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Economics

Off the Cuff: When??

Chris Martenson - July 3, 2014 - 08:13

In this week's Off the Cuff podcast, Chris and Charles discuss:

  • Time To Short This Market?
    • Chris is very close to making that call
  • Replacing Energy With Debt
    • A short-term fiction that's quickly coming to an end
  • 2015: Bonanza or Bust?
    • Lots of voices on either side
  • The Impact If Oil Goes Higher
    • Get ready for Global Recession 2.0

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Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 7/3 - N.Y. Ruling Could Lead To More Fracking Bans, The Economics Of Fake Degrees

Chris Martenson - July 3, 2014 - 07:43
  • What About the Jobless Who Aren’t Looking?
  • The Economics of Fake Degrees
  • How India’s Economic Rise Could Bolster America’s Economy
  • The Disloyal
  • Gold Prices Benefit From Economic Sins
  • Similarities Between 1914 And 2014
  • Possession Is 9/10ths of the Law
  • N.Y. Ruling Could Lead To Fracking Bans Elsewhere In U.S.

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Categories: Economics

Gar Alperovitz on Why the New Economy Movement Needs to Think Big

Photo by Walter Corno / Flickr.

It’s possible that the future of the American economy arrived 37 years ago, on a drizzly, gray day in Youngstown, Ohio. That morning, in 1977, residents woke to the news that Youngstown Sheet and Tube, a large steel mill and major provider of good, well-paying jobs in the area, was to shut its doors, putting five thousand people out of work. It was the first among a series of blows to the city, which would eventually lose half its population and sink into Rust Belt decrepitude.

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But something else happened in the wake of the day that became known around town as Black Monday: The newly-unemployed steel workers got together and, with the support of their community, built a coalition to purchase the mill and run it themselves as a worker-owned cooperative. Today, some four decades later, the notion of worker-ownership has taken hold in Ohio, a state with many worker-owned businesses and a support system for building them that’s among the best in the nation.

The story of Youngstown figures prominently in political economist and historian Gar Alperovitz’s important new book, What Then Must We Do?: Straight Talk About the Next American Revolution, because, in not a few ways, what happened to Youngstown is what’s happened nearly everywhere. Cities and towns from formerly big Detroit, Mich., to tinier-than-ever Chadbourn, N.C., have watched jobs, resources, and populations dwindle, while the country’s larger-order economic and ecological systems begin to fail as well.

New economy proponents shouldn’t settle for small and local; a truly serious attempt at a new economic system will require building institutions at the regional and national scales, too.

So what’s going on in the richest country in the world? According to Alperovitz, the great emptying out of American communities is symptomatic of something deeper, which is the ever-increasing flow of wealth to multinational corporations. In 2014, wealth amounts to decision-making power, and Americans have watched that power move from the hands of localities to the hands of multinationals—almost none of which are rooted where they operate, and almost all of which have priorities other than community stability.

Having diagnosed our situation as a systemic crisis, what, then, does Alperovitz recommend? As it turns out, the 1977 Youngstown coalition could provide the seed of an answer. In chapters packed with historical anecdotes and current-day examples, What Then Must We Do? shows how the steel workers’ collective response to collapse is a model for economic self-determination that is spreading and deepening across the country. In Cleveland’s struggling Glenville neighborhood, for example, there exists a complex of worker-owned cooperatives that sell goods and services to local hospitals—an arrangement that’s providing good jobs that won’t leave the area. Similar complexes are emerging elsewhere in the United States, from Pittsburgh to the Bronx. And all of this in addition to the 130 million Americans who are already members of co-ops and credit unions, the latter representing a block of capital (roughly $1 trillion) as big as one of the top five Wall Street banks.

What Then Must We Do?
Straight Talk About the Next American Revolution

Gar Alperovitz
Chelsea Green

Readers of Alperovitz’s previous book, America Beyond Capitalism, are likely to recognize an argument about how corporate power warps democratic politics and how things like cooperatives and community land trusts offer an alternative. But What Then Must We Do? presses further, and attempts to imagine how a new economic system built from a diversity of cooperative organizations might actually emerge, from the bottom up, in the next few decades. If that’s to happen, Alperovitz argues, new economy proponents shouldn’t settle for small and local; a truly serious attempt at a new economic system will require building institutions at the regional and national scales, too.

“New forms of ownership are important not only on their own,” Alperovitz writes, “but also in that they begin to offer handholds on a new longer-term vision.” To get there, he describes a strategy for slowly turning privately owned blocks of wealth into democratically owned blocks of wealth—in contexts that range from the health care and banking sectors to transportation infrastructure. “We are talking here about developing institutions, not just trying to change policy,” Alperovitz stresses. “And the institutions we are talking about are directly concerned with the critical system question of who owns (and how to democratize) productive wealth.”

It’s hard to wade into these topics without tangling with some complicated ideas—I had to look up a few words in the dictionary—but Alperovitz does an admirable job of translating the academese. In each chapter, he provides concrete ideas about what a system might look like that isn’t capitalism and isn’t state socialism, while describing a path forward that feels robust, practical, and even a little exciting. Should we manage to head down that path, we may find proof that, in Alperovitz’s words, “if you roll up your sleeves, it may well be possible to do something different.”

Scott Gast wrote this article for The Power of Story, the Summer 2014 issue of YES! Magazine. Scott is assistant editor of Orion magazine. He lives in western Massachusetts.

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Categories: Economics

Special Offer - Adventure Medical Kits

Chris Martenson - July 2, 2014 - 15:18

We are pleased to announce that PrepareDirect is offering PeakProsperity.com members a special discount of 5% off on Adventure Medical Kits.

Adventure Medical Kits and accessories are very high quality with proven combinations of reliable components. These kits are designed by medical professionals with extensive experience in dealing with medical emergencies and trauma in the wilderness and during other disasters an emergency preparedness planner might encounter.

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Categories: Economics

50 Garden Ideas

Chris Martenson - July 2, 2014 - 13:47

A list of great tips and projects to make you a better gardener and improve the color of your green thumb.

http://momsbyheart.net/50-garden-tips-ideas/

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Categories: Economics

Good and Cheap: How to Eat Well on $4 a Day

Shareable Magazine - July 2, 2014 - 09:13

As the final project for her Food Studies master's degree at New York University, Leanne Brown decided to write a cookbook for eating healthy on $4 a day -- the amount of money that SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program aka "food stamps") recipients must live on. "I wanted to create a resource that would promote the joy of cooking and show just how delicious and inspiring a cheap meal can be if you cook it yourself," she notes. "Even though food stamps help millions of people across the United States every day, benefits were reduced in November despite rising food prices.

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 7/2 - CA Cities Crack Down on Water Use, Student Loan Debt At All-Time High

Chris Martenson - July 2, 2014 - 06:25
  • The Vast Majority of Baby Boomers Are Overweight Or Obese
  • Illinois governor signs FY 2015 budget, vows to cut more
  • Obamacare data errors could jeopardize coverage for millions
  • Chinese bank sues local govt financing vehicle in rare public spat
  • Four of 10 wells forecast to fail in northeastern Pa.
  • Student loan debt at all time high
  • High Gas Prices Heading Into July 4 Holiday
  • Barbecue Bummer: Meat Prices Rise
  • California Cities Crack Down on Water Use
  • IMF sees Russia close to recession as Ukraine sanctions bite

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Categories: Economics

The Approaching Inevitable Market Reversal

Chris Martenson - July 2, 2014 - 05:06

Though we’re constantly reassured by financial pundits and the Federal Reserve that the stock market is not a bubble and that valuations are fair, there is substantial evidence that suggests the contrary.

The market is dangerously stretched in terms of valuation and sentiment, and it does not accurately reflect fundamentals such as earnings and sales growth.

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Categories: Economics

How to Control Squash Vine Borer

Chris Martenson - July 1, 2014 - 17:29

Squash vine borers are terrible pests of the cucurbit family of plants that include squash, zucchini, pumpkins, melons, and cucumbers.

Squash Vine Borer Larvae

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Categories: Economics

Seed Grant Superstars: 200+ Projects Sprout in All Shapes & Places

Shareable Magazine - July 1, 2014 - 16:24

Because we know sharing projects are tough to get off the ground, we believe it’s so important to support these projects early on, especially in communities with fewer financial resources. By doing a successful sharing project together that addresses real needs with creativity, community and fun, a crucial step is realized in building a sharing city.

Categories: Economics

Iraq, Oil & The Coming Wealth Transfer

Chris Martenson - July 1, 2014 - 13:28

Yesterday, Chris was interviewed by Greg Hunter of USAWatchdog. Greg was a former investigative correspondent at ABC and CNN who now operates his own digital "news station". He invited Chris on to discuss the latest implications of ISIS' inroads deeper into Iraq, as well as the larger consequences the world faces if plunged into another -- potentially worse -- Great Recession:

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Categories: Economics

Iraq, Oil & The Coming Wealth Tranfer

Chris Martenson - July 1, 2014 - 13:28

Yesterday, Chris was interviewed by Greg Hunter of USAWatchdog. Greg was a former investigative correspondent at ABC and CNN who now operates his own digital "news station". He invited Chris on to discuss the latest implications of ISIS' inroads deeper into Iraq, as well as the larger consequences the world faces if plunged into another -- potentially worse -- Great Recession:

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Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 7/1 - Transcending Collapse, Las Vegas Is Running Dry

Chris Martenson - July 1, 2014 - 07:46
  • Things have never been more negative for the dollar: John Williams
  • A Grieving Father Pulls a Thread That Unravels BNP’s Illegal Deals
  • More Oil Means More Environmental Concerns, With Good Reason
  • An abandoned mall in Bangkok has been overtaken by fish
  • Transcending Collapse
  • The race to stop Las Vegas from running dry
  • Las Vegas Is "Screwed"; The Water Situation "Is As Bad As You Can Imagine"
  • Obama’s Chance to Save the Whales

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Categories: Economics

The Signals That Will Tell Us A Stock Market Reversal Is Imminent

Chris Martenson - July 1, 2014 - 07:38
Executive Summary
  • Understanding the importance of the 'Smith Market Uncertainty Principle'
  • Technical analysis techniques for identifying the arrival of a market reversal
    • Bollinger bands
    • volatility
    • moving averages
  • Using the above indicators to know when to sell

If you have not yet read The Approaching Inevitable Market Reversal, available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

In Part 1, we reviewed the case for the Fed-enforced New Normal of “no more downturns” and the case for a trend reversal in the stock market.

In this Part 2, we consider signs that a trend reversal has taken hold.

The Mechanics of Manipulation

Let’s briefly review the mechanics of stock market manipulation.  It’s easiest to manipulate a low-volatility, low-volume market, as low volatility (i.e. complacency) lowers the risk premium in index options, and a low-volume market is influenced by the purchase of relatively modest blocks of index options.  As a result, the Fed or its proxies can prop up the markets with large purchases of index options that cost very little in comparison to the overall size of the market.  (Recall each option leverages 100 shares of the index or stock.)

The other way to manipulate the market is to intervene at the critical technical levels that money managers and trading computers are watching.  Every well-known technical system has been programmed into the trading bots, the majority of which appear to be trend-followers: if the market reverses at key technical levels (due to massive blocks of index options buying, for example), then the bots start buying the uptrend.

Since the vast majority of trading is now done by machines, this greatly simplifies the process of manipulation:  the manipulator need only defend key technical levels with mass purchases of leveraged index options and the trading bots will jump in and buy the uptick.

Experienced traders have seen this sort of activity countless times in the past five years. It has become predictable that...

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Categories: Economics

How To Make And Can Vegetable Broth

Chris Martenson - July 1, 2014 - 05:46

As a base for many soups, stews and other delicious recipes, vegi broth is a great item to stock in your deep pantry.  This tutorial lays out all the steps to making and canning your own stockpile of healthy broth.  Happy Canning!

http://arewecrazyorwhat.net/make-can-vegetable-broth/

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Categories: Economics

The Banker's Bank Warns of Dangerous Bubbles

Chris Martenson - June 30, 2014 - 15:31

Recently the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) quite bluntly stated that central banks had, once again, gone too far and blown gigantic bubbles. Of course, they used less direct language -- but you don't need a secret central bank decoder ring to know what they're really saying.

We'll get to that very interesting bit of reporting shortly. First, let's look at what they're talking about.

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Categories: Economics

5 US Cities Begin Building Cooperative Economies

Shareable Magazine - June 30, 2014 - 09:08

Top image: Jacksonville, Florida. Credit: Krazy Diamnd. Article cross-posted from Community-Wealth.org.

Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 6/30 - The Dirty Truth About Clean Energy, Epidemic Of Stress In China

Chris Martenson - June 30, 2014 - 07:47
  • Before Shooting in Iraq, a Warning on Blackwater
  • They're Dying at Their Desks in China as Epidemic of Stress Proves Fatal
  • Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
  • '70% of India Has Yet to Be Built'
  • New York Towns Can Ban Fracking, State’s Top Court Rules
  • Aeon of the Waterbearers
  • Boom Meets Bust in Texas: Atop Sea of Oil, Poverty Digs In
  • The Dirty Truth About Clean Energy

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Categories: Economics

Daily Digest 6/29 - Central Bankers Issue Strong Warning, Great Lakes Creep On Unsuspecting Shores

Chris Martenson - June 29, 2014 - 09:06
  • Dr. Paul Craig Roberts Interview
  • Central Bankers Issue Strong Warning on Asset Bubbles
  • Changing farming practices could cut the intensity of heat waves
  • Pushed To The Limit
  • Negative Nominal Interest Rates: Highway to a Cashless, Statist Hell
  • In Home Loans, Subprime Fades as a Dirty Word
  • Conservation 2.0: How Land Trusts Can Save America's Working Farms
  • Creeping up on unsuspecting shores: The Great Lakes

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Categories: Economics

Axel Merk: The Fed's Next Move

Chris Martenson - June 28, 2014 - 09:10

"If you're not concerned, you're not paying attention" say Axel Merk, founder and Chief Investment Officer of Merk Funds.

Like many, he sees today's excessive high-price, low-volume, zero-volatility markets as an unnatural and dangerous result of misguided intervention by the Federal Reserve. But Axel has additional perspective than most, as the senior economic adviser to his family of funds is a former President of the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis and a former FMOC member:

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Categories: Economics