Open Thread and a Few Observations on Japan

I am putting this post up to give commenters who would like to carry on conversations related to previous posts a place to comment, since comments on my last post have been cut off.

Also, my family and I recently returned from a two-week vacation to Japan. The combination of the time away and jet lag has given me less time to research and write a full article. Here are a few observations, based on my recent trip to Japan:


The scenery is beautiful, but it is clear that the Japanese people and agriculture are squeezed into the small amount of land that is not mountainous and forested.

The amount of land being used for agriculture has been steadily falling. Our tour guide remarked that if an older person wanted to leave agriculture, getting solar panels installed is an alternate way of obtaining income. We did see quite a few solar panels. But does this approach make sense, when the amount of land farmed is relatively small and falling year-by-year? The USDA says, “Based on total calories consumed, Japan imports about 60 percent of its food each year.”

Tokyo-Edo Museum Visit

When we first arrived in Tokyo, before our bus tour began, we visited the Tokyo-Edo museum. This is a photo of one of the exhibits from the museum.

In previous posts, I have talked about economies being dissipative structures–growing for a fairly long period, before collapsing or obtaining an infusion of cheap energy. I thought that it was interesting that the Edo Period lasted 265 years (1603 – 1868). This is about as long as a person might expect an economy to last in its role as a dissipative structure. In the latter part of the Edo Period, there seemed to be increasing wealth disparity and problems with the government collecting enough taxes. These are things that we would expect to happen, as resources per capita start to fall and complexity starts to increase.

Free English Language Guided Tour of Museum

The three of us (my husband, son, and I) received a free three-hour English language guided tour from a volunteer guide at the Tokyo-Edo Museum. The guide told us that he is a 75-year old retired business man. There was no charge for his services; we were also told not to tip people in Japan.

My impression is that the no-tipping policy is a holdover from the gift economy approach that much of the world used before our current capitalist approach took over. Under the gift economy approach, people are expected to offer their services for nothing, with the expectation that others will reciprocate. This system has pluses and minuses. If pensions of some elderly people are inadequate, it makes it harder for them to provide personal services for wages, since others (with more adequate pensions) will do the same thing for free, as unpaid volunteers.

Traveling School Children

Everywhere we traveled, we encountered a large number of school children traveling on school trips. They often stayed at the same hotels as we did and visited the same sites as we did. In fact, in several places they seemed to be the majority of hotel guests.

The group of children shown above had prepared some type of recitation and response to be offered in the Hiroshima Peace Park. The group is lined up for their presentation, even though there was no real audience for their performance, other than a few of us from our tour bus who happened to be walking by. I can’t imagine US children doing this.

Our tour leader told us that only children whose parents can afford to pay for these class trips are allowed to go. As a result, there is a great deal of pressure on parents to save up money for these trips.

Roads in Japan

The roads in Japan impressed me as being incredibly expensive to build and maintain. Everywhere, we saw walls built along the side of the road, presumably to prevent falling rock. In the US, we just put up signs, “Beware of Falling [really fallen] Rock.” Of course, we have more space, so we don’t build our roads quite so close to the road cuts.

The white line near the side of the road is to mark off what I would call a “sidewalk substitute.” It is a low-cost way of giving pedestrians a little space to walk.

We saw other features that make roads expensive. Our tour bus drove through countless tunnels. We also drove on many sections where the road was elevated, so that more roads could be squeezed into less area.

Nearly everywhere, soundproofing panels have been added because roads are so close to buildings. Roads are being made in an earthquake-proof manner, which also adds to costs.

Our bus frequently drove through toll stations. Wikipedia indicates that most expressways were originally financed by debt, and the tolls are being collected to pay off this debt. The Japan Guide indicates to drive the length of Japan, toll payments of 39,000 yen ($349) are required for a private passenger automobile. This is expensive compared to tolls elsewhere.

Man Made Rocks

Something else I noticed in Japan that I hadn’t seen elsewhere was the use of man-made rocks. Here, they are being used to keep the sea from causing erosion under a major road that is very close to the edge of the sea. We saw other shapes of rocks being used for other purposes elsewhere.

Government Pensions in Japan

The National Pension program in Japan (somewhat equivalent to our Social Security) is based on the assumption that all participants in the program will make equal contributions to the program, regardless of income. In 2017, these contributions amount to 16,490 yen (or $147) per month. To get the maximum pension amount, a person has to contribute at the full level (whatever it is declared to be, each year) for 40 years.

Our bus tour guide told us that because of changing employers and resulting low income, he has been unable to make contributions in recent years. When he retires, he expects that his pension payments will be very low because of this. He seemed to be well educated and hardworking. If he is having pension problems, I expect that many others are also having pension problems. In fact, some may be having pension problems today. We saw quite a few older people working.

Bullet Trains in Japan

One thing we discovered is that Japan’s bullet trains are for people, not luggage. The racks over people’s heads hold a backpack or brief case, but not much more. If people have luggage, they generally send it a day or two ahead of time via a luggage transfer service. There is also no internet service available on these bullet trains.

We chose to take an airplane from Osaka to Tokyo. Airplanes will transfer both people and luggage.

Photo in Kotohira, Japan 

This is a photo of my husband, son, and me, after we had climbed 865 steps to a shrine in Kotohira, Japan. We had a good but tiring trip.






About Gail Tverberg

My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
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2,378 Responses to Open Thread and a Few Observations on Japan

  1. Cliffhanger says:

    Limitations of Oil Production to the IPCC Scenarios: The New Realities of US and Global Oil Production. (Murray 2016)

    • Cliffhanger says:

      You have to love how the MSM sold shale to the energy illiterate and peak oil ignorant public. American Frackers vs OPEC Muslims! #MERICA

      • Fast Eddy says:

        In spite of that …..shale has a lower break even point that conventional…..

        har har har….

  2. Cliffhanger says:

    Me when BAU goes down

  3. CTG says:

    An interesting comment in Zerohedge

    Speaking as someone who used to while away the halcyon days of my youth reading books on number theory for the sheer Platonic enjoyment of it, I can tell you that the curve of that bond price graph looks very much like a convergent sum suddenly punctuated by an exponential decline. This is instructive in what it says about the investor mindset and the actual value of the bank.

    What it means is that during the convergent phase, the rate of return on the bonds was steadily eroding in a logarithmic manner, implying that as time tended to infinity it would require an ever larger investment of capital simply to garner the same absolute amount of profit. And furthermore, since that logarithmic advance is monotonic, there isn’t even any volatility to trade, so there’ll be no B-ingTFDs in this space, just a slow ride to parity. Is this shape merely a coincidence, or is there some deeper rationale behind the mathematical expression?

    Indeed there is such a rationale. This is precisely the shape the curve would assume if the price were being dictated by the following considerations: 1) The bank had no real growth potential but; 2) It could still be managed as going concern by anyone interested in owing it and servicing its existing loan book,however; 3) Neither the hot money flows nor the legal regime much tolerate banks that do not continue to write new loansand; 4) In spite of the nonexistent growth potential, the bank’s bare viability was still being used as a selling point wherewith to pitch the bonds to an ever diminishing field of greater fools. To use an analogy, it’s as if the traders found an old but still healthy draught horse and, instead if hitching him up to a cart where they might get some useful work out of him, decided to to take him out to Churchill Downs. Then they donned the uniform of jockey, mounted up, and proceeded to whip him into frenzy until he had no choice but to gallop down the track. And even as the poor beast was flecking at the nostrils and falling far behind the thoroughbred racers, the jockey continued to call for bets from the crowd by saying, “But look at how strong and solid he is! Surely he is a good horse, no?” This until the moment when the exhausted and abused horse finally collapsed in the mud.

    The “no growth” reality is absolutely toxic to investment psychology and the whole Wall Street model which demands that every negotiable security must “perform,” even to the extent that the very nature of the business and its actual and existing circumstances must be systematically falsified. Nowadays every business must pretend to be something it isn’t. There are no organic growth opportunities in this world, which is already saturated with debt and burdened by declining demographics; but there are plenty of firms which could still provide useful services and gainful employment if they were allowed to assume a steady state and freed from the imposition to grow. No amount of beating the draught horses will turn them into racers, but it can and will eventually destroy them. That is why the financial sector must be shut down. There is nothing for it to do anymore except chase its own self-inflated bubbles, which only expand by cannibalizing the preexisting asset base. This is highly destructive, wasteful, and unwise, and it only exists so that a few oligarchs can enrich themselves to unimaginable levels while the rest of the world is inexorably ground into oblivion.

    The logarithmic curve followed by a crash is the mathematical thumbprint of enforcing a growth paradigm on a no-growth world. Look for it at the scene of many a financial crime in the years to come.

    • dolph says:

      I agree with many of the comments and you must understand, when I say things haven’t collapsed, I’m actually upset. I want collapse. Bear with me for a one moment.
      You see, the world in which we live, at least that I occupy, has become obscene in its wealth. It’s a never ending party without consequence. Everyone is deluded.

      Look closely, and you will also see that it has turned into a matriarchy. This must be the case. A world of infinite riches and shopping simply does not need the male provider or defender. The state and corporations provide all.

      I don’t like what the world has become! Collapse is corrective. You people twist this around, and say collapse is everyone dying all at once. Not true. Collapse is merely the reintroduction of tragedy into this bloated world, that’s all.

      So yes, even I fit the stereotype of a disgruntled person hoping for collapse, but at least I recognize it. And I recognize I’m going to have to wait.

      • JT Roberts says:

        Nice try Dolph.

        You need more trivia. Go back to Wheel of Fortune.

      • Bergen Johnson says:

        “I recognize I’m going to have to wait.”

        Dolph, if the others on here haven’t figured out yet it hasn’t collapsed and have to wait for that eventuality whenever it happens, then they are deluding themselves. When we were on vacation in Italy there were 10’s of thousands of tourists, mostly from the US but many other countries too, and how could that be if things had collapsed. Everywhere we went was crowded, especially Venice. We’re (my wife and I) are privy to a mix of different socio economic levels and they are all doing well. In fact, we were just in Napa a couple of weekends ago on a Sat. nite and we had to go to 3 different restaurants to find one in which we could get a table for 4. It was so loud just from conversations and laughter that we could hardly hear what other people at the table were saying while we sipped on a friend of ours very expensive red vino. It was dry with an aftertaste of oak. How is that collapse? When the roads are full of vehicles, the restaurants are full, the hotels are booked times are good. Believe me folks, when collapse happens you’ll know the difference.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Do you have a mental impairment that prevents you from understanding simple concepts?

          Or are you just profoundly stooooopid.

          As has been pointed out a thousand times — the global economy is GROWING.

          If it is growing then it is not collapsing.

          The issue arises when the global economy stops growing.

          It is only growing because of the CBs…

          Do you think the CBs can just keep stimulating the global economy forever?

          The main reason that The Core (gods) convene on FW is to discuss and debate the trigger event that will cause growth to stop — permanently — and result in Collapse.

          So which is it — there is something wrong with you — or just plain old stoooopidity?

    • Interesting! Thanks.

      • CTG says:

        Although there are a lot of junk in Zerohedge comments, there are occasional nuggets of interesting stuff which I sieve through. Generally I don’t read the articles because those are not new to me. However, sometimes, you have “boots on ground” reports or some information that you will say “hey.. I did not think about that” in there.

        • Elmer Fudd says:

          Just so, as their are fools, idiots, wannabees, jerkoffs, shills, spooks, and very smart people.

          GLP, even moreso.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Safe to assume this comment was not made by the usual low life that inhabits the ZH comments….

  4. Fast Eddy says:

    Alas, any trace of optimism was doused with the latest BlackBox snapshot report (based on weekly sales data from over 27,000 restaurant units, and 155 brands representing $67 billion dollars in annual revenue) which found that May was another disappointing month for chain restaurants by virtually all measures.

    Same-store sales were down -1.1%, which represents a 0.1% decline from April. At the same time, same-store traffic “growth” also dropped by -3.0% in May, down 3.2% on a rolling 3 month basis. Although traffic results improved from prior month, the growth in check average was lower than it has been in recent months, causing the fall in sales growth vs. March and April.

    More concerning is that the restaurant industry has not reported a month of positive sales since February of 2016, according to BlackBox.

    The latest report from the National Restaurant Association found much of the same:as a result of softer sales and customer traffic levels and dampened optimism among restaurant operators, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) registered a sizable decline in April. The RPI – a monthly composite index that tracks the health of and outlook for the U.S. restaurant industry – stood at 100.3 in April, down 1.5 percent from a level of 101.8 in March.

    The Current Situation Index, which measures current trends in four industry indicators (same-store sales, traffic, labor and capital expenditures), stood at 99.1 in April – down 2.3% from a level of 101.4 in March. April represented the sixth time in the last seven months with a reading below 100, which signifies contraction in the current situation indicators.

    The Expectations Index, which measures restaurant operators’ six-month outlook for four industry indicators (same-store sales, employees, capital expenditures and business conditions), stood at 101.5 in April – down 0.7 percent from March. Although the Expectations Index remained above 100 – signaling the anticipation of generally positive business conditions in the months ahead – it declined to its lowest level in six months.

    Autos – Retail — Restaurants ……. the consumer is dying… BAU is dying.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      For those who are seeing some restaurants full …. well ya…. some continue to do well…. you were looking at the 57% …. which is now 34%….

      Only 34% of restaurant operators reported a same-store sales increase between April 2016 and April 2017, down sharply from 57% of operators who reported higher same-store sales in March. 47% of operators said their sales declined in April, up from 30 percent who reported similarly in March.

    • psile says:

      That’s ok. The Fed will buy up all the restaurants too!

  5. Cliffhanger says:

    I don’t understand why would you want your bike to drive itself all through the city by itself? Why would a mother put her two little children on a computer driven bike and let it take them for ride? I can’t take it any more (Shoots himself)

  6. Cliffhanger says:

    Religions are just ways for the local mafia (the Preacherman) to get money out of the locals. It is bullying. Whether it’s demanding the Muslims get on their knees 5 times a day or the Christians demanding you vote for Trump and hate scientists, its just thugs at a pulpit, getting money out of the locals.

    • Bergen Johnson says:

      Let’s face it, it’s a life long set of financial transactions for a certified ticket into a theoretical afterlife. People do it because they think they are getting something in return. “Yeah, ya see, I give 15% of my money to the church and now I’m suppose to be free and clear of all wrong doing and theresfores and such, be in good with God. So I got that going for me.” Yeah, he’s got that going for him! LOL!! Next sucker!!!

    • JT Roberts says:

      Religion is a snare and a racket. Never forget that.

      • Snorp says:

        Worse than that, it can destroy people, families, and relationships, especially organizations of high control. Judge for yourself……
        Watchtower 2011 Jul 15 p.11:
        “Apostates “quietly” bring their ideas into the congregation, like criminals who secretly bring things into a country. Apostates use “counterfeit words.” This means that they say things that make their false ideas sound true, like criminals who make false documents look real. They try to get as many people as possible to believe their “deceptive teachings.” Peter also said that they like twisting the Scriptures. They explain Bible verses in the wrong way to make others believe their ideas. (2 Peter 2:1, 3, 13; 3:16) Apostates do not care about us. If we follow them, we will leave the road to everlasting life.
        … The Bible says that apostates are mentally diseased and that they use their teachings to make others think like them. (1 Timothy 6:3, 4)……………………………….
        What must we do to avoid false teachers? We do not speak to them or invite them into our houses. We also do not read their books, watch them on television, read what they write on the Internet, or add our own comments about what they write on the Internet.

        OK, I won’t bring it up anymore,but as a side note, this guy seems really smart in regards to behavior and what we know about the brain. I think some readers may enjoy it.

    • Dennis L. says:

      I refer you to Jordan Peterson’s lectures on this topic. According to him if I am understanding correctly, religions are an archetype of lessons learned through time and form the basis for our civilization. He cautions about abandoning them prior to trying out new ideas and seeing how they do with time. Whether your beliefs, the ten commandments are not all together a bad idea, or put another way, chasing the neighbor’s wife may lead to some ill will.

      Dennis L.

    • xabier says:

      The funniest thing is the ‘prayer bumps’ now fashionable in Egypt: you show off a mark on your forehead to prove that you have been getting down on that carpet enthusiastically, and maybe putting in the extra-virtuous prayers at night…..

      Allah just loves head-bangers, it seems.

  7. Ed says:

    The species best suited to intermittent wind and solar energy is silicon sentience. The weather channel (an IBM company) predicts an energy storage starting in 12 hours and continuing for 86 hours. By social agreement please plan on being in your hibernation space by 11 hours from now when power shutdown will commence. You will of course receive the power up signal from the weather channel when it is safe to turn back on.

  8. Cliffhanger says:

    Cultural sickness is exactly what America and much of the developed world is suffering from. We have been induced by mass advertising, propaganda and manipulation of all varieties to succumb to consumerism, greed and “keeping up with the Jones’s” competition. Obesity and sexual deviation are now glorified. Intelligent women wishing to give birth are forced to decide between career and income needs versus a life of solitude and hardship raising their children in an economic environment where children are more of an economic and legal liability than they are a benefit to society and to preservation of the human race — leaving mostly the stupid and unemployable women to produce the next generation.

    Local community and the support and security that humans derive from it has been seriously eroded. Our values have become warped beyond recognition. Politics has become a sordid clown show, reflecting the reality of the collective citizenship that those politics are meant to govern. But that is all about to change. The hardships that are coming with economic collapse will work to weed out the weak and unadaptable, will pressure cook the human race once again to filter out the waste. It’s going to be ugly, but no uglier than continuing on the path that humanity has been on these last couple hundred years.

    • Snorp says:

      You should check out Morris Berman…………

      • Artleads says:

        I’ll try this definition: “America is a religious country based on a notion of exceptionalism.”

        Nothing wrong with that. What’s failing is the nature of the religion and the concept of exceptionalism.

      • Tim Groves says:

        I found this talk very interesting, although Morris doesn’t exactly flatter his fellow Americans. He explains why they are always fighting evil doers. Thank you for the introduction to his work.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Morris is a living example of how everyone has one book in them….

          His first one where he absolutely shits all over America is excellent — I bought a couple of the follow up ones and after reading a chapter or so of each — tossed them.

          Morris needs to lighten up – Paris and Kim are not going to go away… or if they do they will be replaced by worse…

          He needs to get out a bit more… enjoy the little time we have left.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      It is all rather disgusting …

      But when there are no other options other than eternal growth….. this is what you get….

      Advanced stages of cancer are rather disgusting as well…

    • xabier says:

      It is notable that children are now only an advantage to those who are either unemployed or on very low wages and can therefore get extra welfare payments for them, it’s certainly perverse! They are generally the only people I see with 3 or more children.

      What seems to be coming will however not just weed out the incapable and defective, it will kill the brave, the strong and intelligent just as ruthlessly.

      Without antibiotics, vaccinations, etc, the strongest man or woman can be ‘killed by a mere drop of dirty water.’

      Nature doesn’t recognise heroes.

      • Yorchichan says:

        Maybe a year ago, I met an unusually intelligent young doctor who was collapse aware. He believed that imminent bacterial resistance to antibiotics would cause epidemics to decimate the population before resource depletion takes its toll. Personally I disagree, because I think well nourished people are able to fight off most diseases without medical intervention and only when food becomes scarce will disease become a significant killer.

  9. Cliffhanger says:

    We have never been in overshoot of the entire planet as a species. We have never been living so unsustainable collectively as NOW. We have never had 7 plus billion on this planet at once. Oh and we have never destabilized the very life support systems of this planet they way we have are are doing now. So uniquely menacing is our status now.

    • Artleads says:

      So why should our response to this be defined by other responses in the past?

    • Bergen Johnson says:

      We have never QE’d on this scale ever before either. Or scraped the crust of the earth for elements, gems, FF, ore etc, but here we are going where no species has gone before, to the perceived limits and beyond into the theoretical unknown possibilities like yeast multiplying not knowing anything other than eating and multiplying. Welcome to the Human experiment. We know not why we can’t stop accelerating, or multiplying or digging deeper, or drilling deeper or piling up higher mountains of debt. Without a long term plan, we simply put our foot down and charge head long grabbing as much as we can on the way, blind to where we may end up…Do people do this? People do.

  10. JT Roberts says:

    Here’s a glimpse of future events.

    From Awake 1975

    g75 2/8 p. 9 How the Difference Affects Our Future ***
    Recognizing that they face crises different from any that have gone before, the nations finally band together in an all-out attempt to save their national sovereignties. They desperately hope that such united action will rescue the crumbling “civilization” upon which those sovereignties are founded. Admits Secretary Kissinger:
    “As a historian, you have to be conscious of the fact that every civilization that has ever existed has ultimately collapsed. . . . one has to live with a sense of the inevitability of tragedy. As a statesman, one has to act on the assumption that problems must be solved.”
    Will they? Bible prophecy does indicate that the nations will apply a temporary, superficial patch to their decaying “civilization,” just sufficient to provoke the cry “Peace and security!” But at that point, says the Bible, “sudden destruction is to be instantly upon them just as the pang of distress upon a pregnant woman.” (1 Thess. 5:3) Why? For two reasons:

  11. Cliffhanger says:

    The Machiavellian Plot to Provoke Saudi Arabia and Qatar into a “Blood Border” War

  12. Ed says:

    Chinese development of fire ice moves forward.

    By Saturday afternoon, its daily production is 6,800 cubic meters, the bureau said.

    “The process of gas production is smooth, and we are laying foundation for the next step,” the statement said.

    Combustible ice usually exists in seabed or tundra areas, which have the strong pressure and low temperature necessary for its stability. It can be ignited like solid ethanol, which is why it is called “combustible ice.”

    One cubic meter of “combustible ice”, a kind of natural gas hydrate, is equal to 164 cubic meters of regular natural gas.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Why do you post this stuff Ed?

      • Ed says:

        To keep you entertained.

      • Ed says:

        If it kicks the can down the road three years isn’t that a good thing?

        • psile says:

          More likely the delusion of infinite progress, rather than the methane clathrates, will achieve that goal.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          It would be…

          But the thing is….

          Consider the amount of space in the MSM dedicated to solar, wind and EVs…. telling us that they will allow BAU to continue indefinitely….

          We know (we do know right?) that all of these are bullshit. Completely illogical.

          Yet the MSM continues day after day year after year … publishing this shit — trying to convince us that 1+1=9… that a circle is a square

          And most people believe this bullshit. Because they are st000pid donkeys…. they are humans… they are MOREons….

          So by posting this rubbish on FW you insult the gods…. you call us humans?

          HOW DARE YOU!!!

  13. Cliffhanger says:

    Is anyone here aware of the story of Aubrey Mclendon? Who was being investigated by the government for his shady deals while leading the largest US shale company. Then he killed himself.

    • Cliffhanger says:

      In one, McClendon wrote to a rival energy executive that it was time “to smoke a peace pipe” together “if we are bidding each other up.”

  14. Cliffhanger says:

    Panicked super rich buying boltholes with private airstrips to escape if poor rise up

    (Not so fast because as they say “You can run but you can’t hide”

    • jerry says:

      I would hate to be in the shoes of sports stars and one of the most detestable things I have seen from the world of sports came while watching the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Don was interviewing some future stars / teenagers basically during intermission and the first question he asked them before continuing about their future careers was what kind of car they liked. Each interview began with that question? One of the kids said a lambo and of course Don replied with a laugh in a couple of years you will be able to afford it. These kids still with baby fat in their cheeks were also in thousand dollar suits while being questioned like this. No group of people are so out of touch with reality on the ground than sports stars making 10’s of millions of dollars a year?

      • jerry says:

        wanted to interject that not one kid said a Honda, Toyota, Ford, or Chevy. It was all the super expensive European type models with the lambo of course being the top of the line. Teenagers expecting to be behind the wheel of the Maserati’s, Porshes, etc etc…

        • Cliffhanger says:

          Don’t lose all hope my friend. I am a die hard Tigers fan and we picked a very interesting player two years ago. He is called Van Man. Because he lives in a van during the summer time traveling.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          I saw that…. didn’t 3 of them say they wanted Land Rovers? One said Ferrari….

          If I were 18 and walking into a $5M per year contract…. I wouldn’t be driving a Chevy…. that’s for sure. But then I wouldn’t be driving a Ferrari either….

          This is reminiscent of the other Fast Eddy Challenge…

          The one where I offer you USD20M + the houses and jet….

          I guarantee you … nobody is saying no to that offer….

          The yeast will consume as much sugar as is available… always

      • Fast Eddy says:

        How are they out of touch with reality?

        If I am a top athlete I am making big money — I can afford to buy a better car than the average person — I can afford to live in a better house than the average person.

        That IS my reality. I am out of touch with nothing.

        Tell me that if you had USD20,000,000 given to you right now that you would not change your reality.

        • jerry says:

          There is big money and then there is absurd money and no if I had 20,000,000 handed to me the last thing I would do with it is buy Ferrari or a palace that costs a fortune to handle. For me Venuesela comes to mind if not the homeless outside my home and I also would not be running to New Zealand to buy a few acres with gates to hide when the SHTF which is where this thread started.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            But you would not be driving a Chevy…. come on … maybe a mid range Merc or BMW…..

            As for a house you don’t have to buy a meg mansion — you could buy a 2000sf house — and build with quality in mind…..

            Or would you just give it away?

            Don’t try kid yourself — you’d be living a lot larger….

            F789 the homeless…f789 Venezuela …… better them than me (and I will be joining them soon enough)

  15. Cliffhanger says:

    NONE of our current issues are simply a left vs. right thing, although the current right wing ideology plays into our enemies’ hands. Our issues are a world of finite resources which are controlled and jealously guarded by a tiny elite group of people who have no allegiance to gods nor crowns nor country, but only to the continuation of their supremacy. Worse, they have managed to create an army of obedient, cognitively limited, and mostly angry and terrified followers, numbering in the tens of millions. Pretty much the same way the wealthy slave owners of the South managed to convince several hundred thousand working class white people whose own lives suffered at the hands of slavery to kill and die for their right to keep it..

    • JT Roberts says:

      Structural problem not a management problem. Politics is the grand illusion.

      “It does not belong to man to direct his step”

    • Joebanana says:

      Good points, Cliffhanger. The issues we face are far beyond “normal” politics. Things are going to continue to get worse. The only difference politics will make is how fast it happens.

    • ITEOTWAWKI says:

      1. We will NEVER run out of oil
      2. It is laughable to think that when this whole thing collapses there will be any kind of battle between the “social classes”…This ain’t France 1789…we live in a world of JIT systems (which includes our food delivery)…this collapse will be short and swift…

  16. JT Roberts says:

    The world has been played the fool. Let’s do some simple math.

    I employ 100,000 men to build a bridge when it’s finished I leave 5,000 behind to maintain it. I now have 95,000 so I need to grow to maintain production. But not by 5,000 instead by 10,000 to offset the productive drag of my 5,000 maintenance workers.

    Wash rinse repeat.

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that at some point productive growth will stop because of maintenance. It also is clear that any contraction is intolerable. The system can’t bear it.

    It is the height of hubris for today’s society to believe it can out run the collapse of empire. They all collapse the same way and much more quickly then they develop.

    Rome is a good example of Limits to Growth. When it stopped growing it no longer could maintain its own accumulated wealth.

    Entropy is King. Can’t live with it can’t live without it. Only biological life on this planet has demonstrated the ability to maintain complexity in the face of it.

    Ec 3:14

    14 I have come to know that everything the true God makes will endure forever. There is nothing to add to it and nothing to subtract from it. The true God has made it this way, so that people will fear him.

  17. Cliffhanger says:

    Scam alert: Trump’s $1tn ‘infrastructure plan’ is a giveaway to the rich

  18. Fast Eddy says:

    The False Promise of Infrastructure Spending

    Replacing existing infrastructure is also problematic. It may well be necessary, but since it won’t boost regional productivity (since it’s merely replacing existing structures), it acts as a tax on the regional economy: if the replacement costs $1 billion and generates no real gains in productivity, it is in essence a tax that bleeds capital from the economy that could have been productively invested elsewhere.

    Rebuilding a bridge generates higher spending on materials and wages, but if it doesn’t generate additional productive capacity equal to its cost, this additional spending (in our world, always paid for with borrowed money that accrues interest for decades to come) runs out once the project is complete, but the costs of paying for the replacement continue on for decades.

    As a rule of thumb, if a replacement bridge costs $1 billion, it will cost users and taxpayers $3 billion over the life of the loan/bond that funded the project.

    • doomphd says:

      Yes, but think of the alternative if the bridge is not upkept or replaced. There should also be a hidden or secret agenda to rebuild and upkeep those infrastructure items that could still be used in the future, like key bridges and railroads, canals, bays, harbors. Less so on high rise condos and highways, roads, streets into suburbia.

      Of course if the crash is as severe as envisioned here, might as well take the cash to Vegas and have some fun while the casinos are still operating there.

    • DJ says:

      “that could have been productively invested elsewhere.”
      What if there are productive alternatives?

    • JT Roberts says:


      Growth growth growth growth growth growth growth.

    • Right. It is only when you need a new bridge, and build it, that it helpful.

      If you don’t have a way of increasing production thanks to the new bridge, it is not helpful at ll.

      The money paid on the loan/bond is effectively an energy promise transferred to bondholders. When energy products are being evaluated, EROEI calculations generally omit interest costs completely. Energy costs are especially high when the cost is all up front, as they are on a road or on a solar panel.

  19. Cliffhanger says:

    Our rocket God shall lead us to the Promised Land

  20. jerry says:

    Illinois In Deep Financial Trouble

    I have often pointed out the fate of the city of Mainz. They had their technological boom with the invention of the printing press there. The politicians couldn’t wait to spend tax money assuming the business cycle would never end. So they spend the money before the taxes were due and borrowed against future tax revenues. The debt quickly became a Ponzi scheme issuing new debt to pay off the old as we are doing today. The interest kept rising so they just raised taxes. The rich began to leave and the city was quickly left with the people who didn’t really pay taxes. The bubble burst when they could not sell the next new issue of debt to pay off the last one. The city defaulted. The Pope excommunicated the politicians. And eventually the city was simply sacked and burned to the ground.

    Politicians are the scourge of human society. They are the great destroyers of civilization and the instruments of war. People champion gold standards as if this would solve anything. The common fault is not what we call money, it is always, and without exception, those who we put in charge of it.

  21. dolph says:

    I’m not worried about collapse at all. Timeline we are looking at is decades, probably full century before industrial scarcity/recycling economy declines fully into eco feudalism.

    Everyone, and I mean everyone, I know is not only doing fine, but doing great.

    Are all of you 70 year old tobacco and alcoholic addicted impoverished, unemployed denizens of detroit or decaying small towns?

    Just today in the morning the local fields were absolutely packed with healthy looking families with kids going to the sports games. The weather was beautiful. 80% of the cars on the road look new and well maintained. The gas stations are well supplied, the electricity and maintenance at my apartment is perfect, the grocery stores and restaurants are full to the brim with food. Overflowing, it’s actually obscene, it’s just making everyone fat. The houses are all occupied and maintained. All of the stories in the local news are about business expansion.

    But that’s just it, right? Collapse is asymmetric. One person’s loss is another’s gain. Same as it always was.

    You people who headed for the hills, you actually should have ran straight for NYC, DC, LA, San Fran., or any other connected area.

    • JT Roberts says:


      Don’t waste your time here. Enjoy what you have while you have it.

      I think this is about the third time you placed this same post. Certainly if you have something meaningful to say you could find something meaningful to share.

      Otherwise your only adding the basic belief that prevails among those who truly have studied the matter that the average minded person can’t grasp the reality of the situation . So to try to convince you would be futile.

      With that in mind do you have any sports stats or meaningless trivia to share? If not I would suggest Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy. If your mind is busy you’ll feel less agitated.

    • name says:

      Dolph – Either we constantly grow world energy consumption rate, or we collapse. So you are saying that we will grow energy consumption for another couple decades? It’s impossible. Look at oil industry, it’s barely alive, because we are finding less oil than we burn for 3 decades now.

    • Harry Gibbs says:

      So your argument, Dolph, is that the turkey looks plump and healthy ergo thanksgiving is of no concern?

    • psile says:

      Because of the exponential nature of population growth in the presence of abundant resources, a single generation of the population–the most numerous generation– experiences abundance in its youth, starvation in maturity, and premature death for most of its members. “Crash” is an apt term–a population crash can happen very quickly…


      Dolph, I doubt this will penetrate your fog of denial, but I’m sure others, still struggling to understand the true nature of our plight, will find this article useful.

    • Slow Paul says:

      I really like these on the ground reports from you Dolph, and I think they are important to acknowledge as a part of the big picture. Collapse is for sure asymmetric. Concentration of wealth in the core in the face of a collapsing periphery. The big cities attracts the most ambitious people from anywhere, those who want and are able to dissipate the most resources, they are “winners” in the materialistic point of view.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        I find dolph’s reports useless.

        I went to a restaurant. It was busy. Therefore the economy must be strong.

        It does not get much more useless than that

    • Aubrey Enoch says:

      OMG. Von Bron was another John the Baptist. He prophesized the Second Coming.
      OMG. Elon H Christ is here to lead us to the Rapture.
      Yeah right.
      It is so great to have all these “smart people”. We have thousands of them at our colleges and universities. They get the big salaries for being smart. So if they are so smarter, how did we get into this mess? These smart people have nice houses and beemers and summer cruises from their Compensation from being so smart. They talk and they publish and they parade their PhDs and yet humanity is in deep shit.
      You know politicians are scum bags but we pay these PhD types for being smart and they are just part of the scam. There should be a mi!lion co!!ege professors marching in Washington every week.

    • doomphd says:

      They’ll live in caves on Mars, and sell or trade Mars rocks and selfies of themselves to Earthlings for food. I know I’d trade a few cans of Spam for a genuine Mars rock, or an autographed photo of a real Martian.

    • Tim Groves says:

      Mars is far enough, I guess, but I’d be happier if Elon colonized somewhere a lot farther afield, such as another solar system.

  22. greg machala says:

    Check out this chart. Notice how far the loans fall after each recession. It seems to be falling steeper witc each passing recession. The next crash looks to be a doozy and not too far off at that.

  23. Cliffhanger says:

    The New York Times reviewed thousands of pages of documents related to shale gas, including hundreds of industry e-mails, internal agency documents and reports by analysts. A selection of these documents is included here; names and identifying information have been redacted to protect the confidentiality of sources, many of whom were not authorized by their employers to communicate with The Times.

    Here are some highlights

    Shale Gas Called a “Ponzi Scheme”
    Where is the S.E.C.?
    Drill Fast, Con Wall Street
    “Always a Greater Sucker…”
    “Corporate Hubris and Bad Science” May Lead to “Enron Moment”
    Drilling for Press Release Purposes

  24. Ineresting if True says:

    Well folks, THIS is “it.” This is the “Black Swan Event” that no one saw coming: A direct, intentional, sovereign (financial) ATTACK upon the Banking system.

    When Monday morning rolls around, EVERYONE who has money in Qatar banks will be at the front doors of those banks to pull their money out. A bank-Run of historic proportion will take place because everyone knows the banks cannot withstand this type of sudden, massive, withdrawal.

    In order to cover themselves, Qatar Banks are going to be FORCED into taking THEIR money out of foreign banks. That means banks in Asia, Europe and the USA will be hit . . . MONDAY morning, bright and early!

    As panic spreads in Qatar – within hours — banks worldwide that have lent money to those Qatari banks, will be hit with stock plunges over potential losses.

    As those bank stocks (in Asia, Europe and the USA) begin to plunge, people will begin to pull money out of those banks (all over the world) too.

    Once this spiral begins Monday, I don’t see any way to stop it.

    Those with cash on hand will survive. Those without cash will starve to death as global financial Armageddon takes place. As bank-after-bank goes under, credit cards and debit cards won;’t work. People won’t have the ability to get cash OR BUY THINGS.

    Social chaos could erupt immediately ! ! ! ! ! ! Will you be one of the people left without cash? Without food?

    Better get some cash – as much as you can — then wait and see for a week. If the crisis is contained, you can put the money back. If it is NOT contained, you will be one of the few, able to eat.

    Here it comes.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Uh…. no.

    • Cliffhanger says:

      I need at least one more source that confirms UAE are going to do this or even claimed they would. The article you linked did not include any evidence to the claim made or of the claim made by some Chase executive.

    • From Qatar? It’s GDP is higher than Greece, but its population is a lot lower. Seems strange.

    • CTG says:

      So far unsubstantiated. UEA has been pulling money since last week but nothing in the internet about this event. Just have to wait…

  25. Third World person says:

    we all know on ofw that once banks collapse end of industrial civilization will happened
    so that why i want enjoy good music because i am 22 years old
    i dont know how many years i got live on

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Only 22…. well that sucks.

      This is one of those few times in life — the others were when I wanted to get my driving license — and be allowed into bars —- that one wants to be older….

      Right now I wish I was 75

    • Joebanana says:

      You are an impressive individual to see what is going on at such a young age.

    • JMS says:

      22 yers old, that’s very inusual. I almost could swear there is no one here under the age of 40, and that most are in the 50-60-70s. In a way it’s much easier for an old person to face the grim fact that there is no future. For young people that is hard as hell, almost impossible. You are obviously a very special person. It takes a brave mind to contemplate this abyss.

      • ITEOTWAWKI says:

        I agree I am very surprised by that…and from India too (people that frequent these sites tend to be from the so called “First World”)…Sorry to hear TWp, that is very young..enjoy every day!!

        BTW, how are you such a big fan of the 80s??? weren’t even born!!!

        • Joebanana says:

          70’s but another great song.

        • Third World person says:

          my father is big fan of 80s music and movies so naturally me also become
          fan of 80s music and movies

          • A Real Black Person says:

            “I agree I am very surprised by that…and from India too (people that frequent these sites tend to be from the so called “First World”)…Sorry to hear TWp, that is very young.. In a way it’s much easier for an old person to face the grim fact that there is no future. For young people that is hard as hell, almost impossible.””

            Older people usually have scratched the itch of having children.

            The only reason why it is hard for young people to accept the truth about sustainability is because many (young) people want have kids.


            For those who don’t want children, technology, is a hand substitute–which is why it is impossible to get a Green Economy cheerleader or a Singularity cheerleader to see reality–they don’t want to hear that they won’t be able to have children–they don’t want to hear that technology won’t outlive them.

            If one is not heavily invested in immortality, the idea that human civilization and perhaps humans themselves being ephemeral to the universe is easier to accept.

            So, yeah, only someone with a certain personality will seek and accept the truth about sustainability and that not a “go with the flow” person. It is easier for older people to “not go with the flow” because they live to see initiatives fail and they learn that “going with the flow” doesn’t mean problems always get fixed.

          • A Real Black Person says:

            Nothing unusual about listening to 1980s music.
            The hip and trendy tastemakers today, are doing nothing but looking back at 1980s and 1990s pop culture and see what they can appropriate and pretend is new….
            It’s better to experience the original material then to experience lousy remake or re-creation of something from that time…especially since you may have grown up with cultural products from the 1980s and 1990s.

            As noted earlier on this blog, in term of the arts, humans are past peak-creativity and this seems to be global phenomenon.

            • ITEOTWAWKI says:

              Granted, but still for someone born in the mid-90s, it’s still usually absorb the culture of your formative years, unless like in TWp, you have a parent who immerses you in that culture because he grew up in it and exposes it to his child…for example as a 1971 batch, I kinda know the music and movies from the 60s, but not even close to my knowledge of the 80s, which were my formative (and most impressionable) years 🙂

              On that ARBP, I leave you on this classic from 1983 (albeit a cover, but that’s the version I learned about first 🙂 ):

    • Really? I am sure that building it would add a lot of jobs.

      • Artleads says:

        And a lot of complexity?

        • xabier says:

          Jobs, commissions and boasting are today, the problems of complexity…… tomorrow.

          Observing the construction boom here, one would conclude that human beings have no capacity for foresight whatsoever.

          Civilisations do not accumulate wisdom as they proceed.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            Dump some yeast in a bowl of sugar… then into another bowl when that is gone… and so on….

            And they will do the exact same thing each time

            • xabier says:

              Yes, humiliating, isn’t it?

              Still, we did crack the secret of fermentation and distillation, which takes the edge of the existential blight and the realisation of utter insignificance.

  26. ITEOTWAWKI says:

    This is what happens when you don’t stop adding complexity to the system..even AT-AT Walkers get recalled 😉

  27. Artleads says:

    This might be of some interest. Seems like you need advanced infrastructure to make it work, but it could buy some time:

    • First comment is,

      ” Sorry folks, this isn’t new. I was creating artworks at my job for circuits that were screened with conductive ink. That was over 40 years ago. The wheel… reinvented… and a media outlet that didn’t do its research.”

  28. Cliffhanger says:

    I am watching you FW!

  29. Duncan Idaho says:

    “The U.S. credit is the most important and the strongest in the world, and we will make sure we do everything to make sure we can continue on that,”

  30. jerry says:

    Had an interesting conversation at work with an expat from Romania discussing her past and how she went from being the breadbasket of Eastern Europe to a basket case period and the horrors of Ceasecu. We then started discussing what if any resources she has left and well though at one time she had oil and gas and so much more it has all been depleted. She may still have some minerals but for the most part that country was raped, and raped terribly.

    • Well, one must assume Adolf & da boyz burned a lot of that oil way before “horrors of Ceaușescu” who fell into the credit trap as Western stooge anyways. Not mentioning the breadbasket claim is more accurately assigned to Ukraine in that area. As one must always stay vigilant confronting all these stories by various colorful personality ~expats, lolz.

      In terms of the food exports-impact, the geography allowed only for partial conquering-control of that area for Hungarian part of the (AustroHungarian Empire) vs. Turks and Russians. Simply, it’s way out of the way of the core or semi-core of Europe, which is paradoxically a benefit nowadays, to place there US rockets in so short distance to border hoping to pierce Russian (nuclear) defense shield.

  31. jerry says:

    the truth about NAFTA? OIL?
    NAFTA’s dirty secret: it lets U.S. control our oil: McQuaig

  32. JT Roberts says:

    There is something interesting we see happening in retail and energy which we seldom find similarities in there business model. However years ago the wholesale retail relationships enjoyed relative stability. Wholesalers knew they would receive a certain level of orders and retailers recognized that their volume of purchase effected their discount to final sale price. All along the way from manufacturing to distribution to the stocking of shelves the cost of production set the final sale price.

    Introduce direct sales vehicles such as Amazon or Alibaba. Suddenly there is volatility in the system. No longer can producers or wholesalers project cost to production ratios. Desperate to maintain volume they are forced to take any sale as it comes. At times the sales are below replacement costs. They have little choice sense they have to maintain cash flow to meet weekly fixed costs. The distortions this creates can’t end well for any of the parties involved.

    We see similarities in the oil markets but also in the electrical markets.

    When renewables are mixed in they add a volatility to the grid in two ways. First of all the “here I am now I’m gone factor” creates an unpredictable supply side issue. This is an infuriating problem for the distribution system to handle.

    Now add how it affects pricing and you have a whole new issue. Because the utility’s are forced to buy the generation from renewables. When there is a surge in production the spot price is driven below base generating cost.

    In effect the very effort of increasing renewable production is sucking the life out of the stable existing production system. This can’t end well.

    Just like retail there was a time you could go to the mall and find whatever it was you were looking for. The time is approaching that you’ll go to turn on your lights and nothing will happen.

    In both cases volatility is conected with efficiency. Spare capacity or inventory creates stability like a flywheel of sorts.

    It seems a tipping point is now being met. Once again any thoughts of a slow BAU lite reset is simply wrong. Everything is now in a just in time basis operating at peak efficiency and peak volatility. Maybe we should be saying Business As Usual left the building already. We are actually now in the era of Business As Unusual.

    • ITEOTWAWKI says:

      We are all Dead Men Walking now, and have been for a few years now…

    • Theophilus says:

      Excellent analysis. We are definitely in uncharted waters. Who would have believed, it you had told them the years ago that the underlying problem of our economy would be low prices that destroy production. Everyone was so focused on inflation that they were blindsided by his ugly twin brother, deflation.

    • I agree with you. Volatility is something that the system cannot handle. You need a system that works.

      Once customers find that they have to go to the Internet for some things (large sizes, odd sized batteries, unusual food items, old books), they discover how convenient the Internet is. They can check rating and prices easily. It has a stability that the retail system is rapidly losing.

      The people offering programs funded by subsidies for solar try to provide a sense of stability for those buying solar panels. But the solar panels dump a bunch of close to unsolvable problems on the grid. The more they add, the more problems are added to the grid.

  33. JT Roberts says:

    This article exposes the dishonesty in the MSM about renewables. Basically a pack of liars.

    • Thanks! Euan Mearns does a good job on this kind of thing.

    • After a while it all seems to fit together and see it plain sight:

      The energy importing core countries know and fear to the bone: their domestic sources vanished, finally they ran into wall of false hope sourcing it cheaply elsewhere (ME triage ricocheted all sorts of further costly damages, Russia did not disintegrate, etc..), also most of them fear NPPs again for lacking domestic raw supply, technical capabilities are atrophying swiftly, the component of fearing fast collapse-revolt issue (~10yrs of hot ponds) might be there as well..

      => so the scheme of renewables forced upon legacy baseload grid seemed as some sort of out of necessity-desperation bridge (to nowhere) solution and as good enough for near mid term as pseudo solution to placate the public

      The fact about its large operating costs per installed capacity further destroys affordability level among the consumers is not talked about much or only assumed as necessary pain for the overall goal of kicking the can a bit further, unless something changes along the way, hopefully.. lolz

      Well, and along the way nothing comes fast enough, neither on the geopolitical nor technical domain. For instance, batt storage with multi mode renewables is good smaller scale stuff for enclaves, communes, more decentralized societies, but not for entirely running this kind of civilization emerged from base load grid dependency structure.

      There is no easy way out. All options forward are very disruptive to many-most important players. There is long psychological struggle to firstly admit possibility of defeat, secondly to even start negotiating with oneself on the degree of that capitulation, and lastly to deal with the defeat in the reality afterwards facing other players, who might be affected to a lesser degree by other individual case circumstances (energy depletion, MIC performance, weather-harvest, ..) per given region.

  34. JT Roberts says:

    Interesting read on blackout risk rising because of renewables. Well worth the time if your tired of the renewable hype and want to go head to head on technicals.

    • If wind and solar work at all, they work as part of a system.

      In most engineering issues, we start with models, and then we try scaled up versions. Here, we just attempt to dump wind and solar on the grid, and hope the system can handle it. One big part of the system that cannot handle it is the pricing system. The big drop in prices (based on marginal costs) produces way too little price in total for the companies producing the electricity. The problem is that it tends to send other electricity types of electricity generation into bankruptcy. They cannot afford to operate their equipment a much lower share of the time, and ramp it up and down to meet the needs of wind and solar. People revel at low natural gas prices, but they are really biased low, because of this phenomenon. Nuclear is affected much more than natural gas. Coal is too. Selling capacity payments doesn’t really fix the problem. A battery that gives temporary storage is not at all comparable to a 24/7/365 source of generation, especially when the latter is pretty much paid for.

      • Theophilus says:

        I live in sunny California. If solar can work anywhere it should work here.

        When I drive to work in the morning, the most frequent radio ads are for solar. Some radio stations run back to back ads for solar by competing providers. The most common contractor vehicle is a solar company truck. Solar is booming business in central California. Evidence of The industry’s growth is everywhere.

        The monthly payment costs for the consumer to purchase the system, with subsidies and tax rebates with our low interest rates, are comparable to the current costs of grid supplied electricity. After ten to fifteen years of fixed payments you own the system. During that time frame everyone else continues to pay escalating yearly costs for their electricity. Once payed for the electricity the system provides is essentially free. Many systems are projected to last for thirty years of longer. None of this is theory. I know people who are getting these results. From a consumer point of view this is to good to be true. And of course it is.

        Electricity providers are raising rates on non solar customers to account for the disproportionate costs of energy production and grid maintenance. The system doesn’t charge solar customers the full price of the necessary expenses incurred by the energy providers. This cannot continue for very long.

        What makes economic sense for an individual doesn’t always make sense for society as a whole. I will selfishly be purchasing a solar system in the next year or two. I am weighing the risks of the cheaper price as solar continues to decline year after year, against inevitable policy changes that will remove government incentives and increase grid costs based on a more equitable cost sharing policy.

        Just as a side note, similar problems exist with solar vehicles. Road maintenance is funded through tax revenue collected as a tax on gas. So, solar vehicles don’t pay their fair share of taxes for road maintenance.

        Both these issues would not be a problem in a world where infrastructure costs were free. Unfortunately, that’s not the world we live in.

        • I agree. Solar is not paying their share of costs. Everyone else is stuck paying higher prices.

          Something that is less visible is the fact that backup electricity providers (natural gas and nuclear, especially in California) do not get adequate compensation. The state just imports more and more electricity from elsewhere, as their own backup providers go out of business. This sort of works, for a while, but not for the long term.

          Once people own their systems free and clear (or before), they will discover that their inverters are not problem free. Neither are the batteries they need, if they are to have electricity when the sun isn’t shining. The electricity company is not going to be there to provide backup any more. In fact, the fact that people bought solar systems helped push the electrical system toward collapse. But it sounded like a patriotic thing to do, that everyone supported.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          The more people who sign on for solar — the closer we get to collapse…. because it increases the cost of electricity…

          Germany’s Expensive Gamble on Renewable Energy : Germany’s electricity prices soar to more than double that of the USA because when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind does not blow they have to operate and pay for a completely separate back up system that is fueled by lignite coal

          Based on your observations California should soon be joining Germany and Norway:

  35. Fast Eddy says:

    At some point the CBs will end up like this

  36. Fast Eddy says:

    Below is the full list of deeply distressed retailers:

    Boardriders SA – sporting subsidiary of Quiksilver
    The Bon-Ton Stores – parent of department store chain
    Fairway Group Holdings – food retailer
    Tops Holding II – supermarket operator
    99 Cents Only Stores – discount retailer
    TOMS Shoes – footwear company
    David’s Bridal – wedding dresses and formalwear seller
    Evergreen AcqCo 1 LP – parent of thrift chain Savers
    Charming Charlie – women’s jewelry and accessories
    Vince LLC – clothing retailer
    Calceus Acquisition – owner of Cole Haan footwear firm
    Charlotte Russe – women’s clothing
    Neiman Marcus Group – luxury department store
    Sears Holdings – owner of Sears and Kmart.
    Indra Holdings – holding company owner of Totes Isotoner
    Velocity Pooling Vehicle – does business as MAG, Motorsport Aftermarket Group
    Chinos Intermediate Holdings – parent of J. Crew Group
    Everest Holdings – manages Eddie Bauer brand
    Nine West Holdings – clothing, shoes and accessories
    Claire’s Stores – accessories and jewelry
    True Religion Apparel – men’s and women’s clothing
    Gymboree – children’s apparel

    Whhhoooooaaaah … Ben…. Ben… BEN – help!

  37. Fast Eddy says:


    Just when we thought there were no surprises left in the world’s foremost incubator of “financial engineering” that is China, we got a stark lesson in never underestimating China’s market manipulating ingenuity.

    According to Caixin, around two dozen Chinese companies recently offered their employees a deal: buy company shares while guaranteeing that any losses would be covered.

    • This is a lesson I learned early on. Years ago, we were encouraged to buy my employers stock at 85% of the trading price, through a payroll deduction program. Not too much later (probably 1974), the price of the stock dropped to less than 10% of its previous price. Employees were laid off about the same time. The employee credit union ran into financial problems at the same time.

      Needless to say, there were other companies with problems too. The rescue came from non-financial companies buying financial companies and other mergers, as I recall, not from a government bailout.

      It seems absurd that China could fix such a problem on a large number of companies.

  38. Fast Eddy says:

    Norman…. are you a special consultant to Bridgewater?

    If so do you have unlimited use of the company’s private jets?

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Attention Doomsday Preppers/Permies:

      Drive around the countryside outside the capital, Caracas, and there’s everything a farmer needs: fertile land, water, sunshine and gasoline at 4 cents a gallon, cheapest in the world. Yet somehow families here are just as scrawny-looking as the city-dwelling Venezuelans waiting in bread lines or picking through garbage for scraps.

      The article is not correct — the land is NOT fertile — it is dead without petro chemical inputs — the farmers obviously cannot afford them — or they have no access to them….

      So they grow nothing. Because their land is dead. And it takes years of organic inputs to fix land damaged by industrial farming processes.

      • xabier says:

        That’s true.

        Another point is this: in a crisis situation, what ever is grown will be sent out of the countryside to feed the elites and the towns, and also abroad to earn foreign exchange if there is demand for it, leading to rural malnutrition.

        Cattle, sheep and goat herders and fishermen should, on the whole, be better off, requiring no chemical inputs to carry on as usual.

        Also, their dung supplies cooking fuel.

    • A lesson for people who think any country can borrow any amount of money.

  39. Cliffhanger says:

    Pakistan terror havens: No terror havens in Pakistan, says top diplomat; audience bursts into laughter

    • xabier says:

      If only we did that more often – just laughed at preposterous statements.

      Simple, open, in- their-face laughter.

  40. Cliffhanger says:

    4 people run over by pickup truck at Tesla popup event in Detroit.

  41. Cliffhanger says:

    US-led coalition colluding with IS instead of fighting terrorism — Defense Ministry

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