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Piketty Dikitty Rikitty

T he debate over Thomas Piketty’s new book Capital in the Twenty-First Century is as dumb as every other issue-set in the public arena these days — a product of failed mental models, historical blindness, hubris, and wishful thinking. Piketty’s central idea is that wealth will continue to accumulate and concentrate among individual rich families at ever-greater rates and therefore that nation-states should take a number of steps to prevent that from happening or at least attempt to correct it.

The first mistake of Piketty fans such as New York Times op-ed ass Paul Krugman is the assumption that the dynamic labeled “capitalism” is an ism, a belief system that you can subscribe to or drop out of, depending on your political correctitude. That’s just not true. So-called capitalism is more like gravity, a set of laws that apply to and describe the behavior of surplus wealth, in particular wealth generated by industrial societies, which is to say unprecedented massive wealth. The human race never saw anything quite like it before. It became both a moral embarrassment and a political inconvenience. So among the intellectual grandiosities of modern times is the idea that this massive wealth can be politically managed to produce an ideal equitable society — with no side effects.

Hence, the bold but hapless 20th century experiment with statist communism, which pretended to abolish wealth but succeeded mainly in converting wealth into industrial waste and pollution, while directing the remainder to a lawless gangster government elite that ruled an expendable mass peasantry with maximum cruelty and injustice.

In the other industrial nations, loosely called “the west,” the pretense to abolish wealth altogether never completely took, but a great deal of wealth was “socialized” for the purpose of delivering public goods. That seemed to work fairly well in post-war Europe and a bit less-well in the USA after the anomalous Eisenhower decade when industrial labor enjoyed a power moment of wage arbitrage. Now that system is unraveling, and for the reason that Piketty & Company largely miss: industrial economies are winding down with the decline of cheap fossil fuels.

Piketty and his fans assume that the industrial orgy will continue one way or another, in other words that some mysterious “they” will “come up with innovative new technologies” to obviate the need for fossil fuels and that the volume of wealth generated will more or less continue to increase. This notion is childish, idiotic, and wrong. Energy and technology are not substitutable with each other. If you run out of the former, you can’t replace it with the latter (and by “run out” I mean get it at a return of energy investment that makes sense). The techno-narcissist Jeremy Rifkins and Ray Kurzweils among us propound magical something-for-nothing workarounds for our predicament, but they are just blowing smoke up the collective fundament of a credulous ruling plutocracy. In fact, we’re faced with an unprecedented contraction of wealth, and a shocking loss of ability to produce new wealth. That‘s the real “game-changer,” not the delusions about shale oil and the robotic “industrial renaissance” and all the related fantasies circulating among a leadership that checked its brains at the Microsoft window.

Of course, even in a general contraction wealth will still exist, and Piketty is certainly right that it will tend to remain concentrated (where it isn’t washed away in the deluge of broken promises to pay this and that obligation). But he is quite incorrect that the general conditions we enjoy at this moment in history will continue a whole lot longer — for instance the organization of giant nation-states and their ability to control populations. I suppose it’s counter-intuitive in this moment of the “Deep State” with all its Orwellian overtones of electronic surveillance and omnipotence, but I’d take the less popular view that the Deep State will choke to death on the diminishing returns of technology and that nation-states in general will first degenerate into impotence and then break up into smaller units. What’s more, I’d propose that the whole world is apt to be going medieval, so to speak, as we contend with our energy predicament and its effects on wealth generation, banking, and all the other operations of modern capital. That is, they’ll become a lot less modern.

As all this occurs, some families and individuals will hang onto wealth, and that wealth is apt to increase, though not at the scales and volumes afforded by industrial activities. Political theorizing a la Marx or Thomas Piketty is not liable to deprive them of it, but other forces will. The most plausible framework for understanding that is the circulation of elites. This refers to the tendency in history for one ruling elite to be overturned and replaced by another group, often by violence, and then become the new ruling elite. It always happens one way or another, and even the case of the Bolsheviks in Russia during the industrial 20th century can be seen this way.

In any case, just because human affairs follow certain patterns these days, don’t assume that all these patterns will persist. I doubt that the Warren Buffets and Jamie Dimons of the world will see their wealth confiscated via some new policy of the Internal Revenue Service — e.g. the proposed “tax on wealth.” Rather, its more likely that they’ll be strung up on lampposts or dragged over three miles of pavement behind their own limousines. After all, the second leading delusion in our culture these days, after the wish for a something-for-nothing magic energy rescue remedy, is the idea that we can politically organize our way out of the epochal predicament of civilization that we face. Piketty just feeds that secondary delusion.

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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.

180 Responses to “Piketty Dikitty Rikitty”

  1. George April 28, 2014 at 10:02 am #

    “…nation-states in general will first degenerate into impotence and then break up into smaller units.”

    That’s already the case: if you recall, the Administration’s been working overtime to draw lines in the sand that are all being crossed with impunity!

    Over the weekend I could almost hear the collective sigh of relief when the news producers learned of NBA owner Sterling’s racist comments: that sigh being their recognition that they were free again to use up all the news oxygen on yet another non-story instead of on actual news. Like for example that Washington D.C., reputed to be the capital of an alleged “Exceptional” republic, was actually the lawless Client City State of a lawless corporate oligarchy and lawless foreign nation located eight time zones to its east.

    Wouldn’t it be a hoot if Putin and his Chinese counterparts decided to tank the US dollar the next time those miscalculating morons in that whore-filled burg drew another line in the sand? We should be so lucky!

    I suppose there’s a reason why there’s so much miscalculation in D.C.; they’re too busy being cheerleaders to the ongoing frenzy of hubris with such pesky details.

    http://www.thesisa.org (Nothing new there, don’t bother)

  2. AKlein April 28, 2014 at 10:09 am #

    If we go “medieval” and very local then it would seem likely that our elites would be replaced with local potentates, i.e. “warlords”. One supposes some of the current big-wigs could make the transition, but probably not many. Warlords, unlike our current elite, are subject to a fair degree of personal danger, similar to the kings of old who could actually get killed in battle.

  3. Warren April 28, 2014 at 10:20 am #


    To expand a bit on the idea that the world is going to go medieval, perhaps that is where wealth will go, in other words in the future medieval, world wealth will be based upon things that they were based on in the past, land gold and perhaps transportation i.e., trains and shipping to move goods and people around. Jim Rogers has said that Ag land and gold and silver are the investments of the future, and Mr. Buffet seems to be hedging his investments in his purchase of the BN RR, (however whether or not he can hold on to it in the future is another thing).

    Perhaps this is why Larry Ellison bought Lanai island, so if his internet billions vaporize he can set up his own little fiefdom as for the Jaime Diamonds and the rest of the internet billionaires they may wake up one day in their silicon valley manses and find they broke and without any marketable skills ,

    • Karah April 28, 2014 at 2:07 pm #

      the medieval era is also called the dark ages. people were NOT generally wise about anything especially science. there was an intense amount of superstition regarding how the world works, who had power. there was no electricity. there was serfdom. leadership maintained popularity by being able to pay for a military and its technologies – skills, organization, weapons and armor. little was known beyond the hamlet. those times have been romanticized by shakespeare, painters and artists like kunstler. it was wartorn time and very ugly.

      time never goes backward, only forward. we can not unlearn all we know about the natural world. we will always have gravity fed plumbing, hydroelectricity, batteries, etc. because the major political powers have dumped so much money in defense systems and in claiming increasing amounts of space for their sole purposes (moon), we have gps and tephlon. science is the next defense against a plague of ignorance resulting from having not worked on a farm. natural scientists and developers like da vinci could not progress because they only lived about 50 yrs and lacked the will, materials and fuels we have now.

      speculation is an endless source for book writers, bloggers and commenters. thats all it is – speculation.

      • hineshammer April 28, 2014 at 4:48 pm #

        Thanks, ee cummings.

        • oldtech April 28, 2014 at 6:13 pm #

          Yes it is speculation, but some speculation can be better than others. For example, I would expect that speculation based on dynamic ‘war gaming’ would be better than speculation based on extrapolation from current conditions with the assumption that everything continues as is into the future.

          Speculation can also be useful when you want to build a more robust system or to prepare for eventualities (think earthquake).

          • Karah April 28, 2014 at 6:42 pm #

            earthquakes are not speculative, they are fact and cloistered around faltlines. does this stop people from living on or near earthquake centers? no.

            frank lloyd wright developed building techniques that have been impervious to earthquakes. why didnt designers use the technology in all buildings especially those housing uranium?
            someone must have speculated poorly.

          • capt spaulding April 29, 2014 at 7:51 am #

            I guess no one sees themselves as being one of the grubby land plowing slaves. There will have to be some you know, in fact, the farmers will have to be the biggest percentage of the population since we won’t have energy to use. Back to the horses & oxen. At least the country will become more stabilized. Serf’s up.

          • Karah April 29, 2014 at 11:13 pm #

            the long emergency is not about completely running out of fossil fuels. its about the management/mismanagement of a dwindling resource. we see it even more strongly with drinking water in my dear old southwest usa. city managers would rather pay millions to pipe tar sands three times the length to pipe water from desalinization plants in corpus christie. you have yet to see one person come out publically against the use of well water and lake waters by frack miners. why? because of the money being pumped into towns by the frackers other daily activities. they can not build hotels fast enough eventhough we will have barely enough water to run the showers in the ones already built.

            when it is all said and done the frackers will be gone, a lot of our water will be ruined and there will be far less people needing to drive out here. most people will not be driving their own personal vehicles, they will be pro drivers for companies who buy gas in bulk. everyone who doesnt have access to a company car will have to ride whatever public transit is available which will also be subsidized by fed. anyone who commutes for a major employer is already being given huge sums of money solely for that commute, more than they really need right now. they are spending that money on other things because they do not fully realize what is down the road because everything appears to maintaining a very slow climb in prices. most commuters are speculating they will be retired or out of the race and into a condo downtown by the time gas hits 6$ a gallon. that price already exists on small islands like britain where the majority of citezens walk or ride taxis and buses. take a look at them as model for the near future.

      • godozo April 28, 2014 at 8:55 pm #

        Actually, you’d be surprised how much knowledge gets unlearned, and how often it gets unlearned…and how quickly it gets forgotten/unlearned.

        There is surprisingly little out in the world that is absolutely necessary for immediate survival; and most of the rest can be emulated by models to a greater or lesser degree of accuracy as needed. Germ theory (for example) works in a technological society able to spot, identify and figure out which bug does what, but in a society that doesn’t have glasses to correct vision (nor the need, as books are a rarity) the smarter thing may just be to remember the cures and invoke humors mixing in mud (I love germ theory, but how to keep it when you can’t see the bugs is a major question).

        You bring up plumbing. Guess what: It’s been lost twice already. Both Rome and the Indus Valley had indoor plumbing, and both times it was forgotten when it became impossible to keep up.

        • AKlein April 29, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

          godozo, you are so correct. Plenty of knowledge gets forgotten, and surprisingly quickly. And plenty of knowledge never gets applied even when it is supposedly known! Ignorance is actually the norm, not the exception, even during times (ages, eras) that are not called “dark”.

        • Karah April 30, 2014 at 9:47 pm #

          i think you are referring to erosion by sociopolitical upheaval and wars. there are memorials to roman and indus life. how else would you and i be able to refer to them if they were completely forgotten?

          as a group, people cobble together lives from whatever they have access to. a lot of poor people are foregoing their rural sciences for the techno grandiosity of cities and desperate makeshift camps. wealth of cities has built permanent public privies and all the necessities of daily life for masses of people to use and abuse efficiently. people in cities dont have time to clean up after themselves and dont want to have to think about it, see it or smell it. farmers whole lives revolve around what most people of today take for granted and they are the first to feel the hurt that comes from the mismanagement of our natural resources.

          i hope you all havent forgotten to go out a ways from your camps to defecate in a hole and cover it.

          please come back here next week for reminder two on “plumbing and sanitation for the ages”.

        • Karah April 30, 2014 at 10:03 pm #

          different germs produce different results in a medium. thats how you know them apart and of their existence. optical lens is very low tech stuff. all you need is heat and sand if you want to see closer or farther.

          advancement in knowledge or that people want to know more about something cant be halted. our tools change. if someone wants to build a chair from wood with traditional tools or mold one out of plastic or hue it out of stone, they still want a comfortable functional seat.

          tech will always be with us but the scaling of it changes with the times and resources, thats why we have i pads now and not wax tablets. i kind of miss my etch a sketch and other “toys” for writing drawing….

  4. 99 cent nation April 28, 2014 at 10:23 am #

    “secondary delusion.” You have got that right. The whole dream is one big delusion. The overdeveloped nations written by Khor had it right all along. Totally ignored as we speed to the edge and over the cliff. Medieval perhaps. I would prefer upper Paleolithic. And perhaps it would happen since everyone is saying it is impossible to back that far. That alone gets me to wondering if perhaps it is possible since as far as I can see everything we believe in and the lengths we go to uphold our belief systems have been very very wrong. So perhaps it will be possible. There will always be idiots that think that they will be able to escape to some other earth like planet.

    • nativewaters April 28, 2014 at 10:53 am #

      agreed re the paleolithic. Until quite recently there were still a good number of paleolithic groups operating around the world. If the majority of the world collapses back into the Medieval, I suspect the paleolithic way of coping will also make a comeback in remote areas where agriculture isn’t a practical way of getting food.

      • zaphod42 April 28, 2014 at 11:13 am #

        so long as you are aware that, in order to be sustainable as a paleolithic society, the die off would have to be nearly of 2 orders of magnitude, to about half billion survivors. At which point, the Earth Mother would support them in harmony with the species that have not at that point disappeared.

        My thought is that, as did the die-off of reindeer on St. Matthews Island after destroying their habitat and fodder, our die-off might be total.

        The Good News, of course, is that the Earth will survive.


        • Casualty09 April 28, 2014 at 12:17 pm #

          I concur that the Earth’s current population of 7 billion makes a return to either a medieval or paleolithic society, shall we say, “messy.” Without industrial – i.e., fossil fuel-driven – agriculture, I simply don’t think we can feed that many people.

          The world is full of specialized jobs that have evolved during the petroleum-based years of plenty: finance, insurance, law, consulting, computer programming, etc. Many of those jobs will disappear as our global economy groans toward a new normal. When 20-25% (or more) of the population is unemployed, then what? At some point unemployment will reach a critical mass, and the social welfare system we’ve got in place will no longer be able to provide a basic sustaining level of income for everyone who needs help in buying food and paying the rent. What happens then?

          One possibility is some new/old form of serfdom. Energy needs can be met by retrofitting machines and tools to run on human-scale energy. Think of all those spin cycles at your local gym, for instance, hooked up to a generator of sorts, so that constant human cycling can create a modest amount of energy to charge batteries or run some necessary appliances (e.g. lighting, refrigeration). It may take a vast # of cyclers to accomplish anything, but imagine you’re an urbanite who’s lost his job in finance, etc. You rent a small apartment (for which you’ve shelled out a princely sum), and have very little savings – if any (you graduated college with six figures of debt). You can’t start farming to sustain yourself – you own no land – and yet you can’t find a job. . . . Some enterprising capitalist tells you he’ll feed you, provide a roof over your head, etc. if you spend 10 hours a day cycling or engaged in other “menial” labor. I’m reminded of the “farm” in JHK’s WMBH (or was it the “Witch of Hebron?”). Others here have described a similar notion as a “warlord” situation. . . .

          That’s where I fear we’re headed; towards an “economy” that is significantly scaled back as far as its ability to accomplish great things – including the great accumulation of wealth – and back to simple subsistence. And given our population of 310 million in the USA, we will not be able to create a Jeffersonian, agrarian, small-town republic of self-sufficient farmers (certainly not overnight). In the interim, as we perhaps transition “backwards,” I envision that some type of warlords or capitalists or patroons (like we had in the Hudson Valley under the Dutch) will use their ownership of important resources (maybe land, maybe clean water, maybe access to energy sources or basic tools and machines) to create a class of serfs who, facing great pressures and an inability to take care of themselves, yield to autocratic, perhaps vicious and cruel, authority. Human history is full of those sorts of economic arrangements – slavery, serfdom, etc. – and my fear is that this may be where we’re headed again.

          • draupnir April 28, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

            We’re pretty much already serfs. We returned to that state about 100 years ago (oddly nearly coincident with the dawn of the Federal Reserve Bank), but it has become increasingly burdensome.over the intervening years. The serf in medieval Europe owed his lord anywhere from 3 days of labor a week to as much as 6 (in Poland, but that was per household). We owe that much per working person. How many days per week do you work to pay your income tax? And we have many masters. The legal institution continued in Eastern Europe and Russia until the middle of the 19th Century. A serf also paid his lord if he wished to marry, A payment was required when he died. There were all sorts of fees involved. We’re not tied to the land anymore, but we really own nothing. If you think you own your home and land try not paying taxes on it and you will find out where actual ownership lies.

          • JMR April 28, 2014 at 1:46 pm #

            The wild card in all of this is nuclear power plants, nuclear weapons and nuclear waste. Without sufficient energy inputs from fossil fuel sources, how are these supposed to be maintained? We saw from Fukushima what happens when power is temporarily cut off to a nuke plant – they obviously can’t be their own backup power sources. Since there is no long term solution to the storage and disposal of nuclear waste, how will these sources of toxins be contained? There are 400 nuclear power plants, 10s of thousands of nuclear warheads and many nuclear disposal sites scattered all over the world. Each one of these is a ticking time bomb, waiting for a single malfunction or disaster to set them off and to start spewing radiation into the environment. And as time goes on and the equpiment ages, the chances of disaster keep increasing. Unless there is a way for these places and weapons to be maintained without fossil fuels, I’d say the lifespan for humanity and much of the planet as a whole is going to be significantly shortened.

          • Casualty09 April 28, 2014 at 2:46 pm #

            draupnir – I appreciate your point, especially today, as I was talking this weekend to a bunch of recent college grads who owe so much in student loans that they feel trapped.

            However, at least in our current situation, there is a minimal amount of freedom and free agency, varying widely depending on your own personal, familial and financial situation. But even for those trapped in the credit system that the Fed has helped create, that credit also helps provide an illusion of both freedom and prosperity. Silicon Valley constantly cranks out the latest in must-have gadgets, which are then sold to us efficiently by Madison Avenue and their social media co-conspirators – funded by a Wall Street that ensures relatively easy-flowing credit so long as the bankers get their 10%. . . . As a result, many of us still feel as if we have a standard of living that is at least somewhat “better” than our parents (even if its basis in easy credit makes it both tenuous and debilitating for many). This provides a level of stability and an expectation of at least moderate freedom of choice.

            Take away that basic foundation – which is what I fear is coming down the pike as our economy transitions away from one built on the easy credit that rests on an ever-growing economy based on cheap energy – and you’ve got a population of beaten-down, unemployed, desperate folks. Responses to that dynamic will be varied, but I fear – somewhat ironically, I suppose – both lawlessness (300 million guns in the USA won’t gather rust in the attic while their owners quietly starve) and the formation of autocratic institutions, which can serve to both protect individuals (in a response to anarchy and lawlessness) and to harness their energies toward some collective “good.”

            In sum, my concern is that a receding economy that provides so few with any hope – and which, on the way down that backslope of Peak Oil, saddles so many of us with unpayable debts and obligations, due to the oligarchs and bankers whose success in fleecing most of us prompted Piketty’s concerns – will lead to an end of our experiment in republicanism in America. Our political system is at some level founded on optimism, growth and hope. Take that away and I am nervous about the baser aspects of human nature taking over.

          • draupnir April 28, 2014 at 4:44 pm #

            Casualty09 – The fact that our standard of living has improved from medieval times does not negate the striking parallels of our situation today to the condition of serfdom. We no longer serve a feudal lord, our lord is the federal government and the state after that. We have choices that were not available to those people, simply because such choices did not exist at that time. The standard of living of a serf was reasonably comparable to that of most people who were not of the noble class of the time in a largely agrarian society. A serf was not a slave and had certain rights. What we have is the question of to whom does a man’s labor belong. A free man owns his labor.

      • dweebus April 28, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

        With a very few exceptions (perhaps the Busmen, certain Amazonian tribes, the indigenous of Papua New Guinea) the biosphere no longer supports enough biodiversity to make a hunter/gatherer lifestyle possible. Imagine trying to gather enough wild plant and animal foods in the agricultural wasteland we call the Corn Belt. Add to that the 435 Fukushimas globally waiting to metastasize once grid power or climate becomes unstable, and it becomes clear, we may not be able to “go back”. We sail into strange waters: “Here there be Monsters”.


  5. Htruth April 28, 2014 at 10:26 am #

    The fascists control the sheeple with taxes and interest. Anything productive in our economy is destroyed for the benefit of those in control. The IRS code isn’t 70,000 pages long to help the bottom 95 percent. The code was made to confuse and destroy. Even Donald Rumsfeld can’t figure out if he has done his taxes correctly: http://youtu.be/TEDEB-afRU0

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  6. Smoky Joe April 28, 2014 at 10:34 am #

    JHK, don’t confuse Dimon with someone like Warren Buffett. They have only two things in common: great wealth and a business model based upon promises & illusions.

    I’d enjoy seeing Dimon deposed and humiliated, but Warren Buffett is a different breed, the sort of mid-American-Century man who invested well and lived, for a man of his stature, humbly.

    Buffett himself said (from the Wikipedia page about him): “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

    If we had more like Warren Buffett we’d not have this orgy of consumption that has contributed to what JHK calls our tragic destiny. It’s a bit late for that; he’s one of the last of his breed.

  7. goat1001 April 28, 2014 at 10:42 am #

    Soylent Green is just 8 years away.

    • Karah April 28, 2014 at 2:12 pm #

      thats a really dumb thing to say, goat herder.

  8. Neon Vincent April 28, 2014 at 10:45 am #

    And to think that Picketty and Krugman are as far out in our direction as conventional thinking seems to allow in the major media. There’s a long way between even the more radical mainstream economists and the ecological economists such as yourself and Greer. Disheartening, isn’t it?

    As for the kind of technology that will start showing up as available per capita energy declines, one team of researchers in the University of Michigan’s School of Business are already proposing what they call “reverse innovation,” which involves developing simpler technologies for developing markets and then importing them into advanced economies like ours. One of the areas they think is ripe for this is health care. As an example, they cite a cheap electrocardiogram devised for “Third World” hospitals but is now used by first responders around the world.

    Another area they think this will work is in urban transportation.

    For new mobility, companies and cities in developed countries should look at how entrepreneurs in emerging markets work around the lack of infrastructure, congested roads, lack of subsidies, and the varying types of mobile devices people use.

    “Budgets are being pushed to the maximum here in the West, and without subsidies the scale of adoption for most new mobility ideas or mass transit isn’t going to happen. It won’t cross the chasm,” Adriaens said. “That’s why more and more global corporations are looking to entrepreneurs in developing economies to see what kind of product or service could or would work here.”


    So, bicycle rickshaw taxis in New York, anyone? Mayor DiBlasio having to reinstate horse-drawn carriages?

    • zaphod42 April 28, 2014 at 11:22 am #

      Horse drawn carriages? In New York? I think not. There are simply too many people, and the number of horses needed would fill the city with $hite.

      Oh! Wait! New York is already filled with that.

      Still, not a practical solution. Bicycles, though, are highly likely for urban transportation if there is insufficient electrical production to enable light rail and electric bus service. That, and shank’s mares.

      Enjoy the medieval life, my friends. It’s better than becoming a troglodyte.


  9. Greg Knepp April 28, 2014 at 10:58 am #

    JHK, Your definition of ‘Capitalism’ is truly eye-opening. For as long as I can remember I’ve been groping for a reasonable meaning of the word. I could find neither a ‘Capitalist Manifesto’ nor a ‘Free Market Bible’ to satisfy my curiosity. Textbook explanations and treatises from various economists left me more confused than ever. I began to believe I was stupid – that the whole topic was simply above my head!

    Now it all comes together: Capitalism describes the behavior of an existing phenomenon. In this sense, it is similar, say, to a law of physics. It is not a legal writ or contrived system of regulation which, when enacted, can then be enforced.

    Many thanks for the clarification!

    • Neon Vincent April 28, 2014 at 12:20 pm #

      “I could find neither a ‘Capitalist Manifesto’ nor a ‘Free Market Bible’ to satisfy my curiosity.”

      According to the Objectivists, such a thing exists. It’s called “Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal.”


      I wouldn’t trust it except as propaganda for internal consumption among capitalists, but it does describe what a lot of capitalists would like the economic system to be, regardless of the reality. Speaking of which, I have one more comment on Ayn Rand from Raj Patel.

      “There are two novels that can transform a bookish 14-year-old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish daydream that can lead to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood …in which large chunks of the day are spent inventing ways to make real life more like a fantasy novel. The other is a book about orcs.”

      It’s the part about “inventing ways to make real life more like a fantasy novel” that makes Rand devotees so dangerous.

      • Janos Skorenzy April 28, 2014 at 2:00 pm #

        Bad people always hate Lord of the Rings. Always. You better hope that the Culture Creators don’t decide to shrug off the burden of all your Orc pets. But it seems likely: fewer gullible, young White are venturing into the snake pits of the inner city schools to “teach” (baby sit) young criminals.

        “Teachers” should be separated from their charges by plexiglass and should all be armed.

        • hineshammer April 28, 2014 at 5:07 pm #


  10. isolde100 April 28, 2014 at 11:18 am #

    Nassim Nicholas Taleb says Piketty’s math is wrong. Taleb also says that a lot of wealth accumulated by certain individuals (bankers, hedge fund guys) arose out of their not having skin in the game (i.e. that they’re bailed out even when they make wrong bets). Thus, they never lose their fortunes.

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  11. sevenmmm April 28, 2014 at 11:36 am #

    The idea I have been typing is there is a difference of capital to capitalism. Capital is a tool in an economy, capitalism is using capital to influence government policy resulting in politically protected business models. Next time you hear Larry (The Spice) Kudlow say “free market capitalism”, you should instantly recognize he does not belive in the free market, but believes that capital is the political tool it has become.

  12. BackRowHeckler April 28, 2014 at 11:37 am #

    “Pickety and his fans assume the orgy will continue one way or the other…”

    The same sort of unfocused thinking underlies the ‘Fossil Fuel Divestment Project’ out of Harvard University, the idea that large oil companies can be brought to heel if college endowments across the country simply pull their money and invest instead in ‘renewables’, windmills and solar panels. Its the idea that oil, natgas and coal are easily replaceable as sources of energy, and all you need to make it happen is a pure heart, good intentions, and a few political demonstrations in Harvard Yard.


  13. sauerkraut April 28, 2014 at 11:50 am #

    I would put it differently, Greg.

    Economics is NOT a description of how things are, like physics. That is, in fact, the myth that schools of economics want to propound. Economics is more of an apology for how things are run; economists are apologists for western “capitalism”, the same way that “Marxists” were apologists for Russian “communism”.

    But mere apologists yearn to be something more, such as scientists, so that is the image which they prefer to project. But you don’t have to buy into their delusions.

    You can come to this conclusion by considering the basic tenets of economics, and think about the data which supports them. For example, take the triviality, “the rich will gouge you if they can.” This is known to economists as “The Law of Supply and Demand.”

    Of course, this is a fraud on two counts: first, it is not a law like a physical law, it is a description of the worst of human behaviour. Second, it is not even true; not all of the rich will gouge you if they can, or whenever they can. The truism (as opposed to the triviality) reads, “the rich WILL TEND to gouge you if they can,” but even this is not exactly profound.

    You may repeat the process for other basic tenets and techniques, but I suggest that you don’t bother, unless your brother-in-law happens to be an economist.

    • Greg Knepp April 28, 2014 at 12:03 pm #

      Now I’m confused again.

      • sauerkraut April 28, 2014 at 12:36 pm #

        Sorry Greg. The problem is that when lies become institutionalized they are hard to disentangle.

        Think of it this way: the rich don’t want you to see them as greedy, thieving pigs who have corrupted government so they can steal even more. They would prefer you to think of them as unwilling beneficiaries of a system which is as inevitable as gravity. To make you believe that is the task of the economist.

        If you want the real goods on economics, read Galbraith. If you want thought perversion, read the neocon economists.

      • RobLang April 28, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

        Don’t let sauerkraut’s comment confuse you.
        He’s mostly (but not totally) wrong. The way he presents his arguments, and the way he misrepresents reality are quite typical of a cultural marxist.
        Indeed, it takes an especially confused mind to deny an empirically based law like ‘supply and demand,’ which has been verified time and time again, and which is as solid as can be. Of course, equating the ‘law of supply and demand’ with ‘the rich will gouge you if they can,’ as sauerkraut does, is completely wrong. Also, the way he tries to further discredit it by shaming (“it is a description of the worst of human behaviour”) is so typical of a cultural marxist. It’s easy to see that all his ‘reasoning’ is an appeal to emotions rather than reason, and nobody should fall for it.
        Contrary to what he says, there is a science of economy. However, he is at least partially right in saying that it’s rotten. The fact is that there are a lot of charlatans that call themselves economists and are no more than apologists for this or that crazy ideology. Most are apologists for the state, which is as far away from capitalism as can be.

        It’s important to recognize cultural marxists on the internet in order to protect your intellect from their poisonous gaz.
        If you’re interested, you can check ‘Rocking Mr. E’ on youtube. That guy makes enlightening videos on various topics of philosophy, including the economy, gender issues and cultural marxism. It’s a great resource.

        • Janos Skorenzy April 28, 2014 at 2:04 pm #

          Obviously when a few people own whole industries, other laws come into play – especially when they meet, drink, and belong to the same clubs. As J.P Morgan said, “Competition is a sin.” You don’t have to be a hard core Marxist to criticize Adam Smith fundamentalism on this point.

          • sauerkraut April 28, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

            Hello Janos.

            My response to RobLang has been erroneously posted as a response to you.

            Just to clarify, my long response of 2:37 is to RobLang, not to yourself.

            Sorry for any confusion.

          • RobLang April 28, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

            You don’t have to be a hard core marxist to end-up using marxist terminology and be confused by it. It’s so widespread nowadays. A lot of toxic hot gas.
            There are other ways (than marxism) to look at society and reality, and deprogramming oneself from crazy ideologies (like marxism) is a difficult but necessary step if one wants to be able to think by oneself instead of parroting the dumb stuff.
            In the case of capitalism/marxism confusion, a starter would be to look-up the definition of ‘capitalism’ in a simple dictionary. You’ll see right away that capitalism is just an economic model where private entities interact without coercion by a state. That’s pretty much it. And that’s where Jim’s image of a natural law emerges: capitalism is not an ‘ism’ but the natural way economic exchanges happen when they are not distorted by a state.
            The state makes all the difference, and it is why people who call the present system ‘capitalism’ have it all wrong. The more state there is, the less capitalism there can be: just look at the definition of capitalism. It’s quite simple.

          • BackRowHeckler April 28, 2014 at 11:43 pm #

            Hey Vlad, about Adam Smith, he was around long before there were any assembly lines. Assembly lines were a 20th century construct originating in the Colt factory in Hartford and Fords in Detroit about the same time. Perhaps you’re thinking of that fellow Taylor who came up with time studies theories to make factories more efficient and productive. In practice, workers found these theories inhuman, degrading and deadly dull.


        • sauerkraut April 28, 2014 at 2:37 pm #

          Well Rob, I have never before been characterized as a “cultural Marxist”.

          I doubt that you will find a truer conservative than myself: I mostly hold with Adam Smith (you may wish to read him someday), Churchill (ditto), and legitimate claim to private property (especially intellectual property). That said, I also hold with sharing, so that the poor don’t come to my door with guns in their hands and hatred in their eyes. I hold with enough government to pass laws and enforce them. I hold that all men are created equal and have an equal right to protection under the law.

          I realize that this is called “socialism” by some. But Marxism?

          I note that you assert that I am wrong, but produce no evidence for your assertions, and no references. Then you call me names. The type of error you commit, Rob, is known as “argumentum ad hominum”.

          Even so, I thank you for your statement, “It is easy to see that all his “reasoning” is an appeal to emotions …” If it is so easy to see, I am sure that you will be able to refute it more effectively.

          Specifically, you object to my discussion and restatement of the Law of Supply and Demand. You say it is “completely wrong”. Specifically, why?

          You say, “contrary to what he says, there is a science of economy.” I have not talked about the science of economy, I have talked about schools of economy and economists. The science of economy is most nearly taught in schools of business, which is a study of how the economy really works.

          You say that “Most (economists) are apologists for the state…” Wow. Like Friedman? Keynes? Smith? Which ones? Examples of major figures, please. Or is this too much of an “appeal to emotions”?

          My last point is to thank you for protecting the readers’ intellect from my “poisonous gaz.”

          • Janos Skorenzy April 28, 2014 at 2:57 pm #

            You don’t mind if I comment though I hope? Nice post. Good point: most people conflate Socialism with Marxism – as if there were never Socialisms that didn’t hate the Nation State, Men, White Men in particular, and Western Culture.

            Adam Smith was kind of creepy when he talked about the glories of the assembly line though. Imagine straightening pins all day long. What kind of man are you by the time your shift is over? And after a couple of years of this? One to be trusted with pulling the lever in the polling booth? Doubt it.

            The brutalities of early and mid Capitalism stagger the imagination. It’s better now – we’re just being phased out. Will they feed us or not as they power down to 500 million a la the Georgia Guide Stones? Or will they just let Nature take its course?

            In other words, these other, now disreputable “National Socialists” agree with Marx that Capital tends to centralize. Left to itself, Capitalism eats any Society or Culture. So? So we don’t let it. Fascism? If you like. Call it whatever. We don’t let them devour the Nation and its people. If they don’t like it, they can go to Hell and get the Hell out. Quickly, before we nationalize and/or tax them into oblivion. We’ll do business with Individuals who are of like mind. They can keep their wealth – to which we will add honor and gratitude.

          • RobLang April 28, 2014 at 4:05 pm #

            Lol. Why am I surprised by your reply. Care to spread your confusion a bit more?

            “Specifically, you object to my discussion and restatement of the Law of Supply and Demand. You say it is “completely wrong”. Specifically, why?”
            Easy. You said to Greg: “For example, take the triviality, “the rich will gouge you if they can.” This is known to economists as “The Law of Supply and Demand.”
            See how easy it is? This statement of yours is so ridiculous that it falls on its face. Having to explain why it’s wrong is as bad as having to explain a bad joke… But here it goes (you asked for it). Many definitions of ‘the law of supply and demand’ are available on the ‘net or elsewhere, my learned friend, and they basically come down to:
            “prices are determined by the interaction of supply and demand: an increase in supply will lower prices if not accompanied by increased demand, and an increase in demand will raise prices unless accompanied by increased supply”
            See? Nowhere is it stated (or even implied) that “the rich will gouge you if they can”… I thought so. Thus is it demonstrated that you were completely wrong.
            But please tell us where you got your “the rich will gouge you if they can” reinterpretation of the law of supply and demand. Is this in one of your references?

            “Then you call me names. The type of error you commit, Rob, is known as “argumentum ad hominum”
            Hmmm… Calling you names would be an error only if these names were not appropriate. But I believe this was not the case. There is a very old tradition that I try to uphold: calling things by their proper name. Also, please understand that falsely calling fallacies is, in itself, a fallacy.

            That being said, you asking me to provide references is like a flat-earther asking me to provide evidence that the earth is (roughly) spherical. It’s laughable.
            Just open your eyes: ditch your marxist lingo and go look around, for the love of (insert deity name).

            As stated before, an eye-opening resource on youtube for philosophically minded viewers seeking to deprogram themselves from the omnipresent collectivist (marxist) ideological brainwash: ‘Rocking Mr. E’

    • dweebus April 28, 2014 at 12:13 pm #


      • Janos Skorenzy April 28, 2014 at 3:02 pm #

        Thank you.

        • dweebus April 29, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

          Whoopsie, buddy. How embarrassing. O.o

          That “Amen!” was intended for sauerkraut re: “Economics is NOT a description of how things are, like physics.”

          But you can keep it, if it makes you feel better. Everyone deserves a good Amen now and again. As we say…God is good , all the time! All the time, God is good! In that spirit, enjoy:


          • Janos Skorenzy April 29, 2014 at 11:37 pm #

            Look at the picture: the Whites have Black faces. Coincidence? If you think so, you don’t know much about advertising, a “black” art.

            If you want to imagine that Australopithecus was Negro, I’d be the last one to stop you. In fact I think it’s hilarious. Pretty good song though I must admit. The Black is his own man when it comes to music. African choral singing is some of the most beautiful music in the world. The modern American Blacks have thrown away an incredible musical heritage for rap garbage.

  14. Petro April 28, 2014 at 12:00 pm #

    The words “wealth” and “the wealthy” get used a lot here today, but it makes me wonder, how will wealth be defined in the future? Surely it will be different than it is today. But how? And could it be that in some respects, those who are not wealthy now, may someday be defined as wealthy?

  15. K-Dog April 28, 2014 at 12:03 pm #

    “They’ll be strung up on lampposts or dragged over three miles of pavement behind their own limousines.”

    And who would be doing the dastardly deeds? Nobody that’s who.

    Except for a few disaffected without any organization or power everybody else wants to get rich and see zero problem with having excessive wealth. That they will never be of the wealthy ones is not dealt with by average Americans. Dwelling on sanity and the reality of coming scarcity will only produce anger as they refuse to let their dreams go. Wishful thinking, hoping that some sort of cosmic justice will materialize out of thin air to balance the scales of inequity is no more rational than the delusion that shale oil and a robotic industrial renaissance will save us and keep the unsustainable growing indefinitely.

    Pain and suffering is in the future. No techno-narcissist wet dream will save us and that fact is as certain as the certainty of the fact that men will remain ignorant trapped in personal delusions unable to appreciate the actual situation because it is too damn unpleasant until actually realistically apprising the situation can do no good.

    I wonder if my comment will be ‘moderated for approval’ like last week? I shall find out when I hit submit!

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    • Janos Skorenzy April 28, 2014 at 2:08 pm #

      Thank you Kdog. The public sucks. If they didn’t, we wouldn’t be in this mess. Please hold onto this insight and start transforming the rest of your thinking by its light. A degree of Elitism, one of merit as Jefferson put it, must take the place of the rampant and pernicious populism that you are often burdened with. Fight it! Read Orthodox texts about spiritual warfare. The Dark Angels want you to believe nonsense.

  16. RobLang April 28, 2014 at 12:09 pm #

    “So-called capitalism is more like gravity, a set of laws that apply to and describe the behavior of surplus wealth…” Jim, thanks for bringing this word back to its down-to-earth real-world meaning. As you say, it’s not even an ‘ism.’
    Cultural Marxism and other post-modernist claptrap have introduced so much confusion in so many minds that public debate has become almost impossible. ‘Capitalism,’ as used (without clear definition) by pseudo-intellectuals of Marx lineage, is nothing more than a straw man designed to vilify private property and private economic exchanges (aka the free market). This has worked so well that the very word ‘capitalism’ is now used, in the public realm, as just another synonym for ‘evil.’

  17. ClipScripter April 28, 2014 at 12:17 pm #

    Been reading your ramblings for several years Jim, always enjoying your colorful way with language whether I totally agreed or not. Also admire the way you can “bring ’em out of the woodwork” in your comments section, apparently even me today. First you were concerned with suburban sprawl, which apparently has reversed with the current youth generation. Then, of course, it was “Peak Oil,” which now manifests itself in the exorbitant price of gasoline that has now crept up above our level of tolerance, at least for many of us. But it strikes me now that you and your followers appear to be ignoring the real “elephant in the room,” Climate Change. This phenomenon, resulting from humanity’s penchant for throwing the natural world (of which we are an integral part) dangerously off-balance, is already well on the way to totally eclipsing all other global economic and political issues we are facing today. The prospective and inevitable consequences, such as drought, fire, starvation and trying the survive the awful forces of extreme weather, as many mid-continent denizens are attempting to do today, promise to grab humanity’s attention as nothing before in history.

  18. BioWebScape April 28, 2014 at 12:22 pm #

    The sad thing is that we see that “The West” seems hell bent on killing Russia at all costs, make them mad force them to nuke someone, so we can feel upright and know that we made it to the top of the ant hill One last time.

    Obama just announced more sanctions this morning, about the same time he told people in my home state, Hey ya’ll sorry about those strong winds, It was just a blast of refreshing air from over here in Japan, where I am telling them I will be here on their front lines hugging them as China storms their beaches and takes those tiny rocks for themselves and pumps all that black Gold out of the ocean floor. Storms bring you strong job growth in the form of rebuilding. Be of good cheer Obama is here.

    At times I want to tell people that going without food for a week will do them good, also while you are at it, only hand wash your clothes in rain water, and don’t take a hot shower, or anything more than a sponge bath. Oh and drink that rainwater too, just to get that feel of getting back to the beginning. Maybe then they will think twice about the rest of the world going through some of those things.

    How is syria getting fed? How is Ukraine going to get fed soon if they are in the middle of a war of words and actions? For that matter my dad told me that California is not going to be growing much of anything this season in the dry sections, got to feed that water to those golf courses and swimming pools in L.A.

    Fracking is the bottom of the Oil barrel, so is Tar Sands, but we keep on hoping to strike it rich, all the while Fort Know is being drained of Gold and China and Russia are stocking up on it. The USA is only as good as it’s nukes to point at people and tell them Go, Jump, be afriad of us…. I don’t think China wants to Nuke us, nor even Russia, but it almost seems like there are War Hawks in the sidelines of the US gov’t that want to nuke them, and are just itching for the chance to pop a few mushroom clouds over their skies.

    I better go find out how many mulberries are on my bushes.

  19. dweebus April 28, 2014 at 12:29 pm #


    One of the very few areas where I take issue with you is your definition of capitalism. I would submit to you that economics is a cultural phenomenon, as opposed to a physical one such as the laws of nature. The untapped bounty of the New World and fossil fuels is what allowed this belief system to take hold. I feel that it began in England with the Enclosures and Colonization and was put on steroids with the discovery of millions of years of fossilized sunlight.

    With the withdrawal of the uninhabited frontier (there are no habitable new planets) and the loss of energy slaves, there will be far less “surplus wealth” sloshing around the system. But, yes indeed, this “reset” could lead to a very dark version of neo-feudalism, which a great many folk are already living under: i.e.- the Rust Belt.

    • sauerkraut April 28, 2014 at 4:10 pm #

      Nicely said.

  20. St. Roy April 28, 2014 at 12:29 pm #

    WOW! Jim, this post is the most succinct and brilliant summary of the inequality debate that I could ever hope to read. As the FF orgy winds down and we revert back to societies with much less surplus energy with only lots of peasants and a few rulers, this debate will become mute. We are close already. Piketty’s book is a useless read.

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  21. lpat April 28, 2014 at 12:52 pm #

    As the Portuguese worked their way down the West African coast in the 15th century, most of the world was virgin territory. Plows, axes, shovels had touched very little of it. The world’s riches were lying fallow.

    For the five hundred years that we have been exploiting those riches we have assumed that, like Venus, the earth retained its virginal abundance. Capitalism’s dreams of limitless growth depend on that hidden assumption.

    Much of the rest of capitalism’s theories does as well. The falsity of that assumption, and the innumerable lies told by the sycophants of wealth make me doubt the validity of the concept. I trust there are indeed real laws of economics, but this one still sounds like an “ism” to me.

    Wealth is, above all, the ability to control labor. Most material property is worth little without the labor to transform it into food, shelter and the like.

  22. djc April 28, 2014 at 2:04 pm #

    I was reading the blog when eating lunch and came upon:

    “Piketty fans such as New York Times op-ed ass Paul Krugman”

    and the food flew out of my mouth when I couldn’t stop laughing. I love it.


    • Karah April 28, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

      ya, why does jhk even bother reading the paper? waste of time eventhough he can not get into the gardening.

      grow up and stop picking fights.

    • Janos Skorenzy April 28, 2014 at 2:18 pm #

      Thirty rich guys, many of them tribe, control the destiny of hundred of Black Men and thousands of subsidiary White workers. How is the NBA any different than the old Plantation system of the South? Picking Cotton or Dunking Basketballs, what the difference?

      I’m just taking this from Jesse Jackson. I don’t believe this but merely offer it up for discussion. I might add that making millions and having access to an unlimited supply of dumb White girls is one difference. But on the existential level, might not ol’ Jes and Unk Al have a point? Aren’t they really the Uncle Remuses of our day? They are angrier only because Society is. It’s the Institution!

      • sauerkraut April 28, 2014 at 2:54 pm #

        Interesting points, Janos.

      • Karah April 29, 2014 at 10:47 pm #

        it is very different because noone forced those men to play pro basketball.

        all men have a choice to be exploited or to take charge but as we can see the numbers of men who can rise the ranks to earn billions like sterling is few and far between.

        what is completely overlooked in the example sterling sets is his lack of moraliity and respect for women. basically, he got turned in by a high class hooker. he did not just like being seen at games on the front row, he liked being seen with young women. that, to me, is the most disgusting thing about his presence in public. but playas cant call him out for what they admire about him, can they?

        why didnt the golf assoc. kick tiger woods out of golf? he apologized and changed. sterling is considered too old to change and not even his money is worth the loss in nbas public image.

  23. daofirry April 28, 2014 at 2:57 pm #

    I was just thinking, I know an interestingly dark way to wake people up from delusions of future techno-grandeur. Does anyone here remember the 1982 Donald Fagen song I.G.Y.? It might have been considered a Steely Dan song, websites seem to differ on this… anyway, here are the lyrics: http://www.lyricsfreak.com/s/steely+dan/igy_20469426.html

    For me, that song just nails the reezy, naive, extreme optimisim of the 50’s and early 60’s. So, I was just thinking, if anyone here had good video editing skills, it could be pretty impactful to create a video with this song playing in the background, showing images of scenes of climate change, (forest fires, drought-parched ranches, Superstorm Sandy, etc), high gas prices, news headlines about schools having no budgets, bridges and highways falling apart, etc…. if you did it right, it would be very jarring for a lot of people, I bet. just a thought.

    • daofirry April 28, 2014 at 2:58 pm #

      that was supposed to say “breezy,” not reezy. my bad.

    • sauerkraut April 28, 2014 at 3:21 pm #

      I can see it now .. very nice.

    • JaVieRP August 29, 2016 at 4:26 am #

      Steely Dan their music is unique and timeless, “I. G. Y.” my fave SteelyD tunes http://lyricsmusic.name/steely-dan-lyrics/the-nightfly/i-g-y.html

  24. sauerkraut April 28, 2014 at 3:20 pm #

    No more levels near your response to Janos, Rob, so I’ll do it here.

    It is a mistake to read too much into a dictionary definition. Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations is much better, but a bit longer. As Janos pointed out, Adam Smith Fundamentalism is what passes for capitalism these days, but this Fundamentalism is almost diametrically opposed to what Adam Smith actually wrote.

    As far as natural law goes, I think that you are very much mistaken. Natural law reduces to “Me want. Me bigger. Mine now.” A state is absolutely required to have any kind of economy, and there have been as many economies in the past as there were civilizations. For example, most of the OECD has free or nearly free medical care, just like free air. Each country has its own take on economy, even capitalist economy.

    This is the source of your error, “The more state there is, the less capitalism there can be: just look at the definition of capitalism.” You are looking only at one particular state (presumably USA of 2014). Perhaps what you meant to say is this, “The more the state enforces a transfer of wealth from the rich to the poor, the less capitalism there can be; just look at Adam Smith.”

    If so, I would agree with you.

    • RobLang May 2, 2014 at 10:26 am #

      Wow, the clarity of your thinking is truly a wonder to behold.

      “It is a mistake to read too much into a dictionary definition.” That’s a remarkable statement. Indeed, definitions are dangerous to the likes of you as they tend to get in the way of the gas coming out – they could make you explode! Lol.

      “A state is absolutely required to have any kind of economy.” Oh man, this is rich. You’re such a funny guy. So you truly believe there was no economic activity before the first state appeared out of nowhere? Lol.

      It’s a lot of fun calling out your BS. It’s quite obvious that you understand very little about economic matters and here you are, expounding on it as if you were a big shot expert. You’re quick to cite authors like Galbraith and al, but you can’t even grasp a simple economic concept like the “law of supply and demand.”

      But I’m sure you won’t let yourself be stopped by a snarky commenter like me. And why should you!? Indeed, the public actually likes providers of BS, baloney and other gibberish. People like Krugman (P) and Friedman (T) even get paid for it!

  25. sauerkraut April 28, 2014 at 4:03 pm #

    Picking up on a point by Janos upthread, some of Adam Smith is indeed dated and to modern eyes rather primitive. Agreed. Some is no longer applicable (e.g. assuming that capital is static). But for his day, his discussion was impressive.

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  26. Piper Michael April 28, 2014 at 4:09 pm #

    Amen, excellent post this week.
    But there are more questions than answers in our current predicament. The first of which, is; What is Liberty? How is liberty maintained in what comes? How do those of like mind, make a plan? To extract ourselves from a collective hive mind system, and thrive? Rather than be dragged into the abyss with them…

    You have laid out mechanics of what comes over much of your writings, and what results will be, but the only true result in a new-medieval society, will be warlords and serfs. What powerful force would move into that vacuum? Do we think the Federals would go quietly into that good night?, or merely morph into something much darker?

    This is unacceptable to me, to go backwards into a new dark age led by collectivist beasts, even though I think they will win, the short game, they must lose the long game to the concept of Liberty. Liberty, like capitalism, is a deeper truth that cannot be defined for it is within the soul of men. Rather, it is better to consider the future now, that to “pound our swords into plowshares”, has a deeper meaning, to take something old and make something new from it, like you talk about trains. But, the ideologists, leaders and shakers, must die, that is the only way.

    Ideologies, lead to extremism, as power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely, and I think, centralized power corrupts entire nations… We need a plan. But, our constitution, and Federal system, is flawed. We threw off an aristocracy of royalty, and ended up with an aristocracy of money… thus, a loose confederation of castles, under an expanded castle doctrine, seems to fit the future best.

    But, I’m afraid, without a viral plurality, with a committee of non-ideological thinkers and champions like yourself, working towards a Post SHTF new arrangement, by talking about it now, we will end up with those warlords and being conquered by foreign or federal and corporate devils at our point of greatest weakness.

    I for one, am done with constitutions of Republics that degenerate into mob rule, leaders who think they are Kings, ideologies that promote stupidity on both sides, corporations who seek profit under destruction of the Earth and her people, bankers who think they are entitled to own everything, but above all; religions that promote division, superstition, apathy and materialism. We are Americans, ultimately our problem is one of spiritual dimension, and the one thing we have always proven when like minded folks put our heads together is; CAN DO.

  27. sauerkraut April 28, 2014 at 4:16 pm #

    Another response to you, Rob.

    I rest my case.

  28. Newfie April 28, 2014 at 6:14 pm #

    Not all economists are morons or delusional. Check out Robert J. Gordon who says the era of growth is over. Forever.

  29. shotho April 28, 2014 at 7:39 pm #

    The third paragraph, beginning with “Hence, . . . .” is the most perfect and concise explanation of the whole miserable experience of communism I have ever read.
    The only quibble I have with Mr. K is over “peak oil”. I do not dispute that it is happening, but I believe the ultimate destroyer of whatever is left of Western civilization is “peak character loss”. There is no turning back for what is left of a thoroughly dissolute and depraved collectivity of Westerners, even with massive new and exploitable energy sources.

  30. Crue April 28, 2014 at 7:53 pm #

    “So-called capitalism is more like gravity, a set of laws that apply to and describe the behavior of surplus wealth, in particular wealth generated by industrial societies, which is to say unprecedented massive wealth.”

    So the ‘free market’, is now a force of nature, as immutable as gravity? Really? I didn’t know that squirrels drays were governed by a nut market. Nor was I aware that lion prides engaged in trading easy-meat futures contracts.

    Sorry, Mr. Kunstler, but the ‘free market’ is in fact a human social construct. The idea that the free market is a ‘force of nature’ is a central tenet of the super wealthy propaganda campaign used to justify their greed, avarice and lust for power.

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    • Janos Skorenzy April 28, 2014 at 8:30 pm #

      Well yes and no: Capitalism isn’t a law of physics or chemistry, but it is behavior seen in many living creatures – not just man. Predators seek to maximize their gain and minimize their loss, both in terms of energy and risk. Thus they will overlook the strong and concentrate on the old, weak, sick and very young members of the herd.

      The same principle could probably be seen in herbivores, though not as clearly of course.

      If you are interested in this line of thought, read E.O Wilson and the Sociobiologists.

      • Greg Knepp April 29, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

        Janos, Excellent point! I’ve been criticized on another blog for being a “biological predeterminist” (I think that’s how I was labeled). In any event, the seeds of all of our social systems were sown long before the mutant artifice that we call ‘civilization’ was birthed. We are creatures; we operate largely out of instincts hammered together by Natural Selection over a span of countless eons. Civilization is new, and it baffles our natural inclinations.This seems obvious.

        In fact, this dilemma is the conceptual foundation of the collection of writings we call the Old Testament. It is also the subtext of the Epic of Gilgamesh and much of Greek mythology. The so-called Axial Age was about nothing more or less than dealing with the momentous changes brought about by civilization – internal changes demanded of the human creature, as well as external changes to the very physical planet.

        Yes, the ancients were acutely aware of all of this and more.

        • Janos Skorenzy April 29, 2014 at 11:24 pm #

          Likewise cooperation has a biological base. We like to give to those who are most like us. The Nation is or at least should be an extended family. In Japan, one can drop ones wallet and it will still be there a week later. Thus Racism is just the natural feeling of kinship – to deny it is to deny life itself. Liberals are haters of Life.

          • Greg Knepp April 30, 2014 at 12:25 pm #

            Racism may be based on humankind’s heavy reliance on visual sensory input. Like all arboreals, humans (evolved from same) put more stock on vision than on any of the other senses. We trust what we recognize and mistrust what looks different. This is natural.

            It has been well established that the genetic differences between the races are miniscule. But the fact that these differences manifest VISUALLY has created substantial problems where race relations are concerned.

            Racism, then, is not a response that is learned – it is simply a natural tendency to take caution around the less familiar. Fortunately, racism can be unlearned. This has been accomplished countless times on a one-to-one basis. Trying to enforce this on a mass scale, however, has often produced less than stellar results.

            Oh, I am a liberal, but politics has little to do with anything anymore.

  31. Loneranger April 28, 2014 at 8:42 pm #

    Fort Knox should be renamed Fort Knocked Out

  32. islander800 April 28, 2014 at 9:17 pm #

    Having just returned from two weeks in rural Provence in southern France, where 1,000-year-old villages and towns are intermixed with some of the best Roman-empire-ruins in the world, I was struck by the impermanence, and permanence, of history.

    The Roman remnants were amazing in the technological expertise shown. That was a once-great civilization left in ruins.

    The hill-top, fortress-logic, 1,000+-year-old medieval villages, tight “streets” and buildings of yellow and golden limestone blocks and clay-tile roofs, from the middle ages and still occupied and alive, will be here 1,000 years from now.

    But Jim, what do we have to work with here, in North America? Drywall and deteriorating vinyl siding?

    In think we’re in deep do-do. But the rural French will do just fine.

    • Janos Skorenzy April 28, 2014 at 11:03 pm #

      But who will in such dwellings? The French or Muslim Arabs, Berbers, and Negroes? Or is this unimportant? It is to the Muslims as it should be the real (White) French – and by extension, as their Brothers, to us.

      • BackRowHeckler April 28, 2014 at 11:55 pm #

        All those lovely French girls, blue eyed, hair like strands of gold, and legs up to here, legs that won’t quit, that go on forever, and their musical voices speaking that beautiful language, who seem fashionable whatever their wearing, any time of year but especially summer, the best the west has to offer, if they were to disappear why go on living? Why?


        • sauerkraut April 29, 2014 at 12:41 am #

          You wax lyrical, BRH. Good for you.

        • islander800 April 29, 2014 at 1:53 am #

          I have to agree with you…

          And from an outsider’s experience, just-finishing 2 weeks there, it was the most civilized place I’ve been. People are friendly (they actually say “bonjour” to passing strangers in the street) and where else do you see 30 feet of aisle space in the supermarket for cheese – and the same for yogurt?

          If France is the modern expression of a caring socialist (gasp!) society – I’ll take it. I think they’ve got it right.

      • Looongerbeard April 29, 2014 at 6:13 am #

        re Janos 11:03pm:

        More Racist Nonsense to be Ignored!

        • Janos Skorenzy April 29, 2014 at 1:59 pm #

          So Europe should just roll over and allow the Elite to turn it into Eurabia? I thought you were a “rebel”(!) Whatever happened to “fight the power” and “power to the people”? Guess that only was only meant for some people?

          You all can’t get away with your amorphous slogans anymore. You are called to the podium to explain yourself – or leave the forum.

  33. contrahend April 29, 2014 at 9:43 am #

    “They’ll be strung up on lampposts or dragged over three miles of pavement behind their own limousines.”

    And who would be doing the dastardly deeds? Nobody that’s who.

    Right on , Jay! Got that right!


  34. John Galt III April 29, 2014 at 11:00 am #

    You are 100% dead wrong on energy. The world has always come up with new sources of energy or improvements on existing technologies. The world comes up with better everything all the time but according to you that is impossible with energy. Total nonsense.

    1) We live on a planet heated internally by the radioactive decay of uranium and thorium. This heat produces our magnetic field that makes all life possible. No magnetic field and the solar wind strips off our atmosphere causing life to die.

    2) We will use thorium in reactors to produce energy. Obama eco-fascist types will probably delay this in the US but China is going after thorium full throttle. They will succeed.

    3) If you would like to get educated in this technology of (LFTR’s and MSR’s) go here:


    4) After doing so, re-write you article.

  35. contrahend April 29, 2014 at 11:53 am #

    You are 100% dead wrong on energy. The world has always come up with new sources of energy or improvements on existing technologies. The world comes up with better everything all the time but according to you that is impossible with energy. Total nonsense.

    Wow, someone who actually challenges the litany of desapair out here. I am with you, son. all the way.

    We salute you folks who are dead wrong on energy as we soar high above you into a future of superabundance and cornucopia!


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    • Florida Power April 29, 2014 at 12:52 pm #

      Litany of despair or respect for historical reality? Hey – I wish the Fermian revolution had utilized thorium MSRs instead of the fissile time bombs dotting the countryside but that was a decision made a long time ago for a very basic biological reason: weaponry. We read above by others of Roman ruins dotting the French countryside. The Romans were quite advanced technologically as the Greeks before them were advanced philosophically. According to the cornucopian view of human nature we should have been much further along by now than we are with Greek and Roman scientific accomplishment exponentially expanding an ever more wonderful future of progress and enlightenment. It didn’t happen that way. Cultures get sidetracked, go down dead end streets, abandon their habitat entirely, commit suicide, and are rediscovered a thousand years later, or not. Look at China. The belief that the Scientific Revolution in the West represents a fissure in history is exactly that – a belief, no more, no less. Whether humanity has the spiritual capital (some might call it eusociality, though I have issues with that concept applied to humans) to prevail is and will always be an unknown.

  36. Jim Shannon April 29, 2014 at 12:23 pm #

    Capitalism is just another Religion, controlling the hearts and minds of the masses! Go along to get ahead! Your view is just plain wrong, as the TAX CODE always and everywhere is the “decider” and the TRUE means by which ALL WEALTH is distributed and the TRUE mechanism of those who work to transfer wealth from the 99% to the Ultra Elite.
    Your take on Pikkety is interesting, but what is most fascinating to me is the fact that the Ultra Wealthy never see what’s in store for them. Always believing their own Bull Shit about Economics and Finance until the very last moment before they are drawn and quartered. The wealthy are wealthy because the people are too brainwashed to see the TAX CODE for what it really is – a tool to decide who is Wealthy and stays wealthy and who will always be hand to mouth!
    If CentaMillionaire$ and Billionaire$ were rational they would raise Taxes on themselves, but as history has proven over and over, a wealthy man would rather eat his children than part with his money!
    TAXING ALL CentaMillionaire$ and Billionaire$ out of EXISTENCE would Change the worlds Religion – one now controlled by an Elite Mafia of entitled Sociopaths!

  37. volodya April 29, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

    There’s a contraction of wealth for the reasons Kunstler outlines. But there’s also systematic oligarchic theft of this rapidly diminishing wealth.

    This is a negative sum game. I think that for every buck stolen by the racketeers there’s economic shrinkage just through a discouragement effect.

    Institutionalized theft, portrayed as “legal” by the PTB, acts as an economic suppressant.

    I mean, what’s the point of busting your ass if you get robbed? When you milk a cow, what difference does it make to you if the milk goes in the pail or on the floor if, when you’re done, the pail gets stolen from under your nose?

  38. volodya April 29, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

    One way or another the oligarch class will be history along with the institutional and legal enforcement mechanisms that empower them

    But, in the meantime, I wouldn’t put much past the oligarchs. How far will they go? This electronic surveillance is all about security. But, IMO, not about yours or mine but rather theirs.

    I don’t think the oligarchs are too worried at this point about Islamist terror attacks. I think their question is how much can you impoverish people before they push back. I think they worry rather more about popular dissent. And so maybe that Deep State surveillance is part of an effort to suppress dissent.

    You know, dissent from domestic, garden variety malcontents, doomers and pains-in-the-ass. Threats to the status quo that maybe need to be warned off, gently or otherwise, thwarted (maybe via relatively innocuous means like bringing down vitriolic websites). Or maybe framed Assange style. Or maybe made to meet unfortunate accidents like an inexplicable switch of medication. It is, after all, a slippery slope.

    And, by the way, there were guys on PBS that said that far from just collecting this mythical “meta data” the NSA was recording the actual content of telephone conversations. Unbelievable you say? But, given what you know, would you put it past them?

    There was some discussion a while back about who is behind the attempts to ruin this site with torrents of trollery. Government sponsored or no? Or maybe non-governmental organizations?

    And last year (Jan 24, 2013) one of our regular commenters rooted out a time stamp on Kunstler’s user stats page. Amazing what he found. Remember? Apparently one of the regular posters (one that some other readers on this site would regard as a troll) was posting from the US Dept of Defense Network.

    The response from the outed poster was just as remarkable, confessing that he was indeed on the government payroll.

    So what do we make of all this? Do we take the “confession” at face value?

    The outed poster disappeared but other names popped up with similar sounding inflammatory comments. Plus regular posts under other screen-names deploying a lot of taunts and insults.

    So, is this sad and disturbing shit all about government-paid flacks trying to deflect and disrupt? Even if it is, should we better treat this as comical and pathetic, a laughable and futile attempt to keep the balloon in the air a bit longer?

    Regardless of source, Deep State or not, no amount of trollery, lies and nonsense will matter. What will happen will happen, encoded as it is on deeper levels of reality. And so, I agree with Kunstler. Among other inevitabilities, the oligarchs will be gone.

    • ozone April 30, 2014 at 9:50 am #

      volodya, (A diminutive of Vlad in some languages! 😉 )

      Thanks for the thoughtful posts that get to the meat of the matter. I’ve been pondering the same things.

      The Great [and likely final] Looting:
      JHK’s wording is important here, and I think it’s been misunderstood (either accidentally or deliberately).
      “So-called capitalism is more like gravity, a set of laws that apply to and describe the behavior of SURPLUS WEALTH, in particular wealth generated by INDUSTRIAL SOCIETIES, which is to say unprecedented massive wealth.”

      Shenanigans, lying, subterfuge, theft.

      Torrents of Trollery:
      You say: “So, is this sad and disturbing shit all about government-paid flacks trying to deflect and disrupt? Even if it is, should we better treat this as comical and pathetic, a laughable and futile attempt to keep the balloon in the air a bit longer?”

      *I would contend that it’s a deadly SERIOUS attempt to keep the extraction machine fueled, greased and rolling.

      “Regardless of source, Deep State or not, no amount of trollery, lies and nonsense will matter. What will happen will happen, encoded as it is on deeper levels of reality. And so, I agree with Kunstler. Among other inevitabilities, the oligarchs will be gone.”

      *Truly, it will not matter as the inevitable Crumbling continues. However, what becomes of those whose very living is derived from, rooted in, and based upon very deliberate lies and lying? I can’t imagine the Orwellian interviews in the “Labor Opportunities” tent on a cold and starveling winter’s day when the employers/masters-of-note are no more, or hidden in their redoubts with only “essential” staff. What is the career path of the professional liar in an energy constrained world? (We usually find these “folks” outside the circle of trust and more generally known as “outlaw” or “criminal”. Only in a brief era of excess resources can the title of “politician” be added for comic relief.)

      • ozone April 30, 2014 at 9:59 am #

        (Sorry, should have written: Shenanigans, lying, subterfuge, theft in SERVICE of that “unprecedented massive wealth”. It seems to develop its’ very own psychosis.)

  39. edpell April 29, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

    Above, someone talked about reducing the population two orders of magnitude. They said that would leave 500 million. The math is wrong. 7 billion reduced by one order of magnitude is 700 million. Reducing a second order of magnitude leaves 70 million. About the number that Jack Alpert predicts. I would agree with this number for a post overshoot soil/ocean/species depleted world.

  40. edpell April 29, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

    The large (50 billion dollars) elites will be gone. The small (50 thug enforcers) elites will replace them. “Meet the new boss same as the old boss.”

    I believe James has written about the new elite in his books.

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    • John Galt III April 29, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

      Just because Europe and Obama are stuck in the Marxist/Piketty world does not mean the whole world is. Capital goes where it is treated well.

      1) Toyota is closing its Torrance, CA HQ and moving to Texas and moving 5,000 jobs. Why? California under its eco-fascist Marxist government totally hates business – all types – all the time. Bye-Bye Toyota.

      2) Pfizer is buying Astra Zeneca, creating the largest drug company in the world, moving overseas, saving $1 billion a year in fewer taxes all due to Obama and Reid not cutting the corporate tax level in the US (the highest in the OECD).

      3) Who does Piketty think he will tax when all the businesses are gone. Maybe this dolt thinks the parasite class (government “workers”) will pay the taxes, but the parasite class is a sponge for money not a source.

      4) Communism fell and so will US and European socialism. Socialism will do so when it runs out of its capacity to borrow money and/or its ability to tax the economy to death per Monsieur Piketty.

      5) Watch Japan and France carefully. Their economic and fiscal policies are insane. They will be the first to go, then we will follow.

      6) in the meantime follow James Rickard’s advice and buy a little gold. The dollar is doomed in the next 10 years, perhaps sooner.

    • BackRowHeckler April 29, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

      Hey edpell George Orwell covered that territory in ‘Animal Farm’


  41. BackRowHeckler April 29, 2014 at 4:45 pm #

    Speaking of Picketty, is there any way a tax can be levied against the 11 Mexican billionaires, help defray the costs of taking care of millions of their countrymen up here in el Norte?

    Why are they let off the hook?


  42. contrahend April 29, 2014 at 5:35 pm #

    Toyota is closing its Torrance, CA HQ and moving to Texas and moving 5,000 jobs.

    yeah isn`t if funny people rail against big corporations, the very ones giving….5 thousand people jobs/careers/opportunity.

    finance is rather simple – cut the goddam taxes. when i lived in iceland in 1988 they abolished income tax for a year, and the economy shot straight to the moon.

    of course they reinstated it in 1989 and it tanked to hell.

    yes i understand the need to provide services. how about we say everyone just pays 10% and leave it at that. and no one pays if they make less than 40,000 or whatever figure is deemed to constitute a livable wage.


    • Florida Power April 29, 2014 at 7:15 pm #

      10% levy at north of 40K? This makes too much sense. But all those IRS workers, accountants, lawyers decoding the 40,00 pages of tax legislation or whatever it is, what pray tell will they do?

      I say let them eat cake. Flat tax, paper ballots — It’s a start.

      • Janos Skorenzy April 29, 2014 at 11:50 pm #

        Back to paper cuts and hanging chads: Devolution. Are we not Men!

        But yes, the Flat Tax is far too flat, level and fair. They don’t like shit like that.

        • Florida Power April 30, 2014 at 8:02 am #

          Paper ballots — made by hand as it were — marked by voter and counted by a committee at the precinct level. It could take a week to determine the actual count, but it will be an actual count since the chain of custody will remain unbroken, and presumably the local counting committee will be composed of folks who hate each other.

          Paper cuts — what did Jefferson say about the tree of liberty and the blood of patriots? They were men. No, we are not!

    • Oneiropolos April 30, 2014 at 11:46 am #

      A flat tax like this would also be wise because it would allow people to actually get by on lower wages which seem to be near-universal in the West of today. As it stands, with high inflation (much higher than official numbers suggest), unemployment, and underwater fiscal situations near universal, it’s a recipe for instability. Lowering tax burdens is one thing sorely needed.

      But that still leaves the problem in many countries of debt to the hilt from local to Federal levels. I don’t really know how they plan to get out of this mess. And then there’s talk of either inflation or deflation, and the ‘experts’ never seem to agree on which is more likely …

  43. contrahend April 30, 2014 at 9:38 am #

    are there any flat tax countries out there?


    • Oneiropolos April 30, 2014 at 11:40 am #

      When I last checked, I believe Hong Kong was. Apparently they had this model since British rule. I believe it was 15% for every citizen, though I’m not sure if there was a low-income cutoff. Having said that, they may have changed it in the intervening years. I shouldn’t be surprised to find it’s still in operation today, though, being that city-states like Hong Kong seem to be doing relatively well as against large-scale nation-states which are debt-ridden and low/no growth now as consequence of awful macroeconomic policies pursued since the ’80s.

  44. volodya April 30, 2014 at 12:41 pm #

    Yes indeed Mr Ozone, that is the question, what becomes of those whose very living is derived from, rooted in, and based upon very deliberate lies and lying?

    IMO we can’t let it be BAU. After all look at where BAU got us.

    But a very important question it is. The answer to which may well define the post collapse world for a very long time.

    I think we face trying times. I think that the long decline will be punctuated by spasms where the world goes insane in the style of the 20th C with its varied upheavals. And, for that matter, the 19th C and every damned century before that as far as the eye can see.

    You know the saying, it’s different this time. It’s always different. All ages in history are unique in one way or another. IMO this age is different from most in that there will be a great discontinuity with the past.

    I think that you and me and many readers of this blog have a pretty good chance of being part of one of the founding societies of the post collapse world. If not us then our near descendants.

    So, what’s to be done with the scabrous lot at the pinnacle of our foodchain? The approach will define in many ways the shape of our successor society.

    Will we let bygones be bygones and just let them be? Will we let them take their accustomed positions of privilege? Maybe after a Truth and Reconciliation Commission with tearful apologies and symbolic restitution. Some may advocate this as the expedient thing, that we have to get on with life.

    Or will we root them out? But will we use a measured approach with all the pomp and puffery and solemnity of court proceedings and due process?

    Or will it be farcical kangaroo courts, presided over by “judges” with pre-cooked verdicts and outcomes? Like happens in China with its joke trials and mass executions. Or what we just saw in Egypt.

    Or, forget courtrooms and judges, will there be unrestrained orgies of violence, multiple anti-oligarchic “kristallnachts”, a settling of scores, the moneychangers chased down by revolutionary zealots?

    Some will say we can’t have loose talk of mayhem, that we have to be fair and fairly judge the bad guys, that the societal template for the post collapse world will be the better for it. And I have sympathy for this view.

    Others will say that, in the rush of events, the urgencies of the times will dictate the approach, that maybe rough and imperfect justice will be all we can manage, that all the legalistic niceties will be luxuries we won’t be able to afford.

    Others may say that we can’t leave stones unturned, that we need to teach some lessons to re-mold society and its collective values, and so only a harsh approach will leave the desired imprint on the future.

    As the fictional Roman General Maximus said to his troops before battle, what we do in this life echoes in eternity.

    • BackRowHeckler April 30, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

      That’s all well and fine to quote General Maximus, but the question remains, what become of the LA Clippers, will they rally to take the NBA title, will the fans show up, will sponsors stick with the team, will we ever to be able to forgive ourselves, collectively, for our abject racism, homophobia, white privilege, hate crimes, and recognize the greatness of Reverend Al Sharpton???


    • Janos Skorenzy April 30, 2014 at 3:13 pm #

      Everyone wants to be “something” rather than just Being – and thus being ready for action. We must return to the ideal of the Gentleman’s C. The Gentleman, like Lao Tzu’s true man, doesn’t bend himself out of shape trying to know too much or be too good at too many things. He merely learns to ride and shoot and is content to Be – or in vulgar terms, he waits for trouble and is ready for it. He is the Zen True Man of No Title. Of course he may have a title but he wears it lightly since this world is a joke.

      Whitman said that either the Work must remain incomplete or the Man. He chose to finish the work. The spiritual aristocrat chooses to complete himself and leaves the work incomplete – but not undone. As the Zen poems states, Spring comes and the grass grows by itself. Or from the Tao, “The Way abides in non-action, yet nothing is left undone.

      • Florida Power April 30, 2014 at 4:33 pm #

        But talk does not boil the rice, either.

        Sometimes we must whip it into shape.

    • ozone May 1, 2014 at 7:58 am #

      I guess we’ll have to apologize for bringing the subject up. JHK often does, and when he does, the woodwork has the illusion of movement, and protestations of “free speech” mount to the heavens to provide cover for strategic distractions.
      A serious gaze at the many facets of the black gem of “justice” is diverted into a swamp of bullshit. I happen to understand that it’s (quite literally) a matter of life and death. We’re no different than any other humans when backed to the wall of survival; the beast will out and mitigating reptilian behavior will be our most telling struggle. (As you aver, it will most surely put its’ stamp on societal conduct.)
      Somehow, trust must/will be restored; life without it ain’t worth a damn. For a look at what this issue portends, read Orlov’s case study of the Ik under chapter 5, Cultural Collapse in “The Five Stages of Collapse”. To say that such a life ain’t pretty would be a vast understatement.

      Here’s wishing luck, apparently it’s all we’ve got (or all we’ll be allowed to have).

  45. K-Dog April 30, 2014 at 1:23 pm #

    After all, the second leading delusion in our culture these days, after the wish for a something-for-nothing magic energy rescue remedy, is the idea that we can politically organize our way out of the epochal predicament of civilization that we face.

    That this is the second leading delusion is debatable. We have too many delusions to count. A sad observation this is, as this Gem from the Archdruid this week makes clear. He comments around Obama’s threat to Russia about cutting off non-existent gas surpluses and says.

    Strong nations in control of their own destinies, it’s fair to note, don’t respond to challenges on this scale by plunging their heads quite so enthusiastically into the sands of self-deception.

    Sands of self deception! We have endless dunes of self deception which stretch from horizon to horizon as far as anyone can see.

    If Diogenes walks America looking for honesty he has hit up every foot-care store shelf in every Walmart in the country by now and he is still walking. And that’s a lot of Walmarts!

    Note: Aristotle refered to Diogenes as “The Dog”.

    Woof !


    Note: It is K-Dog not J-Dog. The K comes from my first name Keith as dedicated (obsessed) clusterfuckers already know. If I’m being confused with this guy I’ll consider it a complement.

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    • K-Dog April 30, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

      That second paragraph was not supposed to be in italics but so what. I’m writing this because the link to the druid did not work.


  46. contrahend April 30, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

    the post collapse world

    this is not happening, get real & user your noggin. what are the symptoms of impending worldwide collapse?

    everything`s at alltime highs, food production, travel, leisure, income, lifespans

    just cuz oil is ‘running out’?

    solar-wind-hydro-other alt energies, continual boosts in energy efficiency, smart grids, scaledown in usage (Holland/Switzerland etc. are HUGE users of bikes to work/get to work, millions work at home etc.) are tackling that problem over many decades, in tandem with any decline in petroleum production

    good luck waiting for the imaginary post collapse to happen


    • K-Dog April 30, 2014 at 1:43 pm #

      “solar-wind-hydro-other alt energies, continual boosts in energy efficiency, smart grids, scaledown in usage (Holland/Switzerland etc. are HUGE users of bikes to work/get to work, millions work at home etc.) are tackling that problem over many decades, in tandem with any decline in petroleum production”

      More sands of deception blow. Smartgrids and boosts in energy efficiency are snake oil which only buy time and do not change the final outcome. Jevons paradox can even have the counter-intuitive effect of hastening collapse. Populations grow to eat up any efficiency gains and only a fundamental change in living arrangements is a genuine solution to our ills.

      contrahend – You have a familiar signature to your writing which I think we have seen before. But as directed by JHK I won’t be revealing your other identities and will be confining myself to this weeks issues despite your agenda to confuse and my own personal distaste for your methods.

  47. volodya April 30, 2014 at 2:32 pm #

    The universe has a sharp sense of humor. And so in the too funny for words category:

    It looks like Mr Adolph Hitler shared his Y chromosome, that is, his male parentage, with a race of people he hated.

    You can trace male lineage via the Y chromosome. And, according to a geneticist that tested Hitler’s relatives, Adolph belonged to a Y chromosome haplogroup that, hilariously, had its apparent origin at the Horn of Africa more than 20,000 years ago. It likely comes to Hitler from a migration from Africa into Europe and possibly during the spread of agriculture via the Middle East. This Y chromosome is found at high frequencies in parts of Africa. It is also found in the Middle East and parts of Europe.

    Carriers of this Y chromosome are often in the Afro-Asiatic language group of which the Semites are a part. A large proportion of Ashkenazi Jews carry it.

    So, according to Hitler’s Y chromosome, his patrilineage comes from Africans, people he despised. And he shares it with a lot of Jews.

    And Csanad Szegedi, a leader of the far right, anti-Jewish Jobbik Party in Hungary, finds out that he himself is Jewish.

    You cannot make this shit up.

  48. BackRowHeckler April 30, 2014 at 4:46 pm #

    I’m a little puzzled about the White House announcement yesterday about a campaign against ‘rape on campus’. Our state legislature came up with some new laws yesterday, too. What’s puzzling about it? Well, for one thing I thought rape was a capital crime already and has been for many centuries, punishable by years in prison, and in some places death. Gloria Allred was here representing a group of coeds who claimed to have been assaulted at state U, and presented some political case. The only problem is, the Chief of Police and the President of State U are both women. So I asked my neighbor, a District Attorney, about it. What gives? He says it involved members of the basketball and football teams, which presents more problems, for obvious reasons. Something is going on here and I suspect it isn’t about ‘sexual assault’. I’m not sure what.

    Now for real rape, in Nigeria, Boko Haram, a violent Muslim cell, raided a Girls School in the northern part of that country. Some of the girls were killed outright. 50 escaped, all claiming to have been raped. they’re still holding 25 young girls in the bush and they are being forced to marry members of this terrorist group. This would be a good case for international feminists like Media Benjamin and Gloria Allred to jump on, but so far they haven’t commented as far as I know.


    • BackRowHeckler April 30, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

      Correction: about 200 girls, age 15-18, are being held, and are being sold to militants members of the religion of peace. Price: $12 per girl..

      • nsa April 30, 2014 at 7:28 pm #

        A bargain….I’ll take two of ’em.

  49. contrahend April 30, 2014 at 9:11 pm #

    But as directed by JHK I won’t be revealing your other identities and will be confining myself to this weeks issues despite your agenda

    yeah why dont you just do that, confine yourself to the issues & do us all a favour

    kind of like i do.

    its clear that dissenting opinions arent tolerated by hitlerian types out here.

    some of you are laudable, others are execrable in your attempt to silence dissent


  50. BackRowHeckler April 30, 2014 at 9:36 pm #

    The Russian Army and Navy is staging a military parade in Crimea next friday and Alexander Putin is travelling to Crimea to review the parade. May 9 is a historic day in Russia being the date of final victory over Germany. It doesn’t look like they’ll be leaving Crimea anytime soon, if ever. The Russians don’t march like us with their rifles over their shoulders, no, but hold them out front at permanent ‘present arms’. Its a pretty impressive sight you have to admit. It looks to me like Putin is saying to President Obama and Secretary Kerry FU. How do you say that in Russian? And what about the ‘Russian Reset’ we were expecting. Maybe what we are seeing is the russian reset.

    As for the US Army, the news today is Black Lady Soldiers do not agree with grooming regulations concerning hair and want to wear their hair in a full ‘Fro while in uniform. Secretary Hagel tends to agree but is appointing a commission to look into it. My money says the regulations will be altered as any other decision would be racist and discriminatory.


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    • Janos Skorenzy April 30, 2014 at 9:58 pm #

      Yes they look like we used to look, eh? A case of nostalgia? Or are you a full blown White Nationalist in Traditional American Drag just like Pat Buchanan? A weird one who likes Jews – we have them unfortunately.

      • Janos Skorenzy April 30, 2014 at 10:05 pm #

        You may be right btw BRH, technically. But Smith did live to see extreme divisions of labor – which he approved of whole heartedly. The famous passage: http://divisionoflabour.com/archives/000006.php

        When men become like machines it’s only a matter of time before they are replaced by real ones who are better at it. The slave masters then say, “Don’t worry. Think of all the jobs that will open up servicing the machines” So Men become machine tenders – a few men that is. The machine leads to unemployment. That’s its function.

      • BackRowHeckler May 1, 2014 at 9:38 am #

        I like Pat, but asking a few questions and pointing out the obvious doesn’t make me a full blow white nationalist. It doesn’t seem like the oil is running out anytime soon, or even getting scarce (Bakken just pumped its billionth barrel) so other matters have to be addressed, like, when it comes to all the leftist bullsht we are subject to everyday in the MSM, the Emperor seems to have no clothes.

        I’m reading about this US Navy expedition to the Holy Land in 1848, ‘Bitter Waters’, by David Haward Bain’. This was a few decades before Mark Twain visited the same region. Did you know in the 19th century Palestines population was evenly divided between Christians, Jews and Muslims, each group having their own role to play, and all getting along pretty well. This pretty much fits in with what JHK says … the Middle East being destabilized by 2 World wars, the Cold war, and especially the development of oil resources by France, England, Germany, Russia and the US. Its all being played out now, with hair raising consequences.


  51. contrahend May 1, 2014 at 9:03 am #

    The machine leads to unemployment. That’s its function.

    Janos, we are so machine-driven, mechanised and robotized that virtually no one should have a job by now if this were entirely true.

    notice i said entirely. it does hold water up to a point.

    computers were supposed to long ago have been programming other computers. and they are, to a miniscule extent. and its certainly progressing in that direction.

    but its been 50 years of solid employment as a programmer, and there is no ominous sign those days are numbered, quite the opposite, if you can program, you have lots of opportunities


    • contrahend May 1, 2014 at 10:44 am #

      well janos, i spoke too soon? seems technology WILL decimate the middle class, says MIT


      this is ominous


      • Janos Skorenzy May 1, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

        Thank you for your humility in contradicting yourself. You are another Laplace who as he stood before the Academy about to speak, shuffled his papers and paused before saying “Gentlement, I must reconsider” and left the podium.

        Meanwhile the Administration is attempting to cover up the cover up of the Benghazi incident: insisting it was caused by a video, their refusal to defend the embassy or strengthen those defenses, and the whereabouts and behavior of Obama, Hillary, Rice, etc.

        • Janos Skorenzy May 1, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

          Anyway, your weakness is the weakness of all of us: you look thru the world thru me colored glasses. Tens of millions of jobs have been ended through automation but because it hadn’t happened to your industry, you didn’t see it.

          It’s much like the loss of jobs thru insourcing and offshoring: no one cared when manual laborers lost their position. No one much cared when factories went to the East either, but a few started to notice. The screams only started when IT and Engineering was undercut by East and South Asians workers. But don’t worry: you can become a global campesino and look for work overseas. That’s your right. Feel better? Of course some of those countries aren’t just “places” but real Nations that put their own people first.

          Capitalism eats Nations not excluding the ones where it started from. The point is not to indulge in savage Marxist glee at this, but rather put an end to it before the destruction is complete.

          • K-Dog May 1, 2014 at 4:09 pm #

            Not the industry, more like since it hasn’t happened to him he does not see it. That’s the way he is. And you are right “no one cared when manual laborers lost their position”.

            Personally I was thoughtful enough to wonder what those incapable of contributing more than manual labor were supposed to do with their lives but that’s me. Mostly nobody cared and their only defence at the time was in assuming that new jobs would be created to replace those lost. A convenient fiction of the time which we now know is ridiculous.

            Like many personal delusions a convenient fiction of the time. Like “the fiction that we can politically organize our way out of the epochal predicament of civilization that we face”.

            As far as jobs go:

            In 1900, 41 percent of Americans worked in agriculture; by 2000, it was only 2 percent.

            By 2100 the ratio will be back up to 41%.

            Not that this helps you or me.

  52. thrig May 1, 2014 at 11:30 am #

    Counterpoint, if I may: while written squarely inside the tradition of political economy—the author refreshingly takes pains to distance the word ‘science’ from economic—Piketty is blunt about the lack of and dismal quality of what data is available: “these wealth accounts are still far from perfect: for example, natural capital and damages to the environment are not well accounted for” and “I have also noticed a certain deterioration of the tax data after 1990. This is due in part to the arrival of computerized records, which in many cases led the tax authorities to interrupt the publication of detailed statistics” and “neither the European authorities nor the IMF had much information about who exactly owned the financial assets deposited in Cyprus or what amounts they owned” and “that the world as a whole is in a substantially negative situation. It seems, in other words, that Earth must be owned by Mars.” Indeed, the author is quite realistic about certain points, consider: “everything depends on supply and demand, on whether or not new oil deposits and/or sources of energy are discovered, and on how rapidly people learn to live without petroleum” and in particular that it is “very difficult to have a rational debate about the great challenges facing the world today—the future of the social state, the cost of the transition to new sources of energy, state-building in the developing world, and so on—because the global distribution of wealth remains so opaque,” and “should we count on advanced research to make rapid progress in developing renewable energy sources, or should we immediately subject ourselves to strict limits on hydrocarbon consumption? It would probably be wise to choose a balanced strategy that would make use of all available tools. So much for common sense.” Faults aside, this book is a welcome call towards a rational, data-driven debate, and hopefully as a result of actually reading the book some might pay more attention to the aforementioned “natural capital and damages to the environment” and perhaps what to do about it. Therein lies my doubt.

  53. volodya May 1, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

    As you say Ozone trust must/will be restored. Life without trust is not worth a damn, life without trust is pretty much impossible.

    I don’t know about you but I get up every morning trusting/expecting that, when I turn the tap, clean water comes out. Expectation built on trust built on long experience.

    But even something as everyday as clean water, which we in the west have come to regard as a right, only happens when a long, long chain of people all get up in the morning, get to work on time and do their jobs. And clean water is no trivial thing. Just ask people that can’t get it.

    Trust is based on honesty, the expectation that honest behavior is consistent, that it’s a widely held value. It’s not just about behavior when someone else is watching.

    So what happens when the contract is broken, that dishonesty becomes the norm, that instead of getting up and getting to work on time and staying on the job for a full day and doing an honest day’s work, people are late or fuck off early or people sometimes don’t show up at all?

    And when they do their jobs they cut corners such that necessary things things don’t get done, such that broken things don’t get fixed.

    What happens when this becomes a society wide phenomenon such that, when you turn the tap, you may or may not get water?

    What happens when you go to the bank to make a withdrawal and you see as sign saying that Mega-Magnificent Bank will be closed until further notice? What if the cause of the closure was a group of bank execs diverting customer deposits and that these same managers are nowhere to be found?

    Can’t happen? What we’ve been seeing in the past 30 years with the parade of financial crises is a more sophisticated version of outright scoffing of customer deposits. But, you see, I’m just a corncob from farm country. And to a hick like me it amounts to pretty much the same thing, insiders, with the complicity of a regulatory system and under the cover of laws that make it “legal”, take for themselves so much money and under such flimsy pretexts that the system crashes and burns with appalling regularity.

    The rot starts at the top. When the guys at the top are seen to be rotten, the guys lower down start to think the fix is in and have to look after themselves.

    And so dishonesty becomes pervasive and you literally can’t trust anyone outside a small circle of family and friends.

    So how do you run things? There are societies like this, where you can’t trust anybody, that run, or rather DON’T run. Living in such places is exhausting, where getting even trivial things done is a monumental pain in the ass.

    For example, and this isn’t so trivial, but do you get paid on time? There’s places where employers do what they bloody feel like. They pay if and when they want.

    What if all you get on pay-day instead of money is an excuse that due to unforeseen circumstances this pay will be late. Or short. What do you do? Keep working? Throw good money after bad so to speak? Because if you quit you might as well kiss your missing pay good-bye.

    In this place we’ve seen a gradual unravelling of society such that you can’t trust what you see, you can’t trust what you’re told. Smirking smart-asses in politics, in the financial world, for that matter, damn near everywhere, giving you lines of bullshit and grabbing for themselves anything that isn’t bolted down.

    So how do we re-knit what’s unravelled? How do we re-establish trust? Especially, seeing as we haven’t done it yet, how do we do it in a post-collapse world?

    • K-Dog May 1, 2014 at 4:19 pm #

      “So how do we re-knit what’s unravelled? How do we re-establish trust? Especially, seeing as we haven’t done it yet, how do we do it in a post-collapse world?”

      Circumstance will be the teacher.

  54. contrahend May 1, 2014 at 12:45 pm #

    So how do you run things? There are societies like this, where you can’t trust anybody, that run, or rather DON’T run. Living in such places is exhausting, where getting even trivial things done is a monumental pain in the ass.

    For example, and this isn’t so trivial, but do you get paid on time? There’s places where employers do what they bloody feel like. They pay if and when they want.

    yep, this is brazil for you, a complete failure of a country. you can trust 10% down here, and 0% of politicians.

    their world cup preparations are a failure, with the games set to start in 50 days.

    their 2016 rio olympics preparations have just been called the worst the IOC head has ever seen.

    makes you want to take a 2×4 to them, they are monumentally incompetent and scheming – and plain dumb.

    how do you pass a car in brazil on the highway? you speed up until youre two inches behind the car, then dart out and in again.

    all to gain 2 seconds. and then when theres the inevitable fatal crashes, they talk about slick roads or lighting conditions.

    fucking morons


    • Janos Skorenzy May 1, 2014 at 2:06 pm #

      A Latino (White of Basque descent) friend said to me, “White Countries are boring.” Isn’t a little mayhem a small price to pay for Latino machismo? The senoritas expect it after all.

  55. Pucker May 2, 2014 at 9:24 am #

    [At the interview in Langley]

    “So tell me Mr. Bond, 007…so you like HOT women with long legs and curvy bodies? Now that’s very suspicious. You may have an “Irresistible Compulsion” and a “Personality Disorder”?! We’re gonna have to investigate this and talk to all of your neighbors, all of your former colleagues, classmates, professors, and high school and grammar school teachers. This could be very serious and a threat to National Security.”

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  56. Pucker May 2, 2014 at 9:32 am #

    Shouldn’t the definition of the word “Neighbor” also include people living next door who spy on you and report your private matters to the police and to the government?



  57. ozone May 2, 2014 at 10:47 am #

    An awakening (of sorts). “An Empire in Decline”, from the author of “Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99Percent”.


    An accurate perspective, but subliminally, one could get the idea that he believes a simple shoveling of “money” in the right directions (a la Piketty?) would fix most things. Short-term thinking, I’m afraid, but a long stretch in the State Dept. would tend to give the impression that EVERYTHING is a short-term problem with immediate, rational, concrete solutions. (That would be rather ironic, but easily understandable, coming from a whistle-blower concerning wasted “monies” in Iraq.)

    Linh Dinh has a more “properly” fatalistic outlook, IMHO; a Big Picture guy telling small, pointedly instructive stories of decline and fall. Yes, events are now decidedly in charge as constraints begin to really pinch and people scramble for whatever protections they can find. Contrary to cornucopian rot, this is the condition that births real innovation and practical conservation. Is it far too late? We’ll see, won’t we?

    • K-Dog May 2, 2014 at 12:46 pm #

      Contrary to cornucopian rot!

      “The crisis we are experiencing is mainly the result of the diminishing economic returns from natural resources. From fossil fuels to metals, including the capability of the atmosphere to absorb the products of human activity, everything costs more (and pollutes more, too). This is the root of our problems.”

      No shoveling of “money” in any direction can fix things unless the ‘money’ finances a fundamental change in living arrangements.

      Triage on Uncle Sam by Linh Dinh

      An excerpt:

      “American electoral politics is modeled after game shows, sit-coms, professional wrestling and Jerry Springer, with everything well-orchestrated and media sculpted”

  58. volodya May 2, 2014 at 1:35 pm #

    K Dog and Janos

    Somewhere along the line oligarchs got the idea to market the notion that the ONLY concern of company management should properly be profit maximization.

    Academics (right wing economists that is) touted it. Er, did I say “touted”? I should have said SCREAMED IT from the street corners. Aided by the new cable business-news media and later by the internet, the concept infected a critical mass and spread like the plague like all bad ideas do.

    Anyone (especially in academia or in the managerial class) with objections was disparaged as a quaint relic who would be slaughtered by progress and buried and fossilized.

    And this concept went hand in glove with a constellation of other destructive ideas, ie the next most corrosive: that shareholders were “owners” of corporations, that cash in company coffers was shareholders’ money.

    Of course it was all just laughable and pure nonsense. No matter. There was an opportunity here to re-shape people’s thinking, to make ordinary people willingly work against their own interests in the service of what was presented as rightness and justice, that is, your own impoverishment and the enrichment of oligarchs.

    And so the propaganda guided business practice and government policy makers for the past few decades. In terms of diverting money to the wealthy, the scam was a spectacular success. Mind boggling that it actually worked but it did.

    The wave of offshoring was a logical outcome, that businesses, guided only by profit maximization, would re-locate production to the lowest wage locales.

    And thus the next inevitability: unsustainable imbalances in the world economy and a death parade of disasters with financial corpses everywhere in the ruins of a formerly functioning economy. And, a shout-out to Kunstler, made worse by rapid depletion of energy sources.

    Lastly the most destabilizing result: the steady decline in life prospects here for the average citizen. The difference between now and forty years ago is like night and day notwithstanding the flacks and Winston Smiths.

  59. capt spaulding May 2, 2014 at 2:32 pm #

    The idea of “innovative new technologies” appearing in time to alleviate the energy crunch, is “Magical Thinking”. It’s just like the Sci Fi movies where the monsters are set to take over, and at the last minute, scientists invent a cool new machine, which zaps the big bad monster. Problem solved. Thank you, new innovative technology.

    • Karah May 2, 2014 at 11:26 pm #

      there is the point kunstler makes about the tech we already have being ignored because of the preference for personal vehicles.
      the u.s. coulda developed its wonderful innovative mass transit systems 60 yrs ago when we still had the capital to invest.
      this is an example of the mismanagement of resources due to greed and lack of farsight.

      • capt spaulding May 3, 2014 at 9:47 am #

        What you’re saying is true, Karah, but the the biggest problem is getting the solutions in place once they’re discovered. My guess is that it would take quite a while to put battery charging or other solutions in place. JHK is right about us needing to change the way we live, instead of inventing new sources of energy so we can go living on just like before. The time to change the way we live is now, and nobody is gonna want to do that until they are forced by circumstances to do so. When change comes, it will be too little too late.

        • Karah May 3, 2014 at 11:49 pm #

          cellphones are an example of compelling technologies.
          it only took ten yrs to convert people to have a mobile computer in their car and pockets that is now raising privacy concerns.
          research and development for smaller more powerful rechargeable batteries made the revolution in global telecommunications possible and sustainable.

          all cars are automated carrying 12 v batteries that last up to 5 yrs. no one complained about computers in their cars because it helped monitor gas consumption, provide for cruise control and power steering and antilock brakes and a bunch of other safety features.

          there is a major assumption being made about how most people live in that they have high standards of comfort, will not change by going backward to a less easy motoring lifestyle. in the future most people will still have the comfort to which they have been accustomed. i do not see commuting two hours a day to work or school as a comfortable lifestyle because they have to drive and maintain a vehicle that may or may not be “comfortable” due to decrepitude. compared to the past, driving oneself is backwards, most people have been chauffeured through the ages. driving is a profession; its work, another job.

          most people live how they are compelled to live and comfort is subjective and regional. its a job requirement in usa to have ones own personal transport in order to guarantee reliability. thats an illusion, because all forms of transport have risks. given less expensive transport options people will take it and their personal standards of comfort and freedom will adjust accordingly. most of what we consider modernity or higher standard of living is an illusion based on what the markets dictate. just watch hsn for an hour and you will have been convinced you can not live without 30 different products that have to do with surviving collapse.

  60. FincaInTheMountains May 2, 2014 at 6:01 pm #

    38 people burnt alive in Odessa in the name of all-mighty dollar

    At least 38 anti-government activists died in fire at Odessa’s Trade Unions House after suffocating with smoke or jumping out of windows of the burning building, Ukrainian Interior Ministry reported. The building was set ablaze by the pro-Kiev radicals.

    Happy Quantative Easing


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  61. FincaInTheMountains May 2, 2014 at 6:24 pm #

    Here is something to help you sleep tonight


    • BackRowHeckler May 2, 2014 at 7:43 pm #

      Hey FM, does anybody in the Ukraine even know what Quantitative Easing is, or cares? They have their own problems, which don’t involve us.


      • ozone May 4, 2014 at 2:55 pm #

        Don’t involve us, you sez?
        I beg to differ; we’re being made complicit in a criminal proxy war without a say-so or by-your-leave. (Although, what war isn’t criminal in one way or another, just because it’s sanctioned killing instead of happenstance murder?)
        At any rate, us powerless proles have been punk’d yet again. One positive outcome, of course, is that the throwing of massive amounts of lead is de regure again! (I hope the overlords won’t mind if some of it gets thrown in their direction; they really shouldn’t if we apply the goose/gander paradigm.)


        Hey now; look who’s in Kiev! Where would you like us to put the green zone madam Nuland, now that you’ve applied for the position of Governor of Kiev? (Call Paul Bremer, quick, he’ll tell you who’s gonna need greasing and contracts.)

        • ozone May 4, 2014 at 2:59 pm #

          “de rigueur” …I didn’t think that looked right.

        • BackRowHeckler May 4, 2014 at 6:38 pm #

          I’m sure there’s a lot of validity in what you say Oz. You’re talking about the machinations of the State Dept, which seem to me to be petty ineffective. But all Foreign Ministries in all countries pull levers, jerk stuff around and try to affect outcomes. Ours is no different. A bunch of books are coming out now about the lead up to WW1; sometime the situation spins out of control and the results can be pretty bad. Maybe that’s whats happening here.

          Hey Vlad, new book to be published Monday which is going to piss a lot of people off in academia and in lib circles (the same thing) ‘A Troublesome Inheritance’, by NYTimes science writer Nicholas Wade. There’s a good review of it in today’s WSJ.


  62. BackRowHeckler May 2, 2014 at 8:20 pm #

    The Big News? Bloody genocide in South Sudan? Mass Rape in Nigeria? Helicopters shot down in Ukraine? Deadly MERS in Saudi Arabia showing up in the US? No, no, and again no! Of course its the White House Correspondents Dinner where all the beautiful people from Hollywood, Politics and Big Media will be. I for one am hoping a good time will be had by all. We can all live vicariously thru these beautiful people and their stellar, glittering event. Beyonce and Jay Z will be there, which says alot.

    Meanwhile in the east Russian Soldiers check their gear, say their prayers, and write their last letters home. Its not for nothing Putin staged a massive May Day Event at Red Square, the 1st in many years

    The news for the US army, the Army of Empire, as reported on the editorial page in none other than the New York Times just yesterday is yes, Chuck Hagel indeed will agree to Negro Women Soldiers to wear full ‘Fros while in uniform. Now there is a war fighting Army!


  63. FincaInTheMountains May 2, 2014 at 9:13 pm #

    There is nothin to worry about


  64. FincaInTheMountains May 3, 2014 at 7:11 am #

    The ship of fools


    Why spend gun powder when the world is full of idiots?

  65. Janos Skorenzy May 4, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

    Sleepers awaken. Heed the horn of Helmhammerhand.


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  66. FincaInTheMountains May 5, 2014 at 4:33 am #

    Slavyansk. One photo.


  67. FincaInTheMountains May 5, 2014 at 4:53 am #

    Odessa slaughter

    In one hour Kiev’s Sonderkommandos killed off everybody inside – that is why some people were jumping of the windows that weren’t even burning – they were escaping not the fire, but killers. They were burning their victims with Molotovs, shooting and stabbing them, poisoning with gas, choking men and raping women.

  68. FincaInTheMountains May 5, 2014 at 5:12 am #

    Civil war in Ukraine? Nonsense. The dickheads in CIA and the State Department have managed to waken up pure Russian phenomena – “Otechestvennaya Voina” – “War for the Fatherland”. That’s what stopped Napoleon in 1812. That’s what stopped Hitler in 1941 – 45.

    Nobody, not even Putin, can stop it now.

  69. FincaInTheMountains May 5, 2014 at 5:30 am #


  70. FincaInTheMountains May 5, 2014 at 6:16 am #

    In Odessa, riot police “Golden Eagle” put down their shields and leaves the block post


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  71. budizwiser May 5, 2014 at 10:09 am #

    the crux of the issue:

    maintaining incentives for each individual’s personal responsibility while maximizing the efficiencies of massive global – yet “centralized” systems

    • Steven W. Maginnis August 30, 2014 at 10:12 pm #

      Anyone notice that people stopped talking about Piketty’s book as soon as Hillary Clinton published another book of her own? Authors are like pop groups these days. Their work doesn’t last long.


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    […] de ecologische pessimist James Howard Kunstler verwijt Piketty dat hij door zijn focus op de verdeling van het inkomen de problemen waar de […]