelligent discussions, no practical ways to ease the predicament. 

The only real plan I've seen that has meaningful spending cuts is Ron Paul. But Good luck getting that passed through the legislative system.

Also as someone noted in another thread, Austrians vs. Keynesians is getting us nowhere, because one solution requires risking the worth of currency, the other requires unbearable short-medium term pain.

NO ONE is even talking about the practical, finite limits we face because of the resources.

Your last statement is so true.  It seems like the financial situation is overwhelming the politicians at this point.  Trying to address that and the resource issues is beyond their bandwidth.  The politicians screwed up big time and now we have a disaster on our hands. The politicians are real good at giving out borrowed money and not so good with dealing with the consequences of their actions.  While both major political parties are guilty to the bone on this I am surprised that only the repubs are even talking about cutting spending.  The dems appear to simply be not in touch with the spending issue.  All they talk about spending even more borrowed money.  I find this disappointing as I expect the parties to pull together somewhat when the nation is facing a disaster.  Obama is not showing any leadership on this issue.  Also disappointing.  I did not vote for Obama for a number of reasons but I do expect whoever is president to show some leadership when the nation is facing a crisis.

 

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Thanks Aaron

It takes a strong person to apologize publicly. Thank you.

Your last sentence is hard for me to understand. Can't and wouldn't in the same sentence make it hard to see where you're going with the statement.

"Objectively, I can't find a reason that things wouldn't be *much* worse than I've long thought/hoped..." - Aaron

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Rhiter

What's I'm trying to say is that:
1. The way things are headed, we're going to suffer some adverse effects.
2. Those impacts are going to be shaped by resource availability, social resilience and population density
3. The outflow of the above is changing my view from
-A mild collapse with a steadily declinging standard of living, to
-A rapid, steep drop off in which social structure is severely compromised.

The problems we're facing just can't be looked at from any perspective and dismissed as trivial.
As the article states, we have shifted socially from the last depression for  the worst in every regard.

I just can't see this being the kind of thing we can really manage. It will be chaos.
Cheers,

Aaron

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Chaos

 Depending on the how swift the economy continues it's decline, will dictate how quickly society will breakdown into complete chaos.

As unemployment continues to rise, as more & more families lose their homes; hunger will be the 'over the edge' push.  People will revert to unthinkable acts (even those who would never break a law normally) when they and their children are hungry.  

Since the majority of the population continues their daily activities as if nothing is wrong in the world, when it slaps them in the face, there will be a whole bunch of angry people!  When wages are lost, government subsidies are lost, jobs are lost, those who have not paid attention, will be looking to blame somebody for their woes, imho.  And that somebody will be the government and the rich.  Not unlike the current occupy trend.  But, the current occupy people (most at least) don't do without food. (or cell phones for that matter) Not to say they are not hurting in some financial sort of way, but that their anger is just peripheral to the anger that will lead to real chaos. The anger that ensues when there is no food.

I liken the coming chaos to the situations we saw when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.  You had 2 sorts of citizens.  You saw the majority descend into chaos, waiting for the government or someone to 'save' them.  They were hungry & homeless and none had the ability to provide for themselves.  Anger, crime, property destruction, it was a sad sight and a sad sampling of what we may see if things really get bad.   What you didn't see, not much anyway - were the thousands of citizens outside of New Orleans working together to clean up, rebuild and support their neighbors and communities.  I think we will see something similar and worse, when/if the shtf.  

As we all look to the governments to 'fix' the problem.  I think it is too far gone for a fix.  It has to re-set.  The economic problems we currently face are the result of decades and decades of spending money we don't have (debt).  We being the governments, we being the citizens.  It has been a good life!  If you look at the amount of money needed  all over the world - in the billions/trillions...I mean really look at it - and do the math...it is destined to fail.  I think that this problem is so enormous that those in power are only doing what will save their tails.  And that is...whatever it takes to push off the problem to the next guy.  If we don't see major failures this year or next, it won't really matter who is running the show in 2013.  It will fail.  And whoever wins the presidency in 2012, he (or she) and their administration will be blamed for all that is woeful in the country.  It will be crisis management at it's best.  But, then again, it should matter who is in charge, since crisis and chaos will have citizens calling for help...government, please help us!  And that will be when all of what's left of our freedom is lost.  

All of it is so convoluted, there is no way to know what will happen or when.  But it sure feels like it will be sooner than later.

Good article Sager!  And good posts everyone.  I hope I am wrong in my thoughts.  But, I am preparing regardless & trying to spread the word of being self-sufficient to as many family and friends who will listen.  

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Hope for our culture.
retha wrote:

 I liken the coming chaos to the situations we saw when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.  You had 2 sorts of citizens.  You saw the majority descend into chaos, waiting for the government or someone to 'save' them.  They were hungry & homeless and none had the ability to provide for themselves.  Anger, crime, property destruction, it was a sad sight and a sad sampling of what we may see if things really get bad.   What you didn't see, not much anyway - were the thousands of citizens outside of New Orleans working together to clean up, rebuild and support their neighbors and communities.  I think we will see something similar and worse, when/if the shtf.  

I recall someone comparing the American citizens behavior during Katrina to Japan's behavior during the nuclear crisis (still ongoing). The comparrison was in reaction to what was seen on the T.V., not the complete story on the ground.

That comparison is what I like about this thread and it's name. The Coming Cultural Shift. I am in the camp that we are a country with a fractured cukltural identity NOW. Our media coverage highlights the darker side of our culture because we reward that coverage with our devote attention. It may be a chicken/egg thing, but what is seen on reality tv and the news is a reflection of our society.

When I think of a cultural shift, I don't think of the shift to darker times. It is dark now. I think of a shift to the highlighted portion of the quote. You stated that the majority descend into chaos. I believe that is debatable. I live in Maine, and work sites here were emptied because of the volunteers that left to help. If you pan out on the camera view to the broader picture of the nation, the community that helped was in the majority. The media highlighted the chaos and played on the darker side of our fractured culture.

Japan has it's issues, and I'm sure there was a chaotic nature of sorts. The management of the disaster by the officials would qualify in my opinion. However, the coverage of the community pulling together is what leads me to the contrast of the two situations. Why is it we look to the negative potential so easily when presented with any crisis, while Japan takes it on the chin and keeps on smiling? My answer would be the experience of their culture. Lots of things have led Japan to have to foster this positive outlook, but nothing dictates that it had to be that way.

Military style tactics in preparation for disaster, bomb shelters, supply stashes, security systems, etc... Why do we (including me) lean this way? Why don't we band together like Transition Town Totnes? Inclusive recruitment to a cause, as opposed to suspicious xenophobia? Why do we view every negative news story as impending doom, as opposed to seeing it as an negative we need to band together and overcome?

This is my view of the cultural shift that needs to take place. There may not be a perfect example in the world to immulate, but isn't that the idea of setting a goal. Put it out in front of you as something worth achieving. Avoid a regressive goal, as in something you are trying to avoid.

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Either or?

Rhiter,

Quote:

Military style tactics in preparation for disaster, bomb shelters, supply stashes, security systems, etc... Why do we (including me) lean this way? Why don't we band together like Transition Town Totnes? Inclusive recruitment to a cause, as opposed to suspicious xenophobia? Why do we view every negative news story as impending doom, as opposed to seeing it as an negative we need to band together and overcome?

Why can't you do both?

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Second what Alpha Mike said

If we are going to mount a tireless effort to create something beautiful and sustainable (a resilient community), it is a fool's errand unless we are able to keep it safe. Evolution is elitist. It favors the adaptive. In the case of the crises currently facing our society, preparation and foresight and the willingness to save for and invest in resilience/sustainability is adaptive. Too many will not Get It until it's way too late. I believe I will have to make difficult decisions. I will have to say difficult "no's". And even more difficult, I'm trying to figure out how to do those things without ending up with a cold, hard heart. This entire post, by the way, should have a giant IMO in front of it. Viva -- Sager

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shifting sand

  It  makes me think of the wisdom  of old ...To buid anything  you first have to have a firm foundation  and that foundation  needs be a a solid rock .   We have to start with self , family, and home  build on  ***ly principles  then build on up and out .   Elsewise we are wasting time building on shifting sand and all will crumble and fall .  And yes , Sager , that tender heart and spirit must be guarded  for all else is but temporary .

  FM .

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Absolutely
Alpha Mike wrote:

Rhiter,

Quote:

Military style tactics in preparation for disaster, bomb shelters, supply stashes, security systems, etc... Why do we (including me) lean this way? Why don't we band together like Transition Town Totnes? Inclusive recruitment to a cause, as opposed to suspicious xenophobia? Why do we view every negative news story as impending doom, as opposed to seeing it as an negative we need to band together and overcome?

Why can't you do both?

 

I am doing both. The focus of people who deligently prep tends to be with an expectation of impending doom. It's fairly dark, and in my brief experience, turns more people off then draws people in. Transition Towns, Post Carbon Institute, and a few others strike a good balance of education, awareness, preps, etc.. without getting to dark.

Then there are the groups that are stockpiling enough ammo to fight WWII all over again. Way dark. I started off this way. Then when the expiration dates on stuff I never really wanted to eat started to go bad, and the foolishness set in, I adjusted. I am still ever changing to try and strike a balance between prepping for tomorrow, while enjoying today. I saw a video of Richard Heinberg's place, and started to rethink what my preps could be. I am more focused on trying to have a living, permaculture style perpetual preparedness.

The violence, and preparing for tatooed, junkies who may want to steal what I stored? They don't concern me. I was born into that atmosphere. It's not really as bad as advertised. Junkies don't want your canned food (lol).Tatooed goons and gangs are going to be more interested in stealing your guns and gold than your water. Now if it turns into a genocide Darfur style violent epidemic over night, no amount of prep will make life sustainable or resilient.

I still see the cultural crisis taking shape as Alpha Mike originally stated. Gradual, steady transition from this high energy consumtion society, to a slower paced standard of living.

 

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bad

I do not see how it comes to a good end.   Because we have the so called reserve currency we can do things other countries can not.  Not sure how long that will last.  However, the rest of the world can pretty much take us down.  Just take a look at MF Global.  American company taken down by Eur debt.  When it comes to America it just looks plum crazy.  We are over spending at the Fed Gov level by 40+ percent.  The politicians can not and will not cut spending to a degree large enough to bring us in line with revenue.  On the other hand, if they actually did cut social security, medicare, medicaid. the military, agg subsidies, SNAP (food stamps), section 8 housing, and the fed gov employees by 40+ percent it would represent about an 8 percent reduction in GDP.  This would create a massive emergency.  Millions and millions of people would become unemployed.  Riots and looting would break out in cities.  In short order people would have to leave the cities to try to find living conditions that were acceptable.  Roving bands of violent people would be out doing all kinds of evil.  It would be incredible.  It takes enormous logistics systems to keep cities habitable.  If there is a breakdown of say 50% in these systems then cities would become uninhabitable in 2 weeks.

Unlike some on this thread, I do not believe in the goodness of the American character.  That was the old days.  That was back when self reliance, hard work, education, personal responsibility, honesty, and all those old fashioned ideas were considered normal.  Not any more - now we have the class of dependency.  Half the country lives off the other half.  A sizable percentage of the population is violent, uneducated, not achievement oriented, and entitled.  You take away the gov money and they will quickly descend to violence.  Sorry - that is what it looks like to me.  The only 2 things keeping a lid on madness in America right now are a well equipped, well trained, and motivated police force and gov hand outs.  You take those away and all hell will break loose.  We are spoiled, lazy, and stupid.  If you have an emergency with millions of spoiled, lazy, stupid people and you will have a circus on your hands.  The 60% of the military that is left will have to move in and occupy the country.

 

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Chaos
Rihter wrote:

 

Military style tactics in preparation for disaster, bomb shelters, supply stashes, security systems, etc... Why do we (including me) lean this way? Why don't we band together like Transition Town Totnes? Inclusive recruitment to a cause, as opposed to suspicious xenophobia? Why do we view every negative news story as impending doom, as opposed to seeing it as an negative we need to band together and overcome?

Rihter...yes in a perfect world, we could all come together and overcome.  But this is not a perfect world.  While there are many, many who will come together as neighbors, community, etc.  In my little part of the world, I know most will.  But just south of me in the big big city or 6 million or so, they are not prepared for anything!  And quoting dshields below...while a scary scenario, I believe it is true.  It could get really nasty, really fast.   

 

dshields wrote:

I do not see how it comes to a good end.   Because we have the so called reserve currency we can do things other countries can not.  Not sure how long that will last.  However, the rest of the world can pretty much take us down.  Just take a look at MF Global.  American company taken down by Eur debt.  When it comes to America it just looks plum crazy.  We are over spending at the Fed Gov level by 40+ percent.  The politicians can not and will not cut spending to a degree large enough to bring us in line with revenue.  On the other hand, if they actually did cut social security, medicare, medicaid. the military, agg subsidies, SNAP (food stamps), section 8 housing, and the fed gov employees by 40+ percent it would represent about an 8 percent reduction in GDP.  This would create a massive emergency.  Millions and millions of people would become unemployed.  Riots and looting would break out in cities.  In short order people would have to leave the cities to try to find living conditions that were acceptable.  Roving bands of violent people would be out doing all kinds of evil.  It would be incredible.  It takes enormous logistics systems to keep cities habitable.  If there is a breakdown of say 50% in these systems then cities would become uninhabitable in 2 weeks.

Unlike some on this thread, I do not believe in the goodness of the American character.  That was the old days.  That was back when self reliance, hard work, education, personal responsibility, honesty, and all those old fashioned ideas were considered normal.  Not any more - now we have the class of dependency.  Half the country lives off the other half.  A sizable percentage of the population is violent, uneducated, not achievement oriented, and entitled.  You take away the gov money and they will quickly descend to violence.  Sorry - that is what it looks like to me.  The only 2 things keeping a lid on madness in America right now are a well equipped, well trained, and motivated police force and gov hand outs.  You take those away and all hell will break loose.  We are spoiled, lazy, and stupid.  If you have an emergency with millions of spoiled, lazy, stupid people and you will have a circus on your hands.  The 60% of the military that is left will have to move in and occupy the country.

 

dshields....x2  

 

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Dshields
dshields wrote:

I do not see how it comes to a good end.   Because we have the so called reserve currency we can do things other countries can not.  Not sure how long that will last.  However, the rest of the world can pretty much take us down.  Just take a look at MF Global.  American company taken down by Eur debt.  When it comes to America it just looks plum crazy.  We are over spending at the Fed Gov level by 40+ percent.  The politicians can not and will not cut spending to a degree large enough to bring us in line with revenue.  On the other hand, if they actually did cut social security, medicare, medicaid. the military, agg subsidies, SNAP (food stamps), section 8 housing, and the fed gov employees by 40+ percent it would represent about an 8 percent reduction in GDP.  This would create a massive emergency.  Millions and millions of people would become unemployed.  Riots and looting would break out in cities.  In short order people would have to leave the cities to try to find living conditions that were acceptable.  Roving bands of violent people would be out doing all kinds of evil.  It would be incredible.  It takes enormous logistics systems to keep cities habitable.  If there is a breakdown of say 50% in these systems then cities would become uninhabitable in 2 weeks.

Unlike some on this thread, I do not believe in the goodness of the American character.  That was the old days.  That was back when self reliance, hard work, education, personal responsibility, honesty, and all those old fashioned ideas were considered normal.  Not any more - now we have the class of dependency.  Half the country lives off the other half.  A sizable percentage of the population is violent, uneducated, not achievement oriented, and entitled.  You take away the gov money and they will quickly descend to violence.  Sorry - that is what it looks like to me.  The only 2 things keeping a lid on madness in America right now are a well equipped, well trained, and motivated police force and gov hand outs.  You take those away and all hell will break loose.  We are spoiled, lazy, and stupid.  If you have an emergency with millions of spoiled, lazy, stupid people and you will have a circus on your hands.  The 60% of the military that is left will have to move in and occupy the country.

 

I believe this is the first time I have quoted or responded to anything you have written Dshields. Just remember you said "We" are spoiled and lazy.

I agree with you about the old days. Back when self reliance and hard work paid off with a living wage. Back when labor amde a living wage, and management was upper middle. Back before 1973. Since then wages are flat for the vast majority of "US".

"Sorry - that is what it looks like to me." no need to apologize. Everyone is "entitled" to their opinion. When you say " Unlike some on this thread", please post a name. I feel baited since I'm the only voice on the other side of the conversation. I'd rather be invited, or called out, than baited please.

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retha wrote: Rihter
retha wrote:
Rihter wrote:

 

Military style tactics in preparation for disaster, bomb shelters, supply stashes, security systems, etc... Why do we (including me) lean this way? Why don't we band together like Transition Town Totnes? Inclusive recruitment to a cause, as opposed to suspicious xenophobia? Why do we view every negative news story as impending doom, as opposed to seeing it as an negative we need to band together and overcome?

Rihter...yes in a perfect world, we could all come together and overcome.  But this is not a perfect world.  While there are many, many who will come together as neighbors, community, etc.  In my little part of the world, I know most will.  But just south of me in the big big city or 6 million or so, they are not prepared for anything!  And quoting dshields below...while a scary scenario, I believe it is true.  It could get really nasty, really fast.   

 

dshields wrote:

I do not see how it comes to a good end.   

dshields....x2   

 

You win. I surrender. You're right. It is obvious to me that coming together, on any scale that would make a diference, is a fool's errand. If it seems impossible, it probably is.

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Retha
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Rihter wrote:   You win. I
Rihter wrote:

 

You win. I surrender. You're right. It is obvious to me that coming together, on any scale that would make a diference, is a fool's errand. If it seems impossible, it probably is.

I DO believe, though, there are people that will come together.  That's why I am working really hard at building relationships with my neighbors!  We will come together to protect ourselves from the hoards of crazy people!  lol...just a little out there humor.  Not really funny, I know...oh well, all we can do is prepare what/while we can and hope for the best.  

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A. M.
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Points to the Contrary

Rhiter

What about some contrarian points?
There are quite a lot of them and should be easy to find.
The lack of Panic after 9/11 is probably a good one.

This, to me, highlights and isolates a profound concept:
The collapse will not be uniform.

Even within the U.S., there are going to be areas that remain civil, hunker down and take steps in less aggressive, destructive manners.
But it cannot be discounted that there will also be NOLA repeats.

My vision of the future is that we're going to see lots of gangs.
Gangs based on location, ethnicity, religion, ideology; anything you can identify with, there will be a gang for that.
The ones I expect to be powerful, will be the drug cartels, the Islamics... and the Police.

I'd look to see strongarm robberies, roadblocks with thugs shaking people down for travel taxes, food, clean water, weapons, drugs...
Wouldn't be surprised to see explosions in cafes, shopping malls, and lots of shootings.
Hide yo' kids, hide yo' wife.
Kidnappings, if you've got the money to pay.

In the country, I'm forecasting widespread meth addiction with isolated violence. Mainly home invasions and homocides of affiliated non-users.
Grandparents, if your grandkids are living with you and selling meth - this is your warning.

Also, I expect to see vigilantism. While the police turn a blind eye. Not because they're corrupt, paid off or appathetic, but because they're too damned busy.

Funny thing is (and it's not funny) all this stuff is already happening.
It impacts the 5% at the bottom of the U.S. Economic ladder.
In Afghanistan, 5% of the top of the Economic ladder are spared.
 

Watch us round the corner and invert statistics, as all failed states do. That said, I still believe some areas will fare much better than others.
Sigh.

Aaron

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maceves
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why meth?

 uh....why meth?

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