Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sal, what is it like in the dark?

Oh, when it gets dark in my nogg'n on stormy nights into a third scotch ... it gets dark.

Study too much economics and history ... and you start to think like Derb.
So what am I anticipating, with all this gloomery? a reader wants to know. Another1973? Another 1929? Another A.D. 410?

Hey, I’m not an expert. I just try to
keep up with the experts — the gloomy ones, of course. (No offense, Larry.)

From what I read and am told, as best I can understand it, the developed world will be much poorer, grubbier, and meaner four or five years from now, its
currencies ravaged by competitive inflation, its government services greatly reduced, entitlements meager.

The rest — what will follow; what the consequences for social order will be; what the consequences for
international order will be; and what the path from here to there will actually look like — is guesswork. My guesses:

● What will follow? A long period of stagnation, life depressing & uncomfortable for most of us in the West (and made more so by nostalgia for the carefree, prosperous years), but not down at Dark Age standards.

● Social order? I foresee a great boost in popularity for the Second Amendment. (Because among the things government will no longer be able to afford will be law enforcement.) Multiculturalism, on the other hand, will lose market share, and ethnic disaggregation will accelerate. (Because
social capital varies inversely with diversity, and with less government we shall need more social capital.) Representative government will probably survive, but there may be secessions from the U.S.A. Religion, or at least spirituality, will get a boost, following the Chinese maxim: “In normal times you don’t burn joss; when times are hard you hug Buddha’s foot.”

● International order? May actually improve. Hungry,
angry people working two jobs for a handful (or wheelbarrowful) of inflated-away dollars won’t be in a mood to fuss much about the human rights of detained terrorists, or of people in unfriendly nations, or of migrants violating our borders. Nor will they bother much about global warming or spotted owls (yummy!) Smiting one’s enemies hip and thigh may even come back into fashion — a jolly good thing in my opinion.

● The path from here to there? Paved with good intentions, of course!
...and when I feel like I need a pick-me-up, of course I turn to Mark Steyn.
They were not an “anti-government” mob, but a government mob, a mob comprised largely of civil servants. That they are highly uncivil and disinclined to serve should come as no surprise: they’re paid more and they retire earlier, and that’s how they want to keep it. So they’re objecting to austerity measures that would end, for example, the tradition of 14 monthly paycheques per annum. You read that right: the Greek public sector cannot be bound by anything so humdrum as temporal reality. So, when it was mooted that the “workers” might henceforth receive a mere 12 monthly paycheques per annum, they rioted. Their hapless victims—a man and two women—were a trio of clerks trapped in a bank when the mob set it alight and then obstructed emergency crews attempting to rescue them.

... the Greek rioters are the logical end point of the advanced social democratic state: not an oppressed underclass, but a pampered overclass, rioting in defence of its privileges and insisting on more subsidy, more benefits, more featherbedding, more government.

In my
“alarmist” book I put it this way:

“Projected public pensions liabilities are expected to rise by 2040 to about 6.8 per cent of GDP in the U.S. In Greece, the figure is 25 per cent—i.e., total societal collapse.”

Four years on, thanks to Obama in Washington and business as usual in Athens, the situation has worsened. Yet in a sense the comparison is academic: whereas America still has a choice, Greece isn’t going to have a 2040. The mob is rioting for the right to continue suspending reality until they’re all dead. After that, who cares?

Greece has run out of Greeks to stick it to. So it’s turned to Germany. But Germany too is in net population decline. The Chinese and other buyers of Western debt know that. If you’re an investor and you don’t, more fool you. Tracking GDP versus median age in the world’s major economies is the easiest way to figure out where this story’s heading.
...
Greece’s 2010 budget deficit is 12.2 per cent of GDP; Ireland’s is 14.7. Greece’s debt is 125 per cent of GDP; Italy’s is 117 per cent. Greece’s 65-plus population will increase from 18 per cent in 2005 to 25 per cent in 2030; Spain’s will increase from 17 per cent to 25 per cent. As lazy, feckless, squalid, corrupt and violent as Greece undoubtedly is, it’s not that untypical. It’s where the rest of Europe’s headed, and Japan and North America shortly thereafter. About half the global economy is living beyond not only its means but its diminished number of children’s means.

Instead of addressing that basic fact, countries with government debt of 125 per cent of GDP are being “rescued” by countries with government debt of 80 per cent of GDP. Good luck with that. Alas, the world has deemed Greece “too big to fail,” even though in (what’s the word?) reality it’s too big not to fail. And the rest of us are too big not to follow in its path:
...
Greece, wrote Theodore Dalrymple, is “a cradle not only of democracy but of democratic corruption”—of electorates who give their votes to leaders who bribe them with baubles purchased by borrowing against a future that can never pay it off. The future is now here, and the riots will spread.
I am an optimist - mostly. I have faith in our system. But some days I can't help but think, as Derb is wont to say ... We Are Doomed. I'm debt free, got food, land, guns and a lot of stuff from ammoman.com .... I feel sorry for the rest of you. All I need is some foil to make a beanie and I'm ready for anything.

34 comments:

Outlaw Mike said...

If the Nobel Prize still meant an iota, I'd say give Steyn the ones for literature for 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Sheesh, that guy has a WAY of telling it like it is.

grandpa bluewater said...

When you are so foolish as to think defeating stalinism is the end of communism - and therefore the end of history, ignoring maosism's shape shift into modern Red China, and thinking that showering unimaginable wealth on araby and persia, whose bloody-mindedness has been restrained by the poverty that followed the caliphate as night follows day for the last 500 years, thinking money grows on printing presses is a small step indeed.

Throw in a fondness for vast comprehensive reform implemented by intellects half vast and incapable of comprehending cause and effect (what in your life experience led you to believe even a small elephant could be eaten in one bite?), and equating intent with result, blind to the resulting chaos, well, fasten your seat belt dearie, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

And yes, indeed, it is time to refurbish the lifeboats. Compass by Steyn: check.

AW1 Tim said...

Well said, sir!

 One of the reasons I am home schooling my youngest is so that she LEARNS these things. The schools here are keeping up the status quo, and I want her to understnd the foundations and principkes this nation is built upon, and not the intellectually vapid "ideal(s)" that the schools are passing out as fact.

 I am also teaching her to be self-sufficinet in as many things as possible. This yeat it's planting a vebetable garden, and how to fertilize the soil and irrigate, how crop rotation works, etc. This winter I'm teaching her how to use a pattern and make clothing. In the spring, we get into carpentry and basic tools. It's important that, no matter what she chooses to do, that she has skills to fall back on that can keep her and those around her, alive and comfortable.

 My father lived as a kid through the great depression. He taught me a lot about how they got by, and I've put those lessons to good use over the years.

  As Bocephus says,  "A country boy can survive".

Old H-2 Guy said...

The chickens are coming home to roost in Greece - the socialist programs instituted by the current PM's father, Andreas Papandreou, back in the 80's have finally succeeded in dragging the economy into the dirt.  PASOK (Socialist Party) bought votes with fat pensions, nationalized industries, and giveaways to the unions - it didn't take long for the house of cards to come tumbling down.... It is poetic justice worthy of a Greek Tragedy to have the sins of the father visited on the son (and especially so since they are both economists.....)

UltimaRatioRegis said...

"In the Carboniferous Era, they promised abundance for all,
By robbing the selected Peter, to pay the collective Paul,
And though there was plenty of money, there was nothing for money to buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, said "If you don't work, you will die."

RK

UltimaRatioRegis said...

A foil beanie?  I will put in a word to Ted Teeter. (Ask SWMBO)  ;)

Old Salt said...

I intend to nail the Flag to the mast, smash the lifeboats, and go down fighting. BUT - while the USA may not look like it does now (we'll gain Canada!), we'll survive.  There are a lot more guys like AW1 Tim than one might imagine.  

And Steyn is wrong - it will be no problem to close the southern border. It'll be done spontaneously, all over the country.

MR T's Haircut said...

Phib,
Gret topic and one I consider also.  Down in Hurricane country, I didnt like the mobs of unprepared soccer moms fighting over a bag of ice and a lousy MRE and then have the news show one of the "entitled class" complian on TV coause "my RME was cold and unfit for my nourishment"... meaning she had no idead how to heat it nor the inclination to figure it out.  My point, you can be prepared and must be prepared but the people around you are not and they will surely try to take what you hav eput aside as the parable Ant and the Grasshopper shows.  SO OPSEC!

What I am doing? stocking up the pantry and learning to garden like AW1 is.  I am conserving the brass to learn to reload, I am teaching my family not to point and shoot the AR but what to consider beyond the mob that is sure to come.  Water is a hard fact and how to get it. that is my one main concern.  Strange and scary, now when I drive around my neigborhood, I think about the what if's now of how to barricade my street and what to say to the neigbors when the time comes to defend the hood from the roving baddies.  I hope we have a canary to send the signal that the time has come, but what if we do not?  Time to develop a plan is before the battle.  A shame we are contemplating such dire future events, but we at the gates usually are the most atune to it..  as for debt?  won't matter in the new balkans... the gun will matter.  those with the guns will matter.  Your own polity will be the differance and your standing with your neighbors will be the edge.

MR T's Haircut said...

<span>Phib,  
Gret topic and one I consider also.  Down in Hurricane country, in the after math of our own SHTF, I didnt like the mobs of unprepared soccer moms fighting over a bag of ice and a lousy MRE or the news showing one of the "entitled class" complain on TV cause "my RME was cold and unfit for my nourishment"... meaning she had no idead how to heat it nor the inclination to figure it out.  My point, you can be prepared and must be prepared but the people around you are not and they will surely try to take what you have put aside as the parable Ant and the Grasshopper shows.  SO OPSEC!  
 
What I am doing? stocking up the pantry and learning to garden like AW1 is.  I am conserving the brass to learn to reload, I am teaching my family not only how to point and shoot the AR's but what to consider beyond the mob that is sure to come.  Water is a hard fact and how to get it, that is my one main concern.  Strange and scary, now when I drive around my neigborhood, I think about the what if's now of how to barricade my street and what to say to the neigbors when the time comes to defend the hood from the roving baddies.  I hope we have a canary to send the signal when the time has come, but what if we do not?  Will we Balkanize?  Will we get a say in it locally?  Or will we be moving in mass migrations out of the areas where the idealogy and govt does or does not suit us?  </span>
<span></span>
<span>The time to develop a plan is before the battle.  A shame we are even contemplating such dire future events, but we at the gates usually are the most atune to it..  as for debt?  won't matter in the new balkans... the gun will matter.  those with the guns will matter.  Your own polity will be the differance and your standing with your neighbors will be the edge.</span>
<span></span>
<span>Old Salt, My Flag will be flying also... but I hope it will be a symbol of whats ahead rather than what was behind us.</span>

Kristen said...

Oh my.  You guys are a treat to read on a Saturday morning.  :)

John said...

Interesting times.

The wonder is that folks like Phib and crew are doing the pondering and planning, while our "leaders" do nothing but perpetuate or aggrevate the problems that are the root causes.

Perhaps the alternatives, although horrible to contemplate, must be faced and prepared for at the household level, across the red states, as the blue states wil likely just continue their lifestyle of dependency, descending into looting when SHTF.

Amen to Mark Steyn being a lucid voice inthe wilderness, although singing a song we rather not listen to.

ponsdorf said...

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently and die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."
-- Robert A. Heinlein

DeltaBravo said...

What's that poison you're drinking, Phib?  Pass me the bottle.  I'm hiding under my bed.  =-O

Demographics will get you all the time.  No one has been listening to the warnings.

Although Ireland looks dire, I predict they won't do the same rioting as the Greeks.  The Irish expect life to crap on them.  They don't live in the land of sunshine and ouzo.  They live in the land of rain and beer.  And they actually have a dark sense of humor.  Which they throw at themselves like rocks, as opposed to the Greeks who go looking for windows and policemen. 

Plus, the Irish like policemen. 

So:  My prediction:  When Ireland's economy goes Tango Umbrella (for the 5th time in a century at least), they'll just laugh at it, invent some really funny new jokes, and pour themselves another Guinness.

Just my theory based on personal experience.  And another thing... really... beware of Greeks bearing gifts!  ;)

ewok40k said...

Ireland acttually quietly has emergency-slashed budget, with quiet acceptance from the unions frozen any public sector salaries for time being and started reducing etats. I have faith in them.
As for the Greek mobs, imagine every one of them has a gun or 3. Then move situation to  downtown LA. Shudder.

virgil xenophon said...

Just keep your C-Crane hand-cranked/solar-powered w. emr led light survival radio tuned to late-nite "Coast-to-Coast" am radio and you'll have it all covered. :) (I know I've got mine--came in handy during Katrina/Rita.)

butch said...

this is why i've stopped drinking.

maybe i should drnk more, instead.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Sorry, Ewok.

Downtown LA is already unsafe with an incredibly high murder rate.  And the ones that have the guns in such a gun-restricting state like CA are NOT the law-abiding, nor largely the ones reliant on the government dole for their income.  If law-abiding citizens were allowed to possess guns as our Constitution is supposed to ensure, such a situation would not exist. 

Of course, law-abiding citizens by and large DON'T have guns because intrusive nanny-state politicians make it far too costly and onerous to possess one, because the think they know better than the citizens what is best for them.  They also believe there is no right to self-defense (despite public pronouncements), as that is the government's (read: law enforcement's) job. 

Precisely the philosophy of government and freedoms that got us to the precipice we currently overlook.

AW1 Tim said...

You Betcha!

AW1 Tim said...

My wife and oldest daughter used to think I was nuts, some sort of end-timer. However, after Katrina hit they took a little more notice.

My point was to start your preparations dor survival by learning the skills you need for day-to-day efforts. All the gear in the world won't help if you don't know how to use it.

My talks to the family were simple: I'll give you a situation, and you think it through. Say, for example, that it's the middle of winter. There's something coming, and we have 24 hours before we evacuate. What do you do? What do you pack? Priorities. Where are we going, how are we getting there. etc.  Now suppose we have only 12 hours to eveacuate. Or 1 hour?  How does that change your plans. Are we leaving for a few days or forever?

Thinking it through BEFORE it happens is always better than having to make it up as you go along. Knowing where the escape routes are, where the fuel and water stops are, camping areas, etc.  It all matters, and just a few hour's thought can mean the difference between life and death. Between being a survivor or a statistic.

respects,

Grumpy Old Ham said...

Stumbled across this site http://www.survivalmonkey.com/forum/ while (unsuccessfully) trying to find a link to the "Lights Out" post-EMP SHTF story online.  Looks fairly comprehensive.

I think I've got enough space between me and the Hordes of the Potomac for most situations, but still way too reliant on fossil fuels for long-term survival.

At least according to http://www.carloslabs.com/projects/200903A/index.html I'm outside of the 1psi ring for anything smaller than about 10Mt.  That assumes that Dear Leader actually hits what he aims at, though.

AW1 Tim said...

 More is always better, where bourbon is concerned. That's been my experience, at least. ;)

ewok40k said...

Then imagine the downtown LA in case of rioting on the Greek scale, and even in a "gun restricitve" state theres more guns than in whole Europe (-Switzerland). Law abiding citizens arent usually the rioting ones, anyway. In Greece worst rioters are youth without jobs and poor perspectives for any soon.

butch said...

bourbon recommendations?

p'raps i need to expand my palate.

AW1 Tim said...

Heh,

  I am partial to both Evan Williams and Jim Beam. However, Maker's Mark is always good, as is Knob Creek. It depends a lot on what you are going to do with it. Since I drink it neat, or with a little ice in summer, I usually go for the Evan Williams or Knob Creek.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

We have seen those riots more than once in LA.  1968 and 1992.  Law abiding citizens in this country use their guns to defend against the criminal element, and the tyrrany of their own government, should it come to that. 

fdchief100 said...

Not an end timer, but a prudent situational awareness is a potential life saver. My son was at college in DC on 9//11/01 and was walking to school up Mass Ave when the pentagon got hit. We had previously discussed evacuating from DC, cause well, it's DC. We had agreed that driving was impossible to make headway and had selected an evacuation route along the C&O canal towpath west out of Georgetown. Being a backpacker he had all the wilderness equipment to shelter and purify water. With a bike in good repair, along with  a little food he would be able to make an easy 100 miles in two days. Depending upon how many else had similar ideas, of course. Not fool proof but it was a plan that gave some comfort as sirens and emergency units flooded into the DC area. As it was he had to do a cipro regimine as he had handeled mail from Brentwood facility in his part time job. NONE of this did I ever contemplate was I dropped him off at college in 98. Only regret is that he could not legally possess a fire arm in the district. Would have been handy to discourage bike thieves. Be prepared.

ewok40k said...

Re; Demographics - sorry, but only alternative is State telling people to have more sex without contraceptives and enforcing that. Or do you think society can be propaganded or bribed into having more children?

ewok40k said...

I too believe in the US, maybe because history gives us perspective. US has gone thru Civil War with its then-unimaginable casualties, decisively broke the stalemate of WW I, survived the Great Depression to kill everything Hitler's Germany and Imperial Japan could throw at it, and stared back the Soviet bear for 40 years until the Bear lost the will to fight. Lately you have managed to fight and win COIN campaign in the heart of the Islamic world. And you think a mere econmy crisis is going to finish you off?

bizjetmech said...

So if the economy crashes, what difference does debt free make?

cdrsalamander said...

Nothing is binary.

DM05 said...

Great late night thinking; fortunately, economists are mostly wrong. More hope - not BHO's hopey/changey unicorn version - in our American people, more drinking, ready with a plan & more ammo sums it up.

The glass has to remain half full...even with the many challenges.

Someone_Blogged said...

You feel sorry for us? We aren't the ones shopping at ammoman.com  =-O   Ouch! There are much better resources out there; five point loss in the prepared category for that one. 

cdrsalamander said...

Share ... share ... don't keep secrets, unless of course it is the natural well on your property. 

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