Episode-958- Listener Feedback for 8-13-12 — 41 Comments

  1. THIS is a GREAT example of municipal salary insanity…

    “There has been opposition to the outsourcing proposal from Hermosa Beach’s Police Chief Steve Johnson and Councilman Howard Fishman. Both expressed concerns about letting go full-time city staff. Bobko accurately characterized the resistance: “When you outsource, you take away union jobs.”

  2. Not sure on the 1969 “moon landing” or the latest Mars story. I have questions as to the truth of both.

      • Well, I do believe you guys over there managed to put a craft on Mars…….. BUT……. listening to this episode, I think there a better ways to invest those billions of dollars they’ve now spent on learning the history of another planet, while fíng up the one we need to live on for the next few years….. Still awesome to be on Mars though.

    • @BarnGeek, I disagree all true wealth is based on natural systems. Production is but one aspect of natural systems and of wealth. Further to me wealth isn’t a thing as much as a concept, I agree with Buckminster Fuller who stated, “wealth is measured in time not dollars and is most accurately described as the number of days you can survive without conventional income”.

    • @BarnGeek, Nature is made up of energy systems. The economy is another energy system. The 20th century economic expansion happened largely because of petroleum (a new, cheap, and abundant energy source getting injected into the economy. This is a dated 2005 documentary but it does a relatively good job on the historic development of Suburbia that oil made possible That energy source made it possible to extract more raw materials, farm more lands, transport more food, and move more goods – to name just a few. Too many people think Bill Clinton was a good president because he balanced the budget. But during his presidency the price of oil was as low as $8/bbl. You can do a lot with that economically when your energy source is that cheap. For starters, unless we can find a massive new source of oil or switch to a different energy source that has a net energy return that oil once had economic growth will go into decline (as if it wasn’t already).
      I think cities going bankrupt can be traced back to the Clinton admin in that the city planners were short sighted and thought the economic expansion they had was the norm going into the future. I could also make this outlook more complex by bringing in industrial commodities like copper that are becoming more costly to extract as well.

    • @ Modern Survival, So then your wealth is in the resources you have put away to rely on without conventional income? Okay, I agree that is how wealth is stored, but not where it comes from. Even the quote you gave from Buckminister Fuller eludes to where wealth comes from, “conventional income” I think you and I are talking about different things, or at least different phases of the same thing. I agree that if you spend all you produce than you will have no wealth, however if you did not produce, than you never had the wealth to spend, or to save by converting into resources. I believe that all true wealth comes from production, defined as knowledge applied or information in action. Let’s use the oil example that Doug proposes. While I agree that much of the industrial wealth created in the 20th century was greatly enhanced by using cheap oil as an energy source, I do not agree that the oil “cheap energy” is what created it. I’ll prove my point by asking a few questions. How long before the 20th century did the oil exist in the ground? In that time did the oil ever pump itself out of the ground? or invent a way to process itself into fuel? Did it build an automobile engine in which to burn? Another example, I get a great deal of wealth or value from the things I have learned on The Survival Podcast. I am sure that a great deal of energy is exerted to created the wealth that is produced here. Alot of that energy comes from food which comes from the energies in nature. Sure, I get that however that energy could be wasted (like at a one hour meeting at a home owners association) or it can be utilized to bring wealth to thousands of listeners. In both cases energy was used, but only one created true wealth. That is why I believe wealth comes from production.

      • @Barngeek, you stated, “So then your wealth is in the resources you have put away to rely on without conventional income? Okay, I agree that is how wealth is stored, but not where it comes from.”

        No you did not understand what I said at all, absolutely not I am not saying wealth is stored in natural systems, I said ALL WEALTH IS DERIVED from natural systems. With out natural systems there is no “production” nor is there anything to do any producing of anything with. On a larger note much of what we call production today and I mean activities that do generate money, don’t actually produce anything.

        Yet trace any form of wealth back to the root and you get to the truth, with out natural systems (the earth and its system’s) there is NO WEALTH for anyone. You will struggle with this but in the end you will get it if you want to.

        • @ Modern Survival, Well sure, there is no wealth without the earth and it’s systems, but that is like saying there is no apple pie without apples. While that is true, you still need the baker to make the apple pie. Of course you could say that the baker is part of a natural system as well, if that’s the case then okay you win.

          Is the wealth you are referring to contained 100% within either matter or energy? If that’s the case then I understand where you are coming from. If wealth is only in matter and energy than the earth has only gained wealth from the sun and other raw materials from space since the earth was formed.

          But that is not the yardstick that men measure wealth by. If it were then there would have been no need or desire to move beyond a primitive lifestyle. In fact there would have been no need to evolve beyond a monkey swinging in the trees.

          Men measure wealth by things like health, comfort, convenience and things of that nature. So really wealth is not contained in material things but what those things can provide for the people who posses them.

        • @BarnGeek no I again disagree with your contention you are saying if no people were on earth the earth would be devoid of wealth. That simply isn’t true, most people don’t understand what wealth is.

        • @ Modern Survival, I am enjoying this debate, as I hope you are to. I could go on siting example after example of my point but until I understand where you are coming from then I cannot debate you. Please, give an example, or explanation.

          I will say this: No, I do not believe that “if no people were on earth the earth would be devoid of wealth” There are two sides to the equation. One is the materials and resources from natural systems, and the other is the value added to those resources. Both are essential to create wealth. Both are essential to survival of the human race.

          I am trying to imagine how a human could survive without adding any value to a natural system. As soon as you do anything, such as plant a seed or harvest and store food you are adding value and creating wealth for yourself and others. So again I come to the conclusion that wealth is created by production. If there is something I am missing than please lead me to it.

        • When you harvest you are not producing you are only consuming. Sure you can modify the item, turn a bone into a knife, etc. But wealth is always derived from natural systems. If I had 5000 acres of virgin forest, I wouldn’t have to produce anything to be very wealthy would I? I would simply use what the planet provides. Everyone else is doing the same thing we are just too separated to see the connection at this point. It is the only reason that people see value in paper with some numbers on it.

        • Let’s use your example of the 5,000 acres of virgin forest. What value is it as it stands? What if you selectively harvest trees and manage that forest, not only to produce more but also to provide lumber for peoples homes? So what have you done? You have taken that natural resource and not only improved it but also used it to build homes thus producing wealth.

        • I would argue that left alone and to itself for 500 years would make it more valuable to ME then anything man could do with it. Frankly at this point we don’t even really know what a primeval forest really looked like. Now you are not wrong that man can create “value add”, I do it with information every day it is my business model and my production but it is only possible with natural systems. All wealth is derived from and rooted in nature.

          It is important because of how much lost wealth has occurred because man believes otherwise. In many places were nature provided abundant wealth we now have production in the form of strip malls and suburbs. Many were made wealthy in their creation but we are not wealthier for it. We had a system that could have provided 25 million buffalo a year with no real reduction in the long term population with no real effort to manage. Now we have managed range land, much of which is barely fertile but some call it production and wealth, and it is for some.

          Wealth doesn’t come from “production” in many instances it is created by “destruction”. It doesn’t have to be that way, one many does not have to loose so another can profit BUT first to make that common we need to acknowledge the source of all wealth. A jeweler crafts a ring from gold and a diamond which will sell for more then the diamond or metal could alone. How he cuts the stone alone can make it worth a fortune or make it worthless. Yet to me a diamond isn’t shit, I don’t give a damn about one rock vs another a diamond is worth more to me for what it can cut then for how shiny it is. A diamond isn’t rare, it isn’t valuable, only marketing has told you that it is and that the people have believed.

          The earth though created the diamond from life, life created carbon, pressure and heat turned it into a diamond. Man can now produce a diamond this way, one more flawless then any from the ground. It is a real diamond, it is the same chemically, you can only tell it isn’t from the earth because it is to perfect. Such diamonds are worthless and used in high end costume jewelry.

          All wealth on earth is from the earth. If we got in touch with that we just might give a shit enough to protect it.

        • Now as far as that virgin forest is concerned I can tell you that the system can be improved for the benefit of all including the ecosystem, there by sustainable forest management. Now I am not saying we should jump in and start managing what virgin forests we have left. We shouldn’t even consider that until we have done right by the forests we already manage. I have long advocated this as a logger and later as a writer in the logging industry.

          an article I wrote when at

          I believe that one of the proposes of mankind is to be a steward of the earth, and that the earth can be better off with the stewardship of man. However we have more often failed in that purpose, than succeeded.

      • What if you did not harvest? What value would that be to you or others you are trying to feed? The value added or wealth created is in the act of harvesting so that you and others can be sustained and enriched.

        What if you created a food forest and never ate from it? For that matter what if you never created the food forest to begin with? What value to people would it be if all the resources where left alone and none could benefit from it? What if nobody ever developed a hybrid plant that produces more than it’s parent? All of these activities create value and wealth. These activities produce, therefore production creates wealth.

        As for consumption, Science says that matter cannot be either created or destroyed, only transformed. The same with energy. Energy can transform into matter (photosynthesis) and matter back into energy (burning wood)

        So weather you harvest an apple and eat it, or let it fall to the ground and rot, either way nothing is consumed, it is only transformed.

        • @ Modern Survival, Thank you sir for that explanation, and thank you as well for your production of the Survival Podcast which has added value to the wealth of myself and my family. I have a daughter with Aspergers (at least we think she does) and I didn’t realize it until you mentioned it on your show. Our family is wealthier now because we are educated about the syndrome. It has greatly helped our family system.

          I can’t say that I disagree with anything you said in your last comment, in fact I would have to say that I whole heartedly agree. In fact I would say that I would change my original statement to say that wealth comes from natural systems and production. By production I mean true value added. Not things like a plastic flashlight from the dollar store that falls apart five minutes after you turn it on, and is made by kids working in appalling conditions overseas. I am talking about making a product that truly improves ones life.

          I totally agree with your statement “one… does not have to loose so another can profit” In fact I would also say that one does not truly produce wealth unless the thing he produces creates a profit for the customer, the earth, and himself. This is true wealth.

    • “Neither, Wealth comes from production.” – Neither of the means I suggested exclude production as a factor. 🙂

      What I’m implying is a question about business cycle theory, specifically Keynesian v. Austrian perspective. Perhaps I should have done a better job of implying

  3. I looked up online and found something that may or may not be accurate. of the few cities that have declared bankruptcy so far, most have a debtet to person ratio of $4,500 to $5,500.

    I’m sure this is not an accurate 100% percent guaranteed fact. it’s what I’ve been able to figure out from the newspaper reports.

    but it is an interesting gauge to use to compare your current city that you live in with.

    my city has the debt to person ratio of $3890.

    We also just fought the city councle over their plan to tear down an existing recreation center in building new one. except that the current building still has a 5 year bond on it. yes, they want to tear down a building they haven’t paid for it to build a new 1 that they don’t have the money for.

    • Definition of Insanity=Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Expecting a Different Outcome=Government at All Levels.
      FL was considering paying off the Sugar Cartels with a few billion dollars to buy their land holdings after which the taxpayers would be footing the bill for the cleanup of the very pricey toxic waste dump the SC’s created. That is instead of actually making the SC’s clean up the mess themselves and paying for it. All while their industry is already subsidized by the .Gov making our sugar some of the highest priced in the world.

    • Something else I learned when we were trying to stop the plan. It is hard to find out exactly how much debt a city has. the city budget “followed state disclosure law and approved accounting practices”. We had to hire an accountant to find out how much debt there was.

      Some bonds were clearly listed, other bonds were listed embedded with in expenses or “placed in clear budget lines with in departments that utilized the bonds”. Or the debt was not bonds but loans made to the city by groups or another city(!).

      We had come to a meeting to disagree with the whole idea of tearing down the center that was built 12 years ago with a bond issue that still had 5 or so more years to pay off with a new place funded by new bonds. After we had our say, the pro-planers announced we had no clue what we were talking about, the Rec center had been paid off two years ago. (with the implied “loons” tacked at the end.)

      We found out that the issued bonds had been paid off early two years ago, by the city issuing new bonds for more money at a lower rate. So yes, we were wrong but we were right. This made the issue less easy to explain to the voters and I think that is why we lost.

  4. Jack mentioned the 100+ trillion in debt the country faces. Here’s a quote from the president of the Dallas Fed
    “We cannot count forever on the largess or the misfortune of others to mask our own imbalances here at home—for fiscal profligacy in Washington today hinders our ability to address fiscal challenges tomorrow.”
    “These challenges are coming. Off balance sheet, there lie two massive, unfunded liabilities not accounted for in the “conventional budget accounting” of the federal government—most significantly, Social Security and the government obligations of current Medicare programs.”
    “Pundits and analysts like to focus on the year in which Social Security will go permanently into the red on an annual cash flow basis—which recently was projected to occur in 2019 but could occur as early as 2016. But they largely ignore the severity of the broader problem: accumulated entitlement debt over the infinite horizon. According to our calculations at the Dallas Fed, that unfunded debt of Social Security and Medicare combined has now reached $104 trillion—trillion with a ‘T’—in discounted present value. And while much attention in recent years has been devoted to Social Security, the lion’s share of the total entitlement shortfall (nearly $90 trillion) actually comes from Medicare. This is a prodigious number. Others—like Pete Peterson’s foundation, which uses a different time horizon in its methodology—calculate the unfunded liability at north of $40 trillion, growing by a sum of $2 trillion to $3 trillion per year. No matter. The problem is frightful, whether you take his numbers or ours.” – Richard W. Fisher, Dallas Federal Reserve.”

  5. I have NEVER considered that we in the US subsidize the Health Care systems in other countries as well as their armed forces indirectly. That gives me something to look in to. Thanks!

    @doug: “his name is my name too,” guess I’m not the only doug around

    • @Jake it is in the show notes above, look between QEP and Stockton is Broke in the resources list.

  6. Jack,

    I hear what your are saying on exaggerations, but I do get the sense that the system does not want people to be self sufficient, healthy, and so on. The episodes I hear about armed raids of people selling Raw milk are some of the kinds of things that make me think that way and some other things. I have also looked into UN Agenda 21 which seems to be a real thing and is very anti self sufficient. How could that happen ? I don’t know, maybe if the USA needed a loan from the world bank they might stick us with that, all I know is it is an actual plan.

    • @Surfivor yes many of these things are true but over-blowing them when they are not damages credibility. I know you try to wake up members of your family about these things right? Well when idiots over blow a story and falsely report it it damages your ability to ever get through to them.

    • Jack,

      I have a hard time with people in my family at times. I also think that the rabbit hole of deception and lies is very deep and hard to believe such that some people will never believe it until maybe well after collapse.

      I think there could be a kind of false flag on vegetables. Something like diseases released on purpose or on bigger factory farms, then people get sick or die and more regs ensue. Maybe there has been some of that already as well as disinfo on what you need to be healthy. The system seems to have ways to push some hidden agenda that is always going on at some level.

  7. Pingback:Money Creation | Winter Ant

  8. Regarding being proud of being an American:

    -This was, IMHO, extremely well-said. Right up there with some of the Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, etc, broadcasts.

    -Members of the armed forces, all of whom swear an oath, do so to the Constitution. Although “The Constitution” has been politicized in the mainstream discourse (now it is a “right wing” thing ?!?), it is very basic that the US military swears its allegiance to the US Constitution and not any specific elected government, person, or creed. That is a great thing indeed.

    -Regarding other countries having a similar constitution: Many of the concepts in the US arose from French philosophy of nation and government… The concept that one could be part of a nation by sharing in its values and ideals, rather than by national origin. Not an accident that many early friends of the US were French (e.g. Marquis de La Fayette). Just a minor historical geek point, but worth making with all the France-bashing back in the early 2000’s…

    As always, Jack, a great show!


  9. It’s amazing to me that there are not more problems with cities/schools going bankrupt. I bought my house in 2010 as a short sale 2 days before it was to be auctioned off at the courthouse as a foreclosure.

    In 2008, the property taxes were $1000/month. Today, the property taxes are around $450/month. That’s a pretty significant difference in “revenue” to the local governments.

    One of the many reasons that I’m going to sell and move elsewhere is that property taxes could very well go back up to that height and I’m certain that the high property taxes contributed to the previous family being foreclosed upon.

  10. Hey Jack
    Just wanna add that the mini “nuclear power plant” that the rover uses is actually a “nuclear battery” that uses the radiation or heat as a energy source. These have been used in pace makers and varios things that require little energy for long periods. We’re a long way away from anything that can fit in a car of even a truck thats what we traditionally see as “nuclear power generation” with normal turbine generators(strange that even the most modern power plants inevitably use a form of steam?). These aren’t very efficient with efficiencies not above 10%(compared to a standard car engine which is between 18-20% with the absolute limit).

    Just thought clarifying this might help as some people might get confused as to what you mean by “nuclear power plant”.

    My sources: via wikipedia