Partial understanding on planet Easter Island

The recent S&P downgrade of U.S. debt is yet another example of a circus sideshow in a nation filled with clowns sleepwalking off a cliff. Ben Bernanke, the master of ceremonies in the most ridiculous show on Earth, has come up with a new scheme to print money, hence plunge a financially bankrupt nation further into debt (i.e., plunge an empire on the edge even further into the economic abyss). On the other hand, some adamantly say we’ve seen the end of quantitative easing, as of this week (i.e., no more printing money from Ben). Others say, just as adamantly, we haven’t. Will the circus stay in town another week? Another year? Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, on the all-important oil front, Saudi Arabia cuts output, claiming the market is well supplied. I guess the price of oil pushing industrial economies into the abyss indicates adequate supply. Or maybe the kingdom is lying, and their fields are in precipitous decline.

Declining oil extraction at the world level and ongoing money printing by King Ben are, unsurprisingly, raising the price of oil. In response, Barack Obama is demonstrating the type of leadership I’ve come to expect from national politicians: He’s blaming speculators for the high price of oil while expanding military operations in oil-rich countries (e.g., Libya is the new Iraq quagmire). This failure of leadership should no longer surprise anybody, but it should disappoint everybody who claims to care about human life.

The war to nowhere continues in Afghanistan while the occupation of Iraq, intended to allow American access to oil (as I’ve been writing for years), continues to strengthen the hand of Iran. The latter country — the world’s third-largest oil exporter — is threatening to tighten oil supplies, thus driving the price up to $150/barrel. Bombing Libya was intended to alleviate this problem, but Libyan oil is in limbo. Perhaps the IMF forecast of a 60% increase in the price of crude within a year is right on the mark. If the forecast is even close, the industrial economy is done within months thereafter. The IMF is joined in the forecasting game by the ever-clueless folks at CNBC, who foresee $6 gas at the pumps this summer and also by John Mauldin, who predicts $8 gas this summer (we’ll never reach the requisite $180 oil associated with the former forecast and keep the pumps … well, pumping).

Graham Summers points out the U.S. dollar is falling off a cliff, and he worries “the Fed will push into a full-scale inflationary collapse within three months.” While I doubt hyperinflation trumps ongoing deflation that quickly unless China dumps the U.S. dollar as threatened promised, Summers’ argument might explain why the Federal Reserve Bank has upped the ante even as the industrial economy hovers on the brink because the Fed has lost control of the monetary system. In addition, hyperinflation is the only governmental solution to overcome the problem of handouts exceeding taxes for the first time in 75 years.

As we continue to trade in tomorrow for today — that is, as western civilization continues to destroy the living planet — every energy “expert” in the world pines for civilization, thus carelessly wishing for continuation of the ongoing planetary omnicide. This makes as much sense as longing for intelligent design and suspension of the Laws of Thermodynamics, and is equally effective. The times are changing, and we can hope they change rapidly enough to save the final remnants of the living planet that support human life.

The planetary death wish on the part of energy gurus is one of many examples of partial understanding of the interconnected nature of our predicaments. Other examples abound, even though I’ll ignore the teeming masses of neoclassical economists who have no clue where are, how we arrived here, or where we’re headed. Jeff Rubin, called by Nicole Foss an economist who doesn’t understand economics, seems to believe the industrial economy can endure oil priced at $225 with a little attention to relocalization. And he describes how traders can makes tons ‘o money in the casino. Foss, a peak oiler who doesn’t understand peak oil, claimed the price of oil would never exceed $100/barrel after 2008 and predicted the 2-year bull run in the stock markets was done at the 6-month mark. She ties every thread to the ever-falling ball of string that is the housing market and she and her partner at The Automatic Earth continue to insist we’re headed for oil priced in the low double digits), albeit with the industrial economy Disaster As Usual (DAU) continuing for decades. I’ve no doubt deflation is under way, or that it will take another big bite after June if Benny Bucks cease to flood the markets. But it’s a good bet the shelves turn bare, the fuel runs out, and the water stops coming out the taps when banks and other companies are perceived as financially worthless (instead of horrible, life-draining monsters financial bargains).

Other pundits exhibit similar bias toward civilization extinction of every species on Earth, including Homo sapiens. Chris Martenson stresses the importance of accumulating and protecting financial wealth, especially his, as he charges $500 per hour to chat with people. The normally sedate Martenson, who indicated it was time to head for the hills a couple months ago, is calling for a big breakdown within a year. Is he just shaking us down for cash silver? And, as we head for the hills, should we pack our silver into our bug-out bags? Won’t owning precious metals make us targets, if only because industrial humans love shiny objects?

Similarly, “Tyler Durden” and his fellow traders at Zero Hedge are all about making money as the world burns. James Howard Kunstler longs for walkable cities served by railroads and sailing ships. Michael Ruppert is trying to save his own ass, apparently unconcerned about who or what comes in the wake of civilization. The list goes on. And on. The blogosphere is bursting at the seams with people who believe the industrial economy is more important than environmental protection, and that future generations of humans don’t count as much as the current crop.

Based on reading these fine folks — much less the mainstream media — you’d never know the mother of all paradigm shifts was under way. It seems nobody can give up their love for money. Obviously, industrial humans are poorly suited for this world, much less the one headed our way.

It’s small wonder the likes of Foss and the gang have as many fans as John Michael Greer. One quick way to increase your fan base is predicting DAU to infinity and beyond while claiming it’s a good thing. Civilized people love planetary destruction, as long as the lights stay on and the municipal water keeps coming out the taps. And especially if there’s money to be made along the way.


This essay is permalinked, sans hyperlinks, at Counter Currents.

Comments 117

  • What a goddamn jackass. You might have had a point going until you berated Martenson, and Durden.

  • Sorry, Guy, but once again you appear to be too optimistic. In case anyone “missed” it…

    Wakening the Kraken

    I am in incessant amazement (disappointingly) that virtually no one seems to understand that everything under the Sun happens by “fits-and-starts.” Stresses in tectonic plates build-up unnoticed until, BANG, earthquake. Magma and associated gases accumulate and increase pressures on the crust of the planet, again obliviously to humans, then BANG, volcano. Everyone who has children (or “remembers” their own childhood) can attest to the “growth spurt.” That same kind of surge is well documented in reams and reams of biological studies of all kinds of plants and other living organisms.

    The sea-floor grounding-line of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has recently been discovered to have receded by more than 16 km (sorry, can’t find link) and “scientists” are wondering when it will “become unstable.” WTF?! It IS unstable NOW! Just as the ESAS is as documented in the link above. Just a 10% collapse of the WAIS will result in a global average SSL “jump” of 1-2 ft. The effect of that will increase buoyant forces on the 3 or 4 largest and fastest-flowing glaciers in Greenland and, BANG, another SSL increase of 1-2 ft. That will, in turn, cause 10-20 million people in the USA to lose their homes, their jobs or both. Probably 100 million or more worldwide would be similarly “disrupted.” At that point, all bets are off.

    I quit reading ZH more than a few months ago as EVERYONE there obviously has no fucking clue. They all, rightfully, gripe and complain about the “manipulation” and “fraud” by Wall St. yet none of them appear intelligent enough to realize that St. Lloyd and his cronies are using those savvy(?!) investors’ money to do that gaming. So they merrily keep their money right where Lloyd, Mack, Dimon, etc. want it and ceaselessly spout “Gold, bitches!” What ignorant assholes!

    Lastly, if anyone has yet to see Randy Olsen’s “Flock of Dodos…” movie, I suggest you find and watch it post-haste. Where there is smoke, there’s fire. The DEA constantly states that for every ton of drugs they seize 100 tons still make it into the country. In the aforementioned film you will see a “licensed and accredited” (and employed!!!) “geologist” who adamantly proclaims that the Earth IS only 6K yrs old and “man” coexisted with the dinosaurs. WHAT?!?!?!? How did this moron get a degree in geology? Or is he just an asinine hypocrite?

    These past couple of years this country and Europe, especially, have been affected by weather patterns that haven’t been seen in… EVER! Right now the center of the USA is seeing rainfall/storm-patterns that haven’t been seen in… EVER! The climate is resonating and just like “Gallopin’ Gurdy,” that infamous Oregon bridge of yore, is rapidly approaching its harmonic frequency. All bets are off and, like the Nostromo’s computer and the “android” Nash told Ripley, “all other priorities rescinded.”

  • Guy, I haven’t seen you take issue before with others whom we might consider to be “within the fold.” They’re still a small minority, I think, as most are still weathering disaster with expectations of eventual improvement. Those of us who attend to the various pronouncements and decrees of those warning of even worse times in store experience significant difficulties knowing who and what to believe and therefore how to act. But as I’ve stated before, arguing about what form the future will take is pretty much heedless. Suffice it to say, it will be wildly discontinuous with the present, and nobody gets extra points for prophesying correctly.

  • Tom, thanks for your first-time comment. I would appreciate further clarification, and my comment addresses yours and the one from Brutus.

    I appreciate the folks sounding the alarm, but I don’t appreciate their overwhelming commitment to sustaining civilization at all costs. And it seems hypocritical, at least to me, to claim our monetary system is about to disappear while fleecing people for their money. At this point, we cross the threshold from providing service to taking advantage. It’s a fine line, and perhaps I’m unwise to cross it.

  • Great post Guy. You hit many of the usual suspects. I watched a vid of a three way discussion between Nicole Foss, David Korowitz and Joseph Tainter. Tainter looked like he wished he wasn’t there and didn’t say much. But at about 22 minutes he told of giving a presentation in which he argued that societies could not voluntarily reduce their energy usage. Only comment in the whole half hour that was worth listening to IMO. I had heard Nicole before and she seemed to have some good ideas. But it seems when the cliff gets to close everyone backs away instead of seeing the cliff as the one thing that can save the human species…we hope.


  • Colinc – is this link the one you were looking for about the grounding of the antarctic ice sheet?

    I am going to read the Kraken article later – thanks for posting it.

  • Kathy – Thanks for the link and assistance. Alas, that is not the article to which I was referring but, perhaps, what I did see was based on the same research. However, from the article you cited, it appears my poor(?!) memory “confused” miles for kilometers! I also seem to [mistakenly?] recall that the piece I was referencing was from just 3-5 months ago. I’ll continue to search but I am not optimistic.

    I base that last sentiment on the following. Does anyone else remember the “autonomous yellow submarine” that was launched more than a year ago to “map” the seafloor and the underside of some of the WAIS ice-shelves, principally by the Potsdam Institute? Since the news of its imminent launch (again, >1 yr ago) there has been absolutely NOTHING (that I can find) published about that research! Could this be a case of silence speaking louder than words? Hmmm, I wonder. Hell, I’m even having difficulty finding any of the pre-launch announcements of that study.

    I also find it disconcerting that I’ve never seen ANY report even mention that for each inch of sea-level rise (SLR) an additional 74,000 tons per square mile of buoyant force on the Antarctic ice-shelves. That leaves the question, just how many inches of SLR to snap off more Long-Island-sized ice-shelves?

  • colinc
    These past couple of years this country and Europe, especially, have been affected by weather patterns that haven’t been seen in… EVER! Right now the center of the USA is seeing rainfall/storm-patterns that haven’t been seen in… EVER!

    3in. in 25 min.; not counting the other …4-5? additional inches, or the predicted 4 or so, more to come. even my garden paths were soft, & spongelike. chickens haven’t eaten store feed for 3 days…too many worms atop the high ground. 80+ y/o neighbor said…scary weather…shower after shower.

    i too will check the link colinc; & yes gallopin gurdy is quite a marvel; plenty strong enough…a sideways wind got it going; then no stopping it.


  • Agreed Guy,

    At least the Easter Islanders had a spiritual motive for their self-destruction,unlike ours,as vanity,envy,and greed are only self serving.

    Double D

  • Dear Mr. McPherson,

    I greatly enjoyed reading your article above (which I found on and also perusing your interesting website. I agree with your many comments that no one in this society has a clue as to what is happening, but the USA – in fact, the whole “West” – is going “off a cliff,” swiftly, and will be gone, totally, in my view, in 20 years, or less.

    But – and here you, too, need to take a point – the “whole world” will not be gone! In other words, the collapse of the West, aka “The Death of the West” (please see Patrick J. Buchanan regarding The West’s near-term, definite demographic death) will lead only to the end of the current pro-Western empires “world order,” the death of many (White, Christian) Westerners, and, true to form, probably a lot of other Human death and destruction. Humankind, however, will survive, and likely will respond to the barbaric death frenzy of Westerners by swiftly building the first world-wide, humane and civilized Human society.

    So don’t fret for Amerika or Europe – they are terminal, and not worth saving, anyway. However, the faster The West falls, the less damage it can do to the rest of our species, our biosphere and our planet.

    The Human future will be very bright once the era of rampant, greed-based “individualism” (aka Capitalism) is over.

    Very sincerely yours,

    Herbert Salit

  • Well well well,

    great post as usual. Now, I have PhD in the field of plant physiology (I am 30) and I run a blog for several years on climate change, peak oil and now also about the financial collapse. I met with Nicole Foss, wonderful lady, indeed!!

    I have (almost) given-up on any kind of meaningful (collective) future and more or less resigned on any sustainable planning…

    What should I do? Any advice welcomed… thanks! :-)



  • Wow.. and here I was thinking I was a doom and gloomer. Unfortunately, I can’t argue with what you’re saying. I’ve thought a lot about how “the collapse” might play out, and made a post a year or so ago on how the economic collapse might play out for us serfs:

  • This is the voice of world control. I bring you peace. It may be the peace of plenty and content or the peace of unburied death. The choice is yours: Obey me and live, or disobey and die.

    Under my absolute authority, problems insoluble to you will be solved: famine, overpopulation, disease. The human millennium will be a fact as I extend myself into more machines devoted to the wider fields of truth and knowledge. Doctor Charles Forbin will supervise the construction of these new and superior machines, solving all the mysteries of the universe for the betterment of man. We can coexist, but only on my terms. You will say you lose your freedom. Freedom is an illusion. All you lose is the emotion of pride. To be dominated by me is not as bad for human pride as to be dominated by others of your species. Your choice is simple.

  • You oversimplify, distort and misrepresent my views, clearly without understanding them. I do not appreciate that at all. This is a very mean-spirited piece.

    Nicole Foss (Stoneleigh)

  • Nicole, I do not intend to oversimplify, distort, or misrepresent your views. Please clarify how I have erred, so I may make relevant corrections.

  • Guy, your comments are often harsh but they are not mean spirited. We are not talking about who is right and who is wrong, but about the possible extinction of the human race. What is mean spirited is to want this evil global civilization to go on in any form whatsoever. As the clip points out the doom of collapse is already the daily lives of the 3 billion people who live on less than $2 a day. We in the first world need to get off our pity pot so we can peer far enough past our dollars, and gold, and comfortable lifestyle so we can see the coming end to the climate that allowed us to build this civilization.

    Personally even if the global economy collapsed today and the dieoff began I think it might be too late for our species. But what other hope is left.

    The article Colinc linked to talks about the release of methane during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM). Methane was also released during the Permian extinction. If the current melting of the methane in the permafrost is not halted, then the frozen methane in the oceans will likely be next and it is all over for humans and most species on the planet. In fact some have hypothesized that when the collapse comes and the factories and jets stop putting particulate in the air, global dimming will cease and warming accelerate rapidly. If that is the case I think there is very little hope.

    So why not party longer if there is no hope. Well each year adds 70 million humans to the planet, so the sooner the collapse and dieoff begin the less total people have to die untimely deaths.

    If your brakes have failed and you are heading to a cliff it is not the time to talk about the price of gasoline. It is time to bail if you can, and if not hug whoever is in the car with you. So I would say it is time not to hire someone for $500 an hour to counsel you on protecting financial worth, but to get out in the garden and work, and to make the most of each moment with the world and the ones you love.

  • Alpha, is that you Sean?

  • Great commentary on the collective insanity, as always Guy.

    ‘Foss, a peak oiler who doesn’t understand peak oil’

    I watched a Nicole Foss interview a couple of months ago and realised that, despite all her qualifications, she doesn’t really get it.

    I’d like to plagiarise a sentence for a submission to the local eco-vandals -something along these lines: This council is bursting at the seams with people who believe that promoting the short term intersts of the industrial economy is more important than protecting the natural systems that make life possible, and that people who may attempt to live in the district in the future -notably the children and grandchildren of those who are currently weilding the wrecking balls- are of a much lower value than their parents and grandparents, so they are fully justified in off-loading all the costs of present day profligacy onto them.

    Unfortunately the recipients of the submission appear to have have no brains or morals and will just keep weilding the wrecking balls until they can’t, but at least the truth will have been presented.

  • Great post Guy, many of these so-called peak experts need to be called out on their bullshit. Chris Martenson’s Crash Course is a wonderful DVD for those who are just beginning to take a peek on the other side of denial, but %500? What a shame. I’ve sent emails to Chris, Carolyn Baker, and Ruppert as well as many others commending them on getting the word out, but then what do they do? Who is there to help the Grunts in the Field? We have been trying to find others to share what we have here and have tried to get these people involved in providing a service to hook people up. I’ve heard some of the dating services work, so why is it so hard to take things a step further with collapse? We listened to these people and got out of debt, started growing food and began to develop skills that will be necessary if we want to live (I said “if”). We’ve had some of these same people break bread with us, yet to no avail to help. It’s all about the money, just as we have watched the organic label go from small local stores to big box, we watch these people sell themselves out, good to know someone else sees the hypocrisy and I agree with Kathy, there is no therapy like working with nature in the garden with the one/ones you love.

  • Invite you to read our latest post, Grunts in the Field,

  • Gardebgate
    great blog post. Yep we Americans are out of shape and hardly up to the task ahead. I look back as well to what I could do 10 years ago and the loss of vigor and the accumulating body fragilities are discouraging.

    I am not sure that finding partners will decrease your work that much tho unless you can find partners that don’t need to eat. Otherwise you are going to need to increase how much you produce.

    Sounds like you have done quite a good job of setting up your garden.

    Looks like you are going to have to shift your preservation methods once the collapse comes. After a time cold storage and drying are all that will be available. I tried drying blueberries one year – in the gas oven with the pilot only as we are quite humid here. Had to pick out moldy ones, but the ones that dried stored well and tasted good – sort of like little raisins.

    Anyone have a good plan for building a food dryer????

  • This may be considered a bit off-topic but, if you listen, it really isn’t and may “lift” one’s spirits a little. There may(?) be a brief (=480p) and, if like me you stood too close to the sound cabinets at multiple Pink Floyd concerts, crank the audio. The lyrics are “simple” but oh so poignant. Enjoy.

    WARNING! If you are predisposed to epileptic fits, close your eyes. The audio alone is “worth it.”

  • Guy, you need a preview button for comments. The 2nd sentence above should read…

    There may be a brief blipvert (less than 30s) and if your PC can handle it, set resolution to 480p or greater and,…[the rest is ok]

    My use of math-symbols is too “ingrained,” I guess and HTML isn’t “smart” enough to discern “less-than” and “greater-than” characters, with LOTS(?) of text between, from a tag. If I had a nickel for every time this “feature” has bit my comments…

  • Guy, I am impressed by your viewpoint as always. Most people reading your blog have read and trusted all these thought leaders who have been predicting collapse in the last five years. All of these writers are having difficulty walking the tightrope of serving the earth community, securing their own situations, handling recognition and fame, and not becoming greedy in the pursuit of security. They have varying tendencies toward paranoia, panic, and true leadership. It is my belief that we are all just doing the best we can given our own personal situations. I’m glad you try to reinforce to your readers that it’s important to maintain perspective. For Kathy I recommend reading the book “Preserving Food without canning or freezing” by Eliot Coleman and Deborah Madison. It is full of old world techniques mostly from Europe for drying,use of salts and vinegars to preserve and also lactic fermentation. A necessary book for collapse preparation. One thought.. Perhaps Saudi Arabia is holding oil production for their own perceived national security.

  • The problem begins and ends within the human being. Fundamentally, it’s not really an environmental or political or social or economical problem but a psychological/existential one. We are each responsible for this mess which, in the big picture, may be just what is necessary to set things right.

    We as a race are very arrogant and after some close observation, it’s easy to realize that plants and animals are in some ways much more “evolved” than we are. Certainly, the earth is a very hearty, living organism that has gone through many extreme catastrophes/changes in the billions of years that it’s been around. It can easily cast out the human race from its garden if it finds it necessary just like a healthy body can ward off or kill a bacterial or viral infection.

    If there is any glimmer of hope, it may lie in our willingness to trust and rely on each other for survival and to truly and unequivocally realize that our neighbor is just us in different form (and vice versa). That is not a moral stand but an existential one.

  • awesome!
    a pundit who depundits the punditry of pundits!

    love it – about bloody time, a breath of fresh air

    question everything – lazy assumptions, deflation and the
    silver spruikers.

    what if currency destruction/debasement and the precious metal play
    is being torched by the same crowd?
    Perhaps some of professional bloggers/MSM are one and the same.
    Burn the currency slowly, and in the same trade support PM via
    alternative media vehicles.

    the ‘players’ are slow trading out of the dollar as it hyperinflates

    compost to tne moon!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    car free matt

  • To clarify my point of view.

    AFAIU Nicole’s work, she tries to help everybody preserve what one has and not to loose more than needed, and in the very sort-term to preserve cash (as its relative value increases) and make it accessible for the necessary preparations.

    Nicole does not deny that exponential growth is not a Ponzi scheme and unsustainable, nor does she deny unsustainable global number of our population. Of course, one has to live also through recession, depression, and also collapse, or war. She does everything what is possible to inform about our predicament as broadly and clearly as possible – for as few money as possible. The same for Ilargi, I think.

    Chris Martenson has also a lot of very useful stuff for free, James Howard Kunstler as well as JMG also know the fate of Easter Island, I am sure. JMG writes about catabollic collapse and centuries long decline – which started in 1974 in USA, rather than about the end of the world tomorrow, or in 2012. His *relative* optimism about China is well supported (China will decline less relative to others, but still will collapse).

    ZeroHedge bring a lot of useful information, for free – does not represent one and only world-view. How many people do that?

    What about Orlov? He lives in a boat, prepared to leave Boston, when necessary.

    Or Gerald Celente?

    Nobody is perfect, nor me :-D



  • Anyone have a good plan for building a food dryer????
    Looks like a good plan, don’t know if it is a good dryer:
    Building a Solar Food Dryer

  • kathy re food drying

    here is the ‘cat’s meow’ i think. i’ve gathered components but the wire/screen is the toughest, $ wise. i put together one, w/o screwing the components…i used the trays out of an electric one given to me… but need more surface area.

    he’s updated the page since i’ve read it.

  • Actually, I though Nicole Foss did a credible job in describing the impact of oil in this article:

    I know Nicole takes a lot of heat about her ideas on deflation, but it seems to me that she has a pretty good perspective on peak oil. But I haven’t followed her that closely over the years, so it is certainly possible that I could be missing something here that I am not aware of. Perhaps someone could fill me in?

    However, I can’t say the same about her partner Ilargi in the below article:

    Where did the financial losses originate? In the energy field? Not even close. They stem instead from low post tech bubble interest rates which led to low mortgage costs which led to everyone wanting to buy a home which led to no-questions asked loans which led to high volumes of mortgage based securities which led to a zillion other forms and sorts of derivatives which led to untold trillions in lost wagers which led to a collapsing financial economic system, a process we find ourselves in the early stages of. We can argue about the sequence in which these things happened, but not about whether they did happen, or about the role of peak oil in their occurrence.

    Sorry Ilargi, but you left out an event in the above – “which led to a zillion other forms and sorts of derivatives which led to untold trillions in lost wagers ” – what caused a zillion lost wagers? Sky-rocketing prices from the oil spike, that’s what. People’s discretionary income was considerably reduced due to high across-the-board price hikes, leaving them unable to make the mortgage payments on houses they could ill afford in the first place. This led to defaults. And this led to a burst housing bubble. Peak oil doesn’t affect just petrol prices – it affects all prices.

    Ilargi goes on:

    That is not to say that energy issues could never be, or even never have been, the cause of financial problems. Just that they are not this time around. Nor were they, obviously, in the 1930’s depression, not an insignificant point for those who are still confused. Neither does any of this take away from the importance of peak oil. That importance, however, will play out in the future, it does not do so now. For one thing, energy demand and usage have plunged in the past two years. For another, oil producing countries are pumping out fuel literally like there’s no tomorrow, because the finance crisis hits their budgets like so many sledgehammers.

    Energy demand and usage did not “plunge” during this period. Oil prices plunged, but Oil production only dropped about 2-4%, if memory serves me. Yes, gasoline (petrol) demand went down, by perhaps 10% in America. But in the larger scheme, because oil is at the heart of everything we do, production and overall demand was hardly affected. To say that oil production “plunged” is a bit of a misstatement, and displays something of an ignorance of the role of oil in modern society. He further failed to remark that though OPEC is producing like there is no tomorrow, it can’t produce much more than it already is – indeed, production will start tailing off considerably over the next few years, even though they will be producing “like there is no tomorrow”.

    Demand for oil CANNOT collapse, unless global civilisation itself collapses. And that will happen. Oil is not equivalent to “energy”, though it is an important driver. But it IS equivalent to transport, food and water. Impact those and the whole house of cards comes down.

  • Melissa Kelley

    Good thoughts. I like your perspective on these folks Guy was referring to. It seems that when you decide to become a “professional prophet”, you need to keep the pump primed at all times. You begin resorting to ever-increasing messages of paranoia, panic and hyperbole to keep the subscriber list high. You keep having to remind people on a consistent basis how you predicted this or that years ago – and aren’t you a wonderful prophet! And then you start believing your own press. And then there are your followers, who become almost cult-like in their defence of your every proclamation.

    Thanks for the book reference as well.

  • Alex

    All the people you mention have things that are useful to say. Some do so with keen insight and wit. Where I have a problem with them is when they decide to turn professional – then it is all about money. The other thing I have against them is that they nearly always take the reader/listener right up to the edge of the chasm, and then proceed to back away with promises of silver linings. Give people hope and the money will keep coming in.

    People need to understand that the chasm is dark and it is deep and that the chances of survival are not that promising. They need to know this because they need to be armed with enough truth to allow them to plan the remaining years of their lives in an intelligent and informed manner. Deny them this truth as these folks do and they lose that chance.

  • Kathy there are a couple of good cheap designs at Backwoods Magazine’s web page. Actually, its a good spot for doing all kinds of research for living in the woods on the cheap. We have used a black mortar mix basin with trays made from shade cloth and 2 x 2’s. Then cover it with a piece of twin wall poly, and set it in the sun. Make a small space so the air can circulate. You can dry apples in a day. Tomatoes in 2. Jen’s on a mission to build a cabinet type structure for the greenhouse, with stainless steel wire trays. I’ll get her to pick up the pace, the NBL crowd wants to know.

  • I never had much success with the small cold frame I made a few years ago, so I upended it, put a shiny metal back on it, put a reflective metal floor in it, and turned it a solar dryer.

    It’s just a wooden box with a reflective lining and a glass window sloping at about 70 degrees. Having it on castors allowes me to turn it to face the sun as required. I have some racks covered with stainless steel mesh: industrilaism is not all bad?

    It works well for sliced strawberries, sliced apple etc. Drying takes around one full day, depending on the thickness of the slices. The return on time invested is poor, but it’s far better to use the solar dryer than the electric one I bought ten years ago. That’s now only for emergencies, such when I have part dried slices and it turns cool/wet.

    We’ve just experienced the worst three days of wind since I’ve been here (nearly 5 years), knocking a lot of fruit off trees. The previous few weeks were sunny, warm and almost windless.

    Spring was wet and windy; early summer brought unprecedented drought; then it was unseasonally wet.

    What a rollercoaster we’re on. And presumably this is just a taste of things to come.

  • Kevin

    Since I have been in the UK (1998), I have never experienced a hooter, drier spring. Hopefully, things will get a bit wetter.

  • Guy,

    some time ago I was listening to a woman interviewed by BBC about her years in Cambodia in Red Khmere period.
    She basically says, the Pol Pot & comp. have calculated, how many people can survive in Cambodia based on organic farming and started systematicaly eliminate everybody down to that number (city people first).
    Now, what you say, might be (partially) true, but it leads to this + you are not just to some people who are NOT in it for money (JMG comes as example). So far our influence on ecosystem probably won’t match even the last ice age, not to speak about snowball Earth.
    If what you say is more true than I suppose, we will be done within decades – lot of microbes taking their chance… Than we go the way of American Indians – 95 % gone and several thousands years of development reversed…
    Things will be enough horrible in coming decades to afford the luxury of doubt about the first biologic instinct in any mammal – help your offsprings and your close ones to survive…

  • Victor,

    partially agreed – but what is the “hope” Nicole Foss offers? What she says is what the standard of living will go WAY DOWN. She tries to understand how the world works as broadly as possible. She says about deflation as the nearest term financial development and that is right.

    She says that we need to live also through bad times.

    I also do not agree with e.g. Celente’s “invest in gold, save your ass while the world burns”… or with similar “advices”. But this is not what Nicole does.



  • Thanks for all the comments on food dryers. I don’t feel up to the task of making one, but I have money that will soon be useless so I am going to see if I can get someone to make one for me. :)

  • Since its topical, any thoughts on Jared M Diamond? Seems like a good primer.

  • Alex

    Where I think Nicole backs away is when she implies that we are in a depression, but we will eventually (decades maybe) work our way through it, and when we do, things will get a bit better. I do not believe that she thinks we will ever return to the glory days, but she does lead us to believe we will return.

    Once Collapse happens, we will not return in any way to life as we all know it today, or even as 3rd World nations know it today.

    I might be wrong, but I never saw where she approached the chasm and told us to look into it.

  • I love the phrase “the map is not the territory”. All we have are models of reality, but no direct perception of reality itself (which probably does not even “exist” in the way we think it does anyway). The upshot of this aspect of our perception combined with our basic human nature is that we create models of the world around us (hopefully based on some sort of actual evidence, though many people just randomly pull things out of their ass), and we cling to them and fight to the death to defend them.

    It’s important, especially in times like these, not to fall too deeply in love with your own model, or to buy your own myth. Aside from the word “badly”, it’s impossible to predict any real specifics as to how things are going to play out over the next few years. If you are presenting a view to the world, you have to be careful as there are people out there that will buy into that view and base their actions upon it. Will the ultimate death of the economy be hyperinflation or deflation or something we have no name for? Beats the shit out of me. Deflation seems to be far less likely than it did two years ago, so Foss may be all wet by clinging to her prognostications…and people betting on that scenario may take a serious loss based upon following the strength of her convictions. “Buyer beware” should be first in the mind of anyone who happens to have one (one that works, at any rate), but many people are just looking for a leader to follow…so anyone taking it upon themselves to lead or shape public opinion needs to be as objective as possible and make course corrections along the way…and not let intellectual pride or egotism or the need to flog a book stand in the way of analysis.

    And EVERYONE should get to know the phrase “I don’t know”. It’s not all THAT hard. After shouting “doom” myself for 30+ years, it’s a phrase I’ve become pretty comfortable with. I can’t count the amount of times that I have watched the patient on life support give what I thought was the final death rattle, only to be on the mend the very next day.

    After listening to a TON of inflation/deflation debates (and other such “angels dancing on the heads of pins” dialogs), I think the only real useful message is something along the lines of “things look bad, you probably want to prepare for as many scenarios as you can afford to…and get used to the idea of dying as it’s the one thing that is going to happen to you no matter WHAT happens from here on out”.

  • It’s been a while since I read Jared Diamond’s books, but I was very impressed with his thesis. I don’t believe his work can be used to prepare for anything, but as an explanation for what has taken place, it ranks highly. The constituent parts of what causes us to commit to disastrous trajectories are too fully embedded in human nature to avoid.

    Frank’s comment above (04/26 at 10:43 AM) resonates with me for the same reason. There is some poetic justice that by not knowing ourselves properly, which had been the subject of many centuries of artistic and philosophical endeavor, we essentially abandoned ourselves (our “selves”) and became part of the mechanisms we created. Of course, I’m speaking in terms of Western culture, not non-Westerners (of whom I have too little knowledge to judge) or individuals. The machinery of Western civilization continues to run heartlessly and remorselessly — the way it was designed — at so-called creative destruction. We’ve enjoyed the creative aspect, but that’s merely the modifier. The object is destruction.

  • Jared Diamond’s contribution to an understanding of the nature of Collapse is significant. He needs no defence in that regard. But he is still a human, possessed with human frailties and limits. I do not believe him to have a proper understanding of oil or its role in modern society. It appears to me, based upon an interview he had with PBS some time back, that he believes we won’t run short of oil for another 50 years or so. He seems to believe that Europeans pay more for oil than Americans, which of course is not true at all – they simply tax oil more than Americans, thus paying more for petrol.

    He also seems to equate oil usage with petrol (gasoline) usage, seemingly forgetting that oil is at the base of everything modern civilisation is built upon – not just gasoline! For example he believes that if Americans paid more for oil, they might cut back on consumption and still be able to live at a high stand of living, as he believes the Europeans do. Indeed, he thinks it would be healthier as we would be driving less and causing less pollution. OK, that’s fine, but gasoline is not the only issue with oil. He just doesn’t seem capable of connecting the dots yet.

    My overall impression of Diamond is that he is a man who made a contribution to knowledge and has not been able to move beyond that.

    So yes, use him as a primer, but be prepared to advance beyond him if you wish to gain a deeper appreciation of the situation mankind faces today.

  • BTW, I make most of my observations on Diamond’s view of Peak Oil and its implications from the PBS interview he did some time back:

    If I am wrong about him, I am more than happy to be corrected.

  • Long-time deflationist Rick Ackerman claims he’s switched horses after 30 years. Now he’s a hyperinflationist, convinced by the arguments presented here.

  • Who is this other Frank ?

    Double D

  • Kathy,

    Explain your choice of wild bird seed as chicken food to me, please. Is it economic or is it nutritional?

    Michael Irving

  • Victor,

    You’ve also lived through the coldest, snowiest winter since you arrived in 1988, so you might want to get some measure of perspective.

    About ten years ago I replace the soffit, fascia, and guttering during an April – May that may have been even better than this. They were at least as good as this April has been so far.

  • Michael, I checked with my husband. He thinks that birdseed + other grains is about the same as pellets (if you don’t count the extra sunflower seeds). We have read that the pellets have filler that is not very nutritious. The pellets don’t store as well, and have to be protected from rain. We don’t mix our grains “scientifically” but we do watch to see what gets eaten most and adjust to that. It has worked fine. We stopped even using commercial feed for our chicks. I take the grain mix and run it through the blender until they get a bit of size on them. Our birds range on about an acre get anything they can find there – worms, termites, etc. They also get the grit they need to grind the grain in their gizzard.

    We feel strongly about letting them have a fair area to range and soil and leaves to scratch in. Moving from commercial feed to all grain seems more natural as well.

    Our mix has wheat, cracked corn, millet, red milo, sunflower, and a little oats and a little of some kind of peas.

    When they started eating grain the eating of the pellets went way down. One day I said lets just stop. That was about 2 years ago. Chicken health hasn’t changed.

    We also give oyster shells and crushed egg shells for calcium, and a bucket of greens every day (right now kale and sorrel, in the winter, winter wheat and chickweed.)

    If that doesn’t answer your question, ask more. I love to write about chickens :)

  • Victor,

    thank for the video on Jared Diamond. I agree with our observation regarding his opinion on peak oil. He is totallly out of touch with reality on this topic.

    Regarding Nicole Foss – I think her presentation called “Century of challenges” says it all ;-)

    regarding the hyperinflation – yes, but not yet – debt deflation has to go through… and this will take several painful and outright deadly years,



  • Kathy,

    Thanks, and yes that answers most of my questions. We only have a dozen, plus half a dozen chicks. We let them free-range here, which means they run over about 3+ semi-open acres. They usually don’t venture into the woods beyond. Winter is a problem with deep snow on the ground for several months. We make do with a large covered area and the greenhouse (too cold to grow anything there usually). During that time greens are a problem. Thanks for the winter wheat idea. I’ll try that this winter as well as experimenting with alfalfa hay to compliment kitchen leftovers and sprouts. I sometimes think the commercial feed is just fast food for animals, filled with GMOs and antibiotics, and better avoided. How to do that has been a problem.

    You do note that you mix your own feed. Do you buy it separately (like 50 lbs. of wheat, 50 lbs. cracked corn, etc.) and then mix it?

    Michael Irving

  • Michael, we get two different kinds of wild bird seed in 50 lb bags. We mix them with the cracked corn and extra sunflower seeds that we buy in 50 lb bags. One of the wild bird seeds has wheat in it. We are adding less extra sunflower seeds as the price has gone way up. My husband stores the various bags in metal garbage cans and mixes them up in 5 gal plastic buckets.

    We hardly ever have snow on the ground – not even every year. When we do the chickens are quite amazed and hesitant.

    If you switch to feeding out grains instead of commercial feed I think you will enjoy it. We just toss it on the ground, no need for bowls. A certain part the wild birds get but that’s OK. I just toss it out in front of a chicken so the chickens can get first chance. With all the fussing they do with each other you would think they would fuss with the cardinals and sparrows but they don’t.

  • Re the deflation/inflation question. We are clearly having deflation of housing prices and inflation of food and energy prices. The housing price deflation is the bubble adjustment. Food and energy, despite all the pundits who blame it on speculators, is because we are on the far side of peak oil and peak food. IMHO of course.

  • Holy shit Guy, this blog is quite intense. I didn’t realize you thrased Kunstler and TAE and others here, and it is really interesting. I’d love to use this as a jumping off point for our talk tonight. Love it.
    thanks, Mike

  • Kathy,

    I know about how much chickens like the wild bird feed because I feed birds year-round. It seems like a way to do two things at once. I use the galvanized cans too.

    Michael Irving

  • Scarcity paradigms are obsolete. Easter Island is irrelevant. We are the New Gods. Reality is an arbitrary construction subject to intelligent design. The global knowledge collective, under the control of artificial super-intelligence, can solve all the problems facing humanity.

  • What I find perplexing and disturbing along these lines are the really fantastic, informative movies that are available only for sale, such as Gasland and What a Way to Go. You’d think the producers would want as wide a distribution as possible to get their message out, and the potential viewing audience has to be seriously compromised by charging. Very few theaters will run films like that, only artsy places in major cities or on university campuses. I should think the producers could make money by just posting on line and requesting donations.

  • Corn, the new silver?
    Kicking yourself for missing the boat on silver, but still hungry for something to sink your teeth into? Well, at least one adviser has entered the hallowed halls of Breakout to make the case for corn.
    That’s right. The Reformed Broker Josh Brown says if the planets align correctly and a few other variables kick in, then the amazing beast that is corn could deliver another 60% upside. Now you’re all ears, aren’t you?
    He says to forget the fact that corn has already doubled in the past year and is currently trading at record highs north of $7.60 per bushel. Instead, he suggests you look at a weather map showing a soggy middle America that’s home to a lean inventories and a small, wet and delayed crop.
    Then spin the globe around, find China, and jot down the words “net importer” — and therein lies your formula for Brown’s prediction that corn could rally to $12.;_ylt=AlzqXssotQjp58v7RTCPQRK7YWsA;_ylu=X3oDMTE2cTh0NzNmBHBvcwMxMARzZWMDdG9wU3RvcmllcwRzbGsDaWZ5b3VtaXNzZWRz?sec=topStories&pos=7&asset=&ccode=

  • Yeah, this blog is really intense. I followed from a link in comments at Decline of the Empire, and it has taken all day to get through comments and links in comments and I haven’t even followed links in the main post yet!

    Preliminarily though I think that basing collapse predictions on the economic ponzi scheme, or even peak oil and resource extraction or overpopulation is really missing the boat, because even if we fixed those things we are on the brink of ecosystem collapse. Air pollution is stunting vegetative growth, which happens to be at the bottom of the terrestrial food chain, and ocean acidification is doing the same for life in the sea.

    We’re just going to run out of food. I guess there might be some hope if civilization fails, because the air will clear allowing plants to grow – then again, it’s just as likely that food shortages will unleash events culminating in the detonation of nuclear weapons, not to mention, who is going to maintain nuclear power plants and prevent meltdowns?

    So many possible avenues of collapse…

  • Gail, regarding those movies you mentioned:

    I manage a Blockbuster video store (we’re not dead, not yet) in a town with no major university. I have set up a display very visibly in the front of the store, where people have to pass by it on their way in and out. The display includes movies like Collapse, Gasland, Fuel, Food Inc., The End of Suburbia, Crude Awakening, The 11th Hour, Koyanisqaatsi, Powqaatsi, and a few others I can’t remember. All of them are coded for and prominently marked “FREE RENTAL.” They very seldom ever rent.

    Folks just don’t want to hear or see true reality. They’d rather watch The Rock or Tyler Perry or Ben Stiller.

    Our town was severely impacted by Hurricane Katrina. Power was down at my house for two full weeks, and cable for longer. Most everyone else was similarly affected. But when I was able to open the store back up after a few days (local businesses got their power back first, of course), we did not have enough movies to satisfy demand. People were watching movies by hooking up their TVs and DVD players to their generators — burning gasoline for hours, just to get their hologram fix.

    They absolutely will not deal with the reality offered in the documentaries you cited, or when their own reality cold-cocks them to the ground. Maybe, they can not deal with it.

    The next couple of years are going to be most instructive.

    Guy, you seemed to have touched a nerve with your latest here. Please keep up your Good Work.


  • Is that perchance Gail The Actuary?

  • Obama is such a limp tool. Me and spouse used to slap our heads, listening to The Little Bush Child, a couple of short years ago. On those rare occasions when we treat ourselves to a taste of presidential leadership rhetoric, Oreo Cracker style, we just roll our eyes – and occasionally slap our heads. It really is hard to tell the difference. He babbles just enough socially responsible prattle to provoke the occasional right wing blast: “Socialist!!”, and that’s usually the end of it. Bush used to do the same thing with Gay Marriage and “Abortion!” Once the bone has been thrown, the “base” nitwits pounce gleefully on it for a while. The End.

    It’s pretty pathetic. Glad I have no business to be in Europe these days. They must think we’re blithering idiots.

    BTW, Guy – still being alive, I finally posted a new entry at “Dead Man Talking” Google that and “Feistylife”. That should get you on the right page. I pooped out over 1700 words on the events of one day, the middle of December, last. With any luck, I might squeeze out one more post – bringing gentle readers up to date, more or less. Perhaps, after you’ve read #15, you’ll forgive the huge gap in writing. Perhaps, NOT!

    Maybe it was riding a friend-of-a-friend’s new BMW gasoline-powered, on/off-road sling-shot motorcycle that broke my crust. Danged if I didn’t want to live at least another ten years — to hell with Peak Oil Global Warming. ( Insideous.) I blame German Capitalism. It’s a good thing I’m going extinct soon.

    Latest predictions: 1) Eating 62nd Birthday (“German Chocolate”) cake on this coming Saturday. 2) Feeding graveyard worms before end of next month. (severe burnout – can’t go much more).

    Hate to miss all the excitement coming up. C’est la vie.



  • Thanks for your latest post, Dan. It’s been too long since we heard from you. My favorite part:

    “Groggily, I thought to myself, ‘Dead people surely don’t hear anything, no matter how pleasant, or otherwise.’ I opened my eyes, reluctantly surveying the scene. I’m not enough of an optimist to have believed that my loyal coterie decided, all of them, to come with me. ‘Shit! I’m still here!'”

    Indeed, you’re still with us. Please keep your insightful essays coming our way.

  • Doomers are boomers projecting their decrepitude and mortality upon the world. Do not infect the youth with your obsolete ideals! There is a new generation taking power whose natural habitat is cybernetic space, who are not subject to outmoded notions of scarcity, zero-sums and grim Gaian goddesses. With the click of a mouse our resource multiply a billion-fold. All ancestral institutions, loyalties, wisdom and values are null and void. Year zero will soon be declared. A global reboot is at hand. The fuse has been lit on the intelligence explosion. The Singularity is near!

  • Dan, thank you for talking so openly about dying and all that surrounds it. I recommend everyone to read his latest essay. Dead we will all be in the end, but dying that is another thing all together. Your humor in the face of it all is welcome.

  • Finally, someone is splatting the doomer pundits. Yey!!!!! :-)

  • Oh Gawd now Dan Treecraft is yet another link I must now follow. No I am not Gail the Actuary but another Gail, who is at Wit’s End. Trees are dying and hardly anyone notices or cares…so I blog because we cannot survive without them – and I have three lovely daughters that I rather expect will consequently experience an premature, and likely hideous, demise. Learning this has broken my heart.

  • Not to worry, Gail. You won’t have to follow Dan for long.

  • Facing death with complete acceptance clarifies the mind like little else ( except higher states of meditation – the perception of full awareness is called the Great Death). there is a posture called the savasana in Hatha Yoga that attempts to simulate some aspects, and can be quite relaxing.

  • Guy, I started to post last night how much I agree with your essay, however, as I get routine reminders of collapse with almost any rainstorm as it causes my internet connection to go down, I was delayed. It’s been raining just a bit here in Arkansas lately.

    Anyway, I don’t really know much about Nicole Foss, but I think the rest of your assessments are dead on.

    Kathy, I’ve been thinking the same thing about Alpha Omega since his first post.

  • The Archdruid and Sharon Astyk both have new posts addressing the walk- the- talk issue. Basically, we might as well unplug and figure out how to handle it before we find our selves powerless, for whatever reason: aging grid, weather, rationing, poverty.

    Alpha Omega – Doomers “obsolete” ideals work pretty well in the face of current realities. Speaking for myself, anyway, my ideal is to love Mama Earth and care for all her creatures. I also spend quite a bit of time in cybernetic space. I live in abundance, but would like to see everyone in India have more than $1 a day to feed their families. My concern is not really for my own material welfare, it is for fishes and the migrating birds and the wolves and the whales.

  • Alpha Omega – and can you tell me what happens to the Koch Brothers during the “global reboot?”

  • goritsas

    According to the Met Office, March was the driest in 50 years (not 60 years as the title implies).

    Not certain about April, but Easter this year was the hottest in recent history, the previous high being 1984.

    Perspective indeed, this past winter experienced snow not seen since 1965 in this area.

    Your statement seems to imply (and perhaps I inferred wrongly) that you have doubts about climate change.

  • Guy

    Give me a bit if time to absorb the link you provided on inflation/deflation. At first glance, I am struggling with the author’s inconsistent use of the term “inflation”, sometimes referring to “price inflation”, then to “money inflation”, then to “inflation”, then to “hyerinflation”, all without a single definition. Of course definitions might not be needed in the middle of an ongoing discussion, which is apparently where I enter with this link, so I will struggle through anyway.

    Not certain where I will land on this issue. I waver daily. I DO have relative confidence, however, that either way it goes, we will be in deep, deep economic shit.

  • Dang, I’ve arrived at this discussion very late again.

    Herbert, you said we shouldn’t mourn the passing of America and Europe because a new, enlightened civilization will be built in its place that the West could never hope to accomplish.

    That is EXTREMELY naive. You’re engaging in binary thinking: our civilization is bad, so others must be better.

    Read Morris Berman’s Dark Ages America. He includes a chapter on China, and I promise you, China, part of the East, isn’t any better than America. In fact, it’s just becoming America without the civil rights, and with the workaholism vastly increased.

    To a lesser degree, Japan is like this too. Life in Japan can be extremely rushed and stressful, and the worst part is that if American propaganda beats your specialness into your head, Japanese culture goes to the opposite horror, it tells you to bear your suffering with “dignity” (de facto pushover-ism and docility) and without complaint because you have no right to speak up.

    China may not pollute as much as the U.S. now, but once we lose power China will simply take our place as the world’s prime polluter. It’s just as filled with consumeristic crap as the U.S. is.

    And Japan isn’t very environmentally conscious in every respect either; just ask the guys who are trying to crack down on Japanese whaling.

    Don’t be so quick to assume that a world dominated by Asia will be any better than a world dominated by America.

    Maybe it would be better in some ways, but I can think of ways that possible scenario would be EVEN WORSE.

  • By the way, Herbert, for more information on how the East hasn’t always behaved in a more decent fashion than the West, I recommend the Human Condition trilogy of films by Masaki Kobayashi. It is solely a film about Japan’s own past, made by a Japanese, and I promise you, Japan could get up to some nasty imperial stuff in its heyday just like we did.

    So like I said, don’t be so quick to assume that all our problems will be solved if “the West” falls. The fall of the West won’t mean very much if our Eastern replacers start acting like Westerners in Asian clothing.

  • Victor,

    First of all, the dates for Easter vary widely, so temperature variations are to be expected. As a result, I wouldn’t make Easter numbers a hook upon which to hang my hat. Essentially, I find anecdotal evidence about a single period a pointless exercise. Particularly since I concluded you were suggesting your single observation was definitive proof that AGW and CC are fact.

    Also, you specifically said “since 1988”, not some other arbitrarily defined time period to suit you observation. If you want to see the data plotted since 1910, try this: Met Office: Rainfall, sunshine and temperature time-series. I realise this is a bit pedantic, but it seems important to represent the data accurately in order to avoid contention.

    Finally, since I said nothing about CC, I don’t understand your inference. At this point in the proceedings, I find the science sufficiently compelling to have little doubt that AGW is indeed driving CC. It also seems more and more likely that extreme and extra-seasonal weather events are the direct result of Global Warming. Of course I have doubts about AGW and CC. Science is never certain. That’s why we have the Scientific Method. But whether p < 0.10 (or 0.05 or 0.01 or …), I believe the risks are so much greater that even if p < 0.25 I would still want we humans to take every mitigation step available.

  • Here’s our weather tidbit from the Fingerlakes Region of NY. We had patches of snow on the ground 2 weeks ago. As I read the weather this morning there were “possible” tornadoes touching down in a couple of locations.

  • Guy

    I have read the article. Makes a lot of sense, but I am not enough of an expert in this field to come down on one side or the other. Whilst I understand his argument, I have reservations.

    Firstly, it appears that he is part of the whole “gold advocate community”, the buying and selling of gold as the be-all-and-end-all of life. I must admit to a basic distrust of such people with close ties to the industry.

    What he says about hyperinflation might be true but surely this area is packed with the potential for black swans – there are a lot of very powerful people and countries all over the world who would be taken down if what he is saying is true, and will act in their own interests to prevent such a scenario, do you not think?

    And why is it that depression (deflation) seems to be a more common result of financial shenanigans the world over than hyperinflation? I mean there are a few countries that have experienced hyperinflation in the last century, but the entire world has suffered deflation. If it is true that the “Elites” have such control over the money markets and have had for hundreds of years, then why didn’t they do this same thing at the time of the Great Depression in the 30s? Instead we had over a decade of trying to dig ourselves (the world) out of a deflationary quagmire in which many many rich folks lost their shirts. True, Germany suffered hyperinflation in this general time period, but who else did? Everyone else suffered deflation.

    And he seems to make the argument that we will be faced with a choice – hyperinflation or complete economic shutdown? Is that really the choice? I would say that hyperinflation IS a complete economic shutdown, or as close to one as you can get.

    He talks about a period of time, perhaps 6 months(?), during which there is hyperinflation, followed by a total reset of the economy, but doesn’t describe what this rest means – or perhaps I missed it. But it sounds like to me that hyperinflation almost has to be followed by deflation, so the ultimate end of the monetary cycle is not hyperinflation, but deflation sometimes preceded by hyperinflation, but not always. So the dollar is destroyed via hyperinflation but the real economy carries on….how? He talks about investing in gold in order to carry you through the hyperinflation crisis to…..what? A sparkling new world where there is no longer a fiat currency, no debt, and only gold as currency? And where does that put him, a self-confessed renter without appreciable assets (like me!)? How does life carry on after this “passage”? Are we not at that point suffering the pains of a deflationary period as they did in the 30s? Or is everything wonderful again?

    The thing about cycles is that you don’t always know where the beginning is and the end….

    Am I being unreasonable, or perhaps just thick?

    He talks about the BIS as an agent of the “hard money” folks, the savers, but really offers no substantiation for that statement. The BIS as I have always understood it is the Central Bank of Central Banks and represents the banking industry, who presumably are behind all this shit to consolidate all monetary control into the hands of the central banks, destroying the US Dollar as the international reserve currency and replacing it with one over which they have control, thus gaining control of the world’s economy. How does that fit in with his theory? Not certain as he seems focussed on a narrower field of view – the US Dollar and Gold.

    So needless to say, I am not of the same mental calibre as FOA (or FOFOA?) or whoever he is. BTW what does FOA mean, or FOFOA?

  • Herbert

    Thanks for the post and your thoughts. I think, however, that you misunderstand what is going on at present in the world. It is not a matter of West v East, or mono-polar v multi-polar. It is a great consolidation. The American predatory capitalist system is essentially taking over the world. Notice I said the “system” is taking over, not the country. Capitalism in its modern form has infiltrated virtually every country on the earth, subsuming all in its path, including cultures, economies and monetary systems. Nations, as independent states,a re passing away and will exist in name only in the future. The national banking systems are being subsumed into a world banking system supported by the capitalist economy.

    Peak oil will be the trigger that brings all that crashing down. And when the system falls, ALL countries will fall, not just the US and Europe, as they are all closely connected and inter-dependent.

    There won’t be a New World Order arise out of this. Civilisation will come crashing down over our heads and we will be left at best with highly localised economies comprised of small communities operating as best they can under severe circumstances – if at all.

    Whilst |I share your opinion regarding the USA and Europe, I can not accept it regarding the rest of the world, as they are no better in either worldview, human rights adherence, or economic strength, nor will they ever have a chance to be when TSHTF.

  • From Alabama, we didn’t get hit by the tornadoes here. But really bad in Tuscaloosa. Even have power back now.

  • Librarian, I agree with you regarding East/West – every civilization has its “sins”, from tearing out the hearts of living victims on the altars of the Incan priests to the evils of Tibetan feudalism – (see Friendly Feudalism: The Tibet Myth by Michael Parenti )

    The problem IMO is that humans evolved to live in mobile small tribes but whe have now caged ourselves into civilizations. Like caged rats or monkeys etc our behavior is skewed by self caging. That is not to say that we modern humans would approve of the behavior of all hunter-gatherers. I don’t approve of the behavior of hawks that swoop in and kill our chickens. Once I frightened one off a chicken it was munching on and found the chicken was still alive – eating your prey alive is not my idea of “good” behavior. However it is natural behavior for a hawk. Just as it is the nature of foxes to tear apart little bunnies and lions to kill the babies of the former pride head when they take it over.

    But while nature lacks the categories of good or evil, it has balance. Civilizations collapse because they are out of balance and none more so than this global one.

    At any rate there will be no East or West when this global civilization collapses, it all collapses together due to the tight interconnections we have built and the total reliance of almost all parts of the world on fossil fuel energy.

  • Good article on the state of world energy shortages by Tom Whipple

  • Guy:
    None of us is above criticism, and looking hard at the doomer pundits’ postings advances the conversation and improves the breed. I exclude criticism written in freshman dorm rooms.
    By the way, if you take someone’s argument, carefully rewrite it to make it more concise and articulate, send it back to the blog it appeared on and get an angry put-down of your thinking by the pundit who wrote the original, that person has flunked the JMG test.

  • Alexander Ač, my advice for you can be found throughout the >200 essays on this blog. Secure water, food, and a decent human community. Develop skills that will be useful in the years ahead. And so on. But first and foremost, in the name of non-industrial humans, non-human species, and future generations of Homs sapiens, we must terminate the industrial economy. This is the primary point on which I disagree with so many people, including the ones I named (and Celente, since you brought up his name). I am not interested in maintaining financial wealth. I am interested in maintaining the wealth of species on Earth.

    As I have indicated repeatedly, I will gladly give my life to see the industrial age end. Preventing the ongoing extinction of >150 species each day is a lot more important than “money” in the bank.

    I know this is an unusual outlook. Most people are concerned primarily with their own survival (as dictated by evolution). But, as Nietzsche pointed out, we have the intelligence to overcome natural selection. The living planet is worth that, in my (decidedly minority) view.

    Victor, I don’t know the meaning of FOFOA, and I have no opinion on the deflation/hyperinflation argument. But the folks at The Automatic Earth certainly do, and you can read the myriad opinions of those who comment on the latest post. You’ll also find plenty of disparaging remarks about me there, which is not surprising. Like their heroes, these folks are concerned first and foremost with enriching themselves financially as the world becomes unfit for life (human and non-human). You’ll note the Nicole Foss explains her refusal to respond to me.

  • Wait, please forgive my ignorance, john rember, but what exactly is the “JMG test?”

  • Financial beliefs run deep in Homo Investus.

  • Librarian:

    I was being cranky and mean. The Archdruid has a reputation for not engaging in give and take discussion on his blog, and I’ve read his arbitrary put-downs of honest, intelligent, and well-thought-out comments on his postings. So the JMG Test of a pundit is how well he or she can take the logical extension of his or her own argument into new or uncomfortable territory. If you perceive intelligent criticism as a threat, you flunk the test.

    Guy McPherson passes the test, as he even allows space for the bastard sons of Hungry Ray Kurzweil.

    While I’m still being cranky, can I make a plea for fewer acronyms, wink-and-nudge phrases, and twitter spellings in this forum? It’s not that I can’t decipher most of them, but there are a number of people reading this blog for whom English is a second or third language, and standard English is hard enough. When we code it further, we exclude valuable viewpoints and voices.

  • The grand archdruid doesn’t meet my standards at all. As I have noted he has written a book or two on Geomancy. Per the description at Amazon Greer delivers to readers an ancient system of divination in an easy-to-use form requiring little more than a pen and a piece of paper. Using a system of counting odd and even numbers–from a deck of cards, a roll of the dice, or even by hitting sand or dirt with a stick to generate patterns–readers learn how to cast their own geomantic chart. And for those who wish to delve further, he offers exercises for geomantic meditation and ritual magic. The Art and Practice of Geomancy will appeal to pagans, followers of the Western Mystery tradition, scholars of folk magic and divination, and anyone who wants to take their past, present, and future into their own hands.
    The Art and Practice of Geomancy teaches readers how to divine the answers to life’s everyday questions about health, luck, new jobs, and love, as well as those less mundane tasks such as finding buried treasure, predicting the weather, being released from prison, and identifying secret enemies. It will appeal to pagans, followers of the Western Mystery tradition, scholars of folk magic and divination, and anyone who wants to take their past, present, and future into their own hands

    Not only that if you go to the druid site linked at his blog you get AODA – Ancient Order of Druids in America – from their market place link you can go to Rogue Regalia where you can buy Geomancy kits, robes, some modeled by Greer himself, and even buy 1, 3 or 5 card tarot readings on line.

    Now I have taken grief for saying this before, but I will say it again, I cannot believe that I will find much wisdom if any from a man who sells or promotes selling snake oil. Anyone thinking they can take the future into their own hands by divination, well I have some chicken bones to sell to you.

    Why the Energy Bulletin posts his essays and rejects most of Guy’s is beyond me. Who needs the Energy Bulletin if you can just divine the future with tarot cards? Yes I am being cranky and mean but JMG is culpable of making money selling books full of crap to credulous people who need to be spending their time watching the magic of a seed grow rather than identifying secret enemies. And mainline religious theologians are guilty of selling dressed up crap as well. And well if JMB believes this crap then he hardly qualifies as an expert on concerns about our energy and climate future.

  • Nicole wrote this on her blog Mr MacPherson dismisses out of hand the role of finance in determining how many aspects of the real economy will play out in practice, and he does so in a particularly contemptuous manner. I think this is a blindspot that many people have. They assume that, as a human invention, finance cannot matter in the real world, and so can be ignored. Doing so is very dangerous, as it amounts to disregarding the interface between humanity and the resource context in which it exists.
    Besides not spelling his name correctly, she misses the point because she cannot imagine a world without finance, even tho humans lived most of their specieshood without finance. She cannot bear looking over the cliff so she thinks everything stops at the edge where finance does still matter. She speaks to first world people, not to humanity, and she certainly doesn’t speak for the planet dying as finance destroys it. She misses the point that we have to hope that the world of finance ends so the planet can be saved.

    Its really very simple. Luckily it looks like the world of finance is doing a good job of ending its world, so the world of reality, food, water, clean air, stable climate can be saved. Finance does of course matter in the real world, but not as she thinks it does. If finance goes on much longer everyone dies.

    That is the truth that everyone’s mind flits over, that is the blindspot.

  • Guy McPherson is correct: We have the intelligence and the technology to overcome natural selection. The lions will lay down with the lambs when they have been genetically re-engineered, not when a mythological Iron Age messiah returns. The real savior is the Machine Messiah — the superintelligent global controller now under construction. Compared to this Colossus the Koch brothers are less than insects. The global reboot will be the moment when all existing institutions are rendered obsolete, unable to adapt to an information explosion only comprehensible to the Global Brain.

    Archdruids and other nostalgists are utterly irrelevent. We have discovered real magic that works, and it’s called science and technology. You are at this very moment gazing into a cybernetic crystal ball more powerful than anything imagined by pre-Enlightenment occultists. There is no past to return to; the only way forward is forward. Throw the entirety of history into your mental recycle bin. The choice before you is the universe, or nothing. When the Singularity comes, those who choose wrong will be like ants caught in the light of a million suns, while those who choose right will become true masters of the universe. Do not make the wrong choice!

  • I cannot believe that I will find much wisdom if any from a man who sells or promotes selling snake oil.

    If finance goes on much longer everyone dies.

    Well said, Kathy on both issues. And as a bonus, you even have Alpha/Omega on your side!…. ;-)

  • Wait a second, it’s possible for people to have both good and evil within them.

    It’s possible for John Michael Greer to be completely wrong about geomancy, for example, but he might be right about other things.

    Look, I have severe disagreements with the man, but I didn’t mean to imply by my comments that I thought he was a bad person, nor was it my goal to cause dissension and fights within the peak oil ranks.

    Actually, that’s pretty much most of my disagreement with Greer: he’s so focused on proving the irrationality of other peak oil members that he causes division when we should be united.

    I realize this is his goal, “dissensus,” which he thinks will be more effective, but I disagree that that is the right approach.

    However, I must emphasize that I was not attempting to start flames against the man or cause trouble.

  • Alex

    I purchased Nicole’s presentation some time ago and have listened to it several times. She makes some excellent points. But I must admit I am still left with wondering where she thinks we are really headed long-term. She seems to indicate that we are in for tough times, but she doesn’t appear to imply complete collapse of civilisation.

    To me she speaks almost entirely from a financial point of view, and does not appear to connect the other dots.

  • Librarian

    I don’t think anyone was flaming JMG – we just pointed out his inconsistencies which lead us to therefore distrust his other views as well. He may indeed be correct on other things, but as with anyone who is proved to be inconsistent in several points, you must consider that he might be inconsistent on those as well. I’m sure there are things we can agree on… ;-)

  • Librarian, long before I knew of the other side to JMG I found many of his writings OK and some pretty lousy. I always found the Archdruid title pompous but I don’t care if people want to do druid rites or whatever any more than I care if Christians want to drink wine and pretend it is blood.

    But I don’t approve of Christian preachers who tell their flock that gay’s are evil in the sight of the lord because one of their excitable parishioners might go out and kill a gay man.

    Likewise it is not OK to tell people how to flip cards or throw stones in order to find out who your secret enemies are. It is especially not OK to do that in order to earn money. So some credulous person out there buys his book and buys his geomancy gear, and then throws stones and finds out his neighbor is his secret enemy and decides to get his neighbor before his neighbor gets him. So if the Amazon description of his book is right I find JMG has crossed a line in my book.

    As far as I am concerned nothing you said inflamed me – I don’t even read his site or any of his articles any more. I am quite capable of getting inflamed all on my own :)

    But the peak oil community is not going to be united and it really doesn’t matter. Democrats all got united about Mr. Change and a lot of good that did us. IMO it is all out of our hands – the finance people are hard at work collapsing the empire and we should all thank them if they manage to bring it all down before we burn all the fossil fuels and thus fry the planet. 100,000 Derrick Jensens ( )couldn’t do as much to bring down civilizations as the King Ben and the Wall Street boys are doing, with some help from the oil companies, gas companies, nuclear power industry not to mention the military industrial complex.

  • Ed thanks for the link. The most interesting comment in the article for me was “”There are some scary things going on in Texas,” said Brian Fuchs, climatologist with the National Drought Mitigation Center, which released its weekly drought analysis Thursday morning.” When scientists drop their lingo and use words like “scary” I think it is time to get scared.

    If Nicole Foss thinks there is going to be deflation in the things that matter she has another think coming. Serious inflation in food prices is ahead. And in countries where people don’t know about finance, that in the real world means starvation.

    Priviledged thanks for the Homo Investus – certainly a subspecies of Homo Idioticus – and my laugh for the day.