Episode-1661- Follow Up on the Nicole Foss Interview — 56 Comments

  1. Just reading the show notes made me laugh.. ‘the progression’ is what I went thru in 2008, which caused me to ‘bunker up’ for the ‘pending collapse’. It took maybe two years for me to calm down and my thinking to start evolving.

    • No kidding. My first exposure to the idea that things are not totally normal was James Rawles. Talk about scary. Shortly after that I found Jack and his how to start prepping podcasts, and they called me way down.

    • It’s a great point. I still hold dearly the concepts taken from the issues of 2008 and the things we should have “known”. (Basic preparedness).

      Just even KNOWING where your weak points are is significantly better, because come new issues, you’re going to immediately focus on those things you know are weak. For me it’s water, still. So if I needed to fix the water situation (in a crisis) it’s not like its a new problem i’d be wrapping my mind around from scratch.

  2. Glad to know I’m not the only one. My first exposure was reading Rawles “Patriots”. Needless to say I was a little freaked out. I actually found TSP thru 299 Days, and I think I’ve become a much more balanced prepper.

    The key for me was hearing Jack describe how the likelihood of a disaster is inversely proportional to both the severity and the number of people it affects. This focuses you on the more likely scenarios while still working towards the unlikely stuff.

  3. Btw Jack, you probably didn’t plan for the last two shows to go exactly like this, but I think it’s been a really good exercise for all of us in critical thinking to hear someone extremely smart, but to still take what they said and analyze it and see if we agree with their conclusions. I know it’s driven conversations between my friends and I.

  4. I would be happy to engage in a follow up discussion to answer all the points raised. I have written about all these issues for many years and can explain in far greater detail than so far discussed. I think energy, psychology, property leverage and inflation/deflation would be particularly deserving of a follow up.

    • Would love to hear this conversation. I’m glad to be introduced to your site and work, Nicole. Very thought provoking stuff!

  5. Know how they say the shit doesn’t have to hit the fan, it just has to hit the fan for you for life to suck? Maybe instead of a total collapse the shit will hit the fan for more and more people while others remain oblivious to it.

  6. I thought this was one of the best interviews you have ever done. I thought she was spot on.

  7. One other person who in, my opinion is brilliant is John Michael Greer. He may be in the same camp as Nicole and Chris Martenson. His general view is that Complex societies scale up nicely but don’t scale down nicely.

    The Archdruid report is well written, sometimes long to read but very well written

    • @ Brent – I wholeheartedly agree regarding JMG. He has one of the most broad-based historical outlooks of anyone I’ve ever come across — and I say that as someone who has studied history at the undergraduate and graduate levels, to give you an idea of my interest in the field.

      The thing that I think both JMG and Nicole bring to the table — and Nicole stated this outright in her interview — is that you get into trouble when you take current trends and project them into the future instead of looking at how similar circumstances played out in the past. Greer does this perhaps better than anyone else I’ve ever read, probably because he approaches these subjects more free of political ideology than anyone else out there. Which inevitably leads to him getting under the skin of people all over the political spectrum.

      • I’m going to start buying some of his books. He is easy to read. James Howard Kunstler interviewed him last year and it was delightful listening. I like James as well and we email each other frequently regarding his garden adventures, in upper New York State. I do miss his musings with Duncan Crary however.

        • @ Brent –

          If read JMG’s blog regularly, then you’ll find his books to mostly be an echo of what you’ve already read. I’m not saying that it isn’t worthwhile to check his books out — just don’t be surprised if you don’t find new insights. JMG frequently states that he uses his blog as the forum for sketching out his book ideas.

          If you liked his interview with Kunstler, then I highly recommend you check out the Extraenvironmentalist Podcast. They’ve interviewed JMG several times, and have some pretty thought-provoking guests on in just about every episode. Chris Martenson also has some good interviews with JMG on his Peak Prosperity Podcast.

          I agree with you regarding the old Kunstler Cast with Duncan. Kunstler is a good interview, but not so good an interviewer IMO. He feels the need to interject his own ideas and thoughts into the conversation too much, many times at a point where he just needs to keep his mouth shut and let the guest complete making their point.

        • I follow Chris as well. There are so many and I guess one would gravitate to what side of the issues you most identify with. I will check out Extraenvironmentalist Podcast. Thanks

  8. Today’s show can be summarized as, “Live realistically for the best, but have contingency plans for the worst.” OR “…live a better life if times get tough, or even if they don’t.” Hmm, where did I hear that?

    Jack, what do you think about”Insights for prospering as our world changes”?

    Also what do you think about the site Peak Prosperity where the above tagline comes from; its creator Chris Martenson; and its associated Resiliant Life – How to prepare for a better future? He has some of the same or similar guests on as you including Joel Salatin and others in the Paleo, financial, preparedness and other areas. You even had Martenson on The Survival Podcast in Episode 515 June 21, 2010.

    For those who do not know, Martenson generally focuses on the three areas: the economy, energy and the environment, which he posits are inexorably linked, with current abundant cheap energy being the driving force behind making more of the global population than ever live more like Pharos and kings than ever before. To clarify that, he notes that the energy in a gallon of gasoline that lets you ride for many miles would take many man-hours (or slaves) to accomplish.

    Further, beyond other sources of energy, coal, wind, solar, nuclear, tidal or whatever, he sees oil as the ONLY currently significant energy-dense, widely-available source of energy that can power cars, trucks, ships, airplanes and other mobile equipment, including the vast array of most currently used farm equipment.

    His focus is not on peak oil, but CHEAP peak oil, and heavy crude at that, which can be used to make diesel fuel, which you cannot with the lighter fractions that come out of the Balkins.

    Relating cheap peak oil and the long term trend of the increased cost of extracting any resource, he along with others sees the long term result of driving the global economy down. Indeed, it does make sense that if the global economy, as it exists, is dependent on the constant extraction of resources at an ever-increasing expense, there is no other way for the economy to go but down.

    Some feel Martenson just follows the thinking of Thomas Malthus, 18th century philosopher who posited that that there was a limit to population and both are just “doomers.”

    Also it has been pointed out that if Martenson and others have been predicting economic collapse for some time, why hasn’t it happened? Many, along with Martenson have figured out so far that it seems to be a manipulated controlled descent.

    Both Martenson and Spirko have expressed how money and the perception of a sound economy is manipulated. Some of which expressed by either or both, Chris or Jack include quantitative easing; financial repression; statistics manipulation (GDP, employment numbers, etc.); juggling financials by corporations, big banks, central banks; countries like China; etc.

    However both Martenson and Spirko see countless opportunities, regardless of whatever may come. Jack’s emphasis on all aspects and all sizes of sustainable and regenerative agriculture is just one huge area of opportunity.

  9. Nicole is, as you said, absolutely brilliant in that she has grasped and can speak intelligently on a number of issues that will negatively affect global society (population decline, fractional reserve finance, etc) and I learned a lot in the interview and follow up.

    What concerns me is the time predictions she has given and subsequent advice. I’m afraid her devout followers in 2 years may dismiss her as “chicken little” when they don’t buy a house (for example) on her advice and society is still functional. They may even begin to question everything she’s said or worse throw it out completely.

    The Y2K nonevent springs to mind. The rational, straightforward preparedness some people went through (myself included) was needed no matter what happened. The frenzy that a lot of people went through was not and I’m afraid we’ve lost a lot of those people forever to the matrix.

    • One thing that sprung to my mind regarding Nicole’s advice on not getting a mortgage is that she has lived most of her life in the UK and Canada — both places that are still in the midst of a massively overvalued property bubble, while ours popped in 2008. If you think that people can get in over their heads easily here in the US, that ain’t nothing compared to the UK and Canada. In both of those places, her advice to avoid mortgages is probably more applicable than right here, right now.

    • If you can get a 3-year mortgage and pay it off (adjustable rate yet), go for it. A thirty-year or even fifteen-year one is quite another matter, especially as prices fall for most of that period.

      • If I heeded that advice 15 years ago, I would not have shit compared to what I have today.

  10. Despite your disclaimers about how much you agree with Nicole and how smart she is, this show seemed to me to be a bit unnecessarily condescending. Not trying to be a jerk, just being honest, Jack.

  11. Excellent interview and I hope there will be another at the beginning of next year, maybe beginning each quarter even. Excellent!

  12. Or maybe a spot on the expert council where folks could either bounce scenarios off of her or she could put out an update like Paul Wheaton even.

  13. I know you don’t like to debate your guests, but what about having her on sometime in the future where there is more debate to flesh out both your views? just an idea for what its worth.

  14. I didn’t find this episode to be condescending at all. I think last 3 episodes were awesome. Great to here varying points of view. Hope you have Nicole on again.

  15. Jack- excellent episode…100% on target. Success at the societal and individual level is based on observation and adaptation. People that fail are those that focus their energy on the things they have no control over.

  16. min 53: RE: wages have risen 2-3% …
    Are we talking wages or income? says something a little different. Since 2000 income has risen an average of $276.00 . yes $276! From $28,700 to $28,976.

    Don’t shoot the messenger. Maybe since 30 years ago but for the last 15 …

  17. @56:00 minutes, Great show today. Talking about debt and cash reserves makes a lot of sense. I don’t see many people keeping cash reserves like you talk about. Where would one keep those reserves that are safe, liquid, and can give a return that will at least keep up with inflation?

    • When you hold cash reserves you don’t worry about it “keeping up with inflation”, you hold it for pure security of cash.

      I’d recommend some in a basic savings account, some in a dollar fund and some in a safe, you determine your allocations from there.

  18. Rather than re-monetize society we could also de-monetize society. The belief in the concept of exchange is a belief, and beliefs can be changed when enough people choose to do so.

    • Validity of theory, as in could it work, 100%

      Probability of theory having a snowball’s chance in hell for about the next 100 years, 0%

    • It’s not up to us to de-monetize society. It’s up to us to de-monetize our own lives as much as is possible in a society dominated so thoroughly by monetization and commodification of everything. Then hope that our example (and the resulting freedom of action gained from it) serves as an inspiration to others, widening our circle of influence.

  19. Jack,

    Episode 1660 was my first exposure to your work here at TheSurvivalPodcast and I generally found it enjoyable. 1661 leaves a bit of a sour taste in my mouth.

    While it was styled to be an explanation on how Nicole justifies her views (and how she will inevitably change them), sadly it seems to truly be more of a justification of why YOU continue to believe what you believe – i.e. it will be bad, but it won’t be as bad as Nicole has suggested it will be nor as quickly as she suggested as we (as a species) will find ways to extend/pretend to avoid collapse.

    John Michael Greer (of the Archdruid Report, mentioned by others in the comment section) writes quite a bit about this phenomenon as a matter of “modern religion” – people who belong to the Cult of Science whom believe that a way will be found to solve our problems before they become acute. In your case it would seem (to me anyway, based on podcasts 1660 & 1661) that you recognize things cannot stay they way they are, but feel they will not be as bad as Nicole has suggested due to some form of adaptation we will undertake as a species.

    I cannot agree with this point of view, and the arguments you put forward in 1661 were weak ones at best.

    Yes, The Powers That Be (“Elite”) will likely do everything they can to extend/pretend to avoid collapse (assuming their interests remain aligned – please consider that, eventually, the Elite will gladly eat each other to maintain their status, regardless of how much havoc it causes for us the “little people”), but it is not without cost. Energy prices will continue to rise, environmental degradation will continue (which I should point out I don’t really care about as much as you might suggest I would, considering I place myself in the Peak Oil camp), and economic collapse will continue along the fringes and eat its way inward to the core. When it collapses, nobody can say, but Nicole is absolutely correct in suggesting it’s baked into the cake.

    I highly recommend you familiarize yourself with Jevons Paradox (if you are not already familiar with it) and consider that no matter how efficient we make our machines/devices in terms of energy consumption, they always CONSUME energy and our demand for that energy grows. Unless our energy sources increase (which they are not), nothing we invent will stop the inevitable – an outcome where there is no longer enough energy remaining to power our modern-day society as it currently exists.

    Furthermore, I would ask you increase your understanding of Peak Oil. At the 23 – 24 minute mark of the podcast you suggest there are 100+ years of natural gas remaining, but that time frame is likely constructed on the idea that other energy sources are still in play. If natural gas was all we had, it would be consumed a heck of a lot more quickly given today’s levels of energy demand.

    You also mention around that point the idea that we always find news ways of getting more oil out of the ground and that “angers” peak oil’ers. What you fail to mention/recognize is the rising cost curve and where it intersects with the peak oil curve – i.e. these technologies we are implementing, combined with the fact we’re picked the “low hanging fruit” easy oil sources, means that at some point in the future the cost of extracting the oil (not only in terms of dollars but in terms of invested energy) will exceed the value of what we pull out of the ground. When we get to the point that it’s costing us 2, 3, 4, 5+ barrels of oil to extract one out of the ground the game will likely be up, regardless of how much we allow energy companies to inflate their debt levels or how much fiat the government prints to try to justify continued oil extraction.

    Around the 34 minute mark, you talk about a gold backed / gold basis money system… I recommend you read Martin Armstrong and understand the shortcoming of ANY commodity being used as money. I won’t re-explain it here, but Martin does a good job of explaining what money truly is and how it ALWAYS will be corrupted by the government of the day. It is inevitable that any money supply will be compromised, whether fiat or not, as the problem lies with those who make the rules not the money itself.

    Around the 36 minute mark you make some serious assumptions – that the asset you overpaid for (i.e. a home / farm / etc.) will continue to be able to be productive during a downturn. There are no guarantees of this, and in fact there are clear examples in history of the opposite occurring – look up references to milk producers pouring out their milk on the ground to maintain milk prices during the Great Depression.

    Further, you go on to suggest the government CAN’T possibly evict everyone from their homes – this would seem to be a fairly close minded / biased view and is somewhat hypocritical after you spent over 20 minutes explaining how intelligent people like Nicole are wrong because they can’t see how the system would change/adapt. I’d love to understand why you are so confident that the system would NEVER find a way to evict so many people from their homes, or at the very least confiscate those assets – at pennies on the dollar – that people overpaid for just a few years prior. If you really stop and think about it, it actually sounds like a PERFECT plan if one were part of the banking cartel or a member of government – getting people to overpay for something they couldn’t afford in the first place, and then taking it away from them later at severely reduced prices. This is the way people will lose their liberty – by making selfish choices to have the things they want now rather than making due with simply meeting their needs.

    Back to Nicole – she has one of the most well though out and comprehensive understanding of what the future holds. She constantly points out that nobody knows exactly when things will collapse, but that it is unavoidable that they will collapse and we should be responsible enough to act accordingly by making good decisions now (i.e. if you know smoking is going to give you lung cancer, shouldn’t you stop smoking as soon as possible and not be so irresponsible as to say “oh, I’ll quit next week – my lungs can handle one more week of smoking”).

    If a person wants to gamble at the casino and try to play this game as long as possible (e.g. taking on debt, spending money on education or capital that they refuse to see will be unproductive in just a few years during a major financial collapse, assume new or old money systems can be re-introduced to stabilize the economy and prevent the worst from occurring), they should recognize the risks they’re undertaking in doing so.

    Sorry if your listeners are scared by what Nicole has to say, but if they’re sitting on mortgages they probably SHOULD be worried (though Nicole would likely frown at my attempt to encourage fear) – the game (of musical chairs) could come to an end very suddenly, and those people will learn the down side of using debt as leverage very quickly. Better they get out of debt now and start doing whatever they can to improve their standing by gaining control of their means to their survival if they want to avoid a debt servitude based future.


    • Gee you have a sour taste because my opinion does not jive 100% with your perception bias? Life must be hard for you. Again I have been doing this a LONG time. You may evolve your thinking when we don’t all crash and burn to nothing in less than a year, (Nicole’s basic premise, “I don’t even think we have years left”).

      Again this same advice has been around for 20 years with just as much urgency, and in those 20 years people that took it gained nothing from it.

  20. We are crashing and burning as you speak (type).

    People don’t realize it until they lose their jobs, lose their homes, lose their futures. Then it becomes acute. Then it becomes realized.

    If you familiarize yourself more thoroughly with Nicole’s work, you’ll realize how quickly things can change in the financial realm (though 2008 should have been a wake-up call to everyone; funny how quickly we forget the past).

    Sorry if my views on what will likely happen to home owners when SHTF disagree with the vision of the future you believe. I guess time will tell how our perception biases have affected our views.

    Good luck here on your blog.

    • First of all it is clear you have no idea of what I teach and the fact that we are crashing now is a big part of it, it is what that means and how to adapt to it where we differ.

      You can run around like chicken little and be sure it will all fall soon or you can get busy building up your life and developing solutions.

      People come to TSP many times from a place of fear, we channel that fear into action for personal development and gain.

      The shit may hit the fan many times in the next few decades but the fan will keep turning. Adaptation will happen and we will continue and those of use making the most of current opportunities will continue to out preform those paralyzed by fear, OVER AND OVER AND OVER.

      Those taking no action over what “could happen” will never act and will be the most screwed as things shift over time.

    • Oh and hey had you listened to me in 2008 you would have done VERY WELL, just by stepping out of the way. You are talking to a person with out knowing what they know, which is fine until you presume that you do know what they know.

      We made out very well in 2008-2009, we just stepped aside and then reentered our investments in about March of 09. It is all recorded here in the very early episodes.

    • @GBV I think if you review the archives, Jack’s body of work, in fact even the tag line at the top of this very page, is to prepare both for collapse and prosperity, to make decisions and do things out of strength and not cower in fear.

  21. “Typical evolution of a person”
    You nailed it. The analysis that you’re doing about how a person thinks about this once they “realize the bad stuff” and how they view it, is just spot on. Is it just logical deduction and a bit of curiosity and zeal? I’d say so.

    For me I think it was the Financial System was my “way out of the Matrix”. And yes, you research and research and think and think. It’s funny because I think/know you’re explaining your own situation too……. And now that you’ve become the person you’ve become, all the other people you’ve seen along the way at all levels of this path…. I must certainly say this makes me consider the service that you’re providing via your website.

    I’ve seen it many times, and it’s quite clear to me now, that people really have to keep growing to get beyond the “vengeance” mentality.

  22. Any one have a link to her web site? I’m not seeing it and can’t remember. Thank you

  23. I have come to the conclusion I just literally don’t care anymore about the crap other people want to me to care about. I’m still having a strategy to make sure the basics are covered, but I”m just not going to sweat that crap.

    The more I concentrate on that problem, the more I’ll attempt to solve that (large than myself and current influence), and i’ll be unlikely to make a change. So as a result I have gone full focused on building sustainable systems. Why? Because it makes sense, and in a way I have kind of heavily adopted an irrational faith based focus on being able to get it done, for it’s sake. (and obviously seeing the world how I want it).

    More and more I’m trying to drop the “make money” aspect of it, and would rather enjoy the ride and learn how to control the flow of resources and energy. Equations, thinking, then action. Rinse cycle repeat.

    • I should further state that as an observation of phenomena, it is safe to believe (i think) that all systems have to change over time, whether that occurs because of the system itself intentionally changes, or due to outside forces. (Can you really tell the difference).

      The assumption that “end of the world” is the next phase of this, at this moment in time, I’m not so sure everything lines up to say that. Trials? Sure. Tribulations? Likely. But those trials will craft the next generation and the next cycle of people who are harder, smarter and more capable of adapting. They have no choice, it is the context under-which all their choices and thought processes will stem from.

  24. When you concluded about TEOTWAWKI has happened, is happening, and will happen it reminded me of a conversation I had with some friends in college (early-mid 90’s) and made me think of the song that probably sparked it.
    Fun to hear it as the show closed! …yet a somber reminder of what people have had to endure at the same time.

  25. Couldn’t agree with you more on the rent vs buy point. I live in the Northwest and let me tell you, with the massive influx of people, the housing market is going crazy! Also, the renters market. People are seeing rent increases of 40%. They are also facing “no fault” evictions. People who have been good tenants are being evicted, so the landlord can do a little fixing up of the unit and turn around and rent it for close to double.
    Also, using your Uhaul data, we see the trend : portland to Dallas = $1034.00. Dallas to portland = 2107.00.
    While I dont live in Portland, things are starting to spill over into outlying communities. So glad i own!

  26. I haven’t listened to a podcast in quite a while but I recently listened to this one and the one previous to it. I think you nailed the evolution thing and the balanced approach to preparedness is the only way to go, unless you want to end up burned out, broke, lonely, and nuts.

    I’ve also enjoyed Nicole’s stuff for a few years now and hope she makes it back to the show later.

    Good stuff, keep it coming!

  27. What happens when the carbon keeps moving up at a geometric rate as oil use increases across the globe? China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, the Phillipines wants what the west has and that means more cars, more trucks, more oil use. That accelerates warming and acidification of the oceans, lakes, streams. The species on this earth cannot adapt to this acceleration fast enough to avoid extinction. This acidification affects our drinking water, our gardens as we water them. As you said, eventually, because our access to oil decreases, the carbon accumulation rate in the atmosphere slows down. But I have to ask, at what cost do we dare do nothing to mitigate these effects?