Home » Posts tagged 'economic decline'

Tag Archives: economic decline

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Catacylsm
Click on image to purchase

Post categories

Rumors of War

Rumors of War


The race to economic collapse is an international competition sparking threats and tensions summoning the specter of war. The imploding center of this collapse is that of industrial technocracy based on fossil fuels. All the nations will go through it on differing schedules. It has been playing out slowly, painfully, and deceptively — hence, my term for it: the long emergency.

Following a dumbed-down media unable to parse the delusions du jour, one might think, for instance, that the USA and China are engaged in a symbolic battle for the heavyweight championship of the world. Rather, both are freaking out at a prospective decline in activity that will make it impossible to support their current populations at even close to the levels of comfort they had lately achieved.

For China, that means very lately. Up until the turning millennium, most Chinese lived as though the twelfth century had never ended. For but two decades now, a new and quite large Chinese middle class has been driving cars around freeways, eating cheeseburgers, wearing designer blue jeans, shooting selfies at the Eiffel Tower, and even dreaming of trips to the moon. They’ve barely had time to turn decadent.

Getting to that was quite a feat. China compressed its version of the industrial revolution into a few decades, catching up to a weary, jaded West that took two hundred years achieving “modernity,” and now it is seeming to surpass us — which is the reason for so much tension and anxiety in our relations. The real news is: we’re all already in the climax of that movie. Nobody will surpass anyone.

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

What can we do?

What can we do?

Rainbow over the Tapajós River in the Amazon © Todd Southgate / Greenpeace

At the University of Minnesota Dr. Nate Hagens teaches an honours course called “Reality 101: A Survey of the Human Predicament.” Hagens operated his own hedge fund on Wall Street until he glimpsed, “a serious disconnect between capitalism, growth, and the natural world. Money did not appear to bring wealthy clients more well being.” Hagens became editor of The Oil Drum, and now sits on the Board of the Post Carbon Institute and the Institute for Integrated Economic Research.

Reality 101 addresses humanity’s toughest challenges: economic decline, inequality, pollution, biodiversity loss, and war. Students learn about systems ecology, neuroscience, and economics. “We ask hard questions,” says Hagens. “What is wealth? What are the limits to growth? We attempt to face our crises head on.”

Some students feel inspired to action, and some report finding the material “depressing.” One student shared the course material with a family member, who asked, “So what can I do?” The student struggled to answer this question, and the listener chastised her: “why did you explain all this to me, if you can’t tell me what to do?!”

A fair question. One that, as environmentalists, we often get asked. At the request of Dr Hagens, here is my list:

What can we do?

I have been asking this question all of my adult life. As I’ve witnessed the crisis intensify, I’ve experienced feelings of panic, anger, and helplessness. Nevertheless, I also feel at peace. I love my family and friends, I enjoy life in my community, and love my time in the natural world. Here are some of the ways I believe we can deal with anxiety about the world and take action:

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

Civil Unrest = Hoarding of Assets

QUESTION: Mr. Armstrong; You pick themes that are not really just political on the surface, but beneath you are connecting the dots economically. This is what I read between the lines for you do not always emphasize it in every post why you will address issues like migration and civil unrest. Are these serious issues to the economic backdrop?

HW

ANSWER: Oh yes. Perhaps I just understand that is the backdrop so I do not openly restate it because it is obvious to me. Not a very good communication tactic on my part. To explicitly state this, when the economy turns downward, people will then blame migrants. Today, they label this as racist. That is simply not true. It really has nothing to do with race or religion. We saw civil unrest turn to violence during the 1840s when there was a wholesale State level Sovereign Debt Crisis in the United States. That was against the Irish who were the same race, but were at least Catholics that the Protestants did not like back in Europe.

During such period of civil unrest, capital contracts and begins to hoard. This is what caused the German Hyperinflation for that was a 1918 Communist Revolution which overthrew the German Emperor. We also find hoards of ancient coins from periods of economic stress. The 3rd century AD is when we have the most hoards, but they tend to cluster also around civil unrest and civil wars. If people are fearful or uncertain about the future, they do NOT spend and they contract. So the global trend I am highlighting with respect to rising civil unrest is important economically. The fact that this trend is WORLDWIDE, is particularly alarming for it further supports the fact that we are in the Sixth Wave and 2032 will be the generational change of monumental proportions.

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

Geopolitical Tensions Are Designed To Distract The Public From Economic Decline

Geopolitical Tensions Are Designed To Distract The Public From Economic Decline

Tracking geopolitical and fiscal developments over the past several years is a bit like watching a slow motion train wreck; you know exactly what the consequences of the events will be, you try to warn people as much as possible, but, ultimately, you cannot reverse the disaster. The disaster has for all intents and purposes already happened. What we are witnessing is the aftermath as a forgone conclusion.

This is why whenever someone asks me as an economic and political analyst “when the collapse is going to happen,” I have to shake my head in bewilderment. The “collapse” is here now. It is done. It is a historical fact. It’s just that not many people have the eyes to see it yet, primarily because they are hyper-focused on all the wrong things.

For many centuries now, elitists in power have understood the value of geopolitical distraction as a tool for controlling the masses. If you examine the underlying motivations behind the majority of wars between nations regardless of the era, you will in most cases discover that the power brokers on both sides tend to be rather friendly with each other. In fact, monarchies and oligarchies are historically notorious for fabricating diplomatic tensions and conflicts in order to force populations back under their control.  That is to say, wars and other man-made conflicts give the citizenry something to react to, instead of hunting down the establishment cabal like they should.

One of the greatest illusions of human progress is the notion that most conflicts happen at random; that there are two sides and that those sides are fighting over ideological differences. In truth, most conflicts have nothing to do with ideological differences between governments and financial oligarchs.

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

US On Road To Third World

US On Road To Third World

On January 6, 2004, Senator Charles Schumer and I challenged the erroneous idea that jobs offshoring was free trade in a New York Times op-ed. Our article so astounded economists that within a few days Schumer and I were summoned to a Brookings Institution conference in Washington, DC, to explain our heresy. In the nationally televised conference, I declared that the consequence of jobs offshoring would be that the US would be a Third World country in 20 years.

That was 11 years ago, and the US is on course to descend to Third World status before the remaining nine years of my prediction have expired.

The evidence is everywhere. In September the US Bureau of the Census released its report on US household income by quintile. Every quintile, as well as the top 5%, has experienced a decline in real household income since their peaks. The bottom quintile (lower 20 percent) has had a 17.1% decline in real income from the 1999 peak (from $14,092 to $11,676). The 4th quintile has had a 10.8% fall in real income since 2000 (from $34,863 to $31,087). The middle quintile has had a 6.9% decline in real income since 2000 (from $58,058 to $54,041). The 2nd quintile has had a 2.8% fall in real income since 2007 (from $90,331 to $87,834). The top quintile has had a decline in real income since 2006 of 1.7% (from $197,466 to $194,053). The top 5% has experienced a 4.8% reduction in real income since 2006 (from $349,215 to $332,347). Only the top One Percent or less (mainly the 0.1%) has experienced growth in income and wealth.

The Census Bureau uses official measures of inflation to arrive at real income. These measures are understated. If more accurate measures of inflation are used (such as those available from shadowstats.com), the declines in real household income are larger and have been declining for a longer period. Some measures show real median annual household income below levels of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

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

Immigration During an Economic Decline Is Insane!

Immigration During an Economic Decline Is Insane!

According to the BBC, the German government has admitted that there have been almost 500 attacks on homes intended for asylum seekers this year. Politicians are clueless when it comes to managing an economy. In the USA during the 1840s, in the middle of the State Sovereign Debt Crisis, gun battles took place in many areas against the Irish who were blamed for the rising unemployment and taking jobs from citizens since that was the major wave of Irish immigration during the mid-19th century.

German-Migrant-Attacks

While politicians are lining their pockets and playing for Nobel Prizes, the reality of their actions are very different. This is what happens when lawyers rule government. They know how to write laws and then expect people to obey even when their laws go against common sense and economics.

You cannot legislate morality. Violence will rise in Europe as the economy turns down. This is going to be a very rough two years ahead.

Albert Einstein, Soil, Honey Bees and Biodiversity.

Albert Einstein, Soil, Honey Bees and Biodiversity.

Among the manifold quotes that are attributed to Albert Einstein, are variants along the lines of:

“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”

and

“If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live.”

Whether it was in fact the author and originator of “Relativity” (both special and general) and the “Photoelectric Effect”, the latter of which, from his Annus mirablis, won him the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921, is disputed, “http://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/08/27/einstein-bees/, nonetheless, Einstein was a man of great awareness, as might be summarised by his more provenly attributable quote, to the effect that: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/alberteins121993.html The latter axiom is indeed true.

There is a tendency for humans to perceive ill occurrences as unconnected events, rather as the Biblical plagues of Egypt: water into blood, frogs, lice, wild animals or flies, deceased livestock, boils, storms of fire, locusts, darkness and death of the firstborn. Scientists now believe that these events really happened, but they were in fact all results of a single cause: not the wrath of a punitive God, but climate changehttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/7530678/Biblical-plagues-really-happened-say-scientists.html. Modern humans are aware of contemporary global menaces: a changing climate, peak oil, a dodgy economy that could collapse at any moment, and the extinction of honey bees, but relatively few of us know that the world’s productive soils are also under threat.

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

 

War Threat Rises As Economy Declines

War Threat Rises As Economy Declines

Paul Craig Roberts, Keynote Address to the Annual Conference of the Financial West Group, New Orleans, May 7, 2015

The defining events of our time are the collapse of the Soviet Union, 9/11, jobs offshoring, and financial deregulation. In these events we find the basis of our foreign policy problems and our economic problems.

The United States has always had a good opinion of itself, but with the Soviet collapse self-satisfaction reached new heights. We became the exceptional people, the indispensable people, the country chosen by history to exercise hegemony over the world. This neoconservative doctrine releases the US government from constraints of international law and allows Washington to use coercion against sovereign states in order to remake the world in its own image.

To protect Washington’s unique Uni-power status that resulted from the Soviet collapse, Paul Wolfowitz in 1992 penned what is known as the Wolfowitz Doctrine. This doctrine is the basis for Washington’s foreign policy. The doctrine states:

“Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.”

 

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

The Whisper of the Shutoff Valve

The Whisper of the Shutoff Valve

Last week’s post on the impending decline and fall of the internet fielded a great many responses. That was no surprise, to be sure; nor was I startled in the least to find that many of them rejected the thesis of the post with some heat. Contemporary pop culture’s strident insistence that technological progress is a clock that never runs backwards made such counterclaims inevitable.

Still, it’s always educational to watch the arguments fielded to prop up the increasingly shaky edifice of the modern mythology of progress, and the last week was no exception. A response I found particularly interesting from that standpoint appeared on one of the many online venues where Archdruid Report posts appear. One of the commenters insisted that my post should be rejected out of hand as mere doom and gloom; after all, he pointed out, it was ridiculous for me to suggest that fifty years from now, a majority of the population of the United States might be without reliable electricity or running water.

I’ve made the same prediction here and elsewhere a good many times. Each time, most of my readers or listeners seem to have taken it as a piece of sheer rhetorical hyperbole. The electrical grid and the assorted systems that send potable water flowing out of faucets are so basic to the rituals of everyday life in today’s America that their continued presence is taken for granted.  At most, it’s conceivable that individuals might choose not to connect to them; there’s a certain amount of talk about off-grid living here and there in the alternative media, for example.  That people who want these things might not have access to them, though, is pretty much unthinkable.

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

 

Hopium: How Far Can Irrational Optimism Take The U.S. Economy?

Hopium: How Far Can Irrational Optimism Take The U.S. Economy?

If enough people truly believe that things will get better, will that actually cause them to get better?  There is certainly something to be said for being positive and thinking that anything is possible.  And as Americans, optimism seems to come naturally for us.  However, no amount of positive thinking is ever going to turn the sun into a block of wood or turn the moon into a block of cheese.  Any good counselor will tell you that one of the first steps toward recovery is to stop being delusional and to come to grips with how bad things really are.  When we deny reality and engage in irrational wishful thinking, we are engaging in something called “hopium”.  This is a difficult term to define, but the favorite definition of hopium that I have come across so far goes like this: “The irrational belief that, despite all evidence to the contrary, things will turn out for the best.”  In hundreds of articles, I have documented how the U.S. economy is mired in a long-term decline which is about to get a lot worse.  But most Americans see things very differently.  In fact, according to a brand new CNN/ORC poll, 52 percent of Americans describe the U.S. economy as “very” or “somewhat good”, and more than two-thirds of all Americans believe that the U.S. economy will be in “good shape” a year from right now.  But if you asked most of those people why they are so optimistic, they would probably mumble something about “Obama” or about how “we’re Americans and we always bounce back” or some other such gibberish.  Well, it’s wonderful that so many people are feeling good and looking forward to the future, but are those beliefs rational?

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

 

 

Dead malls: Half of America’s shopping centres predicted to close by 2030

Dead malls: Half of America’s shopping centres predicted to close by 2030

The obituaries are being written for what has been an intrinsic part of American culture for half a century, as the country’s ubiquitous shopping malls face a slow, painful death.

As shopping and driving habits change, retailers are facing difficult times, and some have estimated that over the next 15 years half of America’s malls will die.

The shopping mall was born into a world where people were moving out of the cities and into a new, rich, indulgent life.

Amy Ginsberg’s teenage years centred around White Flint Mall in Maryland.

“There were glass elevators and marble and high-end stores,” she said.

“When I was in high school in the 70s and 80s there was nowhere else to go, really.

“The mall was where the stores were, it’s where the movie theatres were.

“You would just go to the mall and hang out.”

But White Flint’s doors closed this month.

Like so many malls in America it had been ‘dead’ for a while – the term used when a mall’s occupancy rate falls below 70 per cent and it is on a downward spiral.

Mark Hinshaw, an architect, city planner and author, has been watching the decline.

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

 

One Region That Could Benefit Most From Low Oil Prices

One Region That Could Benefit Most From Low Oil Prices

The current low price of oil so far has been a mixed blessing for the world economy.

Some countries, such as the poor OPEC member Venezuela, are hurt by the price drop. Many others benefit, in most cases simply because their businesses and consumers pay less for oil. And some, such as Canada, have trouble in their oil-producing provinces, but expect booms elsewhere.

In East Asia, though, the 50 percent drop in the price of crude since June appears to have created opportunities for economic growth. And the biggest winner here is also the biggest player in the region, China, which could see its economy rely less on exports and more on demand by its own population.

Related: Top Five Possible Energy Surprises For 2015

This is a “fantastic opportunity” not only for Chinese manufacturers but also for other countries that rely on exports, according to Stephen Roach, a senior fellow at Yale’s Jackson Institute of Global Affairs.

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

 

You Thought The Saudis Were Kidding? – The Automatic Earth

You Thought The Saudis Were Kidding? – The Automatic Earth.

There are many things I don’t understand these days, and some are undoubtedly due to the limits of my brain power. But at the same time some are not. I’m the kind of person who can no longer believe that anyone would get excited over a 5% American GDP growth number. Not even with any other details thrown in, just simply a print like that. It’s so completely out of left field and out of proportion that you would think by now at least a few more people understand what’s really going on.

And Tyler Durden breaks it down well enough in Here Is The Reason For The “Surge” In Q3 GDP (delayed health-care spending stats make up for 2/3 of the 5%), but still. I would have hoped that more Americans had clued in to the nonsense that has been behind such numbers for many years now. The US has been buying whatever growth politicians can squeeze out of the data and their manipulation, for many years. The entire world has.

The 5% stat is portrayed as being due to increased consumer spending. But most of that is health-care related. And economies don’t grow because people increase spending on not being sick and/or miserable. That’s just an accounting trick. The economy doesn’t get better if we all drive our cars into a tree, even if GDP numbers would say otherwise.

All the MSM headlines about consumer confidence and comfort and all that, it doesn’t square with the 43 million US citizens condemned to living on food stamps. I remember Halloween spending (I know, that’s Q4) was down an atrocious -11%, but the Q3 GDP print was +5%? Why would anyone volunteer to believe that? Do they all feel so bad any sliver of ‘good news’ helps? Are we really that desperate?

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase