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Change You Don’t Have to Believe In

     A waterfall of woe broke over all the realms of money last week – including especially the realm where we determine just what money is supposed to mean – and a lot of folks barely made it to a rooftop, or a floating log, or some scrap of high ground, where they sit wet and shivering, expecting to get slammed again. The torrent of events is still flowing and there are countless dangerous objects bobbing in it. Remember what that in-rushing ocean was like in the Fukushima tsunami? A wall of miso soup strewn with Toyotas and houses instead of squid rings and fish balls. Try swimming in that. (Try swimming in your Cuisinart on the guacamole setting.)
     Europe is telling itself one cockamamie story after another. We’ve got a rescue fund! Only it has no money! But we will bail out Italy nonetheless! But Italy is too big to bail out – and we tried stuffing it under the carpet, but there’s no more room with Greece, Ireland, and Portugal already suffocating in there. The whole G-20 is yakking on the phone as I write, hatching fresh cockamamie stories. Oh, now it looks like the European Central Bank will ride to the rescue with a dispatch satchel full of good intentions. They said the same thing last time, a month or so ago, when a caryatid fell on Greece’s head. They are not so sure what money is either. Is a bond like money? Maybe not so much anymore. A stock portfolio? Feh! A Euro? The damned thing is starting to look like a ball-and-chain custom-crafted to weigh down Germans. (And, let’s face it: they never did pay any of us for World War Two, really, except what they had to fork over to get the communist side of their own country out of hock. Their guilt-o-meter is still buzzing, I’m sure.) All I know is I hope the whole gang printed up some fresh lira, francs, marks, drachma, pesetas, punts, and whatnot. It would be nice to go back to one of these cute places some day at a discount.
      Did you admire Standard and Poor’s sly, Friday night downgrade of the United States Treasury bond rating? I was probably the only one in the whole country besides Anderson Cooper not out eating something bigger than my own head at Applebees, or watching the “Footwear Clearance” show over on the Shopping Network. However, I’m not the only one in America asking where do these S and P punks get off downgrading US bonds when three years ago they wore out their Triple-A rubber stamps on the cartloads of stinking offal that Angelo Mozillo and other mortgage rustlers were pawning off as bond-fodder on every Frankenstein “investment opportunity” pumped out of the Wall Street CDO mills. Government officials were righteously seething over S and P’s chutzpah, but I suppose when they tried to ring-up Eric Holder over at the DOJ they got connected to some call center in Uttar Pradesh where a friendly fellow named “Dale” picked up. China’s government-run newspaper virtually spanked the US: “Learn (thwack) to live (thwack) within (thwack) your (thwack) means!”
     I’m not convinced that the US bond rating will even matter that much because nobody knows what anything is worth anymore – especially when governments teeter and the folks in the public square (or the parking lot in America’s case), start yelling for blood. Merkel, Sarkozy, Berlusconi, Zapatero, will soon be swept away by that selfsame rolling torrent of dreck-strewn woe – in their case a bouillabaisse – while poor Obama looks like one of those hapless, floating creatures in the second-to-last scene of O Brother, Where Art Thou. Even the gold bugs are scared the price will collapse in a debt deflation, or that the federal government will slap a giant extra-special punitive capital gains tax on precious metal sales, or will try to confiscate it from the public altogether like Franklin Roosevelt did – though, given the vast arsenals of private firearms across this land, and the martial spirit lingering in many pissed-off factions of the Tea Party ilk, nothing would invite a revolution, or civil war, or civic upheaval as surely as trying to snatch folks’ gold. As a capital preservation refuge, I’m sympathetic to gold, of course, though not so much to buggery.
     Everybody is broke now: national treasuries, giant banks, pension funds, insurance companies. The wonder so far is that credit default swaps have not yet been triggered by interest rate changes or some other silly shit, but when that comes to pass there is no way the counterparties can settle their contracts. Ruin will thunder through the financial system like winged death. Everybody is broke and there’s a lot less real “money” (whatever it is) out there. Everybody’s quailing at the prospect of QE 3, in all its cosmic futility. The United States has already half killed itself at the Golden Corral steam-table of deep-fried debt. I guess we could go all the way and shoot what remains of the dollar in its pitiful, lolling head.
There is a welling recognition that the dice have been cast and the world has rolled snake eyes. The casino is on fire and a flash flood is boiling down the strip. It’s no fun running to the exits only to find the revolving doors already eyeball deep in dirty water. America gibbers to itself but nobody has a clue. I’ll try to help: this is a compressive financial and economic contraction (one is money, the other is activity). Late-summer storm that it is, it looks to be intensifying. Everything that’s super-big is going down sooner or later. The exact sequence of failures is unpredictable. But you can be sure Nature is telling you to get local, get smaller, get finer, downscale, solidify your friendships, and drop your stupid grandiose fantasies about running WalMart on algae. This is change you don’t have to believe in, because it is about to jump up and bite you on the lips.


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About James Howard Kunstler

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James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency and the four-book series of World Made By Hand novels, set in a post economic crash American future. His most recent book is Living in the Long Emergency; Global Crisis, the Failure of the Futurists, and the Early Adapters Who Are Showing Us the Way Forward. Jim lives on a homestead in Washington County, New. York, where he tends his garden and communes with his chickens.

134 Responses to “Change You Don’t Have to Believe In”

  1. Leibowitz Society August 8, 2011 at 8:41 am #

    The only change we’re going to see now is where things steadily change for the worse. Anything else is just a rearguard action so people can try to extract a few more dollars out of the broken machine.
    Visit the Leibowitz Society at http://leibowitzsociety.blogspot.com/2011/08/new-tets.html for discussion on our failing civilization as well as taking steps to safeguard our valuable knowledge for the future.

  2. anticapitalistcharley August 8, 2011 at 8:44 am #

    Well put James,
    You’ve partially inspired me, along with the disgust i have for this rampant and destructive capitalism, to start my own blog:
    hope you enjoy!

  3. Zaax August 8, 2011 at 8:46 am #

    This is from a recent Forbes article” The Post-Western World”. I really like this quote; “In the US, the biggest problem is Washington. It is becoming clear that they work for maybe a hundred billionaires and five industry groups and that’s about it.”
    I wonder how long it will be before the average person starts to believe this also and what that awareness will bring?. Not that it really matters now…
    It also has this Chomski quote, “The comic opera in Washington this summer, which disgusts the country and bewilders the world, may have no analogue in the annals of parliamentary democracy,” Chomsky writes. “The spectacle is even coming to frighten the sponsors of the charade. Corporate power is now concerned that the extremists they helped put in office may in fact bring down the edifice on which their own wealth and privilege relies, the powerful nanny state that caters to their interests.”

  4. Consultant August 8, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    Massive, unregulated, out of control greed is at the base of this of course.
    We’re just not a productive country anymore. We don’t produce enough stuff that matters to us and the world. What we do produce is destructive (war material, cdo’s, credit default swaps).
    Anyone who believes the USA of the last 31 years can get itself out of this mess is a damn fool. And our entire political establishment (with a couple of exceptions) are damn fools.
    Last point; as if it needed to be said. The mostly Southern led Republican Teabaggers are American terrorists. They are sowing the same seeds that led up to the Civil War. They don’t want less govt., they want their own country. Look at Rick “praise Jesus” Perry and all you see is a ‘federate rebel’.
    Finance is just one of big problems in our troubled land.

  5. mow August 8, 2011 at 9:00 am #

    LMAO @ footwear clearance show .

  6. Zaax August 8, 2011 at 9:07 am #

    If you want to see how weird this country has become flip around on cable and watch the Jewelry TV channel. This is a channel devoted to only selling jewelry.
    I am not sure why I find this so strange. After all didn’t CNN recently become the Casey Anthony Trial channel?

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  7. Jack Waddington August 8, 2011 at 9:08 am #

    Simple: Just abolish the stuff (money) then let the chaos settle and voila, the world will still go round.

  8. Michael MacLeod August 8, 2011 at 9:11 am #

    Jim, lots of blame to go around, but http://goo.gl/SNqPl Tea Party to blame for all of this? Come on!

  9. ozone August 8, 2011 at 9:13 am #

    ” Everybody is broke now: national treasuries, giant banks, pension funds, insurance companies. The wonder so far is that credit default swaps have not yet been triggered by interest rate changes or some other silly shit, but when that comes to pass there is no way the counterparties can settle their contracts. Ruin will thunder through the financial system like winged death.” -JHK
    Thanks, Mr. Kunstler!
    Nice encapsulation of the one BIG chunk of pretending yet to be exposed. When it is finally revealed that these “assets” (LOL) are worthless, even the most delusional of money and market managers will have to face the fact that the bags they’re holding are not full of solid gold; they’re full of liquid poo.
    What happens after that will be most “interesting”. (We’ll have to “peg” “money” to something real [heaven forfend]. Let’s see what the Masters of the Universe come up with; then do the exact opposite! ;o)
    Ps. Large WTF moment on the credit rating thang. US “debt instruments” have been downgraded to AA+, from AAA. How does one even get to A anything for empty bets against a worthless and collapsed future? The weirdness is inexhaustible!

  10. Neon Vincent August 8, 2011 at 9:13 am #

    I knew you’d be almost insufferably gleeful about this past week, which went very much according to what you wrote a week ago, “Now the USA can get on with its systemic collapse honestly and fairly. Even though the debt ceiling extravaganza ended in something like political failure, one point did seem to shine through: there’s no more money.” And a political failure it was. No one really likes the debt ceiling deal–not the politicians of the Far Right or what passes for the Left, not the markets, not the credit rating agencies, and certainly not the people. The establishment politicians of the GOP probably actually like it, and Obama is pretending to like it, but that’s about it. As a means of ensuring stability, it’s a complete failure and deserves its nickname of Satan Sandwich.
    As for S&P not being in a position to fairly evaluate the U.S. debt after giving all those real estate CDOs AAA ratings, that’s something that you, Paul Krugman, and George Will all agree on. That’s a cold day in Hell when that happens. Speaking of cold days in Hell, David Frum is realizing that Paul Krugman was more right than his old employers at the Wall Street Journal. Better late than never, even if it is too late.
    About the only people who seem to be happy with the failure are the Tea Party people. When they heard that the Democrats were calling this the “Tea Party Downgrade,” a group of them in Wisconsin cheered. I guess they like the downgrade because it will speed up the advent of corn pone fascism, which they think they will like because it will put them in charge. HAH!
    I blogged about just about all of the above and more, such as the people of Troy, Michigan, saving their local library, at Crazy Eddie’s Motie News this past week. I was very busy, posting 16 articles. Blogging about sustainability in Detroit means never running out of material!

  11. Neon Vincent August 8, 2011 at 9:15 am #

    I’m glad to see you posting first. At least you have something of substance to say.
    So, how long before Aimlow Joe shows up?

  12. Thor's Hammer August 8, 2011 at 9:15 am #

    • #1 in military expenditures. We spend as much as the entire rest of the world combined, with only 2.7% of the world’s population.
    • #1 in medical costs. We spend 1.5 times as much per capita as the nearest competitor, but rank #37 in results.
    • #1 for percentage of population incarcerated.
    • #1 for inequality of wealth distribution in the Western Hemisphere.
    • #1 for protecting our elites from taxes. “Even my secretary pays a higher tax rate than I do.” “There’s class warfare, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” Warren Buffet, 2006
    However there is one category where we are no longer #1: as of Saturday have become #20. That is our credit worthiness— the measure of our nations’ willingness to pay our bills. I see no need to add to the millions of words written about the political farce that led to this result, but we should begin to understand the implications of losing our AAA credit status.
    In the short run our credit rating downgrade may turn out to be a non-event, but the likelihood is that interest rates on Treasury borrowing will increase the cost of funding the national debt by as much as 100 billion dollars per year. That represents a transfer of wealth to lenders (the Chinese government, international hedge funds, Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds, Goldman Sachs, etc.) It can only come from increased taxation or reduced spending elsewhere. Of course the American middle class and retired Grandmas everywhere will have no problem paying a few hundred dollars more per year, and I’m sure the 20% who are unemployed will do their part as well. Funny how quickly that “budget savings” our illustrious President and Representatives have been posturing about for months evaporated—.
    The medium and longer term implications of the credit downgrade are much more serious. We import 75% of the oil to fuel our transportation system, maintain the world’s most expensive and technologically advanced military, import virtually everything we buy from China or India, and have exported our entire basic manufacturing sector to low wage countries. We have been able to extend and pretend this system into a huge wealth creator for a select few, while keeping the middle class happy because they could use their house as an ATM. This Ponzi scheme had as one of its key elements the fact that the Dollar has been the reserve currency for the world. Having a national currency as the world reserve currency confers tremendous power upon the dominant nation. It can (within limits) control the world money supply and distribution of wealth in its favor, print electronic money to keep the flow of oil and iPads coming, and operate as the king of kings in the world economic system.
    As of Saturday, August 06, 2011 the US started down the one way street that will inevitably lead to the Dollar being replaced as the world’s reserve currency. It may take place in six months or at most a few years, but international transactions will no longer be conducted in US Dollars. Importing 590 billion to one trillion dollars worth of oil each year will require earning international currency, not printing electronic dollars. We can drill baby drill until our drill bits are all dull, but we will never be able to coax enough oil from the high Arctic or the played-out wells in Texas to support our car-based infrastructure.
    Exactly how do the wizards on Wall Street and their servants in public office plan to run an economy that has little manufacturing capability, an infrastructure built entirely upon the premise of an endless supply of cheap oil, a poorly educated work force, and no ability to dictate the terms of trade to the rest of the world that no longer needs dollars to conduct international commercial activities? Or perhaps they don’t need to worry about such minor details because they already own their villa in the tax free Virgin Islands and have stocked the wine cellar with a lifetime supply of Dom Pérignon?

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  13. James Howard Kunstler August 8, 2011 at 9:18 am #

    Simple: Just abolish the stuff (money) then let the chaos settle and voila, the world will still go round.
    To Jack Waddington:
    For the record, I think your view is absurd. Some medium of exchange will continue to exist, even in a world made by hand. That’s what money is. How it is valued is something else.

  14. metuselah August 8, 2011 at 9:20 am #

    Government officials were righteously seething over S and P’s chutzpah
    LOL! I can’t believe you still believe any of the government mafia theatrics/propaganda.
    The S&P downgrade is designed to have people pile into 2yr treasuries, driving yields down, just as they did during QE2. And there you have QE3!

  15. Michael MacLeod August 8, 2011 at 9:20 am #

    Oh, and Consultant:
    The point of our Union was to be able to “have our own country” if that proved to be better for the citizens of a given state. Both New York and Virginia explicitly tied their right to leave the Union as part of their joining it. Of course, in an agreement like the Constitution, a right assumed by one party is available to all. Those who say Texas has no right to secede clearly hasn’t read the documents that created our nation.
    And that’s not even considering the case of those who very credibly say Texas never properly ratified their joining the Union in the first place.

  16. Consultant August 8, 2011 at 9:23 am #

    Tea Party (baggers all) are a reaction to the naked greed fostered by neocon Republicans who want to take the country back to (debt) slavery.
    And we’re there. Except in our new country, white people are slaves too. That’s right. Me and you.
    That’s a pure Monday morning shocker to the knuckle draggers who will come on this site much later in the day (I guess it takes a while to get their diminished brain cells going).

  17. 3rd Generation August 8, 2011 at 9:27 am #

    LIVE by the sword, DIE by the sword.
    It couldn’t happen to a more deserving populace.
    There are No rights because there are NO WRONGS.
    America, is Doomed.
    F*ck America and all it’s flag waving Gomers.

  18. Tangurena August 8, 2011 at 9:28 am #

    This is following the script that Naomi Klein documented in Shock Doctrine – fashion a “crisis” that can be blamed on everyone, then walk in and take over the country/economy. In the past, the banksters did it to third world countries, but now the banksters are doing it to us.
    As for the “can/may Texas secede”, that issue was settled in Texas v. White, with a wooden stake firmly planted through the heart of the rebs.

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  19. noel bodie August 8, 2011 at 9:28 am #

    I enjoy the clarity of your thinking. True Wealth? A truckload of split firewood, an acre of sweet juicy cantaloupe ready for market. If you want a good cantaloupe now is the time to eat, not in January. Local is the “new” organic!

  20. Jack Waddington August 8, 2011 at 9:28 am #

    It’s not as absurd as you might think James. It does need a bit of very deep thinking and contemplation though.

  21. popcine August 8, 2011 at 9:32 am #

    It should come as no surprise that we do not know what money is. Money is food, and look at how we’ve been eating all these years! Money is water, and we dirty it, poison it. I wonder what it’s like to be really hungry? The closest most Americans get to that is images on TV. Of course, we have our own particular pain, dieting. They say the worst torture is what you perceive as self-inflicted. Dieting, saving. But how can we save when our currency faces debasement?
    They say silver is the poor man’s gold. I say, dirt is the poor man’s silver. Grow your own food, save your own money. Discover them both as if for the first time.

  22. Consultant August 8, 2011 at 9:33 am #

    You sound like you’re ready to secede. But you won’t because you’re a fake.
    Your New South country would fall apart just like the Old South did.
    Y’all don’t want to work. Why do think slavery took root there.
    You’re a bunch of lazy, get something for nothing idiots. You couldn’t/wouldn’t even work your own damn farms so you set out to debase an entire race of people.
    Tea Party, states rights, Ku Klux Klan-all the same sorry thing.

  23. ozone August 8, 2011 at 9:33 am #

    2 minutes to countdown! (Opening market bell.)

  24. newworld August 8, 2011 at 9:35 am #

    Try diamonds Jim, they might have liquidity for you. Not for a Scots-Irish man like me out in Hooterville, but having enough as an insurance policy like a goldbug has small denomination coins could prove handy.
    As for simple minded disparagement of the TP, liberalism is dead regardless of what the psychopaths at Kos tell you. You simply are not going to tax the people who propped up Obama to run the ponzi scheme of “benefits.” One of Buffet’s businesses is a tax avoidance service for rich people who vote “D.”
    As for taxing the middle class, I’m sure all those $100,000 a year in compensation government workers can do without an extra vacation in the Bahamas, but that cow will dry up quick as well.
    It’s over.

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  25. noel bodie August 8, 2011 at 9:44 am #

    Just what we need: another bible quoting tejas governor in the white house, with queen Karl in the closet and dead-eye dick in the bunker, with Tom delay and fuckindickarmey in the mimeograph room spinning.

  26. kulturcritic* August 8, 2011 at 9:47 am #

    “Did you admire Standard and Poor’s sly, Friday night downgrade of the United States Treasury bond rating?” That was the Big News, no?
    Jim – The debt crisis is only just begun. And the war for resources is underway. We continue to see this world in one way only, as an object for our manipulation and control. I give you and your readers two posts today, sort of companion pieces, if you will: The Mothers Of Invention and Capitalism and Collapse. Enjoy, the kulturCritic

  27. kulturcritic* August 8, 2011 at 9:48 am #

    James here is the link to the second offering. KC

  28. Smokyjoe August 8, 2011 at 9:52 am #

    Zaax wrote:
    I really like this quote; “In the US, the biggest problem is Washington. It is becoming clear that they work for maybe a hundred billionaires and five industry groups and that’s about it.”
    Spot on, that. Now we should all go back and read some 80s Cyberpunk novels. Like the rich in those societies (or contemporary Columbia), our rich will soon be hiring armed security forces to protect their enclaves and precious selves from mobs and kidnappers.
    Just another stop on a train called “downward.”

  29. WestCoast August 8, 2011 at 9:56 am #

    The two most useful words in any language:
    “grow food”
    Google it

  30. Alannala August 8, 2011 at 9:57 am #

    link to a similar dismal outlook on the Andrew Sullivan blog. (i’m not a conservative_) but i guess he writes for a wider audience anyway
    i sold my old car and now ride a bike everywhere. but what i really would like is some land to grow food. that will be the gold of tomorrow

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  31. ozone August 8, 2011 at 9:57 am #

    “As for the “can/may Texas secede”, that issue was settled in Texas v. White, with a wooden stake firmly planted through the heart of the rebs.” -T.
    Damn; I was hoping they’d take their ball (of bullshit) and go home to their thoroughly poisoned wasteland. Too bad.
    Guess that’s why Goodhair Perry is making his play to become President of the Cornpone Corp. of ‘Murka, bringing his horde of god-fearin’, ignorant assholes with him. (Are they needing to desert their native bung-hole land and move to cleaner pastures?)

  32. loveday August 8, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    Well, you certainly got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. Your commentary was particularly venomous, why so glum, chum? After all this is what you have been predicting isn’t it? Why is anyone surprised, we are just where everyone knew we were going, make no mistake the destination was not a mystery, only the time of arrival. So suck it up baby it’s the American way and start looking up your grandma’s depression recipes to stretch the increasingly costly food.
    Yes, I agree a new form of exchange will be needed, but the devil is in the details as usual. Will we roll over and allow another private central bank to be formed? Or much more sensibly begin a public bank on the model of the Bank of North Dakota, the only state owned bank in the country. Please note the depression has not had a hard impact on North Dakota as of now, wether that will continue remains to be seen, but such a bank appears to be a viable alternative. Yup it is way past time to be moaning about the past, time to get busy planning the future.
    I have to admit, the spectacle on display has really been something. But please direct your attention the the news that radiation has been detected in Oklahoma city rainfall at the rate of .19 microsieverts per hour, not good. Also please note the new opinion polls out about public approval of congress has fallen to 17%, a figure so low that it has prompted Patrick Caddell to state publicly that such low ratings are “pre-revolutionary” and call into play the concept of consent of the governed. Did any of you, the governed, approve the fall of 2008 bank bailouts? I think not. Anybody for the Obama bank bailouts? Nope, not hardly. Well those items are some of the more important “news” that hasn’t really been seen in the mainstream media. But of course that is to be expected, any real news? Just don’t talk about, it will go away. Radioactive fish in Connecticut, no problem. 35% increase in infant mortality on the west coast of North America since Fukushima blew? No big deal, just worry about the good old dollar, right? Okay whatever.
    Interesting times are upon us with a vengeance.

  33. LLPete August 8, 2011 at 10:00 am #

    Thor’s Hammer violates the one-screen rule but well worth reading. The first few comments this Monday are good. The usual food fight hasn’t started yet.

  34. lbendet August 8, 2011 at 10:00 am #

    Thanks JKH for the insightful post this week.
    Yes, this is what Europe gets for following our insane notions of free trade economy and large trading blocks. The illusion is still being pushed, but the reality is that the king has no clothes and you are right about the old currencies serving their citizenry far better than the Euro. That one size fits all currency should have remained just an economic fantasy!–and thrown into the dustbin of history!
    Our financial hegemony is now in real jeopardy and our influence around the world especially Goldman Sachs who set Greece up to lie about their assets to the EU will not hold sway. Now Ireland and the others about to fall should just say no to the IMF!
    I posted a link to Charles Hugh Smith yesterday about the total futility of QE3 and the question to keep bailing out Europe on our fumes, destroying our economy even more and losing all credibility in the end.
    The other interesting set of stories has to do with selling our public assets to other nation states while insisting to not raise taxes on the wealthy.
    You can’t run any govt. central or local without revenue, so we are selling our land in various location to China and sovereign wealth funds as well as sections of our highway system as part of the Nasco Corridor (NAFTA Superhighway) our corporate-owned MSM will not discuss.
    They also are buying land close to our transportation lines and it should be understood that these are no risk investments, meaning they are guaranteed to make a specific amount of money. If the American people wanted to build public transportation, more trains, for instance, we would have to pay the difference to these foreign investors.
    [ China will get property in Toledo adjacent to major transportation lines and the Maumee River with access to the Great Lakes; and with the blessing of the state’s governor they will get a 30,000 acre self-contained city near the Boise airport in Idaho.]
    The American people are debating as if it were the 1960’s without the context of Keynesian economics with the neoliberal doctrine imposed upon it since the mid-1970’s and why it can’t work, since they are in diametric opposition. Milton Friedman’s greatest flaw is that you can’t have a free market with no rules. No regulation means giant monopolies that don’t want competition. They can pollute with impunity. They take no responsibility and answer to no one.
    The polity doesn’t understand what globalism is and how it will undermine the nation state. Lot’s of money to be made as the keep selling this country out. Not in the discussion of our deficit is the rampant government expenditure on the security apparatus build after 911.
    All the “private contractors” making a killing on tax-payer money at a profit. The only thing they discuss is SS, and Medicare, and public pensions. Everything else is special interest and you know they can’t discuss that.
    And what is the US doing about China hacking into the military and industrial secrets of this once great superpower?
    They want to cooperate!!! Huh? Let’s set up some basic rules, they say. I believe there already are and China is breaking international law. But we owe them so much money as they fund our military escapades that we can’t afford.
    There is an aversion to risk taking in this economic system that breaks all tradition with classical capitalist practice. Thus individuals and corporations now are sitting on $billions and investing everywhere but here, claiming –oh, they just don’t know where we are going.. Well if they refuse to employ Americans, it will only go down.

  35. loveday August 8, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    Oh yeah, what’s this nonsense about refighting the Civil War? Come on you dinosaurs wake up, we got some real issues to talk about.

  36. brewing August 8, 2011 at 10:04 am #

    Fantastic post James! I too have started writing a blog because of the way you’ve inspired me to speak up. Thanks James.

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  37. Omar Bongo August 8, 2011 at 10:08 am #

    “Fantastic post James! I too have started writing a blog because of the way you’ve inspired me to speak up. Thanks James.”

  38. Steve Knox August 8, 2011 at 10:12 am #

    Couldn’t agree more that S&P was the wrong messenger to lower our rating, but to kill the messenger ignores the message. As has been discussed by those who feel that deficits don’t matter because future growth makes them less important, what happens when we don’t get that growth? Limits do matter despite what the Paul Krugmans say, and we have reached that point in our economic history where future growth will be difficult at best.
    When it becomes apparent that our debt isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, what happens to our rating then?

  39. empirestatebuilding August 8, 2011 at 10:12 am #

    The last 3 years have felt like a slow motion train wreck. It is hard to imagine what it will feel like 3 years from now.
    Aimlow Joe was here

  40. budizwiser August 8, 2011 at 10:13 am #

    Where is Sarah Palin when you need her?
    I mean what would Michelle do?
    At least FDR eventually went on the radio and spoke a little “power to truth.”
    Anyone else as annoyed as I am that perhaps with the exception of Rand Paul – no one of any stature or mainstream power/face recognition will go on mainstream media and declare the need for some serious spanking?
    Hey Jim – you didn’t even burp up anything about the 60 minutes episode…. wow talk about jaded…
    Hey talking heads – we don’t want welfare, medicare, social security or unemployment or free health insurance.
    All the American People want is a level fucking playing field where anyone can be sent to prison and the people who make the most money pay the most taxes.
    Is that so much? JK, can you write this up for me and use big words?

  41. Solar Guy August 8, 2011 at 10:13 am #

    Old School: Money is Power.
    New School: Power is Money.
    #Invest In Solar.
    And Dear Mr. Kunstler, I wish you could eloquently spit some of your metaphors and excellent predictions on the television screen. People would watch, listen, and ideally take action from it.
    Off to get some Solar Permits now. Hope these dudes don’t fuck with me today cause I’m on edge. You should hear my War Scream. My voice is AWESOME LOUD!
    Cheers ClusterFuckers.

  42. LaughingAsRomeWasBurningDown August 8, 2011 at 10:16 am #

    JHK, excellent column this week.
    Always keep learning something new…. if nothing else, I now know what a ‘caryatid’ is. Thanks.

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  43. ozone August 8, 2011 at 10:24 am #

    Good “bullet points”, LB. Thanks
    When the howling wilderness of purposefully diversionary mud-slinging begins, I’ll just roll back up to the very top (starting with JHK’s offering) and start over with things worth pondering.
    And, just to get a better sense of our scale in the scheme of things, I found this, for our collective loss of awe:

  44. lsjogren August 8, 2011 at 10:41 am #

    Panic abounds, right wingers retreat to their fundamentalist constitutional utopia while left wingers retreat to Socialism and other forms of governance that lead to nothing but poverty and oppression.

  45. Rabblechat August 8, 2011 at 10:44 am #

    Thor- You are right on about the implications for reserve currency and or coming need to earn our way in the world. Aside from those 70+ years in age, virtually every American has been born into a world of unrivaled American dominance. It is simply beyond comprehension for most, that iPads,hummers and flat-screens are not a God given right.
    As a country, we have become fat, complacent and irrelevant… We are no longer the America of the past; self reliant, adventurous, determined.
    We used to hunger for greatness, but we have sat at the table long past the point of being sated…
    And now even if the collective decided to work towards righting the ship, we no longer have the ability to do so, Our infrastructure is crumbling, out factories are either outsourced or obsolete, our workforce uneducated.
    What do we have to offer the world? overweight retail clerks? Semi-skilled labor that thinks they should earn more in a hour than a south American or Chinese worker earns in 6 months? I guess we are still the go to people for state of the art weaponry, and at the rate things are going around the globe that could prove to be a lucrative (but short lived) market…

  46. ctemple August 8, 2011 at 10:45 am #

    “The world’s coming to an end, I don’t even care, as long as I can have my limo and my orange hair.”
    Cheech and Chong

  47. daofirry2 August 8, 2011 at 10:53 am #

    James, this past week proved you to be correct more often, and in more ways, than many other weeks in recent memory. You were right at those times also, but it was less apparent. Swell. Wonderful. This is just… GREAT! Oh, how happy I am (not).
    Richard Quest tried to lay it all on the line for Christine Romans last night. It was fantastic to see. If I can find it I’ll come back and post it.
    Keep on keepin’ it real.

  48. kulturcritic* August 8, 2011 at 10:56 am #

    Superb insights Thor!!

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  49. Smokyjoe August 8, 2011 at 10:57 am #

    “Oh yeah, what’s this nonsense about refighting the Civil War? Come on you dinosaurs wake up, we got some real issues to talk about.”
    It ended? To a Virginian like me, I have to keep looking around to remind myself. Oh, yeah, that War is good for tourism!
    If only we’d gone with the winning side, and let the ignoramuses south of us get whipped good in about six months. When one of these South Carolinians or Texans starts waving the Rebel flag, I remind them the Virginia gave them the generals that almost won at Antietam. Okay, I left out John Bell Hood, and he was an ass-whupper. I wish Texas could leave the Union now….but that’s another story.
    Actually, Loveday, some Civil War history might be most useful about now. The country is fracturing on the same old dumbass lines, with the Mid-West and parts of the Mountain States going on the dumbass / Jesus Joker (love the term, JHK!) side of the divide.
    Even though JHK is a damned Yankee, he has the South of today down just about right.

  50. dale August 8, 2011 at 10:59 am #

    insufferable says;
    I was pointing out that compared to socialism and communism, fascism or dictatorship, capitalism was the way for people to try to make their way out of poverty because it afforded them the possibility to make money.
    Socialism and capitalism are usually practiced as a matter of degree, you may be better off with a small business in a largely capitalist economy while having a socialist medical system. Discussion which characterize them as being a choice between one or the other are confusing “communism” with “socialism”, a bit like confusing “fascism” and “capitalism”.

  51. bearfoot August 8, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    start your own blog, por favor

  52. dale August 8, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    Qshtik says;
    Let’s call a spade a spade. Cuba is a shit-hole because of an unnatural and brutal restraint of human nature, i.e. Capitalism.
    To the extent that Cuba is a “shit-hole”, is caused by a lot of things, not the least of which is being boycotted by it close neighbor and largest economic power in the world for 60 years, the U.S.
    You really are kind of clueless on economics and political structure; socialism can exist in a democratic society, and often does; communist on the other hand, is a form of totalitarian rule, which uses socialism as it’s underlying economic system. If a totalitarian system uses capitalism as it’s underlying economic system, then it is fascism. So, using your thought process, capitalism is just a degree of fascism, not worth distinguishing.
    You really should consider taking history and economics from someone other than Glenn Beck.

  53. ccm989 August 8, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    Another excellent summation of the collapsing world economy by JHK. The world is broke. Even China, holding most of our notes, is so far into our debt problem, that it has become their problem too. Here is my radical suggestion – what about a two year, world-wide interest moratorium. Yes, that’s right, two years for every country to pay down the debt interest free. Okay, it will never happen but if it did, Europe and the US might have a chance to get back on their feet. China would benefit from this too because if our purchasing power is gone, their economy tanks too. Welcome to the Domino Effect.
    Now Somalia is experiencing another famine due to extreme drought. Maybe if Somalia spent less time practicing piracy and more time building infrastructure, their children wouldn’t be starving. Drought seems to be spreading everywhere. Despite Rick Perry’s massive prayer rally, God continues to ignore him and the drought grows even worse in Texas. Perhaps God doesn’t really care for Perry’s version of piety after all. Maybe God thinks Perry’s a big phony. Who knows? Perhaps Gov. Perry will convince Texas to secede and then Texas will be no more of a problem to most of us than Somalia. Let them pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, etc.
    And let’s all also ignore S&P, another big phony. These guys and Moody’s were instrumental in the 2008 financial collapse, falsely rating inferior investments much higher than they deserved. Ordinary people made the mistake of trusting them. Despite the Dow Jones recently falling, people are still investing in US Treasuries. Apparently, their faith in Uncle Sam is still solid, no matter the Tea Party claims. Globalization, droughts and downgrades sometimes seem overwhelming. But things could be worse. Michelle Bachmann could be Rick Perry’s vice president and beam at us with her crazy, batshit eyes.

  54. rippedthunder August 8, 2011 at 11:12 am #

    Mornin O3, most excellent video link. Now it is comfirmed. I am truly a mote :o) ! I checked out the Monterey General Store on line. 375K. It looks like it has potential. Do you know if there are living arrangments on the second floor? I especially like the water-way out back and the metal roof.

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  55. bearfoot August 8, 2011 at 11:14 am #

    more money than brains, no doubt

  56. ozone August 8, 2011 at 11:16 am #

    If you can find a video of that, I’d be most interested in viewing it. (I couldn’t find it, and I always want to know how far the envelope can be stretched by an official propaganda organ.)
    Thanks in advance.

  57. ozone August 8, 2011 at 11:21 am #

    I do believe you are correct. I’ll be more circumspect in future. (Not that a deletion of my comments would really harm the discourse. ;o)
    Thanks; see yez in the funny papers!

  58. daofirry2 August 8, 2011 at 11:21 am #

    hey, this is interesting. Turbines secured to the bottom of rivers. Anybody have any thoughts on this?

  59. steve August 8, 2011 at 11:24 am #

    Praise the Lord and pass the biscuits, Rick Perry, and the South shall have risen again and swept away all things Obama.

  60. RhodeIslandMomma August 8, 2011 at 11:26 am #

    So I just finished reading The Witches of Hebron. I was sickened by the pages discussing the seduction of an 11 year old boy by a 13 year old girl. I wonder if this classifies as child pornography?

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  61. Consultant August 8, 2011 at 11:26 am #

    Steve, just to let you know, that’s suppose to be a joke. Okay?

  62. Newfie August 8, 2011 at 11:27 am #

    The Chinese aren’t broke. However, they have lent trillions to broke Western nations that can’t pay them back. I wonder how they will react when they are offered 10 cents on the dollar for their mountain of T-bills ?

  63. John66 August 8, 2011 at 11:28 am #

    I don’t see how fast food jobs are something to get that excited about.

  64. loveday August 8, 2011 at 11:30 am #

    Well if you feel more division in the country is productive, by all means indulge. But you should consider the idea that TPTB want as much division as possible among the populace, just makes it easier to run things. The old divide and conquer routine.
    Better to focus on the real culprits that worked very hard and surprisingly openly to bring down the great American working and middle classes. You see when Bush said, roughly, Our enemies are working hard everyday to harm our country and we do too. He meant it, as can be observed in the outcome of his policies. Obama has merely continued those disastrous policies with a pretty smile plastered on the pig. And don’t forget snarlin’ Dick’s- debt doesn’t matter routine. Pretty rich when you consider the rethugs are screaming bloody murder about debt now.
    So yes, I agree the country is splintering and breaking apart on every level. But buying into that division isn’t going to help solve any problems. Looking clearly at the problems and identifying feasible local solutions is probably the best we can do. Because despite Jim’s insistence that we face a dark age, people still gotta eat.
    Take care in these interesting times cause it’s only gonna get more interesting. Yeeha!

  65. anti soak August 8, 2011 at 11:32 am #

    According to The WS Journal Fidel socked 10 million or so away in a Swiss bank.
    Might this off-shoring have contributed to Cuba’s malaise?
    Cuba is where it is due to Communism.Dont blame the USA.

  66. LaughingAsRomeWasBurningDown August 8, 2011 at 11:33 am #

    > Texas, created more jobs last year than all other 49 states (56 if you are Obama) combined.
    I think you are wrong about that “combined” part, I remember seeing that Texas had created more jobs than any other state, but that was kinda misleading because of 1) increased deficit by the state government and 2) unemployment was worse (and is still worse) there than compared to a lot of other states.

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  67. ozone August 8, 2011 at 11:34 am #

    Howdy-hey, RT!
    Yes, motes we be, I’m afraid. Maybe that’s a good thing; we can’t escape from here to screw up any other planets! ;o)
    375k for the store, eh? I think the owners also own property[s] in Florida? Hoping to “make a killing” on the clueless Yankees, I think.
    If ’twere me looking to buy the place, I’d beat them up unmercifully on the price (as any Yankee worth his salt would do).

  68. Consultant August 8, 2011 at 11:37 am #

    Steve, that’s funny stuff.

  69. anti soak August 8, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    No because there is no ‘Victim’.
    Pat Buchanan mentioned similar in a play by
    Sandra Bernhard. [‘o how cool seduce a 13 year old’]

  70. John66 August 8, 2011 at 11:42 am #

    PERCENTAGE… What PERCENTAGE of this piece of shit “Texas Miracle” you dumfux keep howling about are RESTAURANT JOBS!?!
    It’s one thing to say “high tech, venture capital, aeronautics, health care and even industrial manufacturing” but it’s another thing entirely if those kind only account for like TEN PERCENT of the total job growth, which makes it look just as pathetic of the other states.
    Reagan taught you guys statistics well, didn’t he? If it’s a job, then it’s a job. Doesn’t matter that it’s part time at Carl’s Jr. Just as long as it looks good for statistics.

  71. ozone August 8, 2011 at 11:44 am #

    Very cool!
    Here’s an oldie but a goodie, derived from the same power source:
    Look up lowtech magazine and look for “boat mills”.

  72. George S. August 8, 2011 at 11:50 am #

    I firmly believe that the U.S. should transition, with all deliberate speed, to an economy based on cupcakes and insurance – the only things we truly do well (at least the cupcakes).

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  73. sevenmmm August 8, 2011 at 11:52 am #

    I know my garden hoe is worth a lot!
    Snatching 401k digits is much easier to grab up than any asset one has in hand (bullets might become more valuable than Gold soon?). Governments around the world don’t have time between the sunbaths, chance meetings with hotel maids, and lunches, with beer, to do the hard work of actually doing the door to door scene…
    However, it is interesting to note, Gold is money, and as such, is wanted now more than ever as a stable medium of exchange.
    Gold is more liquid than fiat is right now. Ha!

  74. John66 August 8, 2011 at 11:52 am #

    Just what I thought…
    Unable to back up what the fuck you’re talking about.
    Next time you choose to fuck with me, boy, it’d be nice to bring some fucking facts with ya!

  75. Patrizia August 8, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    In a world where marketing is more important than the value of the product, where people buy the box without looking at the content, the money instead of being the media to exchange products and services, has become the product and the service.
    In Wall Street they do not exchange stocks and bonds by their value, they exchange ratings and opinions.
    This could still be worth if ratings and opinions reflected reality, if they explained the value, if they were honest and true, if they didn´t change at the will of the ones who speculate.
    What kind of a world is this where who works and works hard, earns much less than the one who bids?
    When there will be no bakers, no farmers, no carpenters, where will the gurus of Wall Street find their food? Or who will fix their homes or their roofs or their planes or their cars?
    The revolution should begin from this: no work, no bread.
    Eat your stocks and your credit default swaps, or your derivatives.
    I eat MY bread and it tastes much better than yours.
    What do you do with a gold bullion?
    Much less than with a potato.
    Bread, potatoes, nails and saws, these are reality.
    Welcome a world made by hands, I will be among the rich, because I KNOW how to grow potatoes and how to knit a sweater.
    The future that is in front of us, is MUCH, MUCH better than the world we lived in till now.

  76. John66 August 8, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    Now, haven’t you got a hot date at your family reunion to go to?

  77. ElleBeMe August 8, 2011 at 11:57 am #

    Well I for one am past the blame game going on as to who’s fault this clusterphuck is…
    The real issue now is how will the US continue to “grow” with our credit rating lowered and possibly in risk of being lowered yet again?
    Anyone see how this is going to play out in the dwindling resource game?
    I’ll tell you how – since this land of the cowardly and insignificant has been downing oil like a redneck on moonshine for the past 60 years or more….oil is/was our means of growth. But now wherefore will we be able to get as much of the stuff – since all oil is sold at world market prices…even the stuff we draw fro our own ground? How will we be able to borrow as much to keep those tankers pulling in to feed our endless appetite?
    I sure as hell hope you all have good insulation and a stocked pantry.
    Winter’s coming and it’s lookin like a cold one….

  78. John66 August 8, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

    Sounds like you’re running out of creative come-backs. Better stop while you’re 20 miles behind.

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  79. John66 August 8, 2011 at 12:05 pm #

    Go find some longhorn shit to sniff, Texas boy.

  80. anti soak August 8, 2011 at 12:06 pm #

    After all the folks breathing a sigh of relief here
    that Fabian was banned, look whos here monday morning.
    Those who are new to this blog….one poster
    has been banned like 20? 50? times..
    assass, zzzzz, not yr mommy, 2true,fabian

  81. Grouchy Old Girl August 8, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

    Was really looking forward to JHK’s rant this morning, what with the latest crisis of the bond rating reduction. That happened to Ontario in the early 90s when S&P got all upset about our alleged socialist provincial government that commited the sin of trying to prop things up with spending during that recession instead of slashing everything the way the Right wanted.
    Bottom line: we survived, although the alleged socialist government of the New Democratic Party didn’t, and was followed by the right wing slashers, from whom we are still trying to recover nearly twenty years later.
    My advice as a Canadian: get over yourselves. This mild slap on the wrist is the least of your worries at the moment, and is far from being the worst news you will hear about your economy and standing in the world.
    Time to grow up, America.

  82. Grouchy Old Girl August 8, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    JHK: Please, please find a way to get the trolls off your site. They are destroying any chance of real discussion. It’s only noon and they are already taking over. I know that your job shouldn’t include policing the comments but hell, somebody has to do it.
    Trolls: Go somewhere else to play, the grown ups are quite sick of you here.

  83. manfredb August 8, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

    “And, let’s face it: they never did pay any of us for World War Two, really, except what they had to fork over to get the communist side of their own country out of hock. Their guilt-o-meter is still buzzing, I’m sure.”
    Dear Mr. Kunstler,
    I am new to this bog.
    What was a real shock to me was your comment about Germany and what the, in your opinion never paid to you (whoever that might be).
    As one born into the after war period I have to tell you that your knowledge about this matter is close to null.
    Germany paid more than 60 years to all those who call themselves the victors and also to a country called Israel to ALL Jewish.
    It looks like it got lost before reaching the single people who might have deserved a kind of compensation – if money ever could repay what those people went through.
    You also seem not to know that there is another country called Switzerland whose only part in that war was to collect dirty war money.
    To whom went these around 20 billion Swiss Franks they paid to somebody over there in New York ?
    I could tell you to whom.
    With this amount they didn’t even pay back the
    interest of the amount they enjoyed for so many years. Not one penny of this money arrived at the single person mentioned above. And not to forget that they didn’t pay on their own will, but were forced to do so…..
    What did the victors pay back for the damages they did three days before the war was officially over ?????
    Probably you never have been to Dresden, Berlin and other cities covered by their bombardment.
    These actions were totally unjustified and totally USELESS !
    I have been there and saw the mess they managed to do.
    Therefore, my guilt-o-meter is NOT buzzing at all.

  84. budizwiser August 8, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

    Somebody thinks that “texas” created jobs.
    Some other people are using words that end is “ism.”
    Geez, nobody, apparently knows what they are talking about.
    This is I why write childishly. It takes pages and pages of specifics to have any meaningful dialog.
    For instance, how the hell do we as a people of a democracy create any influence to turn this ship around?
    Does it matter if I write a Blog or a letter? Hold up a big sign?
    I really figure the PTB really are winging it. Just taking in whatever comes their way with no regard for the future. Knowing this, is there really anyway to prepare?
    Does anyone even want to discuss whether the country will ever have another “new deal” ???
    I mean, just where the fuck is this thing going?

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  85. Cavepainter August 8, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    JHK urges going local. Uh,….does anyone but me see that for much of the world that won’t work either (Samalia, Haiti and countless other areas). It’s too damn late there and is fastly growing ever more the case here if we practice the advice of those who can’t come to terms with the reality that we — here in the US of A — are already overpopulated too, just not to the same extent. The dumb ass dreamers believe our nation can go on absorbing global overpopulation. Yeah, sure; we’ll all squeese life down to a paste of tastless calories delivered in a toothpaste tube. Hell, forget about wilderness experience, species diversity, wildlife habitat, open space. Anyone for living in a refugee feeding station?

  86. loveday August 8, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

    Wow didn’t take long for things to get ugly around here. Really folks the TPTB just don’t have to do all that much to maintain their power, no unity in the population means they win by default( sorry couldn’t resist the pun).
    Get a grip all you swearers, smearers and playground bullies! Real life is in progress!

  87. lbendet August 8, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    Hey Ellebeme,
    Good to see your posts every so often. You are so right about that. China is investing and buying quite a chunk of our oil/nat gas too right here on our land. on Oct. 15 2010, I wrote:
    [Well, guess who’s coming to Texas
    Yes this is the other side of globalism. With the outsourcing of our jobs we have made China so deliriously liquid that they are snapping up energy assets everywhere including here. This is the flip side of globalism with China now investing in Texas oil and gas assets….
    ….State Owned CNOOC, China’s energy giant is buying a $multibillion stake in 6000,000 acres of South Texas with ambitions to further expansion here in the US. The full investments will come to around 22 billion for the Chinese to learn how to some of their own hard to get gas deposits. Analysts think there will be less resistance to these investments as China can provide the money for for more development to cash-strapped American companies.
    “China has increasingly been looking to the Americas for raw materials it needs to sustain the boom. As private investment dwindled with the global financial crisis, the cash-flush Chinese went on a regional shopping spree.”]
    Drill baby, drill–Not gonna help us.

  88. EmpireBackFire August 8, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    I enjoy watching right wing nuts get their ass kicked on public forums! 😀

  89. LaughingAsRomeWasBurningDown August 8, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

    LOL, so you lost more jobs than all other states combined, and gained some of them back, with massive increases in deficit spending… Didn’t we try that already?
    How many jobs were created in the state government? According to the Texas Workforce Commission, Texas had 334,100 state government jobs in 2001, the year Perry took office, and 369,800 in 2010 — an increase of 35,700 jobs, or 10.7 percent, on Perry’s watch.
    Cheryl Abbot, an economist at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in Dallas, confirmed that Perry is correct in saying that Texas added more jobs than all the other states combined. “Texas was one of the very few who even added jobs over that time,” she said.
    That’s not to say that Texas hasn’t lost jobs. At its peak, Texas had about 10.64 million jobs in August 2008. About a year later, when the recession was in full swing, only 10.21 million jobs were on the payroll — about 430,000 less. Since, Texas has added about 180,000 jobs. That’s about 250,000 fewer than its best.

  90. ElleBeMe August 8, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

    lbendet – always enjoy your posts as well. Tho sometimes when I check in here – the page is a mile long and I don’t bother responding for it is lost in the shuffle.
    However, no matter who is drilling here for gas/oil, the dream of unlimited growth is over. S&P isn’t the ONLY credit agency who downgraded us….and now Fannie & Freddie are losing credibility too.
    The US is entering into its Brave New World phase and nobody has been paid enough to stop it. More $$$$ in selling it off. Kinda like a totalled car….
    But as long as people keep watching thier TVs being reassure the panic is only temporary, and people are kept out of work or being forced to work for mere sustinence not much will happen until nearly everyone finds themselves smelling the formerly rose-scented shit sandwich we have been forced to eat – is actually a shit sandwich and smells accordingly so.
    I think back on the fall of the USSR often these days. How the west proclaimed TRIUMPF over the evil red empire…. That “capitalism” was the god-sent savior we believed it to be. But no sooner did the wall fall and people hugged through its concrete skeleton….the wolves circled and took the “victory” as a red-light for an orgy of conquest and consumption. Did we really win, or was their capitualtion the green light to the end of it all?
    Don’t know. Still thinking….but am certain that once the “enemy” was gone, there was no one else to feast upon but our own selves….

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  91. Islander800 August 8, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

    Ahh, the WSJ. Now there’s an unbiased source of Rupert-based reportage.
    Go scarf back some more biscuits from Pappy O’Perry, washed down with some Purple Jesus juice…

  92. TR August 8, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

    This site is my Monday morning ADDICTION.
    I’ve read most of the comments & links.

  93. Buck Stud August 8, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

    I am not exactly certain how many times you have asked JHK to ban certain posters and implored others not to respond to “The Trolls” but I know that it has been multiple times. In fact, your appeals are the equivalent of suturing chocolate cake onto the consciousness of the person on a diet. It’s that old “do not sin” mentality which has the paradoxical result of empowering that which it seeks to diminish.
    And some folks just might enjoy Fabian’s gig. Q has stated as much and why shouldn’t he after cleaning his clock the last couple of weeks. ” Let It Be” to echo St.Paul

  94. progress2conserve August 8, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    Maybe Buck, maybe.
    But if this Monday goes like last Monday –
    I’m about done with this place.

  95. Qshtik August 8, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    but what i really would like is some land to grow food. that will be the gold of tomorrow
    Al, I understand the whole grow-your-own rationale and I’ve been following with great interest Trippticket’s permaculture saga, but let’s get real about where a lot of (most?) people live such as my daughter and her husband who live in a big apartment building in the heart of Manhattan.
    Don’t know if you happened to see an article in yesterday’s NY Times (Metropolitan section, first page). The title reads “Pilfered Peppers In City Gardens; Tomatoes, Too.”
    The first paragraph says “At the 700 community gardens sprinkled through the city like little Edens, the first commandment should be obvious: Thou shalt not covet, much less steal, thy neighbors tomatoes, cucumbers or peppers. But people do.”
    Accompanying the article is a picture of a note posted at the plot of a victimized gardener. It reads:
    Dear plant thief, If I catch you stealing my plants I will boil you alive in a cauldron filled with poison ivy and stinging nettles until your flesh falls off your bones!

  96. Newfie August 8, 2011 at 1:32 pm #

    Don’t forget about Peak Oil in all the excitement over Peak Debt. The worst is yet to come. Just around the corner and down the road a little way…

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  97. Bustin J August 8, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

    Popcine said, “They say silver is the poor man’s gold. I say, dirt is the poor man’s silver. Grow your own food, save your own money. Discover them both as if for the first time.”
    Alanalda: “i sold my old car and now ride a bike everywhere. but what i really would like is some land to grow food. that will be the gold of tomorrow”
    Westcoast: “The two most useful words in any language: “grow food”
    Rebuttal by consultant: “You couldn’t/wouldn’t even work your own damn farms so you set out to debase an entire race of people. ”
    And on and on, etc.
    Look, there isn’t land enough to go around. Anyone clapping their hands about going back to subsistence agriculture is a complete moron. Townships own land, you “rent” it by making cash payments to the landlord. Most people don’t have the skills, talents, physical, intellectual or emotional ability to grow their own food, let alone grow a surplus, which they believe will be money in the bank.
    People are so friggin’ stupid: first, they think that growing food is a real solution, not realizing they require acres and acres of land and hundreds of barrel-equivalents in energy to get a sustainable crop. They think they have a solution by replacing the trip to the grocery store with a second fulltime job.
    They’ll come back posting responses that denigrate and ignore my criticisms. Farming gardening is just a new religion for people who have a newfound need to “Get religion” caused by the implosion of their retirement assets or job situation.
    Only an idiot without any experience with either believes in such bullshit. I see the results everywhere I go in my little town: yards turned upside down, half-ass projects that rot all winter. These people drive to the big box store, buy cow dung, and toss it in a few holes, burn the shit out of their tomato plants, and give up within 3 weeks.

  98. Michael MacLeod August 8, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

    Consultant, I think you, JHK and I are all on the same page. I have voted Republican, I voted Kerry against Bush, but now realize that it’s them against us. The differences between the donkey and elephant (lack of caps intended) have shrunk to the size of the head of a pin.
    Give me another choice. The Tea Party simply demands that, and as such, I must agree with them.

  99. ozone August 8, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

    “Al, I understand the whole grow-your-own rationale and I’ve been following with great interest Trippticket’s permaculture saga, but let’s get real about where a lot of (most?) people live such as my daughter and her husband who live in a big apartment building in the heart of Manhattan.” -Q.
    Well then, unless they can “buy their way out” [or provide an absolutely necessary skill], they’re pretty much skrew’t, ain’t they?
    Time grows short…

  100. Bustin J August 8, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

    CeeCee said, “Now Somalia is experiencing another famine due to extreme drought. Maybe if Somalia spent less time practicing piracy and more time building infrastructure, their children wouldn’t be starving. ”
    Thats an oversimplification. Because Somalia did not have an existing government, high-capacity, high-tech fishing fleets from the EU sailed with impunity into Somalian waters. Unlike the traditional small vessels, and the fishermen who were providing Somalia with high-quality protein in a sustainable fashion, these newcomers FROM THE E.U., fished the entire area out.

  101. Bustin J August 8, 2011 at 1:50 pm #

    Da Furry said, “hey, this is interesting. Turbines secured to the bottom of rivers. Anybody have any thoughts on this?”
    Yeah… um, why don’t people just stop using so much FUCKING ENERGY?
    I can’t think of a worse way to ruin the fucking environment than drop a piece of equipment into a fucking river so that an aggregate of people can run their A/C and play Medal of Honor 2.

    By harnessing rivers like the Mississippi and updating existing hydroelectric dams and other facilities, the association estimates the country could generate an additional 60 gigawatts of power by 2025. (A gigawatt powers around 1 million homes.)

    But what will Americans do with 60 gigawatts? I’ll tell you: they’ll make more blended margaritas, run the vacuum cleaners and big-screen TVs and heat and cool their inefficient McMansions. Businesses will run their fluorescent lights all night and day. Watch porn in their underwear. Run the electric can opener?
    Energy generated is energy WASTED.

  102. Doc Holliday August 8, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

    I will whisper the following so that I don’t meet the same fate as Eugene Victor Debbs and find myself in Federal Prison.
    But why don’t more ask why we have a military which spends more than the entire world combined? Who are what are they protecting us from or who are they protecting?
    Bring them home now.
    Why must it be that when I go to a bar and order a beer, they serve it in a bottle made of plastic (oil)? What was wrong with the ones we had 20 years ago which were made of glass and were refilled by an American Worker and reused?
    I’ll tell you.
    It is because someone in a suit and Italian loafers realized there was more profit to be made by making the bottle out of plastic, eliminating the Bottle Washer’s Job and having a Mafia Garbage Company bury the plastic in landfill, even if that means the public has to buy a new aircraft carrier and some more billion dollar airplanes to keep the plastic coming.
    The beer bottle can serve as a metaphor for our lives and our civilization. The bottle cannot be returned for deposit and the people are equally expendable. Both are reduced to an entry on some corporate balance sheet.
    So what is money? I think it used to be those glass bottles that a kid could collect for the 5 cent deposit that bought his ticket to a movie. That is before Disney Inc. stopped taking this legal tender.

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  103. IntegralResearchSociety August 8, 2011 at 1:54 pm #

    It’s unfortunate that the blogger at Forbes, Ken Rapoza, does not have an inkling about peak oil/everything. His description of the future for developing nations represents fantasy. Always nice to hear from Chomsky, though….

  104. malthus August 8, 2011 at 1:54 pm #

    Nope, no, no way. Living up to my name sake I say that overpopulation has led us to this mess and talking about anything else is just mental masturbation.

  105. Bustin J August 8, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    Bendit said, “China has increasingly been looking to the Americas for raw materials it needs to sustain the boom. As private investment dwindled with the global financial crisis, the cash-flush Chinese went on a regional shopping spree.”
    I was a child, stupefied and Amazed at my country (US) in 1989 when the Chinese government slaughtered the protesters in Tienanmen Square. Stupefied by our lack of response. Today, I am so much wiser. This morning I was remarking how similar the extinction of the Beiji river Dolphin due to the development of the Yangtze and the immanent extinction of the Vaquita river porpoise due to development of the Colorado river. By 1989 the USA was already heading full-tilt toward clusterfuck- a GOP-led government running itself into the ground, the “unreasonable” party in charge of the bloc dominated by Religious nuts and Messiah-complexed apocalypticons, corporate androids and a solid blue-collar Moron-o-sphere rounding out the playing field.
    The USA developed first- which is to say- we fucking set the bar: destroy everything, capitalize everything, be a bigger douchebag, “kill em all and let god sort them out” socio-politcal agendas. Now the USA slides into Banana Republic and guess what? We will get the WTO treatment: rape our natural resources, force “austerity” down our throats, and dissolve sovereignty.
    There is no game in town but their game… RATM says:

    No escape from the mass mind rape
    Play it again jack and then rewind the tape
    And then play it again and again and again
    Until your mind is locked in
    Believing all the lies that they’re telling you
    Buying all the products that they’re selling you
    They say jump and you say how high
    You’re brain-dead
    You’ve gotta fucking bullet in your head

    In my metal shop, a large sign says:
    So is clusterfuck. It accumulates. The little bites we can’t feel until the fever is upon us. It is the Vaquita downing in Las Vegas Sewage, the disappearance of national wealth bit by bit, the slow and steady demoralization of the citizenry….

  106. Nastarana August 8, 2011 at 2:09 pm #

    Last Friday night, Mr. Kunstler?
    Speak for yourself re Applebees (I have not been inside one in at least 5 yrs.) or shopping network (I don’t have cable).
    I was outside weeding and cultivating my garden and picking some produce for me and family to eat. So, yeah, I guess that does mean a few dimes less profit for some peoples’ frieinds, relatives etc. in the grocery bizz. A few pennies less for the chemical ag-bizz farmers and their illegaly in the USA workforces. Well, boo-hoo.
    I like your columns, Mr. Kunstler, but I think you are refusing to understand the folks in this country, more and more every day, who have turned our backs on consumerism, who do relearn and pracice some of the skills of self-reliance are those same white-sox wearing, too too boring and annoying squares whom a cool guy like you can’t even stand having in the same room with your interesting self.
    Learn to live within our means. Love too. Hows about we start by sending back to China everything not made to reasonable, sensible specifications, like, oh, it should last a year AFTER you take it out of the package, and if it is a food or personal care item, it shouldn’t poison you. Not to mention, if it is food, it should not be any ag product we can’t grow here ourselves.

  107. jackieblue2u August 8, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

    Excellent summary, Thank You.
    It sure does depend on who’s telling it.
    I agree with you, the real pirates are the E.U.
    Blame the victim happens all the time. It can be very subtle, but it goes on All The Time.

  108. Bustin J August 8, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

    Dr. Holiday Inn said, “The beer bottle can serve as a metaphor for our lives and our civilization. The bottle cannot be returned for deposit and the people are equally expendable. Both are reduced to an entry on some corporate balance sheet.
    I ride past hundreds of homes, every day. On trash days, certain times during the week, these homes disgorge the remainders of their habits- their trash. WE have a recycling system, modest little plastic buckets for glass. I frequently am amazed by the sheer tonnage of beer drunk in this country. At some point you have to ask why a household that consumes this much beer should buy it in individual bottles, only to shove a small mountain of glass out toward the street? Why aren’t these people investing in a actual keg, and subscribing to some sort of Beer-delivery service?
    I am convinced one of America’s main problems is alcoholism, just judging by the spectacle on America’s garbage collection days. Americans can get through anything as long as they are enjoying “the High Life”.
    “So what is money? I think it used to be those glass bottles that a kid could collect for the 5 cent deposit that bought his ticket to a movie.”
    Movies are $10 a pop! And they make you watch commercials! And then all the movies are re-hashes and remakes! Kids don’t work these days. Their parents deliver the newspapers. Next: Adults with lemonade stands.

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  109. Bustin J August 8, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    Jackie said, “I agree with you, the real pirates are the E.U.”
    Well, in this case. The fact is, beyond 200 nautical miles, the Earth’s oceans are a free-rape zone where anyone anywhere can vacuum all the life out, dump toxic waste, and be sure no one will see them do it. The real pirates are all the high-tech fishing fleets. If they are the pirates, and fish is the booty, what the fuck are we, buying the shit shrink-wrapped in the grocery? We’re some kind of fucked up victim, a snake eating its own tail,
    God, I was hoping Vlad would be posting today so I could take my wrath out on him. Or Old69- maybe he got his feeding tube wrapped around his neck last night.

  110. Bustin J August 8, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

    2tru said, “You mean like you, who used energy to post the above? Oh, OK. (Genius)”
    Go look up cheap shot, fucktard. I am a luddite with a library card compared to the “Avergae American”- or even the “sub-normal” american.

  111. lbendet August 8, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

    Good points. WHen the USSR fell, they said it was the “End of history”, what they meant was that we no longer had to be a showcase to the world how good capitalism is; Let the feeding ffrenzy commence.

  112. turkle August 8, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    old69 just copies and pastes stuff from another blog, a real crappy one.
    I think it might have gotten banned, too (a good thing).

  113. jackieblue2u August 8, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

    Looks like it’s time to Go Shopping ! (again)

  114. ozone August 8, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

    Da FUSA Freeeee Murkit is sliding like Mt. St. Helens on a hot magma sled.
    After our Wall St. President came on to instill hope and courage in the investors hearts, it did take a short uptick… about 10 minutes worth, then began plunging again. I s’pose that coincided with the Fed/Treasury buying up a shitload of stocks and bonds to prop up the sand castle. The usual Friday night rigging didn’t work this time, did it boys? (In case you didn’t notice, IT’S MONDAY!) Can’t bullshit the bullshitters, and a panic feeds on itself.

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  115. Cavepainter August 8, 2011 at 2:42 pm #

    Oh yeah, just heard the President’s speech (if that’s what it was?). Sure, accordingly, due to American exceptionalism we don’t need any margin to take up the shock of disasters of all sorts, we can go on populating to the very edge of minimum caloric requirement. No problem, its only in those other parts of the world where overpopulation has consequence. Duh!!!!!

  116. jackieblue2u August 8, 2011 at 2:42 pm #

    I had this feeling 20 years ago. A sense that This Slide was happening then. I said to a friend, we are becoming more like a third world country, they’ve gotten all they can, and are moving onto new frontiers, to rape them.
    Seems to be exactly what is happening.

  117. Scylla200 August 8, 2011 at 2:44 pm #

    While Jim talks about American’s watching out for shoes sales on TV, Brits go out and loot footlocker. Maybe they’re speeding up the localisation agenda?
    As we speak I seem to be surrounded by riots here in South London. They burned down Allied Carpets in Tottenham which, lets face it, isn’t like burning down the library of Alexandria. Unloved areas like Wood Green, Enfield, Brixton (of course Brixton!), and Hackney are venting a lot of anger and the worst of the austerity measures supposedly hasn’t even hit us yet.
    Gosh, I wonder what comes next?

  118. jackieblue2u August 8, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

    got it, thanks !
    We are definitely being manipulated by the T.V. reports most of the time.
    Just have to figure out who how why what & where.

  119. anti soak August 8, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

    ‘Movies are $10 a pop! And they make you watch commercials! … parents deliver the newspapers. Next: Adults with lemonade stands.’
    I know someone who awhile back was at IBM.
    Y day I saw him working on the street as a sign flipper.

  120. edpell August 8, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

    Time for the global banker to do asset stripping on America and Europe. They will own all roads, ports, trains, water systems, etc. for a few pennies on the dollars. This is the same play book they used in Argentina in 2001.

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  121. Buck Stud August 8, 2011 at 2:57 pm #

    What type of blog would you prefer, Prog? It seems to me academic civility is a hypocritical request, given all the derision heaped upon academia by so many on this blog including JHK himself. A blog of autodidactics debating in autonomous and polite insularity, perhaps? Ha, without the dirt, sweat, sweat, and grime accumulated in the “real world” ? I say keep it real in allowing the mindset that actually resides out there in Clusterfuck Nation to voice itself, whatever that might be. And if some feel too soiled as a result, well, there are plenty of dry academic listservs on the internet catering to the sanctimonious and timid. Besides that, banning people results in a lot of collateral damage which takes out other interesting voices – where is Asoka and Vlad of late?
    But there’s always leading by example, Prog, or as you might be inclined like to say, elevating one mind at a time.

  122. jackieblue2u August 8, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

    I Do agree. Our lifestyles of living beyond our means is insane.
    Just that I fear the ones that cannot scale down, and the violence that might ensue.
    There is more road rage in cars now, and just getting more and more so. People are fed up and taking it out on one another.
    I don’t have a garden tho, so I don’t have to worry about guarding it. We rent an apartment.
    And instead of growing in the area where we could, there is grass, and not da kine !
    A complete waste. I actually don’t smoke it, I get paranoid. But know from when younger, that for certain kinds of pain, it does work.
    I am actually growing sunflower sprouts in a jar on the counter. and have a small space for a garden, gardening can be done indoors, just takes creativity and planning. I’m on it.
    My neigbors are from Brazil, I’ve been talking with them. They go down there often.

  123. andrei_timoshenko August 8, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

    Everyone isn’t be broke right now.
    Money is simply an accounting unit measuring humanity’s capacity to feed itself, clothe itself, enlighten itself, and otherwise pursue its interests.
    This capacity depends only on three things:
    1. Energy and other natural resources
    2. Human ability and motivation to make an effort
    3. Tools, which when combined with effort (2) transform the resources (1) into something that meets our interests.
    We still have at least a decade of pretty easy resources, there’s been no global plague decimating the human population, and our tools did not spontaneously explode.
    Thus, there’s plenty of ‘real stuff’ for money to reflect. The problem is that we cannot seem to find who has all of it – because everywhere we look everyone *does* seem broke…
    …but it’s a capacity/resource access and distribution problem, not a capacity/resource insufficiency problem.

  124. turkle August 8, 2011 at 3:10 pm #

    Expressing unvarnished opinions here is not a problem.
    But returning to troll a blog after you’ve already been banned and opening a second (third, fourth, etc.) account is a problem.
    Last week the resident troll was posting simultaneously on three accounts, trolling his own trolls.
    This kind of childishness lowers the signal to noise ratio and makes having a coherent discussion almost impossible (not to mention the fact that this blog has no threading of replies by comment which makes it difficult to begin with).
    This tends to drive away people who have a few legitimate comments to add to the week’s discussion. And I (we?) would like to hear from these people rather than have them driven away by childish idiots.

  125. DeeJones August 8, 2011 at 3:10 pm #

    What do you expect when the ruling elites determine that they no longer need a manufacturing base (except for bombs), and can instead run things on a perpetual Ponzi scheme.
    That is until they find out that there is no perpetual.
    When they have dumped the last coins outta the last rubes pockets, and there is no one else lining up to invest in the USA, then the Ponzi scheme runs outta dough.
    Then what?
    Guess we will find out pretty soon.
    Stay Tuned to Channel Doom.

  126. turkle August 8, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

    Time to party for another decade then, I guess.

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  127. Cash August 8, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

    What kind of a world is this where who works and works hard, earns much less than the one who bids?
    The revolution should begin from this: no work, no bread.
    Eat your stocks and your credit default swaps, or your derivatives. – Patrizia
    You said it girl. There was an old Amer-Indian proverb along the lines of “when the last fish is caught and the last deer is shot White man will realize that you cannot eat money”.

  128. blonderengel August 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    The appropriate soundtrack to all recent stuff seems anything Leonard Cohen…I’m thinking the album “The Future” with lyrics like
    …”Things are going to slide, slide in all directions / Won’t be nothing / Nothing you can measure anymore / The blizzard, the blizzard of the world / has crossed the threshold / and it has overturned / the order of the soul…”
    And should you feel the need for uplifting stuff, Cohen is your go-to guy, too:
    …”It’s coming through a crack in the wall; on a visionary flood of alcohol; from the staggering account of the Sermon on the Mount which I don’t pretend to understand at all. It’s coming from the silence on the dock of the bay, from the brave, the bold, the battered heart of Chevrolet: Democracy is coming to the U.S.A. …”
    Perhaps it’s coming, but it seems awfully late.
    My words for the day:
    Air Needed for the Gut Sucker
    The New Reich is tired. The conspiracy transpired,
    Hedgers hedged, cats meowed (still
    In the bag).
    The New Reich is funding tax credits, underwater
    Reserves and laws–laws and rules of law in every color,
    Laws more magical than rainbows, more bubbly with more pop, brown
    Sugar without the shame of trans fats.
    The New Reich eats cake with everybody.
    The New Reich is benevolent.
    The New Reich publicly doles blowjobs and hand jobs and snow jobs
    About work. Work ennobles, work sets you free. Work
    Damns possibility behind dusty concrete.
    When the engine hums, the turbine chops pieces and parts
    Into dog food. When the engine hums
    The universe re-calibrates itself. Aye, aye.
    The New Reich sets you free, free to choose, to dance or to slither
    Round a pole, free to put a gun to your head.
    Free of streets.
    The New Reich allows travel. Feel free
    To fan yourself
    With images of someone’s great army of right minded men
    Leashed to red dogs on a chase after napping cats.
    Good luck with that. A side of fries, too.

  129. turkle August 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    “Thus, there’s plenty of ‘real stuff’ for money to reflect.”
    I disagree with that statement. If you total up all the various kinds of money on the planet, it far exceeds the combined value of all the assets, by a lot.
    This problem is solved by the neat trick of inflation. If there is too much money, then money itself becomes worth less. Neat huh?
    As for your statements about resource usage and access, I don’t see how you can possibly backup your argument that we’re not at the start of a massive resource shortage. The signs are there. Massive and convincing documentation exists to refute your cornucopian idea that there is plenty to go around.
    And you talk about “access” as if it is as simple as walking down to the 7-11 and buying a Big Gulp.
    I was recently watching the series Ice Road Truckers. These guys supply mines and wells in northern Canada, one of those fairly inaccessible places where the resources are located. They have to build a 300+ mile road over frozen lakes to supply these remote installations, at a very high cost. That’s the reality of “access.” It is becoming more and more difficult as the easily accessible supplies dry up.
    And then you say something about there being enough for ten years. Pardon me, but that isn’t exactly a very long time, ya know?
    BTW, just to put all this in context, if everyone consumed resources like Americans, we’d need 6 earths. Or was that just the Chinese?

  130. turkle August 8, 2011 at 3:27 pm #

    Money is essentially just credit. Donald Trump’s liabilities are greater than his assets. He has just been able to compartmentalize so that losses in one of his businesses don’t affect the others. And he has access to credit, so he’s “rich.”
    The idea that the world can “run out” of money is a falacy. Money is essentially conjured out of thin air. But it is a banker’s game, because those who receive this money have to pay it back with interest.
    Even the federal government borrows money by selling bonds and has to pay back a consortium of banks (the Federal Reserve).
    So, to answer your question, when the money runs out, they simply print more of it. The rich can absorb inflation fairly easily through a variety of means, including swapping out their dollars for different currencies, buying hard assets (real estate, etc.), etc.
    The common person is the one who suffers when food, rent, medicine, etc. prices increase.
    But we won’t run out of money. It will just be worth less and less. In hyperinflationary situations, the value of money can fall to worthlessness.
    It seems to me, though, that some major assets are undergoing deflation, e.g. real estate, even while others like food are in inflationary spirals for the forseeable future.

  131. Cash August 8, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

    Everybody’s quailing at the prospect of QE 3, in all its cosmic futility. – Mr K
    “Cosmic futility” is right. Now that so much of American industry is offshored printing more money in the hope of stimulating economic activity when the productive capacity no longer exists is pretty much pushing on a rope.
    The evil spirits haunting us are the ideas and theories promulgated by the economics profession about how markets and economies work. Markets and economies don’t work the way economists say they do because if they did all the prescriptions offered up by economists to get us out of this mess would’ve worked. Which they haven’t. In fact they’ve made things worse.
    In fact what economists are saying is to do more of what hasn’t worked until now and do more of what got us into this mess in the first place. Print more money, keep interest rates artificially low, let Wall Street have free reign, live by the dictum that all regulation is bad, that markets will self correct.
    Yes, markets will self correct. By jumping off a cliff.
    Message to Ben Bernanke: QE won’t work. Why? Because there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

  132. turkle August 8, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

    For instance, the US gov sells $1 billion in bonds to the Federal Reserve. The Fed credits $1 billion in cash to the government’s account, which it uses to pay its workers. Said workers then go out and spend that money on $1 billion in Muranos, cheese whiz, and Salad Shooters.
    Did the Federal Reserve actually have that money sitting around to lend to the government? No it did not. The money was conjured out of thin air using accounting tricks.
    And the Fed wants the principle plus interest paid back. But since money is mostly created using debt instruments (e.g. credit), there is never enough “real money” to pay back the interest + principle without creating more debt.
    Neat huh?

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  133. Belisarius August 8, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    Yep the TEA (Taxed Enough Allready) party while founded mostly by northern libertarians, has been hijacked by (mostly southern) Reprocrats. There have always been a number of Texans wanting their republic back. That’s been true since statehood, and has grown in popularity recently. Some fit your charicature, most do not.
    There are seperatist movements in several other areas that i know of. There are likely more. I am not a member of any, but have family in these areas and none of these movements share any racist agenda.
    New Hampshire: (not declared seperatist, headed there though)
    Interior Northwest: (more survivalist than seperatist) If USA lasts long enough, these folks will want to secede also.

  134. dale August 8, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    Just around the corner and down the road a little way…
    Exactly where it has been for about 100 years now.