Forum Replies Created
Ouch! How is someone supposed to rationally respond to that critique? If someone wrote that to me, I wouldn’t know how to react–get angry or thank them. 🙂 Sometimes it’s better to just leave such things unspoken and let people figure it out themselves.
But, one’s optimism is really no one else’s business but your own. No one has the qualifications to write about another’s optimism, because that’s their inalienable state of mind. Too much personal judgment buried in any social analysis (economic or political) about how other people are or should be. All assumptions (aka ‘social science’) about other people outside the Self are just probabilistic models reliant on correlative data. Always gonna be black swans.
I’ve always felt more grounded because of the peak oil (and economic effects) material I’ve read. It’s pushed me to become a more mature and self-reliant person. If anything, the limits’ literature is necessary to convince us we should no longer rely on people we can’t see.
Why Freud? Why not Jung, instead? I think choosing one psychoanalyst over another is quite arbitrary. Was the selection of Freud made because he happens to fit your preconceived ideas about how humans work?
Just because AE has been accurate with how the financial sector works doesn’t mean you automatically have intellectual purchase in the realm of human psychology. Have you read Marcuse’s critique of Freud in Eros and Civilization. You don’t have to agree with his points, but have you at least read the critique? Have you considered Jung’s critique of Freud? It could be argued that it’s because of the social control powers of money–and materialism, itself–that we suppress who we are. Jung wrote that hierarchy, especially the state, repressed the inevitable process of individuation in a mature adult. The process of individuation, where the unconscious is brought together with the conscious mind into a concurrent whole, is underlined by symbolism; hence, the popularity of dream analysis that Jungian analysis inspired.
If we really want to delve into psychoanalysis, then perhaps we ought to take account of the symbols that permeate our life. This is what this ‘financial crisis’ is really about, right? It symbolizes the breakdown of our trust we have in each other since we have channeled that trust via a material world that has finite limits. That’s why spirituality was so important to Jung–the universe of ideas, of possibilities of relating to each other, is infinite.November 7, 2012 at 1:06 am in reply to: Europe Makes Obama Look Good, But That's Not The Whole Story #6335
Oh, good! Finally a topic I can chime in on without feeling dumb. I usually shut up when it comes to analyzing the high economy stuff–especially the deflation vs inflation debate. But having listened to Nicole’s interview on Keiser the other day, I have to say that I’m beginning to understand (and accept) the deflation argument. Thanks for the speaking quite plainly about it, Nicole!
As for the question of politics, I agree with Ilargi’s conclusion that the presidency is not going to be a very hospitable position to hold over the next couple years. However, I think the reason that what we know as ‘politics’ now will soon devolve into something much more primitive is because it has always relied on our complacency (read consent) to function ‘correctly’. The undeniable principle that power requires consent has been used successfully by countless activists, from people you’ve heard of (Gandhi, MLK) to people you may not have heard of (Eugene Debs, Thomas, Brian Haw). I say successfully, because their disobedience of authority did not necessarily accomplish what their explicit goals were, but it inspired others to continue the tradition of disobedience.
But just because there hasn’t been more disobedience in the past (or, at least we perceive that there hasn’t) does not mean that the principle that power requires consent does not apply. It applies all the time and in every place, it’s just a matter of whether you have the will to expose it for others to see. But if this is the case, why should we consider power to exist at all? If this consent principle is universal then it doesn’t actually exist and we have been convinced, through what Nicole aptly called infotainment, that it does. That’s the big lie.
Further, Stephen B’s addendum that it’s because we use money is right on the mark. Money is the linchpin in centralizing human social tendencies towards the rich core, and an awesome artifice to leech energy (energy is more of an encompassing term than ‘capital’) away from society. It’s impossible for me to imagine what kind of psychopathy would be necessary to engineer an economic system like this one.
As Nicole says when the credit system begins to unwind so will the legitimacy of centralized governance. Confidence fails systemically. But this is just a formalized way of saying that people change their minds about how to interact with each other. This changing mentality changes the way we have relationships with each other. That’s all the ‘state’ and ‘market’ are, though–human relationships formed through specific mentalities. This isn’t a difficult concept to grasp if you have control over the ideas in your mind. As the old anarchist saying goes: theory is when you have ideas, ideology is when ideas have you. https://www.infoshop.org/AnAnarchistFAQ
Farage is a nationalist. Nationalists view authority outside their borders as illegitimate, but welcome it domestically. The comment ‘states require consent’ made me chuckle: Farage intended that comment for the EU, but in reality, the countries of the EU had a referendum to establish it. The English state has had no such referendum. It remains a consolidated kingdom.
I would be interested to see if Farage says the same about the Ponzi scheme inside his own country, brought about by the Bank of England. Scratch a nationalist, see a hypocrite bleed.September 19, 2012 at 8:05 pm in reply to: Bernanke And Draghi Are Not Trying To Save Our Economies #5682
“Now whenever I say that the main problem is our growth paradigm, all emerges from that, I get glazed looks from my friends”
I agree with you. Most don’t understand that growth cannot be sustained on a finite planet. They often think technology is the way to get around a lack of resources–we’ll go mine the moon when we run out here. Or we’ll engage in some sort of chemical alchemy with nanotechnology to create the materials we need. It’s just a fundamental disconnect with the laws of thermodynamics. What a shame.
But here’s the rub: the growth paradigm is just a symptom of the problem, and not the problem, itself. Why do we all insist that we need to grow, turn a profit, expand our income source? There’s something more sinister behind that, then just a ‘human nature’ inclination to grow. For me, it’s the practice of usury that’s got us here. Charging interest on money exchanged, establishing that practice as legitimate within the bounds of coercive law and acceptable social practice, and allowing it to permeate all of our ‘commonsense’ is the systemic leverage point that makes growth seem not only natural, but inevitable. It’s constantly focusing our productive energies towards the future, bringing into being the liabilities of riches yet to be earned. At its core, usury is a feeble attempt to break the second law of thermodynamics by creating something from nothing (or something that does not yet exist). And I say it’s ‘feeble’ because we are now seeing how the social reality of usury is colliding with the material reality of the end of growth. Social realities are changeable–we just renegotiate our relationships with others. Material reality is not changeable.
I see a lot of tough negotiating in our future.September 18, 2012 at 6:55 pm in reply to: Bernanke And Draghi Are Not Trying To Save Our Economies #5652
I think a major departure in thinking between myself and a few others on here is that I believe there is a limit in the human tolerance for blatant exploitation. This comes from my studies of anarchism and the history of popular resistance. Whereas many on TAE can logically trace the exponential rise of debt and see that it is unsustainable, the other variable in the equation–human tolerance–is discounted entirely.
Maybe it’s implicit in the title of this Web site–The _Automatic_ Earth–that the exploitative economic system will continue for a lot longer and go through the various fantasy stages that skip lists; but, I entirely disagree. Humans are not drones that can be worked finger to the bone and discarded once they have reached their ‘best before’ date. To think this is possible is to capitulate to the cultural conditioning in the US that you have been exposed to–i.e. everyone is an individual and will always submit to the will of their leaders. History does not bear this ‘commonsense’ out. History is replete with rebellions, uprisings, and insurrections, because resistance to authority is ingrained in our soul (for lack of better teminology).
As wealth inequity increases and the poor grow in numbers, there will be blood. For now, your government has successfully kept the poor divided against themselves through the calculated influx of drugs, protection of organized crime syndicates and the nurturing of a fragile male ego through a popular culture of violent and misogynistic masculinity. But this won’t hold as the threat of economic evisceration spreads to increasingly large numbers of people. There will come a point when the mass media will not be able to hide that any longer. And that’s when the Great Reckonening begins.September 18, 2012 at 2:22 am in reply to: Bernanke And Draghi Are Not Trying To Save Our Economies #5637
While I think dave’s probability assessment seems intuitively reasonable given all that I have read about the process of debt collection, I must also submit that it assumes a specific nature of power that I cannot agree with.
The assumption of the nature of power in dave’s assessment is that power exists independently of economic activity and independently of public perceptions of legitimacy (read public obedience). These assumptions frame the pragmatic picture of running a quantitative probability risk assessment. In other words, crunching numbers make sense assuming power to exist independent of society. This assumption goes against everything I have read and studied, so I diverge significantly from the conclusions that dave takes as foregone.
So, would I risk my life on this assumption? I would argue that I am already risking my life everyday that I assume the Second Law of Thermodynamics holds true for everything but human civilization. Where debt collection is a social relation and dependent on my reaction towards it as much as the debt collectors action towards it, the breakdown of logistical infrastructure is an objective threat that affects me regardless of my action towards it. That to me is a more salient worry than the assumption that debt will be collected.September 18, 2012 at 1:57 am in reply to: Bernanke And Draghi Are Not Trying To Save Our Economies #5636
SteveB asks: “Do you really believe there would be a “negative payoff”, Dave? If so, could you be more specific? I’m asking for your personal opinion, not your assessment of popular opinion.”
While this question was addressed to dave, I precipitated the discussion, so I’ll take a brief crack at it.
What are the ‘negative payoffs’ of current debt reduction? From a purely pragmatic perspective, would funds diverted to ‘servicing’ current debt be better spent on accumulating goods and materials required for prepping? Should I pay my credit card bill or purchase an rear-tine tiller? Should I pay down my mortgage or stockpile gasoline, alcohol, food and seeds?
Those are not tough questions for someone in my position. I would rather feed my kids than pay a bank. That’s a decision I make based on my evaluation for what’s important now. Should I make a decision based on what I hold to be important to me in the future, then putting into place redundant homestead life-support systems to continue to sustain my family’s nutritutional and mental needs is far more important than my credit rating.
Of course, we could endlessly way some personal odds against others in an effort to come closer to a prescription for either paying off debt or not, but, it’s ultimately a decision that’s made based on one’s personal situation. That being said, we should be explicit about the class-based nature of this issue. There are a vast majority who cannot ‘get out’ of debt. Purporting that ‘getting out’ of debt is some sort of ‘non-violent revolutionary action’ is classist to its core. How comfortable a position to take when one has access to the resources to do so!
This mentality/’strategy’ is perniciously individualistic and obsequious. This mentality assumes that one can ‘buy’ one’s way to peace and prosperity by paying off the thieves who are responsible for our current state of affairs. This way of thinking is based on the faulty assumption that one can isolate one’s self from the rest of society by way of one’s ‘adroit’ market position.
The credit/financial/debt ‘crisis’ is a cultural product, and culture is not something that sits objectively outside of our experience. It requires human agency to recapitulate over and over again, until it _seems_ to materialize into an objective reality. But culture still remains reliant on our own mentality going forward.
We can all pour our resources into prepping (and I do) for an objective crisis of shortages in goods and services currently reliant on credit to reach us, but this doesn’t solve the problem core to this ‘crisis’–the cultural flaws of individualism, division and materialism. So, while one can use a cost vs profit metric to evaluate the decisions one makes, but it evades the foundational problem of now–that’s mentality.
Again, this is an argument on principles, and it may not appeal to the prudence of financial thinking that many commenters on TAE seem to exude, but until we come to terms with the baseline problem, it won’t be solved. It seems that the entire premise of TAE is that there will be a time when the analysis of high finance is no longer needed. Ashvin seems to reflect this in his expanded spiritual interests. Finance was probably a good place to start to analyze the cultural shift going on, but it will always remain a subfield of a larger perspective on who we are as a species. So while a cost/benefit analysis to surviving collapse may seem like a beneficial mentality for an individual to hold at present, such zero-sum thinking is certain to be detrimental in a post-collapse community. This begins and ends with one’s mentality.September 17, 2012 at 11:38 pm in reply to: Bernanke And Draghi Are Not Trying To Save Our Economies #5629
Debt resistance seems to be the new strategy. How many of you still promote ‘getting out of debt’ as one way to prepare for the collapse?
And why flame Stoneleigh? Is there no solidarity among those that have the ‘big picture’? To understand what’s just over the horizon is to feel for your fellow human. There will be great suffering, and the only way to alleviate suffering in the world is to show solidarity far and wide. To waste your precious time attacking someone who has not wronged you is exactly the old paradigmatic mentality we’re trying to shed off.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Steve, You’re putting the cart before the horse. People don’t live ‘within’ the System. The System lives within them. The System is nourished through individual compliance (read obedience).
Law is the same animal. Esoteric scribblings in a book locked away in some vault ought not to have an objective effect on your life, and it certainly will not align completely with your morality; yet, ‘law’ is _looked_ upon as having both of these qualities. That mass recognition is what gives law the appearance of being objectively and ubiquitously influential. This is just appearance and can only be sustained through persuasion first and coercion last.
Fiat currency and the mainstream economy function in the same way. They require a certain amount of people to believe in the system for it to work. It’s as simple as that. Law and money mean nothing in and of themselves; they are guidelines and symbols.
I have nothing to offer you in terms of advice for prepping for the collapse. Everyone’s situation is different. But I can only tell you that it’s the slave mentality that absolutely needs to be abandoned–whether it be now or later. It’s gotta go if any meaningful change will take place. The collapse of the dollar may spark that loss of confidence in authority as millions (billions?) become aware of the adroit deception and vicious betrayl that ‘authority’ has perpetrated on us for so long.
This time will come, but I have absolutely no idea what comes after; just like I have no idea what decisions you’ll make in the future. I’m not trying to sell you any scepticism. Believe whatever you want; but, I can assure you that governance of the intricate and delicate political and economic system (namely, maintaining the status quo level of complexity) will become ever harder as we go along, until it becomes too difficult to sustain. Then people remove the system from their own minds and start making their own judgments and actions outside of the constraints of that system.
But, I just can’t help but scratch my head when System critics advise people to ‘get out’ of debt. There is no such thing as a ‘debt crisis’. It’s a crisis of system legitimacy for those that benefit most from that system. 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. If they use this ‘debt’ to get what they’ll need when the supply lines are choked off in the future, they’ll be ahead in the game. At the same time, they’ll also be accelerating the demise of the parasitic System, thus setting the stage for the liberation of the masses.
Let me suggest a couple of good books by one of the most thoughtful of anarchists, Kropotkin. Bear in mind that these were written over a century ago, but still offer extremely valuable insight into understanding the System ‘crisis’ we are now facing. Fields, Factories and Workshops Tomorrow & The Conquest of Bread.
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’?
I think the peak oilers and System critics I’ve seen in all of these limits literate debates need a healthy dose of anarchist scepticism of authority. The conclusions reached through criticism of the financial system via peak oil are the same conclusions that anarchists, like Peter Kropotkin, reached a century ago. For example, your ‘collapse’ is what Kropotkin termed expropriation.
So you’ve become savvy of the unsustainable nature of finance, the pernicious nature of wage (debt) slavery, and the protection racket that is government? Welcome to classical anarchist thought! Whereas anarchists, like myself, _begin_ our analysis with a skeptical eye for coercive power, System critics take the long route to get to that conclusion. Does it really take complex analyses of markets, politics, geology, history and countless other fields to build an argument that could have been reached by simply holding the world view that coercive authority ought to be rejected in all cases and across all time, with no exceptions? 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’?
Babble said: “The “printing of money” by banks misses a critical point. Yes, loaning money does create new money but that loan does work and produces real GDP. A loan for a house produces a house. A loan for a business produces a business that produces products. A loan to a farmer produces food. As you can see, new money produces new goods, it is not thrown away as most believe. Debt is a problem but I don’t believe it is anywhere close to what is being stated. I do agree that societies need to get out of the unlimited growth paradigm but they also need to stop the overpopulation or earth as well.”
This is exactly the thinking that got us here. Money ‘produces’ nothing. People produce things. Money is just a symbol of value and has no value by itself. It’s just paper (or more commonly and even worse now in this age, it’s mostly just ephemeral electrons–in quantum physics, where probabilities are the norm and reality appears to be spread out across vast distances, this medium for money probably more accurately represents the bankster’s mentality towards it). When money is loaned out, the ‘debtor’ is the only one that has possession of anything of any intrinsic value (be it a house, car, equipment etc.). The bank can offer nothing to the equation, other than it’s ‘services’ to ‘facilitate’ confidence in the current paradigm. Money has ‘objective value’ because the general population says it does through their confidence to continue participating in the game of musical chairs. That’s right….it’s a con game.
As for overpopulation of the world, that’s not an issue anyone can solve. The population argument is just a scapegoat argument to support status quo capitalist notions of ownership and systemic dependence in a consumer culture. We are not yeast in a vat. Where every person is painted as a relentless consumer right now, there will be a time (soon) when that will have to give way to a producer mentality. Population of a species is not controllable by any single member of that species. You control your own life only, so if you have a problem with what others are doing, then you change it by changing yourself. Start producing!
I agree with you. I don’t believe in societal breakdown. To me it seems more like transmogrification. I’ve started to enjoy reading this Web site more over the past several months. It’s not because of the financial aspects of it (since I feel quite illiterate compared to many of the posters on even this thread!), but because I’ve noticed that the contributors have started to reach similar conclusions that I have reached through a different analytical path. There seems to be a common theme emerging among the contributors that we must necessarily contest the status quo, because we cannot rely on institutions to rectify it for us. This resonates with me greatly, because the analytical path I have used to come to this conclusion is anarchism.
I am quite surprised that the Peak Oil and financial crash niks have not breached anarchist teachings earlier in the forecasting game. It was only recently that I saw Richard Heinberg’s newest writing on energy bulletin (https://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2012-08-15/our-cooperative-darwinian-moment) and I saw my first anarchist cite. He cited Peter Kropotkin in his analysis of how our global civilization may fair during this great reckonening. Kropotkin, along with other anarchists, had always fought against the Malthusian/Hobbesian interpretations of humanity for some time. Malthusianism seems to frequently rear its ugly head among the peak oilers; though this seems almost a given considering that the peak oil argument is focused on the scarcity of _the_ key resource and that scarcity’s potential effect on humanity.
There’s no real way to know what will happen after a financial crash. It’s a social singularity, really. It affects our entire species (or near enough); and, it puts us all into a position to do something other than BAU. That’s truly revolutionary, because, as anarchists have been saying for centuries now, the only real revolutions are the social revolutions.
I have no idea what the next several months hold; but, I know that we will never forget what happens.
And interesting post from Energy Bulletin recently.
How crucial the informal sphere of life is! It’s interesting, because the formal sphere of economic activity (the one so adroitly captured by the banksters for so long) has only survived for as long as it has because of a net increase of energy throughput (wood to coal to oil). Now that we enter a net decline of energy throughput, the parasitic social relations become clear to everyone by way of their own social logic. What a fascinating period of history.
I just picked this story up on Reuters. Note the time frame (3-6 months).
Hold onto your hats, people!
I believe Graeber says that, historically, all forms of slavery (including debt slavery) are nullified during a Jubilee. So a modern-day Jubilee would entail the nullification of credit card debt, mortgages, loans etc., I believe. At least, those are the basic conditions that would make a modern day Jubilee a true Jubilee. There must be countless other kinds of debt that have accrued over the course of our Debt Era.
One can hardly imagine how liberating it will be to be relieved from crushing debt. The social pathology of the constant pursuit of profit that our society languishes from will most likely recede. But, this kind of Jubilee will not be granted from above, it must be demanded for from below. Reading Chomsky and other anarchist literature has taught me that this is how social transformations take place. Let’s hope the credit ‘catastrophe’ in Europe spreads as quickly as possible so as to relieve the desperate poor that must choose between rent/debt payments or groceries.