note: many thanks to WP and SF for their generous donations. Cheers.
In a collapse, things tend to not work. Imagine our surprise. But as preppers, most of us are actually surprised, not least because we look at each problem in isolation. Not to mention a whole lot of denial going on. For instance, if our entire plan for the apocalypse is to stockpile fifty thousand rounds of ammo for our semi-auto arsenal, and you even hint at or suggest that their finances are in danger, they react negatively to your suggestion. WOW! Easy there buddy, I’m only the messenger.
Take my situation. I live in an area where agriculture is near impossible for any significant number of people. A VERY small tribe could range over a wide area collecting plants to condition a small amount of soil. It is far better to let animals graze and be herders. Now, as that is the only way to live post-apocalypse, how am I going to respond to any forecast of a 500 year drought in my area? I’m going to deny it, aren’t I? I’ll gay that up, talk about probabilities and possibilities, perhaps search for Gore Warmer lies to bolster my case against drought ( even though a climate growing colder will also be drier ).
That is just what passes for logic for most people. If you look at our country today, you’ll either find illogical thinking, denial or one dimensional thinking. And of course, there is dingus all anyone can do about anything, so it makes sense. Folks keep talking as if the collapse was reversible, as if we just needed to tweak a buggy software. Like Microsoft has been trying to do for God knows how long now. Just add a few more million lines of code-what could possibly go wrong? Adding complexity doesn’t cause a collapse, it is a feature of the collapse. High or low energy is far more important than too much or too little complexity.
Now, I grant you, complexity certainly doesn’t help matters. It makes systems far more vulnerable. When a drought happens, each house having its own water storage might be preferable to having a centralized point of water collection. There is more resiliency. But the complex system, in this case centralized water, started life as a way to save energy. Rain catchment systems on an individual basis ( as well as sewage and power generation ) was at one time more expensive and resource intense than a central system. You got efficiencies of scale. All a new house needed was a small pipe feeding off the street pipe, rather than metal roofs and gutters and storage tanks.
Right now, everyone thinks their own PV power is the cat’s meow. In the past, running a generator or a water wheel was expensive and delivered very little energy. If it takes twenty years for a PV panel to generate as much power as was consumed in its manufacture, and with its battery it delivers a negative net energy, it would have been cheaper in resources to just hook up the home to a central power system. That was why the system evolved as it did. You can’t look at a century ago through today’s eyes.
As will be repeated until your will to resist the idea is weakened, nothing can be done collectively. Only personal solutions will work. PV is an individual solution, not a societal one. It is all about stocking lifeboats, not magically having a rescue ship ready to seal up the tear in the side of the Titanic. Even though stocking those is far more energy intense than not. Just following the Mormon plan of putting a years wheat aside for everyone would deplete grain stocks and disrupt supply. It is LESS energy intensive to have just one reserve stock that ONLY goes to the area experiencing famine, rather than proofing everyone against it. Complexity ( as taken to mean a centralized system ) saves resources.
Complex systems, the Threads Of Connectivity, increase vulnerability, and that shows up in a Seneca collapse, but PRIOR to that “one weak point taking down the system”, complexity was a result of decreasing resource availability. It postponed collapse. Okay, look at shelter. A century ago, stout wood girders and thick walls made for such quality structures many still stand today ( even if a bit wobbly ). Today’s structures are thin shells a good wind will take out. But you get ten shelters whereas before you got one. The same resources yield far more structures. They just fall much quicker.
As population increased and more shelter was needed, importing sheet metal from overseas and increasing the engineering complexity stretched out resources. You need complexity to avert widespread shelter shortages. Complexity doesn’t cause collapse, it just causes the collapse caused by resource depletion to happen faster. Tired of dirty rotten corrupt politicians? As complexity was needed to stretch resources, the built in corruption that goes along with big government and big business has increased. It is a feature of resource contraction ( shortened to “fighting over the shrinking pie” ). There is no cure but collapse. Then we return to brutally honest local warlords. You’ll wish for another Pelosi or Hillary.
We are at that stage where the overly complex system is accelerating the collapse. Look at an oil well, 150 year old technology for a new conventional rig. Basically just tapping into a keg of beer-the pressure delivers through your pipe. Contrast that with fracking oil, with its vastly more complex supply lines for chemicals and deposal and extra pipe and extra finance per BTU unit and etc. That complexity allowed the last of a resource to be extracted. It was complex oil, or a drastically falling amount of more primitive extracted oil. And it is so efficient at extraction that we reach No Oil quicker. But it is that or collapse sooner.
A better example is through the banks. To make money, ever increasing fraud is needed, as a contracting oil supply actually is a bankers energy contraction ( less energy and the increasing interest payments cannot be generated ). Complexity in the banking system stretches out the time until collapse. Without finance, global trade halts and without global trade all the nation states collapse as few are self sufficient ( even if, say, Russia could go it alone, anarchy from disintegrating China or Kazakhstan would call for far too many military resources to contain ).
This article was titled Non Breeders, and is about the dearth of births, especially amongst Other Colors. I’ll eventually get to that. Continued tomorrow.
END ( today's related link https://amzn.to/2sjWGDU )
* By the by, all my writing is copyrighted. For the obtuse out there
The example of "just paying for the pipe" is not true.ReplyDelete
Yes, you pay for the pipe up front for a few dollars rather than the whole system for a few thousand. But, you then make monthly payments on the collectivist system for the rest of your life and they are always increasing. Collectivist systems are far more expensive all the way around, maintenance is horrendous, and outages are common and beyond your control. Think: the water goes out right before you take your morning shower before going to work.
We are on county water now and suffer under the deluge of all of the above. Prior, for 20+ years we had our own well, pump, and softener and I maintained all of it and the only times it was down was very minimally and I always repaired it instantly. Same with the septic system we had. Now, we have no control over our municipal water system though we do have a septic. I am researching options to get us off the unreliable water system we are in. Water is just too important to allow the gov't to control it, they are, as you well know, way too irresponsible for such a thing.
For a cost comparison, we are currently paying about $80/mth for water and have been paying that for the past 12 years. That's about $11k so far. The water has been OUT at least 6 times a year and that many more times we've had boil water notices, and the payments keep going and going and increasing all the time. For 2 years they've been talking about spending millions to upgrade old rusty stuff. In our older house I replaced a pump once in 12 years at about $400 and about $8/mth for softener salt. (the water we have now is supposed to be soft but it's not so I pay $8/mth for salt anyway). In the previous house the water was out twice, when the pump was out, when the water heater went out, and there was not one boil water notice. Proof that I am far more reliable than the gov't. But then, almost everybody is.
Okay, you are using dollars and reliance. I was speaking of resources. The fact that centralized systems are NOW breaking down and maintanence is deferred is not the point. When it was installed, system wide pre-energy peak, it used less resources than individual systems. What you are seeing now is the centralized system breaking down, which is when complexity hurts. When installed, complexity helps.Delete
Maybe we have 2 different ideas on what "resources" mean?ReplyDelete
I think it means money.
My brother bought a brand new house with a well and septic system and the huge debt associated with it. 2 years later the authorities decided they were going to install a brand new water and sewer system and all the residents in it's path must come up with $18k per home in 90 days. He didn't have the money so they put a lien on his crib. Couple years later his wife's car broke down for the what he thought was the last time, and tried to get another ride. That lien prevented any lenders from dealing with him.
I keep seeing the same old arguments all the time about solar not being a feasible power source for large communities and I always say it is very feasible on a house by house basis. Each homeowner funds and maintains his own system. Large companies get to do the same. Trying to make solar power mimic the old way just doesn't work so new methods must be discovered and employed. I'll be employing mine later this year and the gov't and power company can pound sand, and this winter when everyone on municipal power is without because ice blew the lines I'll have every light in the house on in celebration! LOL "Power to the people that think they deserve it!"
Money represents resources. In our case, oil. I use resources in the sense of energy and materials. Wood, crops, ore, energy. You could include population, fishing, that sort of thing. What you need to actually create wealth.Delete
My understanding of money is it's a claim on goods and services (resources).Delete
20 dollaroos gets one hours labour (Service) from a low level (but handsome) Dingo. or you could buy 13 litres / 3.5 Gallons of petrol (todays money & prices). Theoretically if put in the bank you'd be able to get those goods & services in the future.
I've always viewed money as a barter facilitator. You are correct-it is a claim. Unfortunately that limited shelf life...Delete
Resources are a tangible thing in of itself, not creation of or from nothing. Like money-art-thoughts/ideas/governance. Resources mostly are an expendable commodity that are extracted-mined-part of a sub or post manufacturing process. They are used up and consumed in their final form either individually or as part of an assembly-combination. Some resources say water can be extracted-purified, used/consumed, and run off-return to it's source eventually-indirectly. All the water on earth just moves around in closed loop. BUT! WAY TOO many people-billions are interupting-polluting that loop and natural cyclical flow. And cry impatiently when there is droughts or floods. Some resources, say wood-timber can be re-planted and regrown but it's time to maturityReplyDelete
And harvest must not be exceeded by extraction. That forester-planter lumberjack-sawmill-finishing factory needs all the other resources to make this possible. BUT! Have a failure or depletion (oil? Steel-machinery? Crops-food for the workers? Etc) and it goes kaput! Fails! The billions of people are exceeding those resources, thus the dearth of reproduction of humans is actually needed, but at a much faster curve than it's earlier insane growth curve.
I don’t think that this was part of ghostsniper’s original intended point. But his post did remind me of how important it is to keep everything as low tech and manageable as possible. Wells are a part of life for those of us living in rural areas, and a never ending source of grief to boot. We just dropped around $5k on ours a few months back. If the option to keep things really basic is allowed, do so. A high water table is the best possible condition, because this permits a shallow well that allows for a low tech hand pump. Windmills are nice, but they can fail, hence the auxiliary hand pump. Better yet, a spring that comes right from a pipe in the side of a hill; no moving parts. A cistern is a great back up as well (no pun intended). The challenge of a cistern in desert regions however is that it would require a really big tank for it to be practical as a primary source of water.ReplyDelete
Septic tanks can also be a huge pain in the ass. Here in the people’s republik of kalifornia, we required an engineered system, and it cost a ton. Ours has a pump that pumps the effluent (I think that’s the proper term?) to the leech field. The pump went bad and we had to drop around $500 for a new one, as well as some additional expenses. But generally, the standard septic is relatively maintenance free. So if you live in a state where the price of a septic is reasonable (not Kalifornia) you might wish to opt for one (I won’t, regardless of the state, because it will only raise my taxes higher).
I suppose the point here is that if you live remote, or in a state that allows for low cost, low tech options (Cisterns, hand dug wells, composting toilets, outhouses, etc) it makes life a lot easier in the long run (post collapse) as well as cheaper. Much of what I describe would never fly with the local “building gestapo”, so this mostly applies to remote areas.
The closer you are to "on grid", the more you'll have to fail. Low tech is almost Turd World and if you can go that route you are free of the bankers. Why it's frowned on most places.Delete
I like what my neighbor across the road has. A 150'x150' pond 12' deep fed by 3 underground springs. It never goes dry. He has 10 acres and plenty of room. If I had that I'd get a decent solar pump and a 1000 gallon cistern and connect it up. Locate the cistern close to the house.Delete
He had to have his septic system rebuilt last year and it cost $14k. A big part of that is because of all the gov't regulations governing what is done with all the soil that is removed. The tank itself rarely fails, but rather the drainfield. The drainfield has a "biomat" that is established early, right after the drainfield is created, and it can become damaged by excessive rainwater. Once the biomat becomes contaminated the underlying soil must be removed down to undisturbed soil and replaced with the proper type (sandy loam). That removed soil must be relocated to a proper place and neutralized. I know because we had to deal with that in FL back in 2005. With a little bit of common sense a properly installed septic system can last a lifetime. The more I can keep gov't communists out of my life the better.
I wonder what that comes out to per turd. Say it lasts 20 years. Two people. 1400 turds a year. Times 20. Fifty cents each. Got composting toilet?Delete
The tech you want is one-time-purchase tech. I don't want to start with rocks and make steel for a saw or axe, I want to order an excellent Swedish cutting tool from (on-line tool supplier) and maintain/protect it for a century.ReplyDelete
Agree with GS on securing the basics of water/heat/food/lighting/security in a DIY-fixable minimal way so that you don't need anyone to "serve" you at least for short/medium time (long-term is fine, handled by trade). Maintaining the ability to say "no" means that you have price-avoidance power allowing you to find a work-around for cheaper/no-cost.
Being connected to the power/ng grid is very appealing! It's tough to generate 24-7-365 power to run a modern power-guzzling house without reducing the power consumption to what seems like nothing to someone on-grid. You have to look at it like a hobby that will save you money in 5 years. Same with ng vs. wood heating: ng is easy and convenient while wood makes you strong/sleep well and clears the land. NG requires only a monthly bill while wood needs tools/PPE and space to do well.
Jim's argument makes the most sense in an apartment building: a 20 unit building is super-efficient in materials and operation to deliver hot water, electricity, heat to residents when compared to 20 off-grid houses. Turd whirrled apartments are near to hell-on-earth, while modern maintained ones (payments only) are almost care-free for the 40 hour job werker gitten payed.
The country was building up cities full of apartment buildings, to get farmers into urban areas to become factory workers. Efficiency of design and materials created them fast and cheap. Like China today, just with better quality. This is system wide resource efficiency. Nothing to do with the individual homesteader, as I was discussing why complexity was used. For purposes of discussion, money and self sufficiency needs to be temporarily forgotten.Delete