Episode-914- Listener Feedback for 6-4-12 — 28 Comments

  1. For those interested in just learning about hiking the Appalachian Trail. National Geographic has a great documentary on it. It is even available on Netflix.

  2. Right on, Jack. The first thing to do when you find yourself stuck down in a hole is STOP DIGGING!

  3. I have listened to a few of your broadcast and am so glad to hear people reaching outot help others. I do believe we are in for a hell of a downward ride in the near future. Not just for the USA but the entire world economy. But I differ with you in that I believe global warming, and population overshoot, are the main problems. These alone are driving us toward complete extinction. I’m wondering if you have heard of Guy McPherson, author of “Walking Away From Empire”. He has walked away from a fantastic tenure with a University in Arizona out of moral responsibility. I just came from a talk of his in Oceanside, Ca. He stresses, and with tons of statistics, that we are in serious trouble of ending life on this planet, if not human life, possibly all life. You can hear many of his lectures on You Tube. After coming from hearing him I am a different person. I believe what he is saying. What we need is a TOTAL breakdown of industrial Western “Civilization” if we have even the slightest hope of survival. I do feel the urgency to face this problem. Please take a look. I am new to your listening group, but you have some good things to say about preparing, as well as about helping eachother.

    thanks much,

    • Is this like the Vietnam era “we had to burn down the village to save it”?

    • One thing to keep in mind is that it is extremely rare (verging on never) for a species to grow to a point where it completely collapses into extinction simply from overpopulation. Look in the wilds even today and you see examples of overpopulation correcting itself. When a species grows too large for its food source to sustain it they tend to nearly wipe out that food source then they start dying off from starvation and/or malnutrition. As the predator population decreases the stress on the prey population is reduced and the prey population rebuilds.
      While it will be a damn shame if/when this happens to us and if it does it will be tragic, but I wouldn’t expect it to end the human race. Just set it back a couple thousand years.

  4. This is my first time listening to the broadcast. It was very informative. I haven’t had time in the past to sit down and listen. I have lots of catching up to do. Thanks.

  5. Top of your game today Jack, thanks!
    Thanks for voicing positive solutions to what everyday folks can do. It is sunshine in the gloom & doom and crybaby world we hear from everyday.
    The Orlove piece was stellar. I’ve been following him for several years and think he has been dead on in most everything he says. Your critique of the piece was insightful in ways never thought of by me before.
    The BRIC piece is something the folks at Market Place on APM have been clamouring about for years.
    You’ve mentioned RT twice today and frequently in the past. I watch it daily and would like to know what regular infomation feeds you gleen information from?
    Thanks again.

  6. Regarding Orlove’s prediction that the US will break apart:

    Russians were not only culturally distinct from the peoples in the other member states of the Soviet Union, but they brutally dominated and oppressed them. There’s simply no parallel with the US. America does have different cultures, divisions and resentments (which may grow), but people in different areas do not have totally distinct identities. The idea that “We’re all Americans” isn’t just patriotic pride, it’s a true statement of our underlying cultural unity. I’m surprised Orlove doesn’t identify this difference. It’s the reason that much smaller nation-states, like Spain, Italy and the UK constantly threaten to split apart while the giant United States has faced no such pressure for a very long time. Our 50 states truly do comprise “one people.” By contrast, the USSR and the Roman Empire were only “dominated by one people.”

    • The Russians may have brutally suppressed other cultures;American white immigrants commited genocide against the native indians and claimed they had a manifest destiny; Nazi style bollocks!


        So whats you point? Very few people around here would deny that but it doesn’t have a thing to do with the current discussion.

        • The point being ,most “americans” don’t deserve to survive.They are inherently sick & destructive;I welcome their demise if it means the survival of Gaia

        • @ZARATHRUSTRA you sound like that sick bitch from Doomsday Preppers. Frankly idiots like you are totally fucked when the shit hits the fan, people like you will be the first to fall. Anyone with such arrogance will have no ability to adapt to reality. What ever you think it will be like, it will be far worse.

  7. Umm, paint another picture-our children finding their future careers.
    1) Apprenticeship in piping, plumbing, etc.
    2a) Made sure my kids knew that we would not charge them to live at home only if they went to college; , first go to the CA community college and explore career paths, they know that they need to save a half of school bill first before going to 4-year college and should not get school loans for any more than they could make as 1 year salary in their future career.
    2b) Find ways to save on books, find friends who take same major, swap books different semesters or rent your books or buy books online. So they order books early, then buy only books at the college bookstore that can’t be bought anywhere because that would be the most expensive way to buy it. Teach them skills how to cook from scratch, mend and extend life of clothes, wash their dishes, do landuary, shop dinged cans or dollar stores, grow your own food in a close community garden if possible. Share rooms in 4 year college. Show ways not to drop out due to finances, teach your kids in elementary when they want to be with on how to survive.
    Start through elementary, high school is too late-
    3) When a child can’t do the school work, raise him or her up to be able to be the best that he or she could be. Not good in math-example Kahn Academy, etc. Find answers for children who struggle to learn. Pigeon-holed children need help to break out of their box. For example, the thinking–“I’m the dumb one”–instead show them their strengths, what are personal strengths make them able , –teach them a different picture for themselves. Put them into lots of experiences, so they know what they like. Let them find their interests and passions. If they know their strengths and are confident, they won’t let others talk them into something that is not right for them.

    • Not as a comment, but as a further idea..

      A lot of parents make a ‘college deal’ with their kids. As an alternative, how about offering the same terms (limited financial support, free room and board) for a budding Entrepreneur or trade apprentice?

      A ‘we’ll only support your transition into the world if you go to college’ doesn’t put a teenager in the right frame of mind to make a balanced choice about their future. IMHO. (Not going to get into the ‘their brain isn’t fully developed’ quandary.. 😉

      Pretty much every massive web company was created in a college dorm room by someone ignoring their college education and using the lack of financial pressure to go entrepreneurial.. why not skip the debt and do it at home?

      • Very well stated, both of you. Definitely food for thought I wish I had 10 years ago when my kids were reaching this stage.

  8. Jack, do you think holding Chinese currency could be a good hedge? It seems reasonable to expect that the yuan must appreciate sooner or later, especially against the dollar. It’s just been announced that some Chinese banks are getting into US retail banking, so this should become easy for us to do.

  9. USSR vs. USA
    I think the comparisons between a USA “collapse” and the USSR are fairly strained for a number of reasons. The USSR was a fairly ruthlessly forced collection of states that had only been around for the period of a single lifetime. Fundamentally different than the USA. The USSR was really always a 3rd world economy fixated on having a 1st world military where most of the basic functions of the economy, such as it was, were strangled and dysfunctional to the core. We have problems, but nothing like what they had. I suggest Yuri Maltsev who was an economist under Gorbachev for a review of the situation that lead to the collapse of the USSR. Fascinating stuff. I also think Orlov is fairly misguided on his assessment for a move towards an “I’m not sure what the hell to call that” sort of economy. The reality, both encouraging and sad is that the economy would get fired up again reasonably well if we could tolerate allowing a reset of asset pricing, stop paying people not to work for so long, and backed way the F off with vague coming waves of regulations. The biggest single problem going now is the amount of investor capital sitting on the sidelines and the primary hypothesis for why is “regime uncertainty” that is, people don’t have a very good idea of the impacts of pending legislation. Obamacare is only one larger example, but there are others. Search “Regime Uncertainty” for more. It’s not about an Administration is about policy sets and entrepreneurial activity. Still, some of the basic advice he gives falls into the “inherent good” category that people should apply I think.

    IMO, there is one set of wildcards on the table that have never really existed that may profoundly mitigate the possible downsides of an economic downturn in the future. The amount of mind bending tech that is on the cusp of major breakthroughs is staggering. I personally expect some rough period inside of ten years, but not super ultra severe and coming out the other side could be a dawn into material well being we never dreamed. I mean everything from fusion reactors for power and gene therapy for medical. This is not science fiction anymore. They’re already here on small scales and industrial scales are probably only a couple to a few decades away. Apparently there are more scientists and engineers working now with an enormous body of knowledge and increasingly powerful tools than have ever been alive before.

    At least one Japanese company has developed some designs for wind assisted cargo ships. Big’ns.

    Small correction. California has been a net Federal Income tax payer for decades. Ca has a deranged government, but like the 7th largest economy in the world by itself, is the global entertainment and tech center and the salad bowl of the US.

  10. Jack, I can’t tell you how pleased I am to hear you feature Dmitry Orlov in your show. I’ve been reading his stuff for at least a few years and find him to be one of the most intriguing and insightful commenters in the “peaknik” sphere. One of the reasons that I personally give him a good deal of credence is that he is living what he preaches — not only did he purchase a sailboat, he and his wife actually live on it instead of owning a home or renting an apartment. Also, I think it’s important to note that Orlov has actually lived in the US since he was 9 years old — his observations are based more on going back and visiting the post-USSR for extended periods than actually living there through the whole collapse.

    For anyone not familiar with the details of his line of thought, I highly recommend checking out his presentation on the “Collapse Gap” between the US and USSR ( Basically, Orlov maintains that the USSR was much better positioned to go through collapse than the US due to a number of factors, the 3 that I readily remember are as follows:
    1. The people of the USSR were much more accustomed to hardship than the people of the US. As an allegorical example, he cites a Russian who moved to the US lamenting about how he couldn’t buy mattress springs when there were all these perfectly good mattresses that just needed some minor repair. Contrast that with our “throw it away and buy a new one” way of approaching consumer goods. I tend to agree wholeheartedly with Orlov here — as a people we’re pretty much spoiled wimps compared to the Russians.
    2. The collapse of the USSR’s economy didn’t result in people being thrown out of their homes, because they were state-owned and the people simply stayed as the state withered away. Contrast that to banks being able to seize property through foreclosure here.
    3. Many people didn’t own automobiles and were able to still get to work (if they had it) via the public transportation systems, which were largely kept going. Contrast that with our car-dependent culture and impoverished public transportation system.

    Also, I think that you’re way off base on reading “a return to communism” into Orlov’s comments regarding a “new economy”. Here he’s dealing primarily with the subject of resource and capital limits (especially regarding energy), and the need to retool to a much lower-level (materially speaking) economic model, and one much more centered on the production of useful material goods than on speculation and worthless doodads. In all of the time I’ve been reading him, he has never come across as pushing anything approaching a collectivist line, outside of learning how to depend on your neighbors and be there to help them out again.

    Last, I think that he might be easier to get on your show than you believe. I’ve heard him numerous times on other, low-profile podcasts. Although you aren’t in complete agreement, I think that he would probably welcome an appearance on TSP because there’s a lot of overlap between your messages.

    Thanks for another great show, Jack!

  11. One more thing regarding Orlov’s comparisons between the USSR and USA — if you think he’s wildly off-base in projecting America as nearing a superpower collapse comparable to what the USSR went through, I highly recommend you check out the works of French demographer and historian Emmanuel Todd. In the 1970s — at the time that many US “experts” were touting the USSR as a growing menace, Todd wrote a book called “Le Chute Finale” in which he projected that the USSR was nearing collapse based upon an analysis of population and economic demographics. In the early 2000s he wrote “After the Empire” in which he projects a similar fate for the USA based upon the same kind of analysis (rising debt, energy becoming more expensive and constrained, a demographic bubble moving into retirement age, growing military expenditures while critical infrastructure rots, etc.). Well worth the read, and not too long or dense for an academically-oriented text.

    • @Chris Harrison, keep in mind I don’t disagree with the economic collapse component of Orlov’s theory, it is the break up into smaller nation states I think is off base. Other than that I think he is dead on, but come on man, Alaska will break away and join with Russia? Really? That is way too far fetched.

      The break up of the Soviet Union into smaller republics had a lot more “gas” driving it then we do. Sure a Floridian is a Floridian and a Pennsylvanian is a Pennsylvanian but both will first say they are Americans. Neither sees Pennsylvania or Florida as a nation. There is a small faction of people that see Texas that way, but it is a small group.

      In the USSR if you were a Ukrainian you never saw yourself as a “soviet first”, you were a Ukrainian trust me, I know. Ukraine has their own language, Ukrainian, same with Lithuania and may other nation states. These people preserved their individual languages and customs and were persecuted for it. They were forced to speak Russian in the schools but spoke their native tongues at home. Know anyone that speaks Floridian, Arkansan or Pennsylvanian?

      Keep in mind the USSR was formed in 1922 and began to break up in 1985. That is only 63 years, many people who saw it form were still there when it fell, many of the people who actively sought their independence were only one generation away from those who lived its rise. I don’t think many people consider that the USSR only lasted 63 years when they examine this scenario nor do I think they consider that of the 15 “states” that made up the USSR, all 15 prior to 1900 were independent.

      The USSR absolutely was going to break up in a collapse, there was no way around it. The US has existed as a republic for over 200 years. Alaska and Hawaii joined the Union in 1959 but other than that you have to go back to 1912. At this point that is 100 years. No one is alive that fought the civil war nor any of their children.

      Will the US collapse economically, mathematically it has to. Will it “break up”, perhaps but I lay the odds very low.

      • @ Jack — I think you misunderstood the point I was trying to make. I don’t at all disagree with the points you made regarding a “breakup” of the USA like what the USSR went through. The books and author I mentioned are more about the “how” and “why” empires collapse, not about how nation-states break apart. For what it’s worth, I think that this is an area where Orlov projects aspects of the USSR on to the USA where they do not exist, which leads him to erroneous conclusions (like the USA breaking up post-collapse).

        I mentioned Emmanuel Todd’s work because he was spot-on in predicting the imminent demise of the USSR as a superpower, and he has predicted the imminent demise of the USA as a superpower (reverting instead to more of a regional power) along the same lines.

  12. Jakc, I think you might want to give Orlov a second look as far as your perceptions of how “Soviet” he is versus how “American” he is.

    He was born in the Soviet Union, and yet his parents defected to the USA when he was 12 years old. He became an American and remained in America, fully immersed in American culture for over a decade longer well into his adulthood. He then returned to the Soviet Uion in the early 1990’s NOT to live there again, but to be an objective observer –he returned as a journalist– to observe the Soviet collapse as it was unfolding.

    I do not believe the man is in any way biased toward the Soviet way of doing things. I believe he is someonne whose geographic areas of birth, upbringing, and education lend him a unique perspective to view both nations (the Former Soviet Union and the current US) with insightfulness.

    Here’s his bio.

    And I suspect he’d be more than honored to be a guest on your podcast.

    • @Oil Lady, all men carry baggage attached to their heritage and it does impact the way they view potential futures, myself included.

    • Orlov’s “Social Collapse Best Practices” is one of the best TED presentations I’ve seen. His deadpan sense of humor meshes well with the topic.

  13. About those chickens,

    My neighbor and I have decent sized flocks of chickens (25-40ish), no fence and the houses are quite close. Chickens do tend to stay in their territory around the coop. Only rarely will they venture into each others territory and even then it is not an issue. I have more issues with active roosters and introducing new birds to the flock then i do with my neighbors flock.

  14. the business model of using sailing power to move vegetables- sounds like what some folks are doing in North West US:

    It is a sailboat-p0wered CSA.

    I saw this on Peak Living podcast, which seems to be related or influenced by the Crash Course.

  15. On the US splitting up in terms of government, I don’t see it. Everything he cites points rather to a split in what the defacto currency is. I see it already. The welfare class and welfare dense areas are focusing on the dollar. Everybody else is trying to divest from the dollar as much as is feasible. When taxes are in dollars, and regions are fed up with being the givers year after year, all they need are things other than dollars to exchange and huge chunks of their dollar income requirements disappear, their reported incomes contract massively, and they stop giving so much. Peter Schiff had a stand in on the 4th that talked about how this exact scenario played out before in England.