September 6, 2012 at 11:42 pm #5395
After reading this Site for sometime, I am still baffled that some people think a part of prepping for the collapse is ‘getting out’ of debt. Isn’t that the mentality that got us here to begin with? If everyone could ‘get out’ of debt, whence cometh the ‘crisis’? Isn’t ‘getting out of debt’ the same mentality of the slave saving up to buy his release from his master? It may work for some, but it certainly doesn’t work for all. If it works for all, then why call it ‘slavery’?
You may be baffled, but I’m not. In the individual case, its the safest position for an individual to be debt-free during a deflationary crash. Implicit in this is the assumption that the power of the state MAY remain intact.
In the group case, getting out of debt is non-violent in form yet revolutionary in practice. If enough people did that, the monetary system could not survive in its current form. You don’t need 100% compliance to achieve radical change.
As for your suggestion that
…simply holding the world view that coercive authority ought to be rejected in all cases and across all time, with no exceptions…
Sweeping statements like that make me itchy. I feel in my gut that somewhere down the line I’m going to get bitten badly if I say yes to that.
Do we have a case where such a philosophy has been implemented and has worked in real life?September 7, 2012 at 1:59 am #5396
Dave, assuming state power remains intact during a ‘deflationary crash’ is the same mistake Steve was commiting. It puts the horse before the cart–you assume that the state is an objective force over you in all cases and during all times. It assumes that state power is real and doesn’t require a force of people to carry it out. In real terms, it assumes that the policeman who enforces state decree doesn’t have a mortgage, will always be paid and well fed, and won’t have any compunction about ‘making’ people pay their debts or confiscating their property. All of those conditions and more have to align for ‘state power’ to be carried out to any extent.
As for my statement that all types of coercive authority ought to be rejected at all times and in all places with no exceptions…this is just a simple restatement of the Golden Rule. It doesn’t make any sense to put the burden of proof on me to verify historically that coercive force is illegitimate. The burden of proof should always be on the individual employing coercive force for whatever end. Any thinking that departs from this simple truth is bound to suffer from serious cognitive dissonance; namely, coercive force is OK to use against someone else under this circumstance, but I wouldn’t want it used against me. Consistency is crucial in action and thought for mental stability. The state system is built on a shaky moral foundation of double standards. Force can be used by those at the top, but may not be used by those on the bottom. That dearth of consistent morality (coupled with all the stresses of daily life as a debt/wage slave) leads to some serious unintended consequences (aka ‘crime’).
The major misunderstanding on anarchism is that it is a political ideology that somehow needs to be ‘enforced’ in a society. This is exactly opposite what anarchists have been writing about for almost 200 years. If one were to fully understand the arguments of anarchism, then the affinities to the economic collapse would become ever clearer. Instead, intellectual laziness prevails, thinking becomes mired in the symbology of the current social paradigm, and the social possibilities espoused by anarchists are dismissed without a second thought. The result of this social stagnation–we become stuck doing the same things over and over again because that’s what we’re told to do.
So, you can talk about ‘getting out’ of debt as somehow putting you in a safer place than others, but it also teaches you and others that that debt (which was created without the benefit of reserve backing, so, out of thin air) was legitimate in the first place. This may be an unsubstantial argument right now because it is one based on principle, but when the crash does come, it’s our the principles of our mentality that will matter most to the survival of our progeny. Which is to say, the exploitation and domination that has marred the last 5,000 years of human history can only be ended when we teach that it’s wrong and shouldn’t be tolerated under any circumstances.September 7, 2012 at 2:17 am #5398
I just want to confirm the meaning behind your statement: “In the group case, getting out of debt is non-violent in form yet revolutionary in practice. If enough people did that, the monetary system could not survive in its current form. You don’t need 100% compliance to achieve radical change.”
Are you talking about defaulting? Or are you talking about working and paying the bank back?September 7, 2012 at 2:58 am #5399
Adam Goodwin post=5085 wrote: People shouldn’t shy away from getting into debt right now; conversely, they should actively seek to get in more debt and then tell the ‘creditors’ to F off.
Got 50 bucks I can borrow? 🙂
I don’t disagree with much of what you’ve written, Adam. However, I don’t think that TAE is lamenting the “debt crisis” as much as acknowledging it and suggesting that individuals take heed by putting their own house in order before the bankers take it away. I think Dave’s comment probably covered that.September 7, 2012 at 3:56 am #5401
Adam G said: “Why have we fooled ourselves into thinking for so long that it’s OK for a man with a gun to take away our house or our car if we don’t transfer numbers on a computer screen or hand pieces of paper to someone that works in a reinforced building called a ‘bank’? “
For the time being, it doesn’t matter what I’ve fooled myself into thinking, ’cause the man with the gun, the bank, and the judge really don’t give a damn what I’ve “fooled myself into thinking”. It looks like my family will have the chance to own outright our 45 acres, an off grid home (we built ourselves) 2 barns, 2 ponds, 2 gardens, and a bunch more non-fiat wealth in the near term. Don’t have the mule yet. So you go for it. I’ll go for clear title, and not giving the man a reason to show up at our door, and I’ll sleep better knowing whomever comes through my door uninvited is free game..September 7, 2012 at 5:04 am #5403
Exactly Ghung. The biggest problem I see with most people who have “solutions” to the problems we have is that they are stuck in the ideal. So many of their responses start with “what we need to do” and it usually requires that TPTB are somehow awol while the infrastructure remains intact for the next iteration to take over.
TAE has what I need, timely tracking of the evolving disaster plus good advice not on “what needs to happen” but on what IS happening and, above all, what I can do about it in my life.
I CAN pay down my debt, roll into cash and built up non-fiat resources so I do. Hopefully to be available to friends and family who can’t do that and to act as a resource for neighbours and friends as they try to make the transition. Its not complicated, but it IS hard. Not everyone can do it, but the reason I read TAE at all is that I realised 20 years ago that as soon as EVERYONE tries to do anything, however successful for a few, that thing fails.
Everything else is just hot air.September 7, 2012 at 6:05 am #5404
OK, ladies and gents, since no one is really getting what I’m trying to say, I’ll go back to lurker mode. Just remember that you don’t even need to be in debt to have your government seize your property (eminent domain)–allowed through the War Measures Act in Canada and the National Defence Authorization Act in the US. So is it really worth it to ‘get out’ of debt? Will that really save your skin? Sounds naive to me.September 7, 2012 at 6:47 am #5405
Adam Goodwin post=5087 wrote: All of those conditions and more have to align for ‘state power’ to be carried out to any extent.
That seems to be the case now and in the historical record. Are you suggesting it’s not that way? Are you suggesting anything (in 25 words or less so we have a better chance of getting it)?September 7, 2012 at 8:41 am #5406
I’ll drop the principled argument for now, since we’re not speaking the same language here. Those that think I am nuts for writing what I’ve written are probably not ready for the flipped assumptions I’m offering here. Go ahead and keep holding onto your visceral fear of the boogey man state. Just do yourself a favour and read up on anarchism. You might actually like it.
That being said, on purely pragmatic terms (which seems to be the language that some of you speak best), do you honestly think the boogey man state is going to go after you for your mortgage or line of credit or past due credit card when fiat currency collapses? The consequences of a dollar collapse are enormous across the system. Am I the only one here that’s read Korowicz’s Cross Contagion report? Don’t you think the banksters and their government lackeys will have bigger fish to fry? How about regional secessions? How about popular insurrection? How about food rioting? How about civil war? There might be an order given for martial law, but in a country the size of the US, with the highest number of armed civillians in the world, will that even be possible?
When TSHTF where you are at and what you have will be yours, free and clear. So wake up out of the slave mentality of thinking debt controls you and grow a pair. Power concedes nothing without a fight. I’ve got my 16-gauge ready.September 7, 2012 at 8:55 am #5407
I have been reading and listening and I’ve even found the books you mentioned on line for reading which I will do out of interest and wanting a balanced understanding about how other people can see things. The problem mankind is heading into is bigger than anything even seen in history…. ever. We need to be willing to think wayyyyy outside the box I feel.
Now as for the debt thing we got out of debt 100% about 9 years ago and because of that we have been able to invest in our small farm, greenhouses, tools etc.
I think the problem of debt will change as we travel in the stream of time. right now it might be ‘safe’ to have it but it can be a burden mentally and slow us down in some ways ‘not having the money to get such and such’. There might be a very short period of time as the system really start failing while the gov’t and policing system still is functioning that could be a real threat
However I do agree with you that the time is coming when that danger will pass when the money system really fails then there will be a global debt jubilee as it were.
Thus the part most here worry about is that little in between time perhaps when the pressure might be the highest and people with debt could really suffer, so to choose to get out of debt still can seem wise to many people.
DiggingSeptember 7, 2012 at 9:01 am #5408
Dave, assuming state power remains intact during a ‘deflationary crash’ is the same mistake Steve was commiting…
You mis-read what I wrote. I never said I assumed the state power remains intact. I said (and read carefully here) I assumed that it MIGHT remain intact. This is nothing more than acknowledging that the future is uncertain. If the odds of the State retaining power are even 50/50, I think its a reasonable action to get out of debt.
Some people don’t see the future as uncertain. Marx said that the state would wither away. Generations died waiting for this to occur. I see the future as probabilities. You see the probability of the state losing power as 100%. I give that perhaps 30%. The difference in our assessments is what makes a market.
As for my statement that all types of coercive authority ought to be rejected at all times and in all places with no exceptions…this is just a simple restatement of the Golden Rule. It doesn’t make any sense to put the burden of proof on me to verify historically that coercive force is illegitimate. The burden of proof should always be on the individual employing coercive force for whatever end.
Lovely argument construction, but if you are trying to convince me of the truth of your statement regarding coercive authority, I have to tell you I find your argument simply uncompelling. If you can’t find a historical case wherein anarchist theories have worked out in practice and produced a reasonable society, I find myself completely unmotivated to change my worldview and my actions “just in case” you happen to be right.
So, you can talk about ‘getting out’ of debt as somehow putting you in a safer place than others, but it also teaches you and others that that debt (which was created without the benefit of reserve backing, so, out of thin air) was legitimate in the first place.
IF the power of the state remains in place, and IF a debt deflation occurs, THEN getting out of debt will unequivocally put me in a safer place than someone who still has assets encumbered by debt. I consider both of those IF statements as having a probability of occurring that is high enough that I have to take them into account. I don’t rate the probability as 100%, but even at 50%, it is an outcome that I simply cannot just ignore.
What’s more, I’m really uninterested in teaching anyone about the legitimacy of fractional reserve lending. I don’t care about whether debt is legitimate in your eyes, the eyes of God, against Natural Law, or whatever. The system is. Furthermore, the system MAY remain.
There may come a day when the system changes drastically in exactly in the way you describe. If that’s the case, then I’ll change my behavior accordingly. But I have the resources to remain out of debt, so I do. Illegitimate or not, I choose the easy path. I’m putting my energy elsewhere.September 7, 2012 at 9:11 am #5409
I just need to jump in here one little bit.
“If you can’t find a historical case wherein anarchist theories have worked out in practice and produced a reasonable society”,
How about the native societies that lived in north america for 1000s of years before the white people came here?
DiggingSeptember 7, 2012 at 9:49 am #5410
I want to thank you for your stimulating comments.
While I haven’t read Kropotkin (sp?), I have read David Graeber’s book “Debt” which you have likely also read. He makes some very interesting distinctions on kinds of Debt. I think what most here are talking about is not wanting the dunning phone calls, letters, and contacts to one’s employer that are the one of the worst aspects of becoming bankrupt. Not using any credit cards is no big deal, but so many things seem to depend on having one.
The other kind of Debt is the ageless one of owing favors among friends and neighbors. This is the kind of Debt Network that TAE encourages people to expand, while they contract their use of money/credit Debt. The examples of neighbor helping neighbors and friends is the example that we all know many instances of. As people “localize their needs” and move away from Consumerism (out of necessity), we can hope to find a better kind of Debt, one of non-coercive mutuality.September 7, 2012 at 10:03 am #5411
The “native societies” to which you refer were hugely divergent. The Aztec society (15+ million people in the Valley of Mexico) had plenty of coercive elements to it. I dare say they were an empire on the grand scale of Ancient Rome.
So when you say native societies, to which societies are you referring? Small tribes of hunter-gatherers? Or the Aztecs, the Maya, and the Inca?September 7, 2012 at 10:17 am #5412
I said North America dear friend,
The majority of them were very much as Adam said, they lived in a hugely different way. They had gift cultures and tribe/clans based on family/friend ties. They respected the earth and all life way more than the empires of today. They lived in the most harsh of areas going wayyy up north without gov’t, industry and oil. That is a very powerful yet simple system of living if you ask me.
I’d like to add that the nations you mentioned that were more like empire collapsed under themselves, yet these other systems of living were hunted down and destroyed by the empire builders, and would still be here if they had not been so destroyed.September 7, 2012 at 10:43 am #5413
Re-reading your post, I see that you did indeed say north america. Looking at the map, is Mexico City part of North America or not? Tough to say, but let’s say I agree for the moment.
I don’t know enough about the diversity of societies in pre columbian NA. I know that some were agrarian, some were hunter-gatherer. Did the Hopi coerce people? The Cherokee? They certainly made war on one another (although not those two particular peoples) at times. That’s coercive, at least it is to me.
Within the community, small tribes (and small villages) have the luxury of relying on personal relationships to keep things real, and operate just as you say. Its only when populations get larger and things become more impersonal (i.e. where you are relatively anonymous) do other problems start to crop up.
I agree that increasing respect for earth and life is a better way to go, independent of the system of government and economics.
I’d also agree that if we broke society into small tribes, anarchist, communist, and other philosophies would likely flourish and do well.
But that’s not where we are, structurally speaking. So I want to see an example of a large population operating successfully as a society under an anarchist model to be convinced it was the right way for America to go.
A lot of ideas sound great in theory, but unintended consequences and unanticipated behavior causes those ideas to break down when actually implemented.September 7, 2012 at 7:36 pm #5414
Well it is believed there were millions of natives in Canada and the USA before the invasion that seem to be a large amount of people. Also the native peoples tended to not fight to the death until after the whites came.
Now you asked the question.
“So I want to see an example of a large population operating successfully as a society under an anarchist model to be convinced it was the right way for America to go.”
I would like to ask where do we seen large populations that have successfully maintained themselves without collapsing in history?
Civilization does not have a good track record according to Jared Diamond in his book Collapse How sociecties choose to fail or succeed.
DiggingSeptember 7, 2012 at 9:22 pm #5417
Sure I’d believe there were millions here back in the day. Now we have hundreds of millions. What worked for them may well not scale to where we are now.
Just because our current situation is not so great doesn’t mean we should just guess and try random things in the hopes it will be an improvement. I think they call that a false choice.
Again – do we have a successful case of anarchist society for a large number of people? 320 million is the number I’m thinking of. I’d like some inkling that the place we’re jumping to is actually BETTER than the place we’re jumping FROM – and that most of us will be able to make the transition alive.
Communism in the small scale worked fine, but it didn’t scale well; things turned out a whole lot different than people expected it would. Let’s call it the failure of the human element.
With no evidence to the contrary, I’d suspect the same is true of anarchism.September 7, 2012 at 9:29 pm #5418
Adam Goodwin post=5095 wrote: OK, ladies and gents, since no one is really getting what I’m trying to say, I’ll go back to lurker mode. Just remember that you don’t even need to be in debt to have your government seize your property (eminent domain)–allowed through the War Measures Act in Canada and the National Defence Authorization Act in the US. So is it really worth it to ‘get out’ of debt? Will that really save your skin? Sounds naive to me.
It seems you are implying that, since the state will retain a lot of coercive power to confiscate property and generally oppress/enslave people, we shouldn’t worry about giving them additional reasons to do so. I agree with the former part of that, and covered it in my three-part series on “Our Depraved Future of Debt Slavery” (Stoneleigh also talks about it with regards to local food production in the “Storm Surge of Decentralization”).
Even with regards to debt, we see instances in which people have been erroneously saddled with debts they never took on or had already paid off (see “Revisiting the Physical Risks of Debt”). Yet, I’m not sure how we go from there to saying we may as well stop trying to get out of debt, or that we should even take on more debt.
Philosophically, I think many us agree on the severe shortcomings of coercive state structures, especially at large scales. Practically, we recognize the very real threats to us and everyone around us that come from giving the current structures reasons to drop the hammer down. I also agree with Dave that there is a very significant probability that coercive state authority will remain intact for quite a few years to come in the Western world, and will most likely grow even more oppressive over the next 5-10 years.
That being said, I have no problem with individual people deciding to take a stand for what they believe to be political and philosophical truths. And I have no problem with people trying to convince others that they should do the same. However, in this situation, I simply disagree that all people with debts have any sort of moral obligation to refuse paying off those debts, and sometimes it may even be the opposite case. I also disagree that it is better to become a “martyr” for that particular cause, which will prevent us from pursuing other causes and helping those around us.
And finally, I disagree that we should simply ignore the physical risks of debt because the state has other means of oppressing us. Right now, debt is the easiest and most effective way for private corporations in combination with the state to extract wealth from the masses and physically enslave them. That is why it is good general advice for those who have the means to pay off debt, or walk away from that debt (perhaps declare bankruptcy), to do so immediately. Obviously that will only be a small portion of debtors, which is also why our debts will ultimately be redeemed for us, one way or another.September 8, 2012 at 1:36 am #5421
Dave said –
“Again – do we have a successful case of anarchist society for a large number of people? 320 million is the number I’m thinking of. I’d like some inkling that the place we’re jumping to is actually BETTER than the place we’re jumping FROM – and that most of us will be able to make the transition alive.
Communism in the small scale worked fine, but it didn’t scale well; things turned out a whole lot different than people expected it would. Let’s call it the failure of the human element.”
Why the assumption of the need for a “society for a large number of people?” I think this is a buy-in of Global capitalism thinking. Why not tribal/village/city-state sized society?
The need for localization will become imperative as the supply chains collapse. This is what the Transitions Town model is about. I rather like the idea of lots of diversity for the up-coming demise of civilization-as-we-know-it. Biology and evolution is based on diversity being a way of survival, so that the tails of the bell-shaped curve become longer to provide many possible points of survival.
Naturally I hope for a society of social support for its weaker members, but it’s quiet likely that some kinds of fascism with coercive elite will do well too. The fragments of this civilization may be a Dark Ages, but if we look closely at the post-Rome Dark Ages, that was a time of small diverse principalities. Are we looking at that period from the point of view that Big is Better? Could that have been a time of simplification and regeneration in some places?
Just some thoughts on Small is Beautiful, when it comes to social groups.September 8, 2012 at 4:11 am #5423
Adam said, “In real terms, it assumes that the policeman who enforces state decree doesn’t have a mortgage, will always be paid and well fed, and won’t have any compunction about ‘making’ people pay their debts or confiscating their property.”
Exactly!! There won’t be a problem of this nature, because there won’t be any deflation.
Here’s all you need to know. Silver is money. That’s it. The dollar is going to 1/10 of its present buying power, and then 1/10 of that, rinse and repeat. Where did all this ‘deflation’ gobbledy goop come from? What has real money (silver) done in the last decade? Gone from $4/oz to $33/oz.
Gold won’t save you. In the last month or two the gold:silver ratio has collapsed from 60:1 to 51:1. It is headed to 8:1. Stick with gold and you will lose 85% of your buying power. That is better than paper, where you lose 99.9%, lol.
The policeman will have his house, free and clear, but no savings, and lots of real estate taxes. A little good and a little bad.September 8, 2012 at 5:43 am #5424
ashvin post=5063 wrote: [quote=Tao Jonesing post=5056]I guess where things break down for me is the assumption that everybody actually wants to meet his or her “maximum human potential.” I once was driven by the same assumption, but I came to realize that some people just want to BE. They are content in who they are and what they have. And that should be okay. It also should be okay to accept the fact that, at some point, not everybody actually has the same potential, and that some people have actually achieved their maximum potentials at a point that you find personally unacceptable for yourself.
Some people are sheep. Fewer people are wolves. Fewer still are shepherds. Each “species” of people has its own role and its own maximum potential.
Why should that be okay? It might be okay with them, but it doesn’t have to be okay with me. This is what I’m talking about when I say “tolerance” for other people’s beliefs or lifestyles is overrated. We can explain to others why we think they need to reconsider those things without being rude or hateful. Many people will react negatively when confronted in such a personal way, at least initially, but that’s really the only way to get the truth out. We can’t find the truth if our beliefs are never challenged boldly, and others can’t find the truth if we don’t challenge their beliefs boldly.
As far as “potential” goes, I agree not everyone has the same potential, and that’s fine. I never judge anyone else’s beliefs or behavior by what I find suitable for myself. We all have different circumstances and gifts and strengths/weaknesses, and therefore our approaches to the cause of truth will necessarily vary. And obviously I would like to persuade others of my beliefs, as they would of me, but it’s the mentality they use when approaching these issues that I’m most concerned with here. Everyone is capable of being honest, rational, logical and critical while also being respectful, so that’s what I expect from myself and from others.
Simply BEING is not a belief system to be tolerated. The choice to be content with who you are and what you have (and have not) achieved is a personal one faced by every single person regardless of his or her belief system. No, this is not about belief systems or lifestyles, but about being human. Who am I- and who are you- to demand that others strive for something they don’t want or need? The fact of the matter is that those who call for the perfecting of humanity really want to make everybody else be more like them.September 8, 2012 at 7:15 pm #5435
Tao Jonesing post=5115 wrote: Simply BEING is not a belief system to be tolerated. The choice to be content with who you are and what you have (and have not) achieved is a personal one faced by every single person regardless of his or her belief system. No, this is not about belief systems or lifestyles, but about being human. Who am I- and who are you- to demand that others strive for something they don’t want or need? The fact of the matter is that those who call for the perfecting of humanity really want to make everybody else be more like them.
Who are parents to tell their grown children that their desire to live as drug addicts, cruising along from fix to fix to ease the pain of life and avoid the pain of stopping, is a bad one and that they need to change?
Who is a wife to tell a husband that his self-absorbed attitude and laser focus on moving up the career ladder are not healthy, even though it makes him feel “fulfilled”?
Who are me and you to tell friends, acquaintances and strangers any of these same things?
You can call it belief systems, lifestyles, or “being human”… whatever it is, we all need help from others to see its flaws and potentially change it, because everything about ‘being human’ in this world has fallen way too short of preserving humanity.
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