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The Anxiety Economy

The Anxiety Economy

We’re told to stop being so darn negative even as the tsunami of inequality washes away the beach chairs of the bottom 90%.

The disconnect between the happy story of the economy is growing healthily, so all is well and the insecurity and stagnation experienced by the bottom 90% of wage earners has been widening since the wheels fell off in 2008. One would be forgiven for assuming that a smartly growing economy would increase the general sense of security and reduce the general awareness of precarity. But alas, this assumption is false: the sense of precariousness is rising as the sense of security has slid off a cliff.

Welcome to the Anxiety Economy, a term coined by longtime correspondent Bart D., who describes the term thusly:

“By my reckoning the Anxiety Economy is an adjunct to (and perhaps to some degree a product of) the Landfill Economy model.

There was a time when the economy was designed to provide surety and stability. Jobs were stable, opportunities to create increasing wealth (particularly small business creation) were uncomplicated and products were designed to be genuinely better and longer lasting with every iteration. I think this typified the late 1800s to the early 1970s.

Since the 1970s we’ve seen stable jobs drastically reduce along with the durability and usefulness of new product iterations and trying to comply with the massive regulatory burden of businesses as simple as washing dogs or growing vegetables has become mind bending and expensive.

We get bombarded in news and other media with stories of house fires, chronic illnesses and car crashes in places very far away and disconnected from us (interspersed with, and no doubt sponsored by, marketing for insurances of every kind) that make us feel that the risks we face of loss of assets and health are waaaay bigger than they actually are. So that we buy expensive insurances.

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

Living with/in Fear

Living with/in Fear

There are more like you than you think.

Living with/in Fear
Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor / Unsplash

“I think 3C is being hopeful and conservative.”
– Ruth Cerezo-Mota an expert in climate modelling at the National Autonomous University of Mexico

A recent survey of 380 leading climate scientists conducted by The Guardian has revealed the profound unease these experts feel as they examine the ongoing damage humanity has inflicted on the natural world.

One prominent voice in the survey, Ruth Cerezo-Mota, a climate modeling expert at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, expressed her deep despair:

“Sometimes, it feels almost impossible not to feel hopeless and broken. After witnessing the flooding, fires, and droughts around the world—all consequences of climate change—and experiencing the fury of Hurricane Otis in my own country, I was hopeful that governments would start heeding scientific advice for the benefit of the people.”

“The turning point for me was a meeting in Singapore—it was then that everything made sense, but it plunged me into deep depression. It was a very dark period in my life where I was just surviving.”

“We continue our work because it’s necessary. It prevents those in power from claiming ignorance. They might say they don’t care, but they can’t deny they didn’t know.”

“I believe projecting a 3°C increase is both hopeful and conservative. A 1.5°C rise is already serious, and frankly, I see no clear commitment from any government to stay below this threshold.”

She is not alone. 77% of surveyed climate scientists believe we are on a path to at least 2.5°C warming this century.

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

Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh LIII–Cognition and Belief Systems: Part Four — Cognitive Dissonance

Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh LIII

June 11, 2022 (original posting date)

Santorini, Greece (1984). Photo by author.

Cognition and Belief Systems: Part Four — Cognitive Dissonance

This contemplation is the fourth part of a look at several psychological mechanisms at play in our thinking about ecological overshoot and the accompanying societal ‘collapse’ that will eventually result.

In Part One, I briefly summarised four psychological mechanisms I’ve been reflecting upon in the context of ecological overshoot and in particular the collapse of our global, industrialised complex societies that will (or, as some argue, has already begun to) accompany this overshoot; you can read it here. In Part Two, I began elaborating my thoughts on the first mechanism in my list: Obedience/Deference to Authority; you can find it here. Part three comprises some thoughts about the phenomenon of Groupthink and can be found here.

One of the primary considerations in understanding how our cognitions and thus our beliefs and behaviours are going to be affected by the unfolding of the consequences of ecological overshoot and the concomitant ‘collapse’ of our societies is the anxiety/stress that such a future (and present) is going to have (is having) upon us; personally, on a familial level, and on the broader societal scale. Contemplating an unknowable future that is unlikely to provide many of the energetic conveniences most currently depend upon and/or that will challenge our complex systems to the breaking point because of extreme weather events, or supply chain disruptions/breakdowns (especially food, water, energy), etc. can be exceedingly anxiety-provoking.

Mix these (and many other) psychological mechanisms in with Edward Thorndike’s Law of Effect — that postulates all animals have an innate motivation to avoid pain/seek pleasure[1] — and you have an animal whose sense-making abilities are leveraged by its mind to deny/ignore away evidence that challenges them and can cause painful, anxiety-provoking emotions (in fact, there appears to be neuroscientific support for this[2]). In response, we appear to employ all sorts of biases/rationalisations to support our belief systems (a ‘pleasurable’ sensation) regardless of disconfirming evidence (that can lead to painful/stressful emotions).

Hastening back to the summary I wrote on cognitive dissonance in the first part of this series, recall that it is fundamentally “…the idea that humans experience negative emotions when they hold conflicting or inconsistent cognitions[3]. The resulting state of discomfort leads us to become motivated to align our cognitive knowledge, and the more discomfort or anxiety we feel from such conflicting cognition the more we struggle to reduce the resulting tension. It is during such efforts to reduce the dissonance we are feeling that we engage in significant rationalisation that can convince us to accept knowledge that we might otherwise not agree with.”

The anxiety one may experience in holding conflicting beliefs varies since some people are not as impacted by such internal conflict as they have a higher tolerance for it. In fact, there are some who are quite comfortable with holding beliefs that conflict with each other so their dissonance-reducing efforts are not as impactful as for those who do encounter such internal stress.

For those who do suffer from anxiety-provoking emotions caused by conflicting beliefs, if the beliefs one holds are more personal or valued in nature (or the disparity between them is great), even more dissonance may be experienced than may be typical if the beliefs are not personally valued. This can bring about heightened efforts to reduce the dissonance. These efforts may also be increased if beliefs are challenged by others, leading to even further entrenchment/defense of one’s beliefs and concomitant dissonance-reducing attempts.

Further, if our behaviours do not align with our beliefs we may find that we actually alter our beliefs to become consistent with our behaviours[4]. There appears to exist a feedback loop between our beliefs and actions, with each affecting the other in ongoing attempts to minimise personal anxiety (i.e., psychological ‘pain’).

Another complexity in this entire process is that a person’s comfort with uncertainty may also critical to how much dissonance may be experienced[5].

Research on human reactions to uncertainty is, of course, important to the issue of overshoot and collapse given the nature of the predicament and what we do in attempting to understand how it will impact us and the planet. We are, for all intents and purposes, making ‘guesses’ about our future and as physicist Niels Bohr has been credited with stating (and several others): “Predictions are difficult, especially if they’re about the future”.

We can’t help but be anything but uncertain about our future and this feeling of uncertainty intensifies emotional reactions; sometimes positively but most of the time negatively because humans desire certainty (which is why we sometimes are prone to misleading narratives, especially if communicated in a convincing manner that offers assurances). And the greater the uncertainty, the stronger the affective reaction. Most people experience anxiety with uncertainty[6] and seek ways to reduce this.[7]

One of the ways our brains reduce uncertainty is to simplify our understanding of the world. We engage biases and heuristics to do this[8], and in the process we tend to see patterns that don‘t exist and treat random events as meaningful[9]. By simplifying an exceedingly complex reality we can reduce our uncertainty and thus our anxiety about the future.

So, here we are, an animal existing in an exceedingly complex world with relatively remarkable cognitive abilities attempting to understand the flood of information our senses are experiencing. We also find ourselves within a hierarchical social environment where our tendency is to defer to those ‘above’ us in social status. If they can influence or create the worldview through which we interpret the world, we tend to do this.

Then comes along some disruptive technologies such as the printing press and, more recently, the internet to allow for the dissemination of competing narratives for how we view the world. The variety of interpretive lenses that are created by this can lead to ever-growing dissonance[10]. We are exposed repeatedly to the stories that our elite are pushing[11], but we are also aware of competing ones. We tend to defer to those communicated by our authority figures (be it politicians, the media, academics, etc.), but not always. We do occasionally get exposed to conflicting messages and evidence.

How do we alleviate the resulting anxiety? We employ our mind to filter out the incoming information in a way that reduces the stress we are experiencing. It matters little what we experience with our own senses or the data we are exposed to. We simplify, alter our perspective/interpretation, and create a narrative that we can filter evidence through. We also seek out self-reinforcing echo chambers of like-minded individuals/groups. Confirming information is amplified and reinforces our story while disconfirming information is ignored, denied, or rationalised away. In essence, we believe what our minds want us to believe; ‘facts’ be damned. And if we are challenged and begin to experience dissonance, we grab a hold of our fundamental beliefs even harder.

Obviously, it’s not quite as simple as this and some are more prone to the anxiety-reducing mechanisms than others, but for the most part we are ‘guided’ to beliefs that may not align with ‘reality’ but that reduce our ‘pain’ (i.e., anxiety) while increasing our ‘pleasure’ (e.g., dopamine surges appear to be one result when we encounter the pleasurable sensation of ‘confirmation’ of our beliefs[12]). We take increasing comfort in narratives that can reduce our anxiety, often regardless of any evidence that challenges them.

Depend significantly on industrial civilisation and all the conveniences it offers? Then you can be sure to either ignore/deny the narratives and accompanying evidence that point to its probable demise[13], and/or take increasing comfort in the stories that human ingenuity and our technological prowess will ‘solve’ our predicament[14] of ecological overshoot and its accompanying collapse. It seems we create our own ‘reality’.

Finally, keep in mind the statement attributed to author Robert Heinlein: “Man is not a rational animal; he is a rationalizing animal”. We ‘rationalise/justify’ what we believe and do so constantly, which will be looked at in the next piece that reviews The Justification Hypothesis.

[1] https://www.simplypsychology.org/edward-thorndike.html

[2] https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/202001/the-neuroscience-seeking-pleasure-and-avoiding-pain

[3] https://psychology.iresearchnet.com/social-psychology/social-psychology-theories/cognitive-dissonance-theory/

[4] https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mortal-rituals/201306/behavior-over-belief; https://www.verywellmind.com/attitudes-how-they-form-change-shape-behavior-2795897; https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-cognitive-dissonance-2795012

[5] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326738#overview

[6] This feeling appears to be context dependent as some activities with uncertainty may actually produce positive emotions, such as watching sports or a mystery movie, or gambling.

[7] https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-right-mindset/202002/why-uncertainty-freaks-you-out; https://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/3153298/Gilbert_FeelingUncertaintyIntensifies.pdf;

[8] https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/basics/heuristics; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3864559/;

[9] See Dan Gardner’s Future Babble for a great overview of this phenomenon: https://www.dangardner.ca/publication/future-babble.

[10] Perhaps this explains the seemingly ever-growing number of people in so-called ‘advanced’ economies that have been identified with an anxiety disorder and, for some, become reliant on anti-anxiety medication. https://www.anxietycentre.com/statistics/anxiety-disorder-statistics-facts/

[11] As I have argued previously, we have a ruling elite who sit at the top of our power/wealth social structures and are motivated by a drive to sustain their privilege. Part of what they do to meet this imperative is that they create narratives that help to legitimise their positions — from being directly descended from God/the gods to chosen ‘freely’ by the masses as their representatives (or worked exceptionally ‘hard’ to deserve their privilege). This class of people also tend to be susceptible to the vagaries of groupthink due to their increasing isolation from the hoi polloi.

[12] https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/brain-wise/201802/the-dopamine-seeking-reward-loop; https://owlcation.com/social-sciences/Confirmation-Bias-What-is-it-How-it-affects-You-and-How-to-Deal-With-It; https://www.healthline.com/health/dopamine-effects#drugs-dopamine; https://www.cell.com/trends/cognitive-sciences/fulltext/S1364-6613(19)30013-0;

[13] I say ‘probable’ given the self-evident fact (at least, to me) that not one of us can predict the future with much accuracy. Evidence appears to be accumulating that the endgame of ‘collapse’ is unavoidable but in truth only time will tell if and how this all plays out.

[14] I am of the opinion that this is a predicament without solution; it can possibly, at best, be mitigated somewhat and in some places better than others.

Activities Which Can Help Us Deal With Climate Anxiety

Activities Which Can Help Us Deal With Climate Anxiety

Lake Powhatan Swimming Beach, Asheville, North Carolina

Recently, it has been brought to my attention that I’m getting older. [Well, big DUH there – as if any of us is getting younger!] One of the things that growing older often brings is more wisdom. Human beings have an awesome sense of cleverness, but we frequently lack wisdom or the foresight to see what kinds of consequences might result from actions we take today.

Most people even 50 years ago would have never thought about the consequences of thawing permafrost and melting glaciers and ice patches. There are both positive effects and negative effects. I have brought up the predicaments caused by ecological overshoot and climate change, but a new article from The New York Times points out how ancient wars and other historical secrets and long-extinct animals are emerging from these areas of permafrost and ice, adding to our knowledge and occasionally completely rearranging history as a result of these finds.

Meanwhile, the ongoing specter of the effects of ecological overshoot (and climate change in most people’s minds) brings to light the lack of discussion among society today, as if most people are afraid to look at reality. Caitlin Johnstone brings to light this phenomenon, quote:

The way we’re just sitting around going about our lives like this isn’t happening reminds me of that experiment where participants sit in a waiting room that’s filling up with smoke without knowing that the experiment is already underway. If the participants are alone they’ll generally take action to do something about the problem, but if they’re in the waiting room with other people who are secretly in on the experiment and have been told to ignore the smoke, the participant will also ignore it…

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

How we can avert our society’s drift toward disaster by charting a different course

How we can avert our society’s drift toward disaster by charting a different course

Castro Street, the main drag in downtown Mountain View, California, my hometown, the birthplace of Silicon Valley and the headquarters of Google.

In 2015, I began experiencing the world in a different, less enjoyable way. It started with occasional bouts of nervousness that I didn’t recognize as anxiety — because I’d never experienced clinical anxiety before. In fact, 2015 was preceded by the happiest, most fulfilling decade of my life. 

These bouts, while only occasional, were significant enough that I began to question myself, the world around me, and my relationship to it in a deeper way than normal.

Next, that anxiety was deepened by dramatic changes on Facebook. I had been a heavy user since co-founding Shareable six years earlier. My Facebook feed became flooded with ridiculous, obviously false “news” stories that were clearly designed to shock or enrage. The high volume and low quality of these articles were deeply puzzling. Why were people sharing such crap? And why was Facebook allowing it to proliferate? 

In response, I changed my Facebook settings to limit my exposure. However, I missed the bigger picture — that billions of people were likely experiencing the same toxic brew, and that could have dramatic, society-scale consequences. 

This was just before the 2016 U.S. presidential election, which, along with #MeToo, #BlackLivesMatter, and the rise of the alt right and identity politics, laid bare deep social divisions that added to my unease. Social and other media not only exposed divisions based on gender, class, race, religion, geography, and ideology, they seemed to make them worse. The U.S. was not alone in experiencing upheaval. The U.K., for one, began its meltdown over Brexit around this time. 

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

The “Stock Market Crash Of 2018” Is Rapidly Transforming Into “The Financial Crisis Of 2019”

The “Stock Market Crash Of 2018” Is Rapidly Transforming Into “The Financial Crisis Of 2019”

Stock markets are crashing all over the world, we are seeing extremely violent “flash crashes” in the forex marketplace, economic conditions are slowing down all over the globe, and fear is causing many investors to become extremely trigger happy.  The stock market crash of 2018 wiped out approximately 12 trillion dollars in global stock market wealth, but things were supposed to calm down once we got into 2019.  But clearly that is not happening.  After Apple announced that their sales during the first quarter are going to be much, much lower than previously anticipated, Apple’s stock price started shooting down like a rocket and by the end of the session on Wednesday the company had lost 75 billion dollars in market capitalization.  Meanwhile, “flash crashes” caused some of the most violent swings that we have ever seen in the foreign exchange markets…

It took seven minutes for the yen to surge through levels that have held through almost a decade.

In those wild minutes from about 9:30 a.m. Sydney, the yen jumped almost 8 percent against the Australian dollar to its strongest since 2009, and surged 10 percent versus the Turkish lira. The Japanese currency rose at least 1 percent versus all its Group-of-10 peers, bursting through the 72 per Aussie level that has held through a trade war, a stock rout, Italy’s budget dispute and Federal Reserve rate hikes.

This is the kind of chaos that we only see during a financial crisis.

Investors are also being rattled by the fact that China just experienced its first factory activity contraction in over two years

The People’s Bank of China said on Wednesday evening it had relaxed its conditions on targeted reserve requirement cuts to benefit more small firms.

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

2018 Was The Worst Year For The Stock Market Since The Financial Crisis Of 2008

2018 Was The Worst Year For The Stock Market Since The Financial Crisis Of 2008Now that the year is finally over, we can officially say that 2018 was the worst year for stocks in an entire decade.  Not since the last financial crisis have we had a year like this, and many believe that 2019 will be even worse.  And of course the truth is that stocks are still tremendously overvalued.  Stock valuation ratios always return to their long-term averages eventually, and if the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged another 8,000 points from the current level that would begin to get us into that neighborhood.  Unfortunately, the system is so highly leveraged that it will not be able to handle a price decline of that magnitude.  The relatively modest drops that we have seen already have caused a tremendous amount of chaos on Wall Street, and a full-blown meltdown would quickly result in a nightmare scenario potentially even worse than what we experienced in 2008.

For investors that had become accustomed to large gains year after year, 2018 was a brutal wake up call.  The following comes from Fox Business

2018 may be remembered as the year the Grinch stole your retirement or stock investment account.

December was the worst month for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500  since 1931, as tracked by our partners at Dow Jones Market Data Group. The S&P 500, the broadest measure of stocks, lost 9 percent and the Dow over 8.5 percent.

For the year, stocks turned in the worst performance since 2008.

According to the bulls, this wasn’t supposed to happen.  In the middle of the year, they were projecting that a “booming” U.S. economy would continue to drive stock prices higher, but instead we just witnessed the worst three month stretch  for stocks since the 4th quarter of 2008, and the month of December was the most painful of all

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

This Is Exactly The Kind Of Behavior That You Would Expect During A Stock Market Implosion…

This Is Exactly The Kind Of Behavior That You Would Expect During A Stock Market Implosion…

If a doctor tells you that his patient’s condition is swinging up and down wildly, is that a good sign or a bad sign?  Of course the answer to that question is quite obvious.  And if a doctor tells you that his patient’s condition is “stable”, is that a good sign or a bad sign?  Just like in the medical world, instability is not something that is a desirable thing on Wall Street, and right now we are witnessing extreme volatility on an almost daily basis.  On Thursday, the Dow was already down several hundred points when I went out to do some grocery shopping with my wife, and at the low point of the day it had fallen 611 points.  But then a “miracle happened” and the Dow ended the day with an increase of 260 points.  As I detailed yesterday, this is precisely the sort of behavior that you would expect during a chaotic bear market.

As Fox Business has noted, bear market rallies are typically “sharp, quick and usually short”.  I figured that the momentum from Wednesday would carry over into the early portion of Thursday, so I was surprised when the Dow was down by so much as we neared the middle of the day.  But then around 2 PM we witnessed an extraordinary market surge

The Dow Jones Industrial Average posted a 865-point swing in less than two hours. The blue-chip index had been down in mid-afternoon more than 500 points to cut the previous session’s gains in half, before bargain hunters and short covering turned a big decline into a modest gain.

An 865 point swing in less than two hours is not “normal”.

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

U.S. Stocks Just Had Their Best Day Ever – And Here Is Why That Is A REALLY Bad Sign…

U.S. Stocks Just Had Their Best Day Ever – And Here Is Why That Is A REALLY Bad Sign…

The Dow Jones Industrial Average just posted its biggest single day point gain ever.  On Wednesday, the Dow shot up 1,086 points, which shattered the old record by a staggering 150 points.  It truly was a remarkable day, and this is the sort of “Santa Claus rally” that investors had been hoping for.  Many are convinced that this rally is an indication that the crisis of the last three months is over, but as you will see below, this sort of extreme volatility is actually a really bad sign.  But for the moment, the mainstream media is pushing the narrative that everything is once again peachy keen in the financial world.  Just consider the following quote from CNN

“Investors went bargain shopping the day after Christmas, where stocks just got too cheap relative to earnings, future earnings, any reasonable assessment of earnings,” said Chris Rupkey, managing director of MUFG. “The coast is clear, back up the truck, investors are saying enough already, the world is not ending.”

The coast is clear?


Do you think that they were saying the same thing on October 13th, 2008?  On that day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 936 points, and at the time it was the biggest daily point increase that Wall Street had ever seen by a very wide margin.

Of course that was right in the middle of the last financial crisis, and stocks just kept on tumbling after that massive rally.

But then on October 28th, 2008 the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 889 points.  Up until Wednesday, that was the second biggest daily point increase in U.S. history.

Was the crisis over then?

No way.  Subsequently, the Dow kept on falling until it eventually bottomed out in early 2009.

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

This Was The Worst Week For The Stock Market Since The Financial Crisis Of 2008

This Was The Worst Week For The Stock Market Since The Financial Crisis Of 2008

Just when you thought that things couldn’t get any worse, they did.  During normal times, a Friday before Christmas is an extremely boring trading session, but these are not normal times.  On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down another 414 points, and that brought the total drop for the week to 1,655 points.  The marketplace has been completely gripped by panic, and CNN’s Fear & Greed index has just registered the highest “fear rating” that we have ever seen.  I keep saying that we have not witnessed anything like this since the last financial crisis, and the numbers clearly back that assessment up.  In fact, this was the largest weekly percentage drop for the Dow since October 2008

The Dow just suffered its deepest weekly plunge since 2008and the Nasdaq is officially in a bear market.

The miserable performance reflects deepening fears on Wall Street of an economic slowdown and overly-aggressive Federal Reserve.

Apprehension about a looming government shutdown and anxiety over higher interest rates were two of the major factors that pushed stocks down on Friday.

Normally trading volume is very, very light in the days leading up to Christmas, so what we just witnessed was extremely unusual.  Trading volume on Friday was “really heavy” with “more than 12 billion shares” changing hands…

In a bad sign on Friday, volume was really heavy. More than 12 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges on Friday, the biggest volume in at least two years.

When I have warned about a “rush for the exits” in the past, this is the kind of thing that I am talking about.

Many investors were panic-selling on Friday because they wanted to be out of the market before things closed down for the holidays, and stock prices just kept getting hammered lower and lower.

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

Worst Market Crash In A Decade: The Dow Has Fallen More Than 4000 Points As Stocks Rapidly Approach “The Capitulation Phase”

Worst Market Crash In A Decade: The Dow Has Fallen More Than 4000 Points As Stocks Rapidly Approach “The Capitulation Phase”

We have not seen anything like this since the financial crisis of 2008.  On Thursday the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost another 464 points, and over the last five trading sessions it has lost a total of more than 1,700 points.  CNN’s Fear & Greed index has swung all the way over to “extreme fear”, and there has only been one December in all of U.S. history that was worse for the stock market than this one.  But back at the very beginning of October, most of the experts never would have imagined that the year would end this way.  According to CNBC, the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit an all-time record high of 26,951.81 in early October, and investors were feeling really good about things at that point.  But on Thursday the index closed at just 22,859.60, and that means that the Dow has lost more than 4,000 points in less than three months.

All of the major trend lines have been shattered and all of the key support levels have been breached.  When analysts look at stock charts these days, all they are seeing is sell signal after sell signal.  One investment strategist told CNN that stocks are “quickly approaching the capitulation phase”

“Equity markets are quickly approaching the capitulation phase after having broken below critical support,” Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research, told CNN Business.

According to Google, “capitulation” means “the action of surrendering or ceasing to resist an opponent or demand.”  In this case, the bulls are on the verge of surrendering to the bears, and if that happens we could see a tremendous amount of chaos break loose on Wall Street.

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

“Something Is Wrong Here”: U.S. Stocks Plunge Again And Are Having Their Worst Quarter In 7 Years

“Something Is Wrong Here”: U.S. Stocks Plunge Again And Are Having Their Worst Quarter In 7 Years

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted another 496 points on Friday as panicked investors continue to pull billions of dollars out of the stock market.  With less than two weeks to go until Christmas, the markets are not supposed to be experiencing this kind of turmoil, but it is happening and there is no end in sight.  During the fourth quarter of 2018, we have already seen the S&P 500 fall 11 percent.  Even if it doesn’t go down any further, that will be the worst quarter in 7 years.  And of course the S&P 500 is not alone – at this point all of the major indexes are officially in correction territory.  Things are certainly getting quite frightening on Wall Street, and many believe that the worst is yet to come.

Despite widespread assurances from the mainstream media that the wise thing to do is to keep your money in the market, investors are pulling money out of equities at a near record pace

Jittery investors yanked a record $39 billion from global equities in the latest week, according to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch report released Friday. That included $28 billion that exited US stocks, the second-highest on record. And a record $8.4 billion was pulled from investment grade bonds.

The “race for the exits” that we have been witnessing really is turning into a bit of a stampede, and once panic starts to spread it can be very difficult to stop it.

So why is all of this happening?

Well, one market strategist told CNN that “something is wrong here” and that his firm cannot deny that we are in a “global slowdown”…

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

Psychologists explain our climate change anxiety

Psychologists explain our climate change anxiety

“You cannot have a healthy society that is scared.”

A member of the United States Coast Guard is seen reflected in the window of a house as he wades through flood waters for a wellness check on citizens who choose to stay in their home in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence on Sunday, Sept 16, 2018 in Lumberton, NC. (Credit: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

“Climate change is here; it’s happening,” seems to be the overwhelming sentiment after a summer of heatwaves and historic wildfires that now has, with barely a breath in between, slipped into an early fall marked by severe storms and deadly floods.

Hurricane Florence continues to devastate mid-Atlantic states while Typhoon Mangkhut takes a severe toll on China and the Philippines and has, for now, been named the world’s strongest storm this year. But before the wind and water there was the heat and fire.

Severe wildfires broke out around the world this summer, from the U.S. and Canada to Sweden and Greece. The heatwaves in Europe caused a glacier to melt and a river to evaporate, while wildfires in the western U.S. made the air hazardous to breathe.

For many people watching these events unfold, it’s scary to say the least. The fear, anxiety, and trauma is far more severe for those living through it. A recent survey of students in Puerto Rico, for instance, found that more than 7 percent of those polled showed signs of post-traumatic stress disorder following Hurricane Maria. More than 8 percent had symptoms of depression — twice as high as children in non-disaster settings, the researchers said.

But despite a growing awareness, the connection between climate change and mental health is only just starting to be explored.

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

Social Media, Not Religion, The Opium Of The People

Social Media, Not Religion, The Opium Of The People

Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. – Karl Marx,  A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right

Social media is becoming the new whipping boy and poster child for all that ills our culture and contributing to its decline.

We added our two cents in a recent post,  Why Google Is A Short,

…social media probably generates negative productivity.  We read some time ago the average American spends 40 minutes per day playing Farmville.   How does planting virtual corn add to the GDP?

Though we are more ambivalent about Google, Facebook is doing some severe psychological damage to an entire generation, including my 15-year daughter.   They spend much of their time competing with trophy photos loaded up on Instagram.  Never gonna win that game, which leads to increased anxiety and depression for an entire generation.

The Google Short

That brings us to the Google (we are old school and can’t bring ourselves to call it Alphabet) short.

Imagine when a politician has his/her epiphany that all those porn searches they have done over the years on Google are stored somewhere and could be hacked and released to the public?  That will ignite a prairie fire of potential legislation, which will spread faster than you can say SNAP.  – GMM, Apr 24th

Our Friend Weighs In

We received this email from a very close friend yesterday,

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How Establishment Propaganda Gaslights Us Into Submission

How Establishment Propaganda Gaslights Us Into Submission

“Gaslighting” can be an effective tactic to instill confusion and anxiety in people, causing them to doubt their own logical abilities, but it can be countered by remaining confident in our judgments, argues Caitlin Johnstone.

Poster for the 1944 movie “Gaslight”

The dynamics of the establishment Syria narrative are hilarious if you take a step back and think about them. I mean, the Western empire is now openly admitting to having funded actual, literal terrorist groups in that country, and yet they’re still cranking out propaganda pieces about what is happening there and sincerely expecting us to believe them. It’s adorable, really; like a little kid covered in chocolate telling his mom he doesn’t know what happened to all the cake frosting.

Or least it would be adorable if it weren’t directly facilitating the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people.

I recently had a pleasant and professional exchange with the Atlantic Council’s neoconservative propagandist Eliot Higgins, in which he referred to independent investigative journalist Vanessa Beeley as “bonkers” and myself as “crazy,” and I called him a despicable bloodsucking ghoul. I am not especially fond of Mr. Higgins.

You see this theme repeated again and again and again in Higgins’ work; the U.S.-centralized power establishment which facilitated terrorist factions in Syria is the infallible heroic Good Guy on the scene, and anyone who doesn’t agree is a mentally deranged lunatic.

This is also the model for the greater imperialist propaganda construct, not just with regard to Syria but with Russia, North Korea, Iran, and any other insolent government which refuses to bow to American supremacist agendas.

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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