Forum Replies Created
Hello Patricia, the $300 is for a whole three day event, with catering included. It’s organised on a non-profit basis, with the fee covering the space, three days worth of food and the cost of brining other speakers in from the round the world. I know it sounds like a lot of money, but it only covers costs. I’m paying to be here like everyone else, and I don’t get paid for my contribution. Neither does anyone else, including the huge number of volunteer organizers. When I do solo events, the cost is very low and usually voluntary, but solo events are small, simple and cheap to organise. If I do a solo event in the area at any point, that would be more affordable, then I’ll let you know.
At this event, the organisers did make provision for people to attend only part of the event for a reduced fee, or even to cover their registration by helping out with things that needed to be done. Perhaps that wasn’t clear from the registration page. Sorry about that.
Indeed there are few places to hide stores of value that confer freedom of acton in the future. I wouldn’t touch equities or long term bonds, and I wouldn’t trust the banking/brokerage system at all. Short term government bonds are a cash equivalent for the time being, and therefore a least-worst option, along with cash itself. There aren’t any really good options, only balance of risk calculations for each possible choice.
The risks for cash and short term bonds are currency re-issue and short term bonds being recategorized as long term (to be defaulted upon later). These risks vary in significance depending on where one is located, but in general terms are lower than the risks associated with equities and most debt instruments. Currency re-issue is a major problem for the eurozone. For other places it may happen, but probably not soon. Cash is in any case a short term option to ride out the deflation, before moving into hard goods prior to the bottom. Holding cash initially, but getting out of it in favour of hard goods as prices fall, seems one of the best options. I discussed this point in the article (noting the Russian experience).
As for real estate, the risks are illiquidity and price collapse. Real estate makes sense if one can purchase it with no debt, if it can provide for the essentials of one’s own existence, if it can be a focus for community and if one doesn’t have to be concerned about its falling value in financial terms. For some people it will make at lot of sense, but for others no sense at all, depending on individual circumstances. In general, young people will be better off focusing on mobility and flexibility.
Beanny, England defaulting on its debt was only one aspect of the banking crisis of the 14th century. The full picture is far more complicated and multi-dimensional. Here’s an article I wrote some time ago on the early stages of that crisis – looking at the great credit crunch of 1294.
Professor Locknload, indeed property rights will be threatened, land and other things can be confiscated. There are no risk-free options. People need to decide whether they want to invest in a fixed location and make the best of it, or opt for maximum mobility. Both options have advantages and disadvantages, so there’s no one right answer. Different people will make different choices.
As for your view on hyperinflation, I disagree completely, as you know. We have had the inflation in the form of credit hyperexpansion. Deflation comes next. Only in places such as Greece, with currency re-issue on the cards, and Japan, which is at the other end of the cycle from the rest of us, is currency hyperinflation a threat in the relatively near term. For most of the developed world, credit collapse is going to send economies into a long-lasting deep-freeze, along the lines of Dante’s Ninth Circle of Hell.
QE has monetized only a tiny fraction of outstanding debt, and has done nothing to stimulate the economy. All it has done is inflate asset bubbles, setting up the asset owners for a price collapse. Where those assets are leveraged, they will be lost and the debt added to the overall leverage burden acting as a millstone round the neck of the economy. The velocity of money will be very low, as it always is in an economic depression. People will be trying to sell all manner of consumer goods in order to buy essentials like food and fuel, but there will be no buyers. Think of the photos from the 1930s of bankers trying to sell off fancy cars for next to nothing and still finding no buyers.
The price of essentials (as opposed to consumer goods) is likely to rise in real terms, even as they fall in nominal terms (at least initially). A much larger percentage of a much smaller money supply will be chasing them, and providing relative price support.
Regionswork, I don’t think the SDR proposals will work. However you slice it, there’s simply too much bad debt in the world to shovel under the carpet at this point. It’s a very large multiple of global GDP. No lender of last resort can absorb that.
Oxymoron, thanks for the permaculture analogy – very apt 🙂
Seychelles, I completely agree about “the dominant minority overstepping their bounds”. They are over-confident and think they have far more control than they actually do. They have a tiger by the tail, so to speak.
For those who may be wondering why I haven’t mentioned gold in this article, here’s my take on gold: https://www.theautomaticearth.com/2015/09/gold-follow-the-yellow-brick-road/
Alan, people have been temporarily lifted out of poverty at the expense of crowding them into megacities and depriving them of their connection to the means to provide for themselves once the ponzi economy inevitably crashes, not to mention comprehensively destroying the environment upon which they all depend, and creating a situation where every young person unable to find a job to support even themselves in a few years will also be expected to support four grandparents. The older cohort, with no means of support, is going to die in droves in the not too distant future. Granted the Chinese are capable of building beautiful and durable things, but that’s not what they do when they build ghost cities. Those will never fill up. No one will be able to afford them. There is no means of earning a living anywhere in near vicinity. The whole environment of these cities is entirely artificial and pointless. They will eventually fall down without ever having served a purpose beyond enriching the owners of the state owned enterprises that built them. Just look at overbuilt Japanese bubble infrastructure. It’s already falling down after 25 years (their bubble peaked in 1989).
The Chinese economy is a gigantic ponzi scheme resting on the shifting sands of bad debt. Its crash is going to be one for the record books, then the stream of migrants will dwarf anything seen so far. The land people might have gone back to will be poisoned, parched and useless for generations, so they’ll look elsewhere. A gender ratio as skewed as theirs is going to lead to conflict, either at home or abroad, or both. It is a disaster waiting to happen, pure and simple.
Alan, China didn’t do what needed to be done, they did what the elite who run the state owned enterprises could most profit from, even if it proved to be a massive exercise in negative added value, which it did for the most part. This was a grotesque waste of perfectly good resources to build useless infrastructure there was no demand for, and no use for, probably ever in its lifetime. Remember that bubble infrastructure is typically badly built as quickly as possible, in order to profit and move on to the next project. That stuff would be raining down concrete blocks (riddled with concrete cancer in 2 or 3 decades) on to the heads of those beneath, if there were any heads beneath. There aren’t now, and probably never will be though. This is nothing more than the largest waste of resources in human history, all fueled with bad debt for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the many. It’s happened many times before, but never on this scale. It couldn’t have without cheap energy. Since we’ll never have cheap energy like this again, it’ll never happen again, thankfully.August 21, 2015 at 6:49 pm in reply to: Nicole Foss: The Boundaries and Future of Solution Space #23362
Supranational, I did address population and carrying capacity as problems. What I do not countenance is people playing god as to how that predicament resolves itself. Nature will take care of it. We are not going to like that, but it will happen whether we like it or not. That’s far better than turing to fascist methods. Those would achieve nothing good and everything bad, arguably making life not worth living in the meantime. I would rather take my chances with nature, and I mean that far beyond the personal level.August 21, 2015 at 6:45 pm in reply to: Nicole Foss: The Boundaries and Future of Solution Space #23361
I took my kids to Canada to get them out of the UK, which I saw as having limited options for the future. We went there because we already had citizenship and family there, and we could afford a farm, unlike in the UK. When my kids were grown up and I could travel to where I felt could achieve the most (ie where the most people were listening), I ended up in the South Pacific. I didn’t come here to be comfortable or personally safe, and I wasn’t running away from anything. I wanted to help the most people. My personal prospects are much less important to me than the bigger picture. I am nearly 50. I am more concerned about the younger generation.
I divide my time mostly between Australia and New Zealand. I am based in New Zealand because I was invited to be here. After being there for 18 months, I also now have many friends and connections there. It feels like a place where I belong. So long as it continues to do so, I intend to stay.
Strange that someone would suggest that we pontificate unduly on climate, demonstrate a presumption to be experts or promote specific climate policies (eg carbon taxes). We do none of the above. There is nothing whatsoever to be gained from entering into climate causation discussions, same as there is nothing to be gained from discussing 9/11. It has long since become a religious debate. Any nuanced opinion instantly become hugely controversial and does nothing but cause flamewars.
Climate policies are a top-down waste of time. They will achieve exactly nothing useful, as is the case for all top-down policy making IMO. The one time I did address climate response issues (and the one time I ever intend to address them) was in my response to David Holmgren over his Crash on Demand article. I have also discussed the connection between food security and climate, as is noted above, but this was not focused on causation of climatic conditions.
Humanity is not going to do anything at all to address any global issues at a global level. All we can do is to affect change from the bottom-up incrementally. Whether or not one acts because of financial crisis, peak oil or climate change is not particularly relevant when the same prescription would be suited to any of the above. Whatever is going to happen with climate is simply going to happen. Nature will take care of it in due course, as it will with population. Personally I prefer to focus on things which can be changed rather than on things which are beyond our control.August 9, 2015 at 4:01 pm in reply to: TSHTF Podcast with Nicole Foss, Raúl Ilargi Meijer & RE #23072
In case anyone would like to go over our discussion on the definitions of inflation and deflation, as referred to in the podacst, here is the TAE primer on the subject, from November 2008: Inflation Deflated (https://www.theautomaticearth.com/2008/11/inflation-deflated/)
Here’s another post we ran here at TAE in 2012: Sunshine and Eclipse (https://www.theautomaticearth.com/2012/02/then-and-now-sunshine-and-eclipse/)
This one contains a very interesting video on the history of being a commodity exporter into a period of credit expansion, and what happens next. In this case, the exporter was Canada in the 1920s. There are many historical parallels.
Noam, I’m curious, since people can post under any name, if you are who you say. If so, that would be very interesting. Assuming for a moment that you are (although the writing style doesn’t seem to fit), I wonder if you remember the radio interview we did together by phone some years ago, with Jim Kunstler, Dimitri Orlov and Richard Heinberg.
I rather wish more of my extended family would pay more attention too. Some of my family do of course, but not all. Some think I’m a raving lunatic.
You said: Yes, deflationary death spirals work , for a while, in nations like Japan, with a homogeneous population, high savings , and good infrastructure. But as we see the social fabric is beginning to tear as the first casualty, the yen is devalued . Good in the short term, but now Mrs. Watanabe is really beginning to strain the purse strings.
I wouldn’t say deflationary death spirals ‘work’, as that seems to be a curious terminology. Deflationary death spirals unfold on the stage has been set for them through a credit hyper-expansion, and they do so independent of the social circumstances in the country afflicted. Japan’s situation is somewhat unique, since they peaked alone in 1989, but were at the time not only the world’s largest creditor, but also an exporting powerhouse exporting into the biggest consumer boom in history. The latter two factors allowed Japan to drag out its pain over more than 2 decades, building 4 lane highways from nowhere to nowhere and enacting failed stimulus after failed stimulus. Japan is now at the other end of the spectrum from everywhere else, and about to embark on the next stage, which will be a currency hyperinflation. The rest of the world has a long way to go, living through mutually reinforcing deflation and depression, before it ends up in Japan’s position.
I wouldn’t say deflation is ‘good in the short term’, although I expect you are using deflation to refer to falling prices, whereas we use the term differently here, defining deflation as a contraction in the supply of money plus credit relative to available goods and services. Falling prices may appear on the face it to be ‘good in the short term’, but if purchasing power is falling faster than price, then prices are falling in nominal terms only, while rising in real terms. In other words, affordability decreases even in the face of falling prices during a monetary contraction.
You said: And we see a nation like the USA with huge energy and Ag. sectors can survive, for quite a while so long as king dollar is bought.
Nothing much functions in a deflationary depression, when the velocity of money plummets so far that it becomes impossible to connect buyers and sellers. Having a major industrial sector is little use if one cannot purchase inputs nor sell outputs.for lack of money in circulation. The agricultural sector in the US struggled mightily in the Great Depression, and not just because of the Dust Bowl. As for the US energy sector, its fate is sealed. The US is a long way into depletion, and the unconventional energy sector is nothing but a gigantic mal-investment in a low EROEI ponzi scheme. The US energy industry has been a mirage for the last several years. This was a major topic of conversation during the aforementioned radio interview.
You said: With China struggling to prop up everything, will they be the event to kick this all off?
The downdraft from China will be large enough to sweep all before it. Much of the rest of the global financial system is tottering on the brink of collapse anyway, so it wouldn’t take much to push it over the edge.
Snuffy, great to hear from you! We did have great discussion in the comment section of the old TAE didn’t we 🙂
I was not at all arguing that anything in the US/UK model is superior. Both are hollowed out centres about to implode. Hegemonic power is set to shift east as the old centre falls, but not easily or quickly. The interregnem is going to be awful. China is the empire in the ascendency, but they have greatly over-reached themselves. Yes what they built is real, as opposed to the ‘products’ of financial engineering, but they still built far too much far too badly for the majority of it ever to end up of use to anyone. I’m not suggesting everything they built was useful or poor quality, but that enough of it was to make a big difference going forward. Bubble infrastructure is always badly built for quick profit.
China is basically in a similar position to the US at the beginning of the 1930s. The US was also the empire in the ascendancy which over-reached itself. In the case of China, however, the boom was turbo-charged with fossil fuels, so the over-reach is much larger, meaning the bust will also be larger. And of course that bust will drag everyone else down with it. Many of the rest were teetering on the brink already, sitting on ‘service economies’ that consist of taking in each others’ laundry. They were sustained by wealth sucked in from abroad through globalization, but that is about to be cut off, and in the process the extent of the previous catabolism in those economies will be fully revealed. The UK, in particular, has nothing at all to fall back on. It’s future is nothing short of terrifying.
China’s path towards claiming hegemonic power may be derailed by the extreme destruction wrought during the bubble years as a result of access to huge amounts of energy to mis-use. Soil and water have been horribly damaged for instance – so badly so that the carrying capacity of China has been drastically reduced. There is no way that land mass will be supporting 1.3 billion people in the future. That probably means migration and global colonization on a much greater scale than we have seen so far, since that is what empires in the ascendancy do. The question is to what extent does remaining carrying capacity get destroyed on the way down, as that will be a major determinant of migratory pressure.
I wrote about some of these issues surrounding the transfer of hegemonic power many years ago, back at The Oil Drum, in an essay called Entropy and Empire (https://canada.theoildrum.com/node/2381).
Please do not think I am in any way blaming things on China. The global bubble is systemic, with effects all over the world. China’s role has been to suck in commodities and over-build productive capacity in response to an artificial stimulation of demand, itself derived from ‘financial innovation’ both outside and inside of China. The boom required both a consumption boom and a production boom, just as a credit bubble requires both predatory lenders and willing victims.
Addressing your other points:
– “The $USD is the King and will remain so forever and ever.”
No, it is going to experience a temporary spike on a flight to safety. Later it will go the way of all fiat currencies, but in the short term it will be a good bet. Cash, not just USD, will be king during the deleveraging. Cash on hand, of whatever kind one uses in one’s own country, will be necessary in a cash-only economy, which will be the case in a deflationary crash, as in Cyprus and Greece.
– “Nothing has changed since 2008 (the Lehman’s Day)”
We doubled down on our bad bets since then. The systemic risk is now much larger.
– “China is crashing – again, but this time for reals…”
Yes, this time we are going to see China crash, and the impact will be felt globally, just as the Wall Street Crash of 1929 sparked off contagion.
– “There have been no major geopolitical changes; alliances formed, alternative currencies traded, partnerships sealed, etc., and none ever will, The End…”
Entities operating at larger scale will find themselves beyond the trust horizon in a substantial contraction, and therefore beyond effective organizational scale. The geopolitical consequences of this will be felt for a long time, as those larger entities attempt to cling to power through the loss of all political legitimacy. Eventually they will no longer have the resources to project power at a distance and will wither and die, leaving a more multipolar future where effective organizational scale is far smaller and there are therefore far more competing polities. We have covered many aspect of this at TAE before. We like dissecting geopolitics…
– “No one can challenge U.S. military strength and currency superiority – although they’ve never really met a credible threat, The End…”
The US military is well into the period of declining marginal return to complexity. Its power rests on the ability to maintain that complexity, which will only be possible for an uncertain period of time. Martin Van Creveld’s work on the transformation of warfare is very valuable in assessing the nature of military power. Currency superiority, addressed above, is also strictly temporary.
“What was it – about 2/3 of this article focused on how bad China is going to crash…? And it missed to mention the underlying problems:
– Fractional Reserve system
– Naked shorting
– Insider trading
– Front running
– Bankster dollar printing
– PM price suppressing”
All of those aspects are components of the monetary supernova addressed in the article. I was not writing about the details in this piece, as that was not my focus here, but I have covered them in many other articles. As it was, this piece was very long. If I were writing a book, I could cover a far greater range of relevant factors.
Golden Oxen, I’m planning to address gold and energy in separate articles. Gold also topped in 2011, not long after the rest of the commodity complex, so it’s not too far out of step.
Seychelles, I’m not saying interest rates will stay low for the duration, but that in the short term credit spreads will blow out, so that those perceived to be safest get safer, while those perceived to be unsafe are marched off a cliff. Interest rates are indeed a risk premium, as you say, and as such they reflect risk perception. Relative risk perception is one thing, and is responsible for credit spreads, but absolute risk perception is another. At a bottom, when fear is in complete control, interest rates will vary between, high, higher and sky high. And that’s in nominal terms – in real terms they will be even higher. Think the mini-credit crunch of 1981, when interest rates were of the order of 20%. The low interest rate period for those currently perceived to be relatively safe is strictly temporary. It exists to exploit perceived differences in risk, but down the line, when everything is perceived to be risky, interest rates will simply rise across the board.
Jal, there will always be cycles, so long as we operate at or near civilizational scale. Of course we won’t reach these heights of complexity again without fossil fuels, but there will still be empires, just much smaller and simpler ones. Probably not for quite a long time though. Peaks on this scale tend to lead to long periods of Dark Ages, at least decades, and quite possibly on the scale of a few hundred years. We had Rome without fossil fuels, and others, just not technological civilization…
Ivnbearbull, yes, forget about SS and pensions, unless you can get hold of pension fund money in advance and hang on to it outside of the system. As for a good place for food, water, safety etc, you could try NZ. That’s what I did and I love it. A combo would be good now. If you want precious metals you won’t be able to get them later, but you will take a financial loss if you buy them now IF you have to sell them again in the next few years. Prechter’s safe banks are a good idea for people who can afford them. They’re in Switzerland and Singapore if I remember rightly. Remember it may be difficult to travel later though, so getting assets back might be a challenge. It’s a risk, but so is everything else. You can;t get away from risk, but you can choose which risks you’d rather take, based on which ones you feel best placed to manage.
The little people are our focus here, all the time. We would like to see the world a fairer place, but right now everything is stacked against the little guy. We aim to redress the balance 🙂
Kibbinayye, cash, but not in banks. Bank deposits are going to get wiped out in this kind of crisis, along with other assets in the grip of the system (eg brokerage accounts). Cash means cash on hand, generally in the currency in use where you live. USD should increase a lot in value however, so if you have enough resources to do so, you could engage in some currency speculation, with a certain amount of risk of course or perhaps not being able to change back later). Swiss francs would be good too. The value of both currencies should skyrocket on a flight to safety, despite any attempts both governments may make to keep the relative value down. The Swiss have already had to drop their expensive peg to the euro for instance.
If your currency is pegged to the dollar, expect that peg to come under attack by speculators as the value of the dollar rises, or expect domestic unrest from the effects of an artificially strong currency to cause pressure to drop the peg. We will be living in a world of competitive beggar-thy-neighbour devaluations soon enough. When such a currency leg falls, the local currency will devalue very sharply. As in Argentina in 2001, the government will probably convert everyone’s saving to local currency if it was held in dollars before, but leave their debt in dollars, so the saving disappear and the debts remain. The middle class will be crushed, as it was there.
Diogenes, thanks 🙂 Yes, as the value of collateral falls, or the collateral is destroyed in the resulting upheaval, the disparity between claims to wealth and wealth to be claimed would get even larger, if the claims weren’t also being destroyed. The claims will go ‘poof’ far faster than the value of the collateral will fall though, because the claims are purely financial (virtual) and have no physical substance, whereas the collateral is real. Real things change value much less quickly.
Chris M, those policies will be revived, but not yet. We are not in the equivalent of the 1940s New Deal era, so there’s no political will for that kind of intervention. There may be much later, but much too late to prevent much of the pain before it happens. We’re at the equivalent of the very early 1930s in many ways, at the very beginning of the depression, when most people don’t even acknowledge that we’re in one. The ‘generals’ are still giving lip service to fighting the last war (inflation) in many ways, even as we tip into horribly destabilizing deflation.
We’ll wake up and re-regulate the financial sector once it’s too late – shutting the barn door after the horse has bolted. Then we’ll hang on to those regulations until we feel safe again, after having forgotten hard-won lessons, then we’ll deregulate again and watch the whole credit cycle take off again. That’s what human beings always collectively do, and why boom and bust is an endogenous feature of the human condition.
Gezelle, those ghost cities get built because the people who do so make money upfront whether or not the buildings will ever be of any use to anyone. That what corruption in the SOE sector does for you. That’s why they’re badly built as well, so they can be finished quickly and the same things done again somewhere else as quickly as possible for even more money. Bubbles lead to tons of bad construction destined to fall down in a few years without ever having served a purpose in the meantime.
If parts of China those places have been bought up, not to live in, but on margin for the prospective capital gain. When the real estate markets tanks and the prospect of those gains goes away, those building will have no value at all and will be left to rot (which they will do quickly). There’ll be so much property inventory on the market at the same time that the value of all properties will be drastically undermined for many years. The leverage that paid for them will be defaulted upon, feeding further deflation. Welcome to the vicious circle…
Hotrod, I totally agree about the mega farms and debt. Here’s my take on finance an food insecurity from last year: https://www.theautomaticearth.com/2014/04/nicole-foss-finance-and-food-insecurity/ .
Rapier, all that infrastructure stands little chance of ever being useful. It won’t be maintained for many years. It’s grossly over-built in proportion to any use it could ever have, and bubble infrastructure is always really badly built. It’s lifespan will be much shorter than it should have been. Think concrete cancer on a massive scale for one thing…
Boogaloo, there really isn’t a choice. Deflation is baked in the cake whether it suits anyone or not. It is going to ruin everyone, not just the serfs. While the endgame of a ponzi scheme is ownership of all assets in the hands of the elite, that doesn’t imply that they get to keep those assets or be able to use them productively. Many of those ‘assets’ will end up being worthless anyway, like the excess productive capacity that will sit idle until it rots, and the luxury properties that no one will be living in, unless they fill up with squatters.
The largest bubbles ruin both creditors and debtors when they burst. There is too large and too tangled a web of obligations to prevent a horrible period of conflict over ownership that will see many assets that might have been productive one day destroyed. We will have much greater equality in the end, but at a very low level compared to the present. Over their whole cycle, bubbles are nature great wealth distribution mechanism. We see a huge concentration of wealth that proves to be impossible to maintain (for one thing it takes energy that won’t be available to maintain such a concentration), then that concentration dissipates and the cycle begins again Dissipation can take many forms, very much including revolution once people at the bottom of the heap (which will be most people) have nothing left to lose.
These cycles of expansion and contraction are beyond human control, even by the largest and most powerful human institutions. The powers that be have no choice to make that can prevent the inevitable from happening. They are not omnipotent. They will be powerless in the face of the tsunami of financial woes that is coming. It will sweep everything before it. Some people will find themselves on metaphorical higher ground or fortuitously find some piece of floating debris to cling to. When the ‘waters’ recede, they will rebuild with what’s left after the giant reset.
We are NOT facing hyperinflation. We have already had the equivalent through credit hyper-expansion. The endgame of such a period is always deflation, as the vast majority of the money supply that is credit disappears in a puff of smoke. It is vital to understand this. Deflation will bring our crisis of under-collateralization back into some form of balance over time, by eliminating the vast majority of the excess claims to underlying real wealth. Then the small amount of remaining debt will be acceptably collateralized to the few remaining creditors.
There may well be a period of currency hyperinflation following this, as the resulting upheaval will break the power of the bond market to constrain actual money printing (as opposed to debt monetization) at some point. Once governments can no longer borrow from abroad, they will likely crank up the printing presses and add a few zeros to their banknotes, but this is years away. We have to live through a deflationary crash first.
Trivium, I don’t think for a moment that the Fed is trying to save the economy. Of course the endgame of ponzi fractional reserve banking (after years of creaming off revenue streams for having created money from thin air) is to claim all the assets for pennies on the dollar. The bankers end up owning everything. The only way to prevent being dispossessed is not to hold debt and to have cashed out in advance. Even then it’ll be difficult for little guys to hold on to what they have, but at at least it gives them a chance. Connections and indispensable practical skills will be very useful too in the coming economy of favours (see Russia’s ‘blat’ economy)…
The collapse doesn’t need a trigger. It’s an integral part of the ponzi model that when growth can no longer continue, implosion occurs. The ‘trigger’ is endogenous. When the debt created can no longer be serviced by all the income stream of the productive economy, the end has come.
Gigantic financial institutions are going to fail. The Fed is not omnipotent and cannot prevent people waking up to the realization that we face a crisis of drastic under-collateralization. There are excess claims to underlying real wealth, and they are going to be rapidly and messily extinguished. That is deflation and the Fed can do nothing to prevent it.
Birdshak, that sounds like a lot of fun 🙂
Arnold, you mention Iceland. It’s not quite as simple as that. See our primer on the topic: https://www.theautomaticearth.com/2013/12/nicole-foss-ragnarok-iceland-and-the-doom-of-the-gods/July 23, 2015 at 6:35 am in reply to: Interview Nicole Foss for ‘A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity’ #22656
Greenpa, I did get a tentative offer from New Society to write a book, and it is something I need to do at some point. I know how long it would take though, and it would make it more difficult in the meantime for me to write about up to date stuff and get it out to people ASAP. It would be 6 months to write, then 18 months to get published, and it would be too late then to be much of a warning for people. I’ll probably write it as a retrospective when it’s already too late for warnings. I need to update quite a few of my primers and convert them to footnoted essays rather than essays full of hyperlinks. I know I’d reach a lot of people with a book, just not quickly.
Type 2 patients could control their condition with diet with the things that are available locally, then the scarce insulin could be saved for the type 1 patients for whom it’s non-negotiable. Of course it’s difficult to be choosy about food with very little money, but when the local food is best anyway it helps.
Thanks Greenpa 🙂 I do enjoy waeving threads together to make a big picture like this. It takes me a while to do all the reading and pull it all together, so I can’t write a post like this too often, but it’s what I most like to do when I get the chance. It’s this kind of analysis that’s most missing in the current narrative – the joined-up-thinking integrated narrative 🙂
Countries need to be self-sufficient again. It’s called import substitution, and it’s the opposite of going for comparative advantage. Instead of buying the cheapest thing from wherever, make it locally as best you can, especially the essentials. Even if that means its more expensive and not so good, at least you have something when the larger system breaks down and imports are no longer possible.
Dr Diablo, this is an important point – as we scale up, we go for greater regional specialization, along the lines of comparative advantage. This leaves us very vulnerable though if the larger structure breaks down. It leaves the component parts unable to look after themselves. This happen in the Soviet Union, where regional specialization was the norm. Whole cities existed because of one factory and the factory owner was responsible for the whole local population. When the USSR collapsed and factories closed, local populations were left up a creek without a paddle. They couldn’t even move elsewhere because they weren’t allowed to, at least initially. For those stuck in the arctic, reliant on old clapped out district heating plants, but with no access to fuel or spare parts, it was a vey brutal readjustment.
Very true CWLF, solutions will be small-scale, but the collapse of our current large-scale polities is going to be very disruptive, to put it mildly. The population that comes out the other side of the crunch period is going to be much smaller, and I don’t much like to think about how that’s going to happen. It’ll be like hitting a reset button. The resource limits will prevent us from growing to this truly dysfunctional scale again. Not that humanity can’t be horrible to each other at smaller scale of course, but at least our global destructiveness would be more limited.