Guest Post: Looming U.S. Retail Implosion: DeGrowth 2014

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

Overbuilding and overconsumption as models of "growth" have reached exhaustion.

I recently addressed the bogus model of "growth" based on adding retail space and the DeGrowth movement, which is based on a sustainable model of doing more with less.

The American Model of "Growth": Overbuilding and Poaching November 19, 2013

Have a Merry DeGrowth Christmas--Boycott Black Friday November 20, 2013

Gordon Long invited me to discuss these topics with him, and the result is this 25-minute video of informative slides and our unscripted discussion of the exhaustion of the consumerist/expanding retail space model of growth.




Various propaganda attempts are being made to air-brush lackluster holiday spending into a happy story of strong "growth," but the over-all picture is of stagnation, not "growth."

The propaganda will soon shift to predicting "strong after-Christmas sales" and gift card redemptions in January; if after-Christmas sales are the foundation of "growth" and earnings, the U.S. economy is in real trouble.

Santa, Please Let This Be the Last Christmas in America That "Saves" the U.S. Economy(December 19, 2012)
Santa, please, please, please strangle the idiotic fantasy that Americans buying a bunch of junk (or gift cards for after-Christmas purchases of junk) will "save" the U.S. economy.

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Wed, 12/04/2013 - 19:15 | 4215492 surf0766
surf0766's picture

BY order of the Brown Shirts you must buy. Now!

March !

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 19:23 | 4215529 Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill's picture

Kaufe macht frei.

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 19:26 | 4215545 johngaltfla
johngaltfla's picture

Bigger news to save the regime and retail sales:


12/4 1806 ET BREAKING NEWS: Hijacked truck with Radioactive Materials in Mexico City recovered-cargo gone!!!


Now go out and buy something to be patriotic you asses!!!!!

Thu, 12/05/2013 - 04:21 | 4216810 sessinpo
sessinpo's picture

You are a bit late. That story is about 3 days old and the current news is that the Radioactive Materials have been recovered.

BTW, I heard a statistic that about 100 incidences of stolen or mislplaced radioactive materials happen each year. I have no verified that statistic.

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 20:01 | 4215658 Richard Head
Richard Head's picture

You mean Obama Youth.

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 20:58 | 4215869 RafterManFMJ
RafterManFMJ's picture

I don't get it. You want us to buy, start mailing us 2500.00 checks per month. You can print free money for your bankster buddies, but not for the people? Is that it? Is it a big club, and we're not in it?

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 23:01 | 4216256 Matt
Matt's picture

That would be 10 times the current amount of stimulus, at $850 billion per month. A one-time $3000 per person Christmas shopping bonus would be more in-line, on prepaid credit cards set to lose 10% of their balance every month would work splended, I think. 

Thu, 12/05/2013 - 01:08 | 4216648 Freddie
Freddie's picture

If you like your economic misery, you can keep your economic misery.

Idiots voted for this in 2008 and 2012.

Thu, 12/05/2013 - 14:01 | 4218205 IdiocracyIsAlre...
IdiocracyIsAlreadyHere's picture

And in 2000 and 2004 as well.  Your partisan blinders never cease to amaze me.  A vote for ANY member of the Republicrat duopoly cartel is a vote for slow suicide.  Get a clue.

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 19:15 | 4215496 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Prosperity through waste...

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 22:24 | 4216133 johngaltfla
johngaltfla's picture

Nah. The ChiComs warned us the retail implosion was coming....the container data does also...


How Chinese Data Predicted a Crappy Christmas Retail Season

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 19:17 | 4215499 skank
skank's picture

I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas...(Lyrics in MORE)

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 19:20 | 4215508 Skateboarder
Skateboarder's picture

If a hundred million people spent a hundred bucks for Christmas, that's three and a half days of QE.

Oh noes, what about the other days!

Thu, 12/05/2013 - 07:26 | 4216961 Seer
Seer's picture

QE IS abiotic! (salvation!)

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 19:20 | 4215512 johngaltfla
johngaltfla's picture

PFFFFFFFFFFFFFTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT... the ChiCom data tells the tale of the tape. More on that later tonight...after one more martini....:)

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 19:29 | 4215550 Colonel Klink
Colonel Klink's picture

Up voted based on your screen name alone.

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 19:23 | 4215528 Wyatt Junker
Wyatt Junker's picture

Its aiight.  Just go buy s'more shit. 

Ever been to the Dollar Store?  They have lots of cute little ponies that someone in Tijuana slathers with a glue stick and sprinkles glitter on.

Get some of those.

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 20:41 | 4215813 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

And just nibble on one to get your RDA in lead.


Wed, 12/04/2013 - 21:00 | 4215879 RafterManFMJ
RafterManFMJ's picture

Last dollar store pony I bought was defective; I dropped it and an package of coke fell out of its ass.

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 22:57 | 4216243 The Wisp
The Wisp's picture

Pretty good return on Investment  :)

Thu, 12/05/2013 - 07:26 | 4216966 Seer
Seer's picture

So, you're just pulling shit out your ass now? :-)

Thanks for the great laugh!

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 19:25 | 4215542 StillSilence
StillSilence's picture

The idea of growth sounds good, until you realize whats growing is cancerous.

Thu, 12/05/2013 - 07:29 | 4216969 Seer
Seer's picture

Growth itself is cancer.  This here is a finite planet, perpetual growth is NOT possible.  Yet!  We've predicated everything on the mantra of growth.  Clearly our problems are much deeper than that of being the result of "voting" for this or that, of "taxing" (or not taxing) this or that, or "worshiping" this or that...

Go forth and multiply until...

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 19:27 | 4215546 Colonel Klink
Colonel Klink's picture

I refuse to buy anything more than necessities.  Starve the beast!

Your only true way to fight back is via your wallet.  Money is all that keeps government and fascism alive.

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 19:38 | 4215583 krispkritter
krispkritter's picture

When .Gov starts ordering toilet paper in the billions of rolls, driving the price up and introducing scarcity into the market, you know we're gonna be in deep shit...

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 20:19 | 4215718 Colonel Klink
Colonel Klink's picture

I'd rather wipe my ass with government but they're not even useful for that.

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 20:58 | 4215871 Platinum
Platinum's picture

The American Dollar will be recycled into new materials after the collapse. Toilet paper being the most likely outcome.

Shit in, shit out. In the end.

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 20:55 | 4215857 lotsoffun
lotsoffun's picture

they made it very difficult to do (the globals), but shop or eat, drink (coffee, whatever) at establishments that have one (or two at best) cash registers, that have owners and take CASH.  (and will sometimes extend credit and even barter).  support other people, not corporations.  it's that simple.  i'm very fortunate because the urban area where i live, this still exists.  my uncle crys about having to go to home depot, but i've still got a hardware store, and a lumber yard and they are cheaper and know what they have, how it works, what i need.  i still have a drug store, two actually, and they are almost 30% less than the national chains.  and again, they stock good stuff and know what i need when i ask for it.


Thu, 12/05/2013 - 07:35 | 4216976 Seer
Seer's picture

I view it more as doing it because it's the RIGHT thing to do.  It's prudent.

The "beast" is "unsustainability."

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 19:28 | 4215548 Suisse
Suisse's picture

Retail is dead, the retailers just don't realize they're mostly walking corpses yet. 

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 19:41 | 4215600 RSloane
RSloane's picture

I think that most retailers do realize it. I firmly believe that after the post Christmas/New Years sales the decline in retail sales will rapidly accelerate. By Mid-March there is going to be a widespread retail crisis with only those stores selling 'essentials' like food being able to marginally survive. Strip malls that are not fully abandoned now soon will be. The only areas that will see steady customers are those specialty shops that sell goods and services exclusively to the top 20%.

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 20:03 | 4215668 Colonel Klink
Colonel Klink's picture

One can only hope.  Next will be hitting services companies since it's 70% of the eCONomy.

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 20:06 | 4215671 tvdog
tvdog's picture

Can the top 20% consume enough to sustain the entire economy? If so, then economically it's not an issue if 80% of the people have nothing.

Thu, 12/05/2013 - 07:36 | 4216979 Seer
Seer's picture

"Can the top 20% consume enough to sustain the entire economy?"

I'm sure they'll give it their patriotic best...

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 21:42 | 4215971 Omen IV
Omen IV's picture

My daughter is a senior buyer for a leading  menswear site - growth quarter to quarter continues to increase showing momentum is escalating  - increasing  / gaining over bricks and mortar as compared to A & F for example with multiple down quarters - focused on men less than 36 years old while this demographic  shops price they are looking for style more than not  and the diversity of the internet offers them possibly more alternatives and selection

another anecdote - i replaced brakes and shocks recently all with internet purchases - the mechanics say that this year the majority are bringing their own parts to the shop for install - each time tried to source local and the prices were 30% more

then i rehab'd a kitchen and bath - all electric & plumbing fixtures, cabinets, stone, etc were web based purchases - contracted out the install and basic materials - the richness of selection was far greater than local retail and much cheaper (24%) aside from no sales tax - and the site management was great interface even with returns or other issues

i think retail may be coming for a cliff of a disaster - those jobs are going and food maybe the only thing left for most of these people



Wed, 12/04/2013 - 21:47 | 4216018 Things that go bump
Things that go bump's picture

I'm ordering replacement side mirrors for my car and found a youtube video on how to install them. Its so easy I can do it myself. 

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 22:31 | 4216154 yogibear
yogibear's picture

There seems to be newly opened businesses lately that are giving away everything for free to get customers through the door. They'll burn up a lot of captal giving away freebies.

Thu, 12/05/2013 - 04:16 | 4216809 Oracle of Kypseli
Oracle of Kypseli's picture

That reminds me of the joke that the banks are so broke that you buy a toaster and they give you a bank as a gift

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 21:24 | 4215946 brettd
brettd's picture

Might want to get a second opinion from your wife/girlfriend....

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 19:33 | 4215565 krispkritter
krispkritter's picture

Amazon and it's minions, coupled with dozens of 1mn sf. warehouses will take over the web-space.  So when the sheeple order in droves and you're on (N)SAnta's naughty list, the drone you ran outside for, thinking it's your package, will just drop a grenade on your ass.  Amazon will keep your order $$ and rack up a reward from .Gov for thinning the terrist herd.  Welcome to Ecommerce 2.0...

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 19:36 | 4215581 NIHILIST CIPHER

Until further notice, at my house Santa will be refered to as THAT CHEAP BASTARD !

Die Walmart and take all that cheap Chinese shit with you to your grave.

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 19:45 | 4215612 The Alarmist
The Alarmist's picture

That's THAT CHEAP FAT BASTARD to you, slave ... now get in me belly!

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 20:08 | 4215676 markovchainey
markovchainey's picture

How does reindeer taste?  "Thanks for bringing dinner Santa!"

Thu, 12/05/2013 - 08:06 | 4217057 Seer
Seer's picture

I couldn't really tell.  And, given the season we're in, I'm thinking I don't want to run around telling everyone how that dinning experience was...

Thu, 12/05/2013 - 01:13 | 4216664 Freddie
Freddie's picture

Wal Mart is becoming just an EBT grocery store.  I have seen newer prototype stores and they are very little merchandise and lots of food plus much of it is boxes with processed shit/treats with corn syrup.  If it wasn't for food stamps - WMT would be in big trouble.

Don't forget to F TV and Hollywood by pulling the plug on TV and Hollywood's shit.  If not then you are not really straving the beast.


Wed, 12/04/2013 - 19:44 | 4215604 J S Bach
J S Bach's picture

The Horror... the Ho Ho Horror.

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 19:47 | 4215621 logos5
logos5's picture

God gave us one mouth and two hands for a reason.

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 19:56 | 4215640 Zero Point
Zero Point's picture

Time for fed plan Z:

A credit card with a 25 grand limit for anyone between the ages of 12-25 *







*25% interest, same bankruptcy status as student loans.

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 19:56 | 4215645 virgilcaine
virgilcaine's picture

Die retail...die!

Wed, 12/04/2013 - 21:18 | 4215928 Hail Spode
Hail Spode's picture

Localism is the only poltiical philosophy which can address the serious issues Evans-Hughes raises, not just about monetary policy but also international corporations.   Power will be centralized, and therefore freedom lost, unless both money and commerce operate within rules which have the effect of DE-centralizing power rather than the current set-up which operate to centralize it.


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