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Investing in Collapse

Investing in Collapse

For years, I’ve been writing about Venezuela, describing it as the “movie” by which we can view the future of other jurisdictions that are presently in decline.

The reason is that declining nations follow the same pattern, time and time again, over the centuries. This is not coincidence. The pattern exists because human nature never changes, regardless of the era or the locale. Political leaders make the same mistakes as their forebears, and the people of a nation react in kind.

For this reason, countries have a sort of “shelf life.” They rise in prominence, due to work ethic and productivity. They then go through a period of abundance, which eventually deteriorates, due to complacency and apathy. Finally, they collapse into a period of bondage.

If we recognize that this pattern has played out countless times over the millennia, we can track any given country and assess where it is at present, in the pattern. For example, Europe and North America are presently in the last stages prior to collapse, Venezuela is in the process of collapse and Cuba is in the post-collapse recovery.

But, although this may be historically interesting, of what value is it to us in terms of our own lives and the choices we make for our future?

Well, we can observe Venezuela and see the effects of the present policies evident in our own country, if we happen to live in one that’s on the verge of collapse.

For example, we can see that ever-increasing largesse by a government—on the backs of productive taxpayers—is a major destructive trend. “Protective” tariffs and capital controls also lead to collapse. And excessive debt is a pathway to economic collapse.

We can see from the recent history in Venezuela how these political mistakes caused their collapse, and we can now observe how that collapse plays out.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Great Oz

The Great Oz - Jeff Thomas - 18/05/2018

For eight years (2008-2016), the US liberal media touted the brilliant accomplishments of the liberal president, whilst the conservative media groused that nothing he did was of value.

Today, the conservative US media are touting the brilliant accomplishments of the conservative president, whilst the liberal media grouse that nothing he does is of value.

So, which is it? Who is correct here? Well, actually, neither is correct.

Neither president is the great Oz. Neither one is in fact, “running the country.” Behind the scenes, the great machine of government churns along, often in complete disregard to the president or his stated policies.

However, the media credits or lambastes the president of the day as though he and he alone is in charge of the country. Whatever happens is treated as his accomplishment or failure.

And, typically, presidents play into this – taking personal credit for perceived accomplishments within the country and disavowing blame for perceived failures.

At present, the conservative media are emphasising low unemployment as an achievement, just as the liberal media did during the Obama Administration,

And yet, since the Clinton Administration, the unemployment figures have been consistently fudged. Those who work only part time are defined as “employed.” Those who have given up pursuing employment are removed from the unemployment equation. If those numbers were plugged back in, US unemployment would be in the double-digits during both the Obama and Trump presidencies.

The conservative media also tout Mister Trump for the increase in the stock market. Of course, the liberal media did the same in Mister Obama’s time. Stocks have been on the rise in both administrations.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Nothing Exceeds Like Excess

Nothing Exceeds Like Excess

Nothing Exceeds Like Excess
The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists.

—Ernest Hemingway

Military spending is the second largest item in the US federal budget after Social Security. It has a habit of increasing significantly each year, and the proposed 2019 defense budget is $886 billion (roughly double what it was in 2003).

US military spending exceeds the total of the next ten largest countries combined. Although the US government acknowledges 682 military bases in 63 countries, that number may be over 1,000 (if all military installations are included), in 156 countries. Total military personnel is estimated at over 1.4 million.

The reader could be forgiven if he felt that a US military base was rather unnecessary in, say, Djibouti or the Bahamas, yet the US Congress will not allow the closure of any military bases. (The Bi-partisan Budget Act of 2013 blocked future military base closings under the argument that they’re all essential for “national security.”) And Congress has a vested interest in keeping all bases open and consuming as much in tax dollars as possible (more on that later).

Of course, those bases need to be kept well-stocked with small arms, tanks, missiles and aircraft. Yet, in spite of the admittedly incredible number of US military bases across the globe, the additional stockpile of weaponry is so great that the government has difficulty finding places to put it all.

One storage location is pictured in the photo above—Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona. In spite of the size of the photo, it shows only a portion of the aircraft located there. (And bear in mind, such aircraft often cost over $100 million each.)

If asked, the military states that, although these aircraft are in dead storage and many have never seen any use whatever, they might possibly be called up for service, “if needed.” Of course, if they’re needed, they’re unlikely to be of use if located in Arizona. And, in addition, they may not be useful for warfare, as war technology has moved on since the days when such aircraft designs were suitable.

It’s been said that generals are forever fighting the last war, and this is certainly true. Even a layman can observe that such conventional aircraft will never see use, as they serve no purpose in modern warfare.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The All-Important Doorman

The All-Important Doorman

The All-Important Doorman

Picture this: A tribal leader from a distant country visits the US. He’s brought to a large apartment building in New York City. When he gets out of the car, he looks up at the great building and is quite impressed. A uniformed doorman exits the foyer and comes out on the sidewalk. The tribesman sees the gold braiding and brass buttons of his coat and immediately decides that this is a very important person. Again he looks up at the building and says to the doorman, “This is a very great home you have. You must be very important indeed.”

Of course, if we were present, we might chuckle at the tribesman’s naiveté. The owners of such a great building would never greet people at the entrance. They leave such trivial tasks to hired servants, whilst they run the real business without ever needing any direct contact with visitors as they enter the building. And, in addition, doormen come and go – they are, after all, disposable. The owners – those who control what happens in the building – retain their positions over the long term… and may remain anonymous, if they so choose.

We find this simple concept easy enough to understand, and yet we chronically have difficulty in understanding that, in most countries, the president, or prime minister, is not by any means the man who makes the big decisions in the running of the country.

We assume that, because we were allowed to vote for our leader, he must actually be our leader. But, as Mark Twain has at times been credited as saying, “If voting made any difference, they wouldn’t let us do it.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Are Governments Running Out of Candy?

Are Governments Running Out of Candy?

By now, many readers will have seen the popular American YouTube video by Mark Dice in which he stands on a city sidewalk and offers passers-by a free gift. They may choose between a 10-ounce silver bar or a large Hershey’s candy bar.

Each taker chooses the candy – most of them with no deliberation. The only taker who seems to hesitate at all soon decides on the candy, as “I don’t have any way to do anything with the silver.” (Behind them is a coin shop. Mister Dice offers to take the silver bar inside if she wishes, but she’s uninterested and takes the candy.)

A 10-ounce silver bar is presently valued at about $140, the Hershey’s bar at about $2.

(Editor’s Note: If you have not seen the video, please see below.)

Mister Dice doesn’t comment in the video as to what lesson might be learned from this, but an obvious one would be that Americans (or at least those who reside in his home town of San Diego, California) are prone to prefer instant gratification over something of substantially greater, but delayed value.

If this is his intent, he’s succeeded well in his light-hearted, but instructive video.

Since the 1950’s, much of the world has perceived Americans as being on “Easy Street,” and in recent decades, the U.S. government has fuelled American complacency through a consciousness of easy money and entitlement.

And so, Americans are often perceived by those outside the U.S. as being somewhat insulated, spoiled, naïve, and short-sighted. But, if this is true, Americans certainly aren’t alone. Much the same exists in Europe, Canada, and quite a few other countries that have, over recent decades, followed the American socio-economic model.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Where Does It End?

Where Does It End?

Where Does It End?

It’s nothing new.

Whenever a major country is in decline and approaching collapse, a contingent arises that does everything it can to speed up the process toward collapse. This is always done in the same way:

  • Vilify the established rulers as being the culprits for the nation’s woes.
  • Establish simplistic arguments to support that view. (The arguments need not be entirely logical or supportable, but they must have emotional public appeal.)
  • Create simplistic rhetoric that supports the destruction of the establishment and its icons.
  • Make the arguments and rhetoric as ubiquitous as possible (particularly through the media).

 

Then, like any recipe, turn up the heat and bake until done.

Generally, the destruction of the first icon (most often a statue) requires some sort of explanation, regardless of how flimsy the argument may be. After that has succeeded, praise is to be showered on those who took part, egging them, and others, on to do more. As each new icon falls, less justification is necessary and, in the end, only blind anger is required to keep the destruction going.

In the present era, we’re witnessing this age-old process taking place in quite a few countries, but notably in the US.

But, why the US—the one country in the world that began as possibly the most advanced, freest nation the world had ever seen? How did this come to pass in “the land of the free”?

Well, truth be told, no matter how inspired or sincere the founding fathers of any nation may be, those who would usurp them are always many in number and, in most cases, are prepared to do whatever it takes to slowly take power and return to tyrannical rule.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What Will Push Them Over the Edge?

What Will Push Them Over the Edge?

What Will Push Them Over the Edge?

Recently, the people of two of Italy’s most prosperous regions voted in a referendum, on whether they wished to have greater autonomy from Rome. The referendum is non-binding, but that’s not what’s most significant in the results.

What is significant is that over 95% of those who voted in Lombardy did so in favour of greater autonomy. In Veneto, the number in favour of greater autonomy was even higher, at 98%.

Roberto Maroni, president of Lombardy, said, “I now have a commitment… to go to Rome and give concrete actualization to the mandate that millions of Lombards have given me.”

It may appear on the surface that Mister Maroni intends to make an appeal for independence, but this is not what will occur. He’s a politician and won’t invite Rome to jail him for sedition. His goal will instead be to demand that a greater amount of the national income that’s generated by Lombardy and Veneto (about 20% of the total) remains within those regions.

This will not mean that he wants his people to be taxed less; his goal will be to retain a larger portion to be absorbed by the regional governments—to be in his own hands.

So much for the politicians’ agenda. But what does the referendum say about the people of the regions? Well, the extraordinarily high numbers in favour of greater self-determination demonstrate that virtually all the people in the regions have figured out that Rome is bilking them of their earnings and they’re getting pretty cheesed off.

In prosperous times, a population tends not to complain too much about being robbed through taxation. They grumble a bit, but tolerate it. However, in more stringent times, when people are finding it more difficult to make ends meet, they become more resentful of governments that are chronically both overreaching and wasteful.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Is This What You Call Being Prepared?

Is This What You Call Being Prepared?

Is This What You Call Being Prepared?

In talking with American clients about their need to prepare themselves for the upcoming socio-economic/political upheaval in their country, my advice to them primarily revolves around the concept that, if you’re living in a bad neighbourhood, the obvious solution is to leave.

Many choose to do just that. Those who have limited funds seek out employment in a country that’s less likely to be dramatically impacted than their home country. Those who are a bit more well-heeled generally liquidate what they can in their home country and forward the proceeds to one where the economy and socio-political situation are more stable—and one where the rights of the individual are more greatly respected.

They then convert their wealth into a more protectable form, by buying real estate in such countries and, particularly, by converting wealth into precious metals and storing it in a top-rate facility in the chosen country.

If they can afford it, they additionally rent or purchase a home and acquire the right to residency in such a country so that, if their home country suddenly becomes less liveable, they can simply pack a carry-on and be on a plane that day.

However, far more individuals say something to the effect that “I’m too invested in where I am. I’ll make a stand right here. Let the bastards come and get me if they want to. I’ve got plenty of guns and ammunition.”

This position is, of course, very manly. It smacks of the protection of home and family. And, like John Wayne in his role as Davy Crockett at the Alamo, it has a truly patriotic ring to it.

Of course, it’s also true that Davy Crockett died at the Alamo, along with all those who fought alongside him. (Not at all a positive outcome.)

So, let’s have a realistic overview of this commonly stated “plan” to “make a stand.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Future Headlines

Future Headlines

Future Headlines

The following is a random assortment of headlines that we may see in the future. However, they’re not fanciful; they’re based upon historical, political actions taken by past empires when they were in decline. The wording, however, has been modernised to reflect current media presentation.

“President Announces Executive Order to Keep US Dollars at Home”

The accompanying article then goes on to describe that a financial crisis could be on the horizon, as US dollars are exiting the country. This is due to those people who are retired and who receive Social Security courtesy of the government but live overseas, where they spend America’s money. In order to ensure that a crisis doesn’t occur, the president declares that those who “threaten the country’s solvency” in this way will have their cheques ceased until they return to US soil, so that they can reinvest in the Greater Good of all their countrymen.

FBI Warnings Come to Pass—Domestic Terrorist Attacks in Five States. President Announces Emergency Measures”

Shootings occur in several states, all within a brief time period. The president orders martial law, citing the already established authorization under the Patriot Act and National Defense Authorization Act, which allows the suspension of habeas corpus. Although it’s initially announced as a temporary emergency measure, the country becomes a permanent police state.

“Recent Domestic Terrorism Incidents Linked to Inadequate Control of International Travel”

The accompanying article describes what FBI and CIA intel has “revealed”—that domestic terrorists travel in and out of the country at will and that, therefore, terrorist incidents could have been prevented if international travel were curtailed.

Most people today would agree that governments are becoming more restrictive and many of them are fearful that, in the future, there’s a danger that their liberties will be increasingly removed—a development they say they wouldn’t accept, were it to happen.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The End Is Nigh

The End Is Nigh

The End Is Nigh
Recently, US Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin stated, “If China doesn’t follow these sanctions [against North Korea], we will put additional sanctions on them and prevent them from accessing the US and international dollar system.”

This is astonishingly shortsighted, as the US can no more do without trade with China than China can do without trade with the US. Further, the US will unquestionably pressure its other trading partners (particularly the EU) to endorse and follow the sanctions. This they will not comply with, as it would serve to cut their own economic throats. The relationships between the US and their partners have been wearing thin in recent years, and the present threat against China is very likely to prove to be the final straw. The net effect would be to place the US out on an economic limb, alone.

There may be those who disagree with this premise, under the assumption that, to cut China out of the SWIFT system would destroy China’s ability to make international transactions, forcing them to cave to US demands.

However, China, Russia, and others have seen this day coming and have created their own SWIFT system, world cable network, and world banking system. All that’s needed to kick it all into gear is a major international need to bypass SWIFT. The US government has just provided that need with this threat. There would certainly be teething pains in getting the new system running on a massive scale, but the sudden worldwide need would drive the implementation.

This threat by the US at a time when it’s broke is, in effect, economic suicide.

But, just as the ink is drying on this announcement, the increasingly impetuous US president has cracked a deal with Democrats to permanently abolish the US debt ceiling. As the debt ceiling was the last safeguard in governmental fiscal responsibility, he’s effectively chosen to assure that the US will experience economic collapse.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Growing Threat of the Police State

The Growing Threat of the Police State

The Growing Threat of the Police State

Doug Casey, Jeff Thomas, and Nick Giambruno recently discussed a critical topic—the rise of a police state in the former “free” world.

Nick Giambruno: In my experience, the US has some of the most aggressive police in the world. I first noticed this when I started traveling many years ago.

I’ve also noticed that law-abiding citizens are more likely to encounter the police in the US. Both of these trends are accelerating.

What happened to “the boys in blue”—the friendly cop on the beat that everyone knew personally and trusted?

Doug Casey: The fact is that police forces throughout the US have been militarized. Every little town has a SWAT team, sometimes with armored personnel carriers. All of the Praetorian style agencies on the federal level—the FBI, CIA, NSA, and over a dozen others like them—have become very aggressive. Every single day in the US, there are scores of confiscations of people’s bank accounts, and dozens having their doors broken down in the wee hours of the night. The ethos in the US really seems to be changing right before our very eyes, and I think it’s quite disturbing. It’s a harbinger, I’m afraid, of what’s to come.

Jeff Thomas: Yes, this change has certainly been more prevalent in the US than elsewhere. And I don’t doubt that the black combat uniforms are intentional. Psychologically, combat gear is very threatening. It serves only one purpose—aggression. And blue is the color of officialdom, whilst black is the color of death. This, to me, was a very conscious change—maximum intimidation.

Nick Giambruno: Police training has also changed. The War on (some) Drugs and the so-called War on Terror have turbocharged police militarization. What are your thoughts?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Capitalism—A New Idea

Capitalism—A New Idea

Capitalism—A New Idea

Capitalism, whether praised or derided, is an economic system and ideology based on private ownership of the means of production and operation for profit.

Classical economics recognises capitalism as the most effective means by which an economy can thrive. Certainly, in 1776, Adam Smith made one of the best cases for capitalism in his book, An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (known more commonly as The Wealth of Nations). But the term “capitalism” actually was first used to deride the ideology, by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, in The Communist Manifesto, in 1848.

Of course, whether Mister Marx was correct in his criticisms or not, he lived in an age when capitalism and a free market were essentially one and the same. Today, this is not the case. The capitalist system has been under attack for roughly 100 years, particularly in North America and the EU.

A tenet of capitalism is that, if it’s left alone, it will sort itself out and will serve virtually everyone well. Conversely, every effort to make the free market less free diminishes the very existence of capitalism, making it less able to function.

Today, we’re continually reminded that we live under a capitalist system and that it hasn’t worked. The middle class is disappearing, and the cost of goods has become too high to be affordable. There are far more losers than winners, and the greed of big business is destroying the economy.

This is what we repeatedly hear from left-leaning people and, in fact, they are correct. They then go on to label these troubles as byproducts of capitalism and use this assumption to argue that capitalism should give way to socialism.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Madhouse

The Madhouse

The Madhouse
In the late 17th century, we British decided that, as a humanitarian effort and public service, we’d collect up all the people from the towns and countryside who were bonkers and confine them in institutions, so that society could be protected from them.

As so often proves the case, the idea of a collective solution to an individual problem is doomed to failure from the start.

There are many problems with madhouses. First, they need funding and, of course, the entity that receives the funding is likely to prefer skimming off whatever they can, rather than spending it on the inmates. Second, the sort of people who apply to become staff are often not the most desirable, and in fact are often dangerous. Third, one madman might be a social problem, but what happens when you throw them all in together? Are conditions likely to make them less mad or more mad? (I would suggest the latter.)

When I was a teenager, I had the dubious pleasure of visiting a state-run madhouse—the maximum-security ward, where all the most violent inmates were kept.

I’d been asked to visit a short-term inmate named Billy, who’d been committed to the mental institution for a month as punishment for a petty crime. My purpose was to hopefully raise his spirits, but my one visit there provided me with insight that I couldn’t have gained otherwise and has stayed with me for life.

I was taken through several layers of security before being led through a series of heavy steel doors into a large room. There were tables and chairs in the middle and beds along the walls. About fifteen men were talking congenially in small groupings.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Race Against Time

The Race Against Time

The Race Against Time

For decades, in discussing the ever-increasing hegemony of the world’s principal governments (US, EU, et al.), I’ve been asked repeatedly, “When will the governments understand that this obsession they have to become all-powerful is not in the interests of the people?”

The answer to this question has also remained the same for decades: never.

Although most all thinking people will readily admit that they regard their government (and governments in general) to be both overreaching and corrupt, they somehow attribute political leaders with a desire to serve the people. This is almost never true.

In my own experience in working with (and against) political leaders in multiple jurisdictions, I’ve found them to be remarkably similar to each other in their tendency to be shortsighted, self-aggrandising, and almost totally indifferent to the well-being of their constituents. Indeed, it’s a real rarity to encounter a political leader who does not fit this description.

Therefore, we should take as a given that all political leaders will continue to pursue their own power and wealth, at the expense of their citizenries.

Well, here, history informs us that this is not the case. All governments will tax the people as much as they can, regulate them as much as they can, socially dominate them as much as they can, and remove as many rights as they can. However, they rarely totally succeed and, even when they do, the clock is ticking against them.

This, then, begs the question: “If they won’t stop themselves in this progression, is there no other outcome than eventual total slavery to the government?”

In 1999, I began to warn that the US military would steadily increase its warfare against other nations and would only cease their military expansion if and when economic collapse made it impossible to continue the expansion.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Dynamics of a Riot

The Dynamics of a Riot

In my lifetime, I’ve had the misfortune of being present in two major natural disasters and one violent social crisis. Each taught me valuable lessons.

In the aftermath of a natural disaster, there’s the danger of the loss of shelter, services, and food. In most cases, people who experience the loss of shelter and services realise that “things are bad all around” and they tend to do the best they can, accepting that life will be hard for a period of time.

Food is a different matter. People, no matter how civilized, tend to panic if they become uncertain as to when they will next be able to eat. And, not surprisingly, this panic is exacerbated if they have dependents, particularly children who are saying, fearfully, “Daddy, I’m hungry.” As Henry Lewis said in 1906, “There are only nine meals between mankind and anarchy.” Quite so.

But this is not the only cause of riots. In the post-1960 period in the West, a new phenomenon has occurred that has steadily grown: Governments and the halls of higher education have increasingly taught people that they are “entitled.”

Governments have been guilty of this for millennia, beginning at least as early as the “bread and circuses” of ancient Rome. It’s a way for governments to get people to be dependent upon them and thereby to do their bidding. But, since the 1960s, it’s become a systemic norm.

And it always ends in the same way. The false economy of “free stuff” eventually devolves into overtaxation and economic collapse. When it does, people are more likely to riot, as the entitlements are “owed” to them. In today’s world, however, this condition has peaked far beyond what the world has ever seen before.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai III: Cataclysm
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