The End Of An Era

Tyler Durden's picture




 

Authored by Dr. Tim Morgan, Tullet Prebon,

The economy as we know it is facing a lethal confluence of four critical factors – the fall-out from the biggest debt bubble in history; a disastrous experiment with globalisation; the massaging of data to the point where economic trends are obscured; and, most important of all, the approach of an energy-returns cliff-edge.

Through technology, through culture and through economic and political change, society is more short-term in nature now than at any time in recorded history. Financial market participants can carry out transactions in milliseconds. With 24-hour news coverage, the media focus has shifted inexorably from the analytical to the immediate. The basis of politicians’ calculations has shortened to the point where it can seem that all that matters is the next sound-bite, the next headline and the next snapshot of public opinion. The corporate focus has moved all too often from strategic planning to immediate profitability as represented by the next quarter’s earnings.

This report explains that this acceleration towards ever-greater immediacy has blinded society to a series of fundamental economic trends which, if not anticipated and tackled well in advance, could have devastating effects. The relentless shortening of media, social and political horizons has resulted in the establishment of self-destructive economic patterns which now threaten to undermine economic viability. We date the acceleration in short-termism to the early 1980s.

Since then, there has been a relentless shift to immediate consumption as part of something that has been called a “cult of self-worship”. The pursuit of instant gratification has resulted in the accumulation of debt on an unprecedented scale. The financial crisis, which began in 2008 and has since segued into the deepest and most protracted economic slump for at least eighty years, did not result entirely from a short period of malfeasance by a tiny minority, comforting though this illusion may be. Rather, what began in 2008 was the denouement of a broadly-based process which had lasted for thirty years, and is described here as “the great credit super-cycle”.

 

The credit super-cycle process is exemplified by the relationship between GDP and aggregate credit market debt in the United States (see fig. 1.1). In 1945, and despite the huge costs involved in winning the Second World War, the aggregate indebtedness of American businesses, individuals and government equated to 159% of GDP. More than three decades later, in 1981, this ratio was little changed, at 168%. In real terms, total debt had increased by 214% since 1945, but the economy had grown by 197%, keeping the debt ratio remarkably static over an extended period which, incidentally, was far from shock-free (since it included two major oil crises).

 

From the early 1980s, as figs. 1.1 and 1.2 show, an unmistakeable and seemingly relentless upwards trend in indebtedness became established. Between 1981 and 2009, debt grew by 390% in real terms, far out-pacing the growth (of 120%) in the American economy. By 2009, the debt ratio had reached 381%, a level unprecedented in history. Even in 1930, when GDP collapsed, the ratio barely topped 300%, and thereafter declined very rapidly indeed.

This report is not, primarily, about debt, and neither does it suggest that the problems identified here are unique to the United States. Rather, the massive escalation in American indebtedness is one amongst a host of indicators of a state of mind which has elevated immediate consumption over prudence throughout much of the world.

This report explains that we need only look beyond the predominant short-termism of contemporary thinking to perceive that we are at the confluence of four extremely dangerous developments which, individually or collectively, have already started to throw more than two centuries of economic expansion into reverse.

Before the financial crisis of 2008, this analysis might have seemed purely theoretical, but the banking catastrophe, and the ensuing slump, should demonstrate that the dangerous confluence described here is already underway. Indeed, more than two centuries of near-perpetual growth probably went into reverse as much as ten years ago.

Lacking longer-term insights, today’s policymakers seem bewildered about many issues. Why, for instance, has there been little or no recovery from the post-2008 economic slump? Why have traditional, tried-and-tested fiscal and monetary tools ceased to function? Why have both austerity and stimulus failed us?

The missing piece of the economic equation is an appreciation of four underlying trends, each of which renders many of the lessons of the past irrelevant.

trend #1 – the madness of crowds

The first of the four highly dangerous trends identified here is the creation, over three decades, of the worst financial bubble in history. In his 1841 work Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, Charles Mackay (1814-89) identified a common thread of individual and collective idiocy running through such follies of the past as alchemy, witchhunts, prophecies, fortune-telling, magnetizers, phrenology, poisoning, the admiration of thieves, duels, the imputation of mystic powers to relics, haunted houses, crusades – and financial bubbles.

A clear implication of Mackay’s work was that all of these follies had been consigned to the past by intelligence, experience and enlightenment. For the most part, he has been right. Intelligent people today do not put faith in alchemy, fortune-telling, witchcraft or haunting, and – with the arguable exception of the invasion of Iraq – crusades have faded into the history books.

But one folly remains alive and well. Far from confining financial bubbles to historical tales of Dutch tulips and British South Sea stock, the last three decades have witnessed the creation and the bursting of the biggest bubble in financial history.

Described here as ‘the credit supercycle’, this bubble confirmed that one aspect, at least, of the idiocy identified by Mackay continues to wreak havoc. Insane though historic obsessions with tulip bulbs and south seas riches may appear, they are dwarfed by the latterday, ‘money for nothing’ lunacy that, through the credit super-cycle, has mired much of the world in debts from which no escape (save perhaps hyperinflation) exists.

Perhaps the most truly remarkable feature of the super-cycle was that it endured for so long in defiance of all logic or common sense. Individuals in their millions believed that property prices could only ever increase, such that either borrowing against equity (by taking on invariably-expensive credit) or spending it (through equity release) was a safe, rational and even normal way to behave.

Regulators, meanwhile, believed that there was nothing wrong with loosening banking reserve criteria (both by risk-weighting assets in ways that masked leverage, and by broadening definitions of bank capital to the point where even some forms of debt counted as shock-absorbing equity).

Former Federal Reserve boss Alan Greenspan has been ridiculed for believing that banks would always act in the best interests of their shareholders, and that the market would sort everything out in a benign way. But regulators more generally bent over backwards to ignore the most obvious warning signs, such as escalating property price-to-incomes ratios, soaring levels of debt-to-GDP, and such obviously-abusive practices as sub-prime mortgages, NINJA loans and the proliferation of unsafe financial instruments.

Where idiocy and naïveté were concerned, however, regulators and the general public were trumped by policymakers and their advisors. Gordon Brown, for example, proclaimed an end to “boom and bust” and gloried in Britain’s “growth” despite the way in which debt escalation was making it self-evident that the apparent expansion in the economy was neither more nor less than the simple spending of borrowed money.

 

Between 2001-02 and 2009-10, Britain added £5.40 of private and public debt for each £1 of ‘growth’ in GDP (fig. 1.3). Between 1998 and 2012, real GDP increased by just £338bn (30%) whilst debt soared by £1,133bn (95%) (fig. 1.4).

 

Asset managers have a very simple term to describe what happened to Britain under Brown – it was a collapse in returns on capital employed.

No other major economy got it quite as wrong as Britain under Brown, but much the same was happening across the Western world, most notably in those countries which followed the disastrous Anglo-American philosophy of “light-touch” financial regulation.

trend #2 – the globalisation disaster

The compounding mistake, where the Western countries were concerned, was a wide-eyed belief that ‘globalisation’ would make everyone richer, when the reality was that the out-sourcing of production to emerging economies was a self-inflicted disaster with few parallels in economic history. One would have to look back to a Spanish empire awash with bullion from the New World to find a combination of economic idiocy and minority self-interest equal to the folly of globalization.

The big problem with globalisation was that Western countries reduced their production without making corresponding reductions in their consumption. Corporations’ outsourcing of production to emerging economies boosted their earnings (and, consequently, the incomes of the minority at the very top) whilst hollowing out their domestic economies through the export of skilled jobs.

This report uses a measure called ‘globally-marketable output’ (GMO) as a metric for domestic production, a measure which combines manufacturing, agriculture, construction and mining with net exports of services. By definition, activities falling outside this category consist of services provided to each other.

At constant (2011) values, consumption by Americans increased by $6,500bn between 1981 and 2011, whilst consumption on their behalf by the government rose by a further $1,700bn, but the combined output of the manufacturing, construction, agricultural and extractive industries grew by barely $600bn. At less than $200bn in 2011, net exports of services did almost nothing to bridge the chasm between consumption and production.

This left two residuals – domestically consumed services, and debt – with debt the clincher. Between 1981 and 2011, and again expressed at constant values, American indebtedness soared from $11 trillion to almost $54 trillion.

Fundamentally, what had happened here was that skilled, well-paid jobs had been exported, consumption had increased, and ever-greater quantities of debt had been used to fill the gap. This was, by any definition, unsustainable. Talk of Western economies modernising themselves by moving from production into services contained far more waffle than logic – Western consumers sold each other ever greater numbers of hair-cuts, ever greater quantities of fast food and ever more zero-sum financial services whilst depending more and more on imported goods and, critically, on the debts used to buy them. Corporate executives prospered, as did the gateholders of the debt economy, whilst the vast majority saw their real wages decline and their indebtedness spiral. For our purposes, what matters here is that reducing production, increasing consumption and taking on escalating debt to fill the gap was never a remotely sustainable course of action. What this in turn means is that no return to the pre-2008 world is either possible or desirable.

trend #3 – an exercise in self-delusion

One explanation for widespread public (and policymaker) ignorance of the truly parlous state of the Western economies lies in the delusory nature of economic and fiscal statistics, many of which have been massaged out of all relation to reality.

There seems to have been no ‘grand conspiracy’ here, but the overall effect of accretive changes has been much the same. In America, for example, the benchmark measure of inflation (CPI-U) has been modified by ‘substitution’, ‘hedonics’ and ‘geometric weighting’ to the point where reported numbers seem to be at least six percentage points lower than they would have been under the ‘pre-tinkering’ basis of calculation used until the early 1980s. US unemployment, reported at 7.8%, excludes so many categories of people (such as “discouraged workers”) that it hides very much higher levels of inactivity.

The critical distortion here is clearly inflation, which feeds through into computations showing “growth” even when it is intuitively apparent (and evident on many other benchmarks) that, for a decade or more, the economy has, at best, stagnated, not just in the United States but across much of the Western world. Distorted inflation also tells wage-earners that they have become better off even though such statistics do not accord with their own perceptions. It is arguable, too, that real (inflation-free) interest rates were negative from as long ago as the mid-1990s, a trend which undoubtedly exacerbated an escalating tendency to live on debt.

Fiscal figures, too, are heavily distorted, most noticeably in the way in which quasi-debt obligations are kept off the official balance sheet. As we explain in this report, the official public debts of countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom exclude truly enormous commitments such as pensions.

trend #4 – the growth dynamo winds down

One of the problems with economics is that its practitioners preach a concentration on money, whereas money is the language rather than the substance of the real economy. Ultimately, the economy is – and always has been – a surplus energy equation, governed by the laws of thermodynamics, not those of the market.

Society and the economy began when agriculture created an energy surplus which, though tiny by later standards, liberated part of the population to engage in non-subsistence activities.

A vastly larger liberation of surplus energy occurred with the discovery of the heat engine, meaning that the energy delivered by human labour could be leveraged massively by exogenous sources of energy such as coal, oil and natural gas. A single US gallon of gasoline delivers work equivalent to between 360 and 490 hours of strenuous human labour, labour which would cost perhaps $6,500 if it were paid for at prevailing rates. Of the energy – a term coterminous with ‘work’ – consumed in Western societies, well over 99% comes from exogenous sources, and probably less than 0.7% from human effort. Energy does far more than provide us with transport and warmth. In modern societies, manufacturing, services, minerals, food and even water are functions of the availability of energy. The critical equation here is not the absolute quantity of energy available but, rather, the difference between energy extracted and energy consumed in the extraction process. This is measured by the mathematical equation EROEI (energy return on energy invested).

For much of the period since the Industrial Revolution, EROEIs have been extremely high. The oil fields discovered in the 1930s, for example, provided at least 100 units of extracted energy for every unit consumed in extraction (an EROEI of 100:1). For some decades now, though, global average EROEIs have been falling, as energy discoveries have become both smaller and more difficult (meaning energy-costly) to extract.

 

The killer factor is the non-linear nature of EROEIs. As fig. 1.5 shows, the effects of a fall-off in EROEI from, say, 80:1 to 20:1 do not seem particularly disruptive but, once returns ratios have fallen below about 15:1, there is a dramatic, ‘cliff-edge’ slump in surplus energy, combined with a sharp escalation in its cost.

Research suggests that the global average EROEI, having fallen from about 40:1 in 1990 to 17:1 in 2010, may decline to just 11:1 by 2020, at which point energy will be about 50% more expensive, in real terms, than it is today, a metric which will carry through directly into the cost of almost everything else – including food.

crisis, culpability and consequences

If the analysis set out in this report is right, we are nearing the end of a period of more than 250 years in which growth has been ‘the assumed normal’. There have been setbacks, of course, but the near-universal assumption has been that economic growth is the usual state of affairs, a rule to which downturns (even on the scale of the 1930s) are the exceptions. That comfortable assumption is now in the process of being over-turned.

The views set out here must provoke a host of questions. For a start, if we really are nearing a cliff-edge economic crisis, why isn’t this visible already? Second, who is to blame for this? Third, how bad could it get? Last, but surely most important, can anything be done about it?

Where visibility is concerned, our belief is that, if the economy does tip over in the coming few years, retrospect – which always enjoys the 20-20 vision of hindsight – will say that the signs of the impending crash were visible well before 2013.

For a start, anyone who believed that a globalisation model (in which the West unloaded production but expected to consume as much, or even more, than ever) was sustainable was surely guilty of wilful blindness. Such a state of affairs was only ever viable on the insane assumption that debt could go on increasing indefinitely. Charles Mackay chronicled many delusions, but none – not even the faith placed in witchcraft – was ever quite as irrational as the belief (seldom stated, but always implicit in Western economic policy) that there need never be an end to a way of life which was wholly dependent on ever-greater debt.

Even to those who were happy to swallow the nonsense of perpetually expanding indebtedness, the sheer scale of debt – and, relevantly in this context, of quasi-debt commitments as well – surely should have sounded  warning bells. From Liverpool to Los Angeles, from Madrid to Matsuyama, the developed world is mired in debts that can never be repaid. In addition to formal debt, governments have entered into pension and welfare commitments which are only affordable if truly heroic assumptions are made about future prosperity.

At the same time, there is no real evidence that the economy is recovering from what is already a more prolonged slump than the Great Depression of the 1930s. We are now more than four years on from the banking crisis and, under anything approaching normal conditions, there should have been a return to economic expansion by now. Governments have tried almost everything, from prolonged near-zero interest rates and stimulus expenditures to the creation of money on a gigantic scale. These tools have worked in the past, and the fact that, this time, they manifestly are not working should tell us that something profoundly different is going on.

The question of culpability has been the equivalent of Sherlock Holmes’ “dog that did not bark in the night”, in that very few individuals have been held to account for what is unarguably the worst economic disaster in at least eighty years. A small number of obviously-criminal miscreants have been prosecuted, but this is something that happens on a routine basis in normal times, so does not amount to an attribution of blame for the crisis. There has been widespread public vilification of bankers, the vast majority of whom were, in any case, only acting within the parameters of the ‘debtfuelled, immediate gratification’ ethos established across Western societies as a whole.

Governments have been ejected by their electorates, but their replacements have tended to look very similar indeed to their predecessors. The real reason for the seeming lack of retribution is that culpability is far too dispersed across society as a whole. If, say, society was to punish senior bankers, what about the thousands of salesmen who knowingly pushed millions of customers into mortgages that were not remotely affordable? The suspicion lingers that there has been a ‘grand conspiracy of culpability’, but even the radical left has failed to tie this down to specifics in a convincing way.

The real causes of the economic crash are the cultural norms of a society that has come to believe that immediate material gratification, fuelled if necessary by debt, can ever be a sustainable way of life. We can, if we wish, choose to blame the advertising industry (which spends perhaps $470bn annually pushing the consumerist message), or the cadre of corporate executives who have outsourced skilled jobs in pursuit of personal gain. We can blame a generation of policymakers whose short-termism has blinded them to underlying trends, or regulators and central bankers who failed to “take away the punch-bowl” long after the party was self-evidently out of control.

But blaming any of these really means blaming ourselves – for falling for the consumerist message of instant gratification, for buying imported goods, for borrowing far more than was healthy, and for electing glib and vacuous political leaders.

Beyond visibility and culpability, the two big questions which need to be addressed are ‘how bad can it get?’ and ‘is there anything that we can do about it?’

Of these, the first question hardly needs an answer, since the implications seem self-evident – economies will lurch into hyper-inflation in a forlorn attempt to escape from debt, whilst social strains will increase as the vice of resource (including food) shortages tightens. In terms of solutions, the first imperative is surely a cultural change away from instant gratification, a change which, if it is not adopted willingly, will be enforced upon society anyway by the reversal of economic growth.

The magic bullet, of course, would be the discovery of a new source of energy which can reverse the winding-down of the critical energy returns equation. Some pin their faith in nuclear fusion (along lines being pioneered by ITER) but this, even if it works, lies decades in the future – that is, long after the global EROEI has fallen below levels which will support society as we know it. Solutions such as biofuels and shales are rendered non-workable by their intrinsically-low EROEIs.

Likewise, expecting a technological solution to occur would be extremely unwise, because technology uses energy – it does not create it. To expect technology to provide an answer would be equivalent to locking the finest scientific minds in a bankvault, providing them with enormous computing power and vast amounts of money, and expecting them to create a ham sandwich.

In the absence of such a breakthrough, really promising energy sources (such as concentrated solar power) need to be pursued together, above all, with social, political and cultural adaptation to “life after growth”.

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Sat, 01/26/2013 - 20:56 | 3188435 IridiumRebel
IridiumRebel's picture

Lotta chart porn tonight.

Sat, 01/26/2013 - 21:31 | 3188502 true brain
true brain's picture

No worry on the energy front. Just liquify 4 billion extra people on this planet and you'll get 8 billion barrels of oil; cut down comsumption and create extra energy at the same time. win win situation if I ever saw one.

Sat, 01/26/2013 - 21:39 | 3188510 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

Not to mention a lot of PROTEIN...

~~~

Soylent Green is PEOPLE!... Think about it though... Only 1% of the 'Soylent Green' proteins are KOSHER... [Either somebody is FUCKED ~ or some 'rabbis' are going to make a FORTUNE declaring SOYLENT GREEN kosher]

Just saying... [Don't worry folks ~ francis_sawyer is only here to provide MIRTH amidst the ABSURDITY of potential outcomes]...

Sat, 01/26/2013 - 21:44 | 3188525 espirit
espirit's picture

Another doom and gloom PHD analysis?

Did this guy just now take the redpill?

Sat, 01/26/2013 - 21:48 | 3188529 espirit
espirit's picture

BTW - Put me down for two "Mirths".

Sun, 01/27/2013 - 04:11 | 3188809 old naughty
old naughty's picture

End of genenerations of bankers.

Sun, 01/27/2013 - 08:24 | 3188886 GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture

 

 

Can we just get this over with already? I've got a thing.

 

Who the hell is paying for all these bailouts again?

Sun, 01/27/2013 - 10:31 | 3188974 JungleJim
JungleJim's picture

U !

Sun, 01/27/2013 - 17:30 | 3189514 All Risk No Reward
All Risk No Reward's picture

I'd like to make clear what a bailout really is.  Nobody in the "establishment" will tell you because they value their publicity and their paycheck of valuable Veritas.

Before describing the essence of a bailout, I'd like to describe how the money system works without the "bailouts."

I'm part of the "money definer and creator" class.  Society, incuding government is not.

We will keep this simple to cut through the complexity that is used to deceive the masses.

You are society that needs money and I'm the class that will define it and provide it...  at interest because I defined money as debt.

I lend you $20 @5%.  In one year you owe me $21, but you only have $20 (that's all I gave you).  There are three ways in which you can pay me back, should CHOOSE to let those I've SUBJUGATED pay me back.  Maybe I just want the collateral and I won't let you pay me back. No, not now.  I want more debt to steal more later.

1. Work for me, earn $1 within a year's time and then give me the $20 + $1 you earned from me.

2. Sell me $1 worth of assets within a year's time and then give me the $20 + $1 you earned from me.

3. I print up another $20 bill, with the exact same problem, making the first $20 easier to pay off BUT CREATING AN EXPONENTIAL DEBT GROWTH CURVE.

The bottom line is I run this B*.  You all are puppets are on MY STAGE.  I run you little people like milk cows.  My corporate fronts, where I store much of my wealth, is essentially tax free while the small business employer is taxed 50% or more.  Oh, my society engineering Foundations are tax free, too.  Taxes are for sheeple who think those with trillions who pay almost no taxes are "stupid."  Oh, the folly of the ignorant.

OK, the stage has been set to understand a "bailout."

I create $20 @ 5%, stick it in my back pocket (or in my corporate front) and then bill your financially, ignorant *ss $21 in a year's time EVEN THOUGH I GAVE YOU NONE OF THE MONEY!!!!!!

Beinig a con man, I will tell you I'm doing it for your own good - so the good times can roll for you.

That only works because you don't understand the system.  And when someone explains the nature of the system, you will simply move on and pretend it isn't true...  at least 90% of you will here on Zerohedge.  In the "real world," it is more like 99%.

UNTIL THE CRIMINALS ARE REMOVED FROM THE DEFINITION AND CREATION OF MONEY, EVERYTHING ELSE IS RE-ARRANGING CHAIRS ON THE TITANIC.

WE ARE NO LESS FOOLISH THAN THE PEOPLE WHO RE-ARRANGED THOSE CHAIRS.

Now, get back to work for me or sell me more stuff, neo-slave!  I NEED MOAR OF MOAR!!!

Sun, 01/27/2013 - 17:02 | 3189491 All Risk No Reward
All Risk No Reward's picture

Wishful thinking.  The international banking cartel is several steps ahead of almost everybody.

Most people assume "the fall-out from the biggest debt bubble in history" is bad for the banksters.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The bust stage is when they wipe out the monetary wealth of the common person and buy up the planet for pennies on the dollar.

Remember, they are too big to fail and you are not.

When everything fails, they will live on and eat you for lunch.

They own trillions in cash (more looted every day - they are looting, not trying to restart something which a 5th grader knows can't be restarted) and trillions more in debt.

Once the Muppet Face Ripping operation is over, they will then turn their cash into ownership by taking the nation into receivorship and buying what's left for pennies on the dollar.

Then they might hyperinflate, but to the 10s, if not 100s, of million homeless and the new normal debt serf, it won't matter much - they will have been looted clean.

"Ownership society" (bankster handmaiden Bush phrase, as opposed to the many bankster handmaiden Democratic quotes) indeed.

Make no mistake, the receivorship of the nations is part of the bankster plan for world control through inextinguishable debt.

We know what they are doing.  What will we do?  Spead the word so that Vicchy Media support becomes the kiss of death to a political candidate or an economic prognosticator.

Debt Money Tyranny

http://www.keepandshare.com/doc/4768883/debtmoneytyranny-6-1-pdf-60k?tr=77

Oh, and Section 2A of the Federal Reserve mandate makes that second chart prima facia evidence of a crime beyond all doubt.

Money and credit aggregates were taken "exponential to" the long term reality of production - and the law demands that they be kept "commensurate with."  If the law were followed, there would be no bubble that is about to asset strip society blind and rip the faces off of current and future Muppets.

If you want to know hwo the dElites think of you, review some history.  if you are lazy and don't want to read history, you can Netflix "Ironclad."

Sun, 01/27/2013 - 08:34 | 3188892 Notarocketscientist
Notarocketscientist's picture

Instead of demonstrating your obviously low IQ why don't you pick a few points in the author's argument and address them?

 

Sun, 01/27/2013 - 09:35 | 3188936 Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

"But blaming any of these really means blaming ourselves..."

Uh, no, in fact, it doesn't.  People hold leadership positions for a reason, and it isn't so they can ride around in limos.  The "leaders" have failed.  And we have tried to replace them, and they respond with tyranny to avoid replacement.  We can clearly see that they are enriching a small minority.

Any attempt to blame me for their obvious failings will be resisted by me to the best of my ability.  I accept no blame for any of this.

Sun, 01/27/2013 - 14:52 | 3189323 Lost1
Sun, 01/27/2013 - 14:56 | 3189333 balolalo
balolalo's picture

"Did this guy just now take the redpill?"

Earth is not going to look prettty when we are at 5-1 EROEI rate or less.  This guy is hoping to get NEW people to take the red pill.  The only way we get out of this economic/environmental disaster is for people to either wake up.... or die. 

I would prefer people wake up and work toegther, because a mass die-off would not be fun. 

Sat, 01/26/2013 - 21:37 | 3188512 Kimo
Kimo's picture

Does this mean Apple is still a generational Buy?

Sun, 01/27/2013 - 05:20 | 3188834 Boris Alatovkrap
Boris Alatovkrap's picture

BTFD before is SHTF!

Sat, 01/26/2013 - 21:39 | 3188513 Pure Evil
Pure Evil's picture

8 billion barrels, what's that, about a year supply of gas in the US?

Sun, 01/27/2013 - 12:42 | 3189106 BobPaulson
BobPaulson's picture

it also reduces demand considerably. hence the beauty of vivoleum.

Sun, 01/27/2013 - 11:19 | 3189026 Silver Bug
Silver Bug's picture

The debt bubble IS going to pop. It is only a matter of time. Make sure your holding gold and silver tight when it happens.

 

Keep Calm and Slave On, must see.

Sun, 01/27/2013 - 23:13 | 3190237 TuPhat
TuPhat's picture

True brain? or Zero brain.  Since the human body is mostly water and doesn't have as much volume as a barrell of oil, how do you come up with two barrells of oil per person?  Will you please volunteer to be one of the first ones liquidated.  That would at least increase the average inteligence of those of us still here.

Sat, 01/26/2013 - 20:59 | 3188439 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

 Tyler "won" me over at "Aggregate Indebtedness".

Sat, 01/26/2013 - 21:10 | 3188459 IridiumRebel
IridiumRebel's picture

I love "aggregate"......I love "denouement" too! 

Sat, 01/26/2013 - 21:11 | 3188468 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

I read the thread. Aggre/Gate stands.

Sat, 01/26/2013 - 21:02 | 3188451 not fat not stupid
not fat not stupid's picture

I'm pretty sure this guy didn't get laid in high school.

Sat, 01/26/2013 - 21:04 | 3188454 IridiumRebel
IridiumRebel's picture

It's the work of the "non-laid" that gets us others laid......

Sun, 01/27/2013 - 08:26 | 3188888 GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture

 

 

I'm pretty sure this guy didn't get laid in high school.

 

He studied in high school...which is why you should probably listen to him.

Sat, 01/26/2013 - 21:12 | 3188470 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Humping is nature's way of bringing another useless idiot into the world.

Must create Idiocracy.

Sat, 01/26/2013 - 21:31 | 3188505 Pure Evil
Pure Evil's picture

You fool, you're already living in an idiocracy. Exactly how do you think Obama got elected, then re-elected?

Sun, 01/27/2013 - 08:28 | 3188889 GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture

 

 

Which is why you should train yourself to be able to operate in damn near any environment.

Sat, 01/26/2013 - 23:53 | 3188675 upWising
upWising's picture

“We have reason to believe that man first walked upright to free his hands for masturbation.” 
– Lily Tomlin

"Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse."
– Lily Tomlin

"If I had known what it would be like to have it all - I might have been willing to settle for less." 
– Lily Tomlin 


Sat, 01/26/2013 - 21:04 | 3188457 Cabreado
Cabreado's picture

When we reach a critical mass of self-absorption in places of influence and control,

it will fall down, by definition.

It always did.

 

Sat, 01/26/2013 - 21:09 | 3188466 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

need to be pursued together, above all, with social, political and cultural adaptation to “life after growth”.

so....
it's like... afterplay or something? like the cudling after sex?

ppffffttt...

I don't do that stuff. I'm also lucky my wife is either. She always reminds me even! She always says: NOW GET OFF ME! after sex.
AM I A LUCKY GUY OR WHAT?!!?!

Sat, 01/26/2013 - 21:12 | 3188471 IridiumRebel
IridiumRebel's picture

Reminds me of the joke:

 

"What's a girl from West Virginia say after sex?"

 

"Get off me daddy, you're crushing my Marlboroughs."

Sat, 01/26/2013 - 21:29 | 3188485 Tinky
Tinky's picture

n/a

Sat, 01/26/2013 - 21:34 | 3188506 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Reminds me of the joke comparing Mick Jaeger and a Scotsman.

Mick says, "Hey you, get off of my cloud"

Scotsman says, "Hey McCloud! Get off my ewe."

Then again, my maternal Grandmother's maiden, and married name was Ferguson.

Sun, 01/27/2013 - 00:52 | 3188725 Seer
Seer's picture

Had to thank you for that laugh.  I'd never heard this before.

Sat, 01/26/2013 - 21:14 | 3188474 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Barney Frank is nicer than your wife?

Sat, 01/26/2013 - 21:35 | 3188509 Pure Evil
Pure Evil's picture

You are lucky so far. She could be calling from her worthless boyfriend's bedroom asking when she can expect to receive the alimony and child support checks.

I know a guy at work that's being squeezed exactly like this. My advice is don't get married or divorced in New Jersey.

Sun, 01/27/2013 - 09:17 | 3188923 overmedicatedun...
overmedicatedundersexed's picture

good, but never state the evil never spoken of cia deleted ..tariff economy pre 1913, a fed .gov limited not by income taxes [now spent all of that and on to fiat debt infinity] but by tariff income..how many fewer wars would we have had, how much less centralized power in dc...cause and effect I say yes.

Sat, 01/26/2013 - 21:21 | 3188487 GS-DickinDaMuppets
GS-DickinDaMuppets's picture

WOW, this bird is so full of sh!t the tribal Indian Chief is going to name him "Walking Eagle".

QUOTE: " In the absence of such a breakthrough, really promising energy sources (such as concentrated solar power) need to be pursued together, above all, with social, political and cultural adaptation to “life after growth”. "

Doin' GOD's work...GS-DickinDaMuppets

Sun, 01/27/2013 - 01:34 | 3188755 RockyRacoon
RockyRacoon's picture

I anxiously await your own article in rebuttal.  Be sure to include some supporting graphs as well.

Sun, 01/27/2013 - 09:33 | 3188931 Karlus
Karlus's picture

Yeah, my lib spidey sense tingled here.

We have quite a bit of Natty to fund our next energy boom. We are also big babies when it comes to nuclear reactors. Im not suggesting we put them on the coasts to get run over by tsunamis or anything genius like that, but there are safer designs than pressurized water reactors.

Anytime people start up with the solar or wind crap, i know they are not science/economics minded or they would know about the economics and how those dont pay out. Its liberal arts/ polsci guys that say "just make it work."

Finally, its a liberal credo to "learn to accept less." Sorry, Im into trying to make the pizza bigger with innovation rather than dividing slices from a shrinking one.

We could easily be world leaders in biosciences and automation if we wanted. But it seems like the biggest barrier is our pols. There is no reason wars need to last decades. Conquer them, put in te puppet and pump the oil. If the puppet gets froggy, put in another one that looks just like him. I frankly dont give a damn about seeing burkahs with purple thumbs.

/rant off

Sat, 01/26/2013 - 21:40 | 3188520 Tom Green Swedish
Tom Green Swedish's picture

Great Article.  When is armageddon?

Sun, 01/27/2013 - 05:55 | 3188841 andrewp111
andrewp111's picture

Whenever Islam is re-united under a single Caliph and musters The Army of Islam, 200 million strong, to march on  Israel. The Battle Of Armageddon takes place in the valley of Megiddo in Israel. I think the nuclear destruction of Iran and elimination of the Shia is a prerequisite for Armageddon, because  Islam cannot be unified until the Shia are eradicated. So once Iran is destroyed, Armageddon will follow in 5-15 years.

Another sign (or recipe) for The Battle of Armageddon is the construction of the Third Temple of David. My guess is that the Dome of the Rock will be destroyed in the coming war with Iran, and then Israel will rebuild the Temple.

Sun, 01/27/2013 - 08:26 | 3188887 Popo
Popo's picture

Buddha didn't say anything about any of that.  What planet are you from?

Ohh... you're one of those.

Sun, 01/27/2013 - 10:00 | 3188939 GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture

 

 

Clearly you're not.....so how many F-16s and M-1 tanks can we put you down for?

Sun, 01/27/2013 - 10:37 | 3188983 mess nonster
mess nonster's picture

Oh... so Scofield DID eat your brain. Or was it Hal Lindsey?

Sun, 01/27/2013 - 15:34 | 3189373 WT Sherman
WT Sherman's picture

Andrew, funny thing is that all the incoming lead flying in from the Islamic fanatics in Gaza and other hostiles around Israel might take out the Dome of the Rock without the Jews lifting a finger....of course Israel will still get blamed, first by the muslims, then by Obama.

Sat, 01/26/2013 - 21:57 | 3188535 WT Sherman
WT Sherman's picture

Excllent article IMO.  In the grand scheme of things life for most of earth's occupants has always been a bucket of shit.  Most American citizens and those of Western demoracies of the past 150 years or so have been lived vastly exceptional lives compared to most people that have struggled to survive on this earth.

Maybe we're about to find out how tough life on earth can really be.

Sun, 01/27/2013 - 00:37 | 3188715 Seer
Seer's picture

I've had a pretty good idea.  My wife is from Manila (old school frugal).  Sadly, many there will struggle as the "excess" (garbage) is reduced because initial/primary consumption will drop.

If I were religious I'd be praying for everyone.  As it is, I'll just say best wishes to all... it's going to hurt.

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