Mike and Karen’s Excellent Adventure

by Mike Sliwa and Karen Sliwa

We are retiring so we can travel. That’s the official story we generally tell people if we don’t feel like explaining the whole collapse of civilization spiel. Our close friends and those sympathetic to what we’re trying to accomplish get the real story. We know this might be considered to be the easy way out by some but we honestly don’t care at this point. We are leaving our high school teaching careers at the end of the school year to become WWOOFers. World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms is the route that best suits our current needs. Those needs are simply to learn self-sufficiency and sustainability. By working on different farms and homesteads throughout the world we hope to learn some valuable skills and enrich our lives by entering the world of farmers and experiencing the lives of these pioneering people.

How does a couple come to this decision? It’s one thing to come to this decision on one’s own but quite another to agree upon something of this magnitude. We don’t have an answer to this question but our story may shed some light on it. For whatever reason (probably known as irresponsibility to most) we never truly bought into the mainstream ideas that come along with marriage and our society. We never wanted children or a home, and we drive Hyundais. The one concept we did devour with a passion was debt. Despite avoiding all of the debt traps most people fall into, we still managed to fall for the biggest one of them all: credit. Needless to say, we consumed in other areas and found ourselves slaves to the grind. When we met, Mike was in sales and Karen was a home health aide. When we moved from Wisconsin to Arizona we were desperate for a career change. Our love for learning and athletics led us to teaching. We believe our involvement in public education caused the walls created by our own educational experience to crumble. It doesn’t take a genius to see that becoming a teacher doesn’t change the institution but we didn’t get into education to change the system. We went into education because it was a great way to live our lives and we felt we were contributing to society on some level. Realization set in though and we quickly became conscious about hegemony, but we kept plodding on. Oh, we would rage against the machine from time to time, but eventually we’d fall back into formation. Preparing students for a life of consumption is what we were up against.

As the years passed and self discovery continued we began to realize that most of us were practicing some form of insanity. We repeat the daily masquerade that all is well and return home each night to a stark reality. A reality that we thought was simple but in actuality was simply too complicated. How does one wrap their mind around the fact that we depend on oil for our daily survival? Obviously people don’t go home at night and worry about peak oil (other than some readers of Nature Bats Last, to name a few) but they do worry about survival. They worry about surviving the struggle that is industrial living. They may not use those words but the stress comes from the same place. What hits us all whether we recognize it or not is that we in fact have no idea how to take care of ourselves. The two of us couldn’t grow a carrot if our lives depended on it (but stay tuned, we’re working on that). We need stores, cars, plastic, and oil to make it every day. So we go on thinking about tomorrow and the freedom of retirement and our life savings because we believe it will set us free. Making the same mistake over and over again is patch work and insane. We own cars so we can go to work. Why do we have jobs? So we can pay for the cars! It sounds simple enough to figure out, but billions of people are participating in this destruction of themselves and the planet. Today as we move closer to walking out the door it seems as though others are starting to catch on a bit. Maybe they just smile so the crazy folks walk away or maybe they’re starting to think about their own insanity.

Outside of traditional classroom teaching, Mike also speaks on social justice issues. Being introduced to authors like James Baldwin, Bell Hooks, Beverly Daniel Tatum, Tim Wise, Calvin Terrell, Daniel Quinn, Mary Crow Dog, Michael Pollen, Guy McPherson, Robert Jensen, and Derrick Jensen has had an enormous impact on our world view. Mike mainly speaks on the topic of privilege. Specifically, he speaks about white privilege, though he includes gender, class, and heterosexual privileges as well. A larger part of our transformation has come from participating and facilitating camps for teachers and students that deal with social issues including race and patriarchy. Along the way Mike has had the opportunity to speak at the White Privilege Conference, Arizona State University, and the Maricopa County Corrections Department. From these experiences we have learned to listen more and talk less. Oppression has a voice that is rarely heard. Therefore, we would love to evolve outside of traditional boundaries.

We have the privilege to make this transition when many people do not. We have struggled with the idea (as some friends have pointed out) that we are simply leaving “the fight for justice.” Others have told us we would have a larger impact if we stayed and continued to challenge the system in which we live instead of leaving it. Unfortunately we really aren’t leaving the system. We will still be consuming, just at a smaller rate — hopefully much smaller. The privilege of civilization may cost us the living planet. Our participation in civilization has to change so therefore, right or wrong, we have justified our decision in our own minds and are moving forward. White privilege has played a significant role in the destruction of this land. We cannot change our skin color but we can definitely change how we participate in a system that has no regard for life. We can try to break free from a hierarchy that moves from privilege to entitlement, through objectification and onto destruction. A system that has been built for the benefit of the privileged sex, race, and gender is not a structure we want to continue to support.

We have lived with Mike’s parents for more than 15 years. We didn’t plan it, but this arrangement has really been a wonderful living situation. In fact, the hardest part of moving on has been the thought of moving away from the people we love most in this world. We have shared so much over the years and have such a unique and positive relationship. Most people don’t understand how middle-aged professionals could live with parents until they meet Mike’s parents. They, too, have also struggled with our decision. Explaining to them why we would walk away from a noble profession with great hours and a household that is so fulfilling is a tough sell, to say the least. Our simple answer to them has been, despite our good fortune, it’s just not enough. Not enough in the sense that we know the cost of what we have in this world. We have decided that the cost is too high.

The details of our transition will be kept largely private. We have made some decisions that we may question for some time. We have thought about all the issues that keep people from leaving convenience. What will we do about money, insurance, or transportation? What about when you get old: then what? People have lived a very long time without these “needs” and hopefully people will live a very long time when they no longer matter. We always talk about what we think is important, like trying to be sustainable, but then Mike drives 52 miles roundtrip to work in his car and sits in the hot running shower for 20 minutes. We finally decided that we wanted to live a lifestyle in which we were no longer contributing to the blatant destruction of all species and our land base. Our decision finally feels like freedom. Mike’s mother recently told him that he had the world by the ass, so why would he want to “give it all up?” First, it’s a little strange hearing one’s mother use the word “ass” and second, because when nature does bat last, we want to be part of its victory instead of its demise.


Mike Sliwa is a soon-to-be former high school teacher who lives in Phoenix, Arizona via Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He has a BA in Communications and Public Address from the University of Wisconsin. Mike and Lance Huffman formed Common Ground in 2006. CGT provides opportunities for students and professionals to face their inherent privilege. Mike also provides keynote presentations for Truality. Truality is a motivational speaking organization for students and teachers in secondary education.

Karen Sliwa is a soon-to-be former high school teacher who lives in Phoenix, Arizona via Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She has a BA in Secondary Education from Arizona State University. Prior to getting her BA she was a Certified Nursing Assistant working in the home health care field for fifteen years.


This essay is permalinked at Island Breath and Energy Bulletin.

Comments 50

  • Hi Mike & Karen,

    Interested in Canada? Check out our website and read our WWOOF FAQ (http://www.EcoReality.org/wiki/WWOOF_FAQ) if interested.

  • Hi Mike and Karen,

    Good luck in your new adventures. Maybe you already thought about all of this, but here are just some tips. I would suggest you look for longer term apprenticeship on organic/sustainable farms, say six months and more. If you commit for longer period, often you will receive a living stipend. Also, if you make it to a farm right into the growing season for a short period, you’ll basically be not much more than cheap labor. I would suggest to stay away from the two, three months deal. The planning and prep work will be done and the tasks demanding more skills will be left to other more experienced workers or the owner. What you want to learn are skills such as pruning, fencing, grafting, shearing, starting transplants and such…There is just so much you can learn about weeding and harvesting. It is for the most part mindless back breaking work which needs to be done for long hours. For sure you will do that anyhow, but you also want to gain knowledge out of the deal. A lot of the learning takes place during the downtime on a farm. Here is a good place to look for opportunities:

    If you don’t have it, get Eliot Coleman “New Organic Gardener”. Its one of the few books where the author takes the time to explain proper body posture and how to use gardening handtools properly so you wont bust your joints.

    Hope this helps.

  • This post in particular feels true, Doc McGuyver. You know, real people with struggles and dilemmas we can relate to (yes, amidst the privileges) minus a certain forced and judgmental intake that’s always hard to even swallow, let alone digest. Thank you for presenting this thoughtfully written piece today, and best wishes to Karen and Mike and their loved ones on this journey of so many possibilities.

    With gratitude,

    Marguerite Clearview

  • First, thank you, Guy, for publishing this testimony from Mike and Karen. Inspiring, I must say!

    In these times we need so many like yourselves, Mike and Karen. The very best wishes to you for success in this new adventure. This is where beliefs meet the road. Brilliant!

    The life chosen will be full of long hours, back-breaking work, and immense satisfaction at actually accomplishing work that bears real fruit (no pun intended!). But this is our future as a species – leaving lives of privilege (and stress!) to take up one so much closer to Nature.

    It makes me wish I were younger and had not wasted my life working for The Man.

    So Mike and Karen – go instead, and go with God’s speed.

  • Mike and Karen ~ my husband and I are doing something a little similar to what you are pursuing. We’ve been on this path for about 5/6 years now. We explored first Hawaii, then Utah, then decided we really needed to leave the US altogether, preferably somewhere south of the equator. So we traveled around South American and finally settled in the Cerrado, the central highlands of Brazil just outside a charming small old colonial town called Pirenopolis in the state of Goias. In August, we received (finally!) our permanent retirement visas from Brazil.

    If your travels take you to this part of the world, we invite you to come stay with us and explore this part of the country. We have many reasons for deciding to leave the US and for selecting this location. We’ve been extremely fortunate in our planning, thanks mainly to Michael whose initial vision I am following, and who was able to secure a full retirement from ASU at the ripe young age of 54 (a situation that can’t possibly be sustainable, we realize!). Over the years I too have educated myself (o.k. I admit, I wanted to convince myself of Michael’s “vision”!) through the works of many great authors, including some of those you mention above. We also toured Guy’s place and learned a lot from what he has accomplished there.

    Please obtain my contact information from Guy if you are interested in exploring a visit with us here. We own a few small tracks of land that we are looking to develop and we are learning lots about both the opportunities and difficulties of growing food here!

    Wishing you the best in your pursuits. Traveling and living abroad can be an amazing adventure, full of excitement, but also challenging with respect to both language and culture shock, so just know that and be prepared. In time, you will learn to adjust 😉

  • Mike and Karen: Good luck to the both of you.

    We walked away 4 years ago. Some of our story is here (mostly in pictures). http://luckydogfarm.wordpress.com/

    We have made alot of mistakes along the way, at times we wanted to change the farm’s name to do-over farm. We are located in the Finger Lakes section of NY. Our search was from Portland ME, down to Ashville NC. If we can answer any questions Guy has our email address.


  • The times ahead are more and more uncertain. For those looking for a new place to set down roots I strongly urge that you choose a place that you want to live in now, whether or not it looks like the place that you could eke out long term survival. Weather is going to be increasingly chaotic. As things fall out the political social situation will be increasingly chaotic. Predicting where one can survive longer would take a true magic crystal ball.

    I would also urge people to resist moving to another country. When things become very difficult you will be seen as an outsider taking scarce goods away from those who have lived there long. I have been in this little town for 20 years. I am married to a man whose family has been here for over 100 years. I am still an outsider but at least married to an insider.

    Even if you and your family are not close, our evolutionary programs favor kin selection. If you form a community of non kin that is providing well, expect many of the kin of community members to want to come when it gets hard for them. Expect community members to be unwilling to turn their kin away – your community may need to support far more people than you had planned for.

    Think about what costs you are willing to bear for long term survival. Hard work is one and I think most here are willing (although possibly not able) to work hard on the land. Whose kin would you turn away if your community becomes overpopulated. If strangers with guns come what will be your response. If women with young children who are starving sit on your doorstep will you take them in or turn them away. I don’t mean to throw a wet blanket on a very positive post but the cost of making it through the bottleneck may be much higher than anyone expects.

    So back to the positive – enjoy the pleasures of the day. Enjoy the traveling, planning, growing, whatever.

    I tend to avoid sayings or poems that seem too gushy. This one I memorized in High School – I remembered it as being by one of the English poets. Few years back I found out it was Sanskrit. At any rate this is likely the only motivational poem I will ever post – but it passes the truth test with me.

    Look to this day
    for it is life
    the very life of life.

    In its brief course lie all
    the realities and truths of existence
    the joy of growth
    the splendor of action
    the glory of power.

    For yesterday is but a memory
    And tomorrow is only a vision.
    But today well lived
    makes every yesterday a memory
    of happiness
    and every tomorrow a vision of hope.

    Look well, therefore, to this day….

    ~ ancient Sanskrit poem ~

  • Kathy

    Excellent post. I can see you are always the realist, always the practical one. This is good. And I agree with all you say. Indeed, it is nearly always good intentions that make us make the decisions we make. I might, as Mike and Karen have, decide to begin acquiring the basic skills to survive in tomorrow’s world, but when doing so, I must take into consideration that The Great Unravelling is going to mean the loss of virtually every way of life we each as individuals have known. How can you successfully prepare for such an eventuality? How does one prepare for a way of life alien to all one has ever known? Growing food is one thing…livestock management … tanning…basic building skills … basic medical skills …sewing/knitting …textiles…. shoes….iron mongering….tool fashioning…it just goes on and on. People even 100 years ago had many of these skills, or they lived near someone with them.

    That is why I always recommend that folks begin seeking out and building communities in preparation for coming events. Though we speak gloom and doom, the end message is a call to action. Individuals and couples can’t do this alone. It will require community effort.

    I also agree that moving to a foreign country would be pretty low on my list. I did it. I know some of the cultural hurdles one must navigate – and that move was to a people who spoke my native language. God knows how much it multiplies the issues one must deal with if they move to a place without a common language or heritage. You are always an outsider, no matter how well you have been accepted into the community – always….And when times get tough as you have said, it is good to be around family. but having said that, people have been migrating to a better life for millennia – all nations came about as a result of adventurous folks. The key, as you have indicated so well, is to be realistic in your expectations – or if you are young and adventurous, throw all caution to the wind and just do it!

    Love the poem.

  • Victor it is true that people have been migrating to a better life for millenia. It is also true that when hard times come people pick scapegoats – and the scapegoats are usually those who are “other” in some way. Sometimes this is stirred up by Powers that Be, but ordinary humans can do this as well.

    St Bartholmew’s day massacre of the Huguenots was stirred up but the people eagerly went after the identified “others” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Bartholomew's_Day_massacre

    The killing of Jews during the plague probably took little stirring up by PTB “The 14th century eruption of the Black Death had a drastic effect on Europe’s population, irrevocably changing the social structure. It was, arguably, a serious blow to the Catholic Church, and resulted in widespread persecution of minorities such as Jews, foreigners, beggars, and lepers. The uncertainty of daily survival has been seen as creating a general mood of morbidity, influencing people to “live for the moment”, as illustrated by Giovanni Boccaccio in The Decameron (1353).[10]” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Death

    My ex husband and I worked for some time in a very rural county in the mountains of TN. It was kept all white by the people living there. Our organization brought in work groups from outside to help poor people. Some had blacks in the group. To make the long short we had two crosses burned on our front lawn and a project van torched. Even people who sided with us would not stand up for us because they would be targeted if they did. We moved.

    I have some reason therefore to be realistic about what it means to be other. Of course if you move to a country where the language is the same or where at least you have the same skin color as the dominant population your “otherness” is not so strong. Meanwhile I keep working on my southern accent. Perhaps someday I won’t sound like a Yankee.

    If we in fact are facing a dieoff of 80% or more of the humans on earth we face an unprecedented situation. Previous human bottlenecks might have been a higher percent, but the sheer number, the billions of human lives that may be shortened, snuffed out in a brief period, is unprecedented. People will, at the very least, have to decide who to share and cooperate with. They will start with kin first and tribe (as they define it) second IMO. The way I look at it, whenever we feel strongly something is “right” (like it is right to take care of your family) that represents an embedded evolutionary program. Kin and tribe favoring are demonstrated in many species. These are some of the strongest programs we have (next to procreation, infant care and self protection). We haven’t needed close kin and close tribe so much in recent decades but I believe that these programs will strongly reassert when times get really hard. I think for most we don’t have to like them for our programs to get switched on by being moved into survival mode. For adults with children, they will favor children and grandchildren over siblings and parents and strangers.

    By the way, of interest, when I was in Haiti I was blanc (white) but I was told so were Afro-americans. Blanc had come to mean other and any non-Haitian was therefore blanc.

    Meanwhile it is a beautiful day and I am going to go feed our chickens and delight in them.

  • If we choose not to make a new way of life for ourselves, perhaps you can see what is visible through my eyes.

    Can you see in the offing, there on the far horizon within sight of every human being with feet of clay on Earth, the first slouching trillionaire in the universe lumbering toward Bethlehem to be born?

  • Mike and Karen. It is, of course, excellent that you have identified the empire for what it is, and have the courage to make such a radical change.

    ‘Those needs are simply to learn self-sufficiency and sustainability. By working on different farms and homesteads throughout the world we hope to learn some valuable skills and enrich our lives by entering the world of farmers and experiencing the lives of these pioneering people.’

    You will definitely enrich your lives, but may I offer a few words of caution?

    Firstly there is the time element. None of us knows when things will ‘turn to custard’ (they already are in much of the world), but the time frame generally accepted on NBL is 2012 to 2015. There are people who circumnavigate the globe via short stays on WWOOFer properties, but these tend to be ‘tourists’. To fully appreciate local food production you have to be in one location for an entire year (at least). Time is too short.

    Secondly, although many of the operators of farms, orchards, market gardens etc. are well meaning, many have very little idea about true sustainability. Unless you have a clear idea yourself, you could easily get side-tracked and bamboozled by differing opionions, some completely contradictory.

    Thirdly, differences in soil and climate radically affect what can be grown. For instance, the northern part of the North Island of NZ is essentially frost-free, but is periodically hit by the remnants of tropical cyclones. The lower part of the North Island is subject to mild frosts and cold southerly winds (in the winter and spring). The northen part of the South Island has warm summers, but rather cold winters. The southern part has a climate similar to that of Scotland (grey skies and fairly severe winters, but occasionally experiences very hot summers). Crops and practices are very region-specific.

    Fourthly, don’t have any romanitic notions about farming. Speaking again about this country, the industrial system has encouraged unsustainable mono-culture farming practices based on massive inputs of fertiliser and fossil fuel derived energy. Even those who claim to be organic or sustainable are not really, and are dependent on the industrial economy for survival. I know of only one property in this region that comes within a mile of being self-sufficient and sustainable in the long term (and unfortunately it’s not mine, though I would fare a lot better than most people if it all crashed tomorrow).

    It seems to me you have a couple of options: do a ‘quick’ tour of the world in order to select a location that appeals, then focus on shifting there and establishing yourselves (as quickly as possible); adopt a hunter-gatherer mentality at this point of time and be prepared to adapt to changing circumstnaces as the unravelling proceeds.

    I trust that all makes sense.

    Victor. ‘It makes me wish I were younger and had not wasted my life working for The Man.’ It makes me wish I were younger and knew 20 years ago what I know now.

    Kathy. Spot on, as usual. There is an aboriginal (Australian) saying which I don’t have at hand, but it goes something like this: “We were here before you. You came. We will still be here after you leave.”

  • Kevin, thanks for the saying! Your points about time are timely 🙂 Time seems short … I note that the market was not reassured by the Ireland bailout.

  • Victor. Some important points arise from your comment: ‘Growing food is one thing…livestock management … tanning…basic building skills … basic medical skills …sewing/knitting …textiles…. shoes….iron mongering….tool fashioning…it just goes on and on. People even 100 years ago had many of these skills, or they lived near someone with them.’

    In most western nations the equipment necessary to make shoes or clothing from the raw materials, or carry out basic carpentry or metalurgy have been largely lost (or deliberately relocated to China), in most cases less than 30 years ago. Each year that passes there are fewer left who have the skills and knowledge necssary to even attempt to ressurrect such activities.

    Most people are unaware that production of what we regard as normal clothing or footwear is heavily depoendent on the availability of basic industrial chemicals, such as calcium hydroxide, sodium hydroxide, sodium sulphide, sulphuric acid etc. and in the case of synthetic soles, oil-based resins. (Production of heavily tanned sole leather by traditional pit tannage can take up to a year, by the way).

    If the industrial economy undergoes the kind of dramatic collapse some people envision, none of the essential materials, the skills or the equipment will be available. People will have to adapt to spinning/weaving/knitting whatever is available, which depending on location may not be much.

    Only if there is a slow collapse via gradual imposition of trade restrictions and re-establishment of local industry could there be much chance of return to traditional methods of manufacturing: that does not seem very likely.

    ‘That is why I always recommend that folks begin seeking out and building communities in preparation for coming events. Though we speak gloom and doom, the end message is a call to action. Individuals and couples can’t do this alone. It will require community effort.’

    Much as I agree with what you say, the level of interest is close to zero in most places at the moment. Mike and Karen are presumably two in 50,000. As we have discussed many times, it will only be after there has been significant collaspe that people will start to believe the empire is fallible. And the window of opportunity for preparation will have passed. In fact, I believe it already has. But I’d be happy to be proven wrong.

  • Kevin: I disagree with you only on two points.

    Keep your romantic notions about farming. We can have the sh+ttiest day imaginable. Nothing goes right, you are tired, and sore, you busted a piece of equipment, but you take a moment at the end of the day, “to walk your property”, and you know what, it doesn’t seem so bad after all.

    On the hunter/gatherer option, I think we all better forget it. I’m finishing up, The Wizard of the Upper Amazon. The author describes a hunting trip where they have to force march for 4 days to get to a good hunting spot, and that’s in the Amazon. We just went through the first two days of rifle season here in NY, and if there is a deer left standing I would be really surprised. A 4 day forced walk from where we live would take me half way to Buffalo, or Rochester, and a third of the way to NYC.

    We have 35 acres and the only thing here that might interest you as a gatherer would be acorns, black walnuts, lambs quarter, and a bunch of other stuff with way too much fibre in it. We are changing that, but just gathering here with the original offerings; you wouldn’t make it through the winter.

    My 2 cents,



  • A new “get-out-of-the-U.S.-while-you-can” essay is here.

  • Ed. Your point about not making it through the winter as a hunter-gatherer is very valid for your location. The first European settlers would probably have starved were it not for the assisrance given by the locals, who had a hunter-gatherer lifestyle; but there were not 30 million of them crammed into what are now the north-eastern states.

    I was not thinking of big game: more a matter of being prepared to eat whatever is available -leaves, berries, nuts, snails, grubs, fungi, hedgehogs, squirrels? Have you seen any of the Man verus Wild series? He is prepared to eat practically anything -snakes, spiders scorpions…. to obtain nutrients.

    Many tribal communities specialise in extracting the edible matter from fibrous materials via cooking, beating, straining etc. We (or those that follow us) could well face the prospect of spending 2/3 of the time locating and extracting nutrients: presumably a lot would have no idea how to even attempt that and would die.

    I don’t know much about your location, other than what I’ve seen in films, but I imagine it to be one of the least agriculturally productive regions of the US, simply beacause the soil temperature must be low for many months of the year. Presumably that makes land more affordable, which is not the case around here: 35 acres with a dwelling would fetch $800,000 to $1.5 million….. way beyond the reach of most of us. You must get a lot of satisfaction out of increasing the productivity the land.

    Peasant societies stored harvest surpluses by drying, salting etc,, but nevertheless lost much weight through the winter. Periods of seni-starvation were pefectly normal -hence our tendency to over-eat when food is available. As most of us recognise, the common land that surrounded villages and provided a source of fuel and some food 400 years ago have mostly been coveed in concrete and asphalt, and filled with consumers.

  • Guy,
    As regards to the link, ie the critique of the US –

    The comments (contributors) on your blog come with so much
    ideological baggage, I have given up reading any of it at depth. Your citizenship has coloured your world view so much so, that your average Aussie has more in common with a Dane than a fellow English speaker from the US. You guys are worlds apart from other OECD countries
    as the article suggests. I did mention this sometime ago here, (arguments ensured) ‘good’ to see they have been confirmed. The ideas propagated by your mainstream media is a complete anathema to the well ‘reasoned’ folk of other OECD countries.

    A friend from Melbourne is spending 4 weeks travelling around California.
    He is particularly disturbed by the number of homeless people he has witnessed. The ‘greatest country on earth’ – don’t believe it for a second.

    Side note – We are all guilty of confirmation bias.

  • Kevin

    You put it so much more clearly than I – there are skills and resources that you never hear about because they have been lost, yet they might be of significant import in the new world. In the pre-industrial world you could find these skills and resources just about anywhere you travelled. People had, over many years, developed the means to survive in their locales, or they had developed a transport and distribution system that would furnish these products from other regions. When our fossil fuel based transport system falls over, nearly all of us will be doomed to fail as well.

    I’m really not trying to be pessimistic here, but no one yet has given me any reason to believe otherwise. Most advice one gets when this subject comes up is very heavily laden with a paradigm based more upon wishful thinking than hard reasoning – “IF the government would do this…..”, “IF people would do that…..”, “IF all of us jumped at the same…..”

  • Victor. I don’t think you are ‘trying to be pessimistic’, just realistic. One version of definition is: a pessimist is someone who knows the facts, whereas an optimist doesn’t.

    As you know, one of my strengths is a fairly extensive knowledge of chemistry and industrial technology, but there are areas I am weaker in that others are stronger in, which is why this forum is so useful.

    ‘When our fossil fuel based transport system falls over, nearly all of us will be doomed to fail as well.’

    I wonder why you used the word ‘fail’ in that sentence.

    We know the government won’t do anything constructive, and most people won’t do anything. Sit back and enjoy the show, as Guy said recently, or actively prepare for the inevitable transition phase (that’s a euphamism for bottleneck squeeze).

    If nothing else we can enjoy the watching idiot policians dig deeper and deeper holes for themselves. Ireland’s turn for the moment.

  • Kevin, don’t eat the slugs (grubs). Some of them will make you quite sick. For the time being, I’ll just let them pass through the chickens. Kidding a bit, and your point is well made. We may, in time, have to look beyond the more obvious sources of protein.
    You are correct NY State ranks about in the middle of the states as it relates to total agricultural output. What the state does produce is indicative of pretty poor soil. Lots of milk and cheese because most of the land isn’t worth much more than pasture.
    1.5 million, amazing. We paid 59K for the 34 acres with 15K square feet of dairy barns.
    We have a friend who is in NZ right now. She received a grant to go and study permaculture in Australia and NZ. Can’t wait for them to get back and hear their stories.
    All the best,

  • I don’t think this has been mentioned here yet, but there is a wonderful guest post by “Yevgeny” over at Dmitry Orlov’s site http://www.cluborlov.blogspot.com that compliments Kathy’s argument beautifully.

  • Ed, slugs and grubs are not the same thing. Slugs are more like snails without shells. Our chickens adore Japanese beetle grubs and June beetle grubs (also the adults). They seldom eat slugs because they don’t like the sticky on their beaks. Some young hungry roosters will eat them tho. While I don’t think it is failsafe, if I had nothing else to eat I would try anything the chickens eat. Below are a few links on slugs and June beetle grubs. When checking plants or bugs for edibility I just type in the name and the word edible. Sometimes you get conflicting info.



  • The one of the best plants I know of is the cape gooseberry. Around here it grows like a weed; seed to mature plant in one season. But unlike weeds, it produces a yellow, cherry-sized edible fruit within a ‘cape’. At this point of time it has no pests or diseases, and unlike my strawberries, is not attacked by birds, so no care is necessary.

    Unfortunately one cannot live by cape gooseberries alone.

  • Here’s a glass raised to Mike and Karen! May you find lots of good things on your journey.

    Kathy, I just wanted to say… while many creatures favor kin in one way or another, it’s not quite as total among humans as your post suggests. There is lots of info out there on human bands (25-100 individuals or so) and while they included compatible kin, they included many friends. Compatibility was more important to those who resolved their differences by walking away from conflict.

    Kinship became elevated by early ag societies where emerging elites profited by stressing their special connections to certain ancestors (often made up). 🙂

  • i just discovered a blog which may be of interest:


    written by ‘tripp’. who currently resides in central georgia, dealing with permaculture, and musings on our predicament with collapse and die-off, which he’s well aware of. he’s remarkably optimistic, a glass half full type, i suppose. interesting trait in a doomer. plus he’s very intelligent. besides doing his own blog, he’s a regular contributor to kunstler’s cfn. i tried posting to his blog, but had trouble registering. it may be of particular interest to kathy because of proximity to her, as well as to others into permaculture.

    p.s. i’ve been reading here regularly, but not posting lately. with so many fine posts, i’ve had nothing worthwhile to add.

  • p.s.s. dan treecraft’s still alive, has a new post on dead man talking.

  • Vera, I was apparently not clear. What I am talking about is the dilemma post crash that communities of unrelated people may face. You form a community. Since none of your adult children or other relatives think that collapse is a concern, you form a community with unrelated folks who see the future as you do. You buy land together, enough for your group and if you can a bit more. You build houses of a size to cover your group members. You work hard to improve the land. Then comes collapse and all those city dwelling relatives are unable to get enough to eat. They show up on your doorstep. You can only take in two without overpopulating your land to the point where no one has enough food. But there are your children and the children of others in the group. There stand your hungry grandchildren and the grandchildren of others in the group. Who do you take in?

    I also wrote “They will start with kin first and tribe (as they define it) second IMO.” I am well aware that tribes of hunter-gatherers may not all be closely related. But you will note that although tribes do not figure very strongly in the US today, in times of stress they form. They may not be at all related but they may have some common characteristic that says “more closely related than those others”. This could be “not immigrant” as in White Arizonians over hispanic Arizonians. This could be of “Irish extraction” vs. of “German extraction”. Once a tribe is formed by whatever means (a gang is a tribe) others become outsiders.

    Kin selection is so prevalent in nature that to attribute human kin selection to culture is a huge stretch. However to note that elites use this embedded trait for their own ends is not.

    How many mothers will let their child starve in order to feed a child a continent away. Wouldn’t you consider such a mother severely disturbed. The care of your own children is so deeply embedded that no one even notices it or thinks about it. Some parents can adopt a child and make it their own in their minds and thus treat it as if it is genetically theirs. But few, if any, would adopt a child if they only had enough to feed their own.

    Nothing like stress on a population to see evolutionarily embedded programs come to the front. Do you hear stories of adult children moving in with their neighbors or do you hear stories of adult children moving back in with mom and dad? Exceptions can always be found. I am addressing what is likely for the vast majority of people when very hard times present themselves.

    In our own case there are plenty of people who it would make sense for us to take in…people who have hunting skills etc. My husband and I know however that if any of his or my children want to shelter here we will take them despite their lack of useful skills for living off the land. Its what one does. (whenever you hear those words, look for a deeply embedded program)

    In various species kin selection shows itself to be connected to the degree of relatedness (and the liklihood of that relative passing some shared genes on). “In the 1930s J.B.S. Haldane had full grasp of the basic quantities and considerations that play a role in kin selection. He famously said that, “I would lay down my life for two brothers or eight cousins”.[6] …Haldane’s remark alluded to the fact that if an individual loses its life to save two siblings, four nephews, or eight cousins, it is a “fair deal” in evolutionary terms, as siblings are on average 50% identical by descent, nephews 25%, and cousins 12.5% (in a diploid population that is randomly mating and previously outbred). But Haldane also joked that he would truly die only to save more than a single identical twin of his or more than two full siblings” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kin_selection#Hamilton.27s_rule

    We like to think we are more than animals, that we can rise above our programs and act otherwise. Living with an abundance is no test of that theory. Living through dieoff will surely test the theory of kin
    selection. If you are forming a community of unrelated people it would be wise to discuss this before things get bad.

  • PS, I remembered this morning a story by Jared Diamond. As I recall, he was out with a group of natives in New Guinea. They came upon another group. He tells of them spending a long time sharing lists of relatives until they could come up with someone who was related to both groups so they wouldn’t have to fight.

  • Yeah, I remember that story too. But you have to keep in mind that those stories work in *friends as kin*… they are not what we think of as true genealogies. And I am not denying blood ties. I am saying that old bands were clusters of *compatible people*, kin and friends, and that is why they worked. Moving in with relatives may be an option for some, but many relatives are not compatible. I think it may be a good thing to remember when making plans. Note that Guy is sharing a living with friends rather than that cousin who ripped him off a couple decades ago (fiction folks, fiction!!! ;).

    Here are a few quotes from an anthro book called Pathways to Inequality.

    “Friendship may be a stronger determinant of such relationships than kinship for many foragers. The effective network includes those people who provide an individual with material and emotional assistance during the routines of daily life.”

    “Friendship and the sharing networks that grow from it often form a much more significant determinant of the intensity of social interaction among foragers than the degree of kinship.”

    Find your true kin and you’ll be way ahead of most folks in making preparations. IMO.

  • Vera, the closeness of a relationship counts. Not many will let their children or grandchildren starve while feeding non kin. I wouldn’t, would you? Sisters, uncles, cousins are a different matter.

  • In the New World “eat whatever is available -leaves, berries, nuts, snails, grubs, fungi, hedgehogs, squirrels” does not apply to hedgehogs. They are Old World animals, of many different species. In fact, importation of these is forbidden in the united States, since they may displace native fauna and disrupt ecosystems.

    While “tribes of hunter-gatherers may not all be closely related” the idea of a “tribe” implies shared ancestry. A “a gang is a tribe” only if it has shared anecstry. Otherwise it is a band (cognate with Bund in German).

  • Robin, I understand your definitions. Most gangs are likely to have more shared ancestry within the gang than with other gang members simply because they tend to be racially formed – hispanic, black, white, asian. They tend to form in neighborhoods and probably have a number of kin sets in them. Once formed of course they develop a set of rituals, signs etc to set themselves apart and create a sense of family with outsiders being “other”. They are not the same as a tribe but share some similarities. One difference is that as gang remembers age they usually move on out of the gang which is not true of a tribe.

    “In some neighborhoods, many members of a family have belonged to the same gang. These multigenerational gangs develop in different settings, but have been most often observed among Hispanics. Sanchez-Jankowski (1991) reported that many gang members told him that their families had a long history of gang involvement that included older brothers, and in a considerable number of cases, fathers and grandfathers. Thirty-two percent of the Los Angeles fathers he interviewed said that they had been members of the same gang to which their children now belonged, while 11 percent reported that four generations of their family had membership in the same gang.”

    Read more: Gangs – Family, Gangs, And The Gang As Family – Poverty, History, Youths, Study, Families, Sense, Provide, and Time http://family.jrank.org/pages/674/Gangs-Family-Gangs-Gang-Family.html#ixzz16Eha71DO

  • For a profoundly negative view of the U.S. and a series of reasons to move to any other country, check the latest post at Dmitry Orlov’s blog.

  • Kathy, yes, of course, it’s the relationship that counts. As for tribes, I have read that it’s the size… they are composed of bands, and big enough so that young people can find mates. Shared language (or dialect) seems to be key as well.

    Hedgehogs! I saw one in New Zealand. Thought I was hallucinating. 🙂

  • For those who know little of the history of New Zealand, its unique flora and fauna were doing fine until humans arrived.

    The Maori introduced a few species and annihilated a few (moas in particular -lack of meat in the form of land mammals agued as the reason). But it was the early Europeans, and especially the British and Australians who really messed things up. The wanted to create ‘another England’ in the South Pacific, or ‘thought it would be a good idea to have …’, so introduced numerous species, both plant and animal, some of which subsequently became major pests, gorse, thistles, goats, deer, rabbits and possoms being especially notable. (Hedgehogs do not appear to be particularly harmful to the ecological balance). A more or less constant war -physically killing, plus chemical and biological methods- is waged to control many intodruced species.

    Amd, of course, the landscape was devastated in the period roughly 1880 -1930, when large areas of forest and bush were cleared to create pasture for sheep and cattle. Presumably pastoral farming will fall into delcine as the imported fertilisers and fuel which make it possible become less avalable.

    Globalisation has meant that NZ (like many other countries) is under constant threat of invasion by moths, spiders, mosquitoes, mites, viruses……

    The termination of mass air travel, due to general economic collapse, will presumably bring some relief from invasion, and a new ecological balance will eventually establish (dependent on the severity of warming: 4 or 6 degrees will be rather devastating).

    Interestingly, there has been very little rain for two months, and if present patterns continue the coming summer will be devastating for many.

  • The blog post on Orlov’s blog notes many things that are bad in the US and better elsewhere. However it seems likely to me that when collapse comes it will be global (Joseph Tainter agrees on this). The interconnections that Victor talks about are throughout the world. I also believe that it will be rather rapid. Thus it seems to me that the advantages of elsewhere will evaporate rather quickly. Previous migrations were to lands where people thought things would be better, whether because there was more land, more job opportunity, or more religious freedom. Unfortunately most of planet earth is used up. A sudden global collapse will initiate a dieoff. In some respects the less developed countries, ie those who have lots of people who are not highly dependent on electricity or pampered by a first world lifestyle may suffer less (especially if first world countries are suddenly crippled). But those countries are places that would be more foreign to people from English speaking countries and whose populace likely have a grudge against English speaking people in general. I would still maintain that in a time when it becomes hard to just get enough calories to eat being in the country of your origin will at least keep you from looking like calories to eat 🙂

    If the collapse is quite slow, it might be worth while to migrate to some other country where you could fairly quickly integrate into the local populace. From the US, Canada might work (I even have relatives there as my grandfather was an Irishman who settled in Canada but I have no wish to move). Mexico and lands south might work for a while but would probably not work in the long run. Once a gringo always a gringo.

    My personal bet is that collapse is soon, and swift and steep. In which case the less you can be perceived as “other” in some way the better. In a land of Christians I am “other” anyway. I have had a lot of good days in my life. If I miss traveling through the elder years so be it.

  • Unfortunately, “being in the country of your origin will at least keep you from looking like calories to eat” may not apply to many denizens of ‘mericuh. I, for one, might prefer to take my chances here rather than return to the Islamic Republic of Bangladesh – which I left in 1973. So I have no reason to leave the country.

    The one last reason that I might have to leave the conntry, the possibility that I may be recalled to serve overseas has receded to negligibility: I retired from the uS Army Reserve (they put me out to pasture in 2005); they will now have to scrape the bottom of the barrel to get me. However, if as Orlov, Greer and others suggest, the uSA becomes the FuSA (F=Former, à la Former USSR), the issue would take on new dimensions.

  • I would like to bring your attention to a recently peer-reviewed paper by climatologist Dr. Tim Garrett in which he concludes that short of the complete and rapid collapse of civilisation carbon emissions will lead both to a 5 degree warming and a 100% inflation by the end of the century. He bases this upon prior work he has done that established a constant value for the relationship between Gross World Product (GWP) – or “global wealth” – and energy consumed of 9.7 milliwatts per 1990 US Dollar.

    This is a significant work. What it basically says is that we are fucked no matter what we do or don’t do – that given BAU, climate change will erase most of the wealth of civilisation, which he defines as the net production of humanity over history, and that short of a complete and unlikely rapid conversion to de-carbonise civilisation, the world temperature will experience a rise of at least 5 degrees by the end of the century. He holds out no hope. When asked pointedly what then should we do? He answered that we should make the most of life we live today whilst it lasts. When asked if that was a bit pessimistic, he replied that he could come to no other conclusion.

    His paper is here for those of you with a scientific bent:


    You can also hear his audio interview here ( http://www.energybulletin.net/media/2010-11-24/atmosphere-crisis ) – it is the second interview on this stream, the first being another very interesting one with Julian Cribb discussing his new book, “The Coming Famine: The Global Food Crisis and What We Can Do To Avoid It”. For those of you who like to hear that there exist silver linings out there and you don’t really have to go through the Darkened Door, I would recommend it.

    Remember what I suggested the difference between an author and a prophet was? – Well, here in one audio stream you see the author (Cribb) v The Prophet (Garrett). Both present truth. Only the Prophet takes you through the Darkened Door, however.

  • Virgin Terry, thanks for the link to Tripp’s Small Batch Garden blog! Since I am in south Mississippi, the blog may prove useful to me.

    Hope all here had a good Thanksgiving.

  • Victor, if I remember correctly, he does not say that temps will rise 5 degrees by the end of the century. He says that the only way Jevons Paradox can be solved (and he does not name it as such) is by a near-complete economic crash. I think he is absolutely right. People who want to save the world by taking “shorter showers” (in Jensen’s famous words) do not understand the paradox.

    Now the interesting thing is… our dear elites are busy engineering just such a total economic crash, if we all here are not mistaken. Is it design, or is it total idiocy? I have been on the side of the latter hypothesis, but sometimes, I wonder… 😉

  • Victor, thanks for the link. Your assessment of author vs Prophet is accurate IMO. I note that many come to dire conclusions, such as Cribb’s comming famine, but then they put them far enough into the future so that their impractical, improbable and ineffective solutions don’t really have to be acted upon. A year in which all subjects address food would be nice, but hardly likely and not near enough soon enough. I think what happens is that when they start to realize how dire things are their brains have to create scenarios in which the dire doesn’t happen any time soon…..

    But at any rate, Guy’s position that a collapse of industrial civilization is the only thing that might keep the planet livable for some humans and therefore to be preferred is affirmed directly by Garrett and indirectly by Cribb.

  • The thing about Cribb that irritated me, even his “prescription” of making kids study growing food is another top down educational edict issued by the urban elites. As long as urban elites control education, how will rural values, self-reliance and ag learning have a chance?

  • Some time ago I recognised the surreality of it all and that the dominant culture, the powers that be, industrial civilisation, the money masters, the masters of the universe, mega-corporations- whatever name you give ‘the beast’- invariably deliver the reverse of what is required, since the agenda of the dominant culture is the reverse of what is required.

    To have had a good prospect of providing coming generations with a habitable planet we needed a reduction in fossil fuel use in the range 80-100% and population stability (reduction) before now. We needed passive solar homes in close proximity to productive land, so we got poorly designed, energy-inefficent homes on tiny pockets of land or apartment blocks. We needed localisation, so we got globalisation. We needed walkable, so we got motorways. We needed slow, so we got fast.

    All reasoned analysis indicates that we now need is a fairly fast ecnomic collapse. Applying the (perverse)’reverse rule’, we should therefore anticipate a slow collapse.

    That slow economic collapse will, of course, push the Earth’s chemical-biological systems into accelerating environmental collapse, which may well culminate in an abrupt climate change event, a 4 or 6 degree rise in average temperture over a period of a few decades.

    The reality we have to face is that we are headed into completely uncharted and unchartable territory with maniacs in control.

    What is particularly surreal about official response to the climate crisis that there is no evidence humanity can cope with a 2 degree rise, the so-called target, or that there is any way of keeping the CO2 in the atmosphere below 450ppm when it reaches that figure. And to my knowledge, there is no official thought with respect to the effect further acidification of the oceans (which are already ‘collapsing’) will have.

    A friend of mine said a number of years ago: “If you have a pollution problem, the best response is to burn tyres.” I believe he got the expression from his father.

    We haven’t made much progress.

  • With the advertised expectations in climate change, we may see a trend towards Cretaceous-like conditions. In those times, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were is excess of 660 ppm, and by some estimates, approaching 2000 ppm. (vs. today’s 350 ppm,) with higher temperatiures.

    One factor that could hopefully skew the trend is the glacial cycles. The current interglacial cycle has lasted long enough that the next glaciation could be due anytime. Glaciations are associated with a temperature decline of 10°C to 12°C; the currently expected anthropogenic rise in temperature of 5°C to 6°C may serve to mitigate the glaciation if – and only if – the onset of the glaciation fortuitously starts just about now.

  • glad to be potentially helpful, christopher. and thanks for all the great, if profoundly disturbing insights and education, all.

    below is text from an email i just got from the NIA. i edited out a few less relevant paragraphs for brevity’s sake. i find their emails and videos quite insightful/educational, re. what may prove to be the first great economic convulsion of collapse: hyperinflation. they’re not hip to resource depletion, agw, or ecological collapse, though, it seems. still, in the spirit of sharing a relevant point of view, here it is. (note: link to the video described is at the bottum of this post. i highly recommend checking it out; it’s brief and very provocative.)

    NIA’s New Video Goes Viral

    On Wednesday, November 24th, the National Inflation Association released a shocking and stunning video entitled, ‘The Day the Dollar Died’, which shows the world exactly what could happen to the U.S. economy in the very near future during the first 12 hours of a U.S. dollar collapse. Although the video itself is fictional, NIA believes a U.S. dollar collapse is inevitable and there is a strong likelihood that the U.S. will experience an outbreak of hyperinflation this decade. ‘The Day the Dollar Died’ is a wake up call for Americans who aren’t yet stocking up on gold, silver and food supplies. The U.S. dollar’s day of reckoning is coming and only Americans who prepare now will survive.

    In just 42 hours since its release, ‘The Day the Dollar Died’ has already been viewed over 145,000 times on YouTube. It is currently YouTube’s #1 top favorited news and politics video. Approximately 1,200 people have commented about the video on YouTube alone, with thousands of more comments having been made about the video on hundreds of Internet blogs that have featured it. An amazing 93.5% of those who have watched ‘The Day the Dollar Died’ have given it a thumbs up.

    NIA is not a political organization and does not support Republicans or Democrats. NIA exists solely for the purpose of educating Americans to the truth about the U.S. economy and inflation. Americans live in a country where 99% of those who studied economics in college were taught voodoo Keynesian economics.

    Keynesian economists have the mistaken belief that all recessions are bad and must be suppressed by government interference in the free market. They believe that by the Federal Reserve manipulating interest rates to artificially low levels and printing trillions of dollars of fiat money out of thin air, they can create jobs, economic growth, and wealth. They believe that a little bit of inflation is good for an economy.

    Keynesian economists fail to realize that when price inflation breaks out, it becomes impossible to contain unless interest rates are immediately raised to a level that is higher than the real rate of price inflation. Unfortunately, due to the current size and scope of our national debt and unfunded liabilities, NIA believes it will be impossible for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates higher than the real rate of inflation. Real interest rates are likely to stay negative until the U.S. dollar collapses and is officially declared dead and worthless.

    Gas and grocery bills for all Americans have been rising substantially in recent months. The average American has been seeing health insurance costs spiral out of control on an annual basis. Students have been suffering from college tuitions rising like there is no tomorrow. Massive price inflation is all around us, yet the mainstream media continues to ignore the truth and reports the government’s phony CPI numbers as gospel.

    Politicians in Washington from both sides of the aisle have been colluding with the media in order to brainwash Americans into believing inflation is not a problem and that their real fear should be deflation. Deflation is a good thing for middle class Americans because it means their money is worth more and their incomes and savings have more purchasing power. Inflation is only good for the politicians because it allows them to steal the wealth of middle class Americans and redistribute it to their banker friends on Wall Street who don’t produce anything of real value.

    There is no reason for a lawyer or banker to make more money than a farmer or factory worker. This is only made possible by the system we have today, where Americans get suckered into electing representatives who promise entitlements that the government can’t afford without printing the money to pay for them. When the dollar bubble bursts and the system collapses, the free market will allow farmers and goods producers to become wealthy while lawyers and bankers go broke.

    Most Americans are naive enough to believe that because the U.S. has survived for so long with such a huge national debt and continuous budget deficits, the country will be able to continue down this path forever without any consequences because after all, this is America we are talking about. The truth is, our national debt has grown by 70.7% over the past five years, compared to 41.8% during the previous five years, and 14.3% during the five years before that. Meanwhile, our GDP has grown by 17.9% over the past five years, compared to 27.5% during the previous five years, and 32.9% during the five years before that. We have gone from our GDP growing more than twice as fast as our debt, to our debt growing at nearly quadruple the speed of our GDP. A train wreck is getting ready to happen and this train wreck is literally unstoppable.

    To watch ‘The Day the Dollar Died’ for free please visit the NIA video page at: http://inflation.us/videos.html

  • The Oil Drum is “Moving Forward – Towards A Kinder Gentler (Smaller) Oil Drum” http://www.theoildrum.com/node/7132#more Part of their mission appears to be stated below
    “Our plans on how best to present energy related content in an effort to arm and influence decision-makers at this stage of the game, are below the fold.”

    Gazooks, just what we need…I am in fact pretty much at a loss of words.

    Perhaps “fiddling while Rome burns” is comment enough?

  • Terry, interesting you should post about the NIA. A friend who is a banker just gave me a print out from them on inflation. In it it states “NIA projects that at the average U.S. grocery store it will soon cost $11.43 for one ear of corn, ” but further on it states “The report highlights how despite cotton rising by 54%, corn rising by 29%,” I am not sure how we get from a 29% increase in corn prices to $11.43 an ear.

    There statement that they exist solely to educate us about the truth of the economy seems perhaps a bit broad give that they also say on their stocks page “One of our missions at the National Inflation Association is to discover and profile companies that we believe will prosper in an inflationary environment. Typically we will bring to you producing, profitable, Gold and Silver companies with strong balance sheets. We believe these stocks have a chance of becoming some of the best performers of the next decade.”

    The video just below the one you linked to is a Glen Beck video. Glen pushes gold and silver and also runs advertisements for a gold company that is being investigated for fraud. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/20/glenn-becks-sponsor-goldl_n_652766.html

    I am not saying that the video is incorrect in how things may play out, but I strongly suspect fear mongering for the sake of profit in the NIA

  • Terry thanks as well for the link to the small batch garden blog.

    For the fast vs slow crash discussion, here are some thoughts:

    and here is Steve’s blog: http://economic-undertow.blogspot.com/


  • Terry,

    Frankly I am a bit nervous about organisations that appear suddenly with a lot of slick videos, advancing fear, and advocates of a single ideology – in this case, gold. My initial suspicion arose when they apparently dump virtually the entire cause for the mess in the USA on the entitlement programs without even a brief mention of the huge gorilla in the room – military spending and Homeland (Heil Hitler) Security. And no mention of the great robbery of the American people (and those of the world) by the Wall Street banksters – only the tired old target that Social Security (one of the best run entitlement programmes ever in the world) provides.

    I also found myself raising my eyebrows a bit at their basic message “Invest where we say to invest and you will profit from the collapse”. Well, excuse me….is that all they are concerned about – profits? I see this line so much at all these sites that peddle fear and gold. They always have slick writers and videos.

    As I looked further into it, it appears that the organisation is headed by one Gerard Adams, a relatively young (it appears), aggressive Wall Street investor who seems not to have much history (his only other claim to fame, other than heading up NIA and another web site called Wall Street Grand, was as Director of Investor Relations for a company called Mphase Technologies, a nano tech company, as recently as 2007). So not a lot of experience? But his ambitions are global and include the wish to start a hedge fund at some point according to his website. He seems to be a very slick marketer and stock market analyst.

    Sorry Terry, but I see just too many dollar signs behind the video, its producer and his philosophy and aims in life. Good God, he even has a Glen Beck video. Beck is one high profile celebrity paid to promote Goldline, a gold investment house that apparently uses very aggressive tactics to sell over-priced gold – like scaremongering?

    So do I trust him? No. Do I trust his message? It is full of half-truths, distortions and and fear.

  • Kathy,

    I agree with what you have said about the video. Might be true, but….