TNP54: Navigating the Perfect Financial Storm with Nicole Foss

TNP54 Nicole thumbnail

Carmen: How do we cope with personal and public debt in an age of global markets and possible Econopocalypse? We’re talking with international energy and finance analyst, Nicole Foss, about how we manage global financial insecurity at a personal level. How do we manage our personal finance, investments and real estate to secure our future when globalization makes us so vulnerable to systemic collapse?

I’m asking Nicole to expand on financial concepts because she’s such an intellectual force of nature. Here’s just a sample of her background: Nicole ran the Agri-Energy Producers’ Association of Ontario, where she has focused on farm-based biogas projects and grid connections for renewable energy. While living in the UK, she was a Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, where she specialized in nuclear safety in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, and conducted research into electricity policy at the EU level.

She earned a BSc in biology from Carleton University in Canada (where she focused primarily on neuroscience and psychology), a post-graduate diploma in air and water pollution control, and an LLM in international law in development from the University of Warwick in the UK. She was granted the University Medal for the top science graduate in 1988 and the law school prize for the top law school graduate in 1997. So, yeah, she’s pretty well informed.

How We Met

Nicole helped me accept that the best thing I could do as my retail store was in the throes of its death rattle was to enter bankruptcy (while the option was still available to me). In 2009, my husband told me about The Automatic Earth, the international energy and finance analysis website founded by Nicole and her writing partner, Raul Ilargi Meijer.

Soon after, she came to Vancouver and we attended a small talk where she did a sweeping overview of global economic crashes throughout history, as far back as the fall of Rome and the Dutch Tulip Bubble of 1637. The next day, I met with a bankruptcy trustee and ever since I’ve marvelled at the over-leveraged society in which we live, wary of the warning signs I see all around and worried for my friends and loved ones who don’t seem to see them. Sigh.


Please check out the Primers on the Automatic Earth, specifically this one, if you’d like to go deeper into real economics.

If you’re still not clear on deflation and why it’s important for average folks like us to understand, read this one.

If you ever get a chance to see Nicole live, don’t hesitate. If no one wants to go with you, go alone. Eat a good meal and drink lots of coffee beforehand because your brain will be working overtime. You will never regret it.

I want to thank my patron, Charlene Lo (!), for supporting the show. High five, sister!