Oct 082014
 October 8, 2014  Posted by at 9:44 pm Finance Tagged with: , , ,

DPC Launch of the Western Star, Wyandotte, Michigan Oct 3 1903

Would you like to know how bankrupt our societies are? Financially AND morally? Before you say yes, please do acknowledge that you too ar eparty to the bankruptcy. Even if you have means, or you have no debt, or you’re under 25, you’re still letting it happen. And you may have tons of reasons or excuses for that, but you’re still letting it happen.

Our financial and moral bankruptcy shows – arguably – nowhere better than in the way we treat our children. A favorite theme of mine is that any parent you ask will swear to God and cross and hope to die that they love their kids to death, but the facts say otherwise. We only love them as far as the tips of our noses, or as far as the curb. That means you too.

While we swear on our mother’s graves that we love them so much, we leave them with a world that lost half of its wildlife species in 40 years, that can expect to make coastal areas around the globe uninhabitable during their lifetimes, and a world that is so mired in debt just so we can hang on to our dreams of oversized homes and cars and gadgets that all there will be left for them are nightmares.

But I always wanted what was best for them! Yeah, well, you always chose to not pay too much attention, too, and instead elected to work that job you hate and keep up with the Joneses and tell yourself there was nothing you could do about it anyway other than a yearly donation to some socially accepted charity in bed with corporations (you didn’t know? well, did you try to find out?)

You elected leaders that promised to let you keep what you had, and provide more of the same on top. You voted for the people who promised you growth, but you never questioned that promise. You never wondered, sitting in your home, the size of which would only 100 years ago have put aristocracy to shame, what would be the price to pay for your riches.

And you certainly never asked yourself if perhaps it would be your own children who were going to pay that price. Well, ‘Ich hab es nicht gewüsst’ has not been a valid defense since the Nuremberg trials, in case you were going for that.

The fact of the matter is, we can continue our lifestyles, best as we can, because we are able to make our children pay for it. We allow ourselves to continue to kill more species, at home but mostly abroad, because we never get in touch with any of those species anyway. Other than mosquitoes, which we swat. We can drive our 3 cars per family because we only see the ice melt in the Arctic on TV.

And we allow ourselves, and our governments, to get deeper into debt everyday, because we’ve been told that without – ever – more debt we would all die, that debt is the lifeblood of our very existence. We don’t understand what it means that our governments increase their debt levels by trillions every year, and we choose not to find out.

That’s a matter for the next generation; we’re good with our oversized flatscreens and coal powered central heating and all of that stuff. We are better off than the generation of our parents, and isn’t life always supposed to be like that?

Which brings us back to your kids. Because no, life is not supposed to be like that. Not every generation can be better off than the one before. In fact, you are the last one for whom that is true. It’s been a short blip in human history, let alone in the earth’s history, and now it’s over. And you must figure out what you’re going to do, knowing that not doing anything will make your sons and daughters futures even bleaker than they already are.

Europe Sacrifices a Generation With 17-Year Unemployment Impasse

Seventeen years after their first jobs summit European Union leaders are divided on how to create employment and a fifth of young people are still out of work. At a meeting in Milan today Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi plans to tout the new labor laws he’s pushing through. French President Francois Hollande will argue for more spending, a proposal German Chancellor Angela Merkel intends to reject. Britain’s prime minister David Cameron isn’t coming.

Their lack of progress may increase the frustration of ECB President Mario Draghi’s calling on the politicians to do their bit now and loosen the continent’s rigid labor markets even if that means facing the ire of protected workers. “An entire generation is being sacrificed in countries such as Spain,” economist Ludovic Subran said. “That has a real impact on productivity in the long run.”

How someone can talk about “a real impact on productivity” in the face of millions of lost and broken lives is completely beyond me. You have to be really dense to do that. And they pay people like that actual salaries.

When EU leaders met in Luxembourg in November 1997, the soon-to-be-born euro zone’s unemployment rate was about 11%. Jean-Claude Juncker, then prime minister of the host country, now president designate of the European Commission, promised a mix of free-market solutions and government plans would mean a “new start” for young people. Today the jobless rate is 11.5%. The Milan summit will focus on youth unemployment, which afflicts 21.6% of people under 25 across Europe, according to Eurostat. Even this number is almost identical to 1997, when it stood at 21.7%.

Average European youth unemployment numbers may not have changed much since 1997, which is bad enough, but plenty numbers did change. The young people of Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal were not nearly as poorly off 17 years ago as they are today. That’s what the eurozone project has accomplished.

The leaders “need to discuss meaningful job creation,” Subran said. “It’s about avoiding the neither-nor situation of people being out of both work and school. This means providing jobs in the short term and training to improve skills and employability in the long term.” In February 2013, the EU allotted €6 billion ($7.6 billion) for youth-employment initiatives between 2014 and 2020, with the bulk of the spending in the first two years.

The centerpiece of the initiative is a “Youth Guarantee” that anyone under 25 should have either a job, apprenticeship, or training program within four months of leaving formal education or becoming unemployed. The initiative focuses on regions with over 25% youth unemployment, which is the whole of Spain, Greece, and Portugal, all but the north-east of Italy, about half of France, and a few regions of eastern Germany.

Lofty words. But nothing has come of them in many years, and nothing will. Politicians vie for the votes and campaign donations of the parents, not the children. Until the children are the majority block, but by then present day leaders will be gone.

Germany is opposed to discussing new spending until already allotted sums have been spent. Instead, Merkel’s government has stressed liberalization of labor markets as the best path to create jobs. France and Italy argue they are already taking steps to loosen their labor markets and those efforts won’t work without a background of growth.

Italy’s proposed rules, opposed by some lawmakers from Renzi’s Democratic Party, aim at making firing easier while providing a new system of income support for those who lose their job. European employment did improve after 1997, with the unemployment rate bottoming between 2007 and 2008 at 7%, and 15.7% for young people, as a credit bubble boosted growth in Spain and Greece.

It ballooned during the subsequent financial crisis. “I’m worried how the euro zone has detached itself from the rest of the world economy,” French Prime Minister Manuel Valls told business leaders in London Oct. 6. “If there is no strategy to support growth at the eurozone, we will be in even greater trouble.”

The only solutions in the minds of the leadership are reforms (make it easier to get rid of the older people and let the young do their jobs at half the price) and growth. Both of which have failed for all those years, but that’s all folks so they press for more of the same. Who cares about the young until they can unseat you?

The present leadership selects for a future in which they – and theirs – will still be the leadership. It’s only natural. Any victims made along the way there are seen as necessary collateral damage. Reforms and growth. Reforms being break down what generations of workers have built up in rights. Fighting squalid working conditions and miserable low pay. Think about that what you like.

But growth? What if there is no growth? Hey, even the IMF just said growth won’t return to levels of old. And then called for more reforms. But what lives will your children have if growth is gone, and what are you prepared to for them is it is? How are you going to soften the blow for them? How much are you willing to sacrifice for your children lest they be sacrificed by society?

One last thing: it seems obvious that we teach our kids the wrong skills. Or there wouldn’t be so many unemployed or in low-paying jobs. So if we want our kids to get a job, what should change in our education systems? Now, I must be honest with you, I’ve found our education so bad ever since I was even younger than I am now that I up and left.

I simply noticed that it was meant for people happy to be pawns in someone else’s game, and I knew that wasn’t me. Colleges and universities mold people into usable – not even useful – ‘things’, provided there is no independent thinking going on. Because that kills the entire set-up. It’s all been an utter disgrace for decades.

But this is not about me. The question is, what are we going to teach our kids? Well, with our present power structure, it will be a mere extension of what there is today. The overriding idea is that tomorrow will be like today, just with more of the same. That’s all we know, and all we have. And that’s what keeps our leaders happy too: a world in which they feel they can be safely settled into their comfy seats. Progress while sitting still. Don’t think I’m right? THink about it.

So would do you think the consensus would be when it comes to education? I think it would be having our kids be managers, lawyers, programmers, the same things that are ‘in’ today. More of the same, just more. But is that so wise if even the IMF says growth will never be the same it once was? What if things get really bad? What skills will they have that can help them through times like that?

Shouldn’t we perhaps teach our kids basic skills first, just in case? So they can grow and preserve food, build a home, repair machinery, that kind of thing? And only after that deal with the fancier stuff?

We have become utterly dependent on the ‘system’. Is it a good idea for our kids to be too? We lost our basic skills – or at least our parents did – at the exact same time that ‘growth’ became the magic word du jour. The idea was that we didn’t need them anymore, that other people would grow our food and take care of all the other basic necessities for us.

But what if that was just a temporary bubble, and it’s gone now? The data sure point to it. In that case, should we rush to move back our sons and daughters to the skillset our grandparents had?

And just in case you think this is all and only about Europe, this is a great portrait of America:

Home Forums The Disgrace of Sacrificing a Generation

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    DPC Launch of the Western Star, Wyandotte, Michigan Oct 3 1903 Would you like to know how bankrupt our societies are? Financially AND morally? Before
    [See the full post at: The Disgrace of Sacrificing a Generation]

    Ken Barrows

    And the acidification of oceans, too.

    I don’t know why, but 99% of Americans feel the gravy train is endless. We think they’re wrong. Culture and media aside, what does that say about human nature?

    It’s either humans are a mindless ape or the small minority is very deluded. I hope I am deluded; )


    It seems everywhere, the wrong type of people have risen to the top.


    In perusing the comments to articles in Salon and Slate tonight, which I feel is a pretty good proxy for non Tea Party literate Americans who have remained in the middle class, it is apparent that most all are neo liberals now. They firmly believe growth is simply a matter of choosing proper policies. They believe the EU is based upon and functions under democratic principals. They believe everything the NY Times and the administration say about Putin. Ooops, I mean Russia.

    If most might be somewhat skeptical of these sorts of things viewed through a neo liberal lens in relation to how things function in the US on issues ranging from police power, voting rights, the banking giants or the environment, the moment they look offshore it’s all ‘America, we’re #1, We’re #1’!

    The thing with Russia takes the cake however. The need to feel superior is as strong today as it was in 1957. In that regard the war there which we helped fomen and which none of them see as economic, is a move of pure genius to support the status quo.


    And to add insult to further injury, the equity and bond casino appear to be putting up for another round of the “greatest show on earth” – IF, and I find this remarkable still… but IF the Indices post new all time highs in the next week to ten days… the election manipulation will be extraordinary, the final and massive blow off will have arrived.

    All this is predicated on a collapsing Dollar. And from the looks of it, Commercials are very close to placing their largest bet ever against the DX.

    This will propel paper to its final and generational zenith.

    There are a great many reasons why this should not happen…

    But since when has reason applied to any of this.

    The aftermath should be something none of us will enjoy as the lies stomached for “wealth” will be will be eviscerated.


    Jef Jelten

    I had a small restaurant across the street from the Oregon state University and just blocks from a big high school. I talked to hundreds of young people about all of this for years and but for a few exceptions they all absolutely refuse to accept that growth and the big “the world is my oyster” party is ending.

    I believe that when ,and it is when they understand this simple fact they will not be happy. What they will do I have no idea but I suspect that it won’t be pretty.

    By the way I cut my carbon foot print, which was never very much to begin with, in half 10 years ago. My two kids are dealing with it all in different ways but still a degree of denial.


    Jelten, denial is the order of the day.

    Sad, pathetic and sadly, so very true.

    I am fortunate to a degree, my children do understand it, although they prefer to keep it a distance from reality.

    Be well,



    Ilargi – the average person can’t even balance their bank book. They have absolutely no idea what’s coming and if they did, they’d get it all wrong anyway. And you can’t even call it IQ because, as we’ve seen over and over, highly educated idiots (economists/politicians/educators/scientists, etc.) do nothing but call for more and more growth to maintain or exceed the status quo. No mention of over-population, environment, ever. It’s just, “Hey, let’s get another Green Revolution going and we can crank this puppy back up.”

    Just give them bread and circuses and watch the ants dance, and entice them with riches if they would only get that degree in whatever: geoengineering, law (we can never have enough lawsuits), finance (yay, more derivatives!), blah, blah. Dangle that granite in front of their noses so that they rush out with no money down and buy a house two, three or four times the price it should be, saddling them with debt, but bailing out the bankers and all who bought before them. We’ve just got to keep this Ponzi going!!!!!

    In my travels around the blogosphere, I find that few really care. Someone can lay out compelling reasons why this has to stop, and the next person is asking how they can profit off of a particular turn in the markets or they’re cheering for whatever position they’ve cornered for themselves. They don’t appear to care what this is doing to people’s lives, families, the environment, just that they might profit. It’s actually sickening.

    Everyone I talk to about what’s going on looks at me like I’m a freak. My own mother called me a “radical”. Because I see what’s going on and call them on it, I’m a radical. Well, so be it.

    Do I think people’s views are going to turn around? Yeah, but on a slow boat to China. I do see more people talking about morality, the loss of kindness and being genuine, integrity. It will take time for people to see the nightmare that we have created.

    I wonder how many people on here have children. I also wonder how many of our children actually really “admire” us for what we stand for.


    We live in an era that no longer has a moral center. There is one out there but the noisy crowd does not have it. Tradition and religion in a thousand ways was dismissed as irrelevant. Without anything to replace traditions a faith in technology which rescues us from all problems emerged. Technology rules now men do not matter. It is a bargain that was made to escape the snare of poverty for technology provided an escape. It provided and the price was the soul of man. Technology changed men and as it changed them it took their soul. Men with souls would want future generations to survive. The faith men have in their god of technology is a blind faith and demands as a sacrifice ones soul.

    In the second comment down Ken Barrows said “<i>99% of Americans feel the gravy train is endless</i>.” But then he betrays a sliver of the same affliction when he says. “<i>We think they’re wrong. Culture and media aside, what does that say about human nature</i>?”

    There is no if about it. They are wrong and anybody who managed to pass a freshman level physics course with a decent grade knows that there is no doubt about it. They who passed and do not know have more than a sliver of the affliction.

    Modern society literally beat it into our heads that we have to be meek sheep and accept contradictory information. Our place is to consume contribute and not to question the system because the holy tenet of efficiency is violated in doing so.

    Now the quality of this social indoctrination is tested in the face of information which challenges the existing order. Rejection of this information will have fatal consequences so how will we decide? Will the decision to be good compliant citizens lead humanity to the grave or will consciousness of our situation forge a new way of life?

    So far the ambivalent apprehension of taking a strong stand overwhelms and favors sacrificing future generations.


    Everybody above me:

    Ken Barrows
    Jef Jelten

    Gets it. Not a troll among us. To overcome the constant rain of denial propaganda remember we are not alone. We are not crazy or deluded. If enough others can begin to see things as they really are. If we spread the word. The day may come when ambivalent apprehension happens in people who don’t understand and embrace dignified sustainability. Then what will be accepted as normal will be reversed.

    V. Arnold

    @ K-Dog
    Not a troll among us.
    This is one of the most troll free blogs I know of. How’s Kunstler?
    His is one of the worst, IME.


    I think today’s essay may go a bit too far. Yes, people love their own children, but they do not share the same love for their children’s entire generation (or the generations that come after them). And its human nature for a sizable majority of humanity to overconsume, take on too much debt, and fail to plan for a rainy day.

    I think we can pitch this idea that we are saddling the next generation with a huge debt burden they will never be able to work their way out of. Debts that cannot be paid will not be paid. Wealth that is stored in the form of debt will vanish overnight. Oh, the debts will be paid in nominal terms, but not in real terms. Hyperinflation as the grand finale of a deflationary collapse will solve a lot of problems. It will bring a few months of chaos, but all of that debt will vanish. So will standards of loving, but the debt in real terms will be gone.

    Likewise I think the hype about peak oil and peak cheap energy is a bit overdone. Sure, energy will become a lot more expensive. But so what? People will adapt. Household budgets will adapt. Sure, people might spend 40% of their budget on energy, or even 80%, but that might still be better than trying to work the farm with a pair of oxen.

    Sure, there will be chaos and upheaval in the years ahead. But life will go on, at least for some of us. For me the real question is whether our elites will deliberately cull the herd by bringing war or pandemic upon us to reduce the global population. If that happens who knows.


    Boogaloo – “Yes, people love their own children, but they do not share the same love for their children’s entire generation (or the generations that come after them).” Why not? That sounds like short-term thinking, the type of thinking that’s put us in our current predicament. Don’t we realize that if everybody only cares about their own children and everybody is only out for themselves, to be higher or better than someone else, to acquire more and more possessions, that we’re going to end up with nothing? Sure, our children might end up the winners in the game, but what type of world are they going to end up living in? I don’t know about you, but I actually do picture the future in my mind’s eye, and what I see is my children walking hand-in-hand with their own children in a world that their parents and grandparents left in good order, not stripped raw, Fukushima’d and over-populated.

    “And its human nature for a sizable majority of humanity to overconsume, take on too much debt, and fail to plan for a rainy day.” That’s what children do, not adults. Because the government continues to bail out those who nature would have culled and killed off long ago for that very behavior, we continue to pop out more and more dependent people who do exactly that.

    “Don’t worry, hyperinflation, technology will take care of everything; we’ll adapt and life will go on.” Okay. I read that Ebola (pick a disease) is the Earth’s immune system fighting back. I think they’re right on! One virus (Ebola) fighting one of the worst viruses in existence (man).

    We are like a virus, invading every corner of this beautiful planet, always on the hunt and always taking, seldom giving. And somehow it’s all going to work out and there’ll be a happy ending? I highly doubt it.


    Raleigh, I don’t think there is much disagreement here, just a difference between the world the way it ought to be and the world as it is. As a result of original sin (in the eastern sense, not the Augustinian sense), the strong instinct in all of us is some variant of “me first” or “me and my family first” or “me and my country first” or “me and my — fill in the blank — first” and it takes work, real work, to overcome that instinct and collectively reach an agreement to set policy that puts something else first. Even when that something else is what we all need. Making things worse is that the psychopaths are the ones with the strongest lust for power, and it takes work for everyone else to keep them in check.

    I recall something David Stockman said a few years ago: Austerity is not something people choose. “Austerity is something that happens to you when you’re broke.” That is the way the vast majority will experience the new reality we live in.

    I do not mean to suggest that “hyperinflation, technology will take care of everything.” As I said, hyperinflation will destroy the standard of living of the great majority of people. However, there will be a silver lining, and that is that the debt will be gone. And that will be a good start. But will be go back to where we were before? No, I never meant to suggest that.

    As for ebola? Sure, it might wipe out half of humanity. Unlikely, but possible. But in the end it is just a virus. If it becomes a priority, treatments will improve and the disease will be overcome. The sun will come up tomorrow!


    I hear people say that our lifestyle is unsustainable, but technology will save us.

    What happens when the electric grid goes down. The following power grid attack occurred last year on 4/16/13, but wasn’t widely reported until February this year…

    2/11/14 Sophisticated but low-tech power grid attack baffles authorities
    They came after midnight, two or more armed individuals so deft that they cut telecommunication cables in an underground vault and outsmarted security cameras and motion sensors at the power substation in a remote corner of Santa Clara County.
    At daylight, FBI agents began poring over time-lapse photographs from the surveillance cameras. But the photos revealed only staccato muzzle flashes from a semiautomatic weapon and sparks as shots hit rows of transformers. There was not a face, not a shadow, of who was doing the firing.
    The shooters disappeared into the gloom minutes before the first police car arrived.
    The military-style raid on April 16 knocked out 17 giant transformers at the Metcalf Transmission Substation, which feeds power to Silicon Valley. The FBI is still working the case, and agents say they are confident it was not the work of terrorists.
    What they do not have is a motive, fingerprints or suspects.
    But theories are piling up. Was it a modern-day Monkey Wrench Gang bent on eco-terrorism? Was it a test of the vulnerability of the U.S. electrical grid? Was it a dress rehearsal for a larger attack to come?


    There is much dis-order. We observe this in the great many cracks & cervices within the foundation of our arrangements.

    Be it Economic, Social, Political… secular division is wide-spread.

    Information is widely used to confuse, distract and delay. Rare is the moment of pure truth, fact perhaps, but even truths are shrouded in information that is quite likely leading or misleading,

    Personally, my convictions are clung too – quite basic, fundamental truths of humanity and the universe we are within. The cacophony of surreal gestation I have witnessed in merely one generation places me squarely as an outsider to the present social construct of our culture and its attendant way of life.

    Many here apparently have similar feelings.

    It has been a lonely road for a great many years, although I do see many more wayfarers with each passing day.


    It feels to me all of this is talking directly about and around, but not naming the central issue being: capitalism.
    That status of enriching oneself, or one’s family, or one’s tribe above another is the opposite of socialism’s attempt at “raising all boats” that would need to come about for a sustainable world.
    The “free market” produces far more failures then successes, as those successes become fiefdoms unto themselves, and advertised positively as the “status of wealth and success one can achieve in capitalism.” Those who can afford it are reaching ever higher for that golden ring, and those who are excluded from “the ride” if not too busy at their hand to mouth existence, still want to get on it somehow in their hopes and dreams, and feel themselves responsible to be “the failures” that they are engineered to be.
    Of course those masses who are footing the “successes” of the nepotist must first become aware of the central issue of capitalism and its world ending devastation before any real change can be made to society bent on its own and our world’s annihilation.


    Odd bobadi, not quite my uptake.

    The “central issue” is far more likely our anthropology.

    Wealth should be reward for one’s successful expression of energies and not systemic predation upon the beholden.

    “Free Markets” do not exists – they did, they no longer do. Centralized & well organized reality programming is far more akin to our present arrangement.

    There are a great many things wrong with our arrangements, a great many.

    The blame can be shouldered by a great many participants for a great many actions and reactions.

    Nothing appears to be functioning all that well, there are certain rights which should be held in high regard for humanity, they are not and it is not “Capitalism” which is to blame, it is each and every one of us who permitted this decidedly incongruent series of “Systems” to predate upon us all.


    @ K-Dog
    Not a troll among us.
    This is one of the most troll free blogs I know of. How’s Kunstler?
    His is one of the worst, IME.

    Responding to V. Arnold


    It is hard to imagine a worse blog to comment on. As you may have noticed I leave few paw prints over there now. One wonders why Kunstler allows the situation to continue.

    I’ll not try and convince here but commenting over there can be bad for ones health. There can be consequences. It is curious that the Twilight Zone was brought up this week in responding to a comment I made there. Anybody who has access to my Netflix account would know I’m currently working my way through all the original episodes right now. It is almost like trolls there know all about me and what I do.

    I find contact with Kunstler’s blog can generate many strange coincidences. Men in black suits in blinding white shirts following you can be one of them. The type and degree of strange coincidences I experience I’m finding with time to be less frequent and less aggressive as I become better known and stay away from Kunstler’s blog more.

    Get too clever with comments at Kunstler’s place and you can find yourself addressed by your own first name. Even if you are anonymous. That is a really freaky coincidence and it can really freak you out while your own immune system adjusts to the reality. A significant issue is anonymity. If you go to my web page and look carefully you can find out who I really am. Life got ‘better’ for me once I decided the real identity of K-Dog did not need to be a secret. Go to my ‘reading room’ and hover your mouse over CFN and you will find something interesting.


    I would agree that “anthropology” certainly is key to understanding the central devastating issue of capitalism. What Social Darwinists miss is that capitalism and its destruction and waste is such as it has stepped outside our human evolution as a sustainable tribal species.
    At that time, the pillars of the community, those respected and celebrated before the advent of the destruction of nature by agriculture were measured by the tribe in how much one could give freely and share with that tribe, which was wholly to the benefit of all. Notice how this has been reversed under capitalism? Our society is burdened by the usurper, the oligarch, the libertarian, taking to hoard as much “wealth” as possible for himself, and this has been the new paradigm for all of us; we now must hoard as much as possible in worries of our declining years or misstep, or face the curb as an outcast that we just don’t understand that we have already become. All of us are outcasts from one another, outcasts of nature, outcasts within the most ugly “society” imaginable, one that is a mockery of the word itself. “Capitalism” is more aptly described as a cancer on life, and obviously a terminal one as is being uncovered daily.

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