Demographics

Gail Tverberg in China: Diner Exclusive Interview

Off the microphones of Gail Tverberg, RE & Monsta

Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
Friend us on Facebook

Aired on the Doomstead Diner  & Our Finite World on April 29, 2015

Visit the New Diner News Page for Daily Updates from around the Collapse Blogosphere

Diner-Map-Eurasia-4-28-2015-China

Discuss this Interview at the Podcast Table inside the Diner

As regular readers of the Doomstead Diner and Our Finite World know, Gail recently took a month long trip to China, where she was invited by Professor Feng to give a compact University course to Graduate and Undergraduate students at the China University of Petroleum in Beijing.

China University of Petroleum – Beijing (CUPB) is a national key university in China, located in the world famous scenic Changping District, the area close to the Great Wall and Ming Tombs. It is one of the 100 institutions implementing the national "211 Project".

The university is equipped with the first-class facilities, including a library with a collection of 300,000 books, modernized classrooms, new computer facilities and a comprehensive sports center.

Above all, CUPB has an excellent academic staff body of 545, including 121 full professors and 128 associate professors.

Unfortunately, internet access from China is limited for a couple of reasons.  First off, any number of websites (like Google for example) get the Thumbs Down from the Chinese Goobermint.  WordPress is another site not well liked by the Chinese Central Committee.  While you can access some WordPress sites from China, actually getting onto your Admin board to do publication work is close to impossible.  Besides that, access is spotty in terms of bandwidth and speed, so even if a site is theoretically accessible, the infrastructure won't allow you to access it in any usable form in many locations.  So Gail was a bit concerned before leaving that she wouldn't be able to fill in the OFW readers on her trip while she was over there.

http://www.footballoutsiders.com/images/Minicamps/PD5-1.jpgI personally am notorious for finding end-around means of getting things up on the net that are otherwise difficult to do (you have to be creative when you get booted off as many websites as I have been. 😀 ), so when Gail mentioned this problem on OFW, I emailed her and suggested she send me her Updates from China * in email, which I would then publish for her on OFW under my byline.  While website work is pretty tough from China, you can pretty much get your emails out.  How well this plan would actually work was a question mark since neither of us had tried such a thing before, but it turned out to work marvelously well.

Upon her return here to the FSoA, basically RIGHT OFF THE PLANE, I snagged Gail for an Interview while her recollections of the China Trip were still fresh in her mind, despite the Jet Lag of course. 😉  We cover numerous topics in this discussion, including Chinese economic issues, Water & Air Pollution issues, Demographic issues and venture off as well into discussion of the various monetary issues we see ongoing in Europe as well.

As these things go, this one is one of the best we have ever done, right up there with my personal favorite with David Korowicz, the Irishman with the Gift of the Blarney Stone who wrote Financial System Cross-Contagion: A Study in Global Systemic Collapse and a few other well documented and researched papers.  Also right up there with the most popular discussion generally speaking with Nicole Foss (aka Stoneleigh) of The Automatic Earth blog.

Hope you enjoy the discussion.  While you listen, here below are a few more pics from Gail from the China Trip.  You can find more of them in the China Trip articles in the archives on OFW.

In Taich Electric Board Room

Inside the Taichi Electric boardroom where we met with officials. The people shown came with our group, however. Lots of smoking; windows were open and no heat despite  temperature in the low 50s. No elevators in buildings we visited.

Inside graduate student officeInside the graduate students’ office where I spent my time in Beijing when not teaching. Note blue jacket, backpack, and purse. 

Where we met at third factoryWhere we met at the 3rd factory we visited in the electrical industry in Wenzhou. The individual shown is a retired professor who accompanied us on the trip.

Popular cheap noodle dishPopular cheap Chinese noodle dish in the school cafeteria. It consisted of tomato sauce with vegetables, noodles and a fried egg on top. It came with unlimited refills on the noodles and sauce, for the equivalent of $1.30.

Some sea food at restaurantPart of seafood selection at a Chinese restaurant. Most fish was cooked and served whole. Eating it with chop sticks was challenging.

Equivalent of UPS delivery for studentsThe equivalent of UPS delivery for students at the university. If a student knows the date a package is expected to come, the student can go and check the sidewalk for it. I didn’t find out what happens when it rains or snows.

Shrine at third factoryMapShrine at the 3rd factory in Wenzhou. Religious expression seems to be permitted in some areas outside of Beijing.

 

*Gail's China Trip Travelogue Posts

Pray for Calamity: Interview with td0s

logopodcastOff the microphones of td0s, RE & Monsta

Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
Friend us on Facebook

Aired on the Doomstead Diner on April 7, 2015

rage_against_the_machine_1280x960

Discuss this Interview at the Podcast Table inside the Diner

Part 1 of our discussion with td0s focuses on awakening to collapse, formation of community, nation-states versus tribalism, age demographics, social security and many other topics.

Hope you all enjoy the chat, td0s is a great talker as well as gifted writer.  We hit on just about everything a Kollapsnik ponders on in this one.

RE

Do it for Denmark

logopodcastOff the microphone of RE

Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
Friend us on Facebook

Aired on the Doomstead Diner on March 10, 2015

http://blog.joins.com/usr/t/on/tony4328/1206/4fd9db96f255c.jpg

Discuss this article at the Podcast Table inside the Diner

http://th05.deviantart.net/fs70/PRE/f/2012/160/1/c/great_feelings_with_nina_agdal_by_massivegts-d52v49r.jpghttps://chivethebrigade.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/nina-agdal-danish-girl-920-94.jpghttp://rocknrollpeople.com/magazine/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/536946_210346879110561_1182020640_n.jpg

Tune in to the full list of Diner Rants & Interviews on the Diner Soundcloud Channel!

Featuring interviews with Steve Ludlum, Gail Tverberg, Ugo Bardi, Nicole Foss, David Korowicz, George Mobus, John David Hughes, Albert Bates and many more….

Snippet:

…In the last rant, I went ballistic on the Economista Clowns & Jokers who must be Smoking Crack to come up with the numbskull ideas of impoverishing people to stimulate growth and lending more money to already bankrupt borrowers as a solution for economic collapse. This was inspired by the FACT that one of the World Class Economistas currently making policy on the global level, one Douglas McWilliams of CEBR was documented on camera really smoking crack in a London Crack house, wasted to beat the band.

http://profile-pics-cdn.xvideos.com/videos/profiles/profthumb/79/ed/11/beezbone--ym/profile_1_big.jpgFor today, the latest in hilarity is the Danish Ad Campaign, “Do it for Denmark”, designed to encourage Danish girls to start getting PREGNANT! They are supposed to go out on Vacation and find willing foreigners to inseminate them and then return to Denmark to bring new Great Danes into the world, so that they can pay taxes to support the current crop of aging Great Danes! LoL.

Charitable folks that Diners are, several have already stepped up to the Plate as Volunteers here to keep Danish social security programs solvent. Given our aging demographic, we also will purchase our own Viagra to make this possible! It’s a gift to the Danish People, and hopefully the cost of the Viagra can be deducted from the income tax as a Charitable Contribution to needy Danish Girls. LoL…

For the rest, LISTEN TO THE RANT!!!

Here’s the last rant on Crack Smoking Economistas, in case you missed it…

Boomer Doomers

Off the keyboard of RE

Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
Friend us on Facebook

Published on the Doomstead Diner on March 1, 2015

end_is_nigh

Discuss this article at the Doomsteading Table inside the Diner

http://img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20120313041703/creepypasta/images/b/bd/The_end_is_nigh_(1).jpgBack when I first discovered the world of oncoming Doom back in 2008 in the Aftermath of the Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers collapses, I had no idea about Peak Oil, and my only knowledge or recollection of Doomers were what I had thought of as “psychos” at the time, the folks back in the 70s who walked around with placards declaring “The End is Nigh”.  Turns out here they weren’t wrong or psycho, just way ahead of their time.

DDlogoMy first internet communications and discussion on Doom concepts came on the Peak Oil Forum in 2008-2009, and there I ran into the whole panoply of Doomer Archetypes, Survivalists, Nazi Eugenecists, Permaculturists and of course the Doomsteaders, which is where the Doomstead Diner title for this Blog comes from.

What is a Doomsteader?

Doomsteaders are people who have sort of exited the regular economy and moved out into the boonies on a patch of property they are trying to make resilient and survivable when the final crash of the industrial economy arrives.  There are quite a few variations on the theme, depending on how much the Doomsteader wants to keep things like Electricity running and how much money they actually have to set the place up.

Some will fit out with Solar Panels, Generators that will run on a variety of fuel inputs, Battery Banks for storing the juice, Charge Controllers, the works here.  They have hydraulic log splitters too, and tractors they plan to run with biodiesel to keep the whole operation running after TSHTF.  Others try a more 18th Century model, trying to fit out with Wood Stoves, Candles and Horse drawn plows, in the Amish model.

Here’s a short Bio for some of the Doomsteaders I have run into since the Peak Oil Forum days.  By no means is this complete, there were many more, but this is a basic cross section.

Duke

Duke was a Peak Oil commenter who was very full of himself and liked to brag about all his preps, which included every techno gimmick he could buy to make his Doomstead resilient.  Besides having the hydraulic log splitters and all the rest, Duke ALSO had an Armory the National Guard would be proud of, with automatic weapons, night scopes, rpgs, the WORKS here.  The only thing he did not claim to own was a Tactical Nuke.  Insofar as I could tell though, this Doomstead was only occupied by the Duke and Duchess, and it was hard to imagine he had any friends who would join him there since he was insufferable even online.  LOL.  So I never figured out exactly how Duke was going to defend this place from the hordes of Zombies he himself projected as coming out of the wood work once TSHTF.

Pops

Pops was a Peak Oil Forum moderator (I think he still is) who caught on pretty early to the Peak Oil problem, and presciently sold out of his California home prior to the crash in 2008, and used the proceeds from this to buy himself around a 20 acre Doomstead in Missouri, not all that far from where my sister lives in Springfield.  As a result, during one of my vacations visiting the relatives down there in the Lower 48 before mom died, I had a chance to drive out and meet up with Pops IRL.  His farmhouse was quite nice, but the place is not that removed from the population at large, and unlike Duke, Pops was not collecting an Armory to try to defend it with.  So this place also assumes a kind of BAU will take place after TSHTF.

BC2K

BC’s Doomstead is somewhere in Maine, and he is EXTREMELY careful about revealing its actual location to anyone. Careful is being polite here, really he’s totally PARANOID about this. LOL. Unlike some of the more recent Doomers, he has been a Doomer himself and building on this location since the 1970s.  he’s very conversant with all the techniques talked about in the permaculture community, and in fact teaches on it when he ventures off the Doomstead periodically.  His security plan is to be hidden and far enough off the beaten path that the Zombies won’t find the place.  The problem with that is that it is probably not Zombies he has to worry about, but local Cops and National Guard, all of whom know exactly where his place is.  Even I was able to deduce where the place is, and I don’t have all the tricks available that the military and police do, just good deductive ability and a knowledge of how the internet works.  This freaked out BC2K so much that he dropped off the internet entirely, but I am sure he still has his phone operational, so there is no real way to hide here and still participate in some manner in the economy.

Doug Casey & Simon Black

These two Doomers fit another category, the Uber Rich Doomers who aren’t just setting up a subsistence farm somewhere in Amerika, they have enough money to build and develop entire compounds which they are selling Condo style to other rich folks, sprinkled around the Globe from Argentina to Chile.  South and Central America seem to be the locations of choice for this bunch of Doomsteaders, which includes the Bush family which has its Doomstead in Panama.  Things are so bad here in the FSoA in terms of Taxation and accelerating Fascism that these folks figure to escape to these much SAFER and MORE FRIENDLY  locations.  Except one kind of has to wonder exactly how Safe or Friendly such places will be when the economic system TANKS and the impoverished Argentinians surrounding the compound decide to come for a visit, and knock down the compound walls?

There are many more examples of various types of Doomsteaders, Albert Bates who was a founding member of The Farm in TN fits the category, so does Orren Whiddon who is founder of the 4 Quarters Interfaith Doomstead in Pennsylvania.  Running a somewhat different idea and paradigm is Ray Jason, the ex-Street Juggler who runs the Sea Gypsy Philosopher Blog.  Ray’s concept is to remain Mobile, and to use small sailboats as the ticket to Freedom & Sustainability.  Problem with this is that most all sailboats are chock full of technology, they are terrifically insecure when moored anywhere, and you just can’t carry all that much on them unless they are quite large.  So this paradigm has its own set of problems.

What do ALL of these Doomsteaders have in common though?  They are all BOOMERS, aka the demographic of people pursuing this paradigm generally is from around 50 years old to 70 years old.  There are some older ones than that as well, but once into the 80s they tend to stop discussing their Doomerism with others on the net.  LOL.  Have a look at a photo from the Age of Limits conference where for the last 3 years  Doomers gathered to discuss oncoming Doom

http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/IMG_20130523_212744.jpg

Now, there are a few younger folks sprinkled in there, but the preponderance of this crowd is Gray Hairs.  I can tell you also that the general demographic of Diner readers are Gray Hairs also, though we do have sprinkled in at least 1 20-something in Monsta, 2 30-somethings in Lucid Dreams and Gypsy Mama and a 40-something in WHD.

Why is the Doom Community so overwhelmingly OLD?  More than a few reasons for this.

The first one is Economics.  Just about everyone who sets up a Doomstead has to have pretty substantial money to do this to start with, and then to be able to live on it without having a job in the regular economy (since even the close in ones are in areas where there is not much employment to be found), they have to have an Income coming from Investments, Pensions and Social Security, etc.  VERY few people who have Doomsteads grow or raise 100% of their own food, and they still have taxes and other expenses to keep the place running.  You can cut down the amount of outgoing FRNs you need with a subsistence farm to pretty small numbers, but you can’t cut it out entirely.  Nor can you usually entirely feed yourself and family on what such a subsistence farm can produce each year.

http://narural-energy.com/wp-content/uploads/solar-power-for-off-grid-homes.jpgMoreover, if your Doomstead relies on things like Solar PV Cells and Batteries, pumping motors and the like to bring up water from wells or run Hydroponic Systems, most of this stuff will start to fail on you within 5-10 years, its not sustainable outside of a supporting Industrial Economy.

Most 30-somethings do not have money enough to even get GOING on one of these Individual Doomsteads, much less make it work to raise a family on it.  So they are shut out of this economically, and being so shut out you don’t even want to think about or consider what you will do when TSHTF, because there is nothing realistic you CAN do.  At best, you become as Self-Reliant as possible and learn as many skills as you can, but otherwise to dwell on Doom is pretty counter-productive.  Much as you might WANT to move out to a Doomstead in the Boonies, it is out of reach economically, and it’s somewhat depressing I think for people who are so shut out to read about how some retiree is building a Windmill on his property to pump water to his Raised Beds.  You would like to do that too, but you can’t.  It costs MONEY you don’t have to set up a Doomstead, even the El Cheapo variety.

Other major reasons are Experience and Psychology.  If you have been around 50 or more years, you have had a chance to observe what is really a long ongoing downspin, and to extrapolate out from there where we are headed is not too hard.  You are also quite a bit closer to your own personal trip to the Great Beyond no matter what occurs, so it’s a bit easier as a result to accept that everyone is Doomed.  If you are 30 years old with some young children, you definitely do not want to believe everybody is Doomed, and will resist this idea as long as you can.  Even if it is not Everybody but just MOST people you do not want to accept this idea, since because you cannot afford your own Doomstead to try and ride it out, you are probably one of the ones who gets a Ticket to the Great Beyond TM.  Your kids too.

What is the outcome of this dynamic?  Well, it seems that the vast preponderance of people who are in some way prepared for an oncoming collapse are all the OLD FOLKS! Great Doomsteads with all the preps to keep them going for another 20 years, but THEN what?  If they do have kids, the kids think they are Nutty Doomers and they don’t spend time on the Farm learning how to care for the pigs and chickens and harvest the heirloom seeds to keep growing the squash from one season to the next.  In fact, probably 90% of the people who have subsistence farms don’t save their own seeds, they just buy new ones each year from some heirloom seed distributor on the internet!

The bottom line on this is that this type of Doomsteading is itself Doomed, you are not going to get a sustainable culture from mostly Gray Hairs past reproductive age who are running small “sustainable” Doomsteads.  These Doomsteads are not sustainable because THE FOLKS INHABITING THEM are not Sustainable!  20 years from now, they are gonna be DEAD no matter WHAT, or best case drooling octogenarians who can’t even find the switch to turn on the Solar PV system.  LOL.

http://blog.newscom.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/farmer-milking-cow-in-field.jpgThe very people you really NEED to make a sustainable system here are precisely the people who are SHUT OUT from making it happen, the 20-40 year olds who still are fit and of reproductive age!  Even if you ARE an Aging Boomer Doomer, the likelihood is that your kids do NOT want to join you on the Doomstead to milk the cows, their psychology hopes things will get better and they will eventually get a better job than working as a Starbucks Barrista.  Even worse if they are currently successful Doctors and Lawyers, are they gonna give that up to go cow milking on your Doomstead?  Highly Unlikely.

How does this paradigm play out after TS actually DOES HTF?  The Old Fogeys with the Doomsteads can’t keep operating them, and the Young Whippersnappers who should have been out there learning how to milk cows and save seeds and keep a Doomstead running have no knowledge of how to do that, so even if they drop in and dispatch the Old Folks and take over, the system fails because they don’t have knowledge enough to keep it running!

Besides that is the fact the vast preponderance of these well-outfitted Doomsteads are built with plumbing systems that can go awry, roofs covered with tar paper that need to be replaced or resurfaced every 5 years or so, septic systems that need to be pumped out periodically, not to mention of course the possibility of various types of weather related damage from Tornadoes to Hurricanes to Snowstorms to Flooding to Wildfires to just your own Personal Fire from the Wood Stove malfunctioning.  OOOPS!  Bye, Bye, Doomstead!  lol.

My favorite unsustainable system is water pumping from deep wells.  OK, you have off grid power from your Chinese manufactured Solar PV cells guaranteed by Kwai Chang Solar Industries for 20 years, but what do you do to get the water up from 200′ under ground when the impeller gives out on your pump?  Hope you have several back up pumps and parts in your Barn/Warehouse!  Home Depot has been Outta Biz for 5 years by now.  Even if your well is shallow enough to use a Hand Pump from above, the gaskets on these things wear out too!  If you can’t operate your well with a rope and bucket arrangement, you are SOL in this location.

http://i2.cdn.turner.com/money/dam/assets/130301162811-t-solarcity-home-depot-honda-00014515-620xa.jpg

Given that these “sustainable” Doomsteads are supposed to be living arrangements for the post-SHTF world, exactly where in that world are you going to get replacement plumbing parts, new roofing materials, new batteries for your Off Grid Solar PV setup, etc?  Even if some of these things are available to Scavenge from abandoned McMansions, how are you going to get them from the now vacated suburbs to your Doomstead in the Appalachian Mountains?  You’re going to hitch up the horses to your Wagon and mosey along the decaying roads to the Alexandria VA suburbs, strip some McMansions of plumbing and then with your now loaded wagon have your trusty team of horses Nellie and Betsy pull the load back to the Doomstead?  Remember here, by this time you are around 70-80 years old!  lol.  This is Magical Thinking at work.

Basically, the whole notion of individual Doomsteads run by age 50+ Doomers is totally ludicrous, and it’s only slightly more realistic if they have their children and grandchildren on board to help them, which few do these days.

Is there a SOLUTION to this?  There is, but insofar as I can see at this moment, it is not being undertaken anywhere.  You can’t set up Individual Doomsteads and make them Sustainable, particularly not if you are 50+ years old.  What needs to be done is to develop entire COMMUNITIES with a full range of demographics from children to old folks, and these communities and their living arrangements cannot be dependent on the various types of plumbing and electrical systems that we take for granted today.

http://i.c-b.co/is/image/Crate/CastIron12InchSkillet/$web_zoom$&/1308302308/lodge-cast-iron-round-skillet.jpgPeople need to re-learn how to live in very simple housing, use outhouses for bathrooms, make clothing from hemp fibers etc.  It doesn’t need to be complete Stone Age for quite some time, since many things like Cast Iron Cookware made today will likely last another Century.  There isn’t much that can Fail in a Cast Iron Skillet.  Similarly, quality Damascus Steel Axe Heads and Knives also have a good long lifespan if well maintained, oiled or greased daily to slow rusting etc.

This is not to say that if you do set up such a community TODAY, it can’t or shouldn’t have Off Grid Solar, Indoor Plumbing etc.  If you can afford all that stuff in setting the community up, GO FOR IT! Keep the creature comforts of the Age of Oil as long as you can, but set up the BACKUP systems that work without any of the fine manufactured parts that will disappear as the industries that produce them shut down.  Do NOT set up your Sustainable Community in a location where the only water available is 200′ (or even 100′) under the ground.  That is NOT SUSTAINABLE!

What the Boomer Doomer is doing in setting up one of these Doomsteads is not developing a sustainable living paradigm, they simply are trying to finish out their lives in as close to the comfort they had during the Age of Oil as might be reasonably possible if collapse is fairly slow , and the next 20 years just sees gradual diminshing of services and products, but still the core elements of society keep functioning to one extent or another.  The main core there is Law & Order & Property Rights of course, since once those fail few Boomer Doomers could Protect & Defend their Doomsteads from either roving gangs of Zombies OR the local Sheriff or National Guard commander turned Warlord.   However, really these things do not have to fail completely for the paradigm to fail, all that has to fail is the Impeller Pump on your well.

The question for all of us is how to join together to build sustainable communities, not how to go out and buy your own little Dream Retirement Home and die in peace out in the boonies of Appalachia while the World Burns.  That is the question we have to answer here on the Diner, and with the SUN project.

SunWebGraphic3

Retail Death Rattle Grows Louder

Off the keyboard of Jim Quinn

Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666
Friend us on Facebook

Published on The Burning Platform on May 25, 2014

Economy-Hindenburgh

Discuss this article at the Economics Table inside the Diner

The definition of death rattle is a sound often produced by someone who is near death when fluids such as saliva and bronchial secretions accumulate in the throat and upper chest. The person can’t swallow and emits a deepening wheezing sound as they gasp for breath. This can go on for two or three days before death relieves them of their misery. The American retail industry is emitting an unmistakable wheezing sound as a long slow painful death approaches.

It was exactly four months ago when I wrote THE RETAIL DEATH RATTLE. Here are a few terse anecdotes from that article:

The absolute collapse in retail visitor counts is the warning siren that this country is about to collide with the reality Americans have run out of time, money, jobs, and illusions. The exponential growth model, built upon a never ending flow of consumer credit and an endless supply of cheap fuel, has reached its limit of growth. The titans of Wall Street and their puppets in Washington D.C. have wrung every drop of faux wealth from the dying middle class. There are nothing left but withering carcasses and bleached bones.

Once the Wall Street created fraud collapsed and the waves of delusion subsided, retailers have been revealed to be swimming naked. Their relentless expansion, based on exponential growth, cannibalized itself, new store construction ground to a halt, sales and profits have declined, and the inevitable closing of thousands of stores has begun.

The implications of this long and winding road to ruin are far reaching. Store closings so far have only been a ripple compared to the tsunami coming to right size the industry for a future of declining spending. Over the next five to ten years, tens of thousands of stores will be shuttered. Companies like JC Penney, Sears and Radio Shack will go bankrupt and become historical footnotes. Considering retail employment is lower today than it was in 2002 before the massive retail expansion, the future will see in excess of 1 million retail workers lose their jobs. Bernanke and the Feds have allowed real estate mall owners to roll over non-performing loans and pretend they are generating enough rental income to cover their loan obligations. As more stores go dark, this little game of extend and pretend will come to an end.

Retail store results for the 1st quarter of 2014 have been rolling in over the last week. It seems the hideous government reported retail sales results over the last six months are being confirmed by the dying bricks and mortar mega-chains. In case you missed the corporate mainstream media not reporting the facts and doing their usual positive spin, here are the absolutely dreadful headlines:

Wal-Mart Profit Plunges By $220 Million as US Store Traffic Declines by 1.4%

Target Profit Plunges by $80 Million, 16% Lower Than 2013, as Store Traffic Declines by 2.3%

Sears Loses $358 Million in First Quarter as Comparable Store Sales at Sears Plunge by 7.8% and Sales at Kmart Plunge by 5.1%

JC Penney Thrilled With Loss of Only $358 Million For the Quarter

Kohl’s Operating Income Plunges by 17% as Comparable Sales Decline by 3.4%

Costco Profit Declines by $84 Million as Comp Store Sales Only Increase by 2%

Staples Profit Plunges by 44% as Sales Collapse and Closing Hundreds of Stores

Gap Income Drops 22% as Same Store Sales Fall

American Eagle Profits Tumble 86%, Will Close 150 Stores

Aeropostale Losses $77 Million as Sales Collapse by 12%

Best Buy Sales Decline by $300 Million as Margins Decline and Comparable Store Sales Decline by 1.3%

Macy’s Profit Flat as Comparable Store Sales decline by 1.4%

Dollar General Profit Plummets by 40% as Comp Store Sales Decline by 3.8%

Urban Outfitters Earnings Collapse by 20% as Sales Stagnate

McDonalds Earnings Fall by $66 Million as US Comp Sales Fall by 1.7%

Darden Profit Collapses by 30% as Same Restaurant Sales Plunge by 5.6% and Company Selling Red Lobster

TJX Misses Earnings Expectations as Sales & Earnings Flat

Dick’s Misses Earnings Expectations as Golf Store Sales Plummet

Home Depot Misses Earnings Expectations as Customer Traffic Only Rises by 2.2%

Lowes Misses Earnings Expectations as Customer Traffic was Flat

Of course, those headlines were never reported. I went to each earnings report and gathered the info that should have been reported by the CNBC bimbos and hacks. Anything you heard surely had a Wall Street spin attached, like the standard BETTER THAN EXPECTED. I love that one. At the start of the quarter the Wall Street shysters post earnings expectations. As the quarter progresses, the company whispers the bad news to Wall Street and the earnings expectations are lowered. Then the company beats the lowered earnings expectation by a penny and the Wall Street scum hail it as a great achievement.  The muppets must be sacrificed to sustain the Wall Street bonus pool. Wall Street investment bank geniuses rated JC Penney a buy from $85 per share in 2007 all the way down to $5 a share in 2013. No more needs to be said about Wall Street “analysis”.

It seems even the lowered expectation scam hasn’t worked this time. U.S. retailer profits have missed lowered expectations by the most in 13 years. They generally “beat” expectations by 3% when the game is being played properly. They’ve missed expectations in the 1st quarter by 3.2%, the worst miss since the fourth quarter of 2000. If my memory serves me right, I believe the economy entered recession shortly thereafter. The brilliant Ivy League trained Wall Street MBAs, earning high six digit salaries on Wall Street, predicted a 13% increase in retailer profits for the first quarter. A monkey with a magic 8 ball could do a better job than these Wall Street big swinging dicks.

The highly compensated flunkies who sit in the corner CEO office of the mega-retail chains trotted out the usual drivel about cold and snowy winter weather and looking forward to tremendous success over the remainder of the year. How do these excuse machine CEO’s explain the success of many high end retailers during the first quarter? Doesn’t weather impact stores that cater to the .01%? The continued unrelenting decline in profits of retailers, dependent upon the working class, couldn’t have anything to do with this chart? It seems only the oligarchs have made much progress over the last four decades.

Screen-Shot-2014-03-29-at-9.23.25-PM.png

Retail CEO gurus all think they have a master plan to revive sales. I’ll let you in on a secret. They don’t really have a plan. They have no idea why they experienced tremendous success from 2000 through 2007, and why their businesses have not revived since the 2008 financial collapse. Retail CEOs are not the sharpest tools in the shed. They were born on third base and thought they hit a triple. Now they are stranded there, with no hope of getting home. They should be figuring out how to position themselves for the multi-year contraction in sales, but their egos and hubris will keep them from taking the actions necessary to keep their companies afloat in the next decade. Bankruptcy awaits. The front line workers will be shit canned and the CEO will get a golden parachute. It’s the American way.

The secret to retail success before 2007 was: create or copy a successful concept; get Wall Street financing and go public ASAP; source all your inventory from Far East slave labor factories; hire thousands of minimum wage level workers to process transactions; build hundreds of new stores every year to cover up the fact the existing stores had deteriorating performance; convince millions of gullible dupes to buy cheap Chinese shit they didn’t need with money they didn’t have; and pretend this didn’t solely rely upon cheap easy debt pumped into the veins of American consumers by the Federal Reserve and their Wall Street bank owners. The financial crisis in 2008 revealed everyone was swimming naked, when the tide of easy credit subsided.

The pundits, politicians and delusional retail CEOs continue to await the revival of retail sales as if reality doesn’t exist. The 1 million retail stores, 109,000 shopping centers, and nearly 15 billion square feet of retail space for an aging, increasingly impoverished, and savings poor populace might be a tad too much and will require a slight downsizing – say 3 or 4 billion square feet. Considering the debt fueled frenzy from 2000 through 2008 added 2.7 billion square feet to our suburban sprawl concrete landscape, a divestiture of that foolish investment will be the floor. If you think there are a lot of SPACE AVAILABLE signs dotting the countryside, you ain’t seen nothing yet. The mega-chains have already halted all expansion. That was the first step. The weaker players like Radio Shack, Sears, Family Dollar, Coldwater Creek, Staples, Barnes & Noble, Blockbuster and dozens of others are already closing stores by the hundreds. Thousands more will follow.

This isn’t some doom and gloom prediction based on nothing but my opinion. This is the inevitable result of demographic certainties, unequivocal data, and the consequences of a retailer herd mentality and lemming like behavior of consumers. The open and shut case for further shuttering of 3 to 4 billion square feet of retail is as follows:

  • There is 47 square feet of retail space per person in America. This is 8 times as much as any other country on earth. This is up from 38 square feet in 2005; 30 square feet in 2000; 19 square feet in 1990; and 4 square feet in 1960. If we just revert to 2005 levels, 3 billion square feet would need to go dark. Does that sound outrageous?

  • Annual consumer expenditures by those over 65 years old drop by 40% from their highest spending years from 45 to 54 years old. The number of Americans turning 65 will increase by 10,000 per day for the next 16 years. There were 35 million Americans over 65 in 2000, accounting for 12% of the total population. By 2030 there will be 70 million Americans over 65, accounting for 20% of the total population. Do you think that bodes well for retailers?

  • Half of Americans between the ages of 50 and 64 have no retirement savings. The other half has accumulated $52,000 or less. It seems the debt financed consumer product orgy of the last two decades has left most people nearly penniless. More than 50% of workers aged 25 to 44 report they have less than $10,000 of total savings.

  • The lack of retirement and general savings is reflected in the historically low personal savings rate of a miniscule 3.8%. Before the materialistic frenzy of the last couple decades, rational Americans used to save 10% or more of their personal income. With virtually no savings as they approach their retirement years and an already extremely low savings rate, do retail CEOs really see a spending revival on the horizon?

  • If you thought the savings rate was so low because consumers are flush with cash and so optimistic about their job prospects they are unconcerned about the need to save for a rainy day, you would be wrong. It has been raining for the last 14 years. Real median household income is 7.5% lower today than it was in 2001. Retailers added 2.7 billion square feet of retail space as real household income fell. Sounds rational.

  • This decline in household income may have something to do with the labor participation rate plummeting to the lowest level since 1978. There are 247.4 million working age Americans and only 145.7 million of them employed (19 million part-time; 9 million self-employed; 20 million employed by the government). There are 92 million Americans, who according to the government have willingly left the workforce, up by 13.3 million since 2007 when over 146 million Americans were employed. You’d have to be a brainless twit to believe the unemployment rate is really 6.3% today. Retail sales would be booming if the unemployment rate was really that low.

  • With a 16.5% increase in working age Americans since 2000 and only a 6.5% increase in employed Americans, along with declining real household income, an inquisitive person might wonder how retail sales were able to grow from $3.3 trillion in 2000 to $5.1 trillion in 2013 – a 55% increase. You need to look no further than your friendly Too Big To Trust Wall Street banks for the answer. In the olden days of the 1970s and early 1980s Americans put 10% to 20% down to buy a house and then systematically built up equity by making their monthly payments. The Ivy League financial engineers created “exotic” (toxic) mortgage products requiring no money down, no principal payments, and no proof you could make a payment, in their control fraud scheme to fleece the American sheeple. Their propaganda machine convinced millions more to use their homes as an ATM, because home prices never drop. Just ask Ben Bernanke. Even after the Bernanke/Blackrock fake housing recovery (actual mortgage originations now at 1978 levels) household real estate percent equity is barely above 50%, well below the 70% levels before the Wall Street induced debt debacle. With the housing market about to head south again, the home equity ATM will have an Out of Order sign on it.

  • We hear the endless drivel from disingenuous Keynesian nitwits about government and consumer austerity being the cause of our stagnating economy. My definition of austerity would be an actual reduction in spending and debt accumulation. It seems during this time of austerity total credit market debt has RISEN from $53.5 trillion in 2009 to $59 trillion today. Not exactly austere, as the Federal government adds $2.2 billion PER DAY to the national debt, saddling future generations with the bill for our inability to confront reality. The American consumer has not retrenched, as the CNBC bimbos and bozos would have you believe. Consumer credit reached an all-time high of $3.14 trillion in March, up from $2.52 trillion in 2010. That doesn’t sound too austere to me. Of course, this increase is solely due to Obamanomics and Bernanke’s $3 trillion gift to his Wall Street owners. The doling out of $645 billion to subprime college “students” and subprime auto “buyers” since 2010 accounts for more than 100% of the increase. The losses on these asinine loans will be epic. Credit card debt has actually fallen as people realize it is their last lifeline. They are using credit cards to pay income taxes, real estate taxes, higher energy costs, higher food costs, and the other necessities of life.

The entire engineered “recovery” since 2009 has been nothing but a Federal Reserve/U.S. Treasury conceived, debt manufactured scam. These highly educated lackeys for the establishment have been tasked with keeping the U.S. Titanic afloat until the oligarchs can safely depart on the lifeboats with all the ship’s jewels safely stowed in their pockets. There has been no housing recovery. There has been no jobs recovery. There has been no auto sales recovery. Giving a vehicle to someone with a 580 credit score with a 0% seven year loan is not a sale. It’s a repossession in waiting. The government supplied student loans are going to functional illiterates who are majoring in texting, facebooking and twittering. Do you think these indebted University of Phoenix dropouts living in their parents’ basements are going to spur a housing and retail sales recovery? This Keynesian “solution” was designed to produce the appearance of recovery, convince the masses to resume their debt based consumption, and add more treasure into the vaults of the Wall Street banks.

The master plan has failed miserably in reviving the economy. Savings, capital investment, and debt reduction are the necessary ingredients for a sustained healthy economic system. Debt based personal consumption of cheap foreign produced baubles & gadgets, $1 trillion government deficits to sustain the warfare/welfare state, along with a corrupt political and rigged financial system are the explosive concoction which will blow our economic system sky high. Facts can be ignored. Media propaganda can convince the willfully ignorant to remain so. The Federal Reserve can buy every Treasury bond issued to fund an out of control government. But eventually reality will shatter the delusions of millions as the debt based Ponzi scheme will run out of dupes and collapse in a flaming heap.

The inevitable shuttering of at least 3 billion square feet of retail space is a certainty. The aging demographics of the U.S. population, dire economic situation of both young and old, and sheer lunacy of the retail expansion since 2000, guarantee a future of ghost malls, decaying weed infested empty parking lots, retailer bankruptcies, real estate developer bankruptcies, massive loan losses for the banking industry, and the loss of millions of retail jobs. Since I always look for a silver lining in a black cloud, I predict a bright future for the SPACE AVAILABLE and GOING OUT OF BUSINESS sign making companies.

Knarf plays the Doomer Blues

https://image.freepik.com/free-icon/musical-notes-symbols_318-29778.jpg

Support the Diner

Search the Diner

Surveys & Podcasts

NEW SURVEY

Renewable Energy

VISIT AND FOLLOW US ON DINER SOUNDCLOUD

" As a daily reader of all of the doomsday blogs, e.g. the Diner, Nature Bats Last, Zerohedge, Scribbler, etc… I must say that I most look forward to your “off the microphone” rants. Your analysis, insights, and conclusions are always logical, well supported, and clearly articulated – a trifecta not frequently achieved."- Joe D

Archives

Global Diners

View Full Diner Stats

Global Population Stats

Enter a Country Name for full Population & Demographic Statistics

Lake Mead Watch

http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/NA-BX686_LakeMe_G_20130816175615.jpg

loading

Inside the Diner

Quote from: John of Wallan on Today at 06:27:50 PMJust when you thought you were out of the woods...https://thenewdaily.com.au/weathe...

Just when you thought you were out of the woods...https://thenewdaily.com.au/weather/2019/11/15/heat-western-australia-bushfires/Some interesting live wind map...

BRIBERY?    I am shocked!  Shocked I tell you, simply SHOCKED!  REhttps://www.da...

The Trump administration is preparing court filings to begin taking over private land in Texas to build a border wall as early as this week, say officials.[img width=900 height=600]https://media3.s-nbcnews.com/j/newscms/2019_37/3008436/190912-p...

There is a storm of criticism over textbooks revised for children aged six to 14Turkey's schools have begun the new academic year with a contr...

Recent Facebook Posts

Evacuation orders lifted after Palisades Fire leaves 2 injured and burns at least 40 acres in Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Fire Department ordered mandatory evacuations Monday as a fire ripped across a hillside in the affluent Pacific Palisades area,..

3 weeks ago

US troops pelted with rotten fruit and stones as they leave Syria – video

People have thrown rotten fruit and stones at US troops as they left Syria in armed vehicles, with one man appearing to shout: ‘You liars!’..

3 weeks ago

Corporate America's Second War With the Rule of Law

Corporate America’s Second War With the Rule of Law- Uber, Facebook, and Google are increasingly behaving like the law-flouting financial empires..

3 weeks ago

Photos from Rafael Nadal's Spanish wedding show a reception fit for tennis royalty

From Business Insider:

3 weeks ago

The best toothpaste for kids

From Business Insider:

3 weeks ago

Diner Twitter feed

Knarf’s Knewz

There is a storm of criticism over textbooks revis [...]

Indian historian Vijay Prashad writes about what c [...]

Crude oil and natural gas production from the U.S. [...]

Quote from: knarf on Today at 07:21:26 AMChild pro [...]

Diner Newz Feeds

  • Surly
  • Agelbert
  • Knarf
  • Golden Oxen
  • Frostbite Falls

Doomstead Diner Daily November 15The Diner Daily i [...]

Quote from: K-Dog on November 14, 2019, 07:45:28 A [...]

Quote from: Surly1 on November 10, 2019, 06:10:22 [...]

[img]https://scontent.forf1-2.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0 [...]

I love that song  [...]

Quote from: UnhingedBecauseLucid on March 18, 2019 [...]

CleanTechnicaSupport CleanTechnica’s work via dona [...]

QuoteThe FACT that the current incredibly STUPID e [...]

There is a storm of criticism over textbooks revis [...]

Indian historian Vijay Prashad writes about what c [...]

Crude oil and natural gas production from the U.S. [...]

Quote from: knarf on Today at 07:21:26 AMChild pro [...]

Scientists have unlocked the power of gold atoms b [...]

Quote from: azozeo on August 14, 2019, 10:41:33 AM [...]

Wisconsin Bill Would Remove Barrier to Using Gold, [...]

Under extreme conditions, gold rearranges its atom [...]

The cost of gold futures on the Comex exchange inc [...]

Kicking off with the death of the Marlboro Man.RE[ [...]

Now UP on Global Economic Intersection!http://econ [...]

Alternate Perspectives

  • Two Ice Floes
  • Jumping Jack Flash
  • From Filmers to Farmers

Politicians’ Privilege By Cognitive Dissonance     Imagine for a moment you work for a small or medi [...]

Shaking the August Stick By Cognitive Dissonance     Sometime towards the end of the third or fourth [...]

Empire in Decline - Propaganda and the American Myth By Cognitive Dissonance     “Oh, what a tangled [...]

Meanderings By Cognitive Dissonance     Tis the Season Silly season is upon us. And I, for one, welc [...]

The Brainwashing of a Nation by Daniel Greenfield via Sultan Knish blog Image by ElisaRiva from Pixa [...]

Event Update For 2019-11-13http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

Event Update For 2019-11-12http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

Event Update For 2019-11-11http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

Event Update For 2019-11-10http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

Event Update For 2019-11-09http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

With fusion energy perpetually 20 years away we now also perpetually have [fill in the blank] years [...]

My mea culpa for having inadvertently neglected FF2F for so long, and an update on the upcoming post [...]

NYC plans to undertake the swindle of the civilisation by suing the companies that have enabled it t [...]

MbS, the personification of the age-old pre-revolutionary scenario in which an expiring regime attem [...]

Daily Doom Photo

man-watching-tv

Sustainability

  • Peak Surfer
  • SUN
  • Transition Voice

Of Warnings and their Ripple Effects"We need wooden ships, char-crete buildings, bamboo bicycles, moringa furniture, and hemp cloth [...]

"Restoring normal whale activity to the oceans would capture the CO2 equivalent of 2 billion tr [...]

Ukrainian Rhapsody"Our future will be more about artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and non-state actors tha [...]

LeBron’s Chinese Troll Mobs"In the 36 hours after James’ delete, a troll mob with bot support sent a flame tsunami at the [...]

Soft Paths to Zero"While reducing emissions should be a priority, it is morally questionable to focus on relative [...]

The folks at Windward have been doing great work at living sustainably for many years now.  Part of [...]

 The Daily SUN☼ Building a Better Tomorrow by Sustaining Universal Needs April 3, 2017 Powering Down [...]

Off the keyboard of Bob Montgomery Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666 Friend us on Facebook Publishe [...]

Visit SUN on Facebook Here [...]

What extinction crisis? Believe it or not, there are still climate science deniers out there. And th [...]

My new book, Abolish Oil Now, will talk about why the climate movement has failed and what we can do [...]

A new climate protest movement out of the UK has taken Europe by storm and made governments sit down [...]

The success of Apollo 11 flipped the American public from skeptics to fans. The climate movement nee [...]

Today's movement to abolish fossil fuels can learn from two different paths that the British an [...]

Top Commentariats

  • Our Finite World
  • Economic Undertow

Price growth was at 0.1% in first tier cities. It doesn't have far to go from there to shrinkag [...]

The other problem I see is that the lines of what energy producers need and what the consumers can a [...]

"Lower demand comes from too much wage disparity. That is already happening, I am afraid. That [...]

Apart from anything else, solar panels look hideous. My preference with our newbuild was for an oil [...]

Don’t believe you on the batteries. Give details or you are blowing smoke. [...]

Here's an article: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-imo-shipping-factbox/factbox-imo-2020-a-m [...]

What is the shift away from bunker fuels? [...]

Yeah, when the water heater goes out the day after you just put new tires on one of the cars, etc... [...]

I join the chorus in welcoming you back. Any thoughts on how the shift away from bunker fuel on Janu [...]

@Front Range Mike "Most everyone I know is trying to figure out how to cut back and sell their [...]

RE Economics

Going Cashless

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Simplifying the Final Countdown

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Bond Market Collapse and the Banning of Cash

Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Do Central Bankers Recognize there is NO GROWTH?

Discuss this article @ the ECONOMICS TABLE inside the...

Singularity of the Dollar

Off the Keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Kurrency Kollapse: To Print or Not To Print?

Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

SWISSIE CAPITULATION!

Off the microphone of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

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

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Merry Doomy Christmas

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Peak Customers: The Final Liquidation Sale

Off the keyboard of RE Follow us on Twitter @doomstead666...

Collapse Fiction

Useful Links

Technical Journals

The effect of urbanization on microclimatic conditions is known as “urban heat islands”. [...]

Forecasting extreme precipitations is one of the main priorities of hydrology in Latin America and t [...]

The objective of this work is the development of an automated and objective identification scheme of [...]