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04/11/2011

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Remi

I'm not sure how to define it, but one of the failures has to be with ordinary citizens and their willingness and even desire to continue with the broken system we have. Is it human nature, is it something specific in the socio-political systems we have adopted...

I know far too many people that have a cursory understanding of certain issues, but they refuse to get informed and read fact based studies that outline the true depth of our problems. They knowingly prefer to live in ignorance, for fear of being too depressed. So for now they continue to live their lives blissfully ingnorant. That might change when they lose their jobs, or pensions...

Usman A.

Great post. Concise and meaningful.

sharonsj

I've taken a look around at all the people I know, and very few of them actually have a high-paying job that allows them to pay all their bills, have good medical treatment, heat and light their homes, and eat in a restaurant. I estimate they are about 20% of the total, while the other 80% is going broke. Many of those going broke are college graduates in professional careers; I estimate they are about a third of that 80%. The rest are lower middle class or poor.

I'd say those numbers are pretty scary. At the same time, everybody I talk to, who comes into my store (and business is very slow, by the way), is up front about extreme anger and frustration with our politicians. We either have to have real leaders or we need Americans to put their bodies in the streets. This can't go on.

anon-anon

Very nice and concise synopsis. I really don't think you need to add anything to the list. The upshot is that the global teaming hoards of landless and productively skill-less are in for a tough ride no matter what happens.

Tony Weddle

Good post. The point about technological progress (or lack thereof) is one I've raised a few times. So many cornies seem to think that technological progress has continued apace and even accelerated but it's difficult to come up with real breakthroughs (the ipadN is not a breakthrough), as you say. I think Richard Heinberg covered this in one of his books and showed that innovation is actually on the decline.

Speaking of Heinberg, he's also been thinking about this subject and has been putting a book together, The End Of Growth. I think it's out in July or thereabouts. His site, and the Post Carbon Institute, have been running chapter excerpts for a few months.

There have actually been a couple of updates to Limits to Growth. I forget the title of the second book but the third came out in 2004, "Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update". It only had one scenario that avoided collapse but that is already behind schedule. The book tried to be optimistic by pointing out international agreement on the ozone problem (though the jury is still out on that and will be until 2050) but there doesn't really seem to be much cause for optimism, other than I'm amazed that things haven't fallen apart more than they have. Or maybe they have but not many people have realised it yet!

Dave Cohen

Gail,

I guess you dont know this, but Mike Ruppert is a paranoid wacko who should be put in a padded cell.

Instead, he makes money running collapsenet and fooling naive people like, apparently, you.

Be sure to stock up on guns, ammo and food!

best,

JC

Gail - Don't you need to take a shower after watching Ruppert talk?

Dave - helpful post summarizing many of your major points on this blog. Couple of comments - (1) technological progress seems to be proceeding in military arena (e.g. limited nukes, unmanned drones, satellite related) which leads me to the thought that maybe military over-expenditure may be a cause of decline (I read the other day that half of discretionary spending by US since WW2 went to military). (2) With Fiat currency issue I would add failure of the democratic political process due to corruption, incompetence, lack of vision, lack of intelligence, etc.

Loveandlight

I have a more nuanced view of Michael Ruppert. He deserves kudos for being one of the first to catapult Peak Oil awareness into the neighborhood of the mass-consciousness where it has managed to take root, but he also deserves raspberries for linking PO awareness with "9/11 Trooferism". (Not that I think it's impossible that there was US Government complicity in 9/11, it's just really not a good idea to make arcane conspiracy-theories part of one's worldview; besides, it's pretty arrogant for anybody to say that they know what really happened that terrible day.)

The video does serve as an example of his well-known tendency to take something that we all know and use it as an excuse to go off half-cocked. The Fukushima incident is being upgraded by Japanese authorities to a 7, which puts it on the same footing as Chernobyl, so we know that the likely impact on the world's third largest economy is going to accellerate collapse considerably. But Ruppert really does seem to be setting himself up to look foolish yet again by making an absolutist and melodramatic statement that it's all going to go down the crapper by July of this year. (And yes, when I read he was making his website/ blog "pay-to-view", my response was "Screw that nonsense!")

Morocco Bama

The Market is not going to collapse in July, unless they want it to collapse. Currently, 70% of trades are conducted in an instant by algorithm, meaning the Market is a rigged game, it's programmed. How else would someone explain the stark contradiction between its performance and everything we are talking about here. The experts know what Dave is saying, and that it's FUBAR, but they're holding out as long as possible so they can concentrate their wealth and positions before the evacuation. They know that once they stop propping up the Market, which is the last support for the Middle Class because it is their retirements, that all hell will break lose. The getaway car must be ready before that fateful day.

One of the things that keeps jumping out at me is how the airlines are still afloat. I believe there are some major shenanigans going on, i.e. some significant off the books, unreported government subsidies, keeping them operating, because it just doesn't make sense otherwise. Considering this depression, the majority of air carriers should have gone bankrupt with no chance of restructuring and we should have seen a major consolidation with only one or two carriers left holding the market share.

Loveandlight

Very true, MB. :-)

Curtis Fromke

We used to play Monopoly with infinite credit for all the players. For some strange reason we didn't clear the debt, so that I could owe Kenny $3500 and Richard would owe me $2000. This was perfectly ok and we played the game until it was time for supper, even then we would carry it over for the next day. I think this was the training that Bernanke got as well. Everybody knew it was funny money, but as long as people wanted to play, it worked and we moved our tokens around the board. This what happened in South Dakota during 3 day blizzards back before TV.

I've assumed that this behavior is what is currently behind our current economic activity. It is sort of like knowing that Oz is green as long as you keep your green colored glasses on. Note: Even Toto had glasses.

Gail

Dave, I meant that link to be amusing. Has anyone ever called you a misanthrope...in the most endearing, fondest sense, of course?

MO - I have wondered about the airlines and thank you for articulating it - because although I rarely fly, my recalcitrant daughters often do, and the prices they pay seem inexplicably cheap.

Glenn Hughes

There's plenty to be paranoid about! Our country is run by the military industrial complex with the power of today's info tech. Besides genetically altered and modified food, personal info for sale is one of our only growth businesses. Put that together with the corps running the congress, we're looking scared.
Mike Ruppert may go a bit heavy with the news but he lives and sacrifices for his work and he works hard. My wife died in the WTC and I don't know what to believe. But I believe there was some big time shenanigans.
We all need to work hard to stop this momentum off the cliff.
For many of us this article pretty much ranks with the great documents of time. The question for many is what to do.


Dave Cohen

Gail --

You have found me out -- I am a misanthrope! But there are many exceptions to that rule, meaning there are lots of people worth talking to about the fucked-up world we live in. Perhaps they need some guidance? No doubt there's lots of confusion out there. I believe -- with good reason -- that I can provide SOME guidance, such as it is, and considering its inherent limitations. There's no straightforward way out of this mess we call Life.

Those are the people I'm trying to reach on DOTE.

best --

Dr. C

Re: Limits to Growth. "There has been no systematic follow-up since then, "

I don't know where you get that. The same people that published the original, published book-length follow-ups in 1992 (Beyond the Limits) and in 2004 (Limits to Growth, the Thirty Year Update)

Tony Weddle

Ruppert is digging a hole for himself with his near term predictions that keep failing, ruining his claimed 80% accuracy. However, soon after one of his alerts following the Japanese quake, I noticed a not dissimilar alert from Chris Martenson, who's usually a bit calmer. It's the featured blog entry on his website and was originally for paying subscribers (and he charges three times what Ruppert does). Here's the link to his website:

http://www.chrismartenson.com/

Notice that right underneath the featured entry is another one (you need to be a subscriber to read it - I'm not) which also seems to be targeting July, though probably in a more reasoned and less panicked way than Ruppert.

Morocco Bama

Who the hell pays people like Martenson and Ruppert for their Doomsday Porn? If things are as bad as we are saying they are here, how can people afford to keep these hucksters in business?

A guy named McGowan took Ruppert apart a few years prior. I'm not saying I agree with McGowan and theories, but what he does elucidate is the obvious agenda of the various players. He strips these arrogant fools of their cloak of all=knowing authority and leaves them naked for all to see. He left Ruppert standing naked in the freezing cold, and it wasn't a pretty sight.

Here's a link to McGowan's site. Like I said, some of the material should be taken with a grain of salt. In fact, a lot of it should, but it makes for interesting reading, if for no other reason than he's a gifted Satirist....something completely lacking in the Doomsday Prophets like Ruppert.

I like Dave Cohen because he's a straight shooting Misanthrope with a sense of humor. I especially like it when he curses. People need to curse more often in seemingly professional correspondence. It shows me they are alive.....and real.

Dave Cohen

John D --

I did miss that Limits To Growth update in 2004. I have changed the text to reflect that.

As I say, an update the "World3" model does not capture the insights we've gained since then.

Chris Harries

"It is reasonable to expect a breakdown of human economic expansion in the 21st century".

For somebody who has been reading and thinking collapse, that very loose timetable almost makes me relax. There's a lot of 21st Century still to come, and that still leaves stacks of time to correct things. I hasten to add that's not me talking, it is the great unwashed public who find the concept of collapse far too Armageddon-like to even think about.

Psychologists tell us that the human brain is geared to respond to imminent and visible threats, but does not do so if those threats are more than ten years out – no matter how cataclysmic the evidence suggests.

If 'sometime in the 21st Century' is our consensus timetable then don't expect decision makers or ordinary people to respond with the sense of urgency that the situation may warrant.

For my part, I believe things may start to fall apart soon. Well, they already are, symptoms abound. But maybe I'm being far too pessimistic about the resilience of the money economy to repair itself?

Tony Weddle

MB.

You missed out the link to McGowan but I'm not sure why you lump everyone who is trying to relate an accurate story of our situation in together as "hucksters". Dave is certainly a doomer, in my book, just as are Martenson, Heinberg, Stoneleigh and a dozen others who are giving carefully considered analyses. I don't always agree with everything they write but many do a fine job of explaining why they see things the way they do. I guess Ruppert is one of the worst in explaining the rationale behind his views.

Some of them are only, or primarily, involved in trying to spread the correct narrative for our situation, and have to make a living on that. Both Ruppert and Martenson (who approach this very differently), as far as I'm aware, initially set up their sites and their content with whatever money they had, so I think it's not entirely fair to chastise them for wanting to get those who they might be helping to dip into their pockets (at varying levels), though there are plenty of others who give their analyses for free (Dave being one of them), even if some of those others ask for donations or have some related income streams (like printed books). Martenson provides a lot of material for free (including his widely viewed and quoted Crash Course).

I like Dave's straight shooting style too. I also like John Michael Greer's and Heinberg's approaches. I dip into the others from time to time, but I read these three frequently.

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