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A Survival Guide For 2019

A Survival Guide For 2019

How to safely navigate the ‘Year Of Instability’ 

As the first month of the year concludes, it’s becoming clear that 2019 will be a very different kind of year.

The near-decade of ‘recovery’ following the Great Financial Crisis enjoyed a stability and tranquility that suddenly evaporated at the end of 2018.

Here in 2019, instability reigns.

The world’s central banks are absolutely panicking. After last year’s bursting of the Everything Bubble, their coordinated plans for Quantitative Tightening have been summarily thrown out the window. Suddenly, no chairman can prove himself too dovish.

Jerome Powell, the supposed hardliner among them, completely capitulated in the wake of the recent -15% tantrum in stocks, which, as Sven Henrich colorfully quipped, proved what we suspected all along:

The global tsunami of liquidity (i.e. thin-air money printing) released by the central banking cartel has been the defining trend of the past decade. It has driven, directly or indirectly, more world events than any other factor.

And one of its more notorious legacies is the massive disparity and wealth and income resulting from its favoring of the top 0.1% over everyone else. The mega-rich have seen their assets skyrocket in value, while the masses have been mercilessly squeezed between similarly rising costs of living and stagnant wages.

How have the tone-deaf politicians responded? With tax breaks for their Establishment masters and new taxes imposed on the public. As a result, populist ire is catching fire in an accelerating number of countries, which the authorities are anxious to suppress by all means to prevent it from conflagrating further — most visibly demonstrated right now by the French government’s increasingly jack-booted attempts to quash the Yellow Vest protests:

Meanwhile, two other principal drivers of the past decade’s ‘prosperity’ are also suddenly in jeopardy.

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

Dealing With Disagreement

Dealing With Disagreement

Save & strengthen the relationships you value

If you’re reading this, chances are very good you’re concerend about where the world is headed.

The over-leverged economy. Asset price bubbles across the stock, bond and real estate markets just waiting to pop. Declining world net energy per capita. Escalating geopolitical tensions. Unprecedented die-offs among foundational species in our ecosystems. These are probably just a few of the concerning trends that have your attention.

But if you’re like many of our readers, you’re perplexed that the people around you aren’t as fixated on these issues. In fact, most people prefer to avoid thinking about them. They just want to live their lives, without adding to their worries.

This vast difference in outlook can be incredibly frustrating. Both for you as well as for the other person just trying to get through the day. And it often results in dysfunction that can be toxic to the relationships you care about.

Many of our readers report feeling isolated by their concerns. No one in their immediate circle of family or friends wants to engage on these topics, and oftentimes respond critically when conversation is attempted (Hey, try looking at the bright side for a change. Why do you have to be such a gloom & doomer, anyways?).

That dynamic often leads to bitterness, confusion and anger, which often spills into other areas of those relationships. Suddenly other small forms of rejection can feel like part of a co-ordinated affront. (You don’t want to hear why I think the market may crash and you’re chosing to go to your sister’s tonight rather than to the movies with me?)

The danger is this can morph into a larger “You don’t understand me!” or “You don’t care about me!” mindset that, once taken root, colors future interactions with suspicion and cynicism.

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

The Importance of Having Prepper Friends

The Importance of Having Prepper Friends

You’ve probably all heard that old success adage that warns, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” The guy credited with saying this was Jim Rohn, who is widely accepted as the world’s top business philosopher. But don’t overlook it, because it’s true of all facets of life, not just business. In fact, it’s why I suggest you have prepper friends.

How our friends influence us

No matter who you are, you’re still influenced by the people with whom you spend the most time. You tend to prioritize the things that are consistently mentioned and practiced, so if you get together with a few friends to do some canning or to work on a bug-out property, not only are you bonding, but you’re practicing important skills.

When your friends support prepping as a positive and reasonable activity, you’ll be a lot more likely to focus on it regularly. After all, it’s a lot of fun to share a great score of kerosene lamps at a yard sale with people who will actually join you in your excitement.

On the other hand, if your peers constantly denigrate or mock your preparedness efforts, it can be quite demotivating. Who wants to be the object of rolled eyes and deep sighs all the time? You may stick with your efforts in private, but being surrounded by folks like this can make what you’re doing feel far less important – or even ridiculous.

Motivation and encouragement can’t be overlooked as the impetus to help you become better prepared.

What if you don’t know any preppers?

The funny thing about prepper friends is that they’re not always “preppers.”  While it can be awesome to find a group of people who share your interests completely, it isn’t always practical.

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


Michael Basta: The Science Of Conflict Resolution

How persevere through difficulty in your key relationships
We write often here about the importance of community and how it’s an essential ingredient for resilient living. Not only do people’s support and aid offer solutions our own shortcomings can’t address, but their encouragement, support and partnership fulfill our lives in ways isolation cannot.

As our podcast with Pulitzer prize-winning author Sebastian Junger explored, humans are evolutionarily hard-wired to co-exist in community with others. Deriving self-worth from our relationships is simply a fundamental feature of the human species.

But relationships are messy. No two people are exactly alike and disagreements are inevitable. So when conflict arises, how can we navigate through them in ways that strengthen our relationships rather than tear them asunder?

A classic case in point: here at PeakProsperity.com, a very common form of relationship conflict our readers experience is what we refer to as “reluctant partner syndrome“. One partner learns about The Three Es and develops a strongly-felt sense of urgency to prepare for coming crisis. The other partner doesn’t understand this transformation and simply wants life to continue along as it always has been — who needs all the doom and gloom anyways? And the conflicts quickly ensue…

Anyone for whom that situation resonates will enjoy hearing from this week’s podcast guest, Michael Basta. Mike has worked in mental health for 30 years and is a certified Master Gottman Therapist. (Those who read Malcolm Gladwell’s book Blink may remember the chapter on John Gottman, whose decades of research studying couples enables him to determine with 94% accuracy after just a few minutes of observation whether a couple will stick together or not.)

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

What Really Matters

What Really Matters

A reality-check on what’s truly important in life

Here at PeakProsperity.com, we devote a lot of focus to building wealth and other forms of “capital“. This website has hosted thousands of discussions over the years on how to preserve and increase wealth.

But what’s it all for?

Every so often, it’s useful to pull waay back to look at the big picture. To re-examine the Why? underlying our plans and aspirations.

Most of us don’t do this very often. We usually only do so after life throws us a curve ball — often some form of tragedy or crisis — that suddenly forces us to re-evaluate everything we may have taken for granted beforehand.

I’ve certainly been guilty of some of this complacency. I think Chris would admit to a little, as well. But sadly, we’ve both recently experienced traumatic events that have forced a renewed appreciation of what truly matters in life.

For me, my (very personal and highly subjective) conclusion is that it pretty much boils down to just two things:

  1. living with meaning, and
  2. valued relationships

Everything else — money, knowledge, possessions, skills, experiences…even our beliefs and actions — are means to achieve those two goals.

Living with meaning is a huge topic. One we’ve addressed in parts occasionally here at PP.com and which I expect we’ll tackle more ambitiously in the future. But for now, I just want to point out that it’s rooted within the individual. Each of us has to identify what “meaning” is for ourselves, and then determine how best to pursue it in our lives. (Much easier said than done, of course).

Valued relationships, on the other hand, are by definition interpersonal. As our podcast with Pulitzer prize-winning author Sebastian Junger explored, humans are evolutionarily hard-wired to co-exist in community with others. Deriving self-worth from our relationships is simply a fundamental feature of the human species. And the theme of the remainder of this article.

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

The Russian Love Affair With Donald Trump Sours As The U.S. And Russia Move Toward War

The Russian Love Affair With Donald Trump Sours As The U.S. And Russia Move Toward War

NATO Seasparrow surface missile is launched from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush - Publc DomainIn recent months Donald Trump has been severely criticized by both Democrats and Republicans for not being sufficiently “anti-Russia”, but the truth is that the Trump administration has not been working hard enough to repair a relationship that is now souring very rapidly.  When Donald Trump won the election in November, the Russians celebrated tremendously, because they greatly preferred Trump over Hillary Clinton.  But just because Trump was victorious does not mean that our relationship with Russia will automatically improve.  Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin both have huge egos, and it is quite easy to imagine a scenario in which things between them go very, very badly.

In fact, we may already be starting to see such a scenario play out.  As you will see below, under President Trump U.S. troops are being deployed to a very sensitive area of Poland, and they are also being sent to key areas of Bulgaria and Romania.  That is not sitting well with the Russian government, but they were much more upset when Trump insisted that Russia must give the Crimea back to Ukraine.  This is something that the Russians would never do, and they were quite stunned that Trump would even suggest such a thing.

On the flip side, the Pentagon was quite annoyed when Russian fighter jets buzzed a U.S. warship in the Black Sea just a few days ago, and when a Russian spy shipset up shop just off the coast of Connecticut recently, President Trump told Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that “the greatest thing I could do is shoot that ship that’s 30 miles off shore right out of the water”.

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

Moral economy: a different way of thinking about the future

Moral economy: a different way of thinking about the future 

Coal shovels at work in Randolph County, Illinois c. 1970. Katy McClelland/Flickr. (CC 2.0 by-nc-nd)You know something is grotesquely wrong when the 80 richest people in the world have as much wealth as the poorer half of the world’s population, when the combined wealth of the 1000 richest people in the UK is nearly five times the size of the annual NHS budget, and when unending growth is assumed to be possible in a finite, rapidly overheating planet. But conventional approaches to economic matters can’t explain what is wrong.

To understand these problems we need a radically different approach that goes back to basics. Most basic of all is this: the point of economic activity is simply to enable us to live well. Economies are systems of provisioning—ways of providing us with the wherewithal to live a decent life—and of course some ways of doing this are much better than others. Provisioning involves two kinds of relations:

    1. Relations between people, whether as buyers and sellers, employers and employees, lenders and borrowers, landlords and tenants, citizens and governments, or as providers and beneficiaries of unpaid work.
    2. Our relations to the environment, as all material wealth ultimately depends on this. Looking after the environment should make economic sense, degrading it does not.

No one ever got rich or poor outside these two sets of relations. ‘Moral economy’—unlike mainstream economics—focuses on these and examines whether they are fair or unfair, functional for provisioning or not, and sustainable or unsustainable. Particularly at this time of economic and environmental crisis, it can provide us with signposts to a different way of doing things.

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

Yes, You Do Understand Economics

Yes, You Do Understand Economics

The following conversation between my good friend Michael McKay and a friend of his illustrates that we all understand and use economic principles every day. In fact we could  not function without understanding these basic economic principles. Pat Barron

The other day I was having coffee with a new friend, a retired businessman who customized luxury cars in California. I mentioned I had recently retired from owning an investment firm and had many years of study of economics, especially Austrian Economics.

As so many people I have met before him, he said, “I really don’t understand economics and always have been confused by it.”
To which I surprised him with, “Of course you understand economics; it is the thought process you use every day to deal with three things: Scarcity, Property and Relationships.”

His eyes got big and he said, “Whoa! Say that again.”

“OK”, I said and continued, “Everything in human life is organized around how we decide about three things: Scarcity, Property and Relationships.

“First let’s talk about Scarcity which you’ve known about all of your life – you notice when something is missing or about to be missing; it is how you decide when it’s time go to the grocery store, do your laundry or whether you should drive your car faster so not to be late for an appointment.

“Every human being is an expert in the decision process of Scarcity. It is something we all naturally do whenever we act and choose – which, by the way, we are doing all the time, every day, all day long.”

I smiled, “I could go on and on. You want more?”                                                                                                       

“Sure.”, he smiled back.


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





Becca Martenson: Building Community

Becca Martenson: Building Community

How to increase the value of the relationships in your life

As we often stress here on PeakProsperity.com, nearly none of us can expect to become completely self-sufficient. It’s the (very) rare individual who can successfully live as a true ‘lone wolf’ — and being honest, who would want to? That’s a hard, lonely road.

Which is why we so strongly advocate integrating into a supportive community, or building one of your own if there’s none readily available. Having multiple trusted social relationships is a form of wealth in many ways more valuable than money. These are what support and sustain us when our plans fail us, when the situation calls for skills we lack, when we’re physically or mentally compromised. They also enrich our lives in ways money simply cannot, nourishing us as well as encouraging us to become our better selves.

But building community takes time and real effort. Especially in today’s society, where many of the old social norms that fostered community during our grandparents age have been severed by suburban fences, the rat-race workstyle, and the false sense of belonging offered by television and the Internet. So how exactly does one do it?

In this week’s podcast, we invite Chris’ wife Becca to share her expertise on the subject. Those who have attended our annual seminars in the past know her deep experience in this area, experience that she’s honed over the years advising Peak Prosperity readers looking for ways to better forge valued relationships in their own lives.

Community is built around a nucleus of relationships. So, you can think about community building as just starting with relationships. Think about building relationships with people where you have shared passion, shared interest, and shared values. Because it’s through the activities that you do where you intersect, overlap, and meet up during the week with others that you build that continuous connection that then expands to become community as more nuclei of these relationships come together.


…click on the above link to read the rest of the article and listen to the podcast…

Chaos Theory – You Can Map Any Market to Reveal the Hidden Order | Armstrong Economics

Chaos Theory – You Can Map Any Market to Reveal the Hidden Order | Armstrong Economics.

One of the interesting questions at IDFA was have I solved Chaos Theory? I am not sure that needs to be solved. The problem we have is confined to our mind and trying to translate concepts into words to facilitate expressing what we think is linear thought but is not. This is the Lorenz strange attractor that governs convection in liquids. This demonstrates that our weather appears to be unpredictable, yet this unpredictability is confined within parameters which is one hallmark of non-linearity.

Within this strange-attractor, trajectories appear to jump around, taking hair-pin turns, reversing and re-reversing without warning that to the novice may seem to be without rhyme or reason. Yet this unpredictability is constantly orbiting within the overall shape of the strange-attractor that is actually the universe of this system mapping out all the possible states the system can be in at any given moment. Each point on this strange-attractor is the state of the entire system at one given moment.

If you are in Western basic culture, you are taught the alphabet. Children can recite the alphabet with little problem when they sing it. Teachers for years taught the alphabet by creating a song. If the police pull you over to test if you had too much to drink, one test they will conduct is to have you recite the alphabet without singing the song. We have learned the sequence of the alphabet attaching it to the sensory input of sound.

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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