Coping: With Davos, Our Forgotten Humanity

Very rarely will I have something to say on the UrbanSurvival side of things (free) that has been said on the Peoplenomics side ($40/year).  But some observations made in Wednesday’s column are important enough, I think, to be posted here on the free side.

imageBetter late than never, I suppose.

How long have I been telling you, both here and on the UrbanSurvival website, that people lack confidence in the future, don’t trust robots, government, surveillance, or what we’re doing to the environment and each other?

Yet it was not until this week as the World Economic Forum rolls in Davos that someone, Nobel Prize winning economic Robert Shiller, told CNBC that people are afraid of the future and that’s why bond prices are not being bid up.  It’s a symptom of people who don’t have confidence in the future.

Let me share this one quote from the article:

“”There’s this increasing fear of technology, information technology, artificial intelligence, robotics, 3-D printers, the internet and all these different forms,” he said. Technology, he added “seems to be changing life in such a fundamental way and what it’s leaving people thinking is ‘where will I be in 30 years? Look how fast everything is changing now. Where will my children be? I want to leave something for them because they could be in terrible straits’.”

There’s something even more subtle going on, if you look closely: 

Back in 1969 Elisabeth Kübler-Ross introduced a concept on death and dying in which she outlined the five stages of grieving people go through:

    • Denial
    • Anger
    • Bargaining
    • Depression
    • Acceptance

    One could easily develop a financial model that would use social indicators in order to assess where we are now.

    Since “prepping” has been such a hot topic on the net, and even in the CNBC report Robert Shiller speaks to it, we are in something of a funk, a depression.

    That’s why prepping is up and homes and family starts are down.   Once again, both UrbanSurvival and Peoplenomics will be early on the trend change, but we see acceptance out there on the horizon…and as part of that acceptance we will be focusing on how to get ahead.

    It’s part of why I’ve made such frequent mention of “sweat equity” and “non-cash equivalents” and it’s all part of putting in the “emotional” bottom so we can move on to acceptance and get back to living the daily life.

    But as we do this, as we look back over the dying, death, and grieving model, a haunting question arises:  Just what is it that has died that we are so deeply long for?

    I’m not sure how to put it into words, but I can give you a verbose description of it.

    Industrialisms Failed Promise

    When industrialism was young, it held promise that it would lessen the burden of the working man.

    It’s a promise that has taken over 100 years to promote and then, with the arising networked computer era which has facilitated global conversation, it has become apparent in the past 20 years that something has died.

    I think what it is might be distilled to the “Old Social Contract”.  You work hard – ever harder – and help support industrialism, and everything will work out OK.

    Except, as we have come to learn, as quickly as advances have come in industrialism, there has come a follow-on exploitation.  Many Americans are working longer and harder hours than our forefathers did.

    Unions, that once led the fight for the 40-hour workweek have all but disappeared.  They have been co-opted out of existence.

    When atomic energy came along it was heralded as a great tool for peace.  And yet, within have a dozen years, we were back in the biggest arms race ever.  And one that continues only slightly abated in today’s world.

    Remember the World’s Fair promises of “electric power too cheap to meter?”  And do you remember me telling you Kurzweil’s “Singularity” was another same-such cruel hoax?

    Sure enough, artificial intelligence is not going to figure out how to get you more time off.  Its first applications will be to kill more people, more effectively, and to make more money for those who had the foresight to buy artificial intelligence.

    And so goes my list:  Failure after failure to deliver on the social contract.  Promises made, promises broken.  Ask Native Americans how “good our word is” as Americans. 

    So that’s this morning’s Big Thought and First Ponder all rolled into one:

    Shiller is (as usual) exactly and precisely right:  People are afraid of the Road Ahead.

    With good reason, too.

    While it’s true that we have been lied to by industrialists, and here more recently by the banksters, the core reason for our grieving process is ever-so-much deeper than just these superficial realities.

    We are discovering that we have lied to the person we see in the mirror and in media every morning:


    Second Thoughts

    Only the Larger Context Matters

    Normally in a Peoplenomics report, I’d point to a few quippy news stories, but this morning I think I’ll pass on that.

    Those kinds of stories you can pick up off nickel and dime MSM outlets that are monetized six ways to Sunday.  You don’t come here for that.  What we look for is context.

    In light of Shiller, Davos, and my theory that we’re working out grieving after discovering that we’re all still just as deeply flawed as we were when the pilgrims fled England, a line or two from Robert Service’s poem “The Quitter” is a much more important  than where it snowed, who’s replacing Holder, or Jordan is doing business (trading hostage) with ISIS.

    When you’re lost in the Wild,  and you’re scared as a child,

    And Death looks you bang in the eye,

    And you’re sore as a boil,  it’s according to Hoyle

    To cock your revolver and . . . die.

    But the Code of a Man says: “Fight all you can,”

    And self-dissolution is barred.

    In hunger and woe, oh, it’s easy to blow . . .

    It’s the hell-served-for-breakfast that’s hard.

    “You’re sick of the game!”

    Well, now that’s a shame.

    You’re young and you’re brave and you’re bright.

    “You’ve had a raw deal!”  I know — but don’t squeal,

    Buck up, do your damnedest, and fight.

    It’s the plugging away that will win you the day,

    So don’t be a piker, old pard!

    Just draw on your grit, it’s so easy to quit.

    It’s the keeping-your chin-up that’s hard.

    It’s easy to cry that you’re beaten — and die;

    It’s easy to crawfish and crawl;

    But to fight and to fight when hope’s out of sight —

    Why that’s the best game of them all!

    And though you come out of each grueling bout,

    All broken and battered and scarred,

    Just have one more try — it’s dead easy to die,

    It’s the keeping-on-living that’s hard.

    Especially on a planet where the internet has provided us an unexpectedly good mirror with which to inspect ourselves.

    The fifth stage of grief is acceptance…and that’s what comes along next.

    There’s no particular follow-up to this, except that my son called Wednesday and asked me to put up a link to a Go Fund Me page that he’s created for a friend of his – a friend who is not able to make rent.

    Sure, I’ll do it, but times are tight for everyone.  We’ll make a contribution, too, of course, but that’s the hell of economic (and psychological) depressions.  A little help is only going to work some of the time.

    This is something we know from sad experience:  A number of years back – during the Housing Bubble Collapse – Elaine and I made a decision to help a family with a failing income problem try to keep their home.  We sent them $1,275 – the amount of one month of house & refi payment in order to buy them time.

    It didn’t work.  The income picture failed, divorce quickly followed, and so the economic depression “failed over” into a series of personal psychological depressions for the un-named family which more or less imploded.  Our well-intended gift? Banksters got it.

    Frankly, I admire my son’s effort.  Unfortunately, when we have so many people in economic trouble, it will be hard to “put Humpty back together again.” 

    Maybe G-II is onto something:  Humanity $10-bucks at a time.

    The collapse is on, yet it’s working its way around in the background.  Slow and stealthy-like.  It’s an economic function that spills into personal realities.

    At its core is the simple change from humans being able to “own their own life” to humans who (due to wrong-headed policies) are only able at best “to rent their lives.”  And thus, the monthly payment.

    Even those marginal “rent to own” furniture outfits cut better deals than Davos, or almost any government you care to name.  The “to own” part has been jacked.

    It’s hard some mornings to write about anything else:  What has happened to the inborn urge to own – not rent – one’s future?  My son has the gene, but schools are Common Coring it away and corporations have no interest in making quality goods that will last an almost indefinite amount of time.

    Some goods?  Maybe.

    We still have some winter white Corel dishware that I bought back in our liveaboard sailing days.

    Elaine since, has picked up some “company dishes” which we haul out for the rare guests who we break bread with.

    But the point is that quality of an enduring sort doesn’t make economic sense.  No repeat sales.  If we made cars as good as our 2005 Japanese made Lexus, would car sales fall to half?  They could (which is my point) but the global auto industry would collapse.

    Too much quality – in an economically f/u’ed world doesn’t work.  Davosians can bullshit all they want, but that’s the core level.  The global economy keeps growing profits or the world implodes.  As the outgoing CEO of McDonalds, just bounced, about how quality and level sales works.

    About here we come to the Big Problem:

    Is there something on inherently wrong with our economic underpinnings when money (or lack of it) implodes families, when the bloodlust for tax revenue allows government to steal property nominally owned by others?  And is there justification for anything other than honest (non-depreciating) money unlike this “made up money” that has lost more than 95% of its purchasing power since 1913?

    Radical Islam  has some powerful marketing propositions.  One is that government doesn’t take land.  Another is no such thing as “interest” in Sharia banking.  The West overlooks that whole money-changer part of the long as…well, that should be obvious.

    It therefore falls on the shoulders of 318-million ‘Mericans to show there is a better way.  I think you’d agree, we’re not doing particularly well at this.

    Those are damn had questions, but there is an answer…just not answers the people in charge, the people in Davos, or the people in boardrooms want to hear.

    We need to look at historical data that argues, among other things, that women’s liberation was just a three-edged sword to break up families, contain labor costs, and to increase demand by giving women disposable income. 

    I don’t think a simple label like “good” or “b ad” can be applied.  It is what is.

    What’s wrong is how we’re acting as a country in response to current challenges.

    It’s in the process of killing Russia (western economic sanctions are having a huge impact) where US foreign policy is to fight  over Ukraine resources by causing widespread misery in Russia.  And it’s killing other countries, too.  Care to have the depleted Uranium discussion?

    In the meantime, buckle up for things to get worse.  Chaos isn’t leaving.

    The new Attorney General nominee believes in illegal immigration, and that means more people coming to America who will work cheaper than you.  Sure, it will serve to prolong deflation and ensure wage inflation is kept at bay for crass political purposes, but I’d argue that a bit of wage-driven inflation wouldn’t be a bad thing especially when Europe has jumped on the “make up money” bandwagon.

    Going back to Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, for a moment, we can see how the different power classes are dealing with mourning our national loss of direction.

    Government is stuck back in the “bargaining” part of the lost/dead dream.  Many families are in the depression part.  A few young people have moved on to the acceptance phase, while a few are still in the denial part while over-the-hill radicals have sucked in some modern Wobblies to play the Anonymous angry crowds part of the Greater Depression ahead.

    Bottom line today is that there’s a lot to be learned in economics from measurement (as in a big histogram) that shows distribution of the national psychology.

    Complexity and the corporate state may, or may not, fail in the intermediate term.

    Before real change can arise, though, we need to seriously thin the ranks of “leadership” that doesn’t have a clue.  We also can’t be distracted with false flag psychological distractions like climate change, whipped up racial divides, mass murders or any of the rest of what passes for “news.”

    Shiller’s one of the few talking common sense.

    But in today’s world, we’re too busy with selfies and virtual life to care about the non-networked shared reality we inhabit. 

    Once upon a time, an ostrich would stick its head in the sand.  Today, same phenomena continues in the human species, except instead of sand, we use mobile devices.

    My, ain’t we clever monkeys.

    Bad Ju-Ju on Quakes to Come

    imageRemember that odd dream I had the morning on January 13th?

    If you missed the article, it may be found in our archives over here.

    Reader Roger over in Tucson was kind enough to leave a voicemail advising me that out “qualifying quake” had likely just happened.

    Yeah…I know… I just don’t want to know.  That said, the odds of an April 2015 major earthquake in the California/Oregon border area on the coast move from infinitesimally small to simply very low.

    But nevertheless, it’s worth mentioning.  On a Thursday morning, at that. Timing in dreams is a bitch.  I gotta ping Chris McCleary over at the project and see if anyone else is having similar dreams.


    More tomorrow… but in the meantime, write when you break-even.


    12 thoughts on “Coping: With Davos, Our Forgotten Humanity”

    1. All I can say about today’s “coping section” is WOW. Hit those nails on the head George. When I was a electrician apprentice in 1990 we were told that we would install new technologies that would make life easier and we would not have to work as many hours as a humanity. They left out we were being replaced. Now real time. People protests reflect our stupidity. So many real issues,yet we waste all our time and effort “getting” each other while corporate gets away with murder. I too feel the dying spirit. Those on disability may get their benefits cut 20% very soon. After all are they not scummy lowlifes riding the system? “Get Em’. Maybe they should move all of our disabled to Oregon to “assist them”. Just do a search on nazi propaganda films on mentally ill for instructions. A group called “Steppenwolf” did a song called the ostrich in the 70’s. it is worth a listen on the you. I will end my tirade with a verse from it. “Your free to speak your mind my friend,as long as you agree with me. Don’t criticize the fatherland,or those that guide your destiny. And if you do,you”ll lose your mind,your job and all the friends you knew. We’ll send out all our boys in blue. They are sure to find a way to silence you.” I’m on #4. Stay well my friend.

    2. The first guest on Coast to Coast last night said the truth. We cannot save the world, but we work at saving our world. First, care for yourself and your family. Next, care for and inspire the people around you in your life. That is all any of us can do.

      I decided years ago to give up on attempting to wake up people. It didn’t work. Now, I pass on helpful information, and support the close people in my life, encouraging them to be the best they can be. World events will happen beyond my control. My sights are on making as much personal progress as I can this lifetime.

    3. A very well constructed and apt metaphor for a culture where there are simply no good or optimal decisions or actions available for those in that culture, living life looking in the rear view mirror as a last ditch attempt to stay positive.

      The 12 steps of recovery used by alcoholics and other dysfunctional humans is appropriate for use by the entire nation. What keeps entities from this is the first corollary of recovery. In order to heal, you have to be willing to feel as bad as you feel. Second corollary is that you are only as sick as your secrets.

      Denial is the enemy of this process. Denial of who and what they really are will be the bondage that will keep Americans complacent until their (welcomed by the rest of the world) demise.

    4. Regarding the earthquake yesterday: All morning yesterday, I was unexplainably bone- crushingly tired, to the point where i couldn’t do much but sit on the couch. At one point(thanks to past commentary on UBS), I thought to myself, “I wonder if there is going to be an earthquake?” A few hours later, there was. I am in PNW. Interesting!

    5. Sharia Law charges interest, they just hide it.
      If you go to buy a house for 100K, the bank buys the house for you then sells it back to you for 175K payable over 20 years. Sounds like interest built in to me. Bank still has to make money.


    6. What “modern” American’s are experiencing is “cognitive dissonance”. I hear in in online debates all the time: How can “they” keep the economy afloat in a sea of contrary “traditional” indicators. How can they get away with ignoring the laws regarding our sacred national borders, and what the hell is “Reflexive Law” anyway?
      Simply put, advanced information technology has allowed the system takeover by a century old ideology. Just as Hitler would have struggled to manage the “inmates” without IBM and Thomas Watson’s punch card technology, so our brave new world would be impossible without coordinated high speed information technology.
      It’s called “TECHNOCRACY” and it’s NOT coming – it’s here NOW, has been for years. Technocracy changes all traditional relationships and is unaccountable to it’s “funding partners”- YOU. It is so far up our collective keister today that only a hot war could (possibly) dislodge it. So study it and solve some of the mysteries of modern life, or be surprised at what’s next on the agenda…

      “Some people make things happen – others watch what’s happening – while most people wonder what happened.

    7. Only when the “economy” (wall street & bankers)is dead and in ashes will there ever be a recovery of the people by the people – ’til then – American’s are sheep, shorn and driven towards the cliff. Only those that survive the fall over the cliff will remain to start over again. No organization – business or government – can continuously grow – expand forever: look at Walmart – yes they are still making money hand over fist – but so was Sears and JC Penney and a few other businesses a few years back. for government – I’ll point out Genghis and the other fellow Alexander – neither organization lasted beyond their own generation – but divided and fell apart.

    8. George,

      When I got introduced to the world of conspiracy theories. The one thing I got from them is documents to show their thinking. All I ever got in the way of proof from the establishment thinking was ‘That can’t be right”. Now, I do not hold any conspiracy theory as truth nor any remedy they may espouse; but they do ferret out how geo politics really work. People do not want to conclude that everything that they were ever taught was a lie. But here is where the real power is. When belief is found to be just illusion the conjurer is absolutely powerless. A wise person somewhere once said.
      “Be careful of the beliefs you hold for the belief also takes hold of you.”

      It was this thought that brought me to where I “own” my life… the best that they will let me..

    9. The best thing I have ever read from you. Kudos for expressing our BIZARRE situation so well. I am 765 years old, led a great life and never thought I would see this nation so lost. Unfortunately, I am part of the problem in that I was never vocal enough about the things that I thought were wrong. Live and learn…… Yes, but I near the end of my living………….what can I do now?

    10. Ah, the walls are caving in – only on the bottom rungs, though……. The Washington Post is reporting today (30-JAN) that 1. it now takes $108K a year to live comfortably in the D.C. region (just behind, NYC and the San Francisco Bay area) and 2. The homeless population in shelters hit an ALL TIME HIGH this week.

      As of two weeks ago, Suntrust proudly became the new owner of a mammoth 14,000 sq ft custom home in Aldie, VA – yes, the foreclosures are still heppening, but VERY quietly. Hmmmmmmmm…… Was the “Hunger Games” movie the message of our future? Rich cities, and crap everywhere else?

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