« Fun With Government Statistics | Main | The Economic Miracle Fizzles Out »

04/13/2011

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Remi

Hi Dave,
You present reality, which can be a downer, which turns some people to doomer porn. Many people realise that most things related to our current way of life is unsustainable. And those that follow it closely, like you and your followers, understand that one day, the house of cards will fall. However, no one knows when that day will come, and what will finally be the straw that breaks the camel's back. We are stuck in between two world realities, the fake propped up world that society is currently based on, and a future world where the facade is lifted and we see how destructive we have really been. Many liken it to living in the Matrix. However, living in this limbo world is psychologically taxing, and many yearn for the curtain to drop so that we can transition to something more sane. People are then seduced by the Ruppert's of the world that relieve them of the stress they feel about the uncertain path the world will take to its demise.

rumor

Well said, Remi. I can't deny the appeal, though I try to keep it under control. Some days I find myself pinging back and forth between thoughts like "When will all this bullshit end?" (silly me, the situation may change but the bullshit will never end) and "Every day without disaster is another blessing, another day to live in ridiculously amazing comfort and to prepare. Appreciate it." The latter is correct, but the mind is a tricky thing and often wants to take the easy, passionate way out.

Dave, I sympathise with what you've said. It must be maddening.

Will

Where the money flows
You will find the Pro's,
The Con's, the conned,
And a spark of truth
to build a flame
and Sell the Sizzle

BS

The Japan problems will cause major problems in supply chains, although I do not know the difference between chips and micro circuitry... Supply chains are so important now. This will be the 1st example of a very large (and extended) disruption of global supply chains.

The stock market is only partially effected by earnings now. Free money and speculation are at least as important. In any case, this may well be a very bad time from global stock markets.

High oil prices are bad for economic activity. This (speculative) spike in oil prices in conjunction with supply chain problems may be more severe than you anticipate Mr. Cohen.

So to prepare for Ruppert's complete collapse, I am stocking up on digital books, including doomer porn.

Bill Hicks

Dave, as a longtime denizen of such "doomer" discussion boards as the late and lamented LATOC forum let me just say: "right on." I get flack in those circles because I am a believer in the "slow crash," in other words that it is going to take at least 20 years before the Peak Oil-related unwinding of our industrial civilization is in its advanced (i.e. Mad Maxian) stages. Ruppert and Gerald Celente are two prognostigators in particular who grate on me.

The good thing is I've discovered that unless they are fundie types desperately hoping for The Rapture, lots of doomers are at least open to hearing the slow crash argument. :)

Thomas

Dave ~~

This petulance is unbecoming. You come off as jealous and envious. And you do not refute Ruppert's main assertion. Personally, I didn't find Ruppert's video to be "marketing" like you did.

Now, I read your column consistently. Since I have no income, I'm not going to give you a donation, although I appreciate your work. I'm not going to give Ruppert $100/year to visit his website either. But I wouldn't be reading your column regularly if I hadn't read Ruppert more than six years ago now. "Crossing the Rubicon" introduced me to the field and it is on my bookshelf. Ruppert has that following because he has the longevity and a track record. He was the one who introduced many people to the idea of resource depletion and societal collapse. I read many authors now simply for corroboration, like you.

You are as much doomer porn to me as he is and I love you both for it.

The difference between you two IMO is that he will roar like a lion, as evidenced in the video you linked, while you will meekly state your case after the fact. I expect you'll wait until July to tell us whether the 2+2=4 that Ruppert roars now is acceptable or not.

But that's why people shell out $100/year to visit his website and you're begging for donations. He's not afraid to make a mistake.

Apparently, his marketing works really well. And you only prove that true because you shared his link. (I didn't go to his website to see it.)

Keep up the good work!

Dave Cohen

Re: Ruppert -- "He's not afraid to make a mistake."

Thank you, Thomas, I thought I might have to go through this whole day without laughing out loud!

By the way, since 2005, when I started writing for The Oil Drum, the economy should have collapsed several times over according to many "reliable" sources who have not been afraid to make a mistake.

Of course, things are very messed up, but not for the reasons usually offered by those "reliable" sources.

If you're trying to make a buck, or you simply love being hysterical, it is very important to keep the fear levels high at all times.

Dionysus

Mr. Cohen,

Thank you for running this outstanding website. I have enjoyed checking it almost every day for quite a few months now. I must say however, I feel this article is unfair. Mr. Ruppert has labored for many years to try to help put a spotlight on all sorts of critical issues. I will agree with you that he is not without fault, and I will tend to agree that perhaps this particular video may be such a case. I think his intentions are good, and he has done a lot of excellent work over the years. I think it is unbecoming to treat him with such a dismissive attitude.

Keep up the otherwise spectacular work on this website.

Loveandlight

@Thomas:

Some people call it "not being afraid to make a mistake". Other people call it "wanting to be taken seriously". :-)

Gail

"Three highballs," Mrs. Parker once said, "and I'm St. Francis of Assisi." As a screenwriter in Hollywood in the 1930s, she irritated Samuel Goldwyn with her stream of caustic remarks.

"Wisecracks," Goldwyn complained. "I told you there's no money in wisecracks. People want a happy ending."

"I know this will come as a shock to you, Mr. Goldwyn," said Mrs. Parker, "but in all history, which has held billions and billions of human beings, not a single one ever had a happy ending." And with that she left the room, leaving Goldwyn, for a moment, to ponder her words.

"Does anybody in here know what the hell that woman was talking about?" he said.

Oh life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea,
And love is a thing that can never go wrong,
And I am Marie of Roumania.

http://www.latimesmagazine.com/2011/04/dark-passages.html
click on the title for a clip!

and enjoy the Doom

Dave Cohen

Gail cheers me up again!

From the movie Reservoir Dogs --

Mr. Pink to Mr. White, as he sees his fellow thug Mr. Orange has been shot:

"Is it bad?"

Mr. White looks back and responds:

"As opposed to good?"

Perfect!

Usman A.

This post is spot on.

Alexander Ač

Agreed on Ruppert.

I do not know how many of you follow Dmitri Orlov, who definitely is a different class than Ruppert. But at the same time Orlov in the last (long and very good) interview said that he mostly agrees with what Ruppert says. The link to the interview is here:

http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2011/04/interview-on-kows-fms-what-now-with-ken.html

Orlov says that three things needs to be done: get rid off car, house, and job. Maybe he is a doomer porn too, but who I am to judge :-)

By the way we do not need Ruppert when we have truly serius stuff like Stoneleigh, Ilargi, Guy McPherson, Bill Black, Steeve Keen, Davidowitz, Stockman, Fergusson, Tainter, Trainer, Hansen (climatologist), Celente, Panzner, Mish, and many many others....

cheers,

Alex

Dave Cohen

Re: is Dmitry Orlov doomer porn?

Does a bear shit in the woods? He's the best, he is Numero Uno. The man lives on a sail boat because he figures it's the best place to be when the shit hits the fan. Which may happen any day now. He's not the leader of Club Orlov for nothing!

At least Jim Kuntsler still lives in a normal (rented) house in upstate New York. Actually, I like Jim, because even though he often doesn't know what he's talking about -- for example, concerning the oil markets (and peak oil) as opposed to urban landscapes -- his instincts are very good and he's a terrific writer. Of course, he did say the world would end due to Y2K. But I don't hold it against him.

Ask yourself: have I ever mentioned Dmitry Orlov on this blog prior to now? Or even Jim Kunstler? That's not an accident.

Honorary Members -- Club Orlov
* Sharon Astyk
* Catherine Austin Fitts
* Carolyn Baker
* Albert Bates
* Jay Hanson
* James Howard Kunstler
* KMO
* Jan Lundberg
* Kathy McMahon
* Michael Ruppert
* Matt Savinar
* Charles Smith

Read the New Yorker magazine essay "The Dystopians". Great article.

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/01/26/090126fa_fact_mcgrath

JC

What a day - a nerve has been struck! For all of us educated in the US since WW2 it is unsettling to stray out of the "4 A's" of success that are drilled into our head: (1) be Affability, (2) be Availability, (3) be Affordable, (4) be Able (in descending order of importance). Being sure of our fate many can no longer be Affable and accept the optimistic paradigm - some of us lose it (Ruppert), some of us become nasty (Kunstler), some run for the hills (Orlov), some of us mock (George Carlin), etc. Others, including Dave, are trying to keep one foot in the real world to watch (with like minded observers) - in awe! - as it unravels.

Alexander Ač

Dave, that is what I though. Thanks for clarification. I think Orlov is on the track and I recommend his latest interview as well as other stuff from him,

cheers,

Alex

S P

Agree with Dave here.

There are many good sites where we can continue to keep informed about the ongoing, slow motion collapse we are living through (which is admittedly rapid in historical terms).

Ruppert's is not one of them. He's done some good work in the past but is now a sorry joke.

I appreciate Dave's blog and some others as well, for observing and documenting what's going on without hysteria.

Dave Cohen

Here's my final word on this subject (at least for today). You can file all my work under one simple heading, which can be expressed in two different ways --

A Plea For Sanity

or

A Guide To Insanity

I don't particularly care where insanity comes from. It doesn't matter if it comes from Ben Bernanke or it comes from Michael Ruppert, the Left or the Right, and so on.

It's all the same to me, which is also what Bill Hicks was talking about when he talked about marketing so many years ago.

Joy

I still remember Ruppert's emergency action alert of March 2005 and another one shortly after Katrina announcing the final collapse of the US economy...

Well, things suck. Food and fuel cost more. Salaries are stagnant and 23% are unemployed or underemployed. But the lights are still on, the stores are full, plastic cards still work at the ATMs, no queues at the gas stations, and the system will still get you if you don't have fiat currency to pay your taxes with. The rich people are partying on, Kim Kardashian gets paid $250 for just showing up at a party.

To me, that is pretty much business as usual. Gradually declining quality of life and spreading poverty, same as it ever was since 1973. Not TEOTWAWKI, but the slow transformation of the US into just another 3rd world banana republic.

Joy

Edit: Kim Kardashian gets $250,000 for appearances

John Andersen

Dave,

I think those who understand your blog posts also understand what Ruppert is all about.

Those who lump you two together and dismiss all of it are either stupid or in denial.

In either case, I don't see the point of worrying what such people think.

sharonsj

I love doomer porn too, but it seems to me that we can't go on like this. Everyone I know who is not in the top 10% is going broke. I have no idea if the market will tank. I only know that millions of desperate people are something to be afraid of.

Gail

I think an unequivocal prediction that there will be total economic collapse by July is kind of silly. Having said that, I would not be surprised to find that collapse is looming far sooner than most people expect, whether it's economic, climate, social...or my main impetus for paying attention to it - environmental.

I base that on a few concepts, that I derived from some of the sillier doomers but are quite valid nonetheless. One is shifting baselines - people continually degrade their expectations by measuring current conditions on the most recent past, and lose sight of the huge degradations over slightly greater scales of time. Just as useful is "normalcy bias:" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normalcy_bias.

Another is the ability of humans to ignore the gorilla in the room when his presence doesn't fit their preconceptions - literally, in this fascinating psychological test: http://witsendnj.blogspot.com/2010/09/germs.html

Yet another important consideration is trends, which most people don't get, especially exponential growth.

On the most personal level for me is the unmistakable observation, that the vast majority of people are just as oblivious to the dying trees as the typical European was to the Holocaust, even when the evidence was plain to see. Trees and other vegetation are dying at such a rapidly accelerating rate it astonishes me that almost no one notices...and so from that I deduce, that if the average person can manage to ignore the ongoing species extinction all around them, then well, any other sort of collapse could be right around the corner, because...why not?

Thanks Dave, for hosting this great blog and ensuing conversations.

Ramen.

Joy

Thinking more about the lure of doomer porn. It is a way of keeping hope alive. The old American dream was that eventually we would all be Jetsons comfortable. But now most of us are getting worse off. The fantasy of a future of universal prosperity has truly died.

The reality of 99.9% of us being on the losing end of history is too bitter to tolerate.

So we now dream of disasters of such magnitude that they would do what we lack the collective will and courage to do - bring down the oligarchs!

Tony Weddle

I'm surprised at some of the names you've lumped together with Ruppert, Kunstler and others, Dave, but I guess we all have a slightly different view of the world. I notice you didn't put Martenson in there, even though he's recently been on a kind of parallel alert course to Ruppert (though with much more reasoned arguments, as far as I can tell as a unenrolled member).

Gail, to be fair (!), Ruppert is not talking total collapse by July. That's when the cat will be out of the bag and stock markets start tanking. He gives us until the fall (autumn) to see the end of civilization as we know it. So I suppose he's left himself a little wiggle room. :-)

That civilization will collapse is, I think, indisputable. After all, there is no way it is sustainable and, therefore, must end. I can't see the end will be managed - TPTB will try every trick in the book to keep it going - so collapse it will be. Whether that final collapse happens in a year or in a century is anyone's guess but I think it would be a good idea to start preparing for it.

As we've seen from Dave's blog, 43 million people are on food stamps in the US. That brings to mind John Michael Greer's notion of catabolic collapse, where the collapse happens in steps over a long period (possibly centuries) but, at each step, more people get tossed on the scrap heap. For those people, collapse will have already happened. Just because your world is still ticking over doesn't mean that's the case for everyone.

Morocco Bama

Gail, I tend to agree, but if that's the case, a collapse isn't going to look like what we expect. Sort of like the revolution will not be televised. It will most likely not play out like The Road, or any of the other typical movies about the break-down of society. One of the most realistic depictions of this was in the movie The Day After. In that movie, the U.S. and Soviet Union engaged in a full-scale nuclear war. It was horrific. After the fall-out, people attempted top kick start the old order of things......a significant number of them. Of course, it was ludicrous for them to think they could continue that way considering what had just occurred and what they were facing, but it made sense to me. I'll never forget the case study I read about a plane that caught on fire upon landing and the people faced a sure death. There were only a few survivors and they were racked with guilt. When questioned, the survivors indicated that the plane was filling up with smoke and the flames were encroaching yet people were removing their bags from the overhead and gathering their personal belongings in a calm and cool manner as though it were just a normal disembarking. The survivors climbed over the seats and the zombie-like people to safety. They saw the situation for what it was and took action immediately, and reflexively, to save themselves. The others were in a state of delusional shock, and their default was to pretend as though nothing negative was happening and treat the situation as business as usual. That's how it's playing out, but in this case, there is no way to survive and no place of safety. Those of us who see it have no where to run to, and no where to hide. Increasingly, the world will become more and more insane to us, and we will have to live as though we are not witnessing what we are witnessing lest we be institutionalized.

Dave Cohen

Re: "I'm surprised at some of the names you've lumped together with Ruppert, Kunstler and others"

I didn't lump anyone together with Ruppert and Kunstler, other than Orlov.

The others ARE the "honorary members" of Club Orlov.

http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/

Morocco Bama

Tony, here's cache copy of one of McGowan's replies to Ruppert. McGowan's website is down, so I had to retrieve his website material via cache. There are others I can post, and keep in mind that I am not a mindless subscriber to Dave's theory, but it is thought provoking and he does expose Ruppert for the arrogant, exploiting faux alarmist that he is.

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.davesweb.cnchost.com/nwsltr52.html">http://www.davesweb.cnchost.com/nwsltr52.html">http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.davesweb.cnchost.com/nwsltr52.html

Remi

It looks like Ruppert is wrong, the end of the earth will be May 21, 2011: http://www.businessinsider.com/end-of-world-may-21-2011-4

Gail

Haha, coincidentally, that is the date of oldest daughter's wedding, the preparations for which I am deeply immersed (more irony). I told her a few months ago it is judgement day, and she got upset but I said, it's all good, it's the only day ever all our family will actually be together in a church...so we'll be saved! Yay!

Morocco Bama, I'll see ya in the looney bin!

IntenselyRelaxed

Dave,

If it's any comfort, I don't consider you to be a purveyor of doomer porn.

I consider your writing to be more akin to tasteful doomer erotic photography.

Morocco Bama

Yep, see you there, Gail....or in hell, we'll see. We're all invited to the wedding, aren't we? Wouldn't that be a blast? Wishing your daughter would have a happy life, but knowing she won't, and we won't. Still, it'd be a good cause to get knock down drunk and party like those old Polacks used to.....til they dropped.

Brett

Did anyone watch Collapse, Ruppert's flick?

It was my entrance into this rabbit hole.

Timing seems to be what is up for argument, and duration (of collapse).

anon-anon

Doomer porn serves a usefull purpose for current society. It is another distraction; another sedative; another level of information overload; and ultimately another call to inaction. (If we're truely doomed, we can't do anything but watch the Tsunami of destruction wash over us. There is no rational preconditional planning for something you cannot forecast with any precision and whose magnitude can't be measured before the event takes place. One has absolutely no control over any of the variables.)

No one can forecast events on a global scale. There's just too many variables and events don't occur linearly. In fact, a defining feature of catastrophic events is their non-linearity which makes it nigh on impossible to predict when they occur and at the magnitudes they occur. This is also true of human induced situations like revolutions. It's no error of history that most doctrinarie revolutionaries are late to the revolution. It's often an unanticipated spark, sometimes ignited by a sole individual or event, that blows out of all know proportions which initiates a revolution. So-called revolutionaries are just a wee bit quicker to react once news filters down to them while the current people who control the levers of power think everything will blow over or roll out the usual responses in the hope they work one more time.

As far as I can tell, the best one can do is limit the variables one has to deal with personally on a daily basis and hope one has built some material, mental and I daresay spiritual resilency into one's life. The rest is in the lap of the gods, and I ain't paying some phony or self-appointed morphic soothsayer to make predictions annually in the hope they get lucky.

This site definitely doesn't fall into the doomer category. It provides a good synopsis of the symptoms of dysfunctional systems in a particular country but with parallels in other countries with similar conditions.

Tony Weddle

Sorry, Dave; I didn't realise that there actually was a Club Orlov. Shows what a pathetic doomer I am!

Thanks for that link MB. I haven't read through all of it. I started to but then he seemed to be starting on the line of "Peak Oil" isn't real, is a conspiracy. He then started talking about dead dinosaurs (presumably believing that oil is primarily from dead dinosaurs instead of tiny sea creatures). He appears to not know what "deep time" is. So, McGowan appears to be an abiotic oil believer and, presumably, that if oil is abiotic it is therefore available is whatever quantities and whatever rates we desire. So I'm not sold on the idea that McGowan has comprehensively shown Ruppert to be an ass.

What Ruppert and many other doomers have got absolutely right, which I think is what Brett is referring to in his comment, is that there are various factors merging to bring about a collapse in our societies and global civilisation. Any one of those factors would do that, and Dave mentions many of them in this blog, from time to time, but the convergence of them may bring about an even speedier collapse than would otherwise be the case. The only real question is timing. Ruppert is an idiot for continually popping his head above the counter and saying it's no (or thereabouts). I'm tending to go with John Michael Greer's line of a long descent, characterised by steps down in which more and more people get tossed on the scrapheap. What worries me is how those people will react, when society has moulded people to expect so much more and to expect that someone will bail them out (the entitlement syndrome).

Given its predominance in the global economy, the US's decline, documented here, will affect most of the world's societies. So Dave is as much of a doomer as anyone. But a very readable doomer.

The comments to this entry are closed.