Systemic collapse

Only willfully ignorant individuals are failing to perceive the ongoing systemic collapse of western civilization. Economic recession? Check, since 2000. Economic depression? Check, since 2008. Rampant “natural” disasters? Check, with increasing frequency. Climate chaos? Indeed, only a politician could miss it.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is what systemic collapse looks like. We’re awash in tell-tale interactions between climate change, “natural” disasters, and the industrial economy. Fire and flood are both on the rise. We used to be able to exert a modicum of control over both phenomena, back when climate chaos wasn’t exploding and the industrial economy wasn’t imploding.

On the other hand, we used to contain nuclear power within nuclear power plants, too. Well, except the occasional Hiroshima and Chernobyl.

And we used to busy ourselves with the quaint concept of one war at a time. Now we’re committed to Iraq and Afghanistan for the duration of the industrial age. Tack on a few more oil-rich, Muslim countries — say, Pakistan, Libya, and Yemen — and a reasonably intelligent person might conclude an increasingly desperate United States is beginning to lose its global hegemonic grip.

Phenomena that formerly captured our attention every few decades now appear weekly. The new normal is a mad scramble to steer clear of nature’s wrath while ratcheting up resource wars to stay one step ahead of complete socioeconomic collapse. Amidst the chaos, long-time political insiders warn of civil unrest.

Meanwhile, 300 million self-absorbed Americans watch the feel-good “news” to see which models of beer and automobile are being pimped by which of their favorite celebrities. It seems the personal game of “who’s screwing whom” is more important to the typical television-addicted American than the international, imperial game of “who’s screwing whom.” Oblivious to the carnage of industry and the lunacy of our lives, we keep praying the stock markets go up while bickering about who’s to blame for our economic misfortune.

There is another, better way to live. But we can’t be bothered. Please pass the guacamole, and don’t tell me how it got here. After all, extinction is for lesser species.

Until it’s not.

A model for a better way of living is demonstrated by a pair of former teachers: Mike Sliwa and Karen Sliwa, who wrote an essay in this space late last year, have boldly walked away from empire. They’ve joined us for a few months at the mud hut, where they are learning new skills. Among other things, in the first two weeks they’ve extended the water-delivery system (hence, learned some plumbing), added to the drip-irrigation system, expanded the orchard, done some carpentry and generally fix-er-up tasks, milked and walked the goats, and spent many an hour in the garden. I encourage you to visit their blog as they pursue World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.

The Sliwas abandoned city life on moral grounds. Others will take a pragmatic approach to transitioning away from fossil fuels and toward climate chaos. In either case, my latest essay at Transition Voice provides a summary and charts a course. It’s been picked up and re-posted several other places. Perhaps it’s worth a look and a comment, on the original site or this one.

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This essay is permalinked at Counter Currents and Island Breath.

Comments 104

  • What you say, though absolutely correct, remains totally unpalatble to the majority of people living in industrial socieites. Ignorance, complacency, delusion and denial prevail. Many will be looking forward to the recent drop in oil prices translating to lower fuel prices and cheaper air fares.

    Keep up the noble effort, bearing in mind that we live in societies characterised by the ‘Easter Island’ syndrome, and in which the ‘high priests’ are either completely insane or utterly evil.

  • Brilliant post! It’s kinda like we all know a secret and, unlike MOST secrets, other people don’t want to know it. Weird.

    I can’t believe the lack of interest in the Fukishima story. NOBODY here is talking about it.

    Even weirder is that most people THINK I am depressed when I do manage to have a “collapse-oriented” conversation, but I don’t think I am depressed. I don’t feel depressed.

    Perhaps I AM depressed and this is MY delusion?

    Hard to know…

  • Dr. McPherson’s perspectives here and on his own blog tend to winnow away the chaff. Regrettably, though, the chaff carries with it most peoples’ cherished features of the industrial civilization. Hence the looking away when the facts are staring at one in the face. And even when the bite is beginning to be felt, every attempt is made to rationalize away the events.

    Yet, his exhortations may benefit a few on the periphery of the herd that is in full stampede towards the cliff.

  • As I hosted a family reunion this weekend, I couldn’t help but wonder if I would be fortunate enough to see everyone together again anytime soon. Meanwhile, here at the beach, I can attest to the ramped up notion that all smells well and then some. We are, after all, in perpetual vacation land. Cars stream up and down the strip, the bay was filled with boaters over the holidays, condo rentals are up over last year (as BP was kind enough to clean up their mess – or so we’re repeatedly informed every day on the radio and in local print), and the real estate agents hawk their inventory with promises of the best year ever. Every day I wake to see this fiasco and it haunts me.

    Plant another perennial while making preparations for the possibility of a more nomadic life, check my sanity or lack thereof with my virtual connections, and reach out to others locally who may be of like mind. This is how my days are now spent to the sometimes deafening backdrop of the aforementioned madness.

  • You left out Fukushima, which some say is causing a 35% increase in infant deaths.

    Nuclear technology is one of the most wondrous, complicated, and risky things humans have accomplished. Most of the time, I welcome collapse, but I don’t fancy nuclear weapons getting in the wrong hands, nor extreme weather events combined with reduced and incompetent maintenance causing nuclear power plants to start going off around the globe like popcorn.

    I peg the peak of American influence to the last Space Shuttle flight later this year. After that, the US will have to go begging Russia to take Americans back and forth to the International Space Station. Manned space flight is coming to an end — the yeast cells will never escape this jug of cider now!

  • Garden irrigation in time of sparse rain can be accomplished by using available roof rain-sheds and gutters to concentrate the lightest of rainfall, even heavy dew, through rain barrels and tubing to provide drip irrigation in multiples of 10 to 100 times the amount of rainfall. That is especially useful in dry locales.

  • Why aren’t aware people organizing and creating “Survival Islands,” self-sufficient communities in isolated and defensible locations with productive soils, water, and other requirements? Why do so many of us recognize what the majority are blind to? No, it is not depression, just depressing. I, too, and a happy person, just terrified about the future every time I update my forecast software. Time is getting shorter.

  • The future is more of the same, but to greater extremes. More extreme wealth and poverty, more extreme weather, more disruptive technologies, more extreme politics, more lethal wars, more extremes of good and evil, intelligence and stupidity, decadence and austerity, faster computers, smarter robots, better rockets, deadlier diseases, more collapse, more construction, more madness, more order, more chaos, more life, more death.

    All the simple narratives are wrong except this one. Thus Spake Sean.

  • keep life slow, small, humble and quiet

    After bushwalking/hiking many times in the Aus Alps,
    you realize that all the things you need to be happy
    are, a place to sit down, a cup of tea, a fire to stare at
    and good company.

    I said to my 16 year son old upon my return recently,
    that I would give it all away (civilization)
    for the earth to be recovered with its wild places.
    There is no greater soulful truth than listening to those
    quiet primordial places. This is not a subjective
    probing for the ‘truth’, ones experiences in the bush run deeper
    than the silly semantics of language.
    Unfortunately very few people get to experience isolated mountain ranges
    and the howling of dingoes at night.

    neo primitivist/avid bushwalker/cyclist/landscape architect

  • Matt,

    One of my most powerful memories is lying in my sleeping bag on top of Mount Jagungal with the stars so bright, the light was almost as strong as moonlight – and the dingoes were howling. Moments like these led me to the life I now live – a regenerative farmer with multiple useless university degrees behind me, preparing for what is coming, trying to create a Survival Island as RJC calls it.

    On another note, my anvil is all set up, my tongs are lying beside my anvil, my forge is on its way to the farm, and I’m starting to get quite excited about learning blacksmithing! Oh, and Arthur at the end of the last post, didn’t think we could do much with scythes – we love our scythes and find that they are a highly efficient tool for small communities and small holders.

  • I don’t know if you picked up on this or not Guy. Saudi had an energy minister let slip that they’ll run plumb out of go-juice in 2030.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/electric-company-saudi-arabia-warns-country-may-run-out-oil-2030

    http://translate.google.com/translate?js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.eleconomista.es%2Fmercados-cotizaciones%2Fnoticias%2F3137131%2F06%2F11%2FArabia-Saudi-teme-que-se-agote-su-crudo-en-2030-si-se-mantiene-el-consumo-actual.html&act=url

    If that’s the case, they’ve either already peaked or are very, very, VERY close to doing so. That’s not good, or is VERY good depending on your situation and how you look at it.

  • Nicole, regarding blacksmithing: I was tutored in blacksmithing by a very knowledgeable friend, conveniently named “Dirk” in the art.

    Dirk was a true artist capable of not only beautiful artwork, but USEFUL items, while my level of talent lay somewhere around the level of “Turbo Like Smash! ARRRGH!” I equate it to semi controlled, quasi useful destruction.

    One lesson he taught me was that it does you no good to get yourself all tired hitting the piece of glowing metal as hard as you can. In fact many times that’s counter-productive! You’ll end up tuckered out, hot, and frustrated. Instead he taught conservation of energy and small, useful, hits could work that piece of steel from block, to tool or even art far faster, efficiently, and we’d have a far better product in the end.

    That lesson applied somewhere else too… 😉

    Good luck, and don’t touch the red end!

  • Nicole

    After 7 years of uni education,
    now I just want to grow soil/food.
    A healthy soil system is the basis for everything,
    – healthy soil – sound food – good health,
    plus the exercise that goes with procuring your own food.

    I recently told my professional association (AILA)
    to stop spamming me with their pro growth crap!
    Professional colleagues recently requested that
    I attend a networking forum for urban designers/landscape
    architects – I politely told them to shove it.
    My chickens and compost are far more enlightening.

    I want to get off this ship.

    modesty and compost

    car free matt

  • I respectfully disagree with the first sentence of this essay. Those who fail to perceive the ongoing systemic collapse are a group of several distinct persuasions, the willfully ignorant is but one. The knowledgeable, but in denial, are a group who may elicit pity. The knowledgeable but greedy are merely executing well developed capitalism. The knowledgeable but hopeful are cornucopian technophiles who need continuing education. The ignorant simply do not know what’s going on and are, thus, blissful unto their limited knowledge or persuaded by one of the groups of knowledgeable. In short, I fear the number of individuals who perceive the entirety of the ongoing collapse for what it is, and what it threatens, is actually very, very limited.

    Lest I be misunderstood, I made these comments only because we are on Guy’s site. These things must be said in these ways. A little hyperbole, some generalizations, a smattering of imminence … it’s the best that can be done presently. Keep it up, please, all of you. And I’ll keep beating the drum at other venues mechanical and organic.

  • Chandra, I feel your pain. Thanks for your comment, tinged with the despair of reality.

    Thanks for your comments regarding the beauty and glory of nature, matt and Nicole. As you know, these ideas resonate with me.

    Thanks for the link, Turboguy. I agree with recently deceased Matt Simmons: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia passed its peak in 2005, not coincident with the world peak of crude oil.

    Excellent point, Petrea. Yet again, I allowed simplicity and hyperbole to interfere with reality.

  • For most people, climate change, peak oil, financial collapse, and population limits in general are like autonomic body functions – they do not pay much attention to their heart rate, respiratory rate, blood sodium etc, unless they have a pain in their chest, or their asthma flares up. Likewise, they do not pay attention to planetary problems until it hurts.

    Our leaders have no excuses, they knew what was happening, and they had 30 years to prepare for it. They prepared, and for 30 years our presidents have each dutifully stuck to the script. It is pretty clear they intend to compete to the bitter end for the remaining oil, the remaining minerals, etc. etc. come hell or high water (literally, I guess).

    “A model for a better way of living is demonstrated by a pair of former teachers: Mike Sliwa and Karen Sliwa,…”

    Good luck Mike, Karen and continued good fortune to you too Guy.

  • ProfEmGuy Nails It Again

    Kudos to ya Guy.

    And the Mass doesn’t know how very close to the end game they are.

    Progress=complexity=fragility.This is no where no more evident than in
    the world’s financial system.Greece is us.A story in today’s Wall Street
    Journal tells how a skating rink in Everett,Washington is in peril due to the Greek debt crisis.

    There is just no escape.

    Double D

  • To Guy: I did not intend my comment to demand contrition! Quite the contrary. As much as I would like the discussions of that which ails us to be held to the highest standards of reason and logic, it just cannot be so. I am sure that most people will not respond in time, or in appropriate measure, without those devices being used. Even then, I accept that it may well be too late anyway. The risk of backfire, of creating a time-consuming and message-diluting debate on the veracity of essays and articles that use those devices, is not trivial. However, that risk notwithstanding, the hope of effectively reaching a substantial number without a sensationalist bent is quite low I fear. Burrs need to be inserted under saddles, fires need to be lit under butts, bees need to be slipped into bonnets and round tuits need to be found. 😉

  • The Greeks are currently making convenient scapegoats for the dysfunction which is inherent in the dominant economic-political system … what with them being ‘lazy, disorganised and unable to handle money’ etc. (I believe it was in the latter months of World War Two that Anglo-American style capitalism was forced on them through use of the military, after TPTB recognised the threat that genuine local control by the people of the nation would pose.)

    Now that collapse is accelerating, I’m sure the talking heads will increasingly use ‘blame game’ tactics to divert attention from the root causes of our predicament.

  • Events this week left us wondering if the moment had come. On Wednesday, we noted a lot of flickering of the lights but didn’t think much of it. By evening on Thursday, the lights in the barn were wildly fluctuating and the electrical systems around the area were starting fires in peoples homes, burning out power supplies and the like. In fact, the fire department was going around telling people to disconnect from the grid until the problem passed. I never found out what caused it or how wide spread it was. Power never went off, so I was wondering if it was caused by the sun or equipment failure in a substation. Well, at that point in time, “everything” else seemed to be going wrong around here (life on a farm) and we stopped and took stock and concluded we are not yet, after five years of hard work, ready for prime time collapse.

    Concerning Fukishima it is turning into one hell of a disaster.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/global-nuclear-update

    Guy, great piece, all the best.
    Randy

  • Well, at that point in time, “everything” else seemed to be going wrong around here (life on a farm) and we stopped and took stock and concluded we are not yet, after five years of hard work, ready for prime time collapse.

    Very insightful, Randy. I think you will find that you are not alone – few are ready, and few will be. But your situation goes to show that being ready for collapse is far more than putting in a garden. Five years of hard work…and still not ready.

  • Another point that needs to be recognised as things go wobbly over the world is the issue of rising infrastructure thefts. Copper is the hot item now, but as things proceed, you will begin seeing thefts of steel, iron, aluminium, and others – thefts by organised criminals, people out of work needing to feed their families, and general troublemakers. This will be responsible for many local blackouts of electricity, communications and transport. The ability to police against this kind of breakdown in civil order will become more and more limited.

  • The dangers posed by nuclear power plants in times like these and those coming cannot be exaggerated. An increase in natural disasters over the world and the breakdown of the social order will result in more and more nuclear disasters.

    My concern remains that once collapse finally happens, these power plants will be ultimately left to themselves.

  • Now that collapse is accelerating, I’m sure the talking heads will increasingly use ‘blame game’ tactics to divert attention from the root causes of our predicament.

    Kevin

    We are entering an extremely dangerous phase as people look for causes for their predicaments and governments try to shift blame. Scapegoating on all levels – local, national and international – will result in much disorder and many lives lost.

  • Frank

    Perhaps I missed it, but I didn’t see where you explained what “Double D” stands for…. 😉

  • Tragically, this will become more common. Though a sports event apparently triggered this riot, you begin to see a different picture when you read the article – this is not about sports: it is about pent-up aggression. As social stresses increase, this will be one of the results.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/mayhem-and-looting-in-the-crazed-smokey-streets/article2064606/

  • Although demand is being destroyed throughout the world, prices remain high and getting higher, primarily due to rising energy costs. As energy is reduced, its costs will inevitably rise, and as there are few alternatives to fossil fuels and nuclear power, the costs will continue to rise, eventually starving the global economy – and people. Many infrastructural processes will be disrupted by the rising costs of energy.

    See this article regarding the steel situation in Vietnam, a situation that is being repeated around the world as the global economy buckles under lack of cheap energy:

    http://www.commodityonline.com/news/Rising-power-cost-to-support-steel-long-futures-40040-3-1.html

  • I have been warning about shale gas for some time now. This highly dangerous technology is not what the industry promises:

    http://scitizen.com/future-energies/shale-gas-not-a-game-changer-after-all_a-14-3672.html

    The economics add up no better than the polluting factors.

    TurboGuy

    Saudi Arabia peaked some years ago, and now is approaching the point that it can no longer hide this fact. Indeed, the statement about being out of oil by 2030 is an optimistic view and reflects an internal Saudi issue, I suspect, saying that they will only have limited oil for local use by then. Far before that time, they might have to remove a large portion of their oil from the global market to feed the needs of their own people. See the Export Land Model (ELM) devised by Jeffrey Brown of TheOilDrum fame:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Export_Land_Model

    People often overlook the fact that the oil producing nations are among the fastest growing populations and economies in the world, and thus have their own growing needs for the oil they produce. The ELM states that these producers will fall off the world exporting list as each has to significantly reduce its exports over time, thus accelerating the impact of peak oil. This, combined with the rapidly falling net energy value of newer, but dirtier, sources of oil will result in a much steeper fall off the Hubbert curve.

  • Victor,

    Double D = doctor of divinty (his academic qualifications)

    I am responsible for his ‘nickname’,
    my attempt at humour – i.e. his bra size

    matt

  • Thanks, matt. I am convinced more than ever now that being a DD and simultaneously a Pit Bull are not in any way incongruous….. 😉

  • Guy, thanks for this essay. I so look forward to your essays… they give me focus, as events and propaganda collide to blur my view.

    Collapse has hit home for me this month, with the revelation that the store I manage is shutting its doors in a couple weeks. It is a situation where although my store was profitable (even amid declining volume), our franchise was sinking like a stone financially. Apparently the owners got behind on their bank payments as they struggled to prop up underperforming stores, and no banks would extend a business loan to help transition from a franchise to an independent chain.

    As I have been able to look for other work during these final weeks, I have become resigned to the fact that I will likely not find full-time work, like I have had up to now. More likely will be one or two part-time positions in the service sector, or possibly as a substitute teacher. As a 41-year old liberal arts graduate, this is likely going to be my reality going forward… and the reality of many others my age and thereabouts. The job market my father enjoyed a couple decades ago is gone forever. This reality is skirted by pretty much everybody I know, who still believe in the old propaganda of the American Dream, not knowing that it can now never be more than that — a dream.

    This is how austerity is foisted upon an unwilling populace — not by decree, but by a kind of sneaking attrition. The question I want to pose to all those of my family and friends and acquaintances who are still working is: how much longer do you think you have?

    It’s already a Long Hot Summer, and it hasn’t even officially begun yet.

    Best wishes to all here.

  • I have two native born Greek friends who travel to Greece frequently.They tell me stories of their conversations with
    other Greeks,who are so spoiled ,so disconnected from the
    real world ,after so long being pampered with lavish,hopelessly
    unsustainable salaries,paid vacations,very early retirement with
    full pensions,ect.,ect. that they cannot conceive of anything less.

    This is the reality of the riots in Athens.Of course if the Greeks
    would to accept a little bitter medicine now,they would be much better off in the long run.But that they will not do.The poor Greeks have no
    idea of how horribly worse their lives will be after default.

    And default cannot be avoided.They will be just the first domino to fall.Next comes Portugal,Spain,Ireland—and then the really big fish.
    Of course the US is the biggest fish of all.

    Double D

  • matt,

    Thank you.

    I’ll say no more.

    Double D

  • A Prediction

    THe Greek government will fall.Seems like the next most likely event.

    Double D

  • Frank

    I would suggest, however, that you not cast the blame of the Greek predicament upon the people of Greece. This is certainly what the MSM would advocate, but it is clearly wrong. The Greek elite, their elected government officials, and esp the international bank cartel have caused virtually all these problems. Indeed, across the globe today, the bank cartel and the governments of the world are selling out the people, making them the debtor of last resort and subverting hard-earned government services, pensions, and jobs.

    I find it incredible that people in America still cannot see what is happening and continue to blame the victim – certainly the people of Europe see it and are beginning to understand what is going on.

  • I truly hope that Greece does default as Iceland did. And I hope that the rest of the nations under threat default as well. The bankers will go broke.

  • Nicole- not so. I’ve used scythes, have one. Use it on the vacant lot in back of us, actually have approval to do that. City wants it cut as it becomes a fire hazard. That vacant lot is my bit of country and without it and the oval yurt I built in the backyard to do experiments in, I don’t think I could tolerate living here. I have an adobe stove in the yurt that is a combination rocket stove and “free flow bell chamber stove” (a Russian design that I like a lot, relatively simple, very efficient) and a footpowered combination lathe-saw-grinder, that also works fairly well for me. I’ve made fire pistons from local natural materials (not supposed to be possible but I found a way) have worked out a wooden crossbow that I think could work for hunting and also can be made powerful enough to stun a goat, probably a cow, for butchering. I have other experiments going. I’ve posted a few videos on youtube, have many more I could do. I don’t have a video of the big stove, but I do have a video of a smaller one that has also been handy.
    In any case, scythes can work, but when making hay is a matter of hitting short lived windows of opportunity, you need a bunch of people swinging them and raking. (I have also been intrigued by having a wood fired drier and making a little everyday- where rain is a problem, it can also be a solution as you have trees)
    I see nomadism as a way of survival from chaos, and in some climates it is the only way, but in other places staying put looks like an option. Or transhumanism is also common, where you shuttle between fixed places and can have a permanent shelter in one or both places. I’d like to do that here, if I had my way I’d be in the mountains now, and live in the valley during the winter. Richer places like these are easier to live in and currently generally have way too many people on them, and to get away from the likely chaos and violence resulting from that, I’d prefer to go nomadic in less desirable places. If I consider the outcome of any particular fight, I see that it can be less than 50%. The people trying to take what I have might or might not have better weapons and know better how to use them. Or it might be relatively equal, in that case we might both hurt each other so badly we both lose. So the chances of winning through by fighting look like less than 50% for each encounter, and there could be many encounters, depending on how overpopulated a place is. Not good odds at all. I’d rather get out and let others fight about nice places. I think the ultimate winners of such fighting could be so hurt that it is a Phyrric victory, and they fade out. Also, the ability to grow stuff in nice places can be found to be something of an illusion without the imports of fertilizer and energy for irrigation. Animals could all be killed and eaten in the fighting- it is very hard to be conservative of resources when you are fighting about them. Desperately hungry and ignorant people are very likely to eat seeds and brood animals, as well as wiping out wildlife. Nobody wins. People who have put a lot of effort into learning how to fight, and so win fights, can easily be ignorant of how to live. I could very easily see large sections of the country get very quiet.

    Hope that clarifies my position to you.

  • Arthur

    Some good points. I think we should all brush up on our negotiation skills. Even desperate people can be convinced to negotiate if they are shown the benefits of co-operation as opposed to force. You see people stealing your veggies. You talk to them. You convince them that it is in their interests to help you grow more and protect the proceeds.

  • Add hope against hope – perhaps global default would result in a quick Collapse.

  • Nicole or Arthur:

    Do either one of you know how to tighten the handles on a scythe? I have used one for years, but have now developed this problem. My solution so far has been soaking the handle in water to make the wood swell, but that’s not a good long term solution. If you look at the end of the handle there is a bolt that is flush with the end of the handle. There is no way to get at the nut. Any ideas.

    On the topic of HG, here is a quote from Samuel Thayer who’s books I have recommended before: “There is no food that means more to me than the acorn, for the acorn fulfills both a promise and a fantasy: that the forest will provide for me. When I gaze across an Ozark valley from a limestone precipice, I see more than scenery. I see thousands of acres of bounty, millons of pounds of delicious food dropped from the crowns of countless trees, waiting to be gathered up by eager hands. I see more food than I could ever eat-more than I can even fathon.” We have huge oak trees on our property and thousands more in the forests nearby. Up until now just too clueless to know what to do with them. We have also now learned of a plant called Wapato or Arrowhead, or duck potato, which has tubers that are harvested in the fall. The ponds and lakes around us are choked with them. The more we learn the more we see right in or backyard.

  • Global markets are looking like they might puke blood again soon.

    In Europe, it sounds like the banks are again starting to become worried about each other’s solvency (e.g. see today’s Mish), which could lead to another attack of the Frozen Credit Markets ( and remember, Obama said “Credit is the lifeblood of our economy”… dummy).

    An interesting discussion on the breakdown on the oil markets is going on @ theoildrum subthread (http://www.theoildrum.com/node/8043/813619)

    ….Brent-WTI spread Broken …. (h/t undertow)

    According to a recent research note from Barclay Capital: “Currently, WTI spreads are so far away from any sustainable equilibrium that they imply a mounting degree of market breakdown.”

    Walter Zimmermann, vice-president and chief technical analyst at United-Icap, says the Brent-WTI spread is broken and has “lost its moorings”. “And when a big ship has lost its moorings it can be pushed about by the slightest breeze. With a strong enough gale the ship is easily wrecked,” he wrote in a report published this week.”

    http://www.risk.net/energy-risk/news/2024151/brent-wti-spread-broken-analyst

    More big cracks appearing on Humpty Dumpty. Fractured Fairy tales picking up pace.

    Good bye Global Village
    It’s been nice
    hope you find your
    paradise

  • Creditanstalt 5-11-1931

    Or history redux.The failure of the huge Austrian bank precipitated
    the next,and far worse,leg of the Great Depression.

    History doesn’t repeat itself exactly.Times change,but humans–never.
    That is the reason we see eerie parallels througout history.So look for
    others to compare the coming financial panic to the panic started in Vienna in 1931.

    Double D

  • Stature and robusticity during the agricultural transition: Evidence from the bioarchaeological record

    Abstract
    The population explosion that followed the Neolithic revolution was initially explained by improved health experiences for agriculturalists. However, empirical studies of societies shifting subsistence from foraging to primary food production have found evidence for deteriorating health from an increase in infectious and dental disease and a rise in nutritional deficiencies.

    In Paleopathology at the Origins of Agriculture (Cohen and Armelagos, 1984), this trend towards declining health was observed for 19 of 21 societies undergoing the agricultural transformation. The counterintuitive increase in nutritional diseases resulted from seasonal hunger, reliance on single crops deficient in essential nutrients, crop blights, social inequalities, and trade.

    In this study, we examined the evidence of stature reduction in studies since 1984 to evaluate if the trend towards decreased health after agricultural transitions remains.

    The trend towards a decrease in adult height and a general reduction of overall health during times of subsistence change remains valid, with the majority of studies finding stature to decline as the reliance on agriculture increased. The impact of agriculture, accompanied by increasing population density and a rise in infectious disease, was observed to decrease stature in populations from across the entire globe and regardless of the temporal period during which agriculture was adopted, including Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, South America, and North America.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1570677X11000402

    (H/t Merrill @ oildrum)

  • Default by Default

    In both Greece and the US,this seems most likely.The Greek people will
    not accept the harsh terms demanded by their European “partners”.Their
    politicians have no stomach for trying to ram them thru,and thus it
    simply will not happen.Default will occur as the Greeks do nothing.

    It also seems more and more likely that US politicians cannot act to prevent our default.Republicans,fearing Tea Party retribution,will not
    vote to extend our debt ceiling.Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is
    the boy who cried wolf too many times—four at least,before his latest
    warnings.He’s blown his credibility.Many now want to call his bluff,and
    I think they will.It’s believed by many that an actual default is the only way any progress will be made on US financial reformm.

    The cry is now,”bring it on”.That seems to be the only way budget and debt reform will happen here.

    Double D

  • Christopher,

    “This is how austerity is foisted upon an unwilling populace — not by decree, but by a kind of sneaking attrition. The question I want to pose to all those of my family and friends and acquaintances who are still working is: how much longer do you think you have?”

    After several close friends and relatives recently lost their jobs, they now understand “sneaking attrition” – how “collapse” can happen one family at a time.

    After two years of mostly unemployment my brother got a decent job as a log buyer, but he says he is constantly haunted by the possibility that he could lose this job at any time. He keeps asking himself the same question you ask, “how much longer?”

  • Ed, with the scythe handles I’m familiar with, which sound like yours, you twist the whole handle to tighten or loosen it. That is why the nut is flush, it is basically part of the handle, turns with it. But even with that, it hasn’t been a system I’ve liked very much, I find myself frequently needing to retighten them on every scythe I’ve used with that system. I have a lightweight European style blade now, which is very nice, but the snath is a bent wood American style and has these kinds of handles. It isn’t the ideal setup but it works. Eventually perhaps I’ll get around to making a European style straight snath, and the handles are tenoned in. Tenons are a bit tricky, obviously no adjusting them, but they won’t slip. The lower handle can be adjusted up and down the handle in a long slot, as I recall, for the commercial snaths, anyway, but if you want to adjust the angle of the handle to the snath, that won’t happen so easily. Some adjustment may be possible with the blade, though. I like things that are adjustable, but at the same time, adjustable things are inherently less solid- there are always compromises in design. Anyway, hope that helps, just try turning the whole handle. Might need a bit of lube on the nut, and wrap the handle with a rag and grab it with big pliers. They can sometimes be a bit sticky even when they are a little loose.

  • Ed,
    I only know the European snaths. Designed by Schroeckenfux together with Peter Vido, they don’t have those handle problems. I think Peter has gone on to improve his design even more than the ones we purchase from Austria. Most things you want to know about scythes can be discovered on the website http://www.scytheconnection.com (Peter Vido and family’s site)

  • Nicole and Arthur, thanks to both of you. I’ll give it a try. I’ll also be spending some time at the website.

    And a hearty thanks to Kathy for recommending the Bahco saw blades. Trully amazing even in green wood.

  • I want to second what Christopher wrote about the end of stable employment, and a comfortable salary.

    The carpet cleaning business I’ve operated since 1997 is on a permanent decline, but luckily, I’ve found what looks like a good opportunity as an operations manager for a growing condo cleaning service.

    If that position works out, I will be able to sell my one vehicle, and henceforth get around on foot, bike, bus, or light rail.

    That will be a sense of accomplishment for me who turns 49 this week. Finally, I’ll be free of motorized vehicles.

    Having said that, our living standard is obviously on permanent decline, in comparison with life during the “go-go” years (1981-2008).

    The good news is there is so much good life to live; so many good books to read, conversations to have, food growing to do, etc.

    Life is becoming very different, but also probably much more meaningful than ever before.

  • I too have been in the self employed service industry for 15 years as a contractor. Having sold my last company to my partner at a huge discount and subsequently started a new smaller and more nimble company, I have reached a new equilibrium. Of course, it took loosing my house, selling everything with a payment, liquidating all my un-needed possessions, moving to rental, cashing out my 401K, and since my credit was ruined, walking away from some minor debts. One family at a time…. we were the first in our circle to face such drastic changes. Am I depressed? Of course there are difficult moments, but all in all, I am in good spirits. I have three months of food stored (need more), have set up basic protections for the home, don’t owe anyone a dime, and still live a darn good life with food on the table and a nice (rented)roof over my head. I too worry about the future. As a contractor, at least I have skills people need and can always build things for people who can’t.

    PS – Great group of folks here. I am glad I came across the blog and participants.

  • We run a farm and import items we think will give people greater survival chances in the post-industrial age – making use of international transport and the global village while it lasts.

    However, we notice that the country – city divide is getting larger all the time. Salaries in the cities have doubled and for some industries trebled since we left almost 10 years ago. In the country they have hardly moved. Yet food prices are the same around the country and fuel prices are much more expensive in the country than the city as well as country people having further to travel and no other transport options. On top of all that, with mines opening up in our area, the well paid miners are pushing the prices of housing up in our town, making it close to unaffordable for the country folk. Although the Federal Government continues to tell us how well our country is doing, I would say that Collapse has already reached quite a few people in our region.

  • Victor, I think negotiation like that has a chance of working if you have enough land, water and fertilizer for all to work together like that. And the peaceful resolution can hold if the food growing is sustainable and population doesn’t increase. Otherwise, I can’t see it working. Personally, I don’t have much in the way of physical resources to negotiate with. What I have is some understanding of non negotiable laws of nature…
    Continued overshoot of resources basically says eventually there is not enough for all. When you get to the end of situations of overshoot, negotiations can only be about who volunteers to die. Very few are likely to volunteer to do that. Violence on many levels looks inevitable to me.

    Nations have negotiated arms treaties, but they didn’t negotiate the numbers of arms and legs. They didn’t negotiate how much resources the people attached to those arms and legs would use. That is what has to be negotiated,and agreements held to, and so avoid getting into conditions of serious overshoot to begin with. The mentality that fails to do that to begin, and denies the need as it strides further and further into overshoot, isn’t a mentality that is likely to be any more reasonable when collapse starts.

  • Deus ex Machina: Will economic collapse save us from climate catastrophe?

    Summary: A new paper by NASA’s James Hansen suggests that immediate and drastic declines (ca. 6% annual) in industrial CO2 emissions are required to avoid catastrophic climatic destabilization. As no realistic political solution exists for such immediate CO2 reduction, prospects for a livable future have now become dependent on a single back-breaking option: rapid global economic collapse. And in ‘Deus ex machina’ style, we may get it just in time.

    http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2011-06-17/deus-ex-machina-will-economic-collapse-save-us-climate-catastrophe

  • The reference to the James Hansen paper referred to in the above link would be useful to some:

    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2011/20110505_CaseForYoungPeople.pdf

    A new paper on the state of the world’s oceans will be of interest to some as well:

    http://www.stateoftheocean.org/pdfs/1906_IPSO-LONG.pdf

    This paper was reported in the Huffington post in a relatively easy to read article:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/20/ipso-2011-ocean-report-mass-extinction_n_880656.html

    Deus ex Machina: Will economic collapse save us from climate catastrophe?

    If I were a betting man, I would say simply no. I think the author is relatively optimistic and apparently follows the teachings of folks like Greer and Martenson, folks who have stepped up to the edge of the chasm and backed away. He was doing quite well until the end of the article when he proposed the usual fantasy of a happy life in a post-industrial world – an idea in line with his mentors.

    Further, the popular idea of “re-localisation” is based upon a myth and just as realistic. The myth is that the human community once lived in self-sufficient communities, thus thriving in “localised” economies. Nothing could be further from the truth. For thousands of years we have relied upon national and international trade in goods and knowledge over well-established trade routes over land and sea. The use of these trade routes required an infrastructure built up over thousands of years utilising relevant technology (wooden ships, wagons, horses, camels, the relevant equipment and tools skills and knowledge – of the land, the waters, the risks, etc.). This infrastructure no longer exists, but is yet necessary for a surviving “local” community. Indeed, the effort to re-establish this infrastructure will be every bit as challenging as the effort to reduce carbon emissions – and just as socially and politically viable.

    John Donne posed that “No man is an island”. This is even more appropriate to communities.

  • You know you are in trouble when the media start talking about mass extinction within one generation (and it’s all stuff some of us have been talking about for the past decade or so).

    Oceans on brink of catastrophe

    Marine life facing mass extinction ‘within one human generation’ / State of seas ‘much worse than we thought’, says global panel of scientists

    By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor
    Tuesday, 21 June 2011

    The world’s oceans are faced with an unprecedented loss of species comparable to the great mass extinctions of prehistory, a major report suggests today. The seas are degenerating far faster than anyone has predicted, the report says, because of the cumulative impact of a number of severe individual stresses, ranging from climate warming and sea-water acidification, to widespread chemical pollution and gross overfishing.

    The coming together of these factors is now threatening the marine environment with a catastrophe “unprecedented in human history”, according to the report, from a panel of leading marine scientists brought together in Oxford earlier this year by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

    The stark suggestion made by the panel is that the potential extinction of species, from large fish at one end of the scale to tiny corals at the other, is directly comparable to the five great mass extinctions in the geological record, during each of which much of the world’s life died out. They range from the Ordovician-Silurian “event” of 450 million years ago, to the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction of 65 million years ago, which is believed to have wiped out the dinosaurs. The worst of them, the event at the end of the Permian period, 251 million years ago, is thought to have eliminated 70 per cent of species on land and 96 per cent of all species in the sea.

    The panel of 27 scientists, who considered the latest research from all areas of marine science, concluded that a “combination of stressors is creating the conditions associated with every previous major extinction of species in Earth’s history”. They also concluded:

    * The speed and rate of degeneration of the oceans is far faster than anyone has predicted;
    * Many of the negative impacts identified are greater than the worst predictions;
    * The first steps to globally significant extinction may have already begun.

    “The findings are shocking,” said Dr Alex Rogers, professor of conservation biology at Oxford University and IPSO’s scientific director. “As we considered the cumulative effect of what humankind does to the oceans, the implications became far worse than we had individually realised.

    “This is a very serious situation demanding unequivocal action at every level. We are looking at consequences for humankind that will impact in our lifetime, and worse, in the lifetime of our children and generations beyond that.” Reviewing recent research, the panel of experts “found firm evidence” that the effects of climate change, coupled with other human-induced impacts such as overfishing and nutrient run-off from farming, have already caused a dramatic decline in ocean health.

    Not only are there severe declines in many fish species, to the point of commercial extinction in some cases, and an “unparalleled” rate of regional extinction of some habitat types, such as mangrove and seagrass meadows, but some whole marine ecosystems, such as coral reefs, may be gone within a generation.

    The report says: “Increasing hypoxia [low oxygen levels] and anoxia [absence of oxygen, known as ocean dead zones], combined with warming of the ocean and acidification, are the three factors which have been present in every mass extinction event in Earth’s history.

    “There is strong scientific evidence that these three factors are combining in the ocean again, exacerbated by multiple severe stressors. The scientific panel concluded that a new extinction event was inevitable if the current trajectory of damage continues.”

    The panel pointed to a number of indicators showing how serious the situation is. It said, for example, that a single mass coral bleaching event in 1998 killed 16 per cent of all the world’s coral reefs, and pointed out that overfishing has reduced some commercial fish stocks and populations of “bycatch” (unintentionally caught) species by more than 90 per cent.

    It disclosed that new scientific research suggests that pollutants, including flame-retardant chemicals and synthetic musks found in detergents, are being traced in the polar seas, and that these chemicals can be absorbed by tiny plastic particles in the ocean which are in turn ingested by marine creatures such as bottom-feeding fish.
    Plastic particles also assist the transport of algae from place to place, increasing the occurrence of toxic algal blooms – which are also caused by the influx of nutrient-rich pollution from agricultural land.
    The experts agreed that when these and other threats are added together, the ocean and the ecosystems within it are unable to recover, being constantly bombarded with multiple attacks.

    The report sets out a series of recommendations and calls on states, regional bodies and the United Nations to enact measures that would better conserve ocean ecosystems, and in particular demands the urgent adoption of better governance of the largely unprotected high seas.
    “The world’s leading experts on oceans are surprised by the rate and magnitude of changes we are seeing,” said Dan Laffoley, the IUCN’s senior adviser on marine science and conservation. “The challenges for the future of the ocean are vast, but, unlike previous generations, we know now what needs to happen. The time to protect the blue heart of our planet is now, today and urgent.”

  • We have overshot.

  • Dunno if this is funny or prescient or what:

    http://humon.deviantart.com/art/Mother-Gaia-207388674

    Seems accurate enough, though.

  • People of NBL, have you not learned the truth of this world? Evil triumphs; the lion feeds on the lamb; the shark feeds on the seal. The Dark Side of the Force is more powerful than the Light Side, because in this universe the Light is fleeting, but the Darkness is eternal.

    To quote the great Sith Lord Darth Sion: “I have studied you, and found nothing but weakness.”

  • Guy,

    About the 300 million who claim they didn’t know; who claim nobody told them…

    “The burning of immense quantities of coal and oil was steadily increasing the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere; if this continued, a “greenhouse effect” would raise temperatures enough to melt the polar ice caps, inundate parts of many coastal cities, and make deserts of now fertile temperate agricultural areas. Nor was there any certainty that the process could be reversed; it might turn much of the earth’s surface into a Mars-like wasteland.”

    Ernest Callenbach, Ecotopia Emerging, 1981

  • if i may inject a few off-kilter observations:

    i’ve just been looking yearningly out a screen window at wild birds flittering about a neighbor’s trees and yard, envious of their freedom as wild creatures from artificial limits and controls such as civilized sheople must live by, which create mass subterfuge, hypocrisy, and neurosis/psychosis. at least that’s my view. i yearn for feral freedom, which to me means living under anarchical conditions where the only intolerable taboo is violent coercion of fellow humans. could well be a utopian pipe dream, an insane desire without a chance of fulfillment, given dystopian aspects of surreality.

    perhaps the best option left to the temporary living here (all of us) is to dream such utopian dreams, as an antidote to the spiritual devastation brought about by comprehensive awareness of surreality and the ongoing anthropomorphic ecocidal mania which threatens our world and future. if somehow anarchy could become our ‘rule of law’, that would mean no more state violence or coercive control. no more international war, or tribal war either. banishment, and if necessary, making an exception to the rule against violence in self defense, would be punishment for any severely disruptive and violence prone individuals within tribes. could this ever work? would it naturally result in a return to eco-awareness/sanity? who knows? maybe it’s how feral apes lived, before civilization and ruthless sociopathic rulers came to be. perhaps it’s how feral apes may adapt in the future, given a chance?

    i suspect it would be pretty cool to have the freedom to live as a feral ape-human. arthur mentioned something to the effect that he was foiled in his desire to live free by lack of cooperation with others. another way of putting it is to say that feral living is impossible in the context of civilization, with it’s privatized ownership and domestication/exploitation of nature, including most/all of us.

    civilized sheople have had this feral ape aspect of their dna/nature effectively/ruthlessly suppressed. i am a very maladapted sherson to civilization and it’s ‘rule of law’, it’s puritan prohibitions and mass dogmatic lunacy. my dna/nature foiled the effort to fit in, and my curiosity took over. i read widely and deeply, and became too aware to ever want or be able to return to being well adjusted. well adjusted to what? insanity? orwellian leadership? ignorant acceptance of conventional/sanctioned ‘wisdom’, as commonly portrayed in ‘our’ corporate controlled ‘free’ mass media? ‘blissful’ ignorance of looming collapse and possible extinction?

    my brief, but perhaps over-long 2 cents addition to the last thread’s dialog between art and resa involving the desirability of feral living. mostly, i yearn for freedom from this dystopian nightmare, even as fierce curiosity propels us further into it’s bowels. the bowels of hell?

  • ‘Great group of folks here. I am glad I came across the blog and participants.’ -chris i heartily concur, although i fear my inclusion, if i may be so bold, may spoil the soup. hopefully not.

  • ‘peaceful resolution can hold if the food growing is sustainable and population doesn’t increase.’ -arthur

    true, i fear. voluntary restriction of procreation is the biggest, perhaps insurmountable obstacle to utopian dreams, especially when our advanced contraception technologies are no longer widely available.

    i should amend my comment directly above to say i appreciate virtually all recent contributors to this blog, although i respond only occasionally to a few. it’s wonderful that practical information re. living more independently from civilization and the soon to be defunct global economy is shared freely here, by impressively knowledgable, articulate, eloquent individuals.

  • Starting the day with the article on the collapse of the oceans put me in a different sort of mood as I headed to my little job at the little grocery here in this little resort town. During my lunch break I am listening to a Buddhist talk on paying attention to the environment and the reactions that are happening inside the mind and body when someone sits down at my table. I wanted to have my lunch alone. Then the second person sits down. I decide to use this situation to be real. The conversation is about the food I am eating. I wait for a pause and ask these two young men (about 18 or so) if they have heard of peak oil. No, Charlie says what do you use it for? I tell them it is not an item it is a situation … oil being a finite resource … Justin says well, we are still young – we are still learning stuff.

    Wonder how much longer there is for any of us to be too
    “young” to know what is happening? Here we are in a mass extinction. Which is the blessing knowledge or ignorance?

  • Here we are in a mass extinction. Which is the blessing knowledge or ignorance?

    Sarah

    I believe knowledge wins hands-down. Though knowledge forces us to confront the pain of truth, with it one can choose their path and prepare in their own way. Ignorance robs you of that choice, and you and yours are likely suffer and die without ever knowing why and without a chance to use your last days most profitably.

  • Kathy

    12 things the media is not covering

    This link does not work. I wonder if it was one of the sites taken down by the FBI in their raid:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43488005/ns/technology_and_science-the_new_york_times/

    I suspect as the cyber wars heat up and the governments get more involved, we will see more of this. Apparently there is a co-ordinated effort to find Lulz Security Group.

  • @ Victor

    12 things – the link worked yesterday, reading your note tried again today, doesn’t work.
    Well it is called “endoftheamericandream” – maybe that’s why?

    Love & Peace fellow doomers.

  • Kevin

    Whilst I agree with the paper being published by IPSO and IUCN, the critics are going to subvert it claiming that it is not an impartial paper, nor is it peer-reviewed. Both organisations are environmental activist orgs, and therefore, and unfortunately, the message they carry and the members of the panel responsible for that message will be interpreted in that light.

  • More on Ft Calhoun and Cooper Nuclear Power plants and Missouri flood
    http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2011/06/nebraska-nuclear-threat-as-predictable.html

  • Terry, you are an excellent addition to this soup.

    Kathy, thank you for those links.

    Re. the NASA warning (appears to have been posted only two days ago?) – that reminds me of what our US attorney general said last winter:

    “The threat has changed from simply worrying about foreigners coming here, to worrying about people in the United States, American citizens — raised here, born here, and who for whatever reason, have decided that they are going to become radicalized and take up arms against the nation in which they were born,” Holder added.

    “It is one of the things that keeps me up at night,” Holder said. “You didn’t worry about this even two years ago — about individuals, about Americans, to the extent that we now do. And — that is of — of great concern.”

    “What I am trying to do in this interview is to make people aware of the fact that the threat is real, the threat is different, the threat is constant,” Holder told ABC’s Pierre Thomas, in an interview that aired Tuesday morning.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20026288-503544.html

  • “You didn’t worry about this even two years ago — about individuals, about Americans, to the extent that we now do. And — that is of — of great concern.”

    You might say the same about the American government in relation to its own citizens. Citizens have never had to worry about their own government to the extent we do now – “the threat is real, the threat is different, the threat is constant”

  • Why are nuclear reactors designed the way the are today?

    Answer:
    1. The design offered a competitive edge to Westinghouse and General Electric from the work they had already done for the Navy on nuclear submarines

    2. They produce plutonium, an obvious advantage for the military.

    Read more at:

    http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2011/06/american-nuclear-policy-is-insane.html

  • I have always been an optimist, some might say an idealist. I’m sure it’s a result of growing up in the particular place and time in which I did. But I also grew up in a home steeped in Christian belief and the idea that the rapture could happen at any moment. So, no matter how bad the world got, it was okay, because soon, very soon, Jesus/God would come and take all of us true believers away. An unspoken assumption was that the worse things became the better, because it meant that Jesus was coming soon and would set things right. While I myself have put away that silly belief, there are hundreds of millions in the U.S. and more around the world who still hold strong to it.

    So it seems strange to me that even now, with the knowledge I have of collapse and overpopulation and global warming and … on and on it goes, I find that it’s difficult for me to stop being an optimist. I’m always looking for ways to improve my situation in the world.

    Can it be surprising then that those around us are unwilling to open their eyes and minds to what is happening?

  • I find solace in geologic time. I picture the earth healing itself by folding the remnants of this failed experiment deep into it’s crust, burning and melting the sore on it’s skin. It will create new life forms like it has a billion times over. Perhaps it will be another turn for large reptile like creatures to rule the earth for millions of years. Whatever happens today or tomorrow, my solace comes from the old saying that time heals all wounds and the earth will heal itself if given enough time.

  • Guy, you are right, of course, that systemic collapse is underway – the whole thing is a muddled mess that can do nothing but continue to fail.

    Considering the recent study of the oceans, mentioned above, combined with the climate change many of us are experiencing already, I wonder which will come first: human system collapse or environmental collapse?

    When a person has reached the end of a long life and is lying in the hospital bed with monitors beeping and recording everything, one can see collapse in a microcosm. One by one the various systems and organs begin to fail – the kidneys, the liver, the lungs, the endocrine system, the immune system, the heart, the brain. Failure starts slowly but then the pace becomes quite rapid. This continues until there are no systems left functioning. In other words, death. While modern technology allows us to replace or supplement many of those systems, sooner or later, no matter what else we do the point of no return is reached and there is nothing left to do except say goodbye.

    Are the oceans the point of no return for life as we know it? Perhaps some of the readers of this site can speak more definitively on this subject, but the way I understand it, humans simply can’t survive long without healthy, vibrant oceans. It may be time to say goodbye.

    So, for now, I’m going to shut off the computer and go out and enjoy the world today. My time communing with nature may be limited.

  • The notion that the government and its citizenry can or should or always have lived in harmonious equilibrium is a fiction. Consider this quote by Jefferson: “When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.” This sentiment is not limited to the Revolutionary Era, as the Civil War and recurring secessionist squabbles all demonstrate that the people from time to time grow dissatisfied with their government and want to be free of it. One could also argue that government fears the people insofar as elected officials can be voted out of office when public opinion shifts. Otherwise, office holders would not spend so much of their time campaigning and manipulating the narrative.

    At the founding, the Federal government was intended to be small and weak and state houses were where the action was. Times change, and the Federal government has since become a behemoth that scarcely exists to serve its constituency but merely seeks to perpetuate itself. Even a cursory appreciation of American history, however, should mean that it is proper and just for the government to fear the people, whose interests it must always serve. If the Federal government is interested in the commonweal (as opposed to plutocratic privilege), it’s hard to recognize anymore.

    A thread or two ago, we commented about the effect of aggregation, noting that cohesive social units are fairly radically limited in size. The Federal government attempts to aggregate 300+ million people, and the scale clearly leads to distortions and failures. Just another reason why there are simply too many people.

  • Brutus

    Agree with all your points. Unfortunately for Americans, their government has lost fear of the people. It’s politicians are beholden only to special interests who provide the campaign cash. The special interests determine who will run for office. The people then go through the process they call free elections to determine which of the whores to put in office. It is then up to the whore to manage his constituents and his campaign benefactors for re-election.

    Whilst this has been a relatively harmless process for most of America’s history, in recent times these elected officials, and even the Supreme Court judges (who are chosen in similar manner but without elections), are becoming more and more brazen in their anti-democratic actions to the point that the electorate is being slapped about like a bitch dog.

  • One of the 12 news stories not covered was no fly zones. I think there are about 36 now. Only 5 in all of 2010

    http://tfr.faa.gov/tfr2/list.html

  • British, French Agents Undercover in Libya to Get Gaddafi: Report

    By ANI

    London, June 19, 2011 “ANI” — A team of 130 British and French agents are reportedly on a one-million-pound-a-week, do-or-die deep undercover mission in Libya to get Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

    The British security service MI6 and France’s Directorate-General for External Security agents will hunt for the dictator in Operation Fire And Forget, the Daily Star reports.

    According to a senior security source, these agents are personally sanctioned by UK PM David Cameron and French President Sarkozy, the paper said.

    Members of the team speak the language, have lived in the country for years, and have made good contacts or landed jobs in key areas.

    “These agents are very brave people. If they get caught they will disappear and won’t survive an hour,” the paper quoted the senior security source, as saying.

    Money is no object and the operation could cost an estimated one million pounds a week, the source added. (ANI)

    Copyright Asian News International/DailyIndia.com
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article28394.htm

  • head for the hills! that’s my quite possibly idiotic advice to serious survivalists, like our own j.r. . mountains and rugged landscapes are naturally the last to undergo civilization’s onslaught of ‘development’, or turning eco-healthy wilderness into eco-devastated human ‘property’ and short term ‘wealth’. hills and mountains will have the best and most reliable fresh water supplies, at least for a fortunate few, as anyone who’s ever drank from an icy cold natural spring can attest. last but far from least, u want to be as far from ‘the masses’ as possible during peak ‘shit hits the fan’, whenever and however that happens. jean and john have the right idea, i think. head for the hills! if u’re already there, stay put!

    tsdh (is there a doctor in the house?), robin, et.al., i have a utopian dream related concern for which perhaps u can provide enlightenment. about 7 years ago at the age of 45, i voluntarily had a vasectomy (sterilization) operation, at no financial cost, in a hospital with advanced, expensive technology, etc., in other words about the best and most confidence-inducing medical treatment money can buy here near peak wealth/technology. i was confident the operation would be relatively simple, pain-free (considerable soreness for about a week following, but not a big deal), and successful, and it was. i advice any men reading this considering this step look into it further and consider having it done quite soon, before economic collapse may limit your freedom to do so under optimal conditions.

    considering the relative simplicity and safety (under sanitary conditions, by competent personnel using proper tools) of this operation, i wonder how practical an option it will remain as a means of highly effective contraception during and after collapse, under less optimal conditions? dr. house, robin, anyone, what do u think of the likelihood that in at least a few enlightened surviving communities, sterilization operations will remain a viable means of contraception, without current technology, under relatively ‘primitive’ conditions?

    ‘Starting the day with the article on the collapse of the oceans put me in a different sort of mood… Here we are in a mass extinction. Which is the blessing knowledge or ignorance?’- sarah

    very good question. under ideal/sane conditions, obviously knowledge is preferable, but our surreality is neither ideal or sane, as far as i can tell. ignorance definitely has it’s charms here, doesn’t it? however, the cat’s already out of the bag for those of us in the know. short of lobotomy or something akin, we can’t return to ignorance, any more than an adult can go back to being a juvenile.

    changing the subject, i believe i’m addicted to a decadent unsustainable lifestyle. things like cold ice cream on hot summer days, and the convenience and ease of cheap electricity/energy and virtually all the trimmings of modern technology, shopping at supermarkets, trading fiat currency for luxuriant and extremely diverse food options and other necessities/desires. i’m not looking forward at all to having to go cold turkey off of this addiction, if collapse progresses that far in my locale in my lifetime.

    gives me an idea. maybe someone can create a business of curing addiction to modern decadence. better to kick the habit voluntarily.

  • TVT: I have performed a couple of vasectomies. It’s, as you say, a relatively painless and simple procedure, assuming you have local anesthetic. But, can you imagine what it would feel like without anesthetic?! I’m thinking very few guys would be willing to suffer the experience. Drug shortages are happening already. I suspect lidocaine and other numbing agents will be among the early casualties.

    Now, the process of making eunuchs might catch on again seeing as how a hot sword slashed quickly in just the right spot can achieve this state relatively quickly. 🙂

    Huzzah!

  • Now, the process of making eunuchs might catch on again seeing as how a hot sword slashed quickly in just the right spot can achieve this state relatively quickly.

    The positive side of this is that you can vastly improve the musical range of your voice!….. 🙂

  • Thanks alot Dr. House.

    I just found this one: http://paleoplanet69529.yuku.com/

    Others may have seen it before, but I’ve never seen it mentioned before. The more we learn about HG (and practice it), the more we feel that in addition to annuals (coupled with seed saving) and perennials that a form of self sufficiency is possible.

    Another one is primitive.org, but you need to pay to read the articles. It may be worth it.

    Someone above asked why there is no news on Fukushima. Look no further than who controls the news media here in the US. GE, Westinghouse, and the Bass family (through Disney).

  • Agriculture’s Impending ‘Storm’ Will Send Corn Prices Soaring
    BY KERRI SHANNON, Associate Editor, Money Morning
    Don’t let the recent slip fool you: Corn prices are ready to soar.

    Worldwide demand for corn has surged, and shrinking stockpiles are unlikely to be replaced due to extreme weather conditions that have destroyed millions of acres of farmland.

    Even as corn production rises to record levels this year, it won’t be enough to keep up with demand, and prices will climb.
    Full article at
    http://moneymorning.com/2011/06/21/agricultures-impending-storm-will-send-corn-prices-soaring/

    Drought in Europe Hits Wheat Crop
    By REUTERS
    Published: May 19, 2011

    PARIS — Estimates for the European Union’s wheat harvest are shrinking by the day as plants wilt in a months-long drought that looks set to continue for a while.

    Several months of drier-than-usual weather have parched farmland and cut water reserves in France and Germany, two key grain producers in Europe, stoking worries of a drought similar to that experienced in 1976 and fueling concern for the final harvests.

    Parts of central Europe had under 40 percent of their long-term average rainfall from February to April, and drought in much of Europe looks set to continue with little relief until June at the earliest, forecasters say.

    Weather problems in the United States as well as those in Europe have pushed prices higher with benchmark U.S. July wheat rising more than 6 percent to a peak of $8.12 per bushel, its highest level in more than one week.
    Full article at
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/20/business/global/20iht-wheat20.html

  • In clear violation of the mission of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), and as the price of oil plummets, Obama and gang unleash a few million barrels. Is this the last gasp of American Empire?

  • Math problem for the day:

    If you eat 20 million bags of shit a day, and someone gives 30 million bags of shit, but gives them to you as 1 million bags of shit per day for each of 30 days, who is the bigger shit?

    (I realize Guy posted similar link above.)
    http://money.cnn.com/2011/06/23/markets/oil_prices/index.htm

  • “News of the oil release sent gasoline tumbling 14 cents a gallon in the futures markets. That’s the equivalent of about $56 million a day in savings at the gas pump — or about $20 billion a year, according to Peter Beutel, an oil analyst at Cameron Hanover.”

    Gee, and over 1000 years,that is…

    $20,000 Billion dollars. Peter gets my vote for, “Stupidest Asshole of the Year.”

  • @Guy and Curtis:
    Ah the fickleness and gullibility of the markets. Obama and the IEA agree to release 60 million barrels of oil from the strategic reserves, Saudi Arabia is “probably” producing more oil, the global economy is “slowing slightly”, and suddenly oil drops by $4 a barrel. Don’t they realize that the world is using almost 90 million barrels per day? 60 million isn’t even one day’s supply! And I wouldn’t bet a penny that KSA is producing more – there’s a reason what analysts are saying “probably”. And while the global economy may be slowing, the number of people wanting food and other stuff isn’t declining at all.

    Gail Tverberg has an excellent article about the “inelastic” oil supply which is quite informative and on point:
    http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Energy-Policies-and-Oil-Supply.html

    Traders, for all their bravado about “seeing” what’s going to happen with the markets, can’t see the forest for the trees.

  • Since we are in such a cheerful mood today,

    http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/features/2011/06/2011622132049568952.html

    Have a great day all…

  • Guy.

    As I understand it, the International Energy Agency was set up after the 1970s oil crisis to organise sharing arrangements among western nations during times of difficulty. Once the yet-to-be-discovered oil that the IEA has on its books (equivalent to around four Saudi Arabias) comes on stream the international oil markets will stabilise.

    I also understand the first documented instance of manipulation of the US oil market occured in the 1870s. (Manipulation of the Perian oil market seems to go back to around 500BC.)

  • Once the yet-to-be-discovered oil that the IEA has on its books (equivalent to around four Saudi Arabias) comes on stream the international oil markets will stabilise.

    Another such charade is the national debt. To be paid on time, it will require more than the resources of the Umited States. It would be instructive if someone could come up with reasonably accurate figures as to just how many united states it might take. Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately?) the day of reckoning can be postponed by promising an even bigger payback, just so long as the creditors acquiesce in this. And unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?) gas tanks cannot be filled up with this kind of “gas”.

  • Don’t worry Victor, the Chosen Few will carry the industrial world through the eye of the needle…

    Saving Nature by Ending It: Geoengineering and the Moral Case for Conservation

    …But if that’s the only reason to save the natural world, Keith argues, then once someone like Keith builds a machine that can, say, deliver the same atmospheric benefits as the Amazon rainforest, there is no longer any compelling reason to save the “lungs of the Earth,” as the Amazon is sometimes described. And that is exactly what geoengineering might lead to, “making the world safe for SUVs,” in Keith’s words….

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=saving-nature-by-ending-it-geoengin-2011-06-21

    I think a better title would be, “There Be Monsters: How to be a Super Hitler.” Or “Geoengineering – Taking Eugenics to the Next Level.”

    —–

    About the SPR release today – are we seeing panic?

    It sounds like something straight out of the playbooks of past PTB in “Popular Mass Delusions and the Madness of Crowds,” or “Manias, Panics and Crashes.”

  • In response to your questions about panic, Victor, that’s exactly what Mike Krieger sees: http://www.zerohedge.com/article/mike-krieger-widespread-panic

  • ‘I have performed a couple of vasectomies. It’s, as you say, a relatively painless and simple procedure, assuming you have local anesthetic. But, can you imagine what it would feel like without anesthetic?! I’m thinking very few guys would be willing to suffer the experience. Drug shortages are happening already. I suspect lidocaine and other numbing agents will be among the early casualties.’ -tsdh

    of course, without a very effective anasthetic, very few if any would choose to undergo any such operation.

    i just read about lidocaine on wikipedia, curious to learn more, specifically re. how difficult and expensive it is to manufacture. the wikipedia article didn’t address this directly, but it gave the impression that it isn’t terribly difficult or expensive. looks like it’s derived from cocaine or the coca plant, and requires a couple of chemical reactions. if this is the case, it should remain available at least on a limited basis well into collapse, and perhaps beyond?