Monday, January 20, 2020

extreme poverty


EXTREME POVERTY
It is easy to get lost in our surplus mindset. We all have pretty much conquered the frugal living for frugal prepping contest. We know how to live on very little so that we can prep a lot. Not much else to see here, move along. The problem is that we are now mini-warehousing. It isn't an issue, per se. Buying double or triple for the same price, by buying bulk, is super deluxe magical. No, the problem stems from the New Normal being that we CAN live surrounded by bulk. We can lose sight of the fact that surplus is abnormal.
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All empires suffer from hubris and delusions of surplus. America is no exception. We OUTDID the rest of the empires through history with the scale of that delusion, but that is only because of oil. Even England, with its coal, never approached the level of unreality. Mostly because of the class system, most folks were used to poverty and deprivation, all through the Industrial Revolution. Once it became time to politically share, after WWI, the ability to do so had long passed from the economy being eclipsed and society burdened by unintended consequences.
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The US never really had a resource disruption, despite always having some part of society living in abject poverty. This was a political and economic system exploiting new immigrants, wherein the old immigrants could then move up the socioeconomic ladder. That played out until very recently, whereby new immigrants were then rewarded as the multi-generational original settlers were exploited and ruined economically as the original wealth pump was reversed. The American Dream was always about exploitation and theft, but the contract was rewritten.
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The good part of this dynamic is that the bankers can only control you through debt. We bought us a small window of relief by staying out of debt and hence could survive nicely on the crumbs thrown us, but you also have to beware the caveats to that. If you foolishly get married, or have children, that is weaponized against you. If you want more money or more luxury, that is weaponized against you. You must live on the margins, staying less visible by needing less money. We are at a fortunate time right before overcapacity ruins the global economy, and before the energy is seriously depleted.
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Don't mistake this time as a normal condition. It is a reprieve. If one avoids debt and lives frugal, it is nothing to save a bit of cash and buy in bulk. As 70% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, we don't have a lot of competition. We are being rewarded with steep discounts for being able to save rather than stay in debt. What a glorious time, buying $200 cases of AR ammo, twenty-five cents a pound of wheat buying in bulk. Ten years ago, global drought saw a shortage of wheat ( or, increased prices ) and there was ZERO affordable ammunition. The decade of economic decline eliminated a lot of consumers.
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It is nothing, barely registering on our budget, to buy thirty space blankets at a time, or twenty fresnel lenses. We only shop the family packs of meat, on loss leader sale. We are surrounded by crates of cheap LED lights, or Sportsman's Guide military surplus sold in half dozen lots. You can buy used paperbacks at the library for a dime each, as the fools trading in for a Kindle ( with far worse modern books ). And none of this is normal. And it is dangerous because we have embraced it as such, in desperation.
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After the deprivation of the 1970's, we as a people and culture went shopping at the mall, an orgy, a glut of consumption, exactly because the last decade had really sucked. We were applying Shopping Therapy. We all did it, voting for the Happy Optimist in Reagan, and partying so hearty the term “hookers and blow” entered the mainstream. Some fool on the radio was telling us to “don't worry, be happy”. Our entertainment went from depressing and violent with universal suffering ( Death Wish ) to happy and violent ( almost any action film ) where only the bad guys suffered.
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I think we might be in danger of being in a similar place of indulgent reality avoidance. We really were traumatized by the Greater Depression. Now that another Even Greater If Not The Greatest Forever Depression seems to have started, we might cling ever tighter to our material overabundance, to shield us. Oh, we know hard times are coming, but all this excessive crap is a talisman. A security blanket. I'm not judging. I was NEVER the level of hoarder I am now. It might be easy to forget that we are about to enter Extreme Poverty.
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I keep harping on it, although I've let it rest for longer in between lately, the problem of semi-auto firearms. All our lives, ammo was there, even 24 hours a day when Wal-Mart was still selling it before selling out to the commies. Even during the ammo drought, you could still buy ammo, just for a lot more money. Except rimfire, but I'll do you the favor of not harping on my favorite Peak Ore topic. But by and large, the ammo didn't disappear. I'm buying it up now, as if it will. Mostly because of politics, but also the next economic collapse.
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But my point is folks look at ammo as a given, something that will always be there, even if the price isn't right. Ah, no. We are going to be entering the phase of empire akin to the Great Depression, but worse, without the surpluses we had then. We are going to be following Britain's lead, but without another superpower to prop us up as we did them. Most of us are going to be entering into extreme poverty, as the ass falls out of the economy. Which will NOT recover as there is no more energy to prop one up.
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Yeah, here's my second favor. I won't get into all that, the Peak Oil argument. I'll just say, 2030 is the Olduvai Theory end game. Anyway, wasting ammunition tactically isn't the problem here. I just use it as an example of the surplus mindset. Another example is toilet paper. Far too many of us, myself included, still try for that mythical pallet of TP, rather than practicing NOW, with water or clothe wipes. I save SOME, not a lot, by delivering my Po Boy Bidet by soaking a wad of TP in water from the sink, after the initial solid removal, the water soothing on the hemorrhoids and far more easily removing the smeared matter. But I'm STILL relying on TP.
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Another example would be the dozens of LED's and the boxes full of rechargeable batteries, for illumination. When I suggest SUPPLEMENTING, not replacing but supplementing, some of that with the ToobLite reusable green glow stick, I'm met with dismissal. I'm not saying my solution is ideal, far from it. I only suggest it is an example of the proper mindset needed, to embrace SOME bulk buying elimination by going more primitive. I think the TP question is a good indicator to someone's willingness to change their thinking, planning and expectations.
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I would not DARE to suggest that for eliminating semi-auto. I realize I sit sad and alone on that. But if you can plan ahead and accept the lack of TP, even if you do try to postpone that day with stacking the pile higher, I think you are okay for the coming poverty. Because even entering Spice Times with a huge surplus, why not try to make that last a very long time indeed, stretching out the supply with poverty substitution?
( .Y. )
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19 comments:

  1. Yes great points Jim. I always pondered the survive and thrive crowd, those pernacious redoubters toting around baskets of cheer and joy while fawning over chicken husbandry and flir scopes. UPS and Amazon boxes always being delivered to the unicorn hobby farms regular like olden days milkmen.

    The items stockpiled in bulk or mass quantities beyond an interim interuption, whatever they may be used or needed for, are only meant to carry one through a collapse or conflict period. That may be short weather events or couple years spicy times. They are not going to for the most part be decisive post die off collapse dark ages exended eras. If things are that "scratchy and itchy" for too long a period your b-pod pallets amassed will not cure the new ailments of various forms that will arise.

    Fitness and toughness, skills and adaptability, new dynamics thinking and practices are what will really matter.

    Split matches in two in practice now and wear under clothes well past servicability to acclimate one's snowflake self now, before things are made too be austere causing the nervous bedwetting later on. Live hard now for real training, or continue with the poser Utube video part timer half assed preps only to be called out by darwin and be punked hard in the towne square with an audience clapping along.
    Stay frosty.

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    1. Right, gotta practice every aspect. Bum fighting, anyone? I'm kidding! You'll get a nasty disease. And those hobo's might carry a shotgun

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    2. Be that Salt of the earth type. As depicted in the movie Patriots with Mel Gibson: go to the tavern and get the surly unruly deplorable bunch of monkeywrench gang from the trailer parks for your best fighters and fellows with moxie. Meek shall inherit what is left of the earth.

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    3. Good movie, but not really painless to rewatch. I think I'm turned off by the over the top drama. It worked much better in Braveheart. "I asked God. He says you're fooked"

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    4. At "The rural doomstead" I lived at for a few years, the problem of over-hoarding was solved simply by storing things really badly so they'd rust, rot, etc.

      I think I mentioned I looked at the place using Google sky view and street view and the place really screams "meth nest" now, so the doom supplies may be being stolen, eaten up, or sold these days.

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    5. If it can yield $5, it's sold or stolen.

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  2. Because of their importance ammo and food are always affordable. Was in walmart last week and they had loads and loads of .22 but no 9mm, didn't even have a spot for 9mm on the shelves. I asked the worker about it and she said they aren't carrying 9mm any more. shrug I get most of my ammo at Rural King - 100rd boxes or bigger.

    I think the word "hoarding" was invented by nosey bitches just so they'd have something to complain about. (If you have 3 Dinty Moore's and I have 4 well I'm hoarding).

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    1. Evil Assault Rifle Ammo!!! Because of all the, you know, 9mm submachineguns out there. Thank you Wal-Mart, for a safer 'Murica.

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    2. Ya! And considering Walmarts should have their own friggin Zip Codes for the amount of hanger ons that loiter about there like it is their living room. The lame stream news always flags every shoot out occuring at a walmart like describing crime perpetrators in the sixties as negroes in denigration terminology. Should be a two reload load magazine minimum entry for patrons because of the scumbaggery folks must endure to patronize there. Corporate force fields protecting management will only hold for so long considering the collapsing systems onslaught. Worse than a Klingon invasion to come.

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    3. Management is so divorced from reality that even as they are swinging from a lamppost their last thoughts will be confusion their overlords didn't protect them.

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  3. As several generations of ranchers have learned (most recently during 2010-2013 Southern Plains drought) you cannot feed your way out of a drought.
    Accept the fact you live in a harsh environment and just sell all your stock early before the panic sets in and prices collapse. Save the cash. Allow the land to recover instead of stripping the last grass off your place. Someday the rain will return, the grass will regrow and more and better cattle can be bought. The cycle resumes.

    Woe unto him who thinks he has enough hay or grass. The rows of bales or full barns will be consumed before the rain returns. The stock tank is a fetid mud wallow. Pastures turn to dust and blow away. Buzzards feast and you have no more tears.
    All flesh is grass.

    Let he who has wisdom understand the parable.
    Thus concludeth the lesson.

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    1. For the above lesson to be learned, you can't be in debt first. Good luck with that

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  4. Hookers and blow. Sounds like a party. I'm working on gearing down. As soon as Child tax and my land is paid off I'll be able to live the current motorized lifestyle for less than $800 a month with plans to go cheaper. Sub $400 if needed. Worst case $300.

    I'm pretty good on ammo and so so on wheat. I'd like another half ton. Have a bunch of ammo but need some more 5.56 since ive part way gone back to the common caliber. I've been hard at this since Katrina though. My land taxes where I am with rain, trees and 20+ acres was only $200 this hear with the mobile home so I'm good there compared to many.

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    1. You've got a place, pals and a plan. 3P is definitely better than most.

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  5. I put another $100 bill into my cash savings/escape money (still substantially less than a grand) and was thinking, if I could put $200 a month into this I'd be doing great, then realized, Wait a minute, when I was making $5 an hour back in the mid-80s, I was able to sock away $200 a month, in mid-80s dollars. And I lived in an actual place intended for human habitation - had my address right there and a (shared) shower and everything.

    2030 huh? That's 10 years from now - everything's always going to happen 10 years from now ...

    In any case, if things go to shit here and I of all people certainly know how quickly they can go to shit, I'm going back to Hawaii however good bad or indifferent the place is; it's where I grew up and I know where everything is, and if I'm going to die in the street at least it'll be a street I knew as a child.

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    1. I was making $3.50 an hour and putting half of that away, after cigarettes, RV rent and a diet heavy on fruit and meat ( no grains as now ). Yeah, the 80's were the last good years ( the 90's might have been almost as affordable but the culture had turned ). As for 2030, I've been harping on that date since I learned about it. So, far more than ten years. Fracking done? Between this year and two or three more, at most. Going back home to HI-that is your lizard brain telling you to escape to safety. I'd listen to that little bastard if I were you. As long as you know it is right for you, the least worst option, I wouldn't dink around. Make it your priority, BEFORE things go to crap. As you say, it will go quicker than your schedule.

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    2. Got two sisters back there, one married into Lawyer Gang and one married into Police gang, got old friends there still (the ones still alive) and can say I went to so-and-such high school, worked at so-and-such places everyone knows, that makes me OG there.

      I am looking at getting back in a bit less than 3 years anyway. Air here in Silicon Valley is "pack a day" quality, it's just a matter of statistics as to when I get hit by a car riding my bike, and quality of life and contact with nature is down in the pits.

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    3. It ain't no contest dude-go back to where you are comfortable and people don't hate you. Life is too damn short.

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  6. You can't tell the specifics, but the ultimate in deprivation is food. If you run out of Ruffles...oh, my.

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