Economic Collapse

Discovery

Anthony-Freda-Illustrations-Politics1gc2smFrom the keyboard of James Howard Kunstler
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Anthony-Freda-Illustrations-Politics1
 
Originally Published on Clusterfuck Nation January 11, 2016
 


It looks like 2016 will be the year that humanfolk learn that the stuff they value was not worth as much as they thought it was. It will be a harrowing process because a great many humans are abandoning ownership of things that are rapidly losing value — e.g. stocks on the Shanghai exchange — and stuffing whatever “money” they can recover into the US dollar, the assets and usufructs of which are also going through a very painful reality value adjustment.

Of course this calls into question foremost exactly what money is, and the answer is: basically a narrative construct. In other words, a story explaining why we behave the way we do around certain things. Some parts of the story have a closer relationship with reality than other parts. The part about the US dollar has a rather weak connection.

When various authorities — the BLS, the Federal Reserve, The New York Times — state that the US economy is “strong,” we can translate that to mean giant companies listed on the stock exchanges are able to put up a Potemkin façade of soundness. For instance, Amazon.com. The company continues to seem like a good idea. And it reinforces that idea in the collective imagination by sending a lot of low-priced goods to your door, (all bought on credit cards), which rings your (nearly) instant gratification bell. This has prompted investors to gobble up Amazon stock.

It’s well-established by now that the “brick-and-mortar” retail operations are majorly sucking wind. Meaning, fewer people are driving to the Target store and venues like it to buy stuff. Supposedly, they are buying stuff at Amazon instead. What interests me in that story is the idea that every single object purchased these days has a UPS journey attached to it. Of course, people also drive to the Target store, though I doubt they leave the place with just one thing.

That dynamic ought to call into question just how people are living in the USA, and the answer to that is: spread out all over the place in a suburban sprawl living arrangement that has poor prospects for being reformed or mitigated. Either you drive yourself to the Target store for a slow-cooker and a few other things, or Amazon has to send the brown truck to each and every house. Either way includes an insane amount of transport, and sooner or later both the brick-and-mortar chain store model and the Amazon home delivery model will fail.

Now I don’t believe that will be the end of retail trade, but it will open the door for a painful transition to whatever the next iteration of retail trade will be. Probably much smaller and more local with less stuff. Unfortunately, it is difficult to imagine a resolution of that without also imagining a transition away from suburbia. The loss of faith in the suburban disposition of things will probably represent the greatest loss of perceived wealth in human history — which is how it should be, since it also happened to be the greatest misallocation of resources in human history. It seemed like a good idea at the time, and now its time has passed.

I suppose the loss of faith in value of all kinds will play out sequentially. It is starting in financial “assets” because so many of these are just faith-based stories, and in this quant-and-algo age it has gotten awfully hard to tell what is good story and what is just a swindle. One wonders, for example, how many well-dressed young people at the bond desks have been able to pawn off sub-prime car loans bundled into giant, tranched bonds with attractive yields to hapless counterparts at the asset allocation desks of the pension funds and insurance companies. My guess is the situation is at least just as bad as it was 2007.

The problem is that when this sucker goes down, to paraphrase the immortal words of George W. Bush, you have to wonder how much other stuff of everyday life for everyday people it will take down with it. The discovery phase of our predicament began ever so crisply in the very first business week of the new year. I’m going to hazard to predict that the damage halts briefly in mid-winter and then resumes with a vengeance in March. This may give thoughtful people a chance to rest and assess.

 

James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

And you thought Greece had a problem?

Off the keyboard of Norrman Pagett

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Published on Collapse of Industrial Civilization on July 29, 2015

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Petroleum-Highway

Discuss this areticle at the Energy Table inside the Diner

End_of_MoreWhile we might think of money as supporting our economy, only energy can support the solvency of a nation, and only surplus energy can fulfill the aspirations of its rulers and the desires of its citizens. Until the advent of the industrial revolution, and in particular the universal availability of cheap oil, that energy could only come from territory that could produce sufficient food and other essentials for any level of civilized living. We might ‘demand’ that our leaders provide new hospitals, schools, roads and all the other things that make life comfortable, but without the necessary surplus energy to do it, it is impossible. No political posturing or promises or taxation can change that.

Most deny it, but we live in an energy economy, not a money economy. Without the continually increasing forward thrust of energy input, no economy can exist in the context that we have become used to.

Not just the Greeks, but those charged with governing every nation on Earth, have lost sight of the fundamental law of collective survival: if a nation doesn’t produce enough indigenous surplus energy to support the demands of its people, they must beg, buy, borrow or steal it from somewhere else, or face eventual collapse and starvation until their numbers reach a sustainable level.

Our lifestyle support system has been based on that premise since prehistory. Nomadic tribesmen, probably in the region of present day Iraq, had the bright idea of fixing borders around land, then growing their food supply instead of chasing after it. Fences and borders meant land could be owned and given value that could be measured in energy terms.

What we know as civilization is based on that simple concept. Land and its potential energy became capital, and our genetic forces ensured it was exploited to the full. Primitive farmers knew nothing of calorific values, or capitalism; only that too little food meant starvation, sufficient food averted famines, and surplus food offered prosperity. No one wanted to starve, few were content with sufficient, so the drive for surplus became relentless. It still is; only the scale has changed, it has become the profit motive in everything we do. Everybody wants a payrise, few refuse one. We are all capitalists, we differ only by a matter of scale.

Enclosed land needed strong control and the will to fight for it. Strength prevailed while weakness went under as resource competition ebbed and flowed across tribal territories. If land produced enough spare food and other necessary commodities, it was possible to equip and feed an army, and use it to occupy more territory. In that way collective energy could rapidly roll up small territories into a nation or an empire, create warlords and kings, and give credence to gods who were invariably on the winning side.

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Possession of land and what it produces is the hidden support of what we now understand as our economy and the viability of our infrastructure. Conflict makes that economy even more profitable and one that is built on power and aggression provides the potential for endless resource warfare, whether bloody or political. In 1941 Germany invaded Greece using the bloody version. In 2015 Greece is experiencing the political version. As a small weak country Greece lacks the resource strength to resist.

The more land that could be held and ruled, the more food-energy could be produced. Surplus energy that came in the form of meat and grain and timber was too big to carry around, so tokens of gold and silver became an accepted measure of energy value.

Different civilisations arose and used different monetary systems, but all broadly followed the pattern we are locked into now: those who controlled the land controlled the energy that supported the prevalent economy, whether primitive or sophisticated, warlike or peaceful. With sufficient surplus and a big enough labour force held in some kind of serfdom or dependency, tokenized energy could be diverted to pay for the construction of cities, castles and cathedrals. While the labour of men to build them, the allegiance of soldiers to guard them, and the faith of priests to pray over them might be bought with gold and silver, the system depended on a supply of food and basic commodities well above subsistence level, ultimately provided by the heat of the sun. That’s why the great early civilisations and empires began in the warm tropical and sub tropical regions of the world. And why Eskimos did not field armies, build cities, or inflict the hysteria of mass religion on themselves; they didn’t get enough sunshine to provide the energy resources.

That gave rise to the factors we still live with today: warm productive stable land sustains a bigger healthier population. People eat and procreate, need more sustenance, and demand that their leaders provide it, so the thrust of constant expansion is inevitable in order to feed them. This was as true for small farming settlements between the Tigris and the Euphrates, as it was for the Roman Empire. It was the force that drove the European industrial powers outwards to carve up Africa, the Americas and the Far East to give a privileged section of humanity a prosperity that has been unique in our history. Those of us who enjoy those privileges have lost sight of where they came from, and how fragile they are.

Consequently we are still locked into the same energy-hungry capitalist dynamic, only now we believe that money has not only been substituted for the energy that created it, it has replaced it. In most people’s minds, the illusion of money has supplanted tangible, hard resources. Energy is no longer regarded as necessary to sustain prosperity; we can print it, or better still, make it appear electronically.

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Who needs oil? Keynesian economics says that perpetual growth will come through passing bits of coloured paper or plastic from hand to hand at an ever-faster rate.

The leaders of every advanced industrial nation are driven to promise this kind of ‘growth’ to their people, for no better reason than because there has always been growth, so our future will be growth driven too; they and we know no other way. We believe the lie that money itself has taken on an intrinsic worth of its own.

The Greeks fiddled their accounts, joined the EU and accepted the common currency of the Euro and the collective certainty of the money-driven nature of growth, at a time when oil was $25 a barrel. With oil so cheap, any concern about indigenous energy sources was irrelevant. They had a world class (oil dependent) shipbuilding and sea transport industry, and (oil dependent) tourism was booming. In the late 90s, when oil had fallen to $18 a barrel, they borrowed $11 billion to buy still more energy to burn in order to stage the 2004 Olympic games. Greek prosperity depended on infinite supplies of hydrocarbon fuel, but they followed the common belief in infinite money.

When the price of oil peaked in 2008, the crash was inevitable. The certainty that money represented wealth was destroyed by the price of oil, but they borrowed billions more to try to prove it hadn’t. Any reason was better than reality: that you can’t run a cheap energy economy on expensive energy.

The latest clutch of Greek politicos got themselves voted into office because they told the Greek people what they wanted to hear: that prosperity could be voted into office, as if the availability of indigenous energy within their borders was a matter of political choice. Alexis Tsipras believed the Keynesian fantasy and convinced himself that borrowed money put into endless circulation will generate wealth and ‘growth’. $11 billion spent on the now derelict Olympic stadium should have served as a warning, but it didn’t.

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More ‘bailouts’ have been agreed; the Greeks will now settle back into their soporific lifestyle and the headline writers will find something more newsworthy. But the hammer of reality has only been lifted temporarily from the anvil of their economy. In a year or so, when the Greeks have spent their latest loan, it will crash down again, harder.

The Greeks are not money-bankrupt, they are energy-bankrupt.

But so is every other nation, to a greater or lesser degree. Saudi Arabia is in a worse state of energy bankruptcy than the poverty stricken Greeks, they just don’t know it yet.

A century ago, Greece had a population of around 5 million, and had only partially freed itself from control by the Ottoman Empire. Despite wars, revolution, hyperinflation and foreign occupation during the 20th century, it remained poor but largely self sufficient as a pastoral country. During that period, the population doubled, due in a large extent to reclaiming Turkish held territories in the early 20th century. In a worst-case scenario, if Greece defaults on its debts, and drops out of the EU and the European currency, 11 million Greeks will be left to feed themselves at a very basic level. They will have no choice but to fall back on a more primitive lifestyle, forgo the luxuries bought by oil consumption and live on the energy sources within their own borders. When they do that, their energy bankruptcy will disappear.

100 years ago, Arabia had a population of 1.5 million, and was also a region of the Ottoman Empire. The term Saudi had not been prefixed to it and the Gulf States did not exist. Their people were basically nomadic, with no concept of national identity, or civilization approaching the Greek level. Though under nominal control of the Turks, they were effectively protected by their hostile desert. Living was primitive, but like the Greeks, self sufficient on their terms.

Then in 1938 oil was found in Arabia, now the population is over 30 million. The current excesses of Saudi Arabia are too familiar to need recounting here. We’ve all watched the Saudis use their oil to build unsustainable cities in deserts, where previously there had been none. They have used their oil to suck finite water out of aquifers and desalinate seawater to maintain the fantasy of endless prosperity. They buy in every conceivable luxury and try to outdo each other with meaningless towers of vanity that they see as expressions of wealth and status. They build because they can, believing the economic nonsense that spending energy-based tokens, i.e. money, creates profit and wealth. Just like the vanity of the Greek Olympic venues, the glittering towers of Riyadh and Mecca and Jeddah are seen as a source of commercial prosperity that will deliver and provide cashflow long after the oilflow has dried up.

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As the Greeks discovered when the energy flow stopped going into their arenas, they began to disintegrate. Without constant energy input, money embedded in concrete, glass and steel can only show a return if more money (energy) is constantly added to resist the ultimate certainty of entropy. No one has pointed out that while Saudi towers may be designed to last 100 years, the oil-energy that supports them will run out in less than 30, maybe as few as 20 years. (It has been suggested that Saudi might become an oil importer by 2030, though exactly where the imported oil will come from, or how it might be paid for, is not clear). Then the towers will start to fall apart just as the Saudi economy will fall apart because the oil-energy they use to fuel such vanities is borrowed from their own future. And they will have no means of repaying it; their creditors are not foreign bankers, but their own young and dispossessed. They will violently reject the certainty of a life as goat herders and camel traders if only for the reason that they wouldn’t know how.

Just like the Greeks they will demand that the lifestyle they know carries on unimpeded by the reality of energy shortage. They will try to borrow money to maintain it, with the same result. Bankruptcy on the Saudi scale will make the Greek version look like a small bank overdraft. Unlike Greece, the desert is hostile to human life at the current Saudi density, and needs constant input of food, water and air conditioning to survive 50o C summer heat.

11 million Greeks can feed themselves from their own land. 30 or 40 million Saudis are going to have to face the brutal truth that they can’t. The Saudis currently produce about 10 million barrels of oil a day, and they have to use one third of that to keep themselves alive and in the luxury they think they need. They have created an artificial existence entirely dependent on trading oil for food, and face a future of actual starvation, because there will not be sufficient surplus food energy available anywhere in the world to prevent it once the oil has gone. At current rates of growth their population is projected to reach 60 million by 2050 so between now and then a sudden and catastrophic end to the oil-excess is certain. That life-subsidy of one barrel of oil in three will rapidly disappear, with Saudi using constantly depleting oil to buy food at constantly increasing prices in a race to stay alive. Unemployable young men face a non-future where their luxurious privileges are stripped away by forces beyond their control and understanding. With the oilwells sucked dry, the US fleet will sail away from Bahrain, and discontent will manifest itself into riot. In perhaps only 10 or 15 years, Saudi Arabia as a viable nation will not have sufficient indigenous energy to prevent collapse. There will be nowhere to buy, beg, borrow or steal it from, and no oil for export. Which is where Greece is right now.

Since the oilwealth kicked in and the population exploded, Saudi now has a youth bulge in their population. 37% are under 14, 51% are under 25. Already the unemployment rate in the 16 to 29 age range is reported as 29%, possibly much higher. Of those with graduate level jobs, most have been absorbed by the public sector, with Shias being actively discriminated against by the dominant Sunnis. Jobs requiring technical skills are filled by foreign workers. Effectively this means that virtually all wages and unemployment benefits are paid out of oil revenues. This is where violent unrest will come from when the oil flow begins to dry up. Already Saudi has paid out $billions in freebies to pacify their unemployable young men, while maintaining the unreality of gasoline at 16c a liter, effectively using oil to subsidise itself.

With its oil wealth diminishing, Saudi is a ticking time bomb, split by religious factions and sectarianism, confined by repression at a medieval level and surrounded by religious zealots who see infidel industry being supported by the holy oil that rightfully belongs in the land of the prophet. Compared to that, Greece is an oasis of tranquility.

Masked Sunni gunmen pose for a photo during a patrol outside the city of Falluja April 28, 2014. Iraqi soldiers say they have been trapped in and around the western city of Ramadi. They say they have run low on tank shells, lack aerial cover and armoured vehicles, and have been hit by high casualties and desertion rates. In March and April, ISIL seized a dam in Fallujah, flooded farmland on the outskirts of Baghdad in Abu Ghraib, and drained offshoots of the Euphrates river; the Iraqi government evacuated the main prison for Sunni detainees in Abu Ghraib because of the ongoing clashes; and militants, thought to be from ISIL, bombed the country's oil pipeline to Turkey.  REUTERS/Stringer (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS CONFLICT) - RTR3MZIX

For a different energy/economy collapse scenario, move on to China.

There, energy is being locked into unusable real estate on a truly colossal scale, concentrated on building cities in places where there are no people to live in them. City after city is being constructed right across the country, creating an illusion of ‘Gross Domestic Product’, where officials can only achieve recognition by the rate at which infrastructure is built. A building without people in it is disregarded as irrelevant. 6 million people enter the Chinese job market every year. Construction creates employment, GDP means everything and urbanization targets must be reached.

Employment is the biggest thing for well-being. The government must not slacken on this for one moment … For us, stable growth is mainly for the sake of maintaining employment. Prime Minister Li Keqiang, November 2013

If an apartment block or shopping mall costs $10 million to build, then that is the ‘value’ of the building on the ledger of national prosperity. If it stands empty for years, the ‘value’ is somehow retained. In China, the motivation is different to that in Saudi Arabia or Greece, but there is the same determination to spend money on projects that are intended to deliver infinite commercial prosperity based on the imagined value of the building itself.

They are building dozens of fully functioning cities on the assumption that workers will show up to fill them. But of course those workers will need food as well as ongoing and permanent employment, which isn’t going to be there, so the ghost cities will not have the means to exist. The cities are where people are supposed to live, the countryside is where food is supposed to be produced.

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But both need vast quantities of oil to function. At the current rate of growth of around 8% a year, by 2035 China will (in theory) be using the same volume of oil currently consumed in the world now. That won’t happen of course, because the world oil supply is the same for China as it is for Saudi Arabia, twenty years, maybe much less, no matter how much they buy in and hoard. The Chinese desperation for oil will become critical, just as Saudi exports begin to become unavailable. As supply tightens, so conflict over it will increase, thus restricting supply still further until conflict brings oil production to a virtual standstill. But the Chinese ‘ghost cities’, just like Saudi towers, are intended to last a hundred years.

The figures don’t add up; it’s arithmetic too frightening for most to contemplate. China is dependent on its ever increasing production system to generate new jobs. That drives suicidal pollution and insatiable resource consumption because like capitalist governments everywhere, growth must be prioritized over the environment. Growth without oil is impossible so while the ghost cities of China have a value according to government statistics, they produce nothing; and until they do, will have no value at all. Even if some workers do manage to occupy parts of the ghost cities, without oil there won’t be sufficient power to keep them functioning. Under the inflexible second law of thermodynamics, without constant energy input, entropy takes over and buildings begin to deteriorate from the moment they are completed.

Detroit has followed a different path to bankruptcy.

Detroit Ruins

Ruins at the abandoned Packard Automotive Plant (September 4, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan) serve as canvas for graffiti artists. 78,000 abandoned buildings are strewn across Detroit’s 142 square miles.

Whatever the causes of Detroit’s demise, and there can be said to be many, the overall picture is one of declining energy input. People moved out and no longer spent money on making the city a viable entity. The car plants closed, removing the need for people to be there, the loss of inhabitants removed their collective energy, and the city began to fall apart. The result is unequivocal: remove energy input, and any artifice declines, decays and collapses at an accelerating rate.

Detroit is a bankrupt microcosm of the USA: a nation of 330 million people built entirely on the capitalist system needing infinite expansion, drawing on finite energy borrowed from a future that is unsustainable.

America differs little from the disaster scenarios of Saudi Arabia and China. Finite water is being relentlessly pumped out of depleting aquifers, and finite hydrocarbon is being turned into fertilizer to produce food while cities are forced to grow in hostile deserts. The products of Detroit and cheap fuel allowed suburban sprawl to spread 50 miles out from city hubs across the nation because food and water could be delivered, sewage disposed of and climate altered to personal taste. Declining oil supply will render suburbia hostile to modern living as we know it; the local environment may look different, but the effect on human existence will be the same as the excesses of Saudi or China.

Saudi Arabia, China and America are examples of what our future is going to be. But every nation is promising itself a prosperous future while borrowing from it at an ever-increasing rate, making certain that it cannot exist.

The input of oil into national economics has not exempted humanity from the laws of physics. The trappings of civilization have not altered our fundamental rule of existence: whether your station in life is humble or exalted, if you don’t produce food from the earth on a personal basis, your life depends on someone, no matter how many stages removed, converting sunlight into food on your behalf. Not only that, it must be sold at a price you can afford within a stable environment. Essentially, civilization is just that. Remove it and most will starve while those with enough personal resilience will have no option but to revert to hunter gathering or even scavenging, because what we call civilization is as fragile as the oil it sits on. For the millions of homeless people living on the streets in our ‘civilised’ cities, civilization is over. For them there is little hope of a return to prosperity, with a good job, a warm home and security.

History shows that a radically destabilized environment results in war, famine, disease and death. Any one of those four can and will exacerbate the other three.

Our civilization is becoming increasingly unstable, and right now the four horsemen are getting restless.

In one hundred years time, would you prefer to be living in the United States, China, Saudi Arabia…..or Greece?

Trying to Stay Sane in an Insane World- At World’s End

Off the keyboard of Jim Quinn

Published on The Burning Platform on September 10, 2013

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Discuss this article at the Geopolitics Table inside the Diner

In the first three parts (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) of this disheartening look back at a century of central banking, income taxing, military warring, energy depleting and political corrupting, I made a case for why we are in the midst of a financial, commercial, political, social and cultural collapse. In this final installment I’ll give my best estimate as to what happens next and it has a 100% probability of being wrong. There are so many variables involved that it is impossible to predict the exact path to our world’s end. Many people don’t want to hear about the intractable issues or the true reasons for our predicament. They want easy button solutions. They want someone or something to fix their problems. They pray for a technological miracle to save them from decades of irrational myopic decisions. As the domino-like collapse worsens, the feeble minded populace becomes more susceptible to the false promises of tyrants and psychopaths. There are a myriad of thugs, criminals, and autocrats in positions of power who are willing to exploit any means necessary to retain their wealth, power and control. The revelations of governmental malfeasance, un-Constitutional mass espionage of all citizens, and expansion of the Orwellian welfare/warfare surveillance state, from patriots like Julian Assange, Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden has proven beyond a doubt the corrupt establishment are zealously anxious to discard and stomp on the U.S. Constitution in their desire for authoritarian control over our society.

Anyone who denies we are in the midst of an ongoing Crisis that will lead to a collapse of the system as we know it is either a card carrying member of the corrupt establishment, dependent upon the oligarchs for their living, or just one of the willfully ignorant ostriches who choose to put their heads in the sand and hum the Star Spangled Banner as they choose obliviousness to awareness. Thinking is hard. Feeling and believing a storyline is easy.

 

A moral society must be inhabited by an informed, educated, aware populace and   governed by honorable leaders who oversee based upon the nation’s founding principles of liberty, freedom and limited government of, by and for the people. A moral society requires trust, honor, property rights, simple just laws, and the freedom to succeed or fail on your own merits. There is one major problem in creating a true moral society where liberty, freedom, trust, honor and free markets are cherished – human beings. We are a deeply flawed species who are prone to falling prey to the depravities of lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride. Men have always been captivated by the false idols of dominion, power and wealth. The foibles of human nature haven’t changed over the course of history. This is why we have 80 to 100 year cycles driven by the same human strengths and shortcomings revealed throughout recorded history.

Empires rise and fall due to the humanness of their leaders and citizens. The great American Empire is no different. It was created a mere 224 years ago by courageous patriots who risked their wealth and their lives to create a Republic founded upon the principles of freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; took a dreadful wrong turn in 1913 with the creation of a privately held central bank to control its currency and introduction of an income tax; devolved into an empire after World War II, setting it on a course towards bankruptcy; sealed its fate in 1971 by unleashing power hungry psychopathic elitists to manipulate the monetary and fiscal policies of the nation to enrich themselves; and has now entered the final frenzied phase of pillaging, currency debasement, war mongering, and ransacking of civil liberties. Despite the frantic efforts of the financial elite, their politician puppets, and their media propaganda outlets, collapse of this aristocracy of the moneyed is a mathematical certainty. Faith in the system is rapidly diminishing, as the issuance of debt to create the appearance of growth has reached the point of diminishing returns.

 

Increase in Real GDP per Dollar of Incremental Debt

“At the root of America’s economic crisis lies a moral crisis: the decline of civic virtue among America’s political and economic elite. A society of markets, laws, and elections is not enough if the rich and powerful fail to behave with respect, honesty, and compassion toward the rest of society and toward the world.”Jeffrey Sachs

Five Stages of Collapse

The day of reckoning for a century of putting our faith in the wrong people with wrong ideas and evil intentions is upon us. Dmitry Orlov provides a blueprint for the collapse in his book The Five Stages of Collapse – Survivors’ Toolkit:

Stage 1: Financial Collapse. Faith in “business as usual” is lost. The future is no longer assumed to resemble the past in any way that allows risk to be assessed and financial assets to be guaranteed. Financial institutions become insolvent; savings wiped out and access to capital is lost.

Stage 2: Commercial Collapse. Faith that “the market shall provide” is lost. Money is devalued and/or becomes scarce, commodities are hoarded, import and retail chains break down and widespread shortages of survival necessities become the norm.

Stage 3: Political Collapse. Faith that “the government will take care of you” is lost. As official attempts to mitigate widespread loss of access to commercial sources of survival necessities fail to make a difference, the political establishment loses legitimacy and relevance.

Stage 4: Social Collapse. Faith that “your people will take care of you” is lost, as social institutions, be they charities or other groups that rush to fill the power vacuum, run out of resources or fail through internal conflict.

Stage 5: Cultural Collapse. Faith in the goodness of humanity is lost. People lose their capacity for “kindness, generosity, consideration, affection, honesty, hospitality, compassion, charity.” Families disband and compete as individuals for scarce resources. The new motto becomes “May you die today so that I can die tomorrow.”

The collapse is occurring in fits and starts. The stages of collapse do not necessarily have to occur in order.  You can recognize various elements of the first three stages in the United States today. Stage 1 commenced in September 2008 when this Crisis period was catalyzed by the disintegration of the worldwide financial system caused by Wall Street intentionally creating the largest control fraud in world history, with easy money provided by Greenspan/Bernanke, fraudulent mortgage products, fake appraisals, bribing rating agencies to provide AAA ratings to derivatives filled with feces, and having their puppets in the media and political arena provide the propaganda to herd the sheep into the slaughterhouse.

The American people neglected their civic duty to elect leaders who would tell them the truth and represent current and future generations equally. They have neglected the increasing lawlessness of Wall Street, K Street and the corporate suite. The American people have lived in denial about their responsibility for their own financial well-being, willingly delegating it to a government of math challenged politicians who promised trillions more than they could ever deliver. The American people have delayed tackling the dire issues confronting our nation, including: $200 trillion of unfunded liabilities, the military industrial complex creating wars across the globe, militarization of our local police forces, domestic spying on every citizen, allowing mega-corporations and the financial elite to turn our nation from savings based production to debt based consumption, and allowing corporations, the military industrial complex, Wall Street, and shadowy billionaires to pick and control our elected officials. The civic fabric of the country is being torn at the points of extreme vulnerability.

“At home and abroad, these events will reflect the tearing of the civic fabric at points of extreme vulnerability – problem areas where, during the Unraveling, America will have neglected, denied, or delayed needed action. Anger at “mistakes we made” will translate into calls for action, regardless of the heightened public risk. It is unlikely that the catalyst will worsen into a full-fledged catastrophe, since the nation will probably find a way to avert the initial danger and stabilize the situation for a while. Yet even if dire consequences are temporarily averted, America will have entered the Fourth Turning.”  – The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe – 1997

Our Brave New World controllers (bankers, politicians, corporate titans, media moguls, shadowy billionaires) were able to avert a full-fledged catastrophe in the fall of 2008 and spring of 2009 which would have put an end to their reign of destruction. To accept the rightful consequences of their foul actions was intolerable to these obscenely wealthy, despicable men. Their loathsome and vile solutions to a crisis they created have done nothing to relieve the pain and suffering of the average person, while further enriching them, as they continue to gorge on the dying carcass of a once thriving nation. Despite overwhelming public outrage, Congress did as they were instructed by their Wall Street masters and handed over $700 billion of taxpayer funds into Wall Street vaults, under the false threat of systematic collapse. The $800 billion of pork stimulus was injected directly into the veins of corporate campaign contributors. The $3 billion Cash for Clunkers scheme resulted in pumping taxpayer dollars into the government owned union car companies, while driving up the prices of used cars and hurting lower income folks.

Ben Bernanke has peddled the false paradigm of quantitative easing (code for printing money and airlifting it to Wall Street) as benefitting Main Street. Nothing could be further from the truth. He bought $1.3 trillion of toxic mortgage backed securities from his Wall Street owners. He has pumped a total of $2.8 trillion into the hands of Wall Street since September 2008, and is singlehandedly generating $5 billion of risk free profits for these deadbeats by paying them .25% on their reserves. Drug dealer Ben continues to pump $2.8 billion per day into the veins of Wall Street addicts and any hint of tapering the heroin causes the addicts to flail about. Ben should be so proud. He should hang a Mission Accomplished banner whenever he gives a speech. Bank profits reached an all-time record in the 2nd quarter, at $42.2 billion, with 80% of those profits going to the 2% Too Big To Trust Wall Street Mega-Goliath Banks. It’s enough to make a soon to retire, and take a Wall Street job, central banker smile.

“The money rate can, indeed, be kept artificially low only by continuous new injections of currency or bank credit in place of real savings. This can create the illusion of more capital just as the addition of water can create the illusion of more milk. But it is a policy of continuous inflation. It is obviously a process involving cumulative danger. The money rate will rise and a crisis will develop if the inflation is reversed, or merely brought to a halt, or even continued at a diminished rate. Cheap money policies, in short, eventually bring about far more violent oscillations in business  than those they are designed to remedy or prevent.” Henry Hazlitt – 1946

Any serious minded person knew Wall Street had too much power, too much control, and too much influence in 2008 when they crashed our economic system. When something is too big to fail because it will create systematic collapse, you make it smaller. Instead we have allowed our sociopathic rulers to allow these parasitic institutions to get even larger. Just 12 mega-banks control 70% of all the banking assets in the country, with 90% controlled by the top 86 banks. There are approximately 8,000 financial institutions in this country. Wall Street will be congratulating themselves with record compensation of $127 billion and record bonuses of $23 billion for a job well done. It is dangerous work making journal entries relieving loan loss reserves, committing foreclosure fraud, marking your assets to unicorn, making deposits at the Fed, and counting on the Bernanke Put to keep stocks rising. During a supposed recovery from 2009 to 2011, average real income per household grew pitifully by 1.7%, but all the gains accrued to Bernanke’s minions. Top 1% incomes grew by 11.2% while bottom 99% incomes shrunk by 0.4%. Therefore, the top 1% captured 121% of the income gains in the first two years of the recovery. This warped trend has only accelerated since 2011.

The median household income has fallen by $2,400 to $52,100 since the government proclaimed the end of the recession in 2009. Real wages for real people continue to fall. A record 23.1 million households (20% of all households) are receiving food stamps. After four years of “recovery” propaganda, we are left with 2.2 million less people employed (5 million less full time jobs) and 22 million more people on SNAP and SSDI. A record 90.5 million working age Americans are not working, with labor participation at a 35 year low. Ben’s money has not trickled down, but his inflation has fallen like a load of bricks on the heads of the middle class. Bernanke’s QE to infinity constitutes a transfer of purchasing power away from the middle class to the bankers, mega-corporations and .1%. This Cantillon effect means that newly created money is neither distributed evenly nor simultaneously among the population. Some users of money profit from rising prices, and others suffer from them. This results in a transfer of wealth (a hidden tax) from later receivers to earlier receivers of new money. This is why the largest banks and largest corporations are generating the highest profits in history, while the average person sinks further into debt as their real income declines and real living expenses (energy, food, clothing, healthcare, tuition) rise.

Screen Shot 2013-03-04 at 12.35.48 PM.png

Ben works for your owners. Real GDP (using the fake government inflation adjustment) since July 2009 is up by a wretched 5.6%. Revenue growth of the biggest corporations in the world is up by a pathetic 12%. One might wonder how corporate profits could be at record levels with such doleful economic performance. One needs to look no further than Ben’s balance sheet, which has increased by 174%. There appears to be a slight correlation between Ben’s money printing and the 162% increase in the S&P 500 index. With the top 1% owning 42.1% of all financial assets (top .1% own most of this) and the bottom 80% owning only 4.7% of all financial assets, one can clearly see who benefits from QE to infinity.

The key take away from what the ruling class has done since 2008 is they have only temporarily delayed the endgame. Their self-serving exploits have guaranteed that round two of the financial collapse will be epic in proportion and intensity. This Fourth Turning Crisis is ongoing. The linear thinkers who control the levers of power keep promising a return to normalcy and resumption of growth. This is an impossibility – mathematically & socially. Fourth Turnings do not end without the existing social order being swept away in a tsunami of turmoil, violence, suffering and war. Orlov’s stages of collapse will likely occur during the remaining fifteen years of this Crisis. We are deep into Stage 1 as our national Detroitification progresses towards bankruptcy, with an added impetus from our trillion dollar wars of choice in the Middle East. Commercial collapse has begun, as faith in the fantasy of free market capitalism is waning. The race to the bottom with currency debasement around the globe is reaching a tipping point, and the true eternal currencies of gold and silver are being hoarded and shipped from the West to the Far East.

Monetary Base (billions of USD)

When the financial collapse reaches its crescendo, the just in time supply chain, that keeps cheese doodles and cheese whiz on your grocery store shelves, Chinese produced iGadgets in your local Wal-Mart Supercenter, and gasoline flowing out of gas station hoses into your leased Cadillac Escalade, will break down rapidly. The strain of $110 oil is already evident. The fireworks will really get going when ATM machines run dry and the EBT cards stop functioning. Within a week riots and panic will engulf the country.

“At some point we are bound to hear, from across two oceans, the shocking words “Your money is no good here.” Fast forward to a week later: banks are closed, ATMs are out of cash, supermarket shelves are bare and gas stations are starting to run out of fuel. And then something happens: the government announces they have formed a crisis task force, and will nationalize, recapitalize and reopen banks, restoring confidence. The banks reopen, under heavy guard, and thousands of people get arrested for attempting to withdraw their savings. Banks close, riots begin. Next, the government decides that, to jump-start commerce, it will honor deposit guarantees and simply hand out cash. They print and arrange for the cash to be handed out. Now everyone has plenty of cash, but there is still no food in the supermarkets or gasoline at the gas stations because by now the international supply chains have broken down and the delivery pipelines are empty.”  Dmitry Orlov – The Five Stages of Collapse

We are witnessing the beginning stages of political collapse. The government and its leaders are being discredited on a daily basis. The mismanagement of fiscal policy, foreign policy and domestic policy, along with the revelations of the NSA conducting mass surveillance against all Americans has led critical thinking Americans to question the legitimacy of the politicians running the show on behalf of the bankers, corporations and arms dealers. The Gestapo like tactics used by the government in Boston was an early warning sign of what is to come. Government entitlement promises will vaporize, as they did in Detroit, with pension promises worth only ten cents on the dollar. Total social and cultural collapse could resemble the chaotic civil war scenarios playing out in Libya and Syria. The best case scenario would be for a collapse similar to the Soviet Union’s relatively peaceful disintegration into impotent republics. I don’t believe we’ll be this fortunate. The most powerful military empire in world history will not fade away. It will go out in a blaze of glory with a currency collapse, hyper-inflation, and war on a grand scale.

“History offers even more sobering warnings: Armed confrontation usually occurs around the climax of Crisis. If there is confrontation, it is likely to lead to war. This could be any kind of war – class war, sectional war, war against global anarchists or terrorists, or superpower war. If there is war, it is likely to culminate in total war, fought until the losing side has been rendered nil – its will broken, territory taken, and leaders captured.”The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe – 1997

In Whom Do You Trust?

“Use of money concentrates trust in a single central authority – the central bank – and, over extended periods of time, central banks always tend to misbehave. Eventually the “print” button on the central banker’s emergency console becomes stuck in the depressed position, flooding the world with worthless notes. People trust that money will remain a store of value, and once the trust is violated a gigantic black hole appears at the very center of society, sucking in peoples’ savings and aspirations along with their sense of self-worth. When those who have become psychologically dependent on money as a yardstick, to be applied to everything and everyone, suddenly find themselves in a world where money means nothing, it is as if they have gone blind; they see shapes but can no longer resolve them into objects. The result is anomie – a sense of unreality – accompanied by deep depression. Money is an addiction – substance-less and unreal, and sets itself up for a severe and lengthy withdrawal.” Dmitry Orlov – The Five Stages of Collapse

Our modern world revolves around wealth, the appearance of wealth, the false creation of wealth through the issuance of debt, and trust in the bankers and politicians pulling the levers behind the curtain. The entire world economic system is dependent on trusting central bankers whose only response to any crisis is to create more debt. The death knell is ringing loud and clear, but people around the globe are desperately clinging to their normalcy biases and praying to the gods of cognitive dissonance. It seems the only things that matter to our controllers are stock market levels, the continued flow of debt to the plebs, continued doling out of hush money to those on the dole, and of course an endless supply of brown skinned enemies to attack. With every country in the world attempting to the same solution of debasing their currencies, we are rapidly approaching the tipping point. India is the canary in the coal mine.

Government, Household, Financial & Non-Financial Debt (% of GDP)

An exponential growth model built upon cheap plentiful energy and debt creation has its limits, and we’ve reached them. With the depletion of inexpensive, easily accessible energy resources, higher prices will continue to slow world economies. Demographics in the developed world are slowing the global economy as millions approach their old age with little savings due to over consuming during their peak earnings years. Bernanke has already quadrupled his balance sheet with no meaningful benefit to the economy or the financial well-being of the average middle class American. Financial manipulation that creates nothing has masked the rot consuming our economic system. The game has been rigged in favor of the owners, but even a rigged game eventually comes to an end. Americans and Europeans can no longer maintain a façade of wealth by buying knickknacks from China with money they don’t have. The US and Europe are finding that their credit is no longer good in the exporting Far East countries. This is a perilous development, as the West has depended upon foreigners to accommodate its never ending expansion of credit. Without that continual expansion of debt, the Ponzi scheme comes crashing down. As China, Japan and the rest of Asia have balked at buying U.S. Treasuries with negative real yields, the only recourse for Ben has been to monetize the debt through QE and inflation. The doubling of ten year Treasury rates in a matter of three months due to just talk of possibly slowing QE should send shivers down your spine.

We are supposedly five years past the great crisis. Magazine covers proclaimed Bernanke a hero. If we are well past the crisis, why are the extreme emergency measures still in effect? If the economy is growing and jobs are being created, why do we need $85 billion of government debt to be monetized each and every month? Why are the EU, Japan, and China printing even faster than the Fed? The answer is simple. If the debt was not being monetized, it would have to be purchased out in the free market. Purchasers would require an interest rate far above the 2.9% being paid today. The debt levels in the U.S., Europe and Japan are so large that a rise in interest rates of just a few points would explode budget deficits and lead to a worldwide financial collapse. This is why Bernanke and the rest of his central banker brethren are trapped by their own ideology of bubble production. Just the slowing of debt creation will lead to collapse. Bernanke needs a Syrian crisis to postpone the taper talk. Those in control need an endless number of real or false flag crises to provide cover for their printing presses to keep rolling.

There are a couple analogies that apply to our impending doom. The country is like a 224 year old oak tree that has been slowly rotting on the inside due to the insidious diseases of hubris, apathy, selfishness, dependence, delusion, and debasement. The old oak gives an outward appearance of health and stability. Winter has arrived and gale force winds are in the forecast. One gust of wind and the mighty aged oak will topple and come crashing to earth. I think an even more fitting analogy is the sandpile with grains of sand being added day after day. Seven out of ten Americans receive more in government benefits than they pay in taxes. Goliath corporations and the uber-wealthy use the tax code and legislation to syphon hundreds of billions from the national treasury every year. We spend $1 trillion per year on past, current and future wars of choice. Annual interest on the debt we’ve racked up in the last few decades already approaches $400 billion per year. The entire Federal budget totaled $400 billion in 1977. The sandpile grows ever higher, while its instability expands exponentially. One seemingly innocuous grain of sand will ultimately cause the pile to collapse catastrophically. Will it be an unintended consequence of a missile launch into Syria? Will it be a spike in oil prices? Will it be the collapse of one of the EU PIIGS? Will it be an assassination of a political figure or banker? No one knows. But that innocuous grain of sand will trigger the collapse of the entire pile.

Worried people are looking for solutions. They often get angry at me because they don’t think I provide answers to the issues I raise about our corrupt failing system. They want easy answers to intractable problems. Sadly, I’ve come to the conclusion that our system and majority of citizens are too corrupted to change our course through the ballot box or instituting policies along the lines of those proposed by Ron Paul and many other thoughtful liberty minded people. We are experiencing the downside of a representative democracy.  Once a person is democratically elected a gulf is created between the electors and the person they elected, as the representative becomes corrupted and bought by moneyed interests. Elected officials become a class unto themselves. The political class grows to be puppets that resemble human beings but are nothing but cogs in a vast corporate run machine, pawns in an enormous game of chess played by powerful vindictive immoral men.

There are no cures for our disease. It’s terminal. Anyone telling you they have the answers is either lying or trying to sell you something. More people and organizations are on the take than are playing by the rules. The producers are being overrun by the parasites. The barbarians are at the gate. An implosion of societal trust is underway. The next stage of this crisis, which I believe will materialize within the next twelve months will try the souls of the weary.

“As the Crisis catalyzes, these fears will rush to the surface, jagged and exposed. Distrustful of some things, individuals will feel that their survival requires them to distrust more things. This behavior could cascade into a sudden downward spiral, an implosion of societal trust. This might result in a Great Devaluation, a severe drop in the market price of most financial and real assets. This devaluation could be a short but horrific panic, a free-falling price in a market with no buyers. Or it could be a series of downward ratchets linked to political events that sequentially knock the supports out from under the residual popular trust in the system. As assets devalue, trust will further disintegrate, which will cause assets to devalue further, and so on.”The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe – 1997

As a nation we have squandered our inheritance, born of the blood of patriots. A freedom loving, liberty minded, self-responsible, courageous people have allowed ourselves to fall prey to selfishness, apathy, complacency and dependency. Once we allowed our human appetites of greed, power seeking, and control to override the moral responsibility for our own lives and the lives of future unborn generations, collapse was inevitable. The danger now is what happens after the unavoidable collapse. Will the millions of dependency zombies beg for a strong dictator to protect them, provide for them and lead them into further bondage? Or will the spark of liberty and freedom reignite, allowing citizens to throw off the shackles of banker and corporate control? I believe most of the people in this country are good hearted. We are merely pawns in this game of Risk being played by those seeking power, wealth and world domination. We are all trapped in our own forms of normalcy bias. Have I cashed out my retirement funds, sold my suburban house and built a doomstead in the mountains? No I haven’t. Do I second guess myself sometimes? Yes I do. But even the aware have families to support, jobs to go to, bills to pay, laundry to do, lawns to mow, and lives to live. I can’t live in constant fear of what might happen. We only get 80 or so years on this earth, if we’re lucky. The best we can do is leave a positive legacy for our children and their children. A drastic change to our way of life is coming, but most of us are trapped in a cage of our own making.

Each living generation will need to do their part during this Crisis if we are to survive the coming storm. Since no one knows the nature of how the next fifteen years will unfold, it would be wise to at least make basic preparations for food, water, heat and protection. This is easier for some than others, but you don’t have to star on Doomsday Preppers in order to stock up on items that can be purchased at Wal-Mart today, but won’t be available when the global supply chain breaks down. Make sure you have neighbors and family you can rely upon. A small community of like-minded people with varied skills is more likely to succeed in our brave old world than rugged individualists. With no financial means to maintain our globalized world, living locally will take on a new meaning. After much turmoil, chaos, violence, and likely mass casualties the best outcome would be for the Great American Empire to break into regional republics, incapable of waging global war, led by law abiding moral liberty minded individuals, and willing to trade freely and honestly with their fellow republics. Daily life would revert back to a simpler Amish like time. Would that be so bad?

This Fourth Turning could end with a whimper or a bang. There are enough nuclear arms to obliterate the world ten times over. There are enough hubristic egomaniacal psychopathic men in power, that the use of those weapons has a high likelihood of happening. It will be up to the people to not allow this horrific result. I love my country and despise my government. The Declaration of Independence clearly states that when a long train of abuses and usurpations lead toward despotism, it is our right and duty to throw off that government and provide new guards of liberty. My family comes first with my country a close second. I will fight with whatever means necessary to protect my family and do what I can to influence the future course of our country. Time is running out. Will we have the courage, fortitude and wisdom to make the right decisions over the next fifteen years? Will we choose glory or destruction? The fate of our nation hangs in the balance. Are you prepared? Are you ready to fight for your family and your rights?

The Fourth Turning could spare modernity but mark the end of our nation. It could close the book on the political constitution, popular culture, and moral standing that the word America has come to signify. The nation has endured for three saecula; Rome lasted twelve, the Soviet Union only one. Fourth Turnings are critical thresholds for national survival. Each of the last three American Crises produced moments of extreme danger: In the Revolution, the very birth of the republic hung by a thread in more than one battle. In the Civil War, the union barely survived a four-year slaughter that in its own time was regarded as the most lethal war in history. In World War II, the nation destroyed an enemy of democracy that for a time was winning; had the enemy won, America might have itself been destroyed. In all likelihood, the next Crisis will present the nation with a threat and a consequence on a similar scale.The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe – 1997

 

 IT’S OUR CHOICE.

Peak Oil: All Going to Plan

Off the keyboard of Jason Heppenstall

Published on 22 Billion Energy Slaves on April 1, 2013

Something wicked this way comes? Lightning strikes Cyprus.

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Perhaps it’s the unseasonable chill that has settled over Britain and shows no sign of abating but there’s a decidedly gloomy feeling in the air. Something doesn’t feel quite right; indeed it’s all gone a bit Twilight Zone of late.
 
I’d hazard a guess that the eerie feeling is the initial and ongoing onset of cognitive dissonance that is growing in the damp basement of the nation’s consciousness. It’s that uneasy feeling that all is not well and that all is not going to be well, despite how many times the politicians and techno optimists tell us everything is on track.
 
And that’s just the small minority of people who take a passing interest in current affairs. The majority, whose days are filled with TV entertainment shows, sports and other diversions, must really be wondering what the hell is happening and why they are suddenly finding their options for living a normal life constrained ever more with every passing month. It must be the government’s fault.
 
But this is what peak oil looks like. It’s what peak oilers have been saying it would look like for years if not decades. In fact, we are following the script to a tee, which makes it all the scarier because we know what is coming next. We can tick off the following as ‘happened already’:
 

 

  • Global liquids (excluding ethanol etc.) plateauing and supply remaining constrained despite growing demand
  • Which in turn led to a huge hike in oil prices that has stayed with us
  • Thus causing a permanent state of close to zero growth or shrinkage in the major industrialised nations
  • And a shortage of food in much of the Middle East, leading to riots and revolutions
  • Followed by a desperate scramble for unconventional fossil fuels, such as shale gas, tight oil and deep sea oil

 

Furthermore, we were told to expect politicians to do anything to restore the expected growth paradigm, and that all of their efforts would be in vain because of their collective failure to recognise energy inputs as a limiting factor for economic success. We can certainly tick that one off the list as well.
 
So what’s next in the peak oil recipe book of How to Make a Global Disaster of Epic Proportions? Well, almost certainly we can expect to see the wheels come off the global financial system. The 2008 ‘credit crunch’ was just the first distant rumbling noise of an approaching storm, and what happened in Cyprus last week was the first violent flash of lightning as that storm makes landfall. Depositors now face losing 60% of their bank deposits in what looks like a smash and grab by the troika of the IMF, the EU and the ECB. I’d be surprised if many of them saw anything at all of their deposits back. Europe is so phenomenally broke that to ‘fix’ the debt would require some several hundred trillion dollars. Reality check: the entire world economy is only about 70 trillion dollars measured in annual GDP.
 
Those on the inside know the scale of the problem and we are now seeing the first part of the great deleveraging. For the past hundred years or so we have seen a giant credit bubble grow – the biggest credit bubble in the history of the world. There is now something like 99 units of phantom ‘money’ for every unit of value. Those in the know are quietly getting rid of their soon-to-be-worthless paper wealth and using it to buy up tangible wealth in the form of solid productive enterprises, land, minerals and gold. Empires in waiting are quietly disposing of their US debt and buying up precious metals, and the average man in the street thinks the fact that the US stock market is rising means that everything is doing fine (just don’t look at the trading volumes, which tell another story).
 
Why is finance important? Because, as Nicole Foss tirelessly points out at The Automatic Earth, finance is the operating system of the global economy. If it crashes, then nothing but a complete system reboot will restore the economy. Indeed, when it does crash we will see economies freeze up, like has happened in Cyprus. Forget a 1 or 2 percent drop in GDP, we’re looking at anything up to 50% wiped off the value of the economy in short order.
 
The history of humankind is a history of snatching. First it was just basic land snatching from one another. Slavery was a form of snatching other people’s energy and using it to get useful products and money from the land we had snatched. Then we discovered oil, giving us the chance to snatch energy that had taken millions of years to form. This in turn allowed the creation of the biggest credit bubble in history, which is a form of inter-temporal snatching i.e. appropriating wealth in the form of debt from our descendants. Now that the inter-temporal wealth bubble is collapsing in on itself the clever snatchers who know that the game is up are busy appropriating productive assets with the idea of leaving the rest of us out in the cold to freeze.
 
We didn’t mind the snatchers as long as the game was on the up. We were quite happy to buy shares and over-priced property and take out private pensions. But now that the game has been thrown into reverse we are losing our trust in the institutions that rely on trust to function. Banks, corporations, regional and national governments. And as the trust erodes (prior to an all-out stampede when a critical mass of people catch on) these centres of power will do whatever it takes to maintain the concentrated core at the expense of the periphery. Once that happens panic will set in as people suddenly realise that they are actually on the periphery, and an unholy scramble for ‘safety’ starts- although by then it will be too late.
 
In the meantime we are fed an illusory series of bubbles, which rise into the air before our eyes, shimmering beautifully. A bubble in this sense is an apparition of wealth that convinces us of its value. It rises up, expanding as it does so, getting bigger and bigger as people inflate it with their wealth. It’s a law of physics that an expanding bubble will always burst and a law of human nature that some people will always insist that this isn’t true. That’s what our economies are doing these days. In the absence of creating real value they are instead merely blowing bubbles for reasons of political expediency and the enrichment of financiers extracting wealth from the suckers among us.
 
Bubbles might be ephemeral, but when they burst they create real damage in the real world. Industries crash, people lose everything, political careers are cut short and everyone says ‘never again’. We’ll likely witness the bursting of the shale gas bubble pretty soon which, among other things, will spark off an energy panic and case stage two (or perhaps it will be three) of the financial crash.
 
So contagion is likely to be the order of the day. Europe will contaminate the US (despite an initial flight to the illusory safety of the US dollar), China will struggle to service its infrastructure under the deadweight of its reckless expansion, and everywhere else in the world will bear the brunt of the ensuing chaos. A vast deflationary period will ensue, probably for a century but maybe longer, until economies can reestablish themselves at a lower level of energy throughput and with a lot fewer mouths to support because several billion of us rely on business as usual to ensure adequate food for our survival.
 
And that’s just the financial problems, which in the long run are actually the least of our worries. Following financial collapse and the inevitable wars that will ensue (Europe is laying down the groundwork for one right now) we’ll be hit with the kind of power shortages that nobody in the 21st century really likes to contemplate. There may well be plenty of oil left but that doesn’t mean you or I will benefit from it. What’s really important is traded oil. Once a country, say Saudi Arabia or Venezuela, falls below a certain threshold of oil production needed to keep the local population happy, the idea of selling it abroad becomes deeply politically unpopular. The only way to then get at that country’s oil is to fabricate a casus belli and invade it. It’ll be a pity that the major economies will likely be too broke to finance such resource wars.
 
Telescope events again and even the great energy crunch of the next few decades will pale in significance to the great damage we are doing to the environmental commons, with topsoil, the oceans and the climate all being left in a state far less capable of supporting life than they are even now. That is the great gift we will leave our children and their children and so on.
 
It doesn’t give me any joy to contemplate this, or to say that these predictions are coming true. Indeed, it’s hard enough being a Cassandra when people don’t want to listen. Try telling any of the above to the cornucopian techno optimists and they’ll tell you to perk up a bit and put your faith in the scientists or policy makers or economists. Soon it will all be flying cars and trips to Mars. Indeed, there’s been plenty written in the last couple of weeks on the peak oilosphere about the modern religion of progress, and some of us would do well to acknowledge that we’re probably also trapped by it to some extent. The realization of the trap is perhaps even harder to bear than when one considers our current predicament in any depth.
 
And that’s another techno trap of our age – the assumption that the universe operates along linear lines. That’s why we put hope in economists who regard monetary and fiscal policy as scientific instruments. Just tweak this knob and this will happen. Pull that lever and that will happen. But that’s not how the real world operates – economies are human constructs and as such they are vulnerable to the vagaries of human irrationality and emotional drivers. Fear and greed are two words conspicuously absent from economics textbooks.
 
And it’s the same with science. Most people these days erroneously equate science with technology. Thus scientists in labs create the latest iPhones and cures for diabetes. Give them enough time (and money) and they will cure cancer and perfect cold fusion. Just don’t hold your breath while you are waiting.
 
So what hope is there? Well, it’s not my intention to dish out hopium. For what it’s worth I’ve spent the last week researching shale gas and coal for an article. I had a long phone conversation with Carl Shoupe in Kentucky, who used to be an Appalachian coal miner and now fights big coal in a town where everyone is a) working for the coal industry and b) is being shafted by the same. He says that even in this community some people are starting to twig that blowing up mountains and bulldozing the rubble into valleys wasn’t such a bright idea after all. There’s a bit of hope for you.
 
And what else? I’ve been out meeting local food producers, including organic farmers, fishermen and various artisanal producers. It’s heartening to see such a thriving network of local foodies, even if it is against a backdrop of continued supermarket expansion and a general lowering of food quality. I have been a bit surprised by the lack of organic food in the shops in the UK – there seems to be far less than when I lived here last in 2000. People, on the whole, seem to be going for the cheapest, junkiest food and the situation seems to be getting worse all the time (the only ‘job creators’ in the news seem to be the big fast food chains and the discount food stores – all of whom are doing very well. Yet another facet of peak oil.) So from now on I’ll be getting my organic foodstuffs delivered in a box once a week from a local farm. It costs more than the local Tesco, but at least it won’t poison me and my family and it’ll provide a bit of extra income for a local farmer.
 
But even so, if the supermarket trucks stopped rolling tomorrow, how much food would the regional food network where I live be able to supply? 10%? 15%? Who knows. Hopefully it was pay to get to know the people growing the food I eat.
 
In the meantime I’ve been concentrating of getting some resilience built into my own life. A few fruit and nut trees have gone in at Fox Wood – the start of a forest garden. I’m stocking up on tools and various pieces of equipment while I can. I might even get that poly tunnel set up this year instead of next – there’s no point hanging around. I know it’s not much, but it’s a start, and you’ve gotta start somewhere.

My Boomer Life and the Greatest Generation Parents Who Raised Me

Off the keyboard of Stucky

Published on The Burning Platform on December 19, 2012

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I won’t be posting a Quinn-like masterpiece with lots of graphs and statistics. First, I don’t have that ability. Second, I am not a statistic. I am a person … so this will be a personal story with anecdotes about my achy-breaky Boomer life. Mostly, I just want to address the following question;

“ARE BOOMERS RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERYTHING WRONG IN AMERICA TODAY?”

First, let me whine a little. A number of folks here (you know who you are, lol) answer that question with an emphatic “YES!!”. I find it incredulous that otherwise very smart folks can say such things. I don’t know if it’s said just for effect to “piss off” Boomers such as myself, or if you can really attribute this country’s Great Malaise to such a simple theory. It is also rather dismaying that whenever ANYTHING positive is said about the Boomer generation, then that person is accused of being in “denial” or an “apologist”. It’s almost as if the quest for knowledge ceases when it comes to Boomers … a really surprising turn of events considering the large number of INTJs here.

Others will say we Boomers shouldn’t take it “personally” — which, really, is like calling a black person “nigger”, and then exclaiming, “Oh! Please don’t take that personally”. Tough to do! Accuse me of whatever you wish. I simply cannot wrap my tiny mind around the Broad Brush Approach — lumping an entire generation of 76 million people as the cause of Everything Evil is not wise, helpful, applicable, or even possible, imho. You might as well say, “Humans caused all our evils” … which would also be equally correct, and equally useless since the classification is too enormous. But if one is looking for an Easy Unified Theory of Everything Wrong With America … “Boomers Did It” … well, have at it.

I cannot identify with the rich Boomers, because I am not rich. I cannot identify with the rich Greatest Generation , because I am not rich. I cannot identify with the rich of any generation, because I am not rich. Without advocating a class-warfare approach, I must maintain that a far greater divide in America is along Class — not, age. The mega-rich, the mega-powerful, the ultra-elite — yeah, the 1% — as George Carlin says, THEY are your owners! Redirect your anger accordingly.

I am NOT against the younger generation. I love ‘em. I feel I have more in common with my emotionally troubled son than with most Boomers in my life. Unlike what happens to many old farts, he at least he still questions everything, still wonders what this crazy life is all about, still wonders how he “fits in”. Just like I did when I was his age, and actually, still do to some extent. \\end:whining//

STUCKY CONSIDERS HIS PAST WHILE AT A CHRISTMAS CONCERT

A couple Sundays ago I went to my Dad’s Christmas concert. He sings for The Plainfield Gesang & Turn Verein, a German-American heritage club that was founded in 1886. There were about 200 people in attendance. I would say that 90% of demographics were Boomers such as myself and our parents, The Greatest Generation.

I not only listened to the music, but as I watched my dad singing so proudly, and as I glanced at my mom who always gets weepy at this event, my mind also grew nostalgic, as it is prone to do at such holiday occasions.

It is only in the past few years that I have seen my parents as “whole” persons. What I mean by that is that their whole existence on this planet, as far as I was concerned for most of my life, only started around when I was 5 years old … my earliest memories of them. That means about 30 years of their lives — while they did start to tell me bits and pieces once I turned 17 and thereafter — well, for all intents and purposes it simply didn’t exist. What a damn shame, to my own detriment, that I didn’t even care about the great fountain of experience and knowledge I so easily dismissed. The major event that shaped my parent’s lives was WWII. With apologies to all those here who know this story, I shall very briefly summarize it for those who don’t, for context.

My dad was a German living in Romania. One day, when dad was a teenager, the German Army came sweeping into his village, yanked him from his home, told him he was in the German Army, sent him to the Russian front, where he was captured, spent time in a Russian prison camp, and upon release was not allowed to return to Romania and never saw his family again, but was instead sent to England to work in the coal mines for several years – a form of ‘reparation’, before he made his way to a refugee camp in Austria.

My mother was a German living in Yugoslavia. One day, when she was a teenager, the Russian Army came sweeping into her village. They shot a lot of older German men – the young ones were all off to war — on the spot. Virtually all the women in the village were promptly sent to a Russian gulag, where she was raped, saw her mom raped and then murdered in front of her eyes. After the war ended only she and her brother remained alive, they were not allowed to return to their village, and they walked to a refugee camp in Austria.

I don’t relay these events for pity. Screw that. They are just one of millions of German families who suffered in WWII … just as millions of Americans have suffered in WWII, with only the details changing. I just have a story to tell, and my parent’s story is a huge part of my story. Of course I can’t speak for 76 million of us except in a general sense. For example, I graduated from a high school of about 2,000 and I feel comfortable in saying we all share the Same Boomer Story, generally speaking.

THE KEY TO UNDERSTANDING BOOMERISM

The point is these are the people who raised my fat Boomer ass … which they did not do in a vacuum, independent of things that shaped their lives. The picture in your mind’s eye of a “Boomer” is quite incomplete if you forget, or misunderstand, our Greatest Generation parents.

So, I’m watching my mother as she watches the concert, I put my hand around her shoulder as I see her eyes well up with tears. What is she thinking? What pains are still so real to her today .. that I can’t help her with? I start thinking about my own 59 years of living … how crystal clear certain events of my own teenage years still are … as if they happened yesterday. And then a feel a certain shame that it took me so long to see my parents as whole persons. I suddenly feel despondent that I so despised several aspects of my upbringing that I couldn’t wait to join the military, even in the midst of the Vietnam war, just to get the fuck out from under my parent’s thumb. Before taking a look at how the Greatest Generation raised us, let’s quickly take a look at another key to understanding Boomers; the world in which we lived

HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY ??

The Gay 20’s really weren’t all that gay, just as the world Boomers inherited wasn’t only the fun, Hippie, pot-smokin’, LSD trippin’, rock’n-roll groovin’, free love image that is remembered today. Two big events and a ton of smaller ones helped turn our once pure souls to the Dark Side.

First Big Event: Da Bomb. Russia. Nukes. Commie bastards. Ka-BAM! All gone. Nuclear winter. Dead. Why??? Nuke drills!! Little Boomer children hiding under desks for protection. Little Boomer children watching gub’mint movies showing homes blasted to smithereens. Little desk hiding Boomers not stupid, “We gonna die under this desk!!” Was I forever traumatized – some prepubescent PTSD – by these drills? No. Did it affect my perception of what the world was about and that just maybe it made no sense at all and that the grownups were idiots and that since tomorrow may never come so I might as well live just for today … even though I was just a kid at the time? You better believe it.

Second Big Event. Vietnam. Dirty, nasty, disgusting, vile war that killed 60,000 of us and maimed hundreds of thousands more. What was it good for? Absolutely nothing. Did it affect my perception of what the world was about and that just maybe it made no sense at all and that the grownups were idiots and that since tomorrow may never come so I might as well live just for today? You better believe it.

Not to mention in no particular order; civil rights ….. riots …. . corrupt government openly lying ….. a disgraced president ….. dead soldiers faces broadcast on TV every night ….. Kent State ….. double-digit unemployment ……. Midnight Cowboy ….. 25% interest rate for a home loan ….. gas lines ….. shitty cars that exploded ….. S&L crisis ….. Bay of Pigs ….. nukes in Cuba!! …. Abortion …. JFK ….. and, MLK …. Jimmie Hendrix and Janis Joplin …. Gloria Steinem and woman’s rights ….. no more prayer in school ….. the Ayatollah ….. Supreme Court turns activist all over the place …… Korea ….. school integration ……………….

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Did we shape the times, or did the times shape us? I think it’s the latter. Simple math.

The first Boomers were born in 1946. How old are the people-in-charge, the leaders, the CEOs, the 535 politicians that rule our lives … i.e., the people who actually make things happen? Let’s be conservative and say that it’s 30 years old. So, the first Boomers with power to affect the status quo arrive on the scene only in 1975. I would say Boomers took the helms of power around daddy Bush’s presidency in 1989 – when the first Boomers were 43 years old.

The “ME Generation” —- A MISNOMER

We are … and you may add the adjective “most” to many of these descriptions; selfish, self-indulgent, unwilling to sacrifice, politically correct, drug addicted, material minded, entitled, liberal or commie shits, bad parents, lazy, humans to ever walk the earth. And to top it all off we invented Afro’s and disco (actually, two legitimate reasons to hate us). Amazingly, we accomplished all this because of the year in which we were born. And because of our sin of ‘The Year Of Our Birth’, you can go to literally hundreds of blogs other than here and find the admonishment that Boomers should “just die already”. The implication being, that once this happens, pretty much everything will return to bliss, prosperity, and overall happiness. I read that we Boomers only cared about only three things; 1) Me, 2) Me, and 3) Me. Just like the “love of money” is the root of evil, our preoccupation with “Me” is the root cause underlying our evilness.

BUT — the ME-Generation was raised by the Greatest Generation.

How would YOU like to be born following that moniker? Imagine you have just one older sibling, and your parents referred to him/her as “The Greatest Kid”. It just might fuck you up! Lol Boomer babies didn’t drop out the shoot and at the moment of birth become The Most Selfish Bastards ever. We did not raise ourselves. Somewhere along the line, some person(s) and some event(s) helped us along into becoming selfish pricks. Cause leads to effect, nature abhors a vacuum.

What do you THINK you know about The Greatest Generation?

Unless you’re a Boomer, what you think you know about the Greatest Generation is likely inaccurate. The people you know as grandparents are NOT the same people who raised us. Some kind of Weird Assed Transformation took place from the time we were born to the people you know. Maybe it has to do with the aging process – whereby one becomes more introspective, soft hearted, and most importantly – accepting of Things As They Are … not, What They Should Be, a mantra us Boomer kids heard a million times if we heard it once. Maybe it was the realization that their own Materialism was a big mistake … and trust me on this, in many ways they were much more materialistic than their boomer children. Maybe they didn’t ‘change’, maybe they just ‘adapted’ – but, the Metamorphosis into A New Life Form –one that is NOW loved and revered – is and was spectacular.

Let’s take a look at what Boomer kids heard growing up

“ I’m not buying you a new pair of Converse sneakers. You think money grows on trees?”

“You’re not going out dressed like that, are you? What will the neighbors think?”

“I slave all day to put food on the table, so you damn well better eat all of it!”

“You don’t know what hardship is all about. WE had it rough.”

“Kids in China are starving. Learn some gratitude, dammit.”

“You see all the stuff we have?. We did all this for you.”

“Turn off the damn lights. You think electricity is free?”

“You don’t know the meaning of sacrifice.”

“Cut your hair! At least look respectable.”

“You don’t know how lucky you are.”

“At least you could show some respect.”

“You don’t know the value of things.”

“Why don’t you appreciate anything?”

“Quit acting like a bum!” KaPow!! (We boomer kids got wacked …. A LOT)

If you don’t see a significant amount of materialism in those statements then, I’m sorry, you’re just not being perceptive enough. Materialism is largely a state of mind. Bertrand Russel said, ——- “It is the preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else that prevents us from living freely and nobly.”

HANGING ONTO WHAT YOU GOT LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDED ON IT

It’s not about how much stuff you own. It’s about the stuff you own that eventually owns you. A middle aged man attempts to reclaim his youth and buys a vintage Harley, just like the one in Easy Rider. He owns the bike. Before you know it he’s spending all weekend polishing every nut and bolt. Then he decides it needs some restoration, and he spends a few grand doing that. Then he spends more and more time away from his family and with his fellow enthusiasts, riding around town, showing off like a peacock. Then one day his teenage son accidently puts a small scratch on the fender. He hurls a string of expletives at his son for committing this unforgiveable sin. The bike now owns HIM.

Although I lacked nothing growing up, my pre-boomer angst was fueled by the ever present possibility that all the blessings bestowed on me could be lost at any time. From scarcity we came, and to scarcity we could return. This pretty much fulfills Bertrand Russels’s materialism “preoccupation” criteria. Our stuff, meager as it might be, owned us. The resultant activity of the scarcity meme, in terms of materialism, is that my Greatest Generation dad worked his ass off to make sure scarcity would never rear its ugly head. This is admirable and not to be condemned. Don’t you, and I, do the very same thing for our children?

But, it did have unintended consequences. Growing up I couldn’t help but feeling that material gain was more important than anything else. Our parents did work their fingers to the bone. But by the time they dragged their tired asses through the door, they were too tired to hug us. They were too tired to have any really meaningful conversations, especially about sex. “Children should be seen, and not heard.” , I swear was God’s eternal truth scripted somewhere in the Gospels. So, we spent a great deal of our time out of our parents’ sight. That was great for both of us … far less arguments.

We even had our own special place to play in the house. The basement. We sure as hell never romped around the main level, especially the living room; “Don’t sit there! That’s GOOD furniture!!”. Our little boomer minds duly noted; ‘furniture more important than us’. Watch reruns of ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ and Marie’s living room to see the hilarious abortions our parents resorted in order to “save” the good furniture; they covered everything in plastic! Lol All of us immediately identified with the advice Dustin Hoffman received in The Graduate; “Plastics, my boy. Plastics.” Eventually we got the last laugh when all that plastic shit turned a putrid shade of yellow, and the cushions smelled like skunk ass when the plastic was removed. Meanwhile, we were banished to the basement where we could destroy nothing of real value.

FROM DEPRIVATION TO EXCESS TO REBELLION

One of the most common reactions to deprivation is excess. For example, people who have faced starvation will often, once circumstances have changed, become gluttons. This was our parents’ response.

Then, as time passes, a typical reaction to excess is rebellion. This was our response. For example, on a grand scale a Colonist eventually rebels against the excesses of his British masters, and dumps tea in the bay. On an individual scale, children (of any era) eventually rebel against their parents’ excessive rules by doing the exact opposite. The goal of the Rebel, whether a nation or a child, is always to starve the master of their power.

This dynamic plays out predictably well in the Greatest Generation / Boomer relationship. The Greatest Generation faced deprivations in spades; from the Great Depression to Dust Bowls to World War II. The end of the Big War ushers in the greatest economic boom in American history, or something like that. Remembering their deprivations the Greatest Generation becomes as materialistic as any in recent memory. Some of you folks err when you compare that materialism back then with what we have today. You look at countless graphs, data, GDPs, debt, one financial ratio after another … compare the two eras … and somehow conclude that the Greatest Generation were ‘savers’. The “numbers” don’t look so bad back then only because the whole shebang was just getting started. Some shit just takes time to get stinky.

What was this great economic post-war boom about? Was it not the beginning of Consumerism? What do you think this is all about; … getting that little starter house, then upgrading to the bigger house with the nice white picket fence, movin’ on up to a good neighborhood, getting that fifty cent promotion, replacing a literal ice-BOX with a real refrigerator, getting a nice big Dee-troit car or two, the explosion of corporate TV shows like the Colgate Comedy Hour … if not consumer fueled materialism? Excess folks, excess.

“Oh Yeah? Well …. fuck you!!”

The Boomer children, mostly neglected as daddy –and soon, mommy – pursued the Good Life (FOR us, naturally) reacted in a way that shouldn’t be a surprise …. we rebelled against our oppressor for their real or imagined sins. Only we did with much greater aplomb than ever before ; we didn’t fuck around, we were all in.

They had short-haired geeky musicians, we had long-haired hip rockers. They had booze, we had drugs. They had rules – lots of them —, we had none. Free Love, baby! If it feels good, do it. Love the one you’re with. They worked hard, we went to Woodstock. They had a lifeless church, we had the Jesus Movement. They followed the call of Madison Avenue, our hearts hung out at Haight and Ashbury. They liked Ike, we preferred Dylan. They wore penny loafers, we had sandals and a bandana (and other ridicules articles of clothing). And so it went at every turn; right or wrong, a repudiation of ALL that came before. So people look back on this crazy-assed behavior and label us the “ME” generation. I’ll grant you that there is some truth to that. But, it falls far short of what was really going on. It wasn’t “me, me, me” as much as it was; “fuck you, fuck you, and fuck you”.

BTW, isn’t that EXACTLY what the younger generations are saying about us Boomers; “Fuck You!”? History rhyming yet again. Solomon correctly wrote; “Vanity of vanities, there is nothing new under the sun.” I don’t know what dumbass mistakes this younger generation will make — I sometimes feel they think they’ll make none, the first Perfect Generation — but trust me on this one thing oh Young Ones, you too will blow it … and your offspring will mock you as well.

BOOMERS NEVER EARNED ANYTHING — EVERYTHING WAS HANDED TO THEM

Nothing quite baffles me like this accusation. I shake my head wondering exactly what was given to me. I started out getting a fifty-cent allowance, back when fifty cents could still get me into the movies (double feature plus cartoons, a soda, and a popcorn and get a nickel back). It wasn’t “free” either … it came attached to doing chores. Mow the lawn, take out the garbage, do the dishes when asked, and keep my room clean. This our parents called “learning responsibility”. All for 2 bits … good thing we weren’t Unionized.

But for real money to get real stuff — like those Converse sneakers — we had to work. So, I got my first job at around 13 selling subscriptions of the town newspaper door to door on Saturdays. I got a dollar per new subscription. Some Saturdays I’d rack up 20 plus bucks and back then that was living large. My first real job was in high school. I worked in a lasagna factory, stirring lasagna in a huge vat of boiling water … for $1.35 an hour. And I never stopped working since. We worked hard all our lives. My friends all did likewise. So. Pardon me if I am offended at being called “selfish, greedy, and entitled” as I refuse to accept that label.

Speaking of “entitled”, perhaps this is what people mean; all those juicy gub’mint entitlement programs, especially SS and Medicare. First of all, social security was NOT created by the Boomer generation. So, solly. Try the generation before us. Medicare was NOT created by Boomers either. Sure it was enacted in 1965. The oldest of the Boomer generation would have been born in 1943 … making that Boomer just 22 years old in 1965. The voting age was still 21. Please don’t tell me Medicare was voted into being because of then 22 year old Boomers!

I know people just hate it when us old farts “expect” to collect on SS. Can you walk in my shoes for a moment? Let’s say you paid $50,000 into some account set up by the gub’ment. It is money you earned by the sweat of your brow. You didn’t ask the gob’ment to do this for you. They took it by force and promised to give it back to you later. Much later. That “much later” is now here, and some people want to tell us, “Hey, you can’t have the money. The gub’ment spent it and you can’t have it.” We used to have a word for this: Theft. Look, I can understand that I may not be able to collect SS forever until I die. But, can I at least get MY $50,000 dollars back?? You don’t even have to pay any interest, if that makes it better.

I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SINS OF MY BRETHREN

I won’t cover any of the other Entitlements / Social Programs. All I can tell you I voted Republican most of my life, and I cannot ever recall voting based on getting free shit. Foreign policy, wars, and character where my usual hot buttons. I don’t know how other Boomers voted. I don’t care.

I don’t care because I don’t believe in the idea of Collective Guilt. Google that term and the first page will show articles on “German collective guilt over Nazis”, so this is a topic I personally know something about. It is a heinous principle first found in the Old Testament that — “The sin of the fathers He punishes on the children to the third and fourth generation.” A monstrous mockery of justice!! Collective guilt refuses to acknowledge the INDIVIDUAL. Evil regimes and their dictators (Stalin, Mao, Marx, etc.) love collective guilt as they collectivize individuals as “the populace” or “the masses” or “the workers” and then enslave or execute them as it suits their purposes. That’s why I have often said here that the demonization of Boomers may one day logically lead to Death Chambers for us old farts.

You, dear reader, don’t believe in collective guilt either. Do you find yourself guilty of the crime of slavery? No. Do you find yourself guilty for the genocide of Native Americans ? No. Do you find yourself guilty for Mai Lai? No. Do you find me guilty for Buchenwald? No. So why do you throw all Boomers in the Collective guilty pot? It is said ‘people get the government they deserve’. If that’s true then I should find YOU guilty for the current mess we’re in. But, don’t worry, I won’t because that entire argument is specious. Here’s one way we should follow in the footsteps of the Greatest Generation; they didn’t blame their own parents for their youthful excesses of the ’20′s which then led to the financial ruin of the Great Depression . They just pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and made the best of a bad situation. So should we.

“YOU MADE PROMISES TO US ………. AND YOU LIED!!”

Another common theme amongst disgruntled Utes are the broken promises we Boomers made. When I went to the Occupy Wall Street demonstration in NYC I saw more than a few Utes displaying posters about Education … “$60,000 in Student Loans and No Job”, and several variations thereof, including demands to forgive the debt. For change of pace I will number my responses.

1)— Guess what kids? Your generation isn’t the only one that was lied too. We were lied too, also. So, welcome to the real world.

2)— Guess who told us that education was the path to a better life? That’s right, our Greatest Generation parents. We just passed what we learned in OUR youth, onto you. By and large that’s how parenting works. Again, welcome to the real world.

3)— Our parents valued education because they were mostly blue-collar workers toiling away in factories (remember those?). They saw first-hand that the “higher-ups”, the folks in the office, the guys in white-collars made significantly more loot than they did. So, putting two and two together they came up with the brilliant conclusion that education pays. And that’s why I got my ass kicked whenever I brought home a bad Report Card. The first question at the dinner table was, “Did you wash your hands?”. The second and usually last question was “Did you do your homework?” Study, study, study was drilled into our mush brains until the cows came home. It is really no more complicated than that.

4)— What’s wrong with furthering your education anyway? Did we commit some Mortal Sin in telling you to study? Don’t you know that we “pushed” this Horrible Thought on you for a reason? Don’t you know that with knowledge you’ll learn how to think and analyze. Don’t you know the value of using logic and rational thought, and how that will benefit you throughout your life? Don’t you know we wanted to give you a foundation that would allow you to filter through all the bullshit the world tries to feed you? Apparently, not.

5)— Regarding not paying back your loan. Where did you learn that from? Certainly not from us Boomers when you were young! Again, we taught you what was taught to us. And here’s one thing I can guaran-damn-tee you our parents showed us; paying one’s bills was a Badge of Honor. It wasn’t God, country, and apple pie. It was Pay Your Bills, God, country, and apple pie. My parents would sacrifice a meal in order to pay a bill. We taught you to do the same when you were little.

Here’s what Boomers and the Greatest Generation did wrong.

6) We monetized “value” when talking about “the value of an education”. Did the Greek philosophers value education to make more money? No. Did the great men of the Renaissance era value education to make more money? No. Did our Founding Fathers value education to make more money? No. The “value” of an education is more than exploiting it for financial gain (see #4 above). But, clearly, modern America is all about the Almighty Dollar. So, I went to college pretty much in order to make better money. And I told my kids to go to college to make better money. Guilty as charged. Money, it’s a gas. I suppose what pisses off Utes is that Boomers were actually able to get jobs when they graduated, while they can’t. Which leads me to my final point.

7) Tough shit!! And please don’t tell me us Boomers “guaranteed” you a good job upon getting an education. First of all if you actually believed such a statement you need to recalibrate your Bullshit Detector. They never has been and never will be any guarantees in life, except death, taxes, and obese fat women pictures from our own beloved AWD. Secondly, it’s a lie from hell. Our Greatest Generation parents were keenly aware of the possibility of losing it all … again.

They even coined a unique phrase to drill home the concept of no guarantees; –“you never know”. For example, “Put down that stick! You could poke your sister’s eye out, YOU NEVER KNOW!” (In my childhood there were apparently about 845 ways to poke out my sister’s eye.) Or, “Put on clean underwear before we drive to church. We might have an accident, YOU NEVER KNOW!”. Or, “No, we’re not joining the community swimming pool. We need to save every penny, YOU NEVER KNOW when we’ll need it.”.

Lastly, Utes also blame Boomers that they can’t get married, they have to live with their parents, will never be able to start a family, buy a house, etc. etc. It all boils down to “life isn’t fair”. Well! 1) we Boomers used that phrase on our own parents a million times. Please come up with something new. 2) In what fairy-tale are you living where ‘fairness’ is the rule of the land? 3) Stop emulating Gordon Gecko. Try, Tim the Toolman. 4) My parents taught me this and I pass it along to you. Perhaps the Ten Best Words Of Advice you will ever hear; “Life isn’t fair. Get over it. DO something about it.”

FINAL THOUGHTS

In closing, let me say that I’m not trying to change the real Boomer Haters. It was downright depressing doing some research for this article. I don’t know exactly how widespread this hatred is, but what is out there is savage, vicious, and said with such ferocity that I wonder when, not if, the loathing for my generation turns into violence against us. Every revolution has at least one scapegoat. The “Boomers Suck” meme is paving the way towards acceptance of our destruction, should it go that far. How does one change such a person’s opinion?? But, there are folks out there who have yet to decide if they shout hate/blame Boomers for everything. I hope this article reaches those.

I also hope this does not come across as either making excuses or rationalization. It’s just my story, and I assume it’s similar to millions of others in my age group unfortunate enough to be labeled a Boomer. All I tried to do is tell it as it is … yes, as I see it with my Boomer-tainted goggles … and in the telling I know I barely scratched the surface.

l36720-1.jpgOne thing I know is they we are ALL in this together. When I see a homeless man in NYC, he may be a Boomer … or, very well be a more recent generation. I often drop a few dollar bills, but I don’t first verify his age, because I don’t see a GenX or Boomer … I see only a homeless person, a human being who is worthy of compassion because I realize “there but for the grace of God go I”.

I think it’s a fact that most of us Boomers have seen our savings, our assets, our net worth dwindle before our eyes and most of us are not well off. I think it’s a fact that most Boomers still work, and probably will need to work —- either until we die or the ravages of age incapacitate us. And if we are incapacitated … and if the timing is such that all the Free Shit is no longer available … then don’t worry about killing us, as I believe many will commit suicide.

Lastly, I am fully aware I have my own biases, and as we discussed in another thread from last week, “total honesty” in the trillion plus connections organized by our highly fallible brains may not even be possible . Not only might I “not know” the truth, it is conceivable “I don’t even know that I don’t know”. In other words, yeah, I could be full of shit. (If so, I’m sure you will inform me thereof. Lol ) But, I doubt it.

Peace

Herr StuchenBoomer

Knarf plays the Doomer Blues

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Perhaps your story with Contrary is why my son got [...]

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

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

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

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 [...]

Time for another Bloody Mary!   RE [...]

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

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 2019-11-20http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

Event Update For 2019-11-19http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

Event Update For 2019-11-18http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

Event Update For 2019-11-17http://jumpingjackflashhypothesis.blogspot.com/2012/02/jumping-jack-flash-hypothesis-its-gas.html Th [...]

Event Update For 2019-11-16http://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

Waterboarding Flounder"Serious oxygen loss between 100 and 600-meter depths is expected to cover 59–80% of the ocean [...]

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 [...]

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

a ''burden on the state'' means all your bodily functions becoming the responsib [...]

Or maybe we do live in fire prone forests, but we live as hunter-gatherers. We pick up and move to a [...]

The "state" in the UK has found a solution to this problem. It is called the "Liverpo [...]

FWIW, the overarching narrative in the mainstream news this week is that the global economy may have [...]

I think of 1999 as the year that inflation-adjusted oil prices hit a bottom. It is also the year tha [...]

Living around 5300' elevation, the only flood we'll likely see is refugees. Although, that [...]

For those safe from the rising seas, the ocean acidification will fcuk you up instead [...]

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... [...]

RE Economics

Going Cashless

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Simplifying the Final Countdown

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Bond Market Collapse and the Banning of Cash

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Do Central Bankers Recognize there is NO GROWTH?

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

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

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 [...]