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Economics

Doing 'Retreat' Right

Chris Martenson - March 31, 2017 - 10:08
Executive Summary
  • Understanding the difference between Artificial and Economically-Viable Communities
  • What to look for in a retreat community
  • Why regional assets matter
  • The importance of "path dependence" in a retreat location

If you have not yet read Part 1: Having A 'Retreat' Property Comes With Real Challenges available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

In Part 1, we considered the nature of security and independence, and found that the intuitively appealing remote cabin in the woods (RCITW) is actually highly insecure and does not reduce dependence on fragile global supply chains at all—it may well increase our dependence and vulnerability to disruptions.

Security is a function of an engaged community (eyes on the street, knowing one’s neighbors, reciprocity of caring) and occupancy. The remote cabin that’s rarely occupied is the acme of insecurity.

Here in Part 2, we’ll consider the qualities that create security and resilience in communities.

Artificial Communities vs. Economically Viable Communities

If we reckon a community is a collection of dwellings, we might be tempted to view all collections of dwellings as being roughly equal. This would be a great mistake, for communities divide very naturally into artificial communities and economically viable communities.

In artificial communities, security is poor and difficult/costly to improve.  In economically viable communities, the multiple layers of stakeholders provide self-reinforcing homegrown security.

Artificial communities are consumer communities—they produce essentially nothing. Economically viable communities produce goods and services as a function of their natural-resource advantages (good soil, adequate water, river ports, coastal harbors, advantageous weather, etc.) and concentrations of capital (rail lines, banks, universities, an entrepreneurial culture supported by local government, etc.).

History has not been particularly kind to defensive strategies, which is what most artificial communities are. This is why...

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Categories: Economics

Having A 'Retreat' Property Comes With Real Challenges

Chris Martenson - March 31, 2017 - 10:07

A flurry of recent headlines has highlighted the financial elites’ interest in secure retreats (a.k.a. bug-out locations) should the trucks stop rolling. 

The intuitive solution to many, from the super-wealthy on down, is some version of a hideaway in the woods: a remote locale known only to the owner, where the owner can burrow safely away until the storm passes.

It turns out security and independence are tricky qualities, and surprising reversals are not just possible but likely: what appears to be secure at first glance might be highly insecure, and independence turns out to be highly relative.

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Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 3/31 - Good News Friday: Homeless Aid In LA, The Dawn Of Commercial Spaceflight

Chris Martenson - March 31, 2017 - 08:41
  • We may have just witnessed the dawn of truly commercial spaceflight
  • Russian rumbling: Anti-corruption demonstrations sweep across Russia
  • Canada Is Going to Legalize Marijuana in 2018
  • Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan signs comprehensive civil rights legislation into law
  • More States To Expand Medicaid Now That Obamacare Remains Law
  • It’s a wrap: Measure H wins 69.37% in final tally for homeless aid
  • Man Collects $763,000 He Thought Was a Scam
  • For Better Health, Close Your Eyes And Do Nothing

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Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 3/30 - Traditionalism And Cultural Ecology, Your Private Browsing History For Sale

Chris Martenson - March 30, 2017 - 08:14
  • "Traditionalism" through the Lens of Cultural Ecology
  • 'Tickled plumb to death': These Trump voters love Obamacare and are glad it's survived
  • Monster riot control vehicle can take over streets
  • For sale: Your private browsing history
  • Ian Bremmer Says Le Pen Can Really Win and Cause Crisis
  • Death Valley Snowballs and Fiat Currencies
  • Maduro’s Last Stand: Military Takes Over Struggling Oil Sector
  • 1 Million Pounds Of Chicken Recalled Due To “Metal Objects”

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Categories: Economics

Off The Cuff: Eggshell Markets

Chris Martenson - March 29, 2017 - 16:20

In this week's Off The Cuff podcast, Chris and John Rubino discuss:

  • Vexing Volatility
    • How the VIX is being used to drive the markets
  • We Can't Handle Losses Anymore
    • Why the market is now incredibly vulnerable to downturns
  • Our Captive System
    • Until it breaks, the system is run to serve the banks, not us
  • The Death Of The Living Wage
    • The hollowing out of the middle class continues

Lots of sobering material packed into this week's Off The Cuff discussion between Chris and John. While there are signs of growing instability to be found nearly everywhere, both are very concerned about the extreme fragility of today's financial ""markets"". At the slightest sign of weakness, tremendous interventions now happen on a daily basis to keep prices from falling, even by a single percent.

The reason why is that the system is too vulnerable for ANY degree of loss to be sustained without fear of collapsing it.

Click to listen to a sample of this Off the Cuff Podcast or Enroll today to access the full audio and other premium content today.

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Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 3/29 - Pension Crises Ahead, N.J. Credit Rating Cut 11th Time

Chris Martenson - March 29, 2017 - 07:23
  • Healthcare to triple in cost for retired Texas teachers
  • Bill aims to address high health care costs
  • Why local governments and school districts are wrestling with unfunded pension liabilities
  • Pension cuts looming for Ohio teachers and retirees
  • Pension Crisis Ahead: Why Public Employees Should Think About A Golden Nest Egg Now
  • Spain’s Social Security shortfall rises to €18.6 billion in 2016
  • Distressed Funds Find Treasure in China's Mounting Bad Debts
  • Household Debt Near Recession Levels, But This Time’s Different
  • N.J. credit rating cut for 11th time under Christie

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Categories: Economics

Podcast: Project Equity's Alison Lingane on the Perks of Worker-Owned Cooperatives

Shareable Magazine - March 29, 2017 - 00:33

"Good decisions are built into worker cooperatives from the inside out," says Alison Lingane.

In this episode of Next Economy Now, Ryan Honeyman, a partner and worker-owner at LIFT Economy, interviews Alison Lingane, co-founder of Project Equity.

Project Equity is a nonprofit organization that fosters economic resiliency by demonstrating and replicating strategies to increase worker ownership.

In this interview, Lingane and Honeyman discuss:

Categories: Economics

How to Keep Businesses (and Small Towns) Alive When Owners Retire

In Kansas, a new matchmaking service is helping transition small businesses to new hands. Could it be a model for the rest of rural America?
Categories: Economics

Building a Sharing Economy Takes More Than Just a Smartphone

Shareable Magazine - March 28, 2017 - 12:31

I ran into my friend Rick the other day in a small town near our homes in northern Vermont. He was just coming out of the bookstore, holding a pink plastic bag that, I would soon learn, contained a dozen eggs from his flock of free range hens. After a bit of small talk, Rick asked, "You don't by any chance have a pair of jumper cables in your car?" I did."Would you be willing to drive over to the post office and jump my pickup truck? I’ve been trying to park on hills until I can get a new battery, but there just ain't enough slope at the post office."

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 3/28 - Deaths Of Despair, The Four Deep Drivers Of Destabilization

Chris Martenson - March 28, 2017 - 07:33
  • Is the US facing an epidemic of 'deaths of despair'? These researchers say yes
  • What the Berkshires Learned by Launching its Own Currency
  • The 21st Century’s Horsemen of the Apocalypse: The Big Four Deep Drivers of Destabilization
  • Step Free of Government Chaos
  • An Alabama Prison’s Unrelenting Descent Into Violence
  • A Dream of Clean Energy at a Very High Price
  • Texans Receive First Notices of Land Condemnation for Trump’s Border Wall
  • Trump moves decisively to wipe out Obama’s climate-change record

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Categories: Economics

Cooperativism in the Digital Era, or How to Form a Global Counter-Economy

Shareable Magazine - March 28, 2017 - 05:51

"What if this is not capitalism, but something worse?" McKenzie Wark's question eloquently summarizes the growing criticism of profit-maximizing business models within the so-called collaborative sharing economy.

Categories: Economics

The Way Toward Single-Payer Health Care—Even With This Congress

It’s likely that the Trump-Ryan failure will push state legislatures to consider expanding Medicaid—putting even more people under the public insurance system.
Categories: Economics

The Favela as a Community Land Trust: A Solution to Eviction and Gentrification?

Shareable Magazine - March 27, 2017 - 13:50

Inextricably linked to Rio de Janeiro's identity for more than a century, favelas today serve the essential function of providing affordable housing to nearly a quarter of the city's residents.

Categories: Economics

Michael Ableman: Urban Agriculture

Chris Martenson - March 27, 2017 - 10:30

Food security is a foundational cornerstone of resilience, which is why here at Peak Prosperity we recommend sourcing a substantial percentage of your food calories locally. Buy from nearby sustainable farms and, if at all possible, grow some of your own food yourself.

While many of our readers are now doing exactly this, we commonly hear how difficult it can be to follow these steps for those living in the suburbs or large cities.

In today's discussion, Michael Ableman walks us through how farming in our cities is indeed possible. In fact, it not only results in healthier foods, but in healthier communities, too.

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Categories: Economics

Michael Abelman: Urban Agriculture

Chris Martenson - March 27, 2017 - 10:30

Food security is a foundational cornerstone of resilience, which is why here at Peak Prosperity we recommend sourcing a substantial percentage of your food calories locally. Buy from nearby sustainable farms and, if at all possible, grow some of your own food yourself.

While many of our readers are now doing exactly this, we commonly hear how difficult it can be to follow these steps for those living in the suburbs or large cities.

In today's discussion, Michael walks us through how farming in our cities is indeed possible. In fact, it not only results in healthier foods, but in healthier communities, too.

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Categories: Economics

Podcast: Jessica Gordon Nembhard on the History and Power of African-American Cooperatives

Shareable Magazine - March 27, 2017 - 09:07

In this interview, we spoke with Jessica Gordon Nembhard, professor of community justice and social economic development at the City University of New York and author of Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice. The conversation centered around the history of solidarity economics — particularly worker co-operatives — within the African American community.

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 3/27 - Sad Signs Of Collapse, The Quest To Live Forever

Chris Martenson - March 27, 2017 - 08:39
  • Dollar, Equities Slide as Trump Trade Shows Cracks: Markets Wrap
  • Steve Mnuchin Is 'Not Worried at All' About Machines Displacing American Workers
  • Top US coal boss Robert Murray: Trump 'can't bring mining jobs back'
  • Sad Signs Of A Collapse
  • Silicon Valley's Quest To Live Forever
  • Information Wars: A Window into the Alternative Media Ecosystem
  • Self-Driving Cars May Just Be the Start
  • The North Atlantic may get its first-ever named storm in March next week

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Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 3/26 - One Step From Meltdown, Trump Vs. Congress

Chris Martenson - March 26, 2017 - 09:10
  • Upset in France would have bigger impact here than Brexit or Trump
  • Trump Vs. Congress: Now What?
  • GOP Eyes Tax Overhaul -- And Lessons From Health-Care Failure
  • One Step From Meltdown
  • JNUG up, Stalled? Sell now or get JDST? What happens May 1
  • Russian Roulette, Central Banks, and Gold
  • OPEC In Trouble As Saudis Becoming Weary Of “Free Riders”
  • Food Waste, No More—Scientists Have Figured Out A New Use For Orange Peels

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Categories: Economics

Why This Market Needs To Crash

Chris Martenson - March 24, 2017 - 19:12

Like an old vinyl record with a well-worn groove, the needle skipping merrily back to the same track over and over again, we repeat: Today's markets are dangerously overpriced.

Strange as it may sound, it's our opinion that the sooner a major market correction happens, the better. Crash now while there’s still chance of picking up the pieces afterwards and making something useful from them. The longer we push off the inevitable fall, the more destructive it will be and the more difficult it will be to recover from.

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Categories: Economics

Positioning Yourself For The Crash

Chris Martenson - March 24, 2017 - 09:05
Executive Summary
  • Why economic growth is not going to ride to the rescue
  • The alarming warning signs the auto, fine art, retail & housing industries are flashing now
  • The actions you should be taking now to protect yourself from (and position for) the coming crash

If you have not yet read Part 1: Why This Market Needs To Crash  available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm ever going to run out of new things to say about the state of the world, especially economics.  The more obvious our predicaments become to me, the less appetite there seems to be ‘out there’ to discuss them.

What more can be said about a system that is so obviously corrupt and destined to fail, and piles up more and more evidence that this is the case, and yet refuses to engage in the most minimal of introspection? 

Well, lots as it turns out. 

You see, we're finally getting to beginning of the end.  Our long national -- and global -- experiment with using flawed economic models is now running smack dab into reality.

The edifice of central planning omnipotence is crumbling and when it finally breaks down in earnest, the financial markets will implode, the central banks will be overrun and discredited, and investors will discover that overly-long parties come with massive hangovers.

There will be hell to pay.

For reasons we have discussed previously, and extensively,  GDP growth has not been a feature of the world stage for over a decade, and is unlikely to return both because of debt levels that are far too high to support rapid growth and because any return of rapid growth will run smack into higher oil prices.

So…how’s that story working out?  Not so hot.  It’s been sub-par on a global scale for more than a decade. And the same is true for the US.

And here’s where we are today...

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Categories: Economics