This page has been archived and commenting is disabled.

From Cascading Complexity To Systemic Collapse: A Walk Thru "Society's Equivalent Of A Heart Attack"

Tyler Durden's picture


Over a year ago, FEASTA's David Korowicz stunned the world with his fascinating analysis titled "Trade-Off: Financial System Supply-Chain Cross-Contagion: a study in global systemic collapse," in which he shone a much needed light on the "weakest link" choke points of modern hyper-complex society: a forensic investigation into a "Minsky Moment" thought experiment gone wrong, one crossing the systemic instability threshold, and culminating with society, economics and the modern world as we know it grinding to a halt and worse.

Since Korowicz' analysis is precisely the terminal outcome that awaits the world caught in a state of relentless denial that even refuses to contemplate "Plan B", what we said then is that "everyone who wishes to know what will happen unless everyone is aware of what may happen" should read said study in global systemic collapse. Before proceeding further, we urge all readers who are fascinated by the topic of crossing thresholds of social, systemic instability to read the original analysis if they have not done so already.

The original paper led to an eruption in opinions and responses both on the pages of Zero Hedge and elsewhere, to an issue that has chronically received virtually no media attention (for obvious confidence preserving reasons in a world in which centrally-planned ignorance confidence is bliss), we are delighted to present Korowicz's follow up, "Catastrophic Shocks through Complex Socio-Economic Systems—A Pandemic Perspective" which "provides an overview of the effect of a major pandemic on the operation of complex socio-economic systems using some simple models. It discusses the links between initial pandemic absenteeism and supply-chain contagion, and the evolution and rate of shock propagation. It discusses systemic collapse and the difficulties of re-booting socio-economic systems."

In a way that only Korowicz can, the author summarizes the increasingly more precarious state of systemic social equilibria, and how a more determined push away from a trendline (or back toward mean reversion as those who can see right through the central banks increasing desperation to preserve the world's legacy status quo "just one more day") could result in the end of modern society.

To wit: "The commonalities of global integration mean that diverse hazards may lead to common shock consequences. The systems that transmit shocks are also the systems we depend upon for our welfare and the operation of businesses, institutions and society, so to borrow Marshal McLuhan’s phrase, the medium is the message. One of the primary consequences of a generic shock is an interruption in the flow of goods and services in the economy. This has diverse and profound implications - including food security crises’, business shut-downs, critical infrastructure risks and social crises. This can in turn quickly destroy forward-looking confidence in an economy with major consequences for financial and monetary stability which depend ultimately on the collateral of real economic production. More generally it can entail multi-network and delocalised cascading failure leading to a collapse in societal complexity."

What follows is a "thought experimental" methodology which is used to look at the socio-economic implications of a major pandemic. In other words, a step by step walk through of how society transitions from its unstable current equilibrium state, one represented by the highest level of socio/economic/monetary entropy, to society's equivalent of a heart attack: a straight line collapse in social entropy once parametric thresholds are breached, leading to failure and halt of any and every process reliant on incremental, evolutionary complexity. It is here that epistemological assumptions about society's future can simply and subjectively be reduced to simple heuristics: "optimism" and "pessimism." The former holds that even in a complete systemic collapse, the system can eventually regroup and eventually return to its most recent, highest level of complexity. The latter.... does not.

This is how Korowicz frames it:

We imagine that after a pandemic wave people are again available for work. But people cannot however become productive immediately because other inputs are also needed. But those inputs are stalled because they rely upon other inputs and so on. More broadly we may define Recursion failure as: “the inability of a complex economy to easily resume production and trade after a significant collapse because in a complex and interdependent economy, production and trade must resume in order for production and trade to resume”.


Further even if a government wanted to rebuild, it may be too complex to orchestrate resumption from the top down. This is firstly because the economy has evolved by self-organization, nobody has ever had, nor could they have put its elements together in the first place. Secondly, even if it could be done, the systems of command, control and supply that might do it would be the very systems that had been undermined.


Over time entropy would become an issue as engines rust, reagents become contaminated, and expected maintenance and repairs are left undone. This would all add to the cost and inputs needed for resumption. In a more complex society the degradation rate may be higher for thermodynamic reasons.


Overall, we are saying the longer a socio-economic system spends in the critical regime, the more likely it is to undergo a complete systemic collapse and loss of basic function. In addition, the longer it spends in this state, the more difficult it may be to ever return to its pre-pandemic state.


This is a complex society’s equivalent of a heart attack. When a person has a heart attack, there is a brief period during which CPR can revive the person. But beyond a certain point when there has been cascading failure in co-dependent life support systems, the person cannot be revived. This means that the socio-economic system could be changed irretrievably and the job of society and government would be to both manage the crisis and plot a fundamentally different path.


The extent of our contemporary complex global system dependencies, and our habituation to a long period of broadly stable economic and complexity growth means a systemic collapse would present profound and existential challenges.

It is precisely this inevitable final denouement, and the fact that its mere contemplation simply acknowledges there is nothing society can do to prepare for a terminal outcome, which is why modern society is replete with pre-ordained distractions that seek to prevent the vast majority to contemplate a narrative in any way resembling the one above, and why nobody is willing to admit the contemplation of a "Plan B" as even merely the fact that "very serious people" - those whose actions have resulted in the current precarious systemic environment- are thinking about the "what if" potentiality, sets off events in motion that culminate with the entire system ultimately crashing under its own complexity.

Which, of course, is precisely why we present the full piece as everyone should be aware of what the absolutely worst case outcome may and will look like in a world in which sticking one's head in the sand has become a religion.

Catastrophic Shocks Through Complex Socio-Economic Systems: A Pandemic Perspective (pdf), source FEASTA

David Korowicz


The globalised economy has become more complex (connectivity, interdependence, and speed), de-localized, with increasing concentration within critical systems. This has made us all more vulnerable to systemic shocks. This paper provides an overview of the effect of a major pandemic on the operation of complex socio-economic systems using some simple models. It discusses the links between initial pandemic absenteeism and supply-chain contagion, and the evolution and rate of shock propagation. It discusses systemic collapse and the difficulties of re-booting socio-economic systems.

1. A New Age of Risk

Consider the following scenarios:

  • A highly contagious pandemic outbreak in South-East Asia (of comparable or greater human impact than the 1918 influenza outbreak).
  • A disorderly break-up of the Eurozone and global financial system implosion.
  • A ‘perfect storm’- during a time of major global financial instability - there are terrorist attacks on North African oil installations (partially driven by social unrest arising from record food prices) & a category 5 hurricane hits a major population/ industrial/ oil producing regions of the US east coast.

These are all examples of potential global shocks, that is hazards that could drive fast and severe cascading impacts mediated through global systems. Global systems include telecommunications networks; financial and banking networks; trade networks; and critical infrastructure networks. These systems are themselves highly interdependent and together form part of the globalised economy. The interest in global shocks and how they manifest themselves has grown in recent years (WEF 2012, 2013; Helbing 2013,; Buldyrev et. al. 2010).

First it useful to acknowledge that the hazards referred to in the opening scenarios are increasingly likely. Potentially new pandemic strains are being encouraged by increasing human pressure on the biosphere, while mass global air transport could aid rapid global transmission. Ecological constraints, presently pre-eminent amongst them are food and oil flows and increasingly the effects of climate change are growing. Stresses in the credit backing of our financial and monetary systems are arguably increasing, with the additional vulnerability that such systems are the primary vector through which major ecological constraints in energy and food would be expressed (Korowicz 2011).

One of the primary issues for this paper are, given any significant hazard, how does the impact spread through the globalised economy and in what way are we vulnerable to the failure of interconnected systems. To answer this we need to understand how complex societies are connected and how they have changed over time.

The globalised economy is an example of a complex adaptive system that dynamically links people, goods, factories, services, institutions and commodities across the globe. Such systems can be represented by a‘state’ that is not in equilibrium, but defines a set of ordered characteristics that exist within a range of deviations from a mean and persist for a period of time. For example, the state is characterized by exponential growth in Gross World Product of about 3.5% per annum over nearly 200 years within a range of several percentage points. This had correlated with emergent and self-organizing growth in socio-economic complexity which is reflected in the growth of the:

  • Number of interacting parts (nodes): This includes exponential population growth; the 50,000+ different items available in Wal-Mart; the 6 billion+ digitally connected devices; the number of cars, factories, power plants, mines an so on.
  • Number of linkages (edges): This includes the 3 billion passengers traveling between 4000 airports on over 50 million flights each year; the 60,000 cargo ships moving between 5000 ports with about a million ship movements a year; the average number of media channels (internet sites, TV channels, twitter feeds) per person times the population; and the billions of daily financial transactions.
  • Levels of interdependence between nodes: The growing number of inputs necessary to make a good, service, livelihood, infrastructural output or the function of society as a whole.
  • The speed of processes (or time compression):This includes the increasing speed of financial transactions; transportation; digital signaling; and Just-In-Time logistics. If we consider the globalised economy as a form of singular organism, we can understand this process as an increasing metabolic rate.
  • Efficiency: increasing competition and global trade arbitrage driving down inventories; and globalised economies of scale.
  • Concentration: The emergence of ‘hubs’ within the globalised economy- a small number of very highly connected nodes whose function (or loss of function) have a disproportionate role in the operation of the globalised economy . For example, banks are not connected at random to other banks, rather a very small number of large banks are highly connected with lots of other banks, who have few connections to each other. These arrangements are sometimes known as scale-free networks. We can also see concentration in critical infrastructure, and trade networks.
  • De-localization: The conditions of personal welfare; business or service output; or country’s economic output is smeared over the whole globalised economy. The corollary is that if there is a major failure of the systems integration in the globalised economy, a localised community may have extreme difficulties meeting its basic needs.

Economic and complexity growth have in many ways reduced risk. Localized agricultural failure once risked famine in isolated subsistence communities, but now such risk is spread globally. It has made critical infrastructure such as sewage treatment and clean water available and affordable. Global financial markets enable an array of risks, from home insurance and pensions to default risk and export credit insurance, to be dispersed and potential volatility reduced. Indeed, what is remarkable is just how reliable our complex society is given the number of time sensitive inter-connections.

Another way of saying all this is that our society is very resilient, within certain bounds, to a huge range interruptions in the flow of goods and services. Within those bounds our society is self-stabilizing. For example supply-chain shocks from the Japanese tsunami in 2011, the eruption of the Icelandic Eyjafjallajokull volcano in 2010 or the UK fuel blockades in 2000 all had severe localised effects in addition to shutting down some factories across the world as supply-chains were interrupted. However the impacts did not spread and amplify, and normal functioning of the local economy quickly resumed.

But we know from many complex systems in nature and society that a system can rapidly shift from onestate to another as a threshold is crossed (Scheffer 2009). One way a state shift can occur is when a shock drives the system out of its stability bounds. The form of those stability bounds can increase or decrease resilience to shocks depending upon whether the system is already stressed prior to the shock.

The commonalities of global integration mean that diverse hazards may lead to common shock consequences. The systems that transmit shocks are also the systems we depend upon for our welfare and the operation of businesses, institutions and society, so to borrow Marshal McLuhan’s phrase, the medium is the message. One of the primary consequences of a generic shock is an interruption in the flow of goods and services in the economy. This has diverse and profound implications - including food security crises’, business shut-downs, critical infrastructure risks and social crises. This can in turn quickly destroy forward-looking confidence in an economy with major consequences for financial and monetary stability which depend ultimately on the collateral of real economic production. More generally it can entail multi-network and de-localised cascading failure leading to a collapse in societal complexity.

Previously the dynamics of such a scenario was studied when the initial shock was caused by a systemic banking collapse and monetary shock. This coupled the exchange of goods and services causing financial system supply-chain cross contagion and a re-enforcing cascade of de-localizing multi-system risk (Korowicz 2012).

In this paper a similar methodology is used to look at the socio-economic implications of a major pandemic. After a very brief review of other researchers work (section 2), some real life examples of partial systems failure are reviewed (section 3). This allows us to make make some estimates of shock spreading rates. In section 4 the links between pandemic absenteeism and supply-chain contagion is discussed and related to societal complexity. In section 5 we look at how contagion spreads, the rate, and the relationship to complexity.

In section 6 we look at some of the multi-system interactions. In 7, we look at why after a major collapse, the pre-shock socio-economic state may not be recoverable. Finally there is a short conclusion. This paper aims to broadly outline how very simple models can shed light on catastrophic shocks in complex socio-economic systems. A significantly more detailed discussion on several issues may be found here,(Korowicz 2012).

2. Socio-economic Impact of a Major Pandemic

We are interested in the socio-economic implications of a major influenza pandemic whose initial impact would be direct absenteeism from illness and death, and absenteeism for family and prophylactic reasons.

The pandemic wave (we will only consider one) lasts 10-15 weeks. We assume this causes an absenteeism rate of 20% or 40% over the peak period of 2-4 weeks, and a rate above 20% for 4-8 weeks when the peak is 40%. This represents our initial impact. Our question is then what happens next.

There are two general perspectives to studying such impacts. The first focuses on the impact on a specific industry or service, often with a view to Business Continuity Planning (BCP). Unsurprisingly, the question of how a health service would manage a pandemic when its own operation is compromised is of recurrent interest (Bartlett and Hayden 2005; Itzwerth et al. 2006). Or for example the effect of worker absenteeism on the movement of freight in a coupled US port-rail system (Jones et al. 2008). This analysis is important for local preparations however it suffers from having to isolate the system under consideration from the environment to avoid the analysis becoming too open and complex.

The alternative track is to use macroeconomic modeling to look at the impact on an economy as a whole. This type of modeling might be useful for low impact pandemics where the economy remains in its historical range of conditions, for example the impact of the 2003 SARS outbreak ( Knapp et al. 2004; Keogh-Brown and Smith 2008).

However when considering major pandemics (McKibbin and Sidorenko 2006; Keogh-Brown et al. 2010) it is highly questionable if such conventional macroeconomic modeling works, or would be very mis-leading. This is firstly because such models are built out of, and parameterized within the context of long run macroeconomic stability. A major pandemic could be highly de-stabilising, causing, as we shall see, cascading systemic disruption and failure.

Secondly, such models are blind to the issue of rising complexity and the speed of processes, which we argue here are essential for understanding major shocks. Finally, they have little to say about the dynamics of the impact, how it spreads through time and cascading failure. This is of most interest to actual risk manageent.

3. Vulnerability Revealed

One way to understand and even parameterize the structure and behavior of complex socio-economic systems is to empirically study occasions when there has been some systemic failure.

In September 2000 truckers in the United Kingdom, angry at rising diesel duties, blockaded refineries anad fuel distribution outlets (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada 2005; McKinnon 2006; Peck 2006). The petrol stations reliance on Just-In-Time re-supply meant the impact was rapid. Within 2 days of the blockade starting approximately half of the UK’s petrol stations had run out of fuel and supplies to industry and utilities had begun to be severely affected. The initial impact was on transport - people couldn’t get to work and businesses could not be re-supplied. This then began to have a systemic impact.

The protest finished after 5 days at which point: supermarkets had begun to empty of stock, large parts of the manufacturing sector were about to shut down, hospitals had begun to offer ‘emergency only’ care; automatic cash machines could not be re-supplied and the postal service was severely affected. There was panic buying at supermarkets and petrol stations. It was estimated that after the first day an average 10% of national output was lost. Surprisingly, at the height of the disruption, commercial truck traffic on the UK road network was only 10-12% below average values.

There were clear indications that had the fuel blockades gone on just a few days longer large parts of UK manufacturing including the automotive, defense and steel industries would have had to shut down. In the end this was a point hazard with systemic impacts, so once government became aware of the systemic risks they forced the truckers’ hands and they desisted. Still the event concentrated minds. The UK was within days of a severe food security crisis and widespread socio-economic breakdown.

Lest one think this is an issue for only the most complex societies -a week-long truckers strike in September 2012 in South Africa again saw emptying petrol station and ATM machines within a week of the disruption. And hospitals reliant on burning coal for power had to fall back on reserve stocks (Boesler 2012).

While the UK fuel blockade was probably the most dramatic and well-documented example of supply-chain failure, we also got glimpses of what can happen the following Icelandic volcano eruption in 2010, and the tragic events surrounding the Japanese tsunami and Thai flooding in 2011. From these examples we see that failure of production or supply from one area can shut down factories on the other side of the world within days of the initial interruption. A report from the think-tank Chatham House on the impacts of the Icelandic volcano and subsequent interviews with businesses about its impact and their preparedness came to the general conclusion (Lee et. al. 2012) :

One week seems to be the maximum tolerance of a Just-In-Time economy”…..before major shut-downs in business and industries would occur.

Further, after such a disruption, things would not just return to normal. Again, from the Chatham House study:

“... many [of the businesses surveyed] said that had the disruption continued just a few days longer, it would have taken at least a month for companies to recover

And a quote from a desk study on the impact of a one week long absence of (just) trucks in the UK economy, things would not just return to normal (McKinnon 2006):

“... After a week, the country would be plunged into a deep social and economic crisis. It would take several weeks for most production and distribution systems to recover

So the indications for the UK are that over the first week of the disruption, contagion across supply-chains and businesses rises relatively slowly. But very soon after that socio-economic disruption rapidly become very severe. And then even if the primary cause can return to normal, the economy takes weeks to recover. The studies do not consider what would happen if the primary disruption were to continue for many weeks.

4. Interdependence, Liebig’s law, and Cascading

One of the defining features of rising complexity is growing interdependence. That is, the output of a person, a service provider, a factory, a piece of critical infrastructure, or a complex society as a whole depends upon ever more inputs, be they tools, intermediate products, consumables, specialist skills and knowledge or collective societal infrastructures. And those outputs in turn become further inputs through the dispersed networks of the globalised economy.

Some of these inputs may not be necessary to the output of a factory, a service or economy. However, there will also be more critical inputs that the output cannot proceed without. Some of these are easily substitutable through other replacements, suppliers, people or stores that are easily accessed. What we are left with are critical inputs with low substitutability. This is shown in figure:1. We can also see that some of the least substitutable critical inputs are labeled hubs. Hubs are things like electricity, fuel, water, and financial system functionality - things generally referred to as critical infrastructure. They are societal services and functions upon which all society depends. This is represented by the dotted line.

A simple but important principle, Liebig’s Law of the Minimum, says that the production is constrained by the scarcest critical input. So even if you have ample supplies of all but one critical input, your production fails. That is, production fails on the weakest link.

This explains why the most exposed businesses to supply-chain failure are the most complex businesses. Firstly; they have some of the most inputs (making a car can mean assembling up to 15,000 components). Secondly, they have more inputs are very complex and specialized, and so cannot be easily substituted. Alternative production lines might not be available or take months to re-engineer or specialist skills may be in limited supply. Thus, auto and electronic manufacturers were some of the most affected by the Icelandic volcano, the Japanese tsunami and the Thai flooding in 2011.

What Liebig’s law shows is that you do not need to lose everything to stop a business, service or function or society - just the right bit. This helps to explain why a loss of only 10-12% of commercial vehicles had such a big impact during the fuel blockades.

As our economies have become more complex we have been, on average, adding more inputs into our lives, into goods and services, into the functioning of our societies. Secondly more of those are critical with low substitutability.

Let us now apply Liebig’s law to pandemic absenteeism. The people affected by a pandemic are part of the supply of inputs to any system’s function. There may be many people contributing to one output of a business, service or function. We assume that most employees are either unnecessary for the period of the pandemic, can telecommute, or are easily substituted. But there is a smaller number of sub-functional roles occupied most likely by those with specialist skills who are critical with low substitutability. If any one of them is unavailable, the sub-functional role fails and with that, the output of the whole organization/ function. We can then say that the complexity of the output is the number of specialist, low substitutability sub-functions, this we can take as a measure of complexity C.

In figure:2 we see a simple model of absenteeism as might happen in a pandemic situation. It is shown for absenteeism rates of 20% and 40%. It also shows where there is no staff redundancy, and where every specialist has a ‘spare’.

Clearly, higher absenteeism rates and no staff redundancy increase the chance of a system failure. We can imagine a factory or service with hundreds of employees including 6 independent but critical specialist roles, with 100% redundancy, upon which the whole factory depends. But even with a 20% absenteeism rate, there is still a 20% probability that the factory or service goes down because one critical specialist and their spare is absent. Once this happens, all the other hundreds of employees might as well go home. These become the indirect absentees.

Firstly, with the loss of this output good or service (especially if it is critical with low substitutability) other businesses and services may be affected potentially causing cascading affects through complex socio-economic networks as a whole. The dual absenteeism-output cascade is shown in figure:3.

Secondly we can see the effective absenteeism in society is the initial absenteeism due to the pandemic plus the sum of indirect cascading absenteeism. Further the lack of inputs stopping production would add further indirect absenteeism. This positive feedback means the number of economically inactive people in the society is potentially far greater than the absenteeism rate. This tends not to be reflected in macroeconomic modeling which is blind to complexity risk and cascading affects.

5. Time and Cascading Failure

In society there is always a level of absenteeism and a percentage of goods and services that can’t be delivered for whatever reason. You do not get the spread of supply-chain contagion as complex societies are efficient at finding alternative suppliers, and some inventories are carried to help when there is a hiatus. Further most factories don’t produce very critical things or there is lots of substitutability. One wont miss a brand of toothpaste in the supermarket when there are 20 brands available.

To initiate a cascading failure one first needs appropriate scale, from a major hub failure or large enough absenteeism. Secondly, one requires that what is affected has what is sometimes known as centrality, meaning how critically connected it is to other parts of a socio-economic network. Thus the effects of a pandemic or hub failure in a weakly connected country, Mali say, would be unlikely to spread supply-chain failure widely.

Thus we can conclude that there might be point above which supply-chain contagion takes off, and below which the society is still operational and recovery can occur. This point depends upon the initial pandemic absenteeism rate and the society’s complexity at the epicenter of the pandemic. This point, in the languageof complex systems is a critical transition, Ic ,measured as the initial number of ‘infected’ supply-chain nodes, which when crossed, causes a positive feedback of supply-chain contagion.

A simple model of supply-chain failure can be based upon the idea that the more supply-chains are disrupted or infected, the greater the chance that further supply-chains will be infected (Korowicz, 2012). This is limited ultimately by the number of connected parties, L. This has the form of the logistic equation where we can associate the time constant with the average time a society can operate using its stock inventories, Ti. The number of infected nodes is:

Where Io>Ic and is a constant

the dividing line between the sub-critical and critical acceleration. We can see that the longer time inventories are held within a society, the longer the time the operation of society can function before the critical acceleration. Clearly then the rising speed of societal processes, in this case, supply-chain re-charging, reduces temporal resilience to shocks.

Even this very simple model reproduces the main features of real events and studies seen in section 3 - the impact on society does not rise linearly with time but starts to accelerate as more inventories are drawn down. From what we have seen, the sub-critical time is about a week for the UK. In section 2 the scenario for a major pandemic would have had greater than 20% initial absenteeism for 4-8 weeks, clearly this would be very deep into the critical acceleration regime. Of course this assumes the initial absenteeism brought the supply-chain failure above the critical transition. There are good grounds for thinking this would be so by considering that a loss of 12% of trucks was already bringing the UK along the sub-critical acceleration curve.

For pandemics in less complex societies we would expect a higher critical transition point, and a longer period before critical acceleration occurs.

6. External Cross-Network Contagion

We imagine a pandemic outbreak occurs in South-East Asia, say. The main vectors through which a shock could propagate outside the region are pandemic contagion, financial system contagion, and supply-chain contagion. How they transmit that contagion depends upon the network structure and centrality of the effected region with respect to the external world. We might also assume that the spread would require an initial external impact greater than some critical value for external contagion to occur, this is in correspondence with the critical transition level Ic in section 5. Further we would expect the shock to spread at different rates (banking shock could travel faster than supply-chain contagion because the operational speed of the financial system is greater than the inventory turn-over time). We would also expect different periods for each networkbefore critical acceleration occurs, with the fastest system dominating.

The local spread of the infection would in broad terms spread out in geographical space at the speed of human transport. There would also be the spread through airport linkages. Here the global spread of the pan-demic is across a different topological space related to the density of linkages between airports and the shortest paths between any airports (Woolley-Meza et. al. 2011).

Some countries’ role in trade is far more important to the globalised economy than others. The more important the initially impacted region is, the greater is the likelihood of spreading supply-chain contagion globally. Kali & Reyes (2007) measured countries' influence on global trade, not only by trade volumes, but the influence a country has on the global trading system. They used an Importance Index to rank their influence. For example, they find that Thailand, which was at the centre of the 1997-1998 Asian financial crisis ranked 22nd in terms of global trade share, but 11th on their level of importance. In another study, Garas et. al. (2010) used an epidemic model to look at the potential any country had to spread a crisis. One of their data sets is based upon international trade in 2007. It uses a measure of centrality to identify countries with the power to spread a crisis via their level of trade integration. Like the previous paper, the centrality in the network does not necessarily correspond to those countries with the highest trade volumes. There are 12 inner core countries,which are listed in no particular order are: China, Russia, Japan, Spain, UK, Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Belgium-Luxembourg, USA, and France. The data sets used by both groups combine Belgium and Luxembourg data, both sets of authors have classified them together and separately respectively.

Hidalgo & Hausmann (2009) used international trade data to look at two things - the diversity of products a country produces, and the exclusivity of what they produce. An exclusive product is something made by few other countries. Most countries in the world are non- diversified and make standard products. The most complex countries are diversified and make more exclusive products. More exclusive products have less substitutability.

It can also be assumed that even a standard product, bread say, requires many more critical inputs in a complex country than in a less complex one.

Financial system contagion outside the initially impacted region could be through banking networks, the bond market, the shadow banking system, currency volatility and confidence. Again the structure of financial networks and the centrality of the region with respect to financial assets and liabilities would determine the extent of any shock. A additional issue is how vulnerable or resilient the external financial system is at the time of the shock.

If a multi-network failure were to spread globally the ability of the external world to help the initially impacted region would be undermined. In this case there would be global systemic collapse.

7. Recovery & Recursion Failure

We saw indications in the empirical studies of failure in section 3 that once supply-chain failure starts to go critical, the removal of the primary cause does not allow the immediate resumption of socio-economic activity. Why?

The disruption could have pushed companies into bankruptcy, and purchasing power in the economy would be lost as trade collapsed. Failures in critical infrastructure including payment might also occur. More generally there would be an intertwined supply and demand collapse.

More broadly, if an economy was shattered, and its forward looking viability looked both precarious and uncertain one would expect a collapse in the value of a country’s currency. Rather than helping exports (which would be very little because the economy’s productive capacity had collapsed), it would hinder imports of emergency supplies and make debt in external currencies much more difficult to service. The economic damage and reduced economic prospects may then cause tightened credit conditions, spiraling bond yields and systemic bank failure.

There are also issues that are most pertinent for more complex societies. We imagine that after a pandemic wave people are again available for work. But people cannot however become productive immediately because other inputs are also needed. But those inputs are stalled because they rely upon other inputs and so on. More broadly we may define Recursion failure as: “the inability of a complex economy to easily resume production and trade after a significant collapse because in a complex and interdependent economy, production and trade must resume in order for production and trade to resume”.

Further even if a government wanted to rebuild, it may be too complex to orchestrate resumption from the top down. This is firstly because the economy has evolved by self-organization, nobody has ever had, nor could they have put its elements together in the first place. Secondly, even if it could be done, the systems of command, control and supply that might do it would be the very systems that had been undermined.

Over time entropy would become an issue as engines rust, reagents become contaminated, and expected maintenance and repairs are left undone. This would all add to the cost and inputs needed for resumption. In a more complex society the degradation rate may be higher for thermodynamic reasons.

Overall, we are saying the longer a socio-economic system spends in the critical regime, the more likely it is to undergo a complete systemic collapse and loss of basic function. In addition, the longer it spends in this state, the more difficult it may be to ever return to its pre-pandemic state.

This is a complex society’s equivalent of a heart attack. When a person has a heart attack, there is a brief period during which CPR can revive the person. But beyond a certain point when there has been cascading failure in co-dependent life support systems, the person cannot be revived. This means that the socio-economic system could be changed irretrievably and the job of society and government would be to both manage the crisis and plot a fundamentally different path.

The extent of our contemporary complex global system dependencies, and our habituation to a long period of broadly stable economic and complexity growth means a systemic collapse would present profound and existential challenges.

8. Conclusion

To make the systems we depend upon more resilient ideally we would want more redundancy within critical systems and weaker coupling between them. Localization and de-complexification of basic needs (food, water, waste etc) would provide some societal resilience if systems resilience was lost. We would have more buffering at all levels, that is, larger inventories throughout society.

All this is the very opposite of the direction of economic forces. The reason we have such tight inventories, tight coupling, and concentration in critical infrastructure is they bring efficiency and competitive advantage. Further, in a time of global economic stress there is a drive towards further economic efficiency. For example, during super-storm Sandy, fuel shortages were exacerbated by low inventories that were the direct result of cost cutting arising from the financial crisis (Schneyer & Gebrekidan 2012). In general we are locked into socioeconomic processes that are increasing complexity-derived vulnerability.

Increasing vulnerability coupled with increasing hazard mean that the risk of a major socio-economic collapse is rising. The commonalities of catastrophic shock outcomes across a range of hazards suggest common risk and resilience planning is urgently required. Further, because of the possibility that a permanent state shift could occur, planning needs to consider how to deal with non-reversion to pre-shock conditions.


- advertisements -

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Sun, 10/06/2013 - 00:08 | 4027075 wee-weed up
wee-weed up's picture

Heart attack, hell...

the patient is already dead!

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 00:52 | 4027123 SafelyGraze
SafelyGraze's picture

this was a really long article

but my book is even longer


Sun, 10/06/2013 - 01:40 | 4027131 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Gold and bearingz, fishez!

And water & food, guns & ammo, etc., etc.



I see that spare parts availability is discussed and supply chains are discussed at length.  Both of these would be in great peril in a systemic breakdown.  Better have more inventory on hand!  If car wheel bearings die, and you do not have the right piece, your car will not run.  This of course goes for most other spare parts too...

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 02:56 | 4027211 Oh regional Indian
Oh regional Indian's picture

Zero Hedge goes MIT on it's readers.

Sharks are jumped.

Econometric analyses of complex systems discussed. 

We live in complexes, work in complexes, solve complex equations....complexity breeds complexity. 

In 1945, we leapt to the first rung of geometric complexity growth with the atomic explosion. time-slices became finer and the human was essentially a lost cause/case.

Machines tend naturally to complexity, man perhaps to simplicity? no way out of this final phase of crack up and boom, all old civilizations stand in mute, ruined testimony to our inability to control run-away complexity.


Sun, 10/06/2013 - 06:11 | 4027281 GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture



Dammit Jim, I'm a doctor.....not an economist.


Please don't bring math into this.....let's just all think happy dreams.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 08:12 | 4027339 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

OT:  Socialism run amok (or "Where we're headed").  Threat level: Switzerland.

My favorite line of the article:

Of course, not all of the country’s referendums are meant to promote a socialist state. For example, a majority of Swiss voters have voiced support for a referendum that would maintain the country’s conscription policy , which requires all men in the country aged 18-34 to complete a period of public service.

Right.  Because what's socialist about that?

Oh, and as for the article, let me short-cut it:  Maskone909 nailed it, below.  The more specialized the players in an ecomony become the greater the potential for increased productivity, but also the greater the potential for a systemic collapse due to a shock.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 08:22 | 4027355 clymer
clymer's picture

"Ecological constraints, presently pre-eminent amongst them are food and oil flows and increasingly the effects of climate change are growing."

please. I have no doubt that we are in a state of pending economic doom, but we don't need to create scenarios based on Al Gore, the New World Order carbon whore's imaginary money funnel into his Ken Lay-schemed credit exchange. It's asinine quotes like this that make people tune out.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 09:41 | 4027434 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture



"There are going to be situations where people are going to go without assistance.  That's just the facts of life." 

- Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates


You have been reading Zero Hedge long enough that you are now absolutely convinced that TEOTWAWKI is indeed nigh, and it could well be quite violent.  You have also decided that you want to do something to prepare, beyond getting short the equity markets and going long gold and silver coins, but you do not know what to do, exactly.  The HELP function on your Bloomberg terminal is, unsurprisingly, not helpful.  A quick review of the government and Red Cross emergency preparedness websites tells you nothing about guns.  This is problematic, as you fear that we all might be returning to a time in history where it is a common occurrence to fight for one's life, and you know that we usually do that in today's day and age with guns, or a knife close in. 

What to do?

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 10:12 | 4027443 prains
prains's picture

What To Do ?


Shelter In Place, of course it's the only possible answer, my gubmint syas so.........LOL

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 10:26 | 4027485 Abi Normal
Abi Normal's picture

Don't forget your scissors!!!

Ahhh, this article relates what I have been saying for a long, long time to friends and family...the THIN VENEER of society can break down pretty quickly.  It can cascade down in many ways, and grow bigger as it goes down the mountain.

If the trucks stop running, due to gas cost spikes or electrical grid outages, or economic collapse, that is the trigger point for all else to go down.  The just in time delivery system is the most vulnerable, and has the largest of consequences.

You all had better be prepared when that happens, not if, but when that happens, you'll need all the stuff on the lists you've seen over the last few years:

Food, water, ammo, guns, PMs, a place to hunker down, with a community of like-minded people...otherwise, you could be a lone wolf, and make it...but you'd have to be quick and deadly to survive on your own, and be able to live off the land in survival mode 24/7.

I do really feel badly for all of the naysayers, who think all is well and getting better.  They won't last very long at all.  It is going to be quite hellish, when the SHTF, noone will escape the horrors, everyone will be in a big bind, with no help in site.  Good luck and God's speed to everyone.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 14:00 | 4027898 wisehiney
wisehiney's picture

Don't snore in the woods.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 14:25 | 4027914 Burticus
Burticus's picture

Though many of my business associates have plenty enough FeRNs to prepare in advance, the ostriches and grasshoppers often say, with a mocking smirk, "I'll just come to your place."

With a straight face, I tell them, "I have warned you repeatedly to prepare in advance and you have not. When $#!+ hits the fan, do not plan on coming to my compound, starving kids in tow and waving a white flag, begging for a cup of rice.  I will be forced to run you off at gunpoint."

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 11:10 | 4027549 DanDaley
DanDaley's picture

Hedge -you are 1%er in terms of preparation in my view, and thanks for the link to last year's post, as I'd missed it.  The problem of bugging out is, as always, you have to have somewhere to go...unless you plan to become a ursurper like Barry.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 11:56 | 4027614 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture

Item 3

Stick to the plan.  Because you have very little patience, this Guide is not going to be concerned about detailed questions or nuances such as, 1) if you intend to leave or stay at home in case of TEOTWAWKI (also known as Bug In or Bug Out); 2) if you work far from or close to home; 3) if you live or work in an urban or rural area; 4) if you are a 30 years-old ex-marine, or a 55 years-old female florist; or 5) if you expect the zombie infestation to last 48 hours, 5 days, 12 months, or permanently.

Item 5

Purchase the items on the following shopping list to outfit your person with a Get Back Home (GBH) pack (aka Evacuation Pack, aka Bug Out Bag, aka Assault Pack, aka 3 Day Pack, aka Survival Pack).


Item 6

Purchase the items on the following shopping list to outfit your home.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 15:47 | 4028146 DanDaley
DanDaley's picture

@HH - Gracias, I need to read the fine print.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 11:31 | 4027589 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

So how do we keep in touch if, say, ZH goes down?

If the Internet is reduced to low bandwidth (text only), perhaps email might still work.

In which case, we... "Adapt", and the Tylers' mission adapts also. Right?

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 13:01 | 4027734 Peachfuzz
Peachfuzz's picture

You'd need a more knowledgeable person then myself to expound upon this idea, but they used Wimax to restore communications where there was no existing infrastructure left in Indonesia(?) in '04. At one point I had found a network of people that were using sound cards in their pc's to connect to the internet via shortwave (packet radio), but I have lossed the link.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 15:11 | 4028047 Totentänzerlied
Totentänzerlied's picture

You won't be worried about the internet in such a situation. But in the years after, when the dust has settled, if you have the parts and the electricity (most unlikely on that second one), you'd be using simple wired infrastructure to conserve power and improve performance at the same time, this works on the scale of a small village, scavenged equipment being intended for no more than a few hundred meters of cabling (signals degrade rapidly past a certain point, unless you jack up the power [the equipment isn't designed for this] or use repeaters of some type). In situations where wireless makes more sense, and as there will be no cell towers or satellites, you'd use high-energy unidirectional antennae, which can be rigged up from the omnidirectional antennae which are ubiquitous today, which will give you a few hundreds meters in good weather with no interference or obstructions (line of sight, essentially). Walkie-talkies, shortwave, and CB radio makes a hell of a lot more sense in this context. Backbone infrastructure and the quantities of energy to power it are both going to be nonexistent, there won't be "an" internet.

There really is no point to this, though, merely wasting precious energy on something that can be handled by horseback couriers.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 15:22 | 4028075 Diogenes
Diogenes's picture

Are you kidding? 100 years ago they were sending radio signals across the Atlantic Ocean with battery power.

Any ham can show you how to set up an emergency communication system with battery powered radios, and any back yard tinkerer can come up with batteries and a way to charge them.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 11:51 | 4027625 Imminent Crucible
Imminent Crucible's picture

What to do?  Expect catastrophic failure and plan accordingly.

It's a certainty, because what the central planners call "inefficiency/redundancy" is what sane people call "margin for error".  What central planners call "hoarding" is what sane people call "savings" and "backup supply".

They don't want a nation of savers and frugal consumers. The credit-driven growth engine is faltering, and what they need is for you to spend EVERY FREAKING NICKEL you've got, to save their tottering construct. The FedGov/Bankster Corporatocracy thinks the most efficient economy is the one that grows the fastest, and maximum growth requires maximum consumption.  You can't have maximum consumption as long as there is one parsimonious little scroundrel hoarding 1% of his earnings for that rainy day known as Old Age.

Knowing that, I expect they'll make it very difficult for most people to reach old age.  Excepting themselves, of course.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 10:01 | 4027456 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

I'll bite. What exactly, in the context of Switzerland, is socialist about Switzerland's conscription policy which requires all men in the country aged 18-34 to complete a period of public service?

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 10:12 | 4027467 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture



In 1912, the German Kaiser, knowing of the fearsome reputation of the
Swiss for marksmanship and of the forbidding terrain of Switzerland, and
knowing that the Swiss militia was then composed of 250,000
million men, asked what the Swiss would do if the Germans invaded
Switzerland with 500,000 men.  The Swiss man replied, "shoot twice and go home."  The Kaiser did not
invade, nor did Adolf Hitler during WWII.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 10:19 | 4027481 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

Which is why I specified in the context of Switzerland. There is a Grand Canyon-sized difference between an Imperialist conscripted war machine (see Vietnam) and a mountainous country that, to my knowledge, has never invaded anyone.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 11:35 | 4027602 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

The Swiss had 250,000 men. Not "250,000 million".

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 11:52 | 4027630 RiverRoad
RiverRoad's picture

And if we had that policy again there'd be no "wars".  A volunteer military sure works for the military-industrial complex.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 10:18 | 4027476 Alcoholic Nativ...
Alcoholic Native American's picture

I'd take socialism run amok to capitalism run amok anyday. 

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 10:23 | 4027483 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

In the run amok end, the outcome is the same.

Mon, 10/07/2013 - 05:09 | 4029460 Mediocritas
Mediocritas's picture

True that. Too many labels get flung around by people (unfortunately around here too) and they miss the real story. I can sum it up like this.

Bad things happen when too few minds make too many decisions that impact the lives of too many others.

The result of centralized / concentrated decision making is oppression. Left wing, right wing, red, blue is irrelevant, just follow the power (and money is a proxy for power) and when you see it concentrating excessively then you know there's a problem. There isn't a chance in hell that a small bunch of rulers, elected or not, can plan the lives of millions in a satisfactory manner.

USA style crony capitalism, EU style centralisation, USSR style communism. All the same shit in the end. Less label slinging, more solutions for achieving power dilution needed.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 10:31 | 4027492 Abi Normal
Abi Normal's picture

Typical of the socialist amoeba mentality...couldn't see past his stupid nose if he had to, LOL....

Good luck socialist, you're gonna need it...Uncle Remus is right, it will not matter one whit of difference which system fails, it will be hell on earth.  The USA is almost socialist now, they have infiltrated our govt and written so many bad laws, you might as well say we are USSA now anyway.

Fuck all socialists and the unicorns they rode in on!!!

Mon, 10/07/2013 - 00:54 | 4029488 Mediocritas
Mediocritas's picture

Socialist? If you mean socialism for the banks and oligarchy for the rest then yeah, but what I see is more like Saudi Arabia, a bunch of super rich dominating the rest and handing out just enough bread and circuses to keep the peons from revolting while the pillaging continues.

It's a classic parasitic relationship. Globalisation simply means that the parasites now have a green light to kill hosts (nations) as others are available to move on to. Formerly they had to feed within the limits of the host (relationships that, over time, can evolve into symbiosis).

Not particularly a fan of labels, but if pressed to label the USA, I'd choose fascist ahead of socialist.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 11:06 | 4027546 mofreedom
mofreedom's picture

crony-capitalism is not captalism...captalism is capitalism.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 11:50 | 4027623 mofreedom
mofreedom's picture

heck, all hyphenateds are antithetical of what proceeds them.  only americans are americans.  go back to where you hypenated from.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 13:51 | 4027872 LoneCapitalist
LoneCapitalist's picture

Name one truly capitalist society that has ever collapsed .

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 14:35 | 4027973 Republicae
Republicae's picture

It is painfully obvious that you don't know much about either socialism or capitalism. 

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 14:37 | 4027975 Republicae
Republicae's picture

Capitalism hasn't existed in this country since FDR, and the downfall of it began as early as Lincoln with his Mercantilist-Militaristic policies. 

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 15:23 | 4028085 wisehiney
wisehiney's picture

But you will not take a boat to cuba.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 15:02 | 4028028 Chuck Walla
Chuck Walla's picture

I'll take drunk, intellectual musings for $500, Alex.


Sun, 10/06/2013 - 08:06 | 4027346 Tall Tom
Tall Tom's picture

One lousy Logarithmic Math Equation and they think that this is MIT? It was an Logarithmic Algebraic Function. It was not even Calculus.


Exponential Growth leads to Exponential Collapse. It is really that simple. The complexity is just a demonstration of a Potential of Systemic Entropy caused by efficiency and specialization.


Good paper.  The stressor the author used was a pandemic. However ther are other causal agents which can result in similar affects...LIKE A INTEREST RATE SWAP, DERIVATIVE, MARKET COLLAPSE.


Thanks for the post Tylers. This is why I read your website.


For those whom ascribe to the mundane, as I myself, the paper basically states...WE ARE FUCKED. What's new? There is no Hopium on ZH allowed.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 08:16 | 4027360 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

I'm glad you said it, Tom.  I was afraid to pop of and say I don't think that's a calculus equation just to get smacked down for being wrong.  

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 08:36 | 4027387 DaddyO
DaddyO's picture

Always trying to make the complex understandable for my poor pea brain, personal responsibility calls us to action.

While mathematic equations are all well and good to verify whether one's hypothesis is correct, this article begs one to ask one simple question.

What are you doing to prepare for the inevitable?

I'm going to this event to listen, learn and check out the vendors for new and useful products for my preps.


Sun, 10/06/2013 - 09:14 | 4027412 greatbeard
greatbeard's picture

>> What are you doing to prepare

Becoming as independent and self sufficient as possible, while avoiding crowds and continuing to enjoy what life has to offer.  Sooner or later, in everyone's life, an event comes along that makes all this noise irrelevant.

Teeth are in top shape (thank you Mexico). Although it's high milage, this old body continues to sputter along.  I'm trying to lose 10#s just because I think a little thinner will be beneficial.  I'm at 6' 2", 205 now and that 200 plateau is a real bitch for me and has been for years.  But at this age I don't need any extra baggage, be in fat, or people, or debt, or whatever.

42 fruit tree in the ground and should be producing decent crops in another 2 years.  Once I see what produces the best under my growing conditions, I've got plans to expand the orchard to double or triple.  I currently have peaches, nectarines, apples, pears, persimmons, figs, pomegranates and a key lime.  This area is covered up with orchards and I get conflicting reports of what does well.  I'll wait and see my own results before expanding.

My blackberries, what survived the transplanting, are finally taking good root and growing.  I haven't built trellises for them yet, but that's on the winter menu.  I'll try and expand those with cuttings.

Continuing to learn more about canning and drying.  That is coming along quite well.  My preserves are a very big hit amongst the fortunate few  on my gift list.

Interior of the house (mobile) has been completely remodeled with all new fixtures and appliances.  I'm just finishing up the exterior including ripping off all the siding and replacing it with newer composite siding with a vapor barrier, paint, venting, and all new galvanized metal skirting.  The last big project will be a painted metal roof with reflective bubble insulation under it.  Well, I say that's the last but then I'll start in on a solar system. But I figure, after the roof, this old shack should be good to go for another 25 years and  that's probably all the gas I've got left in the tank anyway.

Vegetable garden, I'm still on the early end of the learning curve but I'm getting good results.  I forked over $600 to get a bagger for my garden tractor so now, although it's a royal pain in the ass, I'm getting large amounts of organic matter to compost. 

And I'm getting in lots of quality time with my dogs. 

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 15:59 | 4028172 wisehiney
wisehiney's picture

The selection in that orchard will draw all kinds of good meat to harvest - bonus! Careful with those persimmons though.

Mon, 10/07/2013 - 22:10 | 4032810 Sparkey
Sparkey's picture

What am I doing for the `enivitable`is the question,,,,well I read the Bible a lot now, end times coming and all, and I'm in the process of selecting a Preacher to send money too, I'll still be buying my Lottery tickets of course, for sure,,because,,,well, "Who knows really" I think "only God can make a Lottery Millionare"!(cr), I pray that, after he sees that I'm willing to give back he may let me reach the pinacle of life and be a Lottery Millionare!!! That is my plan, what,s yours ?

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 11:05 | 4027544 socalbeach
socalbeach's picture

Sorry you are wrong. The equation is the solution of a differential equation. See post below.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 15:43 | 4027493 socalbeach
socalbeach's picture

FYI, the derivation of that logistic equation uses calculus:

pdf pages 65-66, Footnote 4

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 09:36 | 4027435 blindman
blindman's picture
passed along and i passed along ..

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 03:00 | 4027216 butler401
butler401's picture

In the special forces we're taught that if you have a 'gun' the world is your super-market.

Thus if you need bearing's, then you find a similar auto, and take what you need.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 03:14 | 4027222 stacking12321
stacking12321's picture


what you should have been taught is basic ethics, the difference between right and wrong - your needs don't take precedence just because you have a gun and can harm or threaten someone else.


Sun, 10/06/2013 - 04:23 | 4027248 MeMadMax
MeMadMax's picture

We're fucked.

We're all gonna die, the only question is how you check out.

Do you want it on your feet?

Or on your fuckin knees.... Begging!?!?


Well I ain't much for begging!


Sun, 10/06/2013 - 06:25 | 4027283 GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture



I'd rather die standing up.......and it looks like that just might happen.


Obama promised he was going to cut the deficit in half......but that was just the liar in him. I didn't believe him, but enough did to get him elected......twice!


In the special forces we're taught

I know this not say you're in the special forces?

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 07:28 | 4027330 butler401
butler401's picture

What we're taught is "Anybody that says he's CIA is a liar or a traitor"

Your taught to never in your entire life to divulge specifics on a mission that is why so many Seals have died recently, they blabbed and paid for it,...

But its ok to say your a seal, or whatever no law against that, but mission specifics are verboten your entire life,

Back when I was involved with these people, there was a 'Seal' who sold the "SEAL TRAINING MANUAL" to Paladin, and they caught up him and beat the shit out of him, the seals themselves make these rules, cuz most stuff involves assassinations, and lose lips sink ships, any mission that get divulged could lead a party back to your home in the future, and thus mission specifics are verboten, and you take an oath to take out another warrior that breaks that oath,


Shit Timothy McVeigh was trained in the special forces, ... its really not that special,

Shit even that guy Alexis who shot up the Navy Yard last week, he had a ton of 'medals', fucking what,...

I was just saying that in the 'special forces' they teach that a man with a 'gun' doesn't need money, that the world is his oyster,... I'm trying to teach you folks how your 'enemy' thinks,

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 07:31 | 4027331 overmedicatedun...
overmedicatedundersexed's picture

hey butler did anyone think the mission could be wrong, and go after those that ordered it? if not why not? are they all just dumbfucks sick psycho killers or patriots cant be both.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 07:44 | 4027334 butler401
butler401's picture

DUDE you asked the MOST important question today ..




The entire system from cop to mil is the promise of the pension, Seals retire at 34 years old, its a great life.


Sun, 10/06/2013 - 07:52 | 4027337 overmedicatedun...
overmedicatedundersexed's picture

so butler prostitutes they are.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 08:19 | 4027364 Tall Tom
Tall Tom's picture

Yeah....a great life...for whom...the victims?


So you sell out your ethics for a pension?


How do you look at yourself in the mirror in the morning? It sounds do you write this...yeah..Psychopathic.


Sell your soul for a Military Pension. Yeah. That is such a deal.


So when did the Military stop teaching Ethics at the War Colleges?


I understand that psychopaths rise to the top in the Corporate environment. I understand that they rise to leadership positions in Civilian Government. Now I understand that they rise to the top in the Military Hierarchy.


You have served this Forum by demonstrating just what we are up against.


What an NSA Troll. Yeah. I know. You exposed yourself on another thread and I have a memory, butler401

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 10:17 | 4027473 Chupacabra-322
Chupacabra-322's picture

"So when did the Military stop teaching Ethics at the War Colleges?"

More like The School of The Americas training & education in Tortue nowadays.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 14:01 | 4027896 Keyser
Keyser's picture

If I had a dollar for every Special Forces, SAS, Spook, Mossad agent I've run into in bars around the world, I'd be a rich man. 

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 12:52 | 4027715 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

Government has always been about redistributing resources - especially to itself.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 08:40 | 4027389 illyia
illyia's picture

stacking12321, that presumes that ethics are existential. A breakdown in social structure would cause things like law and ethics to break down accordingly. A reversion is a reversion, after all.

That's what's so scary about it: an actual devolution, re: the Dark Ages.

The very fact that our Special Operatives and their ilk are taught to "win at all costs" (it is combat, after all) reveals much about 1.) the nature of war; 2.) our current actual society, and; 3.) how to spot a sociopath - even when wearing a coat and tie.

Mon, 10/07/2013 - 02:42 | 4029578 stacking12321
stacking12321's picture

i'm not sure what existentialism has to do with anything.

regardless of the condition of society, a clear right and wrong do exist.

anyone who says, i have a gun and i will take whatever i want, in my book has defined themselves to be a sociopath and an enemy, i won't support them, will avoid contact with them, and will regard them as a threat to be dealt with.


Sun, 10/06/2013 - 10:04 | 4027457 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

You are in for a rude awakening.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 05:01 | 4027256 blabam
blabam's picture

Ow shit. Cool guy butler401 is back. 

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 09:07 | 4027405 CH1
CH1's picture

if you have a 'gun' the world is your super-market.

Not surprised that the military should glorify predation.

Now THINK for a minute... How will you get people to COOPERATE with you, when all you have is a gun?

Just shoot everyone who doesn't play? Shoot one person in each family and force them to play?

You have to sleep sometime, and the bereaved will not be eager to see you live another day.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 13:27 | 4027806 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture



+ 1, CH1

They live by the gun, they will die by the gun.

Cooperation is what will be necessary.  We even trust our bearing suppliers by sending the money first!  Some of our customers there in Peru TRUST us enough to pay for bearings they want before they even leave Customs there.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 09:28 | 4027428 seabiscuit
seabiscuit's picture

# Butler

The primary assumption you have is that when in the special forces that you are on their payroll, and thus perhaps on a mission.The other primary assumption is that you took an oath to the Constitution - may I assume that you are in some other countries special forces?

Are you still on the payroll? Precisely who, sir, are you/will you be at war with?


Sun, 10/06/2013 - 11:49 | 4027624 Kirk2NCC1701
Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Special Forces? I thought we had only Chosen People, Exceptional people and people with Special Needs?

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 15:26 | 4028088 Diogenes
Diogenes's picture

"In the special forces we're taught that if you have a 'gun' the world is your super-market."


What if everybody else has a gun? What if you live in the US where there are 75 guns for every 100 people, and a lot of those people are bat shit crazy?

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 09:22 | 4027421 enloe creek
enloe creek's picture

my thought when I read that was if it is that bad you could likely get a chauffeur and car for a cup of powdered milk
but depends on how bad is bad

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 09:47 | 4027441 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

Bearings make the world go round and round!

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 10:06 | 4027461 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

And historically, their factories targets.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 01:46 | 4027166 maskone909
maskone909's picture

I appreciate the info but let me summarize it
Shit is complex
When supply chain is interrupted the most complex shit is fucked first
Then after that were all fucked
Thank you goodnight

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 06:35 | 4027302 GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture



Elvis has left the building...

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 15:34 | 4027452 prains
prains's picture

.....and going Local

<------my brain hurts from being constantly in the 80's for IQ even though I try so hard for it not to be, doooooooooh

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 02:04 | 4027181 Escapeclaws
Escapeclaws's picture

This idea comes straight out of catastophe theory. The tipping point idea was a nice way to popularize that central idea of CT. I haven't read your book, but I do have several books on CT, including "Reality Rules" by John Casti, probably the best book out there which also delves into bifurcation theory as well as cellular automata. The mathematical demands of this book are quite high but it extremely interesting in its general discussions of these phenomena. This is where I first learned of the idea of a strange attractor which is in the future in a kind of reverse causality.

There are two easier books by Casti as well that introduce cutting edge applied math. There is a rigorous book by Poston and Stewart which introduces CT by means of Morse theory. It uses a clever theorem by Whitney that says that there is always some change of variables that will eliminate the error in a Taylor polynomial!

Don't forget the work of the Australian economist Steve Keen who bases his ideas on the Minsky Instability Hypothesis and who uses non-linear dynamics to model economies. You can even download his program Minsky for free.

CT went through a rage in the 70's, primarily due to the perhaps exaggerated claims and offbeat applications of it shortly after Its discovery by Fields Metalist René Thom, whose own book "Structural Stability and Morphogenis" had been written to 'explain' biology. Note that this is not the same as mathematical biology, which is a part of applied mathematics. The ideas were used to explain all sorts of dynamic phenomena, including things like anorexia nervosa, the fall of Rome, stock market crashes, etc in the work of the mathematician Christopher Zeeman. He is a first rate mathematician and his applications make a lot of sense to me. However, whenever a part of mathematics gets popular and in the public eye, 'real mathematicians' flee it like the plague.

In short, CT is a beautiful and fascinating part of mathematics and it would be a pity to limit oneself to popularizations of it if you are somewhat at home with math.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 02:13 | 4027189 butler401
butler401's picture

Exactly its beautiful, and with that, a nickel and this knowledge might get you into a filthy toilet room in a 3rd world country.


I do agree that one should never read 'popularizations', but then a person who can read math, ... he would never read popularizations in the first place. ... The person who reads popularizations can't read math, ...


One thing you never see in the real world is rich mathematicians, ... or for that matter math guys with beautiful gals, ...

I'm sure back in the day there were 'quants' in NYC that had some pay-4-play? How does that play these days?

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 03:02 | 4027217 Escapeclaws
Escapeclaws's picture

One thing you never see in the real world is rich mathematicians, ... or for that matter math guys with beautiful gals, ...


Sun, 10/06/2013 - 04:28 | 4027250 SunRise
SunRise's picture

Who needs a beautiful girl when you already have a set of beautiful figures?

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 05:47 | 4027264 tao400
tao400's picture

I talked to a client friday whose daughter is a double major in electrical engineering and computer science. she was one of like 14 or 40 people out of like 40000 who was accepted into MIT as a transfer student, which she turned down. she is on her third interview with Microsoft. She showed me a picture of her and she is a cute girl. the only thing she cares about is the science, no partying. She is like a science machine studying every second. The point is that those kind of super smart people don't need the "girl" or the "money". They have what the needs, the science. She literally has to use a GPS to get anywhere, even if she has gone there a bunch of times, she is so far out there.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 09:10 | 4027408 CH1
CH1's picture

DON'T let her go to work for Microsoft!!!!!!

Think of the poor girl's soul!

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 10:10 | 4027466 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

Absolutely. Nothing crushes creativity or abstract thought like a monolithic corporate behemoth of mediocrity. Take Ballmer for example...

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 13:58 | 4027893 RaceToTheBottom
RaceToTheBottom's picture

Please ask her to analyse their stupid interviewing process.  Ask to analyse why they would use such a process.  Apply that mind to where she is and where she wants to go.....

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 20:03 | 4028811 michael_engineer
michael_engineer's picture

I remember during the antitrust trial there was a lot of press saying that Microsoft might pick up and go to Canada. How unpatriotic. If that press or message came out of their bowels then it came out of their "bowels" if you know what I mean. Putting money before your patriotism is not very ethical.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 08:48 | 4027396 illyia
illyia's picture

EscapeClaws, thanks for the post and the references. It is amazingly difficult to find depth of knowledge in the noise. I will follow those you've listed. Fascinating stuff.


Sun, 10/06/2013 - 15:25 | 4028076 Escapeclaws
Escapeclaws's picture

You're welcome! I'll throw another one out there--a great book by Saunders which gives the most approchable mathematical exposition at the level of Freshman Calculus. Wonderful discussions of all kinds of great examples. For instance, by means of CT, they were able to isolate the most important variable in predicting prison riots in a British prison..

Another well-known book is a little volume by the great Russian mathematician, Vladimar Arnold. Less accesible than Saunders, but nice diagrams of the higher order catastrophe manifolds.

The number of visits to the infirmerary.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 06:35 | 4027300 RSloane
RSloane's picture

Wow! I had no idea you wrote that book. Congrats and thanks.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 08:19 | 4027361 cnmcdee
cnmcdee's picture


Sun, 10/06/2013 - 14:27 | 4027949 Peachfuzz
Peachfuzz's picture

I vote not insider info. ZH outlined it right when the debt ceiling debate started. in '11 it took a 20 percent market correction to get congress to 'resolve' the issue, and given O's remarks of last week it would appear this time is no different (Excluding the fact that 70 percent of dollars are held outside the US and the entire world is sick of endless war and wreckless money printing. There is a reason why China has been positioning themselves to do direct fx swaps in the yuan. If this is the moment they've chosen, a 4000 point drop is the least of anyones worries.)

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 00:59 | 4027130 Scarlett
Scarlett's picture

I've read some serious hardcore stuff, but David Korowicz freaks me out to no end.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 09:54 | 4027445 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

He mentions how redundancy plays into systemic risks. Over the last five years business has seen a significant loss in this employee redundancy by firing virtually ever non essential person for sake of profitability. The world cardio system is at near breaking point on so many levels. All it may take now is a anxiety attack to set off the heart attack we are all waiting for. A fall in the markets just might could do it. The "wealth" effect Bernanke prays for can work just as effectively in the other direction, or maybe even more so.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 01:55 | 4027173 williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture


Sun, 10/06/2013 - 06:36 | 4027304 RSloane
RSloane's picture

Great stuff, Will. Thanks for the visual and message.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 06:30 | 4027260 Radical Marijuana
Radical Marijuana's picture

Yeah, wee-weed up, it usually takes a life time of habits to create the conditions which suddenly result in a "heart attack."  When one applies that comparison to social systems, I think it is crucial to understand why "the patient is already dead" was that the foundation of the current complexities were built on triumphant runaway FRAUDS.

It is pretty well IMPOSSIBLE to have an intelligent discussion of any important public issues because they are almost ALL the result of prolonged patterns of legalized lies, backed by legalized violence, where the radical truth about that basic reality is not able to be admitted into the public debates, which are almost totally dominated by the biggest bullies' bullshit social stories.

The financial systems are the most important factors regulating human behavior, and that is increasingly the case, taking over more and more domains. However, those accounting systems are fundamentally fraudulent. Yet, those who benefit from those frauds were systematically able to reinvest their profits from previous frauds in more frauds, and therefore, gradually take over control of the schools and mass media, and overall political processes, so that the biggest bullies' bullshit stories became almost totally dominant, despite them being based on HUGE LIES.

The deeper problem is not merely unstable complexity, but that complexity has a foundation based on a prolonged historical process of lies backed by violence, so that those lies became socially dominant and triumphant, while those who were able to promote those frauds made fantastic profits, which then enabled then to reinvest some of those profits from frauds in even more frauds ... Furthermore, and perhaps even more important, from a sublimely abstract point of view, are the deeper reasons WHY triumphant frauds became the foundation of the financial systems, which then regulated everything else to create the complexity which was endangering itself.

The collapse is not merely the collapse of complexity, but rather collapse of complexity based on the foundation of previously triumphant frauds. The ability to back up lies with violence enables those lies to become socially dominant. Those who agree with the biggest bullies' bullshit are rewarded, while those who disagree are punished. Gradually, generation after generation of human beings develop who grow up more and more taking for granted the huge lies that dominate their lives. The most successful people more and more become the best professional liars, and immaculate hypocrites, and it is the complexity of THEIR systems which is accumulating the hidden conditions for its kind of "heart attack."

There ARE chronic political problems inherent in the nature of life which MUST be resolved. However, since our sophisticated, interconnected systems for doing that evolved on the basis of warfare, where success was based on deceits, and that morphed to become a monetary system whose basis was fraud, we are now way too far away from being able to fix those rotten foundations.

Therefore, the complex superstructure of our culture has become hyper-complexity wound around and around the history of the resolution of human conflicts in ways which resulted in the most dishonest and hypocritical people becoming the most socially successful. While each individual adapted the best that they could within that system, THEIR system as a whole was runaway legalized lies, backed by legalized violence, where that violence could never make those lies become true, but nevertheless, still kept that social superstructure of lies being built BIGGER! That is the primary reason why "the patient is already dead," like the democratic republic and the rule of law is already dead.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 07:54 | 4027338 Zadok
Zadok's picture

Oh yeah! Well said but I usually just try to explain that their entire perception of reality is based on lies and further that from that perspective the truth looks like a lie because it is so far from their perceived reality of fraud.
Disclosure: one successful wake up, the rest...well...they prefer the perceived reality of fraud and are very careful to adopt 'learning' techniques that compound lies upon fraud because truth was so distinctly foreign to them.
Beyond that, the fraud of isolated areas eventually permeate all areas of their life until they are fraudulent in every aspect while claiming to be of high character.
It ends up being a self perpetuating fraud held together by ignorant people who suffer dearly from it but defend it even to the point of violence and tactics of negativity aimed at obtaining coersive compliance with their fraud based perception of reality.
In the end it is a bizarro result that chafes my patience dearly and makes life a contest of endurance, not an enjoyable experience.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 16:49 | 4028276 Radical Marijuana
Radical Marijuana's picture

I agree with your insights, Zadok!

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 10:01 | 4027451 Tinky
Tinky's picture

This is definitely one of your better contributions, and it touches on one of the most vexing problems that faces current American society. Even if an increasing number of citizens were to awaken from their slumber and recognize that radical change is necessary in order to stop the metastasis and begin healing the system, the enormous (and growing) number of people who are employed by (or subsidized by) the Government presents a huge obstacle to such change.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 10:08 | 4027460 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

It almost feels like the perpetrators of this disaster are more intent on proving that they can re-animate life into a dead corpse than actually promoting a healthy lifestyle. Sounds a lot like our current healthcare system, no? Part of the higher educational system seems devoted to trying to prove the impossible is possible. This has yielded some significant advances in technology but has also taken us down a path of stupidity in some cases, especially economics, that could end us all. The dream of cold fusion and virtually free energy plays the same in economics, where they believe they can create prosperity by means other than work and production, say printing money for instance. They "believe" and therfore cannot be dissuaded. They will take us to the edge and beyond trying to prove their thesis. The fact that their miracle of prosperity is simply a more artfull means of theft completely escapes them.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 10:49 | 4027519 Gordon Freeman
Gordon Freeman's picture

 "the operation of complex socio-economic systems using some simple models."

Simple models have no value...bitch

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 00:25 | 4027098 dizzyfingers
dizzyfingers's picture

Entropy of shit.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 01:40 | 4027161 hardcleareye
hardcleareye's picture

I'll have to remember that analogy the next time I have to explain the

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 00:27 | 4027103 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

This is nice, but not very realistic until he explicitly includes massive corruption and delegitimization of authority as proximate failure vectors.

Then it gets more interesting.

We have a fire department that's trailing gasoline all over town.  And smoking.

Step up to the plate next time David!  It's not about an 'accident'.  That's just a (helpful) extension of the grains of sand/fingers of instability/transition from order to chaos stuff (I like Ilya Prigogene's 'From Being to Becoming' for a brutally direct thermodynamics basis for this kind of systems analysis).

OK the system is brittle.  But to say that complexity necessarily breeds its own demise is insipid and empirically incorrect.  Rather, dynamic systems tend strongly to evolve toward the boundary between order and chaos.  Too much order and the system cannot respond to environmental factors (change).  To much chaos and the system cannot replicate or perpetuate itself.

Predatory corruption threatens what chance at balance we have.  Don't bury that under a pile of random events.  Some black swans can be strangled in their nests as cute fluffy, er ugly ducklings.  The black swans caused by criminality, fraud, corruption and state tyranny.  That's a lot of extra black swans to throw at the game board!

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 01:39 | 4027160 hardcleareye
hardcleareye's picture

Suggest you watch or read some of Tainter's works on

Collapse of Complex Societies by Dr. Joseph Tainter

this is a link to one of his lectures.... unfortunately he is NOT a good speaker (would have hated his classes as a student) but his work is very interesting

He takes a little different approach on explaining Collapse and complexity....

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 02:23 | 4027192 Escapeclaws
Escapeclaws's picture

Check out Geoffrey West at the Santa Fe Institute. He was a particle physicist and cosmologist at Los Alamos before he became interested in finding unîversal laws of scaling of phenomena, in particular in biological systems and organisms, but also complex human phenomena such as cities. Absolutely fascinatîng stuff.

See also,

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 02:41 | 4027202 butler401
butler401's picture

Newton considered his 'scaling laws' to be more important that F=MA, or anything else he did,... or his 'calculus'

Funny how little understood this subject is, ...

I think it has much to do with anthropomorphism, or mans only instinct to think about his scale, and dimension.

Even Newton's science had to be sold to SHIP's and insurance company's who needed to economize based on his math to make moeny, ... how do you make riches from scale theory?

The problem then and now.

How I rejoice to the time when once again only 'rich men' can play science, and that science not be hostage of government, I mean up until WWII all science had either rich men like Ben Franklin, or you had patrons, hell Newton was a rich man. Davinci had patrons,...

Since WWII the US Gubmint has controlled science, ... I look forward to the collapse cuz I know that when the USA dies, science will flourish, and we will look back to the USA days as the dark ages, ...

I'm being sincere guys, and gals

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 03:24 | 4027226 Escapeclaws
Escapeclaws's picture

Off the beaten track, curious. Look at general relativity. It is like a giant fishnet or skein. Reality is like a whale that has gotten trapped in the net. Who will come to cut the net and free the whale? What is this skein, anyway? It is nothing, a series of nested Copernican spheres whose limit is the great NEANT--non-existence--a kind of Talmudic asymptote.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 10:52 | 4027525 Gordon Freeman
Gordon Freeman's picture

Your wife and kids hate you...

Just sayin'

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 03:19 | 4027227 stacking12321
stacking12321's picture

if that's what you think, then you don't know what science is.

science cannot be controlled by government.

science is merely the pursuit of knowledge.

those calling themselves scientists can be controlled, possibly through bribes, coercion, orother government thuggery, but science itself cannot.




Sun, 10/06/2013 - 07:43 | 4027291 butler401
butler401's picture

Scientists in the USA have to whore themselves for grants, Only a few mathematicians come to my mind said 'fuck off' to the system, like Paul Erdos, ... now there was a guy, but even he had friends provide 'financial', Dude you obviously don't understand, but those who know that most people spend too much time writing grants, and not enough time doing science. A genius like Erdos or DaVinci, needs a patron, and then needs to be free of human needs, this has been known going back to the time of Pythagoras, the modern USA notion of gubmint science is the fucking dark ages.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 09:18 | 4027417 CH1
CH1's picture

You are so right, Butler. Scientific research has been nearly killed by state control.

Mon, 10/07/2013 - 02:52 | 4029588 stacking12321
stacking12321's picture

what don't i understand?

the writing of grants has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with science.

just because it's something some scientists do, does NOT make it science.

you are confused on the subject.

just because some scientists can be bribed / persuaded to alter their research does not affect science itself!

you can bribe human beings all you want, but it does not make the gravitational constant equal to 20m/s^2, it does not make the earth spin from east to west, and it does not make geese fly north for the winter.

the truth is not subject to bribery, not at all!

what you are talking about is not science, it is noise.



Sun, 10/06/2013 - 05:56 | 4027268 Radical Marijuana
Radical Marijuana's picture

For sure, Jim in MN, "not very realistic until he explicitly includes massive corruption!"

Your point is what I also wrote just before, before I read you comment. However, I would also add the deeper reasons WHY the "predatory corruption" exists: human conflicts are built right into the structure of life itself, while the ruling classes developed expedient sets of solutions to those chronic political problems. However, the problems still would exist, despite changing who might happen to be the elites of force backed fraud.

Human ecology needs better done predatory limits, which are extremely difficult to imagine when those who actually operate the predatory limits do so through being the best at lying about that, while their "opposition" tends to be goofy reactionary revolutionaries, who say that no such predatory functions ought to exist at all. The problems are way deeper, because not only do the sets of lies dominate the established human systems, but they also almost totally dominate the controlled opposition to those systems as well. The hyper-complexity is built on systems of lies, whose fake opposition basically shares the belief in the same set of idealized lies, as somehow being what we should do instead.

Not only do REAL human ecology and political economy operate through the maximum possible deceits and frauds but also, those who condemn that tend to refuse to admit why those things exist and why they must exist ... Therefore, nothing remotely close to realistic resolutions are socially possible in those overall predicaments. Hence, we are looking at complexity built on top of corruption, headed towards collapsing into chaos, while nothing within the established system can effectively address why that happened in any useful enough to fix it!

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 11:25 | 4027582 TimmyM
TimmyM's picture

Render unto...

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 08:34 | 4027378 Debt-Is-Not-Money
Debt-Is-Not-Money's picture

Predatory corruption is the mycelium that spreads and connects this worldwide metastasizing cancer (with some small exceptions). One must locate & identify the common corruptor. I would suggest that this common corruptor is the international bankster regime that has spread it's the debt-based and interest bearing currency (which is not money) worldwide and has infected all human transactions; caused to be developed un-necessary, un-wanted, and un-needed rules, regulations and laws that have grown cancerous complexity to the extremes we currently see; and which was effected by the centralisation of of governments in both the USA and Europe.

Has anyone ever noticed that the only countries we seem to hate and make war against are those not participating in this usurious scheme, such as Iraq, Libya, Iran etc.?

If one is trying to solve a problem then the true cause must be properly identified before a solution can be developed. The right questions must be asked to get the right answers, and one must not be intimidated by the use of un-earned guilt or any other negative human control techniques.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 17:22 | 4028351 Radical Marijuana
Radical Marijuana's picture

I agree, Debt-Is-Not-Money, the most important achievement of the dominant organized crime gang that is currently controlling the world is their legally privatized abilities to make "money" out of nothing as debts!

The battle lines been drawn in the world are between countries which still have more public central banks, compared to those which more privatized central banks, with the list of those who were most outside of that overall globalized system being the ones most targeted to be attacked and suffer regime change.

It is astonishing how the vast majority of people have been brainwashed to not want to know about the SOURCE of the money system. IF one thinks through the idea of private banks being able to make the public money supply out of nothing, that becomes painfully obvious triumphant fraud, due to organized crime being able to take over control of governments, through systematic bribery and intimidation, where there was some crucial assassinations of those who could not be bribed or intimidated.

That fundamentally fraudulent financial system is the one whose hyper-complexity is at great risk of systemic collapse, since it is all built on runaway triumphant frauds, causing society as a whole to become increasingly psychotic. That is so bad now, that we can barely imagine how political debates could ever return to being more realistically based. That is especially true because such realistic debates would have to admit the central facts that "money" is measurement backed by murder, and that IT MUST BE.

Getting enough people to understand the current fraudulence is tough enough, while getting enough people to accept that there still must be some death control systems is utterly off the scale of what seems political possible. The banksters have effectively privatized the power to rob, and to kill, by covertly taking over government. However, there must still be some systems which operate death controls. Since our REAL death controls operate through the maximum possible deceits, while most of those opposing them insist that no death controls should exist at all, we are light years away from anything other than more of the same social insanities, until they drive themselves into mad self-destruction.

Mon, 10/07/2013 - 00:28 | 4029452 Wave-Tech
Wave-Tech's picture

RM, please school us on (summarize the concept of) death controls, the need for them, and why they would not happen naturally within true free market dynamics.  

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 08:53 | 4027398 Tall Tom
Tall Tom's picture

In the paper he uses a causal factor as a biological pandemic.


A PANDEMIC is just one of a plethora of causal factors which may bring an Economic Collapse to fruition.


The causal factor is NOT the SUBJECT of the paper. If the SUBJECT was about the Fraud and Corruption in Government and the Banking system, then that which you wrote about applies.


However in this case, while I agree with what you wrote, what you wrote about just does not apply.


So your criticism of the paper is unwarranted. I am sorry. But you need to learn how to read, and not read what you want to read into it..


The SUBJECT of the paper is the EFFECTS RESULTING from the causal factor of a PANDEMIC and if any recovery is possible after a systemic breakdown.


I believe his assessment to be accurate. It was a very well written paper. The only criticism which I have is that it actually needed more Math. A Differential Equation demonstrating the determination of the Maxima of the Time at the Point of No Return, along with his Statistical Analysis of the data which allowed for his estimation of the Point of No Return, would have been most helpful.


He may have given me enough.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 00:48 | 4027116 Mayberry
Mayberry's picture

Atlas Shrugged

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 01:32 | 4027155 hardcleareye
hardcleareye's picture

How very profound....<rolling eyes>

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 00:52 | 4027120 Seasmoke
Seasmoke's picture


Sun, 10/06/2013 - 00:54 | 4027122 Kassandra
Kassandra's picture

All in all
it's just
another brick in the wall.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 00:54 | 4027125 Mike in GA
Mike in GA's picture

I like this article.  The math is beyond me but the complexity of systems, the Law of Minimums and the chronicling of work stoppages ripple effect are all very interesting and appropriate.


Sun, 10/06/2013 - 00:57 | 4027126 seek
seek's picture

“In a closed society where everybody’s guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.” - H.S.T.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 00:57 | 4027129 q99x2
q99x2's picture

Holly crap. Better get some more beans in.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 01:29 | 4027150 hardcleareye
hardcleareye's picture

You need to read more of Korowicz work if you are saying that.... beans aint going to save you....

There are several you tube videos of his lectures and speeches... he is better at explaining his work in writing than in lecturing...

Would suggest you watch some of Ehrilch lectures on this stuff(Stanford university... effects on exponential population growth...)... pandemics etc...  this fits in hand and glove... the other person is Nicole Foss from the Automatic Earth...  so is Gail Tyverberg from Finite Earth.. Joesph Tainter... U of U..(interesting lecture on the collapse of the Roman empire and the devaluation of currency and the effect of plagues.........) these are all peers of Korowicz.  There are several You Tube videos of these people lecturing... much food for thought.

And of course there is always the Doomstead Dinner......  were you can go to the Collapse Cafe and hear a round table discussion between Ugo Bardi, Gail Tverberg, David Korowicz, George Mobus, Monsta & RE  subject... The Limits of Growth.....

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 15:51 | 4028151 DosZap
DosZap's picture

Holly crap. Better get some more beans in.

Forget them, if you talking canned,and invest in SPAM, and HAM's(canned).Shelf life longer than anything I have seen other than Mason jar waxed/packed n sealed.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 01:09 | 4027133 Alcoholic Nativ...
Alcoholic Native American's picture

This reads like a scientific journal, note to those who have never read one, skip to the last paragraph.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 01:32 | 4027138 michael_engineer
michael_engineer's picture

This is just as good a read :

as the David Korowicz paper.

And this was an interesting read too but it's no longer available for some reason :

Quasi classified?

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 01:58 | 4027179 hardcleareye
hardcleareye's picture

Thanks for the links... looks like I have found my bed time reading for the night. :)

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 16:12 | 4028200 geekgrrl
geekgrrl's picture

The Perfect Storm paper is pretty good, but I doubt there is much there you're not already aware of. They did bungle the EROEI calculations (p.72) and the plot on the same page shows a net energy profit for 0 < EROEI < 1. So it looks like even though - as they note - the math is simple enough, they didn't sanity check their numbers by looking at the limit case: i.e. EROEI = 1. Nonetheless, they do a good job showing how the economy is really a function of surplus energy, a point that is often misunderstood by economists.

Another worthwhile read is the first chapter of Richard Heinberg's new book Snake Oil, which also contains the EROEI curve, but this curve is properly plotted: i.e. when EROEI = 1, net energy = 0.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 19:48 | 4028763 michael_engineer
michael_engineer's picture

Much obliged for the info.

Several years ago, I was reaching the same conclusions in parallel with RH that we had reached the end of growth.

I've followed his materials closely since then.

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 16:28 | 4035381 geekgrrl
geekgrrl's picture

RH is a good writer as well, able to get across ideas in fairly simple language.

The thing I'm curious about is the shape of the downward slope. There seems to be a wide range of possibilities from a fast collapse to a more protracted decline, but it's really hard to nail down which limiting factor(s) will start choking things off. If it were only a matter of energy supplies, I do think we would have a long slow decline, but the financial markets could implode at any moment. 

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 03:27 | 4027228 SHRAGS
Sun, 10/06/2013 - 01:30 | 4027152 spekulatn
spekulatn's picture

Cheese and crackers. My head hurts after reading this piece.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 01:45 | 4027159 Haole
Haole's picture

This is a good example of how artsy fartsy one can get to simply speculate on the virtual certainty we are all likely pretty screwed for quite some time to come due to what Jim in MN references as not being coincidental at all in our corrupted, perverted and holographically-induced parasitic dreamworld projected for us while most of us continue to be passed through Lenin's proverbial millstones in the meantime, again...  and the beat goes on.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 01:44 | 4027163 butler401
butler401's picture

I read technical papers everyday.

Now I know why they call 'economics' the 'dismal science', somebody that read this kind of quality science would surely die of boredom, ... 'dismal' to say the least.

People are like water, ... JIT is just a stick in a river, and if there is demand, the product will flow, around that stick.

To talk about pandemics, or space invaders is fine, ... but then we can also be talking of monkey's flying out of our ass for that matter.

Shit happens.

Post this article was a joke right?

Will there be 'black swans'? Yes, but only the fool or the idiot 'knows' when.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 01:53 | 4027170 hardcleareye
hardcleareye's picture

I think the same was said about Nicolaus Copernicus work.... <cite "The Book Nobody Read">


Sun, 10/06/2013 - 02:02 | 4027183 butler401
butler401's picture

Copernicus was a genius, and astronomers did read his work, albeit the masses could not read nor write, ... so your argument falls into the pigs flying out of are ass domain.

To associate this low quality economic analysis with the geometrical advance of the millennium, is well almost ZH-wellian :(


Nobody read, cuz nobody could read :(

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 06:00 | 4027272 tao400
tao400's picture

now that would be an interesting article, WHEN, an article that would have real value to us since we all know the collapse is coming since it always comes and we all know the system will rebuild itself, short of global nuclear war or an ice age or something of that nature, since it always rebuilds itself in some form or another (humans are too intelligent to not be able to rebuild in some form). Why doesn't one of these math guys or anyone tell us when it is going to happen say to within 3 months of the event. That would be new information that we could all take a chance on or not. 

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 01:50 | 4027165 Aquarius
Aquarius's picture

Complexity is quantitative by its nature: complexity collapses, that is also its nature. Planning needs intellect and compassion and integrity and responsibility; we have none of these necessary resources in our "leadership" toolboxes today, so forget non-reversion planning and expect a major socio-economic collapse, which subjectively, is already here.

The process of life commences in Principle as Simplicity --> quantitative Complexity --> Qualitative Simplicity --> and so forth ad infinituum...

Nothing new here and is a work of unnecessary compexity.

Tomorrow will eventually define itself in the vain of qualitative simplicity; planning by any of our so-called "leadership" for such a future is beyond their capacities and competences (Einstein). And unfortunetely, Economics is nothing but a cult of political expediences dressed in suits and serving the interests of the elite banking system; do not expect anything but destructive arrogance from this realm and as far as the rest, it is time for them to pass into history, as well. Politicians and Bureaucrats represent the Lowest Common Denominators (LCD) of Society and when the fascist / totalitarianism / zionist states appears in governing paradigms, one can be assured that the boxes are all filled with the feral of humanity; this is written history.

We need a system of real "Public Service" as opposed to career meal ticket bureaucrats that are intent on the criminalization of the productive element of Society, that is the Public.

Our technological advances today are truly well advanced; this will define the future. What needs to change dramatically is our philosophical ethic and abilities to seek the objective truth in all things, for, and on behalf of the benefit of mankind and their childrens' children's children, ad infinituum. I don't see a problem here, but only after the purges are sate and the blood lusts of today are spent. Not withstanding, these processes are well in dynamic evolution already - call it Phase Transition.

The major error that the world is making today is the focus on "the markets", finance, monetary and fiscal policies. It is clear that what is undergoing dramatic change is the socio-economic organs of humanity, that is to say, Society, rather that the frenzied State and its concentrated efforts to assist the looting the World's resources through corruption, theft, war, murder, intimidation, torture (now a national sport) and enriching those that would support these efforts, no matter the cost. In the meantime, bridges collapse, road decay, education fails and industry is marginalized and then exported; this being the model of "Hunger Wars". There is no mystery whatsoever of the cause of our current Global Collapse; none. 

Capitalism has been usurped by fascism by the replacment of the entrepreneur with the school boy accountant / economist ceo and other mercenaries of money. And denial has become the global disease of fear; fear of the loss of Power and Wealth,

"Terrorism"?: Terrorism is the preferred tool of the politician and the wannabee  Power monger; used by Stalin continually to concrete his Power base over the masses.

Innately imposed on man is both the Objective and the Subjective; capacitiies that are contradictory and yet complementary. The problem is that modern man does not acknowledge this relationship and hence cannot achieve his accomplishment to the higher orders of intellect. Academia is nought but a meal-ticket cult that needs constant protection and active security measures due to the simple fact that the fundamentals of the sciences today are unsubstantial and untenable. Yet, biology draws slowly ahead but well behing the computer / electonic sciences (IEEE) and Natural Philosophy. The man of our todays' elite is done; it is time to change the guard.

Just as something to think about, it could be that Peak Oil could be a great game changer just as the loss of USA Power and Influence; The Fallout from Fukushima which is definitely going to impact the USA, as well as the whole global community, could be the start of a whole new game; whatever, the USA is about to collapse in a manner that it will be globally visible, which will mean the end of the US Dollar as the Reserve Currency and hence the end of the US bombing and murdering any nation that it takes a fancy to. Of course, this will mean a new influx of Congresssment, Senators and Staffers to the Government, which will hoipefully chose to revert to its oriiginal Constitution, a truly magificent Charter. (This route would guarantee a substantive re-declaration towards a potentially great nation) 'It is truly and ill wind that blows no good.'

The USA does not need to "recover"; it needs to re-invent itself and re-define its goverance of the Society of the USA and to shed the illusory Empire (in drag) as its today preferred fascist /Totalitarian State. This will not happen - easily, as those in Power will not give up this Power and in the USA, there are far too many competing factions with the Power and all want it all. The result or outcome is for the USA to burn via a total socio-economic meltdown; this appears to be very close to fruition.

The question begs: Is there a core of responsible persons in the USA that have the will, ethcis and the competence to re-build the USA without being seduced to Power and or intimidated by the lesser men? My answer is in the affirmative, but I would not expect them to come forward until those lesser men, that represent Power, have been fully de-fanged and dysenfranchised.

Personally, I am most optimistic for the future of humanity but realistic balanced so as to comprehend that there are many horrors and evils that lurk in the shadows and all too ready ready to suck the blood of the innocents and the ethical.

But Francis Bacon (nom de plum William Shakespeare) was correct: The world is but a stage.

Ho hum


Sun, 10/06/2013 - 01:51 | 4027169 butler401
butler401's picture

Ok, thank god somebody changed the fucking subject, ... pandemics in SE-ASIA, I was just about to have a fucking brain-fart, I'm here in the PI, and we're as likely to have a pandemic here as my neighbors pigs are going to fly over DC and dump their shit on Oreo's white-house,

I remember growing up in east-LA as kid we used to say, "When a guy wears a suit we call him a businessman, when a guy wears street clothes we call him a gangster"

What makes a fucking Street-Gang, and what makes a COP/JUDGE/LAWYER, both groups have their colors, their loyalty's and their guns,

The status quo has other people do their killing for them, the street-guys have to do their own killing.


IMHO not much has changed in my 50+ years of watching 'gangs' whether they be PRO criminal like team-obama, or baby gangs as seen in "breaking bad", ...all are gangs.


Also good idea, post a really boring tech-paper with very weak and bad high-school algebra, and scare away all the moron's, and only us techie's stick around... very clever :)

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 02:13 | 4027187 maskone909
maskone909's picture

50 years of watching gangs eh? I smell a rat ;)

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 02:21 | 4027196 butler401
butler401's picture

Well like I said, .. ALL ARE GANGS,...

I guess if you were never in a gang you would never see that,

But all gangs are a protection racket, ...

The cops only exist to protect the judges and politicians, that's why they were created, the cops know this, so they don't fuck with those that feed them, ... all else is good.

Growing up in East-LA as a kid, I got a good education, cuz I got to see the real-world, killing everyday. Pencils in eyes, blood everywhere everyday,... cops shooting people, ... and never a peep in the press.

I remember we used to make bombs everyday, and blow shit up, hell you guys probably never got to play with 'cherry bombs', we used to flush them down toilets and they would blow the fucking toilet basin through the ceiling of wherever you were :)

I think of 'gangs' its like the debate today on the Jesse Ventura OP, and the JFK references, ... hell old man Joe Kennedy got rich running pussy, alcohol and drugs and made all his son's honest men in the political biz,... GANGS

The judge and lawyer are only minor players in the game of life, in our gangs.

My view of the USA today is truly CHAOS, since were on that subject, I see the CIA,FBI, DEA, NSA, DHS, you name it they're all out of control, they're all fucking with anybody that don't fuck back,.. .they ARE ALL GANGS.

Funny now the demonization isn't gang, its terrorist, .. but I think we all known that all our 3 letter US gubmint folks are terrorists,

Yes, I have been watching gangs for 50+ years,

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 02:38 | 4027203 maskone909
maskone909's picture

If growing up in LA makes you a gang officianado i must be tookie williams, cuh.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 02:58 | 4027213 butler401
butler401's picture

Dude, I can tell you story's, when I see the crip and blood now I laugh with their broken fingers,...

When I was a kid, you put the knocked out guy on the curb, and busted femurs and forearms,

Everybody carried pliers and screwdrivers in the pants, and the pliers were for pulling teeth, whenever we got in a fight, we always pulled the teeth out of the losers,.. the screwdrivers were for gouging out eyes

What I see of gangs now I think 'pussy'

I just read the other day the mexican gangs have driven the black gangs out of LA, cuz the mexican gangs have terrified the black gangs,

Probably the worst I remember were the samoan gangs as a kid, they used to bring in these guys 6'6" 500LBs and put them in 9th grade, and they would carry chains and walk the walls knocking peoples teeth out, [ swinging the chains, biker style ] ... and nobody would stop them, not even the cops or teachers, ...

Shit this fucking mythology that the 1950's was paradise,... my fucking ass.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 03:15 | 4027223 maskone909
maskone909's picture

Yep lol giving out curbies
Not to be confused with those vacuums from the 70's

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 03:31 | 4027229 Alcoholic Nativ...
Alcoholic Native American's picture

when I think of gangs now I think pussy off the riff, back in my day my neighborhood gang would let any nigga know stepping in my territory would set off the sensors. Your life was in danger.........errrr.........n/m this shit is absolutely stupid.



Sun, 10/06/2013 - 06:37 | 4027303 butler401
butler401's picture

Mexicans are the world's expert's in knives,... always been this way,... they're killers with the knife.

Even when I was kid growing up East LA, ... I was always very careful around the Mexican Gangs,... cuz I know they played for real...

Now the Mexican are the majority and they control all... Good for them,... whitey steals cali, and browny takes it back ...

Prior to the 1950's black men weren't allowed to go out at night, ... I remember the curfew law as a kid. People don't realize it what really like 'hollywood' in those days.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 08:09 | 4027350 Escapeclaws
Escapeclaws's picture

Butler401: "Everybody carried pliers and screwdrivers in the pants, and the pliers were for pulling teeth, whenever we got in a fight, we always pulled the teeth out of the losers,.. the screwdrivers were for gouging out eyes"

Remind me not toget on your bad side, Mr Eyegouger.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 02:06 | 4027177 butler401
butler401's picture

The question begs: Is there a core of responsible persons in the USA that have the will, ethcis and the competence to re-build the USA without being seduced to Power and or intimidated by the lesser men? My answer is in the affirmative, but I would not expect them to come forward until those lesser men, that represent Power, have been fully de-fanged and dysenfranchised.


NOPE, impossible. What you have now is the final liquidation of all that can be stolen, some 200+ years ago the USA was rich nation,rich in lumber and oil, today its been stripped to the bone, in the 1980's the private pensions were stripped, all that remains now is federal-land to be auctioned off for real money.

The PTB that hold reins, just passed a law 407 to 1, to keep cops PAID, that means that the PTB know that they need to keep the REINS and tight on the masses during these final days, ... as all free loot quits flowing to the masses.

What's left of the USA? Will only be parasites, ... with nothing left to steal,... other than whore or eat human flesh,...

With so many good people, and good places to live on earth, for what reason in god's good name, could a man do with something like the 'Live in the USA'? Its a rotten corpse of a nation, and its remaining souls, deserve to die in mass.

If such a beast as a good man existed in the USA, for why would he bother? I suggest you read Mark Twains "Letters from Earth", to answer these questions, but as Mark Twain proves in his analysis the god's would only laugh their asses off at the thought that anything was worth salvation.


Live in USA, fight for the USA, restore a 1950's panacea, that never fucking existed? I have a bridge to sell you in Tacoma Washington.

Every mercantile economy in history ends this way, ... they destroy the value of their paper money, and eventually the bread ( grains ... food ) quits flowing to the 'DC', and gradually starving masses wonder off in search of new places to fuck, ... its called 'mankind'.

Sun, 10/06/2013 - 06:16 | 4027282 Radical Marijuana
Radical Marijuana's picture

Unfortunately, I am mostly forced to agree with you, butler401. Aquarius wrote "there are far too many competing factions with the Power and all want it all."  How can any new and better dynamic equilibria be negotiated and worked through, when there ARE too many with Power, that WANT IT ALL?

After the weapons become trillions of times more powerful, the idea that some one group can succeed in getting ALL THE POWER, appears to be insane. However, there is obviously no shortage of those who already have Power and want it ALL.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!