Inside the Diner: Getting a Handle on Wealth

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on January 15, 2017

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In response to my recent article The First Law of Wealth, one of the regular Diners JRM began a thread to discuss the nature of Wealth and how we define it.  Below you will find some of the differing perspectives on what Wealth is or is not, and how they define the concept.

Note:  As with all Inside the Diner compilations, the Napalm has been edited out for a smoother read.  Full version is available Inside the Diner for those wearing fireproof BVDs.

———————–

From JRM:

This thread is for discussion of a tangent which appeared recently in RE's thread, The First Law of Wealth. The basic theme was and is the question, What is wealth, really?  I take this to be basically a philosophical question.  My contention has been that Adam Smith's definition of wealth, which has been the accepted mainstay of modern economics, is deeply inadequate and problematic — both formally within the field of economics and less formally in everyday usage outside of this field.

Smith defined wealth as "the annual produce of […] Continue Reading…

The Potfolio 1

Off the keyboard of Eddie

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on January 15, 2017

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A few take-aways for anyone considering buying into pot stocks. These are the things you won't read anywhere else.

1. All twenty stocks in the Potfolio, every one of them, is trading at a new, higher level than last summer, before the sector got so hot in the couple of months leading up to the election. Not even the sketchiest companies have fallen back anywhere near their previous levels. This is different action from the past (like 2014, when there was a huge run-up that subsequently fizzled completely). To me, this signifies that pot stocks are in a new, real bull market. I am down on some stocks I bought near the pre-election highs, but I am calling those timing mistakes. Bull markets always correct timing mistakes.

2.Looking at momentum, and looking at charts in general, I cannot see much difference between the action in the most profitable stocks in the Potfolio, with the best fundamentals, and those that have problems, fundamentally speaking. A couple of stocks with good fundamentals are doing […] Continue Reading…

Summer in the Tropical Rainforest

Off the keyboard of Palloy

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on January 13, 2017

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When the Collapse starts, the best place to be is where the community is closely in touch with a sustainable lifestyle, otherwise known as the Third World. Here extended family ties are strong, most people eat from their own gardens and buy and sell at local markets. Also, if you worry about Global Warming, the best place to be is close to the equator, with volcanic soil, and with a maritime climate – where higher temperatures have the negative feedback effects of more clouds, more rain and cooler temperatures. That's why I live on an island in the South Pacific, in a modern house built in the tropical rainforest.

The summer wet season has just started, with more than 17 inches in 4 four days, which has its impacts. A quick tour – you did bring your water-proof boots, didn't you?

A big dead tree that overhangs my main walking track has been slowly leaning more, and eventually its half rotten base couldn't take the strain any more, and it fell into the adjacent […] Continue Reading…

How I Survived the Collapse: Chapter 10

Off the keyboard of RE

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on January 11, 2017

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Karl was in shock.

A first impulse was to question Karen's declaration, but in his heart he knew it was true.  He had always known it was true, but he had pushed it down and rejected it, as he had rejected Maggie's love for him. He couldn't take responsibility for Karen and live the life of a Solitary Man that he had chosen for himself.  His tears began to flow freely, there was no holding them back now.

"When did you find out?  How long have you known?" Karl finally asked, gathering his composure.

"Mom told me in her last months.  She didn't want to burden you with me and so she married Porter, who I thought was my dad.  Porter turned out to be a philanderer though, always cheating on mom, and she got tired of it.  So she came back to Lolo and back to work at Quinn's.  I never got to know Porter all that well, since I was only 5 or so when they got divorced, and I never saw […] Continue Reading…

The First Law of Wealth

Off the keyboard of RE

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on January 8, 2017

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The First Law of Thermodynamics:

Energy is neither created nor destroyed, only transformed from one form to another.

 

How is wealth created?  Is it created at all?  An important idea in capitalist epistemology is that the capitalist system creates wealth, and that those who become wealthy within the system do so by creating that wealth.  Do they really?

The issue here is the idea that some people are "Wealth Creators".  Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, they all got incredibly wealthy, right?  So they must have "created" wealth, right?  This concept depends a whole lot on whether you view the idea of "wealth" from the POV of the Individual or from the POV of the System as a whole.  Which lens you use on this microscope on makes a HUGE difference on how you view the distribution of wealth in the society at large.

In order to better elucidate my POV, I am going to use 3 different examples of biznesses that supposedly  "create wealth".  I will look at my own last bizness of the many […] Continue Reading…

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Why you need to set up a Rural Doomstead: Part 1

Off the keyboard of Geoffrey Chia

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on January 17, 2017

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I pondered many of the following issues in previous articles and provided the scientific references for the assertions made. This three part essay refines some concepts and includes updates based on developments over the past couple of years. Some repetition was necessary to provide a holistic overview for the first time reader.

Dr David Suzuki delivered an inspirational talk in Adelaide in March 2016. He said we must not give up the fight to save our planet from climate devastation. Unfortunately he gave no details as to exactly how this can be realistically achieved. He offered only general advice that we should elect governments which must transform our societies to use 100% renewable energy. He praised the South Australians for reaching a 40% renewable energy level. Unfortunately, even if we can muster the political will and even if we can scrounge up enough remaining high net energy petroleum to undertake such a belated widespread transformation (both prospects being highly doubtful), it will still fail to address the underlying problem of our excessive human […] Continue Reading…

The Haft of His Axe

Off the keyboard of Albert Bates

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Published on Peak Surfer on December 25, 2016

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"Why are we behaving as if we actually deserve to go extinct?"

In Nanjing they have banned gas and diesel powered motorbikes, scooters, and trike-cabs or trike-trucks and replaced them with electrics. While most vehicles are retrofits, new electric bikes and trikes are sold in showrooms and all around the city repair shops, battery stores, and parts dealers are easy to find. As a result, the air is fresher, the streets are clean, and the city is much quieter. It is a pleasure to sit in an outdoor café without having to breathe two-stroke engine fumes or listen to their din. They have not yet banned petrol-fueled cars and buses, but that can’t be far away, once they have the replacements lined up.

We confess Nanjing has been on our bucket list since we read Gavin Menzies’ flawed but enticing 1421: The Year China Discovered The World. We wanted to see the Nanjing Shipyards where Admiral Zheng He had constructed the great treasure fleet that traveled the seven seas by discovering an ingenious method of […] Continue Reading…

Make America Peeable Again: The Great Urinal Debate That Wasn’t

Off the keyboard of Allan Stromfeldt Christensen

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Published on From Filmers to Farmers on January 13th, 2017

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One must always remember not to play with their food – or their or
anybody else's pee – lest they want Putin to play them like a fiddle
(photos by Gage Skidmore and Igor Dolgov)

The Dr. Pooper Papers, Issue #6:

As readers of this blog may recall, nearly six months ago to the day I posted the fifth instalment of the ongoing Dr. Pooper Papers series, Make America Poopable Again: The Great Toilet Debate That Wasn't. That piece worked off of the lacklustre transgender toilet debate that had been going on in the United States at the time, pointing out that the debate that wasn't going on was one over the usage of the modern, industrial flush toilet versus the ecological practice of using compost toilets. That post, unfortunately (albeit rather unsurprisingly), didn't quite catch on.

Nonetheless, American politics seems to have progressed from its ill coverage of doodoo to having its president-elect recently take the piss out of the entire nation, which in this topsy-turvy world of the fakery of faked "fake news" may […] Continue Reading…

2017: The Year When the World Economy Starts Coming Apart

Off the keyboard of Gail Tverberg

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Published on the Our Finite World on January 10, 2017

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Some people would argue that 2016 was the year that the world economy started to come apart, with the passage of Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. Whether or not the “coming apart” process started in 2016, in my opinion we are going to see many more steps in this direction in 2017. Let me explain a few of the things I see.

[1] Many economies have collapsed in the past. The world economy is very close to the turning point where collapse starts in earnest.  

 

 

 

 

Figure 1

The history of previous civilizations rising and eventually collapsing is well documented.(See, for example, Secular Cycles.)

To start a new cycle, a group of people would find a new way of doing things that allowed more food and energy production (for instance, they might add irrigation, or cut down trees for more land for agriculture). For a while, the economy would expand, but eventually a mismatch would arise between resources and population. Either resources would fall too low (perhaps because of erosion or salt deposits […] Continue Reading…

An update on mineral depletion

Off the keyboard of Theo Henckens

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Published on Cassandra's Legacy on January 3, 2017

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Do we need mining quotas?

 

 

 

 

 

Currently, the problem of resource depletion is completely missing from the political debate. There has to be some reason why some problems tend to disappear from the public's radar as they become worse. Unfortunately, the depletion problem won't go away because the public is not interested in it. I discussed depletion in depth in my 2014 book "Extracted" and now Theo Henckens' updates the situation with this post based on his PhD dissertation “Managing Raw Materials Scarcity, Safeguarding the availability of geologically scarce mineral resources for future generations" (16 October 2016, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands). The full dissertation can be downloaded via the link http://dspace.library.uu.nl/handle/1874/339827.  (UB)

 

 

 

Scarce minerals are running out: mining quotas are needed

 

 

by Theo Henckens

 

To ensure that sufficient zinc, molybdenum and antimony are available for our greatgrandchildren’s generation, we need an international mineral resources agreement.

Molybdenum is essential for the manufacture of high-grade stainless steels, but at present molybdenum is hardly recycled. Yet unless reuse of molybdenum is dramatically increased, the extractable reserves of molybdenum on Earth will run out in about eighty […] Continue Reading…

K is for Kids, and How to Prepare Them for the Future

Off the keyboard of Jason Heppenstall

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Published on 22 Billion Energy Slaves on December 9, 2016

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One topic that is often glossed over by Kollapsniks is the topic of how to talk to children about the future. Perhaps it's because, as humans, we tend to place our hopes for the future in our children, and if all we can see is a bleak future then why bother telling them about it at all?

I have two daughters—aged 11 and 13. They are bright and beautiful, clever and compassionate. I'll admit that sometimes I worry about the world they will inhabit when they become adults. It's likely to be a world that very few people are preparing their kids for—and that's putting it mildly. Given what we know about how climate systems are becoming chaotic, how energy that was once as concentrated as a bottle of whisky is rapidly turning into a glass of shandy, about mass extinctions, overpopulation, the creeping corporate takeover of society, the dumbing down of culture, the pollution and destruction of the biosphere, mass refugee movements, resource wars, nuclear meltdowns and so on and […] Continue Reading…

Ku

Off the keyboard of Albert Bates

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Published on Peak Surfer on December 18, 2016

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"Most everyone in the class is starting to really “get” quantum entanglement and the ties between holistic management, the three permaculture directives, and How Wolves Change Rivers."

Even here in Xu Ling, where the air is relatively fresh, one needs to shower daily or the scalp itches. Yesterday we were asked in a class making Oregon cob whether you could use bean vines instead of straw. “Yes, but then it would not be Oregon cob. It would be Zhejiang cob,” we replied.

A woman from the Southwestern mountain region tells us she has only rock, not soil. “How do you store carbon in a place like that?” she asks. We ask where her rice comes from. “Far away,” she says. So we tell her that her yard would be a good place to build soil and store carbon. It is not a very satisfactory answer so later we find her and resume the conversation. We ask if her home has wooden doors and window shutters. It does. “That is stored carbon,” we say. We tell […] Continue Reading…

Plutocracy

Off the keyboard of Lucid Dreams

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Published on Epiphany Now on January 5, 2017

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I don't understand how they get away with it.  That is the mystery to me.  All of the power should be with the people as we have the numbers, but it's not, and seemingly it never has been, as the documentary Plutocracy (the film at the bottom of this blog post) attests to. I highly recommend that you find the time to watch this film.  There is a second part, but unfortunately the audio has been removed due to a copyright infringement.  How convenient is that!  

The people give the power to the church by going to it and believing in it, and that's the level just below the 1%.  Below that is the military which is formed from the proletariat class, so the force that protects and ensures the whole system is kept safe by the sons and daughters of the people. 

The rentier class doesn't do anything but profit off of the backs of the people as this depiction shows.  It seems they could easily be overtaken by the people.  I guess […] Continue Reading…

Science vs Humanism

Off the keyboard of Ugo Bardi

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Published on Cassandra's Legacy on December 18, 2016

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There is only one culture: bringing back science into the fold of humanism

 

 

Yesterday, I was invited to give a talk at a public meeting on the usual themes: climate change, resources, pollution, and the like. This time, a question I received from the audience caused me a small enlightenment that I am describing here as I remember it (h/t Lorenzo Citti for having organized this interesting meeting) (image source)

Thanks for this question – it is a very interesting question: "are we teaching enough science to our children?" And I can tell you that it is much more than an interesting question, it caused some small earthquake in my mind. Truly, I had a flash of understanding that I had never had before and right now I completely changed my view of the world. It happens to me: the world changes so fast and I do my best to follow it.

Your question is so interesting because it has to do with the idea that there are two cultures: a scientific one and […] Continue Reading…

Gene Logsdon, 1932 – 2016

Off the keyboard of Allan Stromfeldt Christensen

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Published on From Filmers to Farmers on January 4th, 2017

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There's an art to that (photo courtesy of The Contrary Farmer)

Yes, I've read the headlines, and once again – although perhaps a bit more so than previous iterations – the previous year (2016) was one for fawning over many-a-departed pop stars. David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, George Michael, and many others. Pop stars aren't really my thing, but if that stuff floats your dinghy, well, all the best with that. In the meantime, 2016 was also the year that several luminaries with a more agrarian bent also bade their farewell, beginning with the co-founder of Permaculture, Bill Mollison. Just a couple of weeks ago one of Permaculture's most respected and more recent practitioners and teachers, Toby Hemenway, also made an all-too-early departure. But along with these, 2016 also saw us lose an agrarian outside the world of Permaculture, that somebody being the aptly named Contrary Farmer, Gene Logsdon.

I'll admit that I'm nowhere near as familiar with Logsdon's writing as I am with others of the American Agrarian Crew (as I call […] Continue Reading…

Inside the Diner: Adults in the Nest

Off the keyboard of RE

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on Jaanuary 3, 2017

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Recently one of the regular Diners K-Dog put up a provocative article by Michael Snyder looking at the growing effect of Industrial Civilization Collapse of grown children who continue to live with their parents into adulthood, as well as some adults who return to the nest later on.  There are many facets to this issue, some psychological, some sociological and some economic.  In the usual fashion of Inside the Diner discussion, numerous different perspectives on this were shared, and also as usual not all Diners agree on what is most important about this phenomenon.  Below is a selection of posts from the thread (I cut out the Napalm. lol), for those of you who do not already Lurk inside the Diner where most of our discussion takes place rather than out here on the Word Press blog commentary.  We're always happy to have a new Diner drop in and take a Collapse Meal with us, so don't be shy and come on in!  Just be sure to bring your Fireproof BVDs […] Continue Reading…

I is for Interesting Times

Off the keyboard of Jason Heppenstall

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Published on 22 Billion Energy Slaves on November 21, 2016

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"May you live in interesting times," says the old Chinese curse. The election of Donald Trump to president of the United States was the starting pistol for interesting times. From now on, not much will remain the same.

On the night of the election I had tried to stay awake to watch the whole thing unfold. Because of the time difference I knew there would be no clear results until early morning, and so I ended up going to bed at about 1am— at which point all the TV pundits were saying it was 'practically impossible' for Trump to win. So I went to be bed, but barely managed three hours of sleep due to fitful dreams. My phone was on the table next to the bed when I awoke, but I couldn't bring myself to turn it on and see all the "First Woman in the Whitehouse" headlines. I put it off and tried to snooze a while longer. Unable to do so I eventually reached over and turned it on […] Continue Reading…

Standing With Standing Rock

Off the keyboard of K-Dog

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Published on The Doomstead Diner on Jan 1, 2016

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I can't tell you how old I was.  I could walk and I could talk and I was with my father.  I was a boy and I was fascinated by where we were.  It was Indian Mounds Park in Saint Paul Minnesota and I had learned that the grassy mounds I was looking at were filled with human bones and that they were hundreds of years old.  That is a fascinating thing to a young boy.  There was no fence that I remember and nobody was around but my father forbade me from running to the top of the tallest mound like I wanted to do.  He said that would not be respecting the dead.   
 
Archeology fascinated me as a boy and I was taught that it was done with great reverence.  Now at the other end of life from being a boy I suspect I was not being given the whole story.  I was of a generation born after history had been rewritten.  Indians were noble the past had been sanitized […] Continue Reading…

The Year In Doom 2016: Counter-Revolution

From the keyboard of Surly1
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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on January 1, 2017

“History is as light as individual human life, unbearably light, light as a feather,
as dust swirling into the air, as whatever will no longer exist tomorrow."

 ― Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Every new year, pundits attempt to make sense of the events of the year past, or make bold predictions about what will happen in the next. Your scribe is neither motivated nor ambitious enough to do either. Our job here is to look at certain of the year's events through the jaundiced filters of collapse and doom, the purpose being to make sense out of what 2016 left at our doorstep like a burning paper bag filled with turds.

Much is been made of the political developments – Brexit, the coup in Turkey, Syria and the refugee crisis, the election of Donald Trump as president, with many thousands of tons of aggrieved punditry launched in a nearly 24–7 assault of PR artillery to try to "make sense of it all." There is simply no making sense of it within the confines of ordinary time and news cycles. Better to soar to the 50,000-foot level, unbearably […] Continue Reading…

SNAP Card Gourmet: Soup Ammendation

Off the keyboard of RE

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Published on The Doomstead Diner January 1, 2017

Miso Soup- No Ammedation                     Miso Soup- With Ammendation

 

Discuss this article at the Pantry inside the Diner

In my last Snap Card Gourmet article, I wrote about Pizza Ammendation, which is the technique of taking a fresh commercially produced Pizza available at the Deli Counters of most major food emporiums, and then adding to it various extra ingredients of your choice to make your own custom pizza, practically as good as the great pizza you remember from the small family owned Italian Pizzerias that were sprinkled around NY Shity in the 1960s & 70s.  My particular favorite from my youth is the Mushroom Pizza, but I have been experimenting with some more exotic ingredients like Hearts of Palm and Smoked Salmon.

Even including the exotic ingredients, the price of a freshly baked Take n' Bake Pizza meal comes in extremely cheap.  For the Pizza, I buy the "medium" size 8" Pizza which comes in at Walmart at $6.  I divide that into 1/4s which I each bake separately for a Pizza meal, so the basic cost is $1.50.  Additional ingredients can cost […] Continue Reading…

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Bond Market Collapse and the Banning of Cash

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Do Central Bankers Recognize there is NO GROWTH?

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Singularity of the Dollar

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Kurrency Kollapse: To Print or Not To Print?

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SWISSIE CAPITULATION!

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Of Heat Sinks & Debt Sinks: A Thermodynamic View of Money

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Merry Doomy Christmas

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Peak Customers: The Final Liquidation Sale

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Collapse Fiction

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