Humans Left Sustainability Behind as Hunter-Gatherers

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Many people believe that humans can have a sustainable future by using solar panels and wind turbines. Unfortunately, the only truly sustainable course, in terms of moving in cycles with nature, is interacting with the environment in a manner similar to the approach used by chimpanzees and baboons. Even this approach will eventually lead to new and different species predominating. Over a long period, such as 10 million years, we can expect the vast majority of species currently alive will become extinct, regardless of how well these species fit in with nature’s plan.

The key to the relative success of animals such as chimpanzees and baboons is living within a truly circular economy. Sunlight falling on trees provides the food they need. Waste products of their economy come back to the forest ecosystem as fertilizer.

Pre-humans lost the circular economy when they learned to control fire over one million years ago, when they were still hunter-gatherers. With the controlled use of fire, cooked food became possible, making it easier to chew and digest food. The human body adapted to the use of cooked food by reducing the size of the jaw and digestive tract and increasing the size of the brain. This adaptation made pre-humans truly different from other animals.

With the use of fire, pre-humans had many powers. They spent less time chewing, so they could spend more time making tools. They could burn down entire forests, if they so chose, to provide a better environment for the desired types of wild plants to grow. They could use the heat from fire to move to colder environments than the one to which they were originally adapted, thus allowing a greater total population.

Once pre-humans could outcompete other species, the big problem became diminishing returns. For example, once the largest beasts were killed off, only smaller beasts were available to eat. The amount of effort required to kill these smaller beasts was not proportionately less, however.

In this post, I will explain further the predicament we seem to be in. We have deviated so far from the natural economy that we really cannot go back. At the same time, the limits we are reaching are straining our economic system in many ways. Some type of discontinuity, or collapse, seems to be not very far away.

[1] Even before the appearance of hunter-gatherers, ecosystems around the world exhibited a great deal of cycling from state to state.

Many people are under the illusion that before the meddling of humans, the populations of different types of plants and animals tended to be pretty much constant. This isn’t really the way things work, however, in a finite world. Instead, the populations of many species cycle up and down, depending on particular conditions such as the population of animals that prey on them, the availability of food, the prevalence of disease, and the weather conditions.

Figure 1. Numbers of snowshoe hare (yellow, background) and Canada lynx (black line, foreground) furs sold to the Hudson’s Bay Company. Canada lynxes eat snowshoe hares. Image by Lamiot, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons. Link.

Even forests exhibit surprising variability. Many undergo regular cycles of burning. In fact, some species of trees, such as the giant sequoias in Yosemite, require fire in order to reproduce. These cycles are simply part of the natural order of self-organizing ecosystems in a finite world.

[2] A major feature of ecosystems is “Selection of the Best Adapted.”

Each species tends to give birth to many more offspring than are necessary to live to maturity if the population of that species is to remain level. Each of the individual offspring varies in many random ways from its parents. Ecosystems are able to keep adapting to changing conditions by permitting only the best-adapted offspring to survive. In favorable periods (suitable weather, not much disease, ample food, not too many predators), a large share of the offspring may survive. In less favorable periods, few of the offspring will survive.

When selection of the best adapted is taken into account, a changing climate is of little concern because, regardless of the conditions, some individual offspring will survive. Over time, new and different species are likely to develop that are better adapted to the changing conditions.

[3] The downsides of living within the limits provided by nature are easy to see.

One issue is that every mother can expect to see the majority of her offspring die. In fact, her own life expectancy is uncertain. It depends upon whether there are nearby predators or a disease against which she has no defense. Even a fairly small injury could lead to her death.

Another issue is lack of shelter from the elements. Moving to an area where the weather is too harsh becomes impossible. Our earliest pre-human ancestors seem to have lived near the equator where seasonal temperature differences are small.

Without supplemental heating or cooling, humans living in many places in the world today would have a difficult time following the way of nature because of weather conditions. As we will see in later sections, it was grains that allowed people to settle in areas that were too cold for crops in winter.

In theory, there are alternatives to grain in cold climates. For example, a small share of the population might be able to get most of its calories from eating raw fish, as the Inuit have done. Eating raw fish is not generally an option for people living inland, however. Also, in later sections, we will talk about the difference between the use of root vegetables and grains as the primary source of calories. In some sense, the use of grains provides a stepping stone toward big government, roads, and what we think of as a modern existence, while the use of root vegetables does not. Eating raw fish is similar to eating root vegetables, in that it doesn’t provide a stepping stone toward a modern existence.

[4] Animals make use of some of the same techniques as humans to compete with other species. These techniques are added complexity and added energy supply.

We think of complexity as being equivalent to added technology, but it also includes many related techniques, such as the use of tools, the use of specialization and the use of long-distance travel.

Animals use many types of complexity. Bees build hives and carry out tasks divided among the queen bee, drone bees, and worker bees. Many birds fly to another continent in winter, in order to gain access to an adequate food supply. Chimpanzees use tools, such as waving a stick or throwing a rock to ward off predators. Beavers build dams that provide themselves with an easy source of food in winter.

Some members of the animal kingdom, known as parasites, even leverage their own energy by using the energy of other plants or animals. Such use of the energy of a host is subject to limits; if the parasite uses too much, it risks killing its host.

While animals other than humans may use similar techniques to humans, they don’t go as far as humans. Humans employ a variety of supplemental materials in their tools. Also, no animal other than humans has learned to control fire.

[5] Pre-humans seem to have learned to control fire over 1 million years ago, allowing humans to gain an advantage in killing wild beasts.

Richard Wrangham, in Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human, makes the case that the controlled use of fire allowed the changes in anatomy that differentiate humans from other primates. With the controlled use of fire, humans could cook some of their food, making it easier to chew and digest. As a result, the teeth, jaws and guts of humans could be relatively smaller, and the brain could be larger. The larger brain allowed humans to compete better against other species. Also, cooking food greatly reduced the time spent chewing food, increasing the time available for making crafts and tools of various kinds. The heat of fire allowed pre-humans to move into new areas with colder climates. The heat of fires also allowed pre-humans to ward off some of the impact of ice-ages, which they were able to survive.

James C. Scott, in Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States, explains that being able to burn biomass was sufficient to turn around who was in charge: pre-humans or large animals. In one cave in South Africa, he indicates that a lower layer of remains found in the cave did not show any carbon deposits, and hence were created before pre-humans occupying the cave gained control of fire. In this layer, skeletons of big cats were found, along with scattered gnawed bones of pre-humans.

In a higher layer, carbon deposits were found. In this layer, pre-humans were clearly in charge. Their skeletons were much more intact, and the bones of big cats were scattered about and showed signs of gnawing. Who was in charge had changed! We know that human controlled fires can be used to scare away wild animals, burn down entire forests if desired, and make sharper spears. It shouldn’t be surprising that humans gained the upper hand.

[6] Grains, because of their energy density, portability, and ability to be stored, seem to have played a major role in the development of governments and of cities.

Scott, in Against the Grain, also points out that early economies that were able to grow grains were the economies that were able to place taxes on those grains, and with those taxes, were able to fund governments offering more services. Grains are a storable form of energy for humans. They are portable and energy dense, as well. It was grains that allowed people to settle in areas that were too cold for growing crops in winter. The year-to-year variability in production made storage of reserves important. Governments could provide this function, and other functions, such as roads.

If we analyze the situation, it is apparent that the existence of grain crops provided a subsidy to the rest of the economy. Farmers and their slaves could grow far more grain than they themselves required for calories, leaving much grain for trading with others. This surplus could be used to feed the population of cities, such as Rome. It was no longer necessary for everyone to be hunter-gatherers or subsistence farmers. There could be new occupations such as merchants, teachers, carpenters, and sailors. Many more goods and services in total could be produced, and the population of cities could grow.

Cities, themselves, provide benefits, because they allow economies of scale, and they allow people with different skills to mix. Geoffrey West, in his book Scale, notes that larger cities produce disproportionately more patents. Thus, technology is advanced with the growth of cities.

It might be noted that root crops, even though they could provide most of the same food energy benefits for humans as grain crops, did not help economies grow in the same ways that grain crops did. This, likely, was part of the reason that they were not taxed: They produced no excess benefit to give back to the government.

Root vegetables are not as helpful as grains. They are less energy dense than grains, making them heavier and bulkier for transport. They do not store as well as grains. In early days, root crops could be about as efficiently grown by individual families as by farmers specializing in such crops, making it hard to leverage the labor that went into growing root crops. In fact, there was less real need for government with root crops: There was no way to store supplies of root crops in case of poor harvest, and there was little need for roads to transport the crops.

[7] The added energy benefits of grain crops created a situation where the grain was “worth” far more to customers, and to the economy as a whole, than what would be indicated by their cost of production.

There is a belief among economists, and among much of the population, that the selling price of a commodity will be determined by its cost of production. In fact, the example given in Section [6] indicates that back in the early days of grain production, grain’s selling price could be far greater than its direct cost of production, with the difference going into taxes that would benefit the government and the economy as a whole.

In fact, there was a second way that the usage of grain was helpful to governments. The efficiency of grain production, transport, and storage reduced the need for farmers. Former farmers could offer services not previously available to citizens, often in cities. Income from the new jobs could also be taxed, to give governments another stream of income.

[8] The use of coal and oil also produced situations where the value of energy products to the economy was far higher than their direct cost of production, allowing these products to be heavily taxed.

Tony Wrigley, in his book Energy and the English Industrial Revolution, indicates that with the use of coal, farming became a much more productive endeavor. The crop yield from cereal crops, net of the amount fed to draft animals, nearly tripled between 1600 and 1800, which was the period when coal production ramped up in England. Coal allowed the use of far more metal tools, which were vastly superior to tools made from wood. In addition, roads to mines were greatly improved. Prior to this time, few roads were paved in England. These improved roads helped the economy as a whole.

Oil is known today for the high taxes it pays to governments. The governments of oil exporting countries are very dependent upon tax revenue relating to oil. When the selling price of oil is low, this results in a crisis period for oil exporting countries because they have no other way of collecting adequate tax revenue to support the programs for their people. For a short time, they can borrow money, but when this alternative fails, governments are likely to be overturned by their unhappy citizens.

[9] The economy tends to move further and further away from the natural order (described in Sections [1], [2], and [3]) as more energy consumption is added.

Even though the natural order would be sustainable, it doesn’t represent a situation that most people today would like to live in. In fact, most humans today could not live on completely uncooked food, even if they wanted to. While a few people today eat “raw food” diets, they often use a food processor or blender to reduce the amount of chewing and digesting of raw foods to a manageable level. Even then, their weights tend to stay low.

If energy products are available at an affordable price, humans find many ways to use them, to stay away from the natural order. Some examples include the following:

  • To provide transportation, other than walking.
  • To pipe clean water to homes.
  • To make growing and storage of food easy.
  • To allow homes to be heated and cooled.
  • To allow medicines and vaccines.
  • To allow most children to live to maturity.

[10] Because energy consumption is important in all aspects of the economy, the economy seems to reach many kinds of limits simultaneously.

There are many limits that the world economy seems to reach simultaneously. The underlying problem in all of these areas seems to be diminishing returns. In theory, these issues could all be worked around, using increasing energy consumption or increasing complexity:

  • Too little fresh water for an increasing population.
  • The need to keep increasing food production, with the same amount of arable land.
  • Increased difficulty with insect pests, such as locusts.
  • Increased difficulty in dealing with viruses and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
  • Overfished oceans so that farmed fish are required in addition.
  • Ores of metals of ever-lower grade, requiring more processing and leading to more waste.
  • More expensive techniques required for the extraction of fossil fuels.
  • Many unprofitable businesses; much debt likely to default.
  • Too few jobs that pay well enough to support a family
  • Governments unable to collect enough taxes

Energy and complexity work together to leverage human labor, in a way that the economy can make more goods and services in total. Unfortunately, we cannot use complexity to make energy. Technology (which is a form of complexity) can convert energy to useful work and, through efficiency gains, increase the percentage of energy that is available for useful work, but it cannot make energy. If we add more technology, more robots, and more international trade, we likely will need more energy, not less.

The net impact of all of these issues is that to maintain our economy, we really need an ever-increasing quantity of energy. In fact, energy consumption likely needs to grow more rapidly than population simply to keep the system from collapse.

Wind and solar certainly cannot meet today’s energy needs. Together, wind and solar amount to about 3.3% of the world’s energy supply, based on BP estimates for 2019. Furthermore, wind and intermittent solar certainly cannot be sold at a price high above their cost of production, the way grain, coal and oil have been sold historically. In fact, wind and solar invariably need the huge subsidy of being allowed to “go first.” They actually are reliant on a profitable fossil fuel system to subsidize them, or they fall completely “flat.”

[11] The problem, as the economy reaches limits, is too few goods and services being produced to satisfy all parts of the economy simultaneously. The parts of the economy that especially tend to get shortchanged are (a) governments, (b) energy producers, and (c) workers without special skills who are selling their labor as a form of “energy.”

When economies are doing well, the price of energy products tends to be high. These high prices allow very high taxes on energy products. They also allow significant funds for reinvestment for the energy companies themselves. Indirectly, these high prices allow a significant share of the goods and services made by the economy to be transferred to these sectors of the economy.

In addition, energy products allow non-farm workers in many areas of the economy to produce their goods and services more efficiently, thereby helping push up the wages of common laborers.

As economies reach limits, there is, in some sense, a need for more energy in many sectors of the economy. The catch is that the “wages” and “profits” needed to purchase this energy aren’t really available to provide the demand needed to keep energy prices up. As a result, energy prices and production tend to fall. Government-imposed limitations, intended to stop the spread of COVID-19, may also keep energy demand down.

Governments often fail, or they get into major conflicts with other governments, when there are resource shortages of the kinds we are currently encountering. Today is in many ways like the period of the Great Depression, which preceded World War II.

[12] Perhaps warm, wet countries will be somewhat more successful than cold countries and those without water, in the years ahead.

I showed a chart in my most recent post, Energy Is the Economy, that illustrates the wide range of energy consumption around the world.

Figure 2. Energy consumption per capita in 2019 for a few sample countries based on data from BP’s 2020 Statistical Review of World Energy. Energy consumption includes fossil fuel energy, nuclear energy and renewable energy of many types. It omits energy products not traded through markets, such as locally gathered wood and animal dung. This omission tends to somewhat understate the energy consumption for countries such as India and those located in Middle Africa.

If fossil fuel energy falls, I expect that the parts of the world with cold temperatures will experience particular difficulty because they tend to use disproportionately large amounts of energy (Figure 2). Their citizens cannot get along very well without heat for their homes. Winter becomes very dark, if supplemental lighting is not available. Walking long distances in the cold becomes a problem as well.

The warmer countries have a better chance because they do not require as complex economies as cold countries. They can feed at least part of their population with root crops. Walking is a reasonable transportation option, and there is no problem with months on end of darkness if supplemental lighting is not available. For these reasons, warm countries would seem to have a better chance of passing through the difficult times ahead while sustaining a reasonable-sized population.

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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2,604 Responses to Humans Left Sustainability Behind as Hunter-Gatherers

  1. Yoshua says:

    Europe had trade with China through the Silk Road 2000 years ago. People have always been moving…and spreading disease…

    “JUST IN: Saudi Arabia closes all its borders to all countries amid concerns over coronavirus mutation”

    A global lockdown is coming again?

    • Dennis L. says:

      Comment on China and politics by Charlie Monger, December 2020 interview:

      “Yeah, it does. That’s a very interesting observation. What that shows is exactly right. Who would have guessed that a bunch of communist Chinese run by one party would have the best economic record the world has ever seen? Of course, it’s extreme. I think it proves … We Americans would like to think that our free expression and allowing all kinds of opinions and all kinds of criticism of the government is totally essential part of the economy. What the Chinese have proved is you can have screamingly successful economy with a fairly controlling government. All the government has to do is create a lot capitalism. If you do that, having sort of a controlling one party government doesn’t matter. That’s not a fashionable thing to say, but I think it’s true.”

      Dennis L.

      • China also has (or had) lots of cheap coal and access to lots of debt. It had a huge number of countries that wanted to transfer their manufacturing abroad, to try to meet the terms of the Kyoto protocol. Essentially, they were assured that no one would compete with them.

        When things started to “go south,” more recently, they had no problem with reporting erroneously high GDP growth. They also had no problem with reverse engineering technology others used, and using it for their own benefit.

        With this situation, they were guaranteed to win, at least for a while.

  2. Yoshua says:

    Mr. Pool exactly one year ago on the day of the isolation of Britain.

    London…”when the worlds collide it will hit you like dream”.

    He is spooky.

    https://mobile.twitter.com/looP_rM311_7211/status/1208482903904141314

    • Artleads says:

      Wasn’t it inevitable that we’d have to get back to living in one small place for the rest of our lives? It was normal once, but not looked at as a prison.

      • Mike Roberts says:

        Quite right, Artleads. I think people forget that we’re living in a very unusual way for humans, or most species. And yet so many people think it’s almost their right to travel far and wide, and to consume stuff grown or made all over the world. It’s a crazy notion and definitely one that has a use-by date.

      • Dennis L. says:

        Art, we don’t live backwards, Gail feels it is growth or death, so I prefer growth. We need an innovation if West’s thesis is correct, there is only one way to date I have seen that might work, space, the final frontier. It is not inevitable we go back, it may not be possible. Why? the dinosaurs would find surviving on today’s earth a challenge, they went forward and flew away from the past, one could say innovation.

        Dennis L.

        • Mike Roberts says:

          The trouble is: growth is death. Economic growth, at least. We need to get out of the habit of destroying nature for our own convenience and pleasure. We won’t, though.

        • Artleads says:

          Dennis L, staying in one place is what I’m doing now, and had had in mind a good while prior to COVID. Homeland Security and all the crap one must endure to travel didn’t seem like a good bet, and my cowboy/Hippie village seems as good a nestling place as any other I know.

          But there are many unknowns. I can easily manage here, because there’s electricity, gas, and still fairly well supplied stores in the nearby city. Something feels highly transient though. It’s like walking through a tunnel where what’s on the other side is profoundly unknown.

          It’s part of my value system to have long been spouting apocalyptic notions and the need for thinking through the connections (with of course immense help from OFW). Usually one is ignored and even vilified for doing this, but we can’t swear that some vapor of reality can’t linger in the collective consciousness (or unconsciousness, whatever).

          My sense of it is that it is likely to have made a difference to have long been shouting, danger, danger! I think we’ll squeeze through in some very unknown way. Let’s see if the solstice has any recommendations. 🙂

      • Artleads says:

        Somebody on Facebook didn’t think *everybody* will be forced to take the vaccines he so ardently admires, Just for employment he say. My response:

        It doesn’t affect me personally, although you could consider it a form of fascism. Let us not look at alternatives to vaccines, albeit rushed vaccines with many unknowns. You can trust us to tell you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. You trust us, don’t you? What? Are you a conspiracy theorist? We must punish you for that…for your own good, mind you. You won’t like that. Best for you to submit to vaccines, or else you can’t work, and you and your family will starve to death.

  3. Yoshua says:

    Britain has turned into a prison island. That’s a hard Brexit!

    “Following Belgium and the Netherlands, France cuts all transport links with UK at midnight. This comes with two twists: the break is for 48 hours (at least for the time being), and it covers goods transport as well as the movement of people.”

    • This is a big worry!

      • Mirror on the wall says:

        It is because of the new strain.

        London and the south has just gone into ‘tier 4’, and they are allowed out of the house only for legally limited reasons. We have just gone into t4 here in the countryside. As you suggest, a lot of food is imported to UK (2/3) so that HAS to continue.

        https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9072287/Netherlands-bans-flights-UK-January-1-discovery-mutant-Super-Covid-strain.html

        > Pariah Britain: France, Germany, Ireland, Italy and The Netherlands are among nearly a dozen countries banning ALL flights from UK as Eurotunnel closes and French block British lorries after discovery of ‘70% more infectious’ mutant Covid strain

        …. Britain’s supermarket shelves may be emptied after France bans British lorries coming into the country for 48 hours following the discovery of the ’70 per cent more infectious’ mutant coronavirus strain.

        One road haulage boss told the BBC that while lorries are still allowed from France to the UK, he feared that many European drivers would be unwilling to make the trip fearing they could not get home for Christmas – meaning British supermarket shelves could empty.

        He told the broadcaster: ‘Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse – disaster upon disaster. I fear for supermarket supply chains. Many will be reluctant to make the crossing to UK if they can’t get back given there is already congestion.’

        The Eurotunnel Le Shuttle has said that the UK-France border will close at 11pm tonight and the last shuttle between the UK and France is at 9.24pm with access to the UK prohibited from 10pm.

        It comes as the Eurostar has also cancelled its trains between London, Brussels in Belgium and Amsterdam in the Netherlands, starting from Monday.

    • Kowalainen says:

      O_o, goods transport as well? Wow. Hard brexit indeed. What’s the next country ready for a shave after Venezuela and the UK?

      • as I understand it, it doesn’t involve container shipments

        • Kowalainen says:

          Phase 2 of hard brexit – container shipments. 😳

          If things gets nasty over there, you can ferry yourself over to Sweden. I’m sure I could find a dust and frost free accommodation for you (and a few more). 🤭

          What would life be without some good music and perpetual disagreement on OFW. 🤘😬

  4. Fast Eddy says:

    Just as the ‘leak’ out of Canada predicted…. the new and improved heap of lies is hitting the fan… wait till this hits properly in 2021…. you think people are scared of Covid19… wait till the Covid21 horror stories roll out. They’ll be self-locking in their basements sucking their thumbs.

    Which is EXACTLY what the PTB want because when the agenda is extincting every last vile stupid dangerous human… it is best to do it without them taking to the streets and killing and eating each other.

    If you want to know what comes next just read that leak from the PMO in Canada.

    Alas the PMO sugar coats this for the minions… they hint at a reset… there is even a web site dedicated to the reset — Covid is gonna fix everything — https://time.com/collection/great-reset/ hahaha…. They would say that.

    It’s going to fix NOTHING. But the sheeple need their fix of hope.

    BTW – notice how Youtube has removed Planet of the Humans… one has to dig hard and deep to find this

    COVID21 IN THEATRES NOW!

    Circling back to the situation in the UK, the FT on Sunday published a lengthy feature where scientists commented on the data where the new viral “variant” is causing havoc. In the second paragraph, the reporter acknowledged the alarming speed of the mutations seen in the virus’s genetic code.

    The variant’s most remarkable feature is the number of mutations that have shaped it. Sir Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, said 23 letters of the viral genetic code have changed, many of which are associated with the spike protein that the virus uses to get into human cells. Coronaviruses do not usually mutate so quickly, typically accumulating about two genetic changes per month.

    “This new variant is very concerning, and is unlike anything we have seen so far in the pandemic,” said Jeffrey Barrett, director of the Covid Genomics Initiative at the Wellcome Sanger Institute.

    After appearing in Kent in late September, the mutation was responsible for 28% of infections in London by early November and in the week ending Dec. 9 accounted for 62%.

    Yesterday, the government moved London and the surrounding area to “Tier 4” because of worries about the new strain.

    • The mutation in the UK is certainly a worry, not so much from the bad health effects as from what other countries will do, to try to keep the mutation out. The fact that Britain already has huge problems with Brexit makes the situation a whole lot worse! Will the people of Britain ever get imported food?

      Of course, if cheap solutions (vitamin D, ivermectin and others) had been pushed early on, there would be much less of a problem.

    • Dennis L. says:

      Okay, again Charlie Munger:

      “Interviewer:
      So I have one more question, which I think a lot of people have in mind. COVID has been extremely disruptive to American society and to the American economy. How do you think the economy is going to emerge over the next 12 months from this period of great difficulty? And how much of the change that we’ve seen start to happen is going to be persistent?

      Charlie Munger:
      Well, my opinion on that is no better than anybody else’s, but I think it’s quite likely that a year from now the worst of that will be very thoroughly behind us.

      It’s amazing. I watched polio get totally killed by the vaccinations, and I think they’ll spread these vaccines over the world so fast it’ll make your head swim. So I think this horrible COVID thing, it’s very likely to shrink to insignificance in the course of the next year.”

      Certainly he is one of the 1%, certainly he is very well connected, certainly taking the opposite side of a trade from him may not be a very good idea.

      This is from an interview at Cal Tech per the reference which I include once in this series of posts, I do not reference the URL on the other quotes, it is the same for the Charlie quotes this date.

      https://www.butwhatfor.com/charlie-munger-december-2020-caltech-interview-transcript/

      I recognize that I tend to challenge which is not agreeable, but in areas such as are discussed here it seems reasonable to challenge ideas which don’t necessarily lead to good outcomes as well as romantic, overly optimistic ones. I think humans will make it. I don’t think the powers that be are that vile, I have made my way in small business basically all my life, I am not naive.

      Dennis L.

      • JMS says:

        Believing that a billionaire, when interviewed, honestly says what he knows or thinks is as naive as thinking that the truth is within the reach of anyone who has a dollar to buy a newspaper.
        It is not by revealing “business secrets” that someone becomes a billionaire. Quite the opposite. So all public statements by billionaires must be viewed cum grano salis.

      • Lidia17 says:

        Dennis, you have many more talents than I, no doubt, but you are definitely naïve.

        The powers that be *are* vile.

        You are not vile, so you can not aspire to PTB status.

        • Kowalainen says:

          Given the same set of circumstances as the “owners”, I’m sure most of us would be equally vile. We are after all the same species, differing only in the most superficial of matters.

          Just because you find something reprehensible, does not equate your being as incapable of such acts.

          These small differentials in nurture and nature makes a huge impact on what we become. Find it unsettling? Just open a history book and read about endless eyewitness stories detailing atrocities performed by quite “normal” people.

    • Cirus says:

      Did it mutate or was it modified?

      • Kowalainen says:

        The vaccine is nothing but a fools errand to extend BAU by useless hopium injections. It was pretty clear from the pandemic onset a year or so ago. Go back in tha archives of OFW and check it out yourself.

        Let’s face it, Ghawar is probably quite depleted by now. It was a good run, but as it depletes, so does the need for useless eaters and various bearers of sanctimony telling you what to believe and aspire, you know, shit you don’t need, bought for money you don’t have to impress people you don’t like.

        Now curfew takes that role. The owners, MIC and artisanry can easily deal with rowdy plebs, snowflakes and various entitled princesses of IC.

        Yes, the owners might be some outrageously nasty buggers. But what is even worse is the current Kafka state of affairs. I’m sick and tired of the perpetual faces of sanctimony, smug and pretentious AF broadcasted everywhere and nowhere, the lunacy of ‘growth’ on a finite planet. It’s about time to rub in some harsh reality into the useless suck that is the hallmark of their existence as mouthpieces of nothing. 🤮

        What does the owners want? Stay in power.
        Now what does the MIC need? An enemy.
        What does the artisanry (and useful bourgeoisie) need? Bread on the table and shit to do.

        It is the holy trinity of growth and depletion. Always has been, always will. Like it or not, it won’t make a difference. Is it optimal and a desirable state of affairs? No. However, it is the best we can do. It is what we are.

  5. Yoshua says:

    I don’t know how the univer does this…but the dollar has reached a breaking point or turning point….and right on cue comes the winter solstice tomorrow, with a heavenly sign as the stars align (Jupiter and Saturn).
    It doesn’t matter if we believe in astrology…the elite believes in astrology…and they control tens of trillion dollars.

    As curiosa the strange Mr. Pool has the winter solstice as his next important date. “When the worlds collide it will hit you like a dream.”

    Tuta Tuta (Mothers in Egypt end bed time stories with Tuta Tuta = The End)

    • In the words of the classic song

      have you heard
      its in the stars
      next July we collide with mars

    • Xabier says:

      Quite true: my Spanish gypsy cousin reads the Tarot,and her clients are all wealthy – they are, generally, rather anxious and often unhappy people.

      She actually gives away most of her fee in charity, in accordance with custom (it is bad luck to keep it).

    • I am afraid that the astrologers may be right. The general direction seems to be downward. It is hard to see turning points. A new mutation of the virus together with cold weather may be enough to cause even more problems.

  6. Mirror on the wall says:

    I came across this quote from Pope Francis that sums up his current social doctrine regarding ‘green’ issues.

    “Instead of resolving the problems of the poor and thinking of how the world can be different, some can only propose a reduction in the birth rate. … To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues. It is an attempt to legitimize the present model of distribution, where a minority believes that it has the right to consume in a way which can never be universalized, since the planet could not even contain the waste products of such consumption.” Laudato si

    He is arguing against a reduction in the birth rate and for a new ‘model of distribution’ of limited consumption universally for all. It alludes to the Kantian requirement of the ‘categorical imperative’ that conduct be capable of being made universal.

    Thus his ‘solution’ to ‘green’ issues is universal poverty – which is likely territory on which he feels ‘spiritually’ comfortable; ‘blessed are the poor’, ‘store up treasures in heaven’ &c.

    Early Christianity has its historical context in a near universal material immiseration of people, and its message of ‘the poor’ and of a better life in the ‘other world’ continued to chime in feudal times. It has lost its appeal in more economically advanced, modern societies.

    The RCC would love us all to be back in poverty and gasping for relief in the ‘other world’; material immiseration is its ‘natural element’.

    Regardless, he shows no awareness of how capitalism works as an individualist, growth and profit based system of production and consumption; or of the increasing unprofitability of fossil fuels, the coming collapse of industrial civilisation and the collapse of the human population.

    He is little more than ‘green’ virtue-signalling in order to find some ‘relevance’ and to look ‘right-on’. It is better ‘optics’ than a church that is riddled with abuse scandals and archaic, repressive s/xual ethics.

    • People don’t understand that this solution of everyone living in more poverty doesn’t really work. Our self-organizing system has to keep growing, or it collapses. There are only two directions to it: Up and Down. Once we step off “Up,” we are unfortunately headed “Down.”

      The self-organizing economy will decide who makes it and who doesn’t. In some sense, there is too little return on human labor. This is something we cannot fix. Some might argue that God is behind the self-organizing system and how it works. It does tend to keep a remnant, even when times are bad. If everyone is equal, everyone dies simultaneously.

      • Mirror on the wall says:

        Yes, the ‘remnant’ and the ‘few’ are important concepts in the gospels. Prefigured in the OT with the flood, where only one family survives.

        The universal solidarity with the ‘poor’ of the gospels does not really sit well with the ‘remnant’ aspect of the theology. The ‘poor’ concern introduces social ‘virtue’ and judgement – but ultimately it is by an ‘election’ of the ‘few’.

        The call to grace is ‘universal’ according to most major churches, while not with all churches even these days. RCC is very much about roping everyone into their church, so it makes sense for PF to show solidarity with the developing world.

        The Reformers emphasised election even if the ‘call’ is universal. RCC is now more about ‘universal salvation’ and his economic view above seems in line with that ‘universalism’ – as if a situation is possible where all have well-being and the planet is fine.

        Those with a reformed theology may be less inclined to make such rosy assumptions.

        • When more resources became available in the New Testament era, cooperation and trade became much more important. There was enough surplus that looking out for the poor was a possibility.

          The thing that people don’t understand is that times change. Old Testament times were not like New Testament times. The era we are reaching now is different yet. We have been warned about the possibility of collapse, but we have chosen to put together stories of endless future economic growth and resource consumption.

        • Kowalainen says:

          It is more cynical than that.

          It’s always good to have the ‘poor’, a manufactured underclass, to project virtue signaling from.

          Oh my, what would the world be without the sanctimony of the bourgeoisie and clergy?

          I know. Much better. 😉

      • Denial says:

        I am not sure what you mean by “Growing”. Is adding to massive debt loads growing or just running in place? To me it seems that adding debt is just to keep the system alive but it is a stair step down. The Americans that I know thought that the last 4 years of their wealth were due to “American Exceptionalism ” they would not face the fact of the reserve currency and their increase in borrowing. The sideshow of Obama-the first black president and Trump a reality t.v star have distracted and blinded them to the realities on the ground!! I had to do a spit take when a colleague told me that America how so much pristine oil that they could supply the world for years to come! If one could only believe then Santa really will come!

        • Artleads says:

          Such a complex issue for some of us.

          – If three working people making X amount of money to put into the “demand” fund are supplanted by six workers supplying slightly more money (but not as much per capita) into that fund, which one best signifies growth?

          – Growth simply to ensure survival of an ambulatory piece of meat? Why?

          – What about values that don’t comport with what it is deemed that the system needs to survive?

          – Some value systems declare that, whatever the consequences, theirs are not negatioable. Why? Just because. What reason can you give for “why not?”

          – Whatever you believe is, to some extent, a self-fulfilling prophesy.

          – Societies have always resorted to magic to do seemingly impossible things (despite these being MOL within the range of physical laws).

          – Is eschewing magic in a positive form tantamount to supporting it in some other form?

          • Tim Groves says:

            Whatever you believe is, to some extent, a self-fulfilling prophesy.

            I have found this to be true—to some extent. for instance, at the most basic level, I am definitely not a morning person, but if I get up in the morning and tell myself, “Today is going to be a good day” I usually find I have a better day than if I tell myself it’s going to be an ordeal.

  7. Mirror on the wall says:

    The ‘idealist’ Immanuel Kant is the latest canon philosopher to be outed as a ‘racist’. It is proposed that his racial theories are to be taught and criticised along side his epistemology and his ethics. Some want him out of the curriculum entirely. The ‘sceptical’ philosopher David Hume also recently fell foul of modern sensibilities for similar reasons.

    Immanuel Kant’s ‘racism’ will be taught alongside his philosophy after demand from students

    His “racist remarks” will now be taught to students at the University of Warwick

    Immanuel Kant’s “racism” will be taught alongside his philosophy after students demanded modules include a review of his ethnic opinions.

    The 18th century Prussian philosopher is considered a giant of Western thought and his works are taught in schools and universities across the UK.

    He laid the groundwork for theories of universal human rights, but has been accused of racism and pioneering ideas of white racial superiority.

    His “racist remarks” will now be taught to students at the University of Warwick after a student-led racial equality group demanded modules be changed in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests.

    The reworked syllabus could drive a wider review of Kant’s legacy across academia as philosophical faculties address issues of “race and power dynamics” relating to the subject and its great figures.

    Warwick’s Dr Andrew Cooper explained: “Kant was a pioneer of a scientific concept of race, and in several of his essays on natural history he makes some shocking racist remarks, and seems to endorse pro-slavery texts.”

    Born in 1724, Kant is ranked with Plato and Aristotle as among the most influential in Western thought, and he wrote dense works on ethics, metaphysics, aesthetics, and politics.

    But he also wrote that black people “have by nature no feeling that rises above the Ridiculous”, Native Americans were “incapable of any culture”, and proposed a hierarchy of races beneath white Europeans.

    Dr Cooper said this “raises a huge interpretive issue” as it shows that an Enlightenment thinker who pioneered universal morality and political rights could “fail so appallingly when it comes to human difference”.

    This will be taught as an example of how people can succumb to racism after an equality working group asked faculty to cover Kant’s ethnic views….

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/12/19/immanuel-kants-racism-will-taught-alongside-philosophy-demand/

    • Malcopian says:

      So you are saying Kant = cant?

      Maybe Kant would have enjoyed this Rupert Bear story, which was published in 1960. Yes, as late as that!

      https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/proxy/nbudNYSH0D_5eVNLBa7_UbTl3zg9OseYfZqcRtl5K1optWpnFCaIqhPdD80hQbecrrgtg5nX-bLQGL4wSZgpMf6vrFgYhsV3WH0ERcaB2-bQ0nAo6HsmNAVmeHJfIxTm8Vg

      • Mirror on the wall says:

        It would be interesting to know why Kant capitalised ‘Ridiculous’ in that quote. Did he have a ‘theory’ of the Ridiculous?

        Ironically, he now provokes a belly laugh with his views – and even his capitalisation looks a bit Ridiculous.

        Sensibilities change and not only that of other peoples.

        • Bei Dawei says:

          I wouldn’t read too much into it. The quote is from “On Prejudices” and reads “Die Negers haben kein Gefühl, welches über das Läppische stiege,” All nouns are capitalized in German. Here an adjective us being used as a noun (“the ridiculous”) and so it gets capitalized.

    • Mirror on the wall says:

      I would argue that Kant’s views on race are ‘philosophical reasons’ to ‘snigger’ at Kant’s theoretical, ethical doctrine. A doctrine that purports to lay the foundations of ‘pure practical reason’ must be practical, otherwise the snigger is very much to the point.

      Kant was writing in the time of early capitalism, when it was in its imperialist stage of development. The practical relations between peoples in different parts of the world were very much those of ‘hierarchical’ dominance. And the conditions of those peoples were delimited according to historical material development.

      So it is no surprise that he was unable to consistently square his ideal, eternal, universal ‘categorical imperative’ with the practicalities of the actual world in its current state of historical development. He was unable to include persons in other parts of the world within the ‘universality’ of his practical doctrine. The snigger at that failure is of practical, philosophical import.

      Kant was an idealist who was trying to find ‘pure’, eternal grounds for the social relations of his time. In the actual world, social relations, be they those of slavery, feudalism, capitalism or socialism, develop historically according to the degree of technological development (and energetic conditions). Philosophical practical ideas reflect that stage of development.

      Thus the racial views of Kant, and the ‘snigger’ that they afford, are relevant to the discussion of the idealist/ materialist dichotomy in philosophy. Social relations are historical and developmental, they are not eternal or rooted on ‘pure’ grounds. A bourgeois world may gradually approximate to ‘ideals’ that are formulated within the bourgeois period however.

      In the ‘history of ideas’ Kant may be located as a ‘static idealist’ thinker, prior to Hegel and his ‘dynamic idealism’ that made historical development central to the nature of historically located philosophical practical doctrines. Idealism comes to an end with Marx, although the idea of a ‘world of moral truth’ and ‘true moral ideas’ remains influential.

      The danger is that the criticism of Kant’s ‘racism’ will proceed on a late bourgeois basis along the lines of ‘European capitalist states acted in an immoral manner and Kant ‘succumbed’ to racism’. In fact the imperialist stage of capitalist development was highly progressive and it allowed for the accumulation of capital, and for the development of peoples, that made current globalism possible.

      Kant’s views on race were ‘correct’ in so far as they were historically located as an ideological reflection of the material base; ‘anti-racist’ views are now ‘correct’ in just the same way. Social ideas are not eternally ‘correct’; they are historically located in practical relations that they reflect and to which they contribute.

      But it is doubtful that any lecturer is going to argue that in any bourgeois UK university. These are times for tearing down the symbols of the past, not for understanding that past as ‘justified’ in its own time.

      • TIm Groves says:

        Intelligently and eruditely articulated. Thank you.

        I’m sure Kant’s views on gender fluidity, had he expressed them, would have made the little hairs stand up along the backs of the necks of all but the baldest social justice warriors. He undoubtedly had them, if only subliminally, and if articulated, he would have probably included the adjective ridiculous, whether or not it was posing as a noun.

        Political correctness demands that we ban and burn his books, along with Hume’s Darwin’s, and John Stuart Mill’s.

        As for Aristotle, he held that there are certain people who are ‘natural slaves’, owing to their inability to exercise reason. … Non-Greeks, considered to be barbarians, who can only live productively as slaves.

        We need to deplatform his statues and bust his busts wherever we find them.

        Apart from abandoning our entire cultural history and bending our knees to our cultural Marxist Newspeak-bellowing rulers, what’s left for Western Europeans of any race, creed or color to do? It really looks like it’s game over for the West. The UK in particular is now Bedlam Ground Zero and I’m personally relieved that I retired from it early.

  8. VFatalis says:

    Harry,

    Admittedly most of the time I only skim through the excerpts of article you posted and rarely open the links you provide. However I want to praise your relentless efforts at constantly monitoring and reporting the news feed for us.

    When I discovered OFW a year ago, I didn’t care much for your posts. Now with the benefit of hindsight, it is pretty clear to me that your contribution to this site is invaluable.

    Thanks so much, for doing this.

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      VFatalis, bless you for the very extremely kind words.

    • Jonathan Madden says:

      May I add my appreciation for your most informative news items and comments, Harry

      • Bei Dawei says:

        So say we all!

      • Denial says:

        Harry you are the only reason I read the comment section after reading Gails Essay. A lot of people try and push a personal narrative because they love the “Blue Team or the “Red Team”, but you give facts{not sure I can say that word anymore} to back up what is really happening in the world. Thanks

        • Harry McGibbs says:

          Thank you, all, sincerely.

          Individually all of the articles I post will have a bias, whether it is political or just an implicit assumption of perpetual economic growth, but I hope that taken together they offer a snapshot of how Gail’s version of the ‘limits to growth’ story is playing out in real time.

    • The coverage of these items in the US tends to be pretty much lacking. Thanks, Harry!

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        You are very welcome, Gail. Your analyses offer a wonderfully elevated, if sobering, perspective from which to watch current affairs unfold.

        • Xabier says:

          Gail the theorist and Sir Harry, the realist…..

          • Xabier says:

            PS I do hope that you, Lady Gibbs and the rest clan will be enjoying a fine wild haggis (the best kind) that you have tracked and killed on that island of yours, washed down with more than a few fingers of the local brew. I wish you all a truly legless Xmas!

            • Harry McGibbs says:

              And to you, Xabier, and indeed to all at OFW. I trust you have something more decadent than tinned food in mind for the festive season!

              We shall certainly be indulging our every debauched whim up here.

  9. Tim Groves says:

    This is old news, but well worth pondering.

    “Governments don’t want a population capable of critical thinking, they want obedient workers, people just smart enough to run the machines and just dumb enough to passively accept their situation. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own, and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought, and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, the city halls, they got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear.”

    ~ George Carlin

    Of course, no text can say it quite the way George did. “YOU HAVE NO CHOICE! YOU HAVE OWNERS! THEY OWN YOU!” His delivery is what allowed us to accept the message as comedy. But it’s a very serious message all the same.

    • Unfortunately, I am afraid that George Carlin is correct.

    • Hubbs says:

      It was not comedy. Carlin’s rant will prove to be an oration for the ages, surpassing even those of FDR, Churchill, Thatcher, JFK and all the supposed “statesmen.”

      • Duncan Idaho says:

        Saw him perform his last concert (Santa Rosa).
        He was good, but a bit simplistic.
        I guess one does not get complex with the public.

    • Xabier says:

      George Carlin was the Court Jester, who had license to speak the truth, was he not?

      Sadly, so few were listening (which is why he could do it).

      Well, the poor new it already, and the middle class simply didn’t want to look it in the face.

      And even if you do know the truth, the puppet masters really do not care – as always.

      We are now being told that the new Tyranny, justified by something called ‘The Science’ will be ‘indefinite’ here in the UK: until we take our dubious vaccines, of course, like good children who may not ask why.

      The mask has come off much sooner than even a pessimistic such as myself anticipated: and what is revealed is very ugly indeed.

      Mass disobedience doesn’t seem to be the answer, as exemplary fines and prison sentences, for individuals and businesses – with criminal records – would be the result. Life ruined.

      Will the police and courts decline to enforce such absurd regulations?

      Of course not – they know which side their bread is buttered on -until the UK economy crashes that is.

      And so, here it is, a medical tyranny! Quite novel in the history of mankind.

      • JMS says:

        “a medical tyranny! Quite novel in the history of mankind.”

        Novel, yes, Xabier, but with a lot resonances with the “healing of souls” performed in the body of the reprobate in Counter-reform era.

        If science is in some ways the perfect religion for a technological society, why should medicine not be able to become a new inquisition? It’s handy!

        What we have seen in this year of 2020 is amazingly the transformation of “scientific consensus” (which in itself is already a contradiction in terms) into pure dogma, and the transformation of their contestants into heretics. We don’t even lack an index, since certain scientific opinions have now become verboten.

      • Kowalainen says:

        Why should they care? You wanted it, got it, and soon it is no more. People really think they are entitled to wealth while being close to zero productive on a planet with finite resources. If you own something, do you feel like you want to give it away just like that? No, I guess not. We are all the same, owner and artisanry descendants from eons ago. Yes, your ancestry got the short end of the stick or simply didn’t want to deal with the nasty shit that comes with blind ambition and power. Walking away from it is always a possibility. Nope.. It shucks, I’m outta here.. CYA..
        🤔👎

        There is no ark or safe zones on earth, only your age, health and intelligence determines the outcome as this virus continuously “evolves” to a more severe mutation.

        It is an inverse Russian roulette. Wanna live? Use your brain. Easier said than done for most used to the socialist engineering, hopium, smoke, mirrors and various cheesy PR stunts of IC.

    • Rodster says:

      George Carlin also coined the phrase “the upper one percent” and he did that in one of his concerts in the 90’s. We heard that phrase repeated during Occupy Wall Street in 2011.

      • we (by common consent) decided to build a system based on the exchange of energy tokens, rather than exchanging energy in a raw form.

        it was more convenient.

        we all carry different skills by which we make use of those tokens

        it is a biological inevitability that some of us are better at using those tokens in order to make a profit. That is how ‘wealth’ accumulates. And how poverty manifests itself.

        It’s called inequality. .

        It is a specific result of wanting more than a basic hunter-gather society, it is not the result of some cabal of devil worshippers meeting to make it happen.
        We have all been money users–and hence wage-chasers to service our debts.

        Most of us are not clever enough to be anything else. You may not like it, but there are people cleverer than you. And by the same token, more stupid than you

        But those who are clever go on accumulating energy tokens at an exponential velocity. We find it convenient to play Bezos’ game of musical boxes, but back in 1994 Bezos didn’t sit down and write a plan to become the evil mastermind of global commercial domination.
        it was we who all helped him to make his billions. And some of us look on such obvious logic as a pre-determined plot to take over the world and reduce us all to serfs.

        We decided to offer ourselves into serfdom.

        in 25 years we unwittingly and exponentially helped Bezos tip the balance of commercial trade so that profits on trades went through his hands, instead of thousands of little shopkeepers tills.

        Shopping has become an automated process. We wanted It to happen.

        With the result that high streets are now vacant, and Amazon workers are reducing themselves to little more than day-hire serfs. Instead of visiting a store, the store must deliver to us, at a rate where deliveries cannot be profitable, and where there is no room to ease up from the self imposed lash of the slave driver that workers have submitted themselves to.

        • The sales process is cheaper and more efficient, but there are hardly any people who can afford to buy the goods and services that the economy produces. The economy collapses from a lack of buyers.

        • Tim Groves says:

          When Bezos started out selling books and CDs, Amazon lost money hand over fist year after year, and his backers and creditors lent the company more and more and more, allowing Amazon to prioritize expansion of markets and market share over profitability. That went on for over a decade and the rest is history.

          As with Bezos, so with Jobs and, more recently, Musk. All had massive financial support for long periods until profitability is achieved. I suspect that the same is true for Gates, and the nerds who run Twitter and Facebook. These guys are primarily front men rather than entrepreneurs. I doubt they are really “in charge” of their respective companies and I also doubt whether they are quite as rich as advertised. The value of corporate stock can be fickle. It can disappear like a rainbow when you try to follow it to its pot of gold or a desert mirage once you’ve crossed the sand dunes to reach it.

          • Somehow, the self-organizing system favored these companies. They certainly have been able to become dominant.

          • I used Bezos as the latest example.

            I could have gone back through history to find many more–Ford, Carnegie, Vanderbilt, Rockefeller

            Too lazy to research their individual histories, but all had rocky start. Their ‘ventures’ led into exponential investments and prioritised markets and undue political influence.

            You can check back through any century and find the same thing.

            Point being that so did thousands of others who fell by the wayside for one reason or another.

            Luck? Intellect? The right place at the right time?

            The bottom line is that all those ‘fortunes’ derived from our decision to use money as energy tokens, which was the basis of my comment, if you care to check back.

            When money hits exponential growth, a select few are bound to hit the jackpot, while the majority see their money-share siphon away into the hands of the ‘winners’.

            Not saying whats wrong or right, just saying what is.

            • Kowalainen says:

              We should not neglect the fact that when a few owns a lot, the many can not consume those resources.

              When you are wealthy like mad, there simply isn’t time enough to consume for what you are worth. The plentiful useless eaters has no such limitations.

  10. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Global institutions, creditors and lobby groups are scrambling to come up with ways of tackling what many fear will be a wave of sovereign debt crises in emerging economies in the coming year…

    “Not only the poorest countries are at risk. Debt burdens among the 30 biggest emerging economies rose by 30 percentage points of gross domestic product between January and September to almost 250 per cent according to the Institute of International Finance.”

    https://www.ft.com/content/de43248e-e8eb-4381-9d2f-a539d1f1662c

    • Rodster says:

      And to think this was pretty much all orchestrated. “Build Back Better” signed by Klaus Schwab World Economic Forum and cosigned by Boris Johnson, Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron, Joe Biden and Justin Trudeau.

    • Of course, the economies are in weaker condition as well and need to keep borrowing to keep going. It will be a miracle if the world can get though the next year without a major debt default or set of unpayable derivatives.

  11. Mirror on the wall says:

    Live updates on the weekly Sunday, Brexit yawn if anyone wants to yawn at it.

    The real deadline to leave without any deal had better still be Dec. 31 or the yawns will turn to howls.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/12/20/brexit-news-latest-trade-deal-deadline-eu-talks-johnson-barnier/

    Brexit negotiations are continuing as EU and UK officials scurry to complete a trade deal before today’s deadline.

    MEPS told Michel Barnier last week that he and David Frost’s teams had until midnight tonight (Sunday) to get a deal, or they would refuse to ratify it.

    However a extraordinary session has been scheduled for December 28, suggesting today’s red line could turn pink yet again.

    Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, told Sky News that talks could now run until Christmas.

    He said: “Talks are continuing. The EU have put in a deadline of having them concluded by Christmas. We want a positive conclusion, but unfortunately the EU have put in some unreasonable demands.”

    ​Follow the latest updates below…. [yawn!]

  12. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Iraq devalued its currency by about 20% against the dollar, the biggest cut on record, as the cash-strapped government faces an economic crisis brought about by low oil prices and crude-production cuts…

    “The world’s third-largest oil exporter is taking the steps to avoid depleting its foreign-currency reserves after the coronavirus sapped demand for energy and caused prices to collapse. The government last month sought upfront payments in exchange for a long-term crude-supply contract to help mitigate its dire financial situation.”

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-12-19/iraq-devalues-currency-by-record-against-dollar-as-economy-wilts

  13. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Latin America reports worst economic crisis in over a century:

    “The pandemic is the main cause of an overall seven percent drop, a figure representing mass job losses and businesses shutting down.” [Video]

    https://news.yahoo.com/latin-america-reports-worst-economic-101349092.html

  14. Harry McGibbs says:

    “What’s Driving The Energy Feud Between China And Australia?

    “It is believed that Chinese authorities prefer to keep domestic coal prices within the so-called green zone, an interval between 500-570 yuan per tonne of thermal coal, which purportedly allows to guarantee the profitability of domestic coal producers. Above that corridor prices would be too high for the purposes of electricity generation, below that coal producers would suffer economically.

    “Now, amidst the Sino-Australian conflict and all the travails of maintaining safety at coal mines, domestic prices in China have been on the rise during the past weeks.”

    https://oilprice.com/Energy/Coal/Whats-Driving-The-Energy-Feud-Between-China-And-Australia.html

  15. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Pain, despair and poverty reach fever pitch for unemployed workers [US].”

    ““Having to stand on a freeway off ramp with a sign that says you’re hungry — it’s a new experience for me,” Randy Chase said.”

    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/12/19/how-unemployment-pushes-workers-to-edge-amid-coronavirus-pandemic.html

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “Graffiti — part of New York’s history for over 50 years — is flourishing during the coronavirus pandemic, a sign of decadence for some, but vitality for others…

      “since March, it is the raw, illegal type of graffiti that has spread in a disorderly fashion.”

      https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20201220-graffiti-explodes-across-pandemic-era-new-york

      • Graffiti makes it very expensive to get a business back to the pre-pandemic condition for reopening.

      • Lidia17 says:

        It’s a sign of vitality only for the artistically-challenged and defective. Non-defectives would construct their own things rather than defacing someone else’s.

        • Kowalainen says:

          It’s rather a form of rebellion than an expression of art. However, some graffiti can be well made and sanctioned by the populace. There are plenty of sterile concrete blocks of artistic and engineering depravity, enhanced by some spray can art. However, in the special cases and not general.

  16. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Britain will complete its journey out of the European Union at the end of the year without a trade deal unless the bloc substantially shifts position, a UK government source said on Saturday, as time runs out to prevent a turbulent Brexit finale.”

    https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-source/uk-will-take-no-deal-if-eu-fails-to-shift-on-brexit-trade-says-source-idUKKBN28T0XH

  17. Harry McGibbs says:

    “British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and members of his government risk significant political damage for their decision on Saturday to introduce extremely tough restrictions on London and parts of the southeast England and withdraw a significant part of the social accommodations they had announced for Christmas gatherings…

    “The cause for the lockdown is the identification of a new variant of the Covid-19 virus… The immediate economic impact will be an even bigger contraction…”

    https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-12-19/new-u-k-lockdown-signals-worsening-economic-outlook

  18. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Stephen Bogan, a prestige car dealer, could be forgiven for the confusion. While checking on a loan being used to buy a £41,000 Porsche from his showroom in Airdrie, Scotland, Mr Bogan was alarmed to discover that his company was listed as the buyer. The attempted fraud was barely more sophisticated than skimming his details from the internet and asking for a loan, he says, adding that “the bank still paid out the money”.

    ““It was the perfect crime because we would not have been aware until next year when the bank would have started asking us for interest on the loan,” says the car seller.

    “Mr Bogan was the target of fraudsters seeking to exploit weaknesses in the UK government’s £43.5bn coronavirus Bounce Back Loans Scheme. Launched by chancellor Rishi Sunak in May…

    !The Financial Times has spoken to more than a dozen senior bankers, fraud experts and people involved in the creation and running of the programme. In the words of one, “the scheme was being abused and defrauded on an industrial scale”.”

    “…Criminals adapted the tools of established financial fraud to target the scheme. Acuris Risk Intelligence, which tracks online fraud, found one gang that claimed to have taken £6m using stolen UK identities. Acuris’ head of market planning Nick Parfitt says compromised credit card details were also used.

    ““At first, criminals were not going for the full £50,000 as they expected banks to check. But when that didn’t happen,” he adds, “they went hell for leather.”

    “…Although banks have to pursue lost money, they remain confident that the Treasury and Mr Sunak will ultimately foot the bill. Yet the government insists that the banks will need to do their best to recover the money.”

    https://www.ft.com/content/41d5fe0a-7b46-4dd7-96e3-710977dff81c

  19. Harry McGibbs says:

    “This was the year that coronavirus fears turned American shoppers into hoarders. There have been widespread shortages on products like toilet paper, hand sanitizer and flour as people prepared for the long stretches of isolation that have become commonplace during the pandemic.

    “But for one segment of the population, preparing for the worst was a way of life even before the pandemic. “Preppers” or “survivalists,” as they’re known, have been around for years, buying elaborate survival kits, yearlong supplies of nonperishable foods and even elaborate underground bunkers.”

    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/12/19/what-doomsday-preppers-stock-up-on.html

    • Xabier says:

      On the subject of prepping, I bought some tinned foods 7 years ago, and have been monitoring their decay.

      The generic, supermarket’s-own, tins have suffered some bursts and generally declining quality of contents – I think that I shall have to throw away most of them now.

      But the premium brands have come out very well indeed, no leakage and good contents when opened.

      I shall be finishing the whole lot up over the next few months, having acquired large new stocks this year.

      I hope that is useful to someone.

      • Lidia17 says:

        I had some tomato products eat through their cans after several years. I’d try to save things in glass when possible.

      • Lidia17 says:

        Also, rotate stocks. (I’m bad at that.)
        Thus, you’re always eating X-year-old stuff.

    • One of the theories of some peppers is that many unprepared people will die off within a few days or weeks. Some preppers seem to believe that they will have the world’s resources to their own disposal, if they can outlast the large number of unprepared individuals.

      • Lidia17 says:

        I’ve only prepped very modestly. What I think it does is buy me time to assess the situation in the short term. “The world’s resources” will only be “available” to survivors in a very theoretical sense.

  20. Kowalainen says:

    AI designed tax policy dominates all others:

    https://youtu.be/Sr2ga3BBMTc

    • This is a lecture from January 10 , 2020. It has this outline provided:

      OUTLINE:
      0:00 – Introduction
      0:33 – AI in the context of human history
      5:47 – Deep learning celebrations, growth, and limitations
      6:35 – Deep learning early key figures
      9:29 – Limitations of deep learning
      11:01 – Hopes for 2020: deep learning community and research
      12:50 – Deep learning frameworks: TensorFlow and PyTorch
      15:11 – Deep RL frameworks
      16:13 – Hopes for 2020: deep learning and deep RL frameworks
      17:53 – Natural language processing
      19:42 – Megatron, XLNet, ALBERT
      21:21 – Write with transformer examples
      24:28 – GPT-2 release strategies report
      26:25 – Multi-domain dialogue
      27:13 – Commonsense reasoning
      28:26 – Alexa prize and open-domain conversation
      33:44 – Hopes for 2020: natural language processing
      35:11 – Deep RL and self-play
      35:30 – OpenAI Five and Dota 2
      37:04 – DeepMind Quake III Arena
      39:07 – DeepMind AlphaStar
      41:09 – Pluribus: six-player no-limit Texas hold’em poker
      43:13 – OpenAI Rubik’s Cube
      44:49 – Hopes for 2020: Deep RL and self-play
      45:52 – Science of deep learning
      46:01 – Lottery ticket hypothesis
      47:29 – Disentangled representations
      48:34 – Deep double descent
      49:30 – Hopes for 2020: science of deep learning
      50:56 – Autonomous vehicles and AI-assisted driving
      51:50 – Waymo
      52:42 – Tesla Autopilot
      57:03 – Open question for Level 2 and Level 4 approaches
      59:55 – Hopes for 2020: autonomous vehicles and AI-assisted driving
      1:01:43 – Government, politics, policy
      1:03:03 – Recommendation systems and policy
      1:05:36 – Hopes for 2020: Politics, policy and recommendation systems
      1:06:50 – Courses, Tutorials, Books
      1:10:05 – General hopes for 2020
      1:11:19 – Recipe for progress in AI
      1:14:15 – Q&A: what made you interested in AI
      1:15:21 – Q&A: Will machines ever be able to think and feel?
      1:18:20 – Q&A: Is RL a good candidate for achieving AGI?
      1:21:31 – Q&A: Are autonomous vehicles responsive to sound?
      1:22:43 – Q&A: What does the future with AGI look like?
      1:25:50 – Q&A: Will AGI systems become our masters?

      AI is not good at predicting changes that look like 45 degree angles, IMO. It certainly did not say anything about the pandemic. I am afraid these systems really cannot be expected to work very well.

  21. Artleads says:

    OFF TOPIC:

    ART AND CIVILIZATION (We still are living in a civilization, despite much talk as if it had virtually disappeared, or would at any minute now. And perhaps JMG should be given some due on this subject.

    FRIDAY, AUGUST 4, 2017
    Seeing place as art, and relevance of a world view…

    If art equals place, and nothing of civilization can happen other than in a place, place-as-art gives the artist considerable leadership in matters of civilization.

    In a networked civilization of global extent, any point within that matrix of civilization can be the center of it. Wherever I am is the center of civilization. While I wondered if this long standing opinion of mine (making me a chauvinist of whatever place I live in) was due merely to ego, I now believe it is due largely to the understanding of the inevitable relationship of where anyone is standing to the entire web of civilization.

  22. Tim Groves says:

    Pelosi, McConnell, Pence, AOC and other pols have been on TV getting their safe and effective COVID shots. Biden is due to get his on Monday (although it may turn out to be embalming fluid).

    This is where Norman’s cry of “stunt” seems apposite. Does anyone reading this suppose that any of these people are actually getting injected with the same potion that the plebs are being asked to submit to?

  23. I don’t care about Trump, but those who think power can be won back are living in fantasy;.

    Once it is lost, only a foreign invasion after many years of weakness will restore the old order.

    The new administration will purge the military so it will not be a factor. Japan’s military coup in the 1930s was only possible because at that time the army and the navy were at odds and the civilians were playing each branch off. In almost all other regimes, if the military got too uppity the civilian leadership always purged it to the point of irrelevancy.

    • Tim Groves says:

      There’s always a reason why the military gets into power and always a reason why it doesn’t. I could make a lengthy list of military rulers that would seem to weigh against the claim that ” In almost all other regimes, if the military got too uppity the civilian leadership always purged it to the point of irrelevancy.”

      For what it’s worth, Dodgypedia has a list of 95 current countries that have been governed by military dictatorships in the past.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_dictatorship

      Where to start?

      France: General Bonaparte overthrew the ruling Directory in a coup d’état on 9 November 1799 and ruled as a military dictator until 1814, and again for a brief time in 1815. He went as far as crowning himself Emperor in 1804. A cognac

      Spain: General Franco fought a three-year civil war against the country’s government and then ruled over Spain from 1939 to 1975 as a military dictator, assuming the title Caudillo (a strongman who wields both political and military power).

      Britain: Oliver Cromwell was a general in the English Civil War who led the Parliamentary armies against the King and was eventually made Lord Protector of the new republican Commonwealth. acting simultaneously as head of state and head of government. We can nit-pick over whether he was a military dictator. But he remained in charge for life and Winston Churchill classed him as one.

      • Interestingly enough, nephew of Bonaparte, restored the imperial house few decades later, but it was obviously on very different footprint, industrial revolution in higher gear, but the reforms applied were due ~similar vector: bold, painful, lasting legacy..

  24. Ed says:

    The Obama appointed generals make it clear they will not obey Trump. This may come to parts of the military fight other parts of the military.

    • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

      so IF Trump declares martial law and some of the military do not “obey” him, then that will be a quasi military coup.

      martial law is a longshot, but members of the military disobeying their commander in chief is perhaps an even lesser possibility.

      opinions will differ.

      it would probably be a whole lot better for us pawns if there is no 2021 martial law.

      though it depends on a personal view of what is “better”.

      • Ed says:

        I pick Space Force and Navy as loyal to the republic. Backed up by ten million patriots with military experience.

        • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

          I’m sure all members of the military are loyal to our country.

          that loyalty may not be felt as personal loyalty to the current commander in chief, but when under orders, they are well trained to obey.

    • Tim Groves says:

      If President Trump doesn’t act to prevent the illegal transfer of executive power to the Democrat coup plotters, we will be derelict in his oath—”I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

      I wouldn’t blame him for trying to retire gracefully and avoid executing this responsibility. But from what we know of Trump, he is unlikely to voluntarily retire either gracefully or ungracefully, while other options remain open to him.

      Among those options, he could order a state of emergency or marital law in just five or six states where the election results are disputed, and send in loyal military forces to oversee a recount or a re-vote in just those states.

      Or he could send in special forces to arrest and ship to Gitmo a few dozen to a few hundred of the plotters and supply them with clean bright orange jumpsuits and army lawyers for the military trial of the century.

      It seems like Supreme Court supremo John Roberts may be on that list of perps for preventing the court from “getting involved” by rejecting the Texas suit on grounds of lack of standing.

      The basis for such action would be not just that the Dems cheated—lots of cheating goes on with every US election—but the contention that the Chinese have bought of lots of powerful people in US politics and are using them to gain influence over the US political system.

      • Ed says:

        Thank you Tim. I agree 100%

      • Tim, yes good list, there seems to be a plethora of maverick “remedies” and options still theoretically useful to execute in remaining time, but the problem is the whole cunning set up as after election fraud the media and gov institutions went into over drive and basically stripped Don of any legitimacy and even denied him comm pulpit towards the public for the last few weeks of his term.

        Simply, it goes back to the most important question of timing-sequencing again, evidently the president’s team had some preliminary information on the election scam (not likely the sheer magnitude though), BUT they opted for the strategy of campaigning bigly (which was clearly a success in receiving extra mega votes) and just monitoring the possible voting scam, fight it afterwards, which was clearly not wise and possibly a cunning trap. Should he isolated some individual suspected plotters say in the late summer, at least some of them would be terrified and sang like bird, very likely leading to uncovering of the plot to larger extent. Nowadays, not so much, all players big and small feeling protected and done deal.

        The pres. also made couple of mistakes during the lock downs, as J. Dore at that time hinted he should have offered double or triple the size public relieve Pelosi was willing to discuss and hammer it daily as the core issue of the whole campaign “us against swampers in the end of times”. This kind of spike in popularity and overall standing gain would neutered the after election fraud media blackout. It seems he was evaluating this option almost too late to matter, but either on his own or pressed by others (not smart enough or on the plot) did not pursue it fully..

        But again, this systemic decay has been brewing for decades, and the corrective path should had been applied many administrations ago. So, for us it’s like smarty pants advising coach of a team with sick players, and trashed unusable gear.

  25. VFatalis says:

    I suppose most of OFW readers have heard of Dr. Pierre Kory, a pneumologist who recently advocated for the use of Ivermectin with very promising results before the american senate…

    Question for those of you in the US: does his testimony find some echo in the MSM or does it get obfuscated and drowned into oblivion?

    • Ed says:

      No mention the MSM serves their masters well.

    • gazeatfeet says:

      Echo? Obfuscation? Drowned?
      One hand clapping can do none of those action/verbs.
      It simply is not.

      and never was

    • I haven’t seen any mention of this.

      • Dave Gutknecht says:

        Really? Both Chris Martenson at Peak Prosperity dot com and Dr. John Campbell on You Tube have excellent presentations on scientific studies on ivermectin. Dr. Pierre Kory was censored but his public testimony can be found and is powerful. Ivermectin also is part of India standard covid19 early treatment.

    • This is a link to the academic paper Dr. Pierre Kory and others wrote:

      https://osf.io/wx3zn/

      This is a link to a Vimeo version of Dr. Kory’s testimony before the senate:

    • Xabier says:

      Not in the US, but his testimony on that treatment does – to my surprise – keep on popping up on Youtube as a suggestion, where I watch a lot of medical videos.

      However, I suspect they think that the whole vaccine scam is in the bag now; and, after all, even if people at large know about something, and the protests and petitions by doctors and academics,etc, what does it matter if they can be ignored by governments in the pocket of the pharma companies and their expert advisors on Covid, like SAGE in the UK?

      A truth that is ignored is simply dead.

  26. Thierry38 says:

    Not sure if anyone posted it but only one sentence can summarize the idea of Gail:
    “It is not clear that intelligence has any long-term survival value.” Stephen Hawking

    • Hubbs says:

      I always remember the one paper I read during my Biology and Evolution class I took in college entitled “the Evolutionary Advantages of Being Stupid.” It was about arctic seals. A smaller brain capacity meant less oxygen requirement which allowed them to remain submerged longer to avoid predation. It had survival value. I guess bottlenose dolphins wouldn’t last very long that far north. The polar bears would have a field day picking them off when they had to frequently surface for a breath.

    • Tim Groves says:

      I would like to add this quotation to the discussion:

      “Stupidity cannot be cured. Stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death. There is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.”

      ― Robert Heinlein

      • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

        I would like to add this quote:

        “Genius cannot be sustained; it always ends in death. There is no appeal to reason, and by Reality the executions are carried out automatically and without pity.”

        – me

        (Heinlein eternally dead since 1988)

        • Tim Groves says:

          Oh, very droll!
          My turn again?

          “Life is very short in geological terms, which helps make it precious, even when it is a burden on the liver (pun intended). Genius may well end it sooner—it’s only a thin line away from madness—as may devotion to duty, principle, loyalty, bravery or misfortune. But stupidity can get you out of your life sentence early via any of ten thousand exits, and may also net you a Darwin Award.”

          – me

        • Kowalainen says:

          Let me add.

          The graveyards are full of indispensable people.
          — Charles de Gaulle

          Indeed we are all dead man walking. How much do we care about death? Only in the abstract, since we are hell bent on putting more people into this world.

          You will die, your children will die. If by some miracle are able to “cure” aging, eventually an accident will get us. Or simply boredom.

          If we all reacted the same way, we’d be predictable, and there’s always more than one way to view a situation. What’s true for the group is also true for the individual. It’s simple: Overspecialize, and you breed in weakness. It’s slow death.
          — Major Motoko Kusanagi

  27. Dennis L. says:

    Some thoughts on search engines:

    Some, including myself have expressed frustration with search engines.

    May I suggest trying WolframAlpha? It is quirky and primarily I have used it in math, but apparently it works on a more general scale. I have played with it, got the total acres of farm land in IA, IL, MN from it, not from Google. Wolfram is a good salesman.

    If it works, then Google as a search engine is facing the same sort of challenges West mentions with regards to continual innovation, Wolfram is a pretty bright guy.

    A humble brag and a confirmation of Gale’s ideas on closure of intellectual ideas.

    Some years previous while sitting at a bar in Minneapolis I struck up a conversation with a fellow who was giving a presentation regarding postal zip codes, he was from Princeton, gave me his name, I checked him out, Field’s Medal.

    Basically, this fellow did not think much of Wolfram, he was not part of the educational, intellectual elite, Steve is sort of an entrepreneur, also MatLab seems to still be used more that Mathematica in the educational setting, sort of a confirmational bias.

    A problem is what does one learn? There is so much, the frontier is now very far out, sometimes it is faster to run with the herd, better support, better network, but the group is not always correct. My decision was to run with the herd, I had heard Wolfram at Madison when “A New Kind of Science” first came out, purchased it, skimmed it, put it on a shelf. Time to review?

    Dennis L.

    • Thanks for the information!

    • Dennis L. says:

      Lost a reply,

      “Wolfram Alpha is one of the answer engines behind Microsoft’s Bing[73][74] and Apple’s Siri answering factual questions.”

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Wolfram

      That is comforting, we humans do like herds.

      Tried it for a known hotel, it found it, doesn’t link. Google is safe for a while.

      Perhaps Harry can try this as a search engine and see what he thinks, I am lazy, the more that try it and give opinions the better. It does work differently.

      Dennis L.

      • Harry McGibbs says:

        Dennis, it doesn’t seem user-friendly for a quick whizz through the news. I’ve tried Bing in the past but nothing compares to Google for my purposes.

  28. just when you thought it wasn’t possible to cringe any more

    https://twitter.com/therecount/status/1339614011302825984

  29. davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    “Executive Directive 51, also known as the National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive, was signed into law by President George W. Bush in May 2007. The directive, which was created in the wake of the September 11 attacks, allows the president to appoint a National Continuity Coordinator in order to maintain a continuity of government during a catastrophic emergency. As of 2020, the directive has not yet been invoked.”

    Trump has options, IF he has the backing of the military and it intelligence gathering operations.

    is there anything a person can do to “prepare” for martial law?

    • Things have to reach a certain level of ‘collapse’

      we don’t know what that is, because it is a state where collective hysteria makes us scramble to reach one end of the Titanic, because the other end is sliding under water.

      Yes—when it gets that bad.

      When it does, bear in mind that the military are in the same boat (so to speak) as everybody else.

      So they will side with whoever offers them the best chance of survival. (just like everybody else, they will think in terms of jobs and wages, not about the planet getting screwed)

      Forget law and the constitution. They will obey whichever general seems the best bet for the next hour, or day.

      They will enforce martial law, if thats what it takes.

      If a god gets involved, they will enforce that too, because if things get nasty, it will be all god’s fault. Which neatly shifts the blame

      • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

        the “blame” seems to be squarely on the Ds and their transparent attempt to gain the presidency via fraud.

        • Denial says:

          Oh God! You are watching too much Shaun Hannity!!!
          Its all the Dems fault….cry….cry cry! If Trump was president none of this would happen?!?!? So tired of all the political hacks…..
          Truth is it does not matter if D’s or R’s are in power it is the same old Sh** you obviously don’t read the above articles….just scroll down and repeat your fox news and Q anon theories…..Pizza Gate Boy!

          • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

            yes, it may not matter much if it’s D or R in control.

            but it does matter that the social fabric of our country has devolved to the point where one of the two major political parties has just staged a blatantly transparent attempt at gaining the White House via voter fraud.

            in the long run, more important than who is POTUS whether D or R, the bigger issue is the degrading of the institutions that matter most: DOJ FBI CIA MSM.

            if they can’t or won’t defend accurate voting, then truth and freedom are in a steep descent.

            OMG YOUR POST IS FULL OF so many SIDE ISSUES… C’MON MAN, there are BIGGER ISSUES than what you are RANTING ABOUT!!???!!

            • Tim Groves says:

              Overall a very good response, David. But be careful not to feed the troll too much. And appealing to his better nature is problematic. He may not have one. But I know—at least you tried.

          • Very Far Frank says:

            Of the two candidates, Biden received 95% of Wall Street’s campaign funding.

            So clearly, Trump isn’t ‘the same old sh*t’ to those with power and money- he represents a threat to their interests.

            That tells me all I need to know.

            • Denial says:

              Really not the same old… hmm as far as I can see he just added more debt and pressured the FED to keep the printing presses going….the only thing different for Trump is that he put on a good sideshow…but other than that Gail is right we are in a failing system the only way to keep it going is more and more deficit spending. Don’t get me wrong I liked him…no cancel that I married a trustfunder and I hate all trustfunders….I am very prejudice to them they are a waste of space….Trump added 4 trillion to the deficit in 4 years….so not better than obama but a close second…biden will add more and the next will add more and then it will be over..

        • Ed says:

          to put a fine point on it I agree with the army they have no role if it is just domestic fraud only if it is foreign interference. I see Flynn talking today about allied nation sharing intel that they observed foreign enemy nations interfering on electron day.

          The way disagreement between states is resolved … well … that does involve the army e.g. civil war 1861-1865.

          I hope Texas decides to leave the corrupt nation but they may not have the scale to resist China.

        • Ed says:

          yes the army is right domestic fraud is not the role of the army. but foreign interference is. Gen. Flynn is out talking today that allied nation sharing intel that enemy foreign states interfered on Nov 3.

          Of course disputes between states are settled by the supreme court unless they are compromised by playing on Epstein’s statutory rape island. Then it is settled by the army e.g. civil war 1861-1865.

          • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

            though Trump does not need the permission of the military to declare martial law.

          • JesseJames says:

            The German army did not intervene when Hitler burned the Reichstag and assumed emergency powers. They probably did not want to intervene in domestic matters.

            • Tim Groves says:

              How do we know Adolf burned the Reichstag? I contend that we don’t. He may have simply taken advantage of the fire as an opportunity to gain dictatorial powers. The poor Dutchman who was executed for the crime may have been innocent or guilty for all we know. It’s difficult to get absolute proof of these things.

              The US armed forces did not intervene when Bush read from My Pet Goat, assumed emergency powers, got the Patriot Act passed with a little help from anthrax letters, and went on to invade Afghanistan and Iraq.

        • I very specifically did not mention supporting the president

          my point was about the army preserving itself as an entity

          which it will do, come crunch time.

          armies are not interested in politics, only survival.

          soldiers are people, like you and me, who need to eat and stuff. they possess the means to further that end in the face of adversity.

          • Yep, this is not yet the Bonaparte moment, where mid-lower rank army personnel goes all in. That was only a result of previously botched revolutionary regime policy ongoing for several months, years actually.

            Hence, in this setting, most likely we have to go through the full blown MMT / Green Deal implementation stage first, which will eventually impoverish and inconvenience hard the masses beyond the level media could easily placate over.

            • Sorry. The experience in USSR says otherwise. Once power is taken, it is stuck.

              The Soviet military waited too long till devolution set forth in USSR, and they acted too late in Aug 1991.

              Ever since, even the ineffectual Yeltsin made sure the Army will not revolt, not to say about Putin.

          • Ed says:

            Norman, good point. Some bits in a computer in Switzerland versus King with your own army, hummm in hard times I would not bet on bits in a computer. Trump, repubs, and dems all tossed under the bus. Will CCP leaders get to keep their estates in US?

          • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

            that’s reasonable.

            even in the face of massive voter fraud, the military probably wants no part of martial law under Trump.

            though possibly even that fact may not dissuade him.

            • keepgazeonshoes says:

              If the military gets involved it wont be easy path. Will the MSM admit fraud then? No. If fraud is not acknowledged then its a military cou. So then they lock all the MSM up? And then what?

              The anger over the fraud and the complete unwillingness to investigate it by any court or law enforcement apparently led to some fanciful dreaming about justice via military action.

              No one cares about that anger. That is part of the communication. You dont matter.

              I guess the fantasy was that the military would bring forth the fraud evidence along with the money transfers from China and that that source would be respected enough for some sort of justice. Apparently bribes from China and stealing the election are OK as long as China doesn’t steal the election directly. Politicians stealing the election, accepting bribes from China and continuing the print infinite $ for ever for china labor dynasty so rudely interrupted by Trump is not the military’s jurisdiction apparently.

              It would seem the theft of the election and MSM ownership by its owners of the USA is done deal. They have the demonstrated the power to do whatever they want. No other power besides Trump is willing to confront them.

              Trump was popular because he was not a politician. He naively believed in the constitution and justice. Now the truth is out in the open.

              I would compare this MSM/ China takeover to the raw power of a outlaw motorcycle gang giving a unfortunate fool a beat down but the metaphor doesn’t apply without caveat. This control mechanism while openly displaying power was sophisticated in its methods. It was brazen in the theft but calculating in that no one would confront them. So the power is demonstrated in a manner that leaves no doubt about the ruthlessness of those wielding it but displays cunning as well.

              That they are willing to have 80% of the USA population know they stole the election says something about the future. That is what the Rasmussen poll said. That change in perspective can not exist with good productivity so it would seem to me that productivity is no longer desired by those calling the shots in the USA. Keeping the surfs happy with the illusion of their participation is no longer a priority. Its as clear as a billboard.

              Who wants to join trumps fate? Just raise your hand. Plenty of beat down power left for anyone who dare and its more than apparent that it will be applied with great enjoyment and without mercy or quarter.

              This is the world we live in. They let us know. Saved the billboard cost. If Trump didn’t matter and the vote didn’t matter You certainly don’t matter. Want some? Just raise your hand.

              Whatever other adjectives you might apply to it its undeniable that a new communication, a new perspective has been downloaded to the collective consciousness. “We matter” is shown to be complete and utter fantasy in reality while pretending that we do to justify this or that is stepped up exponentially.

            • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

              “That they are willing to have 80% of the USA population know they stole the election says something about the future. That is what the Rasmussen poll said.”

              good rant.

              the near future is bleak for freedom and truth.

              guaranteed eternal death for the perps is their final future.

              that’s enough.

            • Ed says:

              keep, I was fire from IBM research in Albany New York where we were transferring advance MRAM technology to China. Maybe I was being purged in anticipation of the great China coup. Lou Gerstner former CEO of IBM was on hand in person in the mid 90s when the great Chinese fire wall went on line. I assume IBM helped in a big way.

            • Ed says:

              I was fired June 20th 2020.

            • Ed says:

              IBM sell Power PC computers to China. It is illegal to sell directly. It has an encryption unit. So IBM sells the design with the encryption removed and all the software for China to add there own encryption unit (not breakage by NSA). Then China has it fabbed in Taiwan. IBM supplies the rest of the machine. The “new” chipp is installed and IBM gets paid.

            • Jarvis says:

              Where’s all this voter fraud everyone keeps rambling on about? How many jurisdictions investigated and found nothing?how many courts reject fraud allegations?
              I thought I was on James Kunstler’s site!

            • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

              “That they are willing to have 80% of the USA population know they stole the election says something about the future. That is what the Rasmussen poll said.”

              you obviously are in the tiny minority.

            • keepgazeonshoes says:

              “Where’s all this voter fraud everyone keeps rambling on about? How many jurisdictions investigated and found nothing?how many courts reject fraud allegations?
              I thought I was on James Kunstler’s site!”

              I doubt you have any interest in the truth.

              Theres lots of evidence. To understand that you need to understand how elections are kept honest and have always been kept honest and how that was systematically disabled in this election.

              The courts wont hear the evidence. They dont allow it to come forth.

              If it was allowed to come forth we could get to the bottom of this. One of the ways we have to discover truth is through the courts. You have witnesses. Cross examination. Experts. Other experts. After a while the truth becomes clear.

              Without this process all we have is the testimony of witnesses where the election was stolen. Urban centers in philly detroit atlanta. other places too but those are the big three.

              So maybe they are lieing? Its possible. The way to find out is to get them on the stand.

              But the courts wont let the evidence be heard.

              The state distract attorneys from 14 states thought the evidence should be heard in court. A state DA aint exactly a two bit ambulance chaser. Yet even the supreme court wouldn’t allow the evidence to be heard.

              Have you watched the testimonies about the cheating that occurred?

              Why would anyone not want to get to the bottom of this?

              The accused would want to clear their name if innocent.

              The problem is people have abandoned their faith in finding truth through processes that are designed to get it out.

              They see “no election fraud” on facebook and buy into the hate for Trump.

              They buy into a narrative that it is created. Its not a process designed to find the truth.

              Thats convenient for them. They dont see the people with a different viewpoint as deserving a process.

              These processes of finding truth have a lot of value IMO. One aspect of it is people get to see and hear the other sides perspective. If its done honestly then you get to walk in the other persons shoes.

              When they get ideas put in their head from narratives and deny the process they exclude the other people.

              Racism is a form of this where people are excluded because of race. Yet the label “racist” has been used to implement the very thing that is abhorrent about it- unfair exclusion.

              These labels used “dictator” “facist” “racist” come along with strong emotional condemnation with the tone of the voice of the MSM commentators.

              The solution to exclusion is to have fair processes. No fair processes have been allowed in spite of the overwhelming evidence of election fraud.

              Allowing the evidence to be presented would be in everyone’s best interest except those with a vested interest in exclusion.

              You can deny the evidence. You can say the crime didnt occur because it wasnt prosecuted. You can deny the victims testimony. Maybe it will even work. Do you want that sort of society? Or do you want a society where all are represented by process? Do you prefer a society where emotional prejudice is how things roll over just process?

              This sort of thing has gotten out of hand before. The trademark of fascism is not any particular race or political affiliation but is the choice of emotional prejudice over just process.

            • Keepgazeonfeet says:

              “IBM sell Power PC computers to China. It is illegal to sell directly. It has an encryption unit. So IBM sells the design with the encryption removed and all the software for China to add there own encryption unit (not breakage by NSA). Then China has it fabbed in Taiwan. IBM supplies the rest of the machine. The “new” chipp is installed and IBM gets paid.”

              Thank you for your example Ed. This is the real theft that is occurring.-occurred-. The export of USA technology that has occurred in the last 30 years has been so massive I doubt anyone who has not witnessed it understands.

              You had a good run. Thats no easy feat nowadays

              The theft has left the USA so robbed of a actual organic economy it really has no choice but to fall back on bread, circuses and printing green pieces of paper.

              along with the endless wars…

              Us old boomers understand what a nice thing a real world organic economy based on creating real products and services was.

              I guess if you never experienced anything other than marking up china made junk and calling it economy you dont understand.

              Perhaps its always that way the next generation not realizing what they have lost.

              One might even hypothesize that a lock down and handing out green pieces of paper would be the logical result of abandoning a actual organic economy for a temporary continuance of standard of living. We traded our buffalo for some blue beads. Karma?

        • Kowalainen says:

          Yup, the well-armed flyover states combined with disgruntled ex military dudes (Republican to the tilt) might have a say or two in the matter while the MIC rolls their thumbs, whistles and looks the other way. Lookie, over there.. *whistle*..

          Cats on YouTube 😗👉 🐱

          A few small nudges, hints, and the Soylent GND would evaporate faster than you can say sanctimonious and entitled snowflake.

      • Not so in today’s world. There is no fighting back once the initiative changes.

  30. Dennis L. says:

    Some back of envelope calculations:

    Value of farmland in IA, IL, MN at $7.5K/acre $6.33×10^11.

    Dollar value of total wealth billionaires in below link basically 4×10^12.

    Basically at liquidation value of these 5 billionaires could purchase all the farmland in three states and still have a few trillion left over.

    Conclusion: Markets are overvalued, farmland where I am at will not cashflow at $7.5K per acre, please accept I know fairly accurately the value of farm land in the So MN, IA area – the value it actually sells at.

    https://cms.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/billionaires12-20%20(3).jpg?itok=X7VdmcJg

    A guess(it is safe to assume it is a good guess), $5K is about the max farm land will cashflow, at >$5K, it requires appreciation(read inflation) to work on a debt basis. Also, appreciation without a sale will not purchase a hamburger at McDonalds.

    These numbers do not make sense, the treasure is knowing which way to bet.

    CHS has some thoughts as usual.

    http://charleshughsmith.blogspot.com/2020/12/what-would-happen-if-fed-ceased-to-exist.html

    Your thoughts?

    Dennis L.

    • The situation does look worrying.

      The total value of the farmland in IA, IL and MN is $633 billion according to your calculation. If the price of farm land were higher, the ability of farmers to earn an adequate return would be even would be even worse.

      The total wealth of the billionaires is $4 trillion, so they would have more than 3 trillion left over.

      This link to the billionaire’s wealth works better:
      https://cms.zerohedge.com/s3/files/inline-images/billionaires12-20%20(3).jpg

      CHS does indeed have some good thoughts. The fed has blown massive debt bubbles. If it were to stop existing, interest rates would explode upward. At some point, this bubble has to pop. It is not possible to get rid of risk, just transfer it.

      I would add, “Each year we will produce a particular amount of goods and services. Those goods and services will need to be divided among the then-current population. It doesn’t matter how much money the very wealthy think they have, they cannot buy more than what is available. In fact, the farmers and others who actually produced the goods (and to a lesser extent services) will be first in line for the output being produced each year.”

      • without oil input, the value of farmland is represented by what it can deliver using muscle power alone.

        farmland is an energy converter

        you put seeds in, apply energy—the sun, rain, fertilisers, tractors, to convert those seeds into a full crop.

        then take energy out, hopefully at a good surplus in order to repeat the process next year.

        if oil-assistance isn’t there, the convertible input/output is drastically reduced.

        That $633 bn is based on oil inputs.

        • Exactly, output from said “energy converting” machine goes down.

          And if the collapse gets more staged, sequenced around (for a while), most of the farm land would be divided onto zones still receiving some energy subsidies from the “Brown deal” emergency program and the more unlucky – marginal – or secessionist lands, thus receiving very little or nothing, i.e. left to fully lapse into animal draft power level (or worse) as you suggested.

          • precisely

            and that is the point where work (i.e. energy conversion) reverts to what it always was, something that took place within walking distance of where you lived

            • Artleads says:

              And growing food in the building where you live makes even more sense.

            • yup

              all you have to do is take the roof off

            • Artleads says:

              Sarc or not, I find that an excellent idea. A couple decades back, I bought tarps quite cheaply online. The company sold clear tarps as well. I’m sure there are ways to roll “roof tarps” up as weather allows. The tarps degrade relatively quickly, but we never tried routine painting with clear UV protected acrylic base. Or Varathane. I never suggested that planting inside could be done without fossil fuels; just that it is a more economical (if not financialist) way to use the fossil fuels we have in plain physical terms.

        • Good points!

  31. davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    US martial law:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martial_law_in_the_United_States

    “On a national level, both the US President and the US Congress have the power to impose martial law since both can be in charge of the militia.”

    there are small signs for the possibility of martial law after January 6.

    not a prediction.

    though martial law in the US might bring worse conditions than Brexit in the UK.

    next year will definitely be 2020 part 2.

  32. Yoshua says:

    More problems.

    The dollar had hit its multi year support line. Either the dollar breaks down from here, or commody prices start to crash again.

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Eo93wmeW8AIHvRC?format=jpg&name=large

    • Interesting! Brent oil price seems to be about $51 and WTI about $49. It will be hard to get the oil price up much from here. The Euro is not relatively high compared to the dollar, as well. Lots of squeezes!

  33. Yoshua says:

    A mutant Covid virus has been detected…just when they got a vaccine for the old one.

    The mutant is much more contagious…tougher lockdowns are coming.

    https://metro.co.uk/2020/12/19/christmas-travel-ban-could-be-announced-in-london-and-the-south-east-13776060/amp/?ito=article.amp.share.top.twitter&__twitter_impression=true

    • Ed says:

      As long as the death rate is trivial who cares? In fact more contagious means faster to herd immunity or heck herd ALL having had it and we can move on.

      • Rodster says:

        Thank you Ed for bringing some much needed commonsense to the nutty world of Covid 19. The problem unfortunately is that those in charge i.e. Gov’t and Health officials will continue to do their best to create more fear, hysteria and panic among the public. That’s why they are in charge or for the simpletons, it’s called “job security”.

    • The direction of mutations seems to be toward ever more contagious. We need to keep up the belief that we can fight this virus and “win,” even though there is no assurance that we can really do this.

      At some point, I am afraid we have to simply give up and let it spread as usually happens. Economies will be in too bad shape to fund even more vaccine efforts. Immunity will be found not to last very long and to be less effective on the new mutations.

      Information about how to treat/prevent the illness with vitamin D, ivermectin, and other cheap interventions will still be suppressed.

      • One thing is info suppression, another thing is unobtainum status on the market, e.g. even these sourced as merely veterinary meds require several steps of eligibility to order, purchase. Sales on open market ended a ~decade ago.. Perhaps not an issue in NA/SAmerica though..

      • Ned says:

        This harmful response to this illusion is on purpose. The focus is to destroy the economy, the virus is theatrics, less than a pretext, a hidden scapegoat.
        Back in March people were speculating who would have unleashed it: the Chinese? The USA? The US Army?
        Well, it was neither. It’s the globalists that are doing this to us.

        • Perhaps. It is hard to understand how a self-organizing system works. A virus that wouldn’t have made any difference in one context can be debilitating in another.

  34. Herbie R Ficklestein says:

    Some here are from Spain…saw this channel on YouTube and this guy posted on clip on how bad is the economic collapse in Spain’s rural town of Alhaurin de La Torre.
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=b-_JUqoutDo&t=343s

    Pretty grim ….

    • In many ways, the scenes don’t look all that bad. I didn’t watch the whole thing, but I didn’t see a lot of beggars in the street, for example. I saw new a food related business opening, and a restaurant without much business, but that is pretty much the case everywhere, especially in areas depending on tourism.

      The street seemed to be pretty clean. The trees obviously have been trimmed by someone. Somehow, the local government must still have a lot of money to keep up services such as these.

      • Herbie R Ficklestein says:

        True, this is stage one…first empty storefronts and then the local governments run out of public funds to keep the trees trimmed. Streets clean and beggers from coming out because they are starving and the cares cheque stops

  35. Mirror on the wall says:

    Re: UK break up

    This is an ICM poll finding that I missed at the end of last month.

    59% of English voters want Scotland to leave the UK.

    Around half of English voters support full English independence from Wales and NI too – before a campaign has even been launched on that matter.

    – UK does not have majority support in England.

    Scottish polls are up to 58% support for independence, NI is split 50/50, while wales is up to a record 33% support for independence – and England is at about 50/50 but without any political force to press for it here.

    The reports seems to suggest that Gail is correct that UK is particularly liable to break up as energy consumption per capita falls and the dissipative system restructures itself to maximally dissipate less energy.

    > Britain wants UK break up, poll shows

    The United Kingdom should be broken up and Scotland and England set free as independent nations, according to a huge number of voters on both sides of the border.

    A clear majority of people in both England and Scotland are in favour of full independence for Scotland, an ICM opinion poll for The Sunday Telegraph has found. Independence is backed by 52 per cent of Scots while an astonishing 59 per cent of English voters want Scotland to go it alone.

    There is also further evidence of rising English nationalism with support for the establishment of an English parliament hitting an historic high of 68 per cent amongst English voters. Almost half – 48 per cent – also want complete independence for England, divorcing itself from Wales and Northern Ireland as well. Scottish voters also back an English breakaway with 58 per cent supporting an English parliament with similar powers to the Scottish one….

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1535193/Britain-wants-UK-break-up-poll-shows.html

    • Scotland should be independent
      Wales should be independent
      England should be independent
      And the NI unionists thrown to the sea.

      • Tim Groves says:

        That7s no solution. If that happened, they would bog off back to the Scottish Isles from whence their ancestors came a little over four hundred years ago and bother Sir Harry.

    • Ed says:

      Here, here, England for the Pakistanis and Indians.

      • Erase Ramanujan’s name from the list of Royal Society members, and revoke every peerage given to people from the Subcontinent.

        • Impossible now, the “first wave” originally coming into UK massively after WWII as kids, today’s billionaires and millionaires have own grandchildren and businesses integrated into the British society on many levels.

    • Robert Firth says:

      ” … an astonishing 59 per cent of English voters want Scotland to go it alone.”

      Colour me astonished. I would have expected the number to be 90%.

  36. Mirror on the wall says:

    Russia (allegedly Russia) OWNED USA cyber networks for 9 months in what has been dubbed the ‘cyber Pearl Harbour’ by a hawkish congressman.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9068947/How-Russian-hack-breached-government-unfolded.html

    > How ‘cyber equivalent of Pearl Harbor’ unfolded at the ‘perfect time for a perfect storm’: Feds may NEVER know true scale of 9-month-long Russian hack that breached US nuclear agencies, Pentagon government departments and Fortune 500 companies, experts say

    The list of victims from the devastating and long-undetected hack on US government agencies and companies continues to grow ever since the sprawling cyber-espionage campaign was disclosed – but experts say the true impact may never actually be known.

    Federal authorities are expressing increased alarm over the suspected Russian hack that breached, among others, US nuclear agencies – with the nation’s cyber security agency already warning of a ‘grave threat’ to government and private networks as a result.

    The attack – described by a Congressman as the cyber equivalent of Pearl Harbor – is one of the biggest hacks ever uncovered and has sent security teams around the world scrambling to investigate the scope and contain the damage.

    GOVT AGENCIES KNOWN TO HAVE BEEN TARGETED BY HACKERS SO FAR

    Pentagon

    Treasury

    FBI

    Department of State

    Department of Homeland Security

    Commerce Department

    National Institutes of Health

    Department of Energy

    National Nuclear Security Administration

    Los Alamos National Laboratory

    Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

    Office of Secure Transportation

    [ — as is commonly said in such situations in UK, ‘b/tch!’ — ]

    How hackers managed to install a secret backdoor in software used by hundreds of thousands of government departments and companies

    …. From US nuclear agencies and the FBI to Fortune 500: Who is known to have been targeted by hackers so far

    The list of victims continues to grow from the cyber attack that is being described as the biggest hack in American history.

    The two US agencies responsible for maintaining America’s nuclear weapons stockpile – Energy Department and the National Nuclear Security Administration – have already said they were compromised in the attack.

    The attack also breached the Pentagon, FBI, Treasury and State Departments.

    The DOE and the NNSA have warned Congress that their breached networks may include the Los Alamos National Laboratory, which conducts the government’s most sensitive and advanced nuclear research, Politico reported.

    The US has an estimated 5,800 nuclear warheads, some of which are on missiles and bombs ready for launch from submarines, airplanes and land-based missiles, while others are held in storage. Most however are in storage, retired, or being decommissioned.

    Their status is one of the government’s most closely-guarded secrets, as are efforts to create new weapons, which are part of the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s work.

    Another attack was found in a field office of the Energy Department in Richland, Washington state, which Politico reported could have been an effort to gather information on how to disrupt the national electricity grid.

    The sprawling attack also compromised broad swathes of the private sector, including Microsoft and likely most of the Fortune 500.

    The true scale of who has been affected and what information has been stolen may never be known, officials and experts say.

    Microsoft has revealed it has already identified at least 40 government agencies and companies targeted in the hack.

    The software titan said that 80 percent of the victims it has uncovered so far are in the United States and warns that number will rise ‘substantially’ as the scope of the sprawling attack continues to unfold….

    [ — as is commonly said in such situations on the internet, ‘OMG!’ — ]

  37. Yoshua says:

    And the monolith is gone.

    https://youtu.be/jer4DtAdw4s

  38. Tim Groves says:

    This is EXTREMELY dangerous to our democracy!!

    https://youtu.be/q_hGKT5FI78

    • We have seen videos like this with practically any news story. Once a story comes over the “wires,” newscasters everywhere repeat the same story. There can be Republican and Democrat versions of stories passed around, as well.

    • Ed says:

      you show TV in US, we see this also in global lockstep response to CV19.

      • Right. Even when I visited China in 2011, and talked with various higher-ups in the Chinese government, I discovered that they were spouting exactly the same nonsense that had recently been published in academic journals in the US. There is one global market for academic “theory,” whether it is right or wrong.

        I also know from multiple talks with publishers that they want a version of the energy story that they can sell to universities that will not scare students or faculty. They want a book that they can print which will continue to be salable for many years.

        The standard story which is published in a book or article is normally quite limited in scope. If a person only tells a little bit of the story, it is not obvious how silly the story really is.

        • Xabier says:

          Tell people that they are doomed and I suppose it does rather kill the potential for reprints….

        • Tim Groves says:

          On a similar vein, the big headline on the COVID timeline this morning in my Japanese Sunday Paper was “Trump Doesn’t Trust the Science”. That’s the main message these people want everyone everywhere to absorb.

  39. Rodster says:

    “Nurse Collapses on Live Television shortly after receiving COVID-19 VACCINE”

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Wrp4w0OQmAQ&feature=youtu.be

  40. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Dying for a better life: On board Lebanon’s ‘death caravans’ to Europe:

    “Desperation is driving hundreds of Lebanese and Syrians to risk everything to reach Cyprus by boat, but the journey is fraught with danger – and many won’t survive.”

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/lebanon-cyprus-migrants-sea-rescue-b1776170.html

  41. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune’s first appearance since being hospitalised in Germany with COVID-19 in October was intended to reassure the country…

    “But on the streets of Algiers people voiced growing impatience after the five-minute video message he gave… The major energy producer has been in turmoil since early last year when mass protests pushed the old president Abdelaziz Bouteflika from power…”

    https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-algeria-politics/algerians-impatient-for-change-with-president-still-out-sick-idUKKBN28S19Z?il=0

  42. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The role of China’s social safety net programme, known as dibao, has shifted over time from providing support to the poor and vulnerable to being used partly as a tool to repress dissent, according to research from a US-based social scientist…

    “”…there’s a comprehensive management of public security [and] dibao is then used very specifically to control individuals.””

    https://www.scmp.com/economy/china-economy/article/3114566/how-chinas-dibao-social-safety-net-being-used-silence-dissent

    • Harry McGibbs says:

      “‘They Are Finishing the Trees’: Chinese Companies and Namibian Elites Make Millions Illegally Logging the Last Rosewoods.”

      https://www.occrp.org/en/investigations/chinese-companies-and-namibian-elites-make-millions-illegally-logging-the-last-rosewoods

      • Herbie R Ficklestein says:

        Unfortunately, the Chinese are only following the example set by the United States companies here that cut down almost all of the Old growth forests here in the States….

        In 1986, Houston millionaire Charles Hurwitz had acquired Pacific Lumber Company and doubled its rate of timber harvesting as a means of paying off the acquisition cost. This enraged environmentalists and drew attention from government agencies because of the use of junk bonds.[7] Protests against old-growth timber harvesting by Pacific Lumber would become the focus of Earth First! protests in the following years.
        Wilkepedia Judi Barri

        Believe a few % still exist of what was once here…but that was years ago since I’ve checked

      • Regarding redwood,

        “the true winners appear to be the Chinese-fronted companies that control the trade, with timber valued at many millions of dollars exported in just months, according to a government official. Forestry department data and figures from wood brokers on the ground indicate that these exports are declared at just a small fraction their value, leading to vast sums being lost in uncollected tax revenues.”

        I expect the buyers of finished products made with redwood find the price more reasonable, if Namibia is not able to tax it, as well.

    • Xabier says:

      That’s exactly how any UBI scheme would be employed, of course.

      No need to worry about earning a living in the wicked capitalist matrix – just how to please the government.

  43. Harry McGibbs says:

    “Volkswagen says it’s facing a massive parts shortage that’s causing production slowdowns at factories in China, Europe and North America:

    “Volkswagen said Thursday it was facing production slowdowns due to a “massive” supply bottleneck caused by a shortage of semiconductor components for car electronics as global automobile markets bounce back from the pandemic sales slump.”

    https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/volkswagen-faces-massive-shortage-electronic-parts-74807627

  44. Harry McGibbs says:

    “The pandemic has greatly intensified existing inequality. In the US this winter, millions face unemployment and destitution. The social crisis in Europe, so far contained by furlough schemes and emergency loans, is only just beginning. Businesses in their tens of thousands have gone under.

    “Not only is Brexit likely to cause more chaos in January, but national lockdowns around the world have thrown the global trading system out of sync. Mountains of containers are piled up in the wrong places. In the poorest parts of the world hundreds of millions face intensifying hunger. And supervening all that is the largest surge in public debt since the war.

    “We cannot count on rapid growth to help us pay that debt. Nor will inflation come to our rescue to eat away at its real value. Europe, like Japan before it, lives under the shadow of deflation.”

    https://www.ft.com/content/5834df03-d8d4-456a-b08f-fa2ee0203141

  45. tim says:

    Test

  46. davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

    JHK today essentially saying that if January 6th fails to overturn the election fraud, Trump will then act:

    “That will eventually trigger the president’s invocation of the 2018 Executive order 13848, allowing, at long last, the arrest and prosecution of many desperate characters who tried to run away with the US Government.”

    though JHK has been rightly ranting for two or three years now about how justice was just about to drop on many higher up criminals, only to be wrong when nothing happened.

    we will know within about four weeks.

    https://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/the-gyre-widens/

  47. Name says:

    Another good shot of Warsaw: https://tinyurl.com/ydcdkr9q

  48. Artleads says:

    hI gAIL, YOU MIGHT HAVE POSTED, OR REFUTED this long ago, but it looks like one of your main concerns.

      • Thanks for thinking of me.

        I don’t think that Hotelling was right in the first place. The prices of commodities don’t really work as modeled, especially energy products.

        The cost of production isn’t what sets commodity prices, either. The cost of production is what cuts off supplies, if prices don’t rise high enough. I don’t think that Douglas Reynolds understands how commodity prices work either.

        • Robert Firth says:

          Gail, I agree. The price of any commodity, good or service, depends in the end on its perceived value to the buyer. The price of a diamond does not depend on its cost of production. The price of a bottle of prosecco does not depend on its cost of production. The price of a fashionable woman’s hat, likewise.

          Oversupply occurs when the cost of production exceeds the perceived value: the commodity is produced but does not sell. That is why government subsidies to airlines are useless: as long as people do not value the flights, the airlines are being paid to mothball useless metal cans.

          Scarcity occurs when the perceived value is considerably greater than the cost of production: potential buyers bid up the price as they compete for the desirable good, and there is not enough to go round. In theory, the higher price should lead to an increase in production (an obvious corollary of Say’s Law), but of course if technical or economic factors make that impossible, the scarcity tends to become permanent. There is little chance of paintings by Rembrandt falling in price.

  49. Mirror on the wall says:

    Re: USA immigration stats, DP, RP – no difference

    The media tends to report DP as more in favour of immigration to the US and the RP as less in favour of it.

    In fact that it makes little difference to the volume of immigration to the US whether DP or RP holds the presidency. Indeed, the last two RP presidencies (Trump 2016, Bush 2004) each admitted more immigrants to US than either of the last two DP presidencies (both Obama). Obama admitted fewer each time than either of the last two RP presidents.

    The last four US presidents admitted:

    2016 Trump: 4,340,724 (four year sum estimated from the yearly average of 1,085,181 over the three years for which stats are available)
    2012 Obama: 4,241,607
    2008 Obama: 4,267,114
    2004 GBush: 4,547,927

    One can only conclude that the supposed ‘marked difference’ between DP and RP of favourability toward immigration to the US is in fact a ruse, knowingly and deliberately perpetrated by the two parties and with the support of the media, to split the vote between the two parties. It is a pretence toward the electorate.

    In fact both DP and RP are US capitalist state parties that exist first and foremost to represent the interests of organised US capital and to service its needs including that for an expanded labour force to boost GDP and to maintain the profitability of the profit and growth based capitalist economic system.

    The US capitalist state is playing the US electorate, pretending that politics is about anything other than the needs of organised US capital and that there is any difference between the two parties regarding their favourability toward immigration to the US to service the needs of organised US capital.

    * stats totalled from here: https://www.dhs.gov/immigration-statistics/yearbook/2019/table1
    Department of Homeland Security: Table 1. Persons Obtaining Lawful Permanent Resident Status: Fiscal Years 1820 to 2019

    • Mirror on the wall says:

      In fact that it makes little difference to the volume

      lol

      • davidinamonthorayearoradecade says:

        perhaps the difference is that Trump and many millions of us citizens (and I’m not R or D) would like zero illegal immigration.

        while the Ds especially seem to be glad to have millions crossing our borders without legal documentation.

        • Mirror on the wall says:

          There has been a net outflow of illegal migrants from the USA since 2008.

          Estimated undetected unlawful entries on the SW border had collapse in any case from 850,000 in 2006 to under 100,000 by 2014, after which it flatlined – before Trump.

          The undocumented immigrant population had fallen from over 12% of the US population in 2007 to over 10.5% in 2016.

          Illegal migrants to USA are estimated to contribute to GDP and to net contribute to tax. They have lower crime rates than the overall population.

          Illegal migration had already collapsed before Trump was elected. And it now comprises less than 10% of overall immigration to USA.

          Trump’s campaign to lower illegal immigration was post-factum. RP was happy to let them flood in while they did so, and to reap the economic benefits of that.

          Trump campaigned on immigration and illegal immigration in particular simply to get votes. DP also campaigned on that matter to get votes.

          Both parties are simply providing organised US capital with the labour that it needs, both allowed illegal immigration while it was happening, for its economic benefits, and it had already collapsed since 2006 to a net outflow and to less than 10% per year of US immigration.

          The two parties, including Trump, posture over immigration and race to get votes.

          * stats from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegal_immigration_to_the_United_States

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