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The Entire Economy Is a Ponzi Scheme

George Washington's picture




 

Bill Gross, Nouriel Roubini, Laurence Kotlikoff, Steve Keen, Michel Chossudovsky, the Wall Street Journal and many others say that our entire economy is a Ponzi scheme.

 

Former Reagan budget director David Stockman just agreed:

So did a top Russian con artist and mathematician.

Even the New York Times’ business page asked, “Was [the] whole economy a Ponzi scheme?

In fact – as we’ve noted for 4 years (and here and here) – the banking system is entirely insolvent. And so are most countries. The whole notion of one country bailing out another country is a farce at this point. The whole system is insolvent.

As we noted last year:

Nobel economist Joe Stiglitz pointed out the Ponzi scheme nature of the whole bailout discussion:

Europe’s plan to lend money to Spain to heal some of its banks may not work because the government and the country’s lenders will in effect be propping each other up, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said.

 

“The system … is the Spanish government bails out Spanish banks, and Spanish banks bail out the Spanish government,” Stiglitz said in an interview.

 

***

 

It’s voodoo economics,” Stiglitz said in an interview on Friday, before the weekend deal to help Spain and its banks was sealed. “It is not going to work and it’s not working.”

[The same is true of every other nation.]

 

Credit Suisse’s William Porter writes:

“Portugal cannot rescue Greece, Spain cannot rescue Portugal, Italy cannot rescue Spain (as is surely about to become all too abundantly clear), France cannot rescue Italy, but Germany can rescue France.” Or, the credit of the EFSF/ESM, if called upon to provide funds in large size, either calls upon the credit of Germany, or fails; i.e, it seems to us that it probably cannot fund to the extent needed to save the credit of one (and probably imminently two) countries that had hitherto been considered “too big so save” without joint and several guarantees.***

As Nouriel Roubini wrote in February:

[For] problems of that magnitude, there simply are not enough resources—governmental or super-sovereign—to go around.

As Roubini wrote in February:

“We have decided to socialize the private losses of the banking system.

***

 

Roubini believes that further attempts at intervention have only increased the magnitude of the problems with sovereign debt. He says, “Now you have a bunch of super sovereigns— the IMF, the EU, the eurozone—bailing out these sovereigns.”

 

Essentially, the super-sovereigns underwrite sovereign debt—increasing the scale and concentrating the problems.

 

Roubini characterizes super-sovereign intervention as merely kicking the can down the road.

 

He says wryly: “There’s not going to be anyone coming from Mars or the moon to bail out the IMF or the Eurozone.” [Others have made the same point.]

 

But, despite the paper shuffling of debt at the national level—and at the level of supranational entities—reality ultimately intervenes: “So at some point you need restructuring. At some point you need the creditors of the banks to take a hit —otherwise you put all this debt on the balance sheet of government. And then you break the back of government—and then government is insolvent.”

Peak Demographics?

Indeed, population may be the biggest ponzi scheme of all. Specifically – as we’ve pointed out for years – rapidly-aging populations in the developed world will exert a big drag on the economy.

The Global Mail notes:

Half the world, including almost all the developed world, now is reproducing at below replacement level. A generation from now, according to United Nations Population Division projections, less than a quarter of the world’s women – most of them in Africa and south Asia – will be reproducing at above replacement rate. And those UN forecasts are probably on the high side, for reasons we’ll come to later.

 

And as the birth rate has plunged in developed nations, and the native-born population has begun to shrink and rapidly age, governments and business have sought to make up the numbers by importing people to prop up their economies. It’s all they know how to do, for our economic system is, at its base, a giant Ponzi scheme, dependent on ever more people producing and consuming ever more stuff.

 

But what happens if that all stops? What happens when you get an ageing, shrinking population that consumes less?

 

“The answer to that question is that we don’t know because it’s never happened before,” says Peter McDonald, professor of demography and director of the Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute at the Australian National University.

 

***

 

“We’re certainly operating a Ponzi scheme in Australia,” says Dr Bob Birrell, an economist and migration expert from Monash University.

 

“Our growth is predicated on extra numbers… [and] more of our activity is going into city building and people servicing, which do not directly produce many goods that can be traded in overseas markets.

 

***

 

Half the world is facing the problem of low fertility, and Australia, with its massive program of importing people, is providing an extreme example of one approach to the conundrum.

 

In a nutshell, the problem is this: lower fertility rates mean older, less innovative and productive workforces. More importantly to the Ponzi economic order, older, stable or declining populations consume less. So growth requires either importing people, or exporting stuff, or a combination of the two. Orthodox economics simply can’t cope otherwise.

 

Europe as a whole has been reproducing at well below replacement rate for close to 40 years. The last period for which UN data showed Europe’s total fertility rate above the replacement rate was 1970-75.

 

Europe’s contemporary demographics give new meaning to the descriptor ‘the old world’. The continent’s average person is over 40 now. By 2050, if things continue on trend, the average European will be 45.7. If one takes the UN’s “low variant” projection, he/she will be over 50 years of age.

 

And the low variant now looks closer to the mark. Fertility rates had actually rebounded a little over recent years, the result of a bit of “catch-up” after a shift over several previous decades in which women delayed child-bearing. But the European recession has set fertility rates plunging again.

 

<p>Jamie Ferguson/The Global Mail</p>

 

 

The recession’s effects will likely linger for decades, in lower rates of earnings and savings, and also in reduced fertility.

 

***

 

Last year, Forbes magazine, that most reliable voice of the economic orthodoxy, laid the blame for Europe’s economic decline squarely on its citizens’ failure to reproduce in adequate numbers, in an article headlined What’s Really Behind Europe’s Decline? It’s The Birth Rates, Stupid.

The Forbes piece was unequivocal: the biggest threat to the European Union was its low fertility rate.

 

***

 

The piece ended with a dire warning that unless Club Med managed to induce people to have more babies, catastrophic economic consequences would flow for all of Europe and maybe the world.

 

***

 

As Thomas Sobotka, one of the authors of a 2011 study on population trends by the Vienna Institute of Demography, told the Guardian newspaper, massive cuts in social spending would only exacerbate the problem.

 

“This may prolong the fertility impact of the recent recession well beyond its end. It could lead to a double-dip fertility decline,” he said.

 

But when it comes to fertility declines, Asia takes the cake.

 

Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Macau, Hong Kong, and most importantly China currently all have fertility rates lower than those of Europe.

 

***

 

China’s and Korea’s are about to start falling, if they haven’t already.

 

“I’m pretty pessimistic about the east-Asian situation,” says McDonald. “I think those countries find it very difficult move in the right direction of supporting work and family, in particular, reducing work hours.

 

“We are now talking about some 30 per cent of Japanese women not getting married.”

 

“I saw a couple of people from the Japanese government give a paper recently, essentially accepting this as an inevitability – a low birth rate forever,” he says.

 

It’s the same all over Asia.

 

***

 

Hong Kong has a birth rate of 1.09, which is on track to see its population almost halve in a generation. Taiwan is at 1.10; China, 1.55; Thailand, 1.66; Vietnam, 1.89. Even Indonesia’s fertility is just above replacement rate, at 2.23, and is falling fast. Malaysia and the Philippines are still growing pretty quickly, as are the south-Asian countries, which may give them a competitive edge for a few decades – and a growing export industry of people. But it is not projected to last more than a few decades.

 

Let’s return to America. The United States also is reproducing at below replacement rate, and its birthrate has declined sharply in recent years.

 

***

 

The US birth rate not only fell to its lowest level ever in 2011, but the greatest decline was among immigrant women.

 

***

 

In the longer term, the world will have to adjust its economic system to cope with the novel concept of less. Fewer people, less consumption, lowered need for resources, energy, housing, roads, you name it.

Indeed, smart curmudgeons like Jeremy Granthan and Chris Martensen think that we have not only “peak” demographics, but also peak resources.

There’s HOPE

The above is admittedly depressing. But the reality is that there’s hope.

We can have a very bright future, indeed … if we switch from the status quo to something smarter. For example, see this and this.

For example, we can cut out the middlemen in the banking and political realms … and prosper.

And as we’ve previously noted about energy:

The current paradigm is that energy is produced expensively by governments or large corporations through gigantic projects using enormous amounts of money, materials and manpower. Because energy can only be produced by the big boys, we the people must bow our heads to the powers-that-be. We must pay a lot of our hard-earned money to buy electricity from them, and we can’t question the methods or results of their energy production.

 

Our life will become much better when we begin to understand that energy is all around us – as an ocean of electromagnetic forces and as a byproduct of other processes in the form of heat, pressure, etc. – and all we need do is learn how to harvest it.

 

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Sun, 04/14/2013 - 21:07 | 3447972 holdbuysell
holdbuysell's picture

Great work, GW.

The points about peak demographics and peak consumption and thus peak growth remove any doubt that this monetary system, requiring growth to function well, must be reset to accomodate this new reality.

Sun, 04/14/2013 - 00:21 | 3445861 Radical Marijuana
Radical Marijuana's picture

Psychic politics is the only irrational hope left.

In the material world, history is a runaway global electronic fiat money fraud, backed by atomic bombs. As soon as we developed weapons of mass destruction, the social habits generated by thousands of years of human history were in DEEP SHIT! The first generation to grow up with THAT problem is still alive now.

Without some series of political miracles, then it continues to be practically guaranteed that we are going to destroy ourselves. The runaway Ponzi scheme of fundamentally fraudulent financial accounting systems are now astronomically amplified, because almost all the governments in the world use their armed forces to back up the banksters' frauds. Indeed, we pay our military to bomb the shit out anybody anywhere which provides any significant challenge to the current privatize fiat "money" made out of nothing, as debts, systems: FORCE BACKED FRAUD!

It is NOT just a Ponzi Scheme. It is a state religion, where that faith-based "money" is backed by murder, while everyone does their best to not admit that, but rather deny that as deeply as possible, under as many layers of bullshit as possible! Hence, it is a special case of a Ponzi Scheme, because it is legalized lies, backed by legalized violence. That Ponzi Scheme is directed by a steering committee of trillionaire mass murderers.

MONEY IS BACKED BY MURDER, AND MUST BE! There are no genuine solutions outside of that frame of reference. However, our entire social system is based on it evolving through the history of the maximum possible deceits, first to create the War Kings, who created states with sovereign powers, which were covertly taken over by the Fraud Kings, i.e., the central banksters and their privatizing corporations.

The only ways to resolve the exponential growth problems are through death control systems, of one kind or another, sooner or later. The path we are now is to defer all that onto the future, as much as possible, in order to make future generations pay. Since we run fraudulent financial accounting systems, which get away with ignoring the most basic laws of nature, like the conservation of energy and momentum, it is practically and politically IMPOSSIBLE for human beings to operate their own civilization as a coherent energy system in itself.

We do have a human ecology. It is operated by Vicious Wolves, controlling Zombie Sheeple. There is a range between those from more domesticated Dogs, to the Black Sheep. (In my view, almost everybody who writes on Zero Hedge falls into the Black Sheep category.) The ONLY genuine solutions are to do what the banksters do better. I.e., become your own central bank, as much as that may be possible (which is barely any, but still to be recommended over nothing at all instead.)

We should, and ARE, going to evolve some "new world order" of some kind of new human ecology, industrial ecology and natural ecology. We could do so with the use of more information, and higher consciousness. However, that amounts to the irrational hope for some sorts of psychic politics.

We should face the facts that human beings operate as robbers in their environment. All the churches, corporations and countries as different systems of organized lies, operating organized robbery. The REAL future should be those dominate organized crime gangs negotiating through to better systems of death controls, backing up debt controls.

There is no way to arrest the runaway fascist plutocracy juggernaut. However, we could possibly retool it to work better. There is no way to erase the technologies that can now use trillions of times more information and power. There are no ways to stop the computerized surveillance systems, backed by weapons of mass destruction. However, there are possibly creative ways to understand and accept that, in a manner which would enable us to work through those better.

Right now, almost all that science and technology is working through the established social pyramid systems, to construct bigger and bigger Ponzi Schemes, which must eventually collapse into chaos, because they are houses of cards, based on triumphant frauds. The more that the governments enforce those frauds, the bigger those houses of cards becomes, but also the more its efforts at stabilizing itself result in an even bigger scale serious instability!

Right now, almost all the science and technology is employed to be better at being dishonest, and back that up with violence. Hence, we are channelling science and technology, which makes human beings trillions of times more powerful, and more able to use information, through the current social pyramid human ecology, with a few Vicious Wolves ruling over masses of Zombie Sheeple, which makes all of that become more and more insane, and psychotically detached from reality, since it all based on the runaway triumphs of Huge Lies, controlling everything we are doing!

One of the ways our social insanities are manifesting through demographics can be summarized in this oversimplified way:

Women who have less than 2 children are committing suicide. Women who have more than 2 children are declaring war on their neighbours. In that context, the rich are committing suicide, while the poor are declaring war on the rich. Meanwhile, the richest of the rich are preparing to resolve that problem by starting more genodical wars, along with imposing democidal martial law. Thus, "eugenics" is actually becoming "disgenics." In that context, we have the same old sterile debates, where all the language we use takes place inside of a Bizarro Mirror World.

Inside that overall context, there is no doubt that there are plenty of creative alternatives. However, the absolutely necessary central core to any possible system of integrated alternatives requires profound paradigm shifts in militarism, in order to operate different murder systems, doing different death controls. There are NO genuine solutions to our social problems which can succeed with anything less than that! We should understand militarism, and everything based on militarism, (the social pyramid systems) in ways which are as different as atomic energy and genetic engineering have made our weapons become! We are already far down the road towards alternative murder systems, operating an artificial selection. Abortion is actually death control. However, our language is deeply backwards and biologically bullshit. Therefore, what we call "birth control" is almost totally death control. That is just another way in which we NEED deeply profound paradigm shifts in the concepts of militarism. However, like everything else we do, from the basic mistaken concepts presumed about physics, on through almost all of our metaphysics, we are collectively not remotely close to being able to work through those kinds of problems. As human beings become more aware of scientific perceptions of the existence of natural selection, we have no choice but to driven towards recogniziing the development of artificial seleciton. We already have rushed into that, but while looking at it all backwards, through the Bizarro Mirror World ways that the Wolves in Sheep's clothing have brainwashed the Sheep to bleat their morality.

The REAL systems are due to the history of militarism, making War Kings, whose powers were covertly taken over by Fraud Kings. That is ALREADY the way things ARE!!! Our money system is backed by murder. The vast majority of people do not understand that, and do not want to understand that. The Vicious Wolves who actually run that system are dressed in sheep's clothing. Almost all their fake opposition takes the form of various Black Sheep, saying that the solutions are for everyone to become better sheep. However, the only good solutions are for everyone to become better wolves.

We already HAVE that theory, in place on paper. However, our social reality is so far away from that theory, as to require a telescope to see it, because the sovereign powers of the states, which are supposed to be directed through some democratic system, by We the People, working through the Rule of Law, have already been more than 99% privatized, and so, those sovereign powers to rob and to kill are actually directed by the Vicious Wolves, to serve themselves, while screwing over everyone else, and everything else, since the triumphant runaway frauds of the Vicious Wolves enable them to get away with deliberately ignoring the basic laws of nature, since fiat "money" made out of nothing, as debts, flatly contradicts all the basic laws of nature (EXCEPT, that it actually exists because that fraud is backed by force, i.e., that "money" is backed by murder.)

The theoretical solutions appear to require some series of political miracles, in the form of some psychic politics, where enough people break through to radically different paradigms of political science, which includes both the combined money and murder systems. The current runaway insanities of debt controls were driven by the death controls done by the banksters, as the biggest gangsters, applying the methods of organized crime, to take control over political puppets, in order to legalize their lies, and legalize the violence to back those lies up ... However, there are NO possible genuine solutions which can be based on anything else but even more of that, done better.

When we reach tipping or turning points, where the exponential growth of the debts, and total amount of human activities, including human reproduction, as well as all other forms of production, have overshot, and so are threatening to be collapsing into serious social chaos ... Which also means that some unprecedented opportunities MIGHT open up, to begin to think in ways not so hidebound by the established social habits. PERHAPS we might be able to catalyze those social transformations$ PERHAPS we might be able to retool the fascist plutocracy, so that its debt controls and death controls accomplish the necessary purposes in overall better ways?

However, to DO that appears to require some irrational hope in some kind of psychic politics, whereby more people begin to understand and agree, in ways which appear quite impossible at the present time ... For sure, way more people are waking up to the FACT that our financial systems ARE huge Ponzi Schemes, which means they have enormous problems, which are automatically getting worse, and that there are NO possible reforms within those social pyramid systems which could be sufficient. One way or another, sooner or later, we are going to be forced to go through profound paradigm changes. We ARE going to get radically different death controls manifesting. The issues are NOT whether we can stop those social storms from building and blowing through ... BUT, whether or not we could adapt better to that, and somehow survive through those???

From the time I was a teenager, and I first looked at the graphs of the exponential growth of the human population, along with the weapons of mass destruction, I have been seriously worrying about these problems. However, at present, the REAL solutions continue to appear to be the actual mixture of 99% of the Zombie Sheeple staying ignorant and afraid, and not wanting to learn about their reality, while the Vicious Wolves continue to fleece them, and set them up to be massively slaughtered off, through more genocidal wars, along with democidal martial law.

There is NO way to totally stop that now ... The only things we MIGHT be able to do is to go through that better, and thereby emerge on the other sides of those social transformations in somewhat better shape, than we might otherwise have been in? HOWEVER, THE CURRENT SITUATION IS THE CONTINUATION OF THE SYSTEM OF VICIOUS WOLVES, RULING OVER ZOMBIE SHEEPLE, THROUGH THE DOGS VS. THE BLACK SHEEP "DEBATING" EACH OTHER WITHIN THE SAME OLD-FASHIONED BIGGEST BULLIES' WORLD VIEW, I.E., THE PRESENTATION OF WHAT THE VICIOUS WOLVES NEED TO DO THROUGH THEM ACTING AS WOLVES IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING. Therefore, the current situation continues to look like attempts to keep the Global Ponzi Schemes going, for as much longer as possible, which means that they keep on being built up on rotten foundations, which must cause them to collapse into worse chaos later ...

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 21:33 | 3445695 disabledvet
disabledvet's picture

So what if our computers suddenly became self aware...and found life depressing? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQqeidrlDyw how could we get them to slave for us if they're all depressed and in need of therapy all the time?

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 23:29 | 3445892 Radical Marijuana
Radical Marijuana's picture

Sufficiently smart computers end up becoming human. Any computer with a good enough model of the world, which includes a model of itself within that world, is going to pass through the tunnel of infinity, or self-reference, and so, end up with all the same philosophical and political problems that human beings have already discovered, only perhaps more so? ... For everything that exists, there may be a broken one of it, and sometimes more than one thing broken at the same time.

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 20:21 | 3445496 alfbell
alfbell's picture

 

 

They've been doing this since Clinton. Obama bin Laden and his administration managed to pull off making government larger and increasing taxes by 1 trillion. Using "News Speak" (George Orwell) he has the American public thinking that budget cuts have actually occurred and we are on our way to a stable economy with these new fiscal policies. Jim Puplava breaks down the budget in layman's terms and defines the terms the government uses to obfuscate its true actions and to confuse us. Excellently done. If only America could wake up to what is happening.

http://www.financialsensenewshour.com/broadcast/fsn2013-0413-3.mp3

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 18:23 | 3445291 CustomersMan
CustomersMan's picture

 

We can produce the electricity we need by using systems like Lawrenville Plasma has. A basketball sized generator that produces equivalent power of a nuclear reactor, safely. they have the technology, but are with-holding it.

 

They have solutions, but would rather make us suffer than roil the energy and other interests.

 

Fuck them.

 

 

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 17:27 | 3445203 NaN
NaN's picture

How can this mass deception happen? 

Consider the Kayfabe concept: 

    http://www.edge.org/response-detail/11783

in which Eric R. Weinstein describes how professional wrestling became fake. Generalizing this into the financial world, he suggests that some kind of incremental benefit was derived by all involved at some point. It reminds me of research on "unmentionables".

More on Kayfabe:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kayfabe

Sun, 04/14/2013 - 19:02 | 3447737 Radical Marijuana
Radical Marijuana's picture

Thanks for those links, Nan!  I found that metaphor very entertaining. As well, it is very interesting how the Internet forced a transformation of the degree of kayfabe that could still be maintained. It is an open question whether our civilization will survive long enough for the "Internet Reformation" to enable its potential, like the invention of the printing press (only more so), to more fully develop?  Way more people, because of their use of the Internet, are becoming aware of the degree of kayfabe in the financial world!

Sun, 04/14/2013 - 19:15 | 3447758 i-dog
i-dog's picture

Indeed. What a perfect description of two-party politics, err, two-party kayfabe!

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 17:15 | 3445176 rsnoble
rsnoble's picture

Insolvency.  And all our dipshit leaders can do is cry about guns.  Bullshit.  They know what's coming.

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 21:30 | 3445690 Seer
Seer's picture

Of course they know.  I don't know why we need to get so worked up over it.  It's not like we can expect them to do anything anyway (one side they get executed by the masses; on the other they get executed by the power elite- all they can really "afford" to do is just what they're doing- floundering, treading water).

It's a circus.  Of course there are are clowns!

Sun, 04/14/2013 - 00:50 | 3445998 bunnyswanson
bunnyswanson's picture

Selling off the country's treasures, including gold *if there is any* and land, natural resources, military, you name it, is going to happen.  Highest bidder on the global auction block will be the new owner.  Then, you'll see massive resettlement in a nightmare scenario and this is why they want the guns.  This will be the NWO.  That's my assessment.  I believe this is the ~goal~ and has been for a century. 

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 16:40 | 3445111 lindaamick
lindaamick's picture

The earth and its inhabitants are a living organism where all things influence all things.  Overpopulation is impossible.  The earth will support what it can. 

Due to the distribution issues caused by greedy humans wanting more for themselves than they can possibly use,  there exists shortages of items necessary for human survival in some places.   As centralization of levers of power grows, the distribution probems grows.  It is unnatural for people to hoard. 

I can visualize a decentralized world where concern for our human brethern is foremost.  It would be a world driven by Love of the other.   Every human could thrive and develop his/her own talents. 

Too bad the people in leadership have made greed a sacrament.  It will be the undoing of all of us.

 

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 21:41 | 3445707 Hohum
Hohum's picture

Overpopulation is possible, when you want to increase your population and cannot.

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 21:22 | 3445676 screw face
screw face's picture

Niceness, well said, it's madness out there, on a grand scale, Jah Bless us all.

Looking for floaters, on Monday.

 

 

rense, repeat

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 21:00 | 3445624 Seer
Seer's picture

So, let's see if I get your argument correct...

On one hand you say that there is no such things as overpopulation.  And on the other you say that there are, in some places (which we aren't told) shortages of items necessary for human survival (which items we aren't told about).

There's carrying capacity of the planet, and every part of the planet has different carry capacities.  If there are insufficient resources in a given area then that means that that area is over its carrying capacity (to support humans).

"As centralization of levers of power grows, the distribution probems grows."

You have it backwards!

Centralization has allowed for there to be a distribution system that could not be surpassed.  And the reason that it cannot be surpassed is because it is WAY too unsustainable- it relies on vast quantities of energy.

The source of the problem isn't so much centralization as it is SIZE.  BIG = FAIL.  Because BIG always needs to get BIGGER (and this here planet only allows one big thing- itself).

"It is unnatural for people to hoard."

Please cite any study/works that supports this statement.

Animals pack away food.

Many humans throughout time have packed away food (the Mormons, one thing I do believe they have right, try to teach about stocking up for hard times- always have reserves of food on hand).  We're doing this very thing now, on a big collective scale.

Whether it's right or wrong I'm not to say, other than that it's not something new or conspiratorial.

If you do not live by hunter-gatherer mode then you have to, by default, store stuff! (one can argue that it went wrong when we went to agriculture- it is then that we started to really store/hoard food/grains I'm sure that those that were incapable of doing so would look at those who did/had the foresight to do so and accused them of "hoarding.").

When resources get tight the imbalances are more acute.  We're stretching our resources and will most assuredly come to the point where people will die for a lack of things necessary for survival: too many people chasing too few resources- overpopulation, over carrying capacity, it's fucking semantics!

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 19:11 | 3445357 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

over-population is relative: the Earth will strike down what life it can not sustain but if we go too far before the strike-down the new level we are at can be much too low to be happy. For now at a sustainable 5 billion and over at 7, we could see a drop to 4 with massive changes that are long in happening but impossible to avoid. If we jumped to 10 billion we could use so much resources short-term to see a drop to 2 and so much devasation it isn't the same as when we had only 2 billion earlier on - much destruction happens for nature to tear down the 10 billion to 2 billion.

So you are right but perhaps not clear in why "over-population" is important to understand in relative terms. We can't permit all soil-nutrients & all oil to be burned, extracted with nothing left or we'll be forced to each each other's corpses and HOPE we can get it back into the soil & fuel tanks quick enough to sustain the survivors for the next generation.

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 21:22 | 3445675 Seer
Seer's picture

"We can't permit all soil-nutrients & all oil to be burned,"

Ultimately the clock will run out.  The next glacial period will come, and it's these periods that rebuild soils (after the inter-glacial period and its rains erode the topsoil [aided, this time, buy large-scale human activity]).  We could only alter the time, not whether the event will or will not occur.  Not thinking that there's going to be large populations of humans coming out the other side of this one...

Mon, 04/15/2013 - 21:15 | 3454261 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

hm, such a glacial period could help some areas as you describe, especially tearing mountains apart & deposits upon plains later, but if we make things too warm we may not see that next glacial period. Well, maybe the next species to replace us will be cats & the monkeys have had their time ... another 200 to 500 thousand years from now... post glaciers of that era.

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 17:21 | 3445189 pndr4495
pndr4495's picture

Somewhere along the line I recall learning that the most successful cultures were cultures where cooperation was the main driver of progress , not competition.

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 18:04 | 3445266 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Sure, if you want to remain at the level of the ants.

They have been cooperating for 100 million years.

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 16:21 | 3445074 blindman
blindman's picture

12 April 2013
Michael Hudson: Obama's Cat Food Social Security Budget Strategy and Stealth Tax Increases
http://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com/2013/04/michael-hudson-obamas-c...
.
economic slight of hand revealed!
aka why they say debts don't matter.

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 16:28 | 3445096 Goldilocks
Goldilocks's picture

Best Of Ralph Wiggum Compilation
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzfYyMkz5u8 (2:41)

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 18:16 | 3445282 blindman
blindman's picture

is that funny? maybe adult humor?
someone told me the simpsons is adult humor.
that was many years ago and I still don't get it?

Sun, 04/14/2013 - 01:25 | 3446032 bunnyswanson
bunnyswanson's picture

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faRlFsYmkeY

Homer Simpson coming of age (21 million hits on YouTube)

(You'll get this)

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 15:37 | 3445009 Hohum
Hohum's picture

Yes, indeedy, energy is all around us.  Perhaps your next article can explain why the NET energy on all of that can sustain a prosperous civilization.

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 14:40 | 3444916 Fix It Again Timmy
Fix It Again Timmy's picture

The economy is waaaaaaaaaaaaaay beyond a ponzi scheme, it has travered the twilight zone and is now wildly plunging, out of control into chaos....and nobody knows what to do...

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 14:23 | 3444877 diogeneslaertius
diogeneslaertius's picture

WHY WONT YOU LET THE BANKERS LOVE YOU!?

you are all domestic extremist, white al-qaeda, low-brow conspiracy theorists.

this post has been forwarded to the Department of Homeland Security due to blatant and repeated thoughtcrime violations.

please report to the nearest FEMA facility in your region for processing.

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 19:13 | 3444873 failsafe
failsafe's picture

p>

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 14:23 | 3444872 failsafe
failsafe's picture

It may be worth noting that historians of US history show that business leaders in the progressive era quite openly and intentionally planned this ponzi scheme. Industrialists, bankers, and advertising firm beginning in the 19th century planned to teach the people of the US "how" to appreciate the "good life." Through advertising and inventiveness they meant to and did teach people how to be "good consumers." They saw this as a win for everyone because they believed that through advertising they could encourage everyone to constantly seek out the newest, most modern, most 'scientific'of everything on the premise that new, modern, and scientific guaranteed progress which guaranteed better. They sold scientifically accurate baby powder, exploded cereal that released more vitamins, and saw this scheme as a way to orchestrate their wealth through an entirely artificially created system of suuply and demand. Read, for example, on the history of advertising such as Ewens 1976 Captains of Consciousness. We are reaping the consequences of an artificially orchestrated economy designed to grow and make industrialists rich by creating consumers. They justified this to themselves by saying they were "creating" wealth and jobs and a better life for everyone. "we teach them to spend and it makes us rich which we can then use to build more factories to make more stuff for them to want." Perfect ponzi.

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 20:41 | 3445555 Seer
Seer's picture

I have no need to dispute this*, but this is built on the bigger ponzi of perpetual human growth.  "Go forth and multiply" was steeped in a big problem given that we're on a finite planet.

* I have little qualms with the individual stories.  Based on the intention of business it was always expected/promoted that businesses look to provide benefit: I think that in the whole this has been mostly a benevolent intent (though the service sector, such as banking, starts to get close to the edge).  Many things have been of benefit (in the short-run, and if not for the collision course with finite planet all should get pretty decent marks), but that is in context of the flawed underlying premise of perpetual growth on a finite planet, the BIG STORY, which, mostly, we're starting to finally poke at.  Given the automatic assumption that growth is good then all of this fits.

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 22:28 | 3445789 failsafe
failsafe's picture

No doubt much of the history behind the current problem was simply misguided decisions based on what seemed like reasonable and as you say even benevolent intentions. Unfortunately it is extremely difficult to convince people that those assumptions about what is "better" are just assumptions. Our culture was permanently changed and now it needs to change again. But our values make that almost impossible. I hope enough people can engage in these conversations to make a useful difference.

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 14:03 | 3444823 Gringo Viejo
Gringo Viejo's picture

The title of the article exhibits a keen sense of the obvious.

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 13:51 | 3444792 Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

"Indeed, population may be the biggest ponzi scheme of all. Specifically – as we’ve pointed out for years – rapidly-aging populations in the developed world will exert a big drag on the economy."

So it's decided.  We just kill the old people.

No need to reform any aspect of this economy.  That kind of thinking really gives me a headache.  A killing binge is all that is needed.  Just let the meat grinder hum.  Not forever.  Just until the old people are dead.  And the poor, brown and black people. 

And some gays. Just the really gay ones, not the Republicans in the Senate.  Who aren't really gay.

/sarc

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 20:32 | 3445532 Seer
Seer's picture

"So it's decided.  We just kill the old people."

Nice way of trying to kill debate on the most important thing that humanity faces.

Jokers like you ALWAYS toss this kind of shit out, even if no one actually said what you're saying.  It is YOU who are tossing this out there as some mocking solution.

Eric Sevareid stated that solutions is the main cause of problems.  His POINT was that we tend to fail to grasp what the real problems are, that we jump to trying to solve them w/o knowing what they are.  This very quote is directed at people like you.

If you cannot handle the discussion then get the fuck out.

Focus discussing the PROBLEM.

And wrapping everything up with a "/sarc" tag is chicken shit.

Sun, 04/14/2013 - 09:02 | 3446273 Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

"Nice way of trying to kill debate on the most important thing that humanity faces."

I killed the discussion of a non-solution.  A non-starter.  Eugenics style solutions do not warrant discussion.  They warrant elimination by any means necessary.

The solution, as I clearly pointed out, is real reform of the economy.

Back to you, fucktard.

Sun, 04/14/2013 - 00:15 | 3445968 StychoKiller
StychoKiller's picture

"The surface of a planet is NOT the correct place for an expanding, technological civilization." -- R.W. Wilson

Kinda hard to see the sky when you're always looking down at yer shoez.

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 21:21 | 3445670 mayhem_korner
mayhem_korner's picture

 

 

The most important thing that humanity faces is population growth and its effects?  Seriously?  At what point in history did this become the most important issue - when you decided it was?

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 19:50 | 3445426 Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

LOL. 

Three up and three down.  50% for indiscriminant mass killing.

Tough crowd. 

Stay away from the stairs, grammy, you might get pushed.

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 21:03 | 3445632 Seer
Seer's picture

That's your one-sided take on the article.  Perhaps people are confused about where you came up with accusing GW of offering this up a solution?

I'm thinking that you've got cognitive dissonance going on in your head and that maybe you ought to either DEAL WITH IT or open yourself up to meaningful debate (rather than playing games).

Sun, 04/14/2013 - 08:58 | 3446267 Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

Nobody is confused about my comment.  The meme of labeling the elderly "useless eaters " is widespread currently.  Did you notice Obama's attack on Social Security?

I have cognitive dissonance?  Nice ad hominem attack.  What are you?  A fucking psychiatrist?  What I'm going to deal with is people like you.

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 17:44 | 3445239 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Actually, the solution is to cure aging.

That, and mature nanotech.

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 17:03 | 3445152 bilejones
bilejones's picture

They're working on it.

 

Eventually they'll get the Swine/Bird flu right.

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 13:36 | 3444756 Winston Smith 2009
Winston Smith 2009's picture

One of the best Stockman interviews ever:

http://billmoyers.com/segment/david-stockman-on-crony-capitalism/

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 17:25 | 3445195 Tenshin Headache
Tenshin Headache's picture

I agree. Thanks for the link. Everyone should read that.

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 14:25 | 3444881 diogeneslaertius
diogeneslaertius's picture

moyers/goodman et al. = ford foundation btw

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 20:27 | 3445513 Seer
Seer's picture

Anyone paraded by the MSM belongs to some "foundation."

I ignore all, in which case I have no need to spend precious energy trying to be a spectator and keep score.

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 13:00 | 3444670 The Dancer
The Dancer's picture

The guy behind the curtain has plans for all the intellectualized robots that are coming off the assembly line...and the masses are not in those plans...that means you!

Sat, 04/13/2013 - 20:24 | 3445506 Seer
Seer's picture

What plans do YOU have?   Do they include MORE or do they include LESS people?

It doesn't matter what TPTB want, they are not exempt from the laws of nature.  The logic if they are really "planning" should be a signal that there really is a BIG problem, otherwise WTF would they wish to change anything when they already own/control most everything?

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