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Financing the End of Modernity

Financing the End of Modernity

How financialization heralds the end of the industrial age

That didn’t worked out as intended… Who would’ve thought? Photo by micheile henderson on Unsplash

Western neoliberal economies are on the brink of a steep economic decline. Barring an energy / productivity miracle a prolonged and deep recession is clearly on the horizon. While mainstream pundits keep “informing” the public how GDP was actually growing in the past decades (except for a few brief moments), and how the G7 is still the top economic power block, the real economy of goods and services tells a completely different story. Growth — in the sense of real economic output — has stopped 18 years ago in the West, and conditions are now ripe for a rapid contraction. A sobering assessment of the real economy — in which your humble blogger is still actively involved — has become due. Buckle up.

As long time readers might already know by heart: money is not the economy, energy is. Money is but a claim on energy and resources. Everything we mine, grow, manufacture and consume takes energy to produce. No energy, no production, no services. The more we produce / consume the more energy is used up. And while it may seem like that rich countries have somehow decoupled their economies from energy use (ie managed to grow GDP much faster than energy consumption), in fact the opposite is true. All they did was send their high energy intensity manufacturing and mining abroad, then imported all they needed using their overvalued currencies, thus becoming more independent on foreign trade than ever.

The public, together with it’s ruling elite, was led down the primrose path with GDP, and now a reckoning is in short order.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh CLIX–Ruling Elite Rackets Everywhere…

Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh CLIX

Mexico (1988). Photo by author.

Ruling Elite Rackets Everywhere…

My very brief comment on The Honest Sorcerer’s latest article:

Throw on top of our energy predicament the overarching predicament of ecological overshoot and the situation is even more explosive.

And I can’t help but think that since everything in our world has become a racket for our ruling sociopaths in one way or another, the dominoes will fall even more quickly — especially for the masses of non-elite in our world.

I expect even more expansive surveillance, narrative management/control, authoritariansim, ‘othering’, price inflation , ‘austerity’, divisive politics, civil disobedience, denial/bargaining, breakdown of rule of law, sociobehavioural control, economic manipulation, geopolitical manoeuvring and clashes, etc., etc., as the-powers-that-be scramble to maintain their tenuous grip on control and sustain the various wealth-generation/-extraction systems that provide their revenue streams and thus power and prestige.

Homo sapiens have learned nothing from all the previous trials in large, complex societies and will indubitably repeat the same failed approaches to holding the centre that so-called ‘leaders’ have attempted repeatedly before our current experiment. What will be will be with respect to the insane and suicidal actions/policies of the ruling elite.

Intelligent creatures, just not too wise.

Personal/community ‘energies’ are best directed towards relocalising as much as possible in the limited time available to us, but especially food production, potable water procurement, and regional shelter needs. Any steps towards self-sufficiency in these basic needs will help (marginally) to mitigate the ‘collapse’ for some.

Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh CLV–Planetary Boundaries, Narrative Management, and Technology

Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh CLV

October 23, 2023

Mexico (1988). Photo by author.

Planetary Boundaries, Narrative Management, and Technology

As I continue to work on Part 4 of my multipart Contemplation regarding energy blindness (see: Part 1 Medium, Part 2 Medium, Part 3 Blog Medium), I offer a handful of recent comments I shared on a variety of posts I’ve been reading:

One posted to a Degrowth Group I am a member of:

AP: It is the carbon risk that is existential. All the others are nice to have after you have reduced the carbon risk. Don’t allow this sort of propaganda to divert or dilute the required focus.

CS: obviously emissions are a significant threat but when we focus on climate change as the most significant we end up, as the majority currently do, looking to technology for solutions. Ecological overshoot is the master predicament. This means degrowth in energy and material consumption (less technology) and population reduction should be the key ways forward.

I highly recommend this talk by Bill Rees of Ecological Footprint fame. Cheers


MK: William R. Catton…

SE: Economic and then the following fertilizer/ pumped water/ food availability collapse as energy and materials slip away will tend to hurt us first. Many countries are already in the early stages of collapse. Lebanon, Argentina, Pakistan, etc.

Me: There are a number of planetary boundaries that have been broached because of our ecological overshoot. They all pose an existential risk and a number have been identified as being worse off than carbon emissions…the focus needs to be on all of them.

There’s this one on an oilprice.com article posted in the Peak Oil Facebook Group I am a member of:

Me: I have to wonder about the ‘accuracy’ of the article and its ‘conclusions’ (well, actually, prognostications as it’s about possibilities, not actualities). Bloomberg and Reuters, the two mainstream media outlets cited, are both extremely Western-biased. And we know the West would love to see cracks in the BRICS growing alliance so why not float the ‘news’ that such divisions are appearing based, naturally, on unnamed/anonymous sources. If we have learned anything from the recent decades of mainstream media reporting, it is that it has become little more than a propaganda arm for our ruling elite…

And this one in the same group:

Me: Just as fracking was, the profit-makers/-takers have spun several narratives to entice investments — both capital and retail. Believers have, once again, trusted the untrustworthy and fallen for the con failing to understand that our energy-intensive living has never been sustainable on a finite planet regardless of our ingenuity and technological prowess. All we’re doing by chasing the unicorn of ‘renewables’ is expediting our journey over the energy cliff while contributing evermore to our ecological overshoot. Sad on so many levels.

LM: totally agree with that. The question is…what’s next

Me: Economic collapse. Rise of authoritarian/totalitarian government. War. Increasingly degraded ecological systems. Destitution for more and more people. See these: https://stevebull-4168.medium.com/todays-contemplation-collapse-cometh-lix-800413db180a; and, https://stevebull-4168.medium.com/todays-contemplation-collapse-cometh-lxxxv-ffe437ffd811.

My question posted in this group:

Wonder how long it will take for the discussions about Peak Oil to go fully mainstream once the Strait of Hormuz is closed off???


SH: I expect the many manifestations of natural limits will likely end up being used as vehicles for scapegoating, to promote non-sequitur ideological agendas, and with examples of Overshoot being seen as isolated phenomenon, rather than part of a broader problem. People are already seeing global climate that way, so it stands to reason that Peak Oil will just give them one more thing regarding which they can petition governments and big corporations to solve for them. I have yet to encounter a climate activist who has seriously considered what people can do to address the problem by way of changing personal behaviors, as opposed to technological fixes and policy changes offering a “plug and play” solution. The notion of a wicked problem in which mitigation might involve a paradigm shift in collective behaviors and expectations is not on anyone’s radar.

Me: Yes, I agree that all sorts of narratives will be constructed — especially by the ruling elite and associated profit-makers/-takers — to leverage our energy fall/descent in advantageous ways to their goals. They will certainly be a lot of ‘othering’ going forward as our ‘leadership’ attempts to deflect blame/responsibility/focus on them and their wayward ways.

LM: predicament

DI: We blame the symptoms not the disease.

Me: True enough. A lot will be blamed on those ‘undemocratic/despotic’ regimes that are keeping us from their hydrocarbons…you know, because they ‘hate our freedom’.

SMK: It will never go mainstream. Anything but it will be blamed for conserving of remaining reserves: climate change [sic], unfolding warfare in Middle East, Biden falling down some steps, Swift and Kelce, whatever…NEVER peak oil.

Me: Perhaps. There are and have been a growing number attempting to raise the concept and implications of Peak Oil but as will likely continue to be the case the ‘influential’ narrative managers of society (those that work on behalf of the world’s elite and can shout through our politicians and mainstream media outlets) will continue to weave their competing stories, especially those flaunting human ingenuity and technological ‘solutions to our dilemma. That is, until the truth of PO and the insanity of chasing infinite growth on a finite planet are eventually so obvious that they can no longer be pushed to the margins and the saner voices of warning begin to turn more and more heads; not all, probably not even a lot, but I wager to guess at least increasing numbers.

I don’t believe our ruling elite will ever admit to PO and the inadvisability of chasing the perpetual growth chalice or turn towards degrowing our existence for that would mean removing the gravy train that provides their revenue streams and thus positions of power/influence and prestige. No, they will likely insist on the path of exacerbating our Overshoot while getting their propagandists to double/triple down on the tales of a technologically-based transition to a ‘clean/green’ utopia.

I think we can see part of the narrative plan going forward is to highlight the concept of Peak Demand as opposed to Peak Supply. Demand for hydrocarbons has peaked because everyone is already transitioning to the ‘Electrification of Everything Plan’ with their electric vehicle purchases and investments in non-renewable, renewable energy-harvesting technologies…only the reality indicates that this tale is nonsense and hydrocarbon extraction and use is increasing along with these technologies resulting in an exacerbation of our overshoot predicament.

Throw our currently increasing morass of geopolitical gamesmanship on top of an already deadly dead-end trajectory and that jump off the Seneca Cliff of energy decline seems further and further in the rear-view mirror — along with all the ecological systems destruction we can’t help but compound in our desire to control our destiny.

But, yeah, let’s all go see the Taylor Swift movie to deny the death of our world just a bit longer and sing along, holding hands as gravity takes hold. Such is the way of these story-telling apes who will do and believe almost any and everything to avoid/deny reality and the anxiety-provoking thoughts it raises.

The System Isn’t Designed to Help You

The System Isn’t Designed to Help You

If climate change doesn’t kill you, it will bankrupt you.

It’s been about two months since the Lahaina fire, and the long term nature of their recovery is just starting to set in — for some at least. I know from first-hand experience that it takes months for some people to emerge enough from the fog of trauma to even start thinking about recovery.

Personally, I don’t like the word “recovery”.

It makes it sound like things can — and do — go back to the way they were before the fire (or the hurricane or the flood — pick your own mass climate disaster).

But they don’t. They can’t. Lahaina is gone. Forever.

Sure, something will come back — probably cookie-cutter multi-million dollar condos that the former residents can’t even dream of affording. But Lahaina is gone. Its residents can move forward, but they can’t “recover”. There is no going back.

And “moving forward” itself a long and cruelly painful process, and one during which I personally came to understand that the “system” — everything from FEMA to insurance companies to the tax system to banks to the government to the legal system — isn’t designed to help you, the disaster victim.

It isn’t that the system doesn’t work. It works exactly as designed.

But it’s just not designed to help you.

It helps others, or maybe no one at all, but if you manage to get what you need from the system, it’s almost by accident, or unintentional, or a byproduct of helping someone else.

I know a lot of people reading this will say, “you’re overreacting” or “you just had a bad experience”. I know that because I’ve been told this before by people who have never been through a climate disaster and who are just repeating the reassuring platitudes that we’re all programmed to repeat.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh XV–Finite Energy, ‘Renewables’, and the Ruling Elite

Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh XV

May 21, 2021

Rome, Italy (1984) Photo by author

Finite Energy, ‘Renewables’, and the Ruling Elite

Energy. It’s at the core of everything we do. Everything. Yet we take it for granted and rarely think about it and what the finiteness of our various energy sources means for us.

As Gail Tverberg of Our Finite World concludes in a recent thought-provoking article that should be read widely: “Needless to say, the powers that be do not want the general population to hear about issues of these kinds. We find ourselves with narrower and narrower news reports that provide only the version of the truth that politicians and news media want us to read.”

Instead of having a complex and very necessary discussion about the unsustainable path we are on (especially as it pertains to chasing the perpetual growth chalice) and attempting to mitigate the consequences of our choices, we are told all is well, that ‘science’, ‘human ingenuity’, and ‘technology’ will save the day, and we can maintain business-as-usual with just some minor ‘tweaks’ and/or a ‘green/clean’ energy transition. Pre/history, physics, and biology would suggest otherwise.

Here is my relatively long comment on a Tyee article discussing the International Energy Agency’s recent report that calls on all future fossil fuel projects to be abandoned and drastic reductions in demand in order to avoid irreparable climate change damage to our planet. The answer, however, will not be found in ‘renewable’ energy and related technologies as many contend because the underlying and fundamental issue of overshoot has been conveniently left out of the story.

Having followed the ‘energy’ dilemma for more than a decade I’ve come to better understand the complexities, nuances, and scheming that it entails; not all mind you, not by a long shot, but certainly better than the mainstream narratives provide. I have no incentive to cling to a particular storyline, none. I have discovered the following information through continued reading and questioning. My perspective on almost everything has shifted dramatically as a result — one cannot unlearn certain things once they’ve been exposed to them.

One has to ask oneself a few questions and keep in mind a number of facts when putting the puzzle together as to what exactly is going on; and energy applies to many, many issues in our world far, far beyond climate change because it is the fundamental basis of life and all this entails. I won’t/can’t post everything since it would involve a massive text, but here are a few pertinent issues to consider in the energy story and our fossil-fuel future.

First, fossil fuels are indeed a finite resource so their coming decline in use was inevitable. This is not only because they are finite but because of falling energy-return-on-energy-invested (EROEI). Given our tendency to exploit the low-hanging fruit first (use up the easy-to-access and cheapest-to-retrieve), the law of declining marginal utility (also known as diminishing returns) was destined to occur and our use of them diminish significantly. We now have to rely upon oil sands, tight oil, and deep-sea drilling to sustain or just barely improve extraction rates. This is not only not economical because of the complexities involved, but uses up increasing amounts of the energy extracted (to say little of the environmental impacts).

The energy industry and governments have known about this predicament for decades. It is not a surprise at all (several ‘research’ reports by government agencies/bureaucrats over the years are available that discuss the issue; to say little about the ‘academic’ discussions). Geophysicist Marion King Hubbert projected this situation while working for the Shell Oil Company in the mid-1900s and developed the Peak Oil Theory, which has more-or-less been quite accurate in its predictions, especially for conventional crude oil production. Given that the largest and most profitable conventional crude oil reserves have all been found and exploited, and the increasing costs and diminishing returns of alternative methods of extracting oil and gas, it’s really not surprising that the industry has greatly reduced capital expenditures in exploration and instead ventured into alternatives; there is little additional profit to be made in oil and gas — better to move to other energy sources and market them as a panacea that will not only address climate change but support our energy-intensive living standards. This dilemma is also outlined in the 1972 text Limits to Growth that used emerging computer simulations to explore various scenarios given the fact that we live on a planet with finite resources. Of the various models generated, we seem to be tracking most closely the Business-As-Usual one that projected problems arising for humanity as we entered this century (and peaking around 2050); problems/dilemmas due to a variety things, not least among them the consequences of population overshoot.

Second, transitioning to alternative sources of energy is not a simple nor straightforward shift; not even close. We have created a complex, interlinked world almost entirely dependent upon fossil fuels. This one-time, finite cache of energy reserves has underpinned virtually our entire ‘modern’ way of living. From the ability to create a complex energy-averaging system via globalised, long-distance trade routes to industrial agriculture that feeds our billions (some quite well, others not so much), oil and gas makes it possible. There are no alternatives that can replace fossil fuels for a number of reasons but mostly because many of our necessary industrial and extraction processes must use fossil fuels since alternatives are inadequate — and alternatives all rely upon these processes for their production, distribution, and maintenance. Rather than acknowledge this dilemma, we have crafted a narrative that such a transition is not only possible but will more or less be forced upon humanity for its own good (more on why I believe this is so below).

Much of our geopolitical and economic chaos over the past number of decades can be tied directly to our energy issues as well. Maneuvering by various nation states, in the Middle East especially, has a link to the massive fossil fuel reserves that have been discovered around the planet. Alliances with questionable governments and proxy wars with competing nations has been the storyline for some years now as access to and control of oil and gas reserves (among other important resources) has been paramount. The untethering of our currency to physical commodities (i.e., gold and silver) in the late 1960s and early 1970s (especially the abrogation of the Bretton Woods Agreement by the United States), and subsequent ever-increasing debasement of it, can be said to be one of the consequences of diminishing returns on our most important energy sources and attempts to counteract the energy decline — especially in the US where oil and gas production peaked about this time. Geopolitics is mostly if not always about control of resources, not about freeing a nation’s citizens from its tyrannical government and bringing ‘democracy’ to them — we chose which ‘tyrants’ we support and which we vilify (even within our own ‘democracies’).

Finally (although I could ramble on forever), the ruling class/oligarchs/elite (whatever you wish to term the power brokers and wealthy in society) have one primary motivation that drives them: the control/expansion of the wealth-generating systems that provide their revenue streams — this has been the story of the ruling classes throughout pre/history. All other concerns either serve this first one or are secondary/tertiary. Energy is one of the most profitable of the various wealth-generating systems (control of the creation and distribution of fiat currency perhaps the most; along with taxing powers). What better way to ensure continued wealth generation than convincing everyone that a shift to alternative energy sources is necessary to save ourselves and planet, even if such a shift is impossible and untenable.

We cannot mitigate, let alone solve, the issues at hand for humanity and the planet if we do not correctly identify the cause(s). Clinging to a narrative that is primarily marketing propaganda might help to reduce the cognitive dissonance created by holding two or more beliefs that conflict with each other, but it does zero in addressing our needs. Holding on to the hope that we can continue to live as we have because ‘someone’ will solve these conundrums is in my opinion misplaced faith.

Our major dilemma is overshoot, defined simply as the point where a species has placed more demand on its environment/ecology than that system can naturally regenerate and sustain the population. The one-time cache of fossil fuels has allowed our species to proliferate (and helped to provide amazing wonders) well beyond the natural carrying capacity of our planet. And now that it is in terminal decline nature is sure to bring our species’ population back into alignment. Those at the top of society’s power structures are well aware of these issues for they have driven most of their actions and policies for decades. It is far better for them, however, if the masses are focused elsewhere and their use of propaganda to do this has a long history as well. We are being sold a comforting narrative about ‘clean/green’ energy while the underlying reality of what is occurring is being purposely ignored or dismissed, often as conjecture or conspiracy. The idea that we need to reduce our fossil fuel use to save the planet is convenient cover for the truth that fossil fuels are becoming too expensive to retrieve because the cheap-to-access and easy-to-retrieve reserves are quickly running out.

I’m increasingly doubtful we are going to face the ultimately very difficult decisions that need to be made (in fact, needed to be made decades ago) and we will continue to stumble along hoping and praying that all will work out just fine, thank you. Only time will tell how this all plays out for none of us can accurately predict the future but the path of decline/collapse seems fairly certain. Every complex society that has existed up to this point in history has experienced it and we are not significantly different when push comes to shove. If archaeologist Joseph Tainter’s thesis in his monograph The Collapse of Complex Societies is accurate, complex societies ‘collapse’ due to the inability to deal with stress surges because they have been experiencing diminishing returns on their investments in complexity; and this is exactly the situation with humanity’s investments in fossil fuels.

This is what I have been able to cobble together in the couple of hours of a few household chores and while enjoying my morning coffee. Now I will prepare to spend my usual day out and about our yard enhancing our fruit/vegetable gardens, and attempting to make our household a tad more resilient in light of the decline that is most assuredly upon us. You may or may not agree with my interpretation of things but I would implore you to explore the issues and certainly step outside of your comfort zone and consider a different paradigm because the ones pushed by the ruling class are not in your best interest.

Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh X–Who Do Representative Governments Actually Represent?

Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh X

April 29, 2021

Monte Alban, Mexico (1988) Photo by author

Who Do Representative Governments Actually Represent?

Circumstances have kept me sidetracked from writing for a few months. As life has settled a bit, although the spring weather keeps me busy working in the food garden, I felt it time to post again. Here is a comment I wrote this morning in the Tyee in response to an article on corporate bailouts and a call to give government more power.

Almost all of us live within a narrative matrix that we exist in a fair and transparent world where the ruling class exists to serve the people of a particular territory, that government and its efforts/energies are directed primarily towards benefitting the citizens it is supposed to represent, and that the resources of the nation will be distributed in a way that is equitable and just. We are taught such a world exists through our government education systems and repeatedly told this via our corporate media. If glitches in the matrix occur, it’s because of some particular individual’s defect but never a systemic problem.

A look through pre/history and a gentle scratch at the surface of this general perspective, however, will show that this view is all bullshit. The ruling class exists to benefit itself, and this is always done at the expense of its citizens. They have created an elaborate narrative to market themselves as ‘representatives’ of the people in an ongoing and expansive attempt to legitimise their rule and power. And the vast majority of people believe the stories (primarily to reduce the cognitive dissonance that is created when the notion of living within a massive, propagandised world where one has little true agency in sociopolitical and socioeconomic matters collides with the sociocultural myths of ‘representative’ government and citizen participation).

Once you realise that the world you thought exists does not, you come to view situations such as corporate bailouts as part and parcel of the ruling class taking care of itself as they always do, and not in the least surprising. We can stamp our feet and shout as much as we want but such travesties of justice and righteousness have been going on since large, complex societies came into existence and it will continue to go on as long as they exist. Periodically a sacrificial corporate lamb is paraded out to demonstrate to the public the government’s not subservient to the oligarchs/elite, but this is all just part of the theatre. Occasionally a massive revolution comes along to try and shift the balance of power back to the citizenry, but mostly this simply results in one set of sociopathic elite being replaced by another equally sociopathic group of elite.

Giving government more power and control, as this author suggests, is not a solution by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it is probably the opposite of what we want and plays right into the hands of the ruling class (for example, the narrative that we can continue business as usual by electrifying everything and transitioning to non-fossil fuel alternative energies is mostly about shifting capital from one dead-end, unsustainable, resource-intensive, and ecologically-destructive industry to another equally dead-end, unsustainable, resource-intensive, and ecologically-destructive one so the financial/economic Ponzi we exist within can continue for a while longer and further enrich those at the top of our social power structures).

The best thing one can do is attempt to remove one’s family and local community from this delusional matrix as much as is possible. Yes, make your displeasure and contempt for the way things are known, especially at a local level, but focus on building your community’s self-sufficiency and -reliance. Reduce your consumption. Grow your own food. Re-localise as much as possible. Stop depending on both government and corporations. Stop feeding the beast for it will consume us all while selling us lies and stealing our ‘wealth’.

Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh IX–Hear, Speak, See No Evil: Sociopolitical Collapse

Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh IX

Chichen Itza, Mexico (1986) photo by author

Hear, Speak, See No Evil: Sociopolitical Collapse

Once more a comment posted in the Tyee in response to ongoing ‘debate’ with others in regard to the 2020 U.S. presidential election and some of the accusations of irregularities surrounding the process. While not obviously related to ‘collapse’ I will add some context to draw it into my ongoing thesis afterwards.

For the sake of argument, let’s say some of these [a list of supposed election irregularities] are fabricated and/or misinterpretation of events (which is what the video of the polling clerk filling out ballots is being explained away as — they were filling out ‘damaged’ ballots). That does not mean they all are and should just be summarily dismissed. They merit further scrutiny and investigation. Conspiracies (that is, an agreement to perform together an illegal, wrongful, or subversive act) are common in politics (in fact, perhaps far too common).

A few thoughts to share for those that believe otherwise.

The fact that the sources are not mainstream should not lead to their immediate dismissal as many suggest. All one has to do is look at how many mainstream sources are deliberately suppressing the whole Julian Assange debacle or the Hunter Biden laptop evidence that suggests pay-to-play shenanigans involving his father. Or Glenn Greenwald deciding to resign from the media company he founded because fellow editors refused to publish an article unless he removed all criticism of Joe Biden. These examples (and there are many, many more — a pertinent one is how many mainstream media accepted the Bush administration’s declaration that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and then basically ran PR for the government’s invasion) should show that mainstream media is quite biased and often does not perform due diligence in its reporting, suppresses stories, or primarily runs opinion-editorials and passes them off as investigative journalism, especially if one is questioning the dominant narratives that they tend to support quite adamantly. It is often, unfortunately, only those outside of the mainstream that question the stories told by the-powers-that-be and challenge them.

And the supposed importance of elections and sanctity of voting are two of those narratives (the ones that this article goes to great lengths to further). And these are very, very important social narratives for several reasons. First, the political class overseeing society need legitimization. They need the citizens to believe with all their hearts and minds that the ruling class has a ‘right’ to be making the decisions they are making and enacting the policies they are enacting with the support and blessings of the people. Without this legitimization they would not only run into significant difficulty with social ‘order’, they would lose control of the wealth-generating systems that supply their revenue streams (their primary motivation). This right to govern supposedly derives from the choices made via the ballot box; we quite often hear leaders claim they have a mandate from the people to justify (rationalise?) their actions.

Second, people want to believe they actually have agency in the way their society is managed. Believing you have agency in your life is a fundamental need. So, people want to believe they can significantly impact the political process by voting. And we are socialised almost from birth to believe this story. Our public schools initiate us into the dominant narrative, teaching children the importance of our political system and how we need to support it. We are told it is a civic duty to vote. That if you don’t vote, you can’t complain. That major wars have been fought to protect our freedoms and the right to vote. People do not want to confront the possibility that it is all just theatre; that it is a story to keep us mollified, well behaved, and compliant; that the real power may lay well beyond their reach or influence (or as George Carlin opined: it’s a big club and you ain’t in it). The people do not want to face the idea that their leaders do not have the interests of the masses as their primary motivation; that would just create far too much cognitive dissonance.

For these two reasons alone the majority of people and certainly almost all the ruling class (and this includes academics, media, politicians, corporations) will refuse to see or acknowledge the flaws when exposed. Evidence is memory-holed. Whistleblowers are vilified (or worse). The believers and those benefiting from the dominant storyline will fight tooth and nail to defend the system. The narrative must be protected. Just read up on the various inquisitions of the Catholic Church to see how narratives that support the powerful are protected.

I truly do want to thank those who challenge my thinking in a constructive manner. It forces me to rethink and reflect on my own biases and blindspots. For those who fall back on the ad hominem fallacy of attacking me or calling me names, please grow up.

One of the arguments made by Dmitry Orlov in his book The Five Stages of Collapse is that there exist a number of tipping points as it were that indicate a complex society is on the verge of collapse. He states these “Serve as mental milestones…[and each breaches] a specific level of trust or faith in the status quo. Although each stage causes physical, observable changes in the environment, these can be gradual, while the mental flip is generally quite swift.”

His five stages are:

  1. Financial collapse where faith in risk assessment and financial guarantees is lost.
  2. Commercial collapse that witnesses a breakdown in trade and widespread shortages of necessities.
  3. Political collapse through a loss of political class relevance and legitimacy.
  4. Social collapse in which social institutions that could provide resources fail.
  5. Cultural collapse that is exhibited by the disbanding of families into individuals competing for scarce resources.

As I suggest in a review and commentary on his book: “all that is needed for political collapse is for more citizens to come to the realization that the status quo is no longer working for the benefit of all but for the benefit of the elite. When the masses finally come to better understand the corruption and malfeasance that percolates throughout the political world, collapse of the political class will occur.”

This is perhaps what we are witnessing with greater frequency in the U.S. and elsewhere, suggesting sociopolitical collapse may not be too far off in the future. And with sociopolitical collapse comes some pretty serious knock-on effects that will upset the complex systems we all rely upon, especially long-distance supply chains and social ‘order’.

As I have argued in other places, when it comes to politics we seem to be chickens arguing over which fox will guard us while the henhouse is burning down in the background.

Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh III; Grieving: There Are No ‘Solutions’ to Overshoot

Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh III

August 14, 2020

Athens, Greece (1993) Photo by author

Grieving: There Are No ‘Solutions’ to Overshoot

My comment posted on The Tyee in response to an article highlighting the increased occurrence of earthquakes as a result of hydraulic fracturing by the oil and gas industry in an area of British Columbia, Canada, and imperilling local infrastructure and construction of a large hydroelectric dam.


Until and unless there is a complete dismantling and dismemberment of the current sociopolitical and socioeconomic systems in place globally, these type of situations and associated abuses of people and the planet will continue will little disruption.

I realise that a significant majority of people believe democracy, technology, and human ingenuity can save us from ourselves but this is highly unlikely (impossible?). We are so far down the rabbit’s hole that such magical thinking is likely common so as to reduce our cognitive dissonance en masse (and compounded by the constant propaganda thrown at us). It does nothing to resolve our dilemmas; in fact, it might actually hamper ‘solutions’ by avoiding more effective pathways and harvesting our finite resources even faster.

I truly believe we need to move quickly through Kubler-Ross’s stages of grief, getting past the denial and bargaining (for this is what is happening as more and more people come to realise we are pursuing unsustainable and suicidal ways, but don’t want to face the uncomfortable and negative consequences that are becoming increasingly obvious; they engage in magical thinking to convince themselves we’re okay with just a tweak here or a tweak there).

We need to come to accept that our chasing the infinite growth chalice must stop, and that all the ‘baubles’ promised from this pursuit by the sociopathic ‘leaders’ that profit from their control of the wealth-generating and -extraction systems that arise from this economic/political quest of growth are not worth the journey over the cliff ahead.

If we do not choose to stop this insanity now, we can be assured that nature will do it for us and we are not going to enjoy the choices nature makes for us to reset things to some sort of balance. The collapse that accompanies overshoot is never ‘fun’ for the species experiencing it.

And we have a species that will be fighting over the scarce resources remaining with the most destructive weaponry in human history. In fact, this fight has been going on for some decades (one could argue it’s been going on since humans first ‘arrived’ on the planet) and seems to be intensifying quickly (and has little to do with the left/right political spectrum disagreements, but a result of diminishing returns on our exploitation of resources). If we should have learned anything from the spread of Covid-19, is that exponential growth moves much faster than we imagine and can overwhelm a system in no time.

While it is very likely (guaranteed?) that our sociopathic ruling class will not stop this insanity (for it is their revenue stream and base of power), it is up to each and every one of us to remove ourselves as much as is possible from the Matrix and all the components of it that supports the unsustainable systems we are enmeshed in.

The journey will not be easy nor straightforward, but if we reach a tipping point of world citizens that reject the systems imposed upon us by the ‘elite’ we may just have a chance…maybe.

Steps to World Rule: First, Destroy Humanity

Steps to World Rule: First, Destroy Humanity

It has always been astounding to me that people think for even a second that their government makes decisions to help the people—that has never been the case.

If a government’s decision helps anyone it is always an after effect…or an afterthought or a collateral unintended benefit. The primary intent is for power, control, and money…to satisfy individual pursuits and goals of the global narcissistic/god-complex elite.

Anyone (which turns out to be most everyone) who supports this and thinks their government, or their nation, is operating in the people’s interest is signing their own death warrant.

“Don’t be so negative, Dr. Todd, there are good things in life too!”

Oh my yes, there are: newborn babies, sunsets, oceans, art, music, forests, waterfalls, sex with your lover, dogs…millions of things. But that is not what I am writing about right now. I am writing about the thing, and group of things, that will wipe all of that good stuff off the face of the earth. Sure, sure, sure, it won’t be forever. Good will prevail, but it could be a million years before it all comes back if we let it go now. And I think it is worth the fight to preserve what we’ve got.

Needless to say, people have always followed leaders. I am not an anthropologist, but I would take a guess that even in primitive times there were leaders of tribes, chiefs, kings, queens, or whatever. I would also guess that this arrangement probably worked well more often than not. Societies were close knit; if a leader went bonkers it was probably easier to just push him or her off a cliff somewhere…

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Richest 1% begin eyeing up all the stuff you still own

Richest 1% begin eyeing up all the stuff you still own

The richest 1% of people on the planet have started looking at the stuff you’ve been allowed to keep, according to sources this morning.

After officially managing to own half of all the world’s wealth, the top 1% said that this meant there was still room for 100% growth within their current portfolio of assets.

Rich bastard, Charles Wentworth, said, “Yes, we’ve got expensive properties, nice cars and investments in lots and lots of companies – but it’s got to the point where I think we should start looking to extend our portfolio.

“50% of all the world’s wealth is a good start, of course, but that means there’s another 50% of the world’s wealth out there that we don’t currently own – well, not yet anyway.

“I’m talking about things like Ford Fiestas, IKEA wardrobes, Sky Q boxes – that sort of thing.

“Not your typical wish list for a multi-millionaire, admittedly, but we’ve got to keep growing. Obviously.

“We’re coming for it. Of that you be assured.”Those outside the 1% have been left crestfallen at the news that the tiny bit of wealth they’ve been allowed to accrue during their meagre existence is likely to become part of some inconsequential piece of a wealthy arsehole’s portfolio of assets.

99%-er Simon Williams told us, “Couldn’t they just leave us with a few bits of pieces? Do they really have to have everything?

“Look, they can come for my wealth all they like, but I warn you now, they will have to prise my Sky remote from my cold dead hands.”

World Economic Fuck’em

World Economic Fuck’em

Nothing more than an unelected globalist government slowly emerging behind the curtains, eager to abscond with your rights and tell you how to live. Really…nothing to see here.

Among the many wretched, slimy and odious things that are increasingly giving me the creeps as the sands of my life’s hourglass continue to fall is the World Economic Forum: a collective of self-righteous global elites handing down virtues, values, lessons, lectures and political initiatives to us peons out here in the rest of the world.

The “Forum” is increasingly starting to resemble a globalist government, stocked with globally unelected turbo-douchebags, who have been assembling quietly in the background while no one has noticed.

One minute you’ve never heard of them – did you know the WEF has been around for about 5 decades? – the next, the “Forum” is harboring incredible influence, mostly with “useful” bureaucratic idiots on the left who are happy to take their cues on how to napalm individual rights for betterment of advancing their agendas from anyone who will help, regardless of their motivation.

WEF Founder Klaus Schwab, either giving or receiving some bullshit “Global Citizen Award”, which no normal person has ever heard of or cared about.

That’s right: gone are the days of joking about The Great Resetowning nothing and liking it and shifting to a diet of mealworms and crickets.

I’ve arrived at a point past that – a point of being sickened by watching people that in no way, shape or form represent me or the people in my life, yammer on about what my future will or won’t look like and what things I stand for are “right” or “wrong”.

It’s right in the WEF’s mission statement:

…click on the above link to read the rest…

“A New System” – Inside the Davos Summit 2023WEF conference looks set to focus on what the globalist elite can learn from the failures of their “pandemic” narrative.

“A New System” – Inside the Davos Summit 2023

WEF conference looks set to focus on what the globalist elite can learn from the failures of their “pandemic” narrative.

The World Economic Forum’s annual meet-up kicks off tomorrow. Politicians, corporate giants, “philanthropists” and all manner of elite monstrosities gather for a weekend of telling each other how smart they are and making the world generally worse.

But what’s on the menu this year?

Well, here are the five main items up for discussion, according to the WEF’s website:

See if you can notice a pattern:

  1. Addressing the Current Energy and Food Crises in the context of a New System for Energy, Climate and Nature
  2. Addressing the Current High Inflation, Low Growth, High Debt Economy in the context of a New System for Investment, Trade and Infrastructure
  3. Addressing the Current Industry Headwinds in the context of a New System for Harnessing Frontier Technologies for Private Sector Innovation and Resilience
  4. Addressing the Current Social Vulnerabilities in the context of a New System for Work, Skills and Care
  5. Addressing the Current Geopolitical Risks in the context of a New System for Dialogue and Cooperation in a Multipolar World

Now, none of this is news. A “new system” for energy is a “green new deal”, a “new system” for international cooperation is some type of global governance, and a “new system” for investment and trade covers a lot of topics, including digital currency.

Like I said, nothing new, but it’s always refreshing to see it in print, with no effort to hide it.

It’s also interesting that they don’t use the phrases “new normal”, “great reset” or “build back better” anywhere on the page, despite the fact it’s obviously what they’re talking about.

A little victory for the alternate media, who have clearly raised enough awareness that those phrases are now considered too tainted to use.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

The Four Stages of Societal Collapse and Thiel’s Libertarian Challenge

The Four Stages of Societal Collapse and Thiel’s Libertarian Challenge

“This is what will happen in the United States if you allow all the[se] schmucks to promise all kinds of goodies and paradise on earth which will bring the country to crisis” Yuri Bezmenov

Rewatching this video of a defector from the Soviet Union in 1985 in context of our post Covid society connected some dots. Those dots were about what Yuri describes in this video as the “Demoralization” stage of the four-stage KGB process.

Separately, Peter Thiel recently offered his view of three dystopian futures being offered by competing ideologies, and the challenge to the Libertarian right to offer a competing better vision of the future.

But first, the 4 stages of Societal collapse as Yuri Bezmenov describes above offer a nice roadmap to how we got here to begin with. The four stages of US societal collapse as the KGB prophet says are:

  1. Demoralization: in which people are (re)educated according to your own ideology- Pressure to conform
  2. Destabilization: in which essentials like economy, foreign relations, and defense pacts/systems are disrupted- E.G. supply chains, Nato, Etc
  3. Crisis: a confluence of events on the back of the previous two steps creates existential crisis for the status quo.- Constantly threatened
  4. Normalization: during the crisis a “force for good” will appear that promises some return to normalcy. We welcome despotic solutions to immediate problems.-  Rise of authoritarianism and reduction in liberty

This reads like a playbook for the last two years, and perhaps going as far back as the GFC of 2009.  The stages  occur simultaneously and need reapplication like so many vaccine boosters until compliance is 100%.

The Media’s Role in Demoralization

The MSM has been revealed beyond the pale to be a water-carrier for elites (a Trump dividend BTW) and in return for their subservience the media gets to manipulate and monetize our emotions.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Finding a place to take a stand

Finding a place to take a stand

Mapping regions bio and cultural

Regions in a time of breakdown

The Raven is increasingly focusing on the concept of regionalism, the idea that, as urbanist Lewis Mumford put forward many years ago, there is a “regional framework of civilization.”

Mumford’s thinking, to which The Raven devoted a series beginning here, is that regions are the basic units through which the world is connected.  He wrote, “Real interests, real functions, real intercourse flow across (national boundaries): while the effective organs of concentration are not national states . . . but the regional city and the region.”

This is more than an abstract discussion. In focusing on the regional dimension, I am pointing in a direction to cope with and eventually rebuild from a time of national and global breakdown. As the tagline of this web journal states, to plot a path for “living beyond empire.”

Breakdown is increasingly in the foreground. Conflicts and divisions are growing within nations and between them. Supply chains are snapping. Climate chaos is intensifying. National and global institutions are increasingly incapable of responding to the interwoven crises facing us. In fact, national and global elites continue to pursue models through which they have gained power and wealth, even as the destructive consequences of those models escalate. Whether it is continuing to expand the production of fossil fuels and arms, or perpetuating a profit-oriented capitalism heedless of social and ecological impacts.

Elites insulated in their bubbles will be the last ones to feel the consequences, which is why they will continue to prolong them. As historian Arnold Toynbee determined from his study of civilizations, this is the dynamic that causes civilizations to collapse.

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Regardless of Who’s Elected, Imperial Corruption Rules the Nation

Regardless of Who’s Elected, Imperial Corruption Rules the Nation

But in the meantime, enjoy the political theatrics down on the sand-strewn floor of the Coliseum.

While the much-touted differences between America’s political parties get obsessive, hysterical attention, the sameness of Imperial corruption, waste and squalor regardless of who’s in power gets little notice. Scrape away the differences–mostly in domestic issues–and we see the dead hand of Imperial Corruption is on the tiller.

The core of Imperial Corruption is the disconnect between the nation’s ideals of representational democracy and open markets and the sordid reality: elites serve their interests by corrupting both democracy and open markets.

Unfettered democracy and markets cannot be controlled by a tiny, self-serving elite. Stripped of corruption, democracy and markets are free-for-alls that are constantly evolving, as highly adaptive islands of coherence coalesce that influence the quasi-chaos, competing with other islands of coherence but never gaining dominance due to the open-ended dynamism of collaboration-competition that is the beating heart of both democracy and open markets.

The only way to control democracy and markets to serve the interests of the few at the expense of the many is to corrupt them completely by destroying the dynamism of collaboration-competition. Democracy is replaced by an auction of political power to the highest bidder that rewards cronies and devotes all its resources not to solving the nation’s problems but to whipping up conflagrations of divisiveness and partisan hysteria that wash away the middle ground where problems can actually be addressed.

This crippling of the nation’s ability to actually solve difficult problems serves the interests of self-serving elites whose sole interest is accumulating personal wealth and power…

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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