CONSUMING DOOM 2*
note: we might be seeing a temporary glut in copper. If so, take advantage but don't expect an end to Peak Copper:
Culturally, I wish I was still back in the 1980’s. The movies were better ( lower production values, sure, but at least some originality ), the female hair was better, the clothes were a bit too Miami Vice inspired but at least festive and gay. Nobody had cell phones or other e-teets, the government was still pretty much out of your face. Music hadn’t gone over to rap, which still left a lot of Metallic Hair and other crap but at least it wasn’t 100% wasteland noise yet. People were more relaxed and less rude ( even in California! ). Alas, you can’t go back, you can never go back. Now, as far as traveling back in time to a much better economy, the 90’s were hard to beat. That was the last of the cheap and free flowing oil. North Sea and Alaskan oil hadn’t seen production in the toilet yet and Russia was pumping all out ( plus the middle east was playing by our rules ). The last Petroleum Party, consumption wise. Any general recall of prices are enough to get your nipples tingling.
$5 bags of wheat kernels, $20 auto tires, $99 SKS carbines. $500 a month apartment rents, which was two rooms AND all utilities paid. You could still shop around and find plenty of sub-$10k cars. Used autos were littering the ground at sub-$1k. Silver was $5 an ounce and gold $300. World War II surplus guns were still under $100 each with plenty of ammo. And jobs! My goodness, there were actually jobs! I was making more then than I am now. There were more positions than willing warm bodies. It was too easy to prep for Y2K. And now? You are looking at the end of days, as far as comfortably prepping for End Of Days. It wasn’t just low prices back then but purchasing power. None of that silly nonsense now-we are squarely back into the Gilded Age of corporate profits and peon wages ( you presently have a very small window of moderately reduced prices due to systematic commercial failure, and just prior to far more unemployment ). It isn’t corporate greed alone of course. If the bankers had their way we would all be making better salaries so as to be in more debt with those phat interest payments, and government would itself love to see more wages and consumption to boost its tax base. The pie isn’t just shrinking anymore but actually imploding.
Now, I’m not talking about doom and gloom in and of itself right at this moment. We should have all gotten the memo eight years ago that This Suckers Going Down. We should all be squared away prepper/debt avoidance/job security-wise. A lot less consumption and money grubbing isn’t going to kill any of us. What I am talking about is the permanent end of an age of consuming to prep. Yes, I’m screaming from the rooftops to go out and consume with your remaining company chits while you still can. Never again in history will wheat be so cheap and abundant. Never. If you are not a complete moron, you’d be buying $300 in your primary weapons ammunition reloading primers. That’s 10k primers and you’d best buy them now as they will never be as cheap or available ( if nothing else, expect another shortage closer to the elections ). I just split the cost of 300 watts of solar power with my Old Lady ( who is turning out to embrace survivalism to a small but satisfactory way ). Can I afford that right now? Not especially, but I’m always spending too much on a prep item then counting my pennies for the next couple of paychecks to compensate. Was I going to pass up the very last of the surplus 303 ammo selling for 28 cents each after shipping? Of course not! I dipped into my savings and paid it back over the next month. You can also force yourself to take advantage of these savings.
But you do of course realize this is the last gasp of our consumer society. It really is this time. We won’t get a second chance. I know you don’t want to hear it again, but global Peak Oil was 2005. Less free flowing cheap oil did in our economy two years later. The banking industry, absolutely dependent on the growth of oil for their growth in debt paying their growth in currency, won’t survive the death of growth ( take comfort in the death of the Federal Reserve Bank, after a century of empire ). It is cannibalizing the western countries economies to survive up to this point ( and yes, Optimistic Oppies, this especially includes the US. You think Chicago, Detroit and Stockton are mere exceptions? ) and that is almost over. Chinese freefall in exports was the death knell for the global consumer economy. How long do you think you have before you cannot consume anymore? Almost everything to buy in the USA has components from elsewhere. What you are seeing RIGHT NOW is the death of consumerism, the death of the PetroDollar and the economic crash all rolled into one.
Yes, it is natural to be upset about the end of consuming to prep. It was how we rolled for sixty years as survivalists. But consuming was never more than filling up the life raft. We knew the food would run out quickly and we’d have to learn to forage on our deserted island soon enough. Those who dismiss consumption for preps are usually quite happy selling you that advice. Garden now, you can’t store enough food for the rest of your life! Well, duh. Thanks Captain Obvious. But food for seven lean years is sure not a bad idea. And, it might be pointed out, not everyone has been food self-sufficient for the last seven thousand years. Earning barter units by work to buy food has been around since the first agro empires were founded. Buying storage food is just cutting out the middle man of growing the stuff. Of course you will have to start producing your own food as soon as you can kill off the original inhabitant of the nearest farm ( I know this is politically incorrect, but that is the historical method of turning from trader to farmer after a collapse, if vacant land isn’t available. It will be the way of the future, too, so take this as a heads up ).
It would be swell if we could just keep working a crappy job and buying our pathetic pile of prepping goods to assuage our fears, but all signs point to that paradigm ending. Prepare to adjust.
Especially convenient when a good portion of neighborhood farmers believe in nonviolence and eschew electricity....ReplyDelete
I see no conflict in doing SKILL building, Gardening, *and* stockpiling. Stockpiling is easy and (for now at least) affordable. Skill building and gardening can run the gamut from dirt cheap to ruinously expensive depending specific circumstances and type of skill or gardening you are pursuing. Choose wisely, and stockpile as well and you have magnified your chances.ReplyDelete
Of course skills are great. So is a pile of gold, a harem and a walk=in safe full of HK-91's. Just pointing out the reality rather than the hype. My mom could have been a true homesteader, teaching herself all and sundry. But she "only" raised the kids. Dad worked full time and never had two spare moments to rub together. He didn't share in the skill building. I'm just going by reality rather than ideals.Delete
He didn't share in the skill building.ReplyDelete
Sounds like a reason to sit and do nothing.
My dad was a mechanic and I learned to fix autos.
But he knew nothing about welding, electronics, plumbing, wood working, home repair. And several other things I can do. I made the effort to learn how to do them myself.
Nothing stopping any of us form learning more and doing more.
I learn and do new things all the time.
Action cures most problems.
Become an Ameri-can, and stop being an Ameri-can't.
I should add that my dad inherited a home in SoCal when I was born. Every time we moved he sold the old one he had fixed up, then we moved to a bigger home which was also a fixer-upper. When mom was learning homestead skills, he was still fixing up the house in preparation for moving on again. He always had a second job working on the home, so we never had a mortgage or rent. As I sad, NO extra time for learning.Delete
sounds like he WAS learning- how to fix up houses. A usefull skill in most economies. I am sure that each house had its own unique challenges and he enjoyed getting to a point of achievement when he fixed some issue. Carpentry, carpeting, plumbing, painting, roofing, glazing, dry walling, etc. are all skills - useful for saving money now and possibly making money (or at least friends) in the future. No one can learn ALL the possible "survival" skills out there to a mastery level (you have always been right on that score) but many traditional 'hobbies' such as gardening and home repair can be Collapse and PODA useful.Delete
So in effect your pops was focused on ONE field of secondary skills (home repair) with maybe only a dabbling in some of the other usefull possible skills - but just a dabbling is often all that is needed - IF you have enough of a stockpile to get by until you can ramp up the dabbling level skill (camping, gardening, etc.)
I used to look at tools as poison, but you are certainly correct. One repair dab and I could expand into other areas really easy. Almost scary.Delete
Heads up...haven't seen this doom and gloom scammer mentioned on your blog yet, but some of your more naive readers (good gawd, let's hope they aren't that naive!) might fall for the BS. https://ross-elder.com/2016/03/11/bobby-akart-from-con-to-icon/ReplyDelete
Never heard of Ross, or Bobby. I'm safe. And Bobby is only a king amongst morons. Get a months sub to Kindle Unlimited. Read all the non-fiction survivalist how-to books. The hack work, the absence of any and all knowledge, the complete waste of your time perusing these titles, My Good God! Amazing. Truly and sadly amazing.Delete
“The movies were better ( lower production values, sure, but at least some originality ), the female hair was better, the clothes were a bit too Miami Vice inspired but at least festive and gay.”ReplyDelete
Speaking of gay, the 80's also brought us the poster child of extreme gayness, uber queen Richard “Dick” Simmons (He prefers Dick. Get it? :D ).
But all joking aside, I agree James, culturally it was a far better time. I don't recall that PC crap being anywhere near as out of hand as it is now. I also agree on the movies and tv shows. Hollyweird has long since ran out of any original ideas, and now everything from the past suffers from what I like to refer to as “remake hell”.
I'll tell you something else, my much smaller paycheck by today's standards had far more spending power than today. And I don't care what anyone says about these recessions that we supposedly had in the 70's and 80's. I don't recall there ever being a moment at that time in which I couldn't easily find a job, and without the added hassles of today with the background check, credit check, drug test, etc. You simply showed up, and if they liked you, they often hired you right on the spot. Self employment is the only way to go any more.
I'm nowhere near the TV/movie watcher I once was-and that was never to the point of interfering with Internet/reading, so I've never wasted too much time on it, relatively speaking. But it is hard NOT to notice how bad things have gotten. Didn't we used to claim Hollywood was all-American and the pinnacle of the Information Age and how it would always save our economy no matter how many factories closed? How quick that turned into a lie.Delete
The 1980's were great???ReplyDelete
Pre 1980 the average person saved 12% of their income. Post-1980 that dropped to ZERO savings and a gigantic jump in the use of debt.
I was a victim of the no-savings myself, but a divorce in the early 1990"2 cured me of that and living with no ability to buy things on time actually helped build my savings. Today I save a high percentage of my income (at least 50%) but I have to tell you the road to get where I am not was not fun. Being self employed has helped a lot as I'm in charge of my income, not some boss that could care less about me.
So while the 80"s saw a jump in the standard of living it was based on consumer debt. Also consumer electronics was accelerating causing a desire for more stuff that also drove the debt based buying and helped destroy the will and or ability to save money as there was more things to buy then there was money from a paycheck. So when the desire for trinkets exceeds the money you have, people turn to debt instead of doing without all the junk advertised on TV. And that leads to where we are today and (as many of us think) a collapse of the system from controlled debt.
This debt-based buying fueled today's living from paycheck to paycheck lifestyle many of us live.
So NO I don't think the 1980"s were the high point of US living.
The 1980"s actions put us where we are today, not all by itself, but it sure helped a lot.
The entire century was one of growing consumption. Prior to electronics it was household appliances and cars ( perhaps women's fashions ). It was the death of three generational farms and the growth of cities full of consumers. Blame industrialism, not necessarily debt. And debt was the result of diminishing purchasing power, not consumption. The '80's were a huge excelleration of debt due to the death of industry and the domestic oil industry and the rise of the financial sector. Blame the economy not the people. People are always greedy and short sighted, it is in their nature. When given the means...Delete
Yea the industrial revolution is talked about as a big and wonderful advance, but really it mostly made wage-slaves.ReplyDelete
But it sure as heck made a few people at the top a LOT of money and put a lot of others in debt.
As Tennessee Ernie Ford sang " Lord don't call me because I owe my sole to the company store."
I'm so glad I got off the debt wheel 20-years ago, I can't even begin to say how happy I am about it...
While I don't think we will ever go back to the 1700's lifestyle as you can't un-invent things. But you can make them too expensive to buy and fuel to transport them thousands of miles can become in short supply and expensive. So I would guess that local markets may come back. (Not a bad thing from my view.)
So yea I see a simpler life, but not a regress to the old ways too much.
I also see a much more repressive government just ahead.
But who knows, I don't have a real clue any more then the rest of us.
No more real clue of what lies ahead, but that can't stop us from postulating and preparing.Delete
(And debt was the result of diminishing purchasing power, not consumption.)ReplyDelete
Yes and no. Debt also came about because there was so much more to buy that few paychecks could pay for all the extra things marketed (to mostly woman as I read recently that over 70% of consumer buying is by and for woman) to us. Industrialism flooded the market with stuff / junk.
Marketing became a science during this period, refined to induce a savage hunger for a product that people could not resist. This was inevitable when there is a monumental jump in things to buy, it created the ad-man who's sole job was to incite hunger for a product.
If all TV's were to suddenly blow up today, it would not bother me all that much.
Certainly debt is a foul temptress. I went into bankruptcy twice for it although I mostly blame the same ex-wife for both. We are all easily swayed-most will happily sell out a neighbors Constitutional rights for a few pieces of silver.Delete