prosperity

Podcast

lifeasahuman.com

Tim Jackson: The High Price Of Growth

A finite planet cannot sustain infinite economic growth
Monday, October 16, 2017, 3:31 PM

Modern society is addicted to and engineered for perpetual economic growth.

Now, a fourth-grader can tell you that nothing can grow forever, especially if you have finite resources. But that simple realization is eluding today's central planners, despite multiplying evidence that growth is becoming harder and harder to come by.

This week's podcast guest is Professor Tim Jackson, sustainability advisor for the UK government, professor of sustainable development at the University of Surrey and Director of CUSP. Tim is also a full member of the Club of Rome.

He explains why the exponential growth rates of today's economies, and their associated rates of resource extraction/consumption, will not be able to continue for much longer -- and why a pursuit of "prosperity" (defined much more broadly than simple consumerism) is a much healthier goal for humanity.

 

 

Insider

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The Keys To Prosperity

How to work the macro trends to your favor
Friday, September 9, 2016, 8:26 PM

Executive Summary

  • What are the big systemic trends that will impact our personal prosperity?
  • Realizing why the future will have less of everything
  • Strategies for thriving with less
  • The importance of owning & managing capital

If you have not yet read Part 1: If Everything's Doing So Great, How Come I’m Not? available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

In Part 1, we asked 30 questions as a means of assessing whether individuals and households are doing better or worse than they were 10 years ago (2007) and 16 years ago (in 2000)—before the dot-com meltdown recession and the Global Financial Meltdown recession of 2008-09.

Identifying Systemic Trends

These questions attempt to sort out generalized decay that affects everyone—declines in purchasing power, quality of goods and services, etc.—from declines in individual/household health, well-being and financial security.

The questions also attempt to sharpen our awareness of systemic trends: are our prospects brightening or dimming? Are government services improving or declining as our taxes increase?

General trends manifest in different ways in each community/region.  For example, the city and county of San Francisco is booming, with strong growth of population (866,000 residents), jobs, rents, housing valuations and tax revenues. Yet even as the city and county of San Francisco’s annual budget swells to an incomprehensible $9.6 billion—larger than the budgets of many U.S. state governments, and four times the annual budget of the city and county of Honolulu, with 998,000 residents—the homeless problem in San Francisco becomes ever more intractable, intrusive and disruptive, despite tens of millions of dollars devoted specifically to improving the options available to the homeless.

This is an example of larger trends that manifest in one way or another in the majority of communities: increasing costs and complexity, diminishing returns on money spent, frustration by taxpayers receiving unsatisfactory services as tax revenues increase, and problems that continue to worsen regardless of how much money is thrown at them.

There are many causal factors driving these trends of decay, rising costs and diminishing returns: a state-cartel system of regulatory capture that enforces cartels and limits competition; rising complexity of regulations that result in reduced productivity and higher costs; a “vetocracy” (Francis Fukuyama’s term) in which special interests can veto any measure with their political clout that impinges on their wealth and power; central bank monetary policies that enrich the wealthy and strip interest income from everyone else; and government manipulation of statistics and markets to manage perceptions—in effect, ignore your lying eyes and believe us: everything’s going great!

Then there's the shadowy monster in the room... » Read more

Blog

Peak Prosperity

Growth vs. Prosperity: Crash Course Chapter 5

One of these is a much wiser choice
Friday, July 18, 2014, 8:52 PM

Chapter 5 of the Crash Course is now publicly available and ready for watching below.

It challenges the conventional thinking that "economic growth" is the same thing as "prosperity". It isn't. And increasingly, we're being forced to trade one off for the other. As global surplus resources dwindle, we need to ask ourselves: Which of these do we value more? » Read more

video

This chapter of the new Crash Course series has not yet been made available to the public.

Each week over the rest of 2014, in sequential order, a new chapter will be made publicly available (we've currently published up to Chapter 4)

If you don't want to wait, you can:

 

 

 

 

Podcast

Mike Maloney: Today's Low Gold & Silver Prices Are Not Realistic

The good news is that they can't last much longer
Friday, April 12, 2013, 8:49 PM

During this very tumultuous week for precious metals prices, Chris sat down with Mike Maloney, founder and owner of GoldSilver.com, one of the world's largest bullion dealers.

Mike is a true scholar of monetary history. His reasons for getting into the bullion business have their roots in a very predictable cycle that has happened time and again over the centuries (more accurately millennia): » Read more

Blog

Let's Stop Fooling Ourselves: Americans Can't Afford the Future

Unemployment, taxes & unfunded retirements are squeezing us
Tuesday, March 12, 2013, 11:24 AM

The truth is: The three adult generations in the U.S. are suffering, and their burdens are likely to increase with time. Each is experiencing a squeeze that is making it harder to create value, save capital, and pursue happiness than at any point since WWII. At that point, we were a creditor nation with an economy exploding into dominance on the world stage. Now, however, the U.S. is the largest debtor nation and our economic hegemony is increasingly at seige across a number of fronts.

A continuation of the status quo is a decision to sleepwalk face-first into the constraints hurtling towards us.

Instead, shouldn't we stop fooling ourselves and ask: What should we be doing differently? » Read more

Insider

Finding Authentic Happiness

The steps that build a solid foundation
Wednesday, October 10, 2012, 7:22 AM

Executive Summary

  • Why buying into the Status Quo undermines personal empowerment
  • Echew debt and consumerism. Instead, focus on cultivating resilience and social capital
  • The importance of differentiating hedonia vs eudaimonia
  • The key roles of Expectation, Narrative, and Challenge
  • The foundations of happiness

If you have not yet read Part I: The Pursuit of Happiness, available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

In Part I, we challenged the assumption that the successful pursuit of happiness is based on material prosperity and what we might call the psychology of the atomized individual.

If material prosperity is necessary but insufficient, and our social and financial order is sociopathological, what does an authentic pursuit of happiness entail?

For answers, we can survey recent research into human happiness, and consider “powering down” participation in a deranging social and financial order.

Pondering Power

The primacy of power in human society is omnipresent. Humans scramble for power in all its forms to improve social status and the odds of mating, living a long life, and acquiring comforts.  What is remarkable about the current American social order is the powerlessness of the vast majority of people who have “bought into” the Status Quo. 

When the public vehemently disapproves of a policy, such as bailing out the “too big to fail” banks, they are routinely ignored, and for good reason: They keep re-electing incumbents.  Most have little control over their employment status, workflow, or income, and most devote the majority of their productive effort servicing private debt and paying taxes that service public debt.

The one “power” they are encouraged to flex is the momentary empowerment offered by purchasing something; i.e., consuming.  The corporate marketing machine glorifies acquisition as not just empowering but as the renewal of identity and the staking of a claim to higher social status – everything that is otherwise out of the control of the average person.

The dominant social control myth of our consumerist Status Quo is that wealth is power because you can buy more things with it.  But the power of consumption is one-dimensional and therefore illusory.  The only meaningful power is not what you can buy – a good, service, or experience – but what you control – your health, choice of work, income, surroundings, level of risk, and your circle of colleagues and friends.

The “wealthy” who own an abundance of things but who are trapped in debt are not powerful.  Their choices in life are limited by the need to service the debt, and their pursuit of happiness is equally constrained.

The kind of wealth that enriches the pursuit of happiness is control over the meaningful aspects of life. It is no coincidence that studies of workplace stress have found that those jobs in which the worker has almost no control over their work or surroundings generate far more stress than jobs that allow the worker some autonomy and control.

Financial and material wealth beyond the basics of creature comfort is only meaningful if it “buys” autonomy and choice.

We all want power over our own lives.  Once we free ourselves from social control myths, we find that becoming powerful and “wealthy” in terms of control does not require a financial fortune. It does, however, require sustained effort and a coherent long-term plan... » Read more

Blog

The Pursuit of Happiness

Putting prosperity in context
Wednesday, October 10, 2012, 7:21 AM

What is the point of prosperity?

Though few people ever voice this question openly, the general assumption is that prosperity and wealth increase happiness.  The pursuit of happiness (famously grouped with “life” and “liberty” in the Declaration of Independence as an inalienable right) has become the pursuit of prosperity and wealth.

That physical comfort and security grease the skids of happiness is self-evident; living a hand-to-mouth existence inside a cardboard box is not as conducive to human happiness as having a comfortable home and secure income.

But it is equally self-evident that a secure dwelling and income do not guarantee happiness; rather, they provide the physical foundation for the much more elusive qualities of happiness.  We can make the same distinction between the civil liberties that underpin the pursuit of happiness and the actual pursuit of happiness. » Read more

Blog

Creating a World Worth Inheriting

A fresh look at our mission
Friday, August 10, 2012, 2:44 PM

With a new site and a number of new irons in the fire, Adam and I thought it a good time to revisit and renew the mission behind this movement.

Simply put, our mission is to create a world worth inheriting.  By this we mean a clean, healthy living environment, a durable economy, and prosperous opportunities for all who participate with us. That's our big, lofty aim. 

At heart, our view is that our policies, uses, and practices in all of the Three “E”s are unsustainable.  One cannot forever grow non-renewable resource use in a finite world.  The exponential nature of that growth just hastens things along.

Because of hard constraints, our exponential money and debt systems are on a collision course with reality.  We will first and most immediately -- and personally -- experience the deleterious effects of this in what we call 'the economy' in the form of stagnant growth, rising unemployment, and various ills and maladies within the financial markets. 

This is just another way of saying that very big changes are coming our way.  In fact, they are here already.

The simple conclusion is that we must either change our habits and ways on our own terms -- or on Nature's.  We face a future that will be shaped either by disaster or design.

Here at Peak Prosperity, we are solidly behind the idea of positive change made on our own terms and that we are each responsible for whatever future is created. 

There are a number of things that we absolutely have to do in order to achieve our mission. And at the top of the list is reaching and influencing a lot of people (millions upon millions) and doing so effectively. » Read more

Insider

I'm Keeping My Fingers Crossed for a Quiet Summer

But be prepared for something else
Wednesday, June 27, 2012, 12:01 AM

I am hoping for a quiet summer so that all of us north of the equator can enjoy the warm, lazy months of July and August in peace and quiet. But I am concerned that this may not come to pass.

The daily drumbeat of bad news from Europe covers all fronts and is relentless. Rumors abound, confusion reigns, downgrades happen weekly and sometimes daily, unemployment is up, the economy is slipping, and it is entirely unclear if anybody there knows what to do.

Even as the stock markets somehow magically finding their footing on each new rumor turning back at each critical zone of support, while gold continues to languish, I find myself increasingly bearish as all the new data comes in on both the unfolding European credit crisis and the slowing global economy.

Here's the troubling information out of Europe: » Read more