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Today I’m yakking with return guest David Collum, the Betty R. Miller Professor of Chemistry at Cornell University, who has become a popular presence on the internet commenting on the financial system and the related predicaments of our time. He’s also been involved in the campus culture wars and is not too shy to talk about it. Dave is a live wire and lots of fun.

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Kunstler skewers everything from kitsch to greed, prejudice, bloodshed, and brainwashing in this wily, funny, rip-roaring, and profoundly provocative page- turner, leaving no doubt that the prescriptive yet devilishly satiric A World Made by Hand series will continue.” — Booklist


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About James Howard Kunstler

View all posts by James Howard Kunstler
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.

65 Responses to “KunstlerCast 289 — David Collum, Fun with Financial Markets” Subscribe

  1. routersurfer March 28, 2017 at 7:06 am #

    Always a treat to listen to David on your podcast Jim. I never fail to learn something new. Thanks for bridging the political wasteland. Seems both of us have left the DNC….. I tell people the DNC turned right on me. Hope next time he gives us his feeling on President Trump’s grade card.

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  3. Walter B March 30, 2017 at 11:35 am #

    That was excellent James, thank you! The only part that sucked was the fact that I could not join in the excellent and intelligent conversation myself. It does not happen often out here in the real world that so many words of wisdom can pass from one human to another in such fine fashion. Whether they were right or wrong aside, those who founded this Once Great Nation were bold and daring. Those that stood up to keep it going were brave and fearless. Those that have inherited it at no cost to themselves and have suffered the fate of the affluent and uncaring are cowards indeed. David Collum makes a great point about cowards. “A coward dies a thousand times before his death, but the valiant taste of death but once. It seems to me most strange that men should fear, seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come.”

    Well done my friend, well done indeed.

  4. DC Jones March 31, 2017 at 1:08 am #

    The reason there can be negative interest rates is because there is no such thing as a free market. The smaller the market the more free a market can be, but the concept doesn’t scale up. Free market capitalism is a have your cake and eat it too fraud, and just as crazy as believing america is a democracy and I’m going to prove it to anyone wanting to follow the story.

    America was started by a cabal of wealthy men (slave owners, smugglers, and misc. swindlers) that saw their wealth and power at risk as the crown sought to undermine the profitability of its colonies black market with a price war, (selling below cost to bankrupt the competition/smugglers) and one response was the Boston Tea Party. Politicians are liars today and they were liars then too.

    Britain’s famous court ruling denying the return of a slave that escaped on English soil from “its” visiting owner and the contempt with which the ruling was given, was a message heard loud and clear by the upstart gentry over here. To put this in context, the avaricious class over here managed to muster an army to defeat their mother country, but weren’t up to the task when the French invaded colonial territory and had the gall to bitch about the taxes levied on the colonies to pay for the British “Regulars” dispatched here to defend them. Not only were taxes minuscule then compared with today, the negative effect of taxes is a burden paid for by the general population, and the wealthy are the recipients of taxes positive effects way out of proportion to the rest of society, because it is the government that collects the taxes and provides them the environment to have the wealth they do, in fact the primary purpose of government is to increase and protect the wealth of rich people.

    All the tax stamp laws had been repealed except for the one on tea by the time of the Boston Tea Party. If propaganda was not a form of art before The Declaration Of Independence, that document certainly transformed it in to one. A slave owner tasked by other slave owners to write their universal declaration that men have unalienable rights, and give a list of woes brought on by their own selfish behavior to inspire everyone else to join together in their mutual selfishness is how America started, and it went on to be a founding principle of american capitalism. Everyone acting in their own self interest offsets those interests to reach a point of equilibrium that is the best way to serve everyones interests.

    Of the many contradictions that occur with capitalism, to say nothing of the misery it has caused all over the planet that americans have profited from, is that by legitimizing selfishness, people’s leaders are illegitimate. Humans are social tribal animals that do not have free will as the effectiveness of propaganda to get people to believe obvious lies, the Milgram Experiment and the Stanford Prison Experiment imperially proves. A legitimate leader(s) is one that acts by doing what makes the tribe happy, healthy and strong because everyone depends on the tribe, including its leader(s), and the best interest of the leader(s) is finding the point of equilibrium between how benefits are shared.

    The leaders of America don’t give a shit about americans, past the point for how the population will serve their own greed, and will murder as many millions as they have over there, over here if they think it will serve their interests to do so, and the colossal gestapo apparatus that has been erected around us attests to that fact. The fact that almost all americans don’t recognize the danger they are in from their own government, in spite of endless lies, surrounded by systemic corruption of everything, language, thought, principles, morality, history, economics, fucken everything, including their minds that are no longer capable of recognizing the many threats to their well being and continuing existence, are examples for why it is essential for the people that have the highest status in a society not to be the product of greed.

    Americans are quick to overlook their venerated Declaration of Independence and Constitution was written by rich people that attained their wealth through the politics of land grants, slaves, inheritance, smuggling, speculation and/or other unsavory practices like genocide. Most americans know there is a history of broken treaties between government and the native american tribes, but THE history is something they don’t want to know because it shows that the leaders of America overall were, and still are pieces of shit.

    Another aspect of the Constitution that is overlooked is that the word democracy is not in it, and unknown to almost all americans is that the people that wrote it had no intention to create a democracy and dared not even use the word in public discourse, lest the idea take hold in the minds of the general public. The wisest of them saw the necessity of putting a check on their greed for wealth and power in order to prevent what always happens, and as happened again. Get more until their is no more to get, and as fast as possible. Killing the goose to get the golden egg, fouling the nest, or what I call shitting in the well because it better reflects the disgust that’s deserved.That was the extent of their desire for democracy, and that, had to be fought hard for as a necessary evil.

    Madison despised democracy, because it threatened property “rights” which was the primary concern for all of the Constitution’s framers as would be expected. He also mentioned in his writings the concerns he had for the inevitable disparities that would grow between his class, (wealthy property owners) and the general population as future generations increased the population filling the land at a faster rate than those who would own it. Anyone that has played Monopoly knows, (or should know) that one person ends up owning everything, and it happens every time, and Madison knew it too, but america was a vast land with enormous resources, so the consequences to posterity for the government they created was a long way off.

    The Federal Reserve was created by bankers that knew it would serve them best. They knew there were going to be depressions/recessions and planned on it. The wealthiest get wealthier. When greed is rationalized it’s foolish to think it would be any other way, it is simply how the game is played. They also knew that eventually the game ends, but that was a long way off.

    It appears to me, that the more people understand how bad it is, the more surprised (dumbfounded) they are that the free market fraud ride could last as long as it has. When I hear those same people say that the Fed doesn’t know what they are doing, they’re dumb, stupid behind the curve etc., it begs the question, do they think this economy has been just bumbling on from a series of lucky accidents? That bankers don’t understand the exponential function?

    The american public doesn’t understand the exponential function, or finance, or how the monetary system works, and that is not an accident. Bankers more than anyone understand the exponential function. The people that have all the money and power want to keep it, and they know the currency is going to fail, so they are doing everything they can to secure their power. Putting people in debt is just one way to do it, as long as they can maintain the illusion of debt they have power. The great wealth transfer spoken of is just more propaganda. The wealth is already gone, it was swindled away over decades. Now, the wealth that doesn’t exist, but everyone thinks does, is putting millions in debt and the people that think they have savings and pensions have their imagined wealth disappear in government subsidized rackets like health care student loans, “defense” and everything that they can think of, to place the blame on people other than them for what they know is coming. Need I mention the gestapo state again? The people that run the world, live and breath conspiracy, and it’s how and why they do, and always have, WTF?.

    Not only do the people in control need to secure their power by lending money that represents wealth that doesn’t exist to people that can’t of course pay it back, they have to cover their asses for the wealth that doesn’t exist and have it vanish, they also have keep the economic boat afloat which requires ever more money created as debt that can’t have a claim on the natural resources real wealth comes from. Anyone that’s wondered why health care and student loan costs are so insanely high, and why nothing is done about the cost of health care, is because nothing can be done. They are extinguishing the claims on resources that far surpass the resources.

    I knew there was something really wrong when every other commercial and billboard had home improvement loans, or home equity loans, everybody was getting credit to buy homes, flipping them to buy bigger or more homes with bigger loans based on appreciation, which was in tandem with the credit cards for crack heads initiative. The offshoring of jobs, “consumer economy” which is in reality a parasitic economy if you consume more than you produce, I didn’t understand then, because nothing made sense.

    The offshoring of jobs had to happen because the banks couldn’t loan american industry money because the rest of the world couldn’t afford more of what america produced, especially the third world countries that were third world countries because america and western Europe have been looting them for centuries. The housing bubble was a way to keep the economic boat afloat, and the reason nobody went to jail.

    The shit that is going on now is the result of what was started a long time ago. The colossal fraud that is the american economy was fueled by fossil fuels, and every day the collapse of western civilization progresses. The bombing of other countries will go on. The avaricious class of america seeks to destabilize Russia to a point where it is not an obstacle for americas seizing control of the Middle East’s oil and therefore the control of most of the planet resources.

    The leaders in Congress and Executive branch didn’t decide to voluntarily commit treason because they are greedy and stupid. I knew the people that run america wanted to start a war with Afghanistan by the frequency I heard terrorist training camps and saw on CBS Evening News the same stupid video clip with terrorist ninjas going hand over hand across monkey bars in a western military training style obstacle coarse, presumably to be in good enough shape so if the car bomb they were driving ran out of gas they could push it to the market, embassy, or military barracks targeted and still blow it up. (In the pod cast Korea was mentioned and the frequency of its being demonized.) I knew that Congress knew, that after Iraq was under a siege for over a decade, after having all of its water and sewage treatment plants blown up along with most of it infrastructure, it wasn’t a threat to any country as both Rice and Powell testified just prior to 9/11. If that isn’t enough, I later learned of “Team B”, that dozens of senior House and Senate members had to know the history of, which means they all knew everything about and after 9/11 was a lie. Since I am on the outside and I knew I was being told lies, they sure fucken knew! The coup succeeded because it had to.

    To paraphrase a passage from the movie The Usual Suspects, The greatest trick the aristocracy ever pulled was to convince every one that they didn’t exist.

  5. thedude April 2, 2017 at 7:30 pm #

    Jim, Patreon supporter here. Listened to the podcast while making potato salad and collard greens in the electric pressure cooker. Who were the two people you and Dave referenced that have their own podcasts/youtube channels?

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