Compelling bad news about the economy

Discuss

100 Responses to “Compelling bad news about the economy”

  1. Martijn says:

    Now I feel kinda bad that we’re not really feeling the crisis here.

  2. lafave says:

    Was just reading this over at his blog. Thanks for posting it here. It deserves a wider readership.

  3. yoshua says:

    I’d love someone to expand on point 8. Me no understand.

    • Guest says:

      One would assume the author means ‘developing’ countries not ‘developed,’ but then the the author would be wrong. China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh all have expanding economies and represent a good chunk of the world’s developing population.

      If he really does mean developed countries, then I don’t know what planet he’s talking about as the developed world economy has expanded considerably and fairly consistently for a couple hundred years.

      • coelacanth says:

        Expanded over the last couple hundred years, maybe, in the last four years? Depression.

      • NathanS says:

        No, the author does mean developed countries.  The author is arguing that the current economic downturn in the developed world, exacerbated by the banking crisis in 2008, is best characterized as a “depression.”  The developed world economy is not, at the moment, expanding either considerably or consistently.  Much of the Eurozone is in recession or close to it.  The U.S. economy is bad enough that it seems to be the single issue in the current presidential campaign.   On this planet, the developed world is still very much in economic crisis.  So I would say the author is closer to being right than wrong.

    • coelacanth says:

       See Paul Krugman.

  4. Shinkuhadoken says:

    We’re doo-hoo-hoomed!

    But you know, those good times we enjoyed were fought for and we can fight for them again especially since we know its possible to win. Take heart!

  5. oneswellfoop says:

    So, as  US citizen with no real assets to speak of (aside from about 1,000 shares of Regions Bank stock which I never touched at $40-something per share value and still haven’t touched at $7 a share value), only a couple grand in credit card debt that is quickly being paid off, two jobs that I am using to build savings and pay for night law school out of pocket, two more years in school ahead of me, and likely a job at the firm I currently work at during the day once I pass the bar, what does this mean for me?

    While it may impact the wealth of my family and many others, honestly, any job I get in law, including private practice, is likely to make me more per year than I’ve ever made before.  If you start with nothing, have at least some prospects, how bad is a depression???

    • lafave says:

       the legal job market is actually quite horrible right now

      • mccrum says:

        Staggeringly bad.  I have a friend with fifteen years experience who was out looking for about a year and a half.

        What does this mean for you?  Work really hard at your current job until you get a written offer. 

        A depression also means you have to work two jobs in order to get ahead in the world.  There was a really neat time when workers could do 40 hours with a single-income household and be able to afford a house. A depression means $7 stock value when it used to be $40. See the difference?

        • oneswellfoop says:

          The drop in stock value came early in the sub-prime mortgage crisis, not as a result of the following recession and depression. Since I never really intended to use the money, I don’t count it as a loss and can wait ten to fifteen years for it to, hopefully, go back up again.

          I’m aware the legal job market is horrific.  It’s why I’m going to night school and paying for it as I go rather than taking out loans totaling $175K+ to go to the second best school in the state, who would have gladly let me in.Fortunately, because of who I work for and the area of law it is in, even if I wind up not working with this firm, the name and experience should be able to get me in somewhere, or will at least provide me with an area that doesn’t have a lot of competition and is both steady and reasonably lucrative. should I decide to go solo.

          You don’t go to the school I’m at with the expectation of getting a high paying job at a big firm in the best economy.  I approached this and made the decisions I did based on a crap economy.

          • Ryan_T_H says:

            The drop in stock value came early in the sub-prime mortgage crisis, not as a result of the following recession and depression.

            The housing crisis and resulting drop of your stock value IS the following recession/depression.

          • cservant says:

            If you’re going to do that with 4k you might as well invest in ETFs.

            I know jack about Region Bank, but if it’s still -80% from 2008, it’s not worth keeping.  The market, recovered back to 2008 prices in 3 years.  If you bought and held any index ETF you’d be in the black.

            Quit gambling with your money and invest.

        • ocatagon says:

          I work 37.5 hours, make the average income, and I bought a house last year, and I’m even saving a little. The trick is not to spend all your money. Granted, I’ve been unemployed, and wouldn’t want that to happen again, esp. now.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            You bought a house? You mean you paid cash for it and paid your property taxes for the duration of your predicted lifetime? Because otherwise, they can take it from you if you lose your job and can’t pay your mortgage or taxes. It’s happened to a couple of people here and there in the US over the last decade.

          • ocatagon says:

            I was replying to mccrum, who implied a person could not buy a house today on an average 40-hour-a-week wage, which isn’t true. But yes, if I lose my job I would be in big trouble. (and I’m not sure why I can’t reply to your comment.)

          • Martijn says:

            Whether you can buy a house on what kind of income depends entirely on the kind of house, its location, and whether you have a double income or not. In Amsterdam, an apartment big enough for a small family requires a double income. In the country, we could get a huge house for half that price.

          • ocatagon says:

            That’s true mcv, but doesn’t negate my point. There are many houses to be had for the average wage earner (and they’re not all in the country).

    • ldobe says:

      Not everyone can be lawyers, or CEOs, or politicians, or win the lottery. The great recession has destroyed the social equity that was already dwindling. The US was already shifting into a service and information based economy, and without manufacturing the middle class will fall apart in the foreseeable future.

      It’s good to hear you’re doing well, but a nation of lawyers is the worst hell I can think of. Lawyers aren’t bad intrinsically, but there’s a point of saturation for any given job, and I think the consequences of a country oversaturated with litigators, in an already overly litigious society, are pretty obvious

      But of course I’m taking your argument to an absurd reduction

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      If you start with nothing, have at least some prospects, how bad is a depression???

      Somebody somewhere has to have some money to pay you. Otherwise, your ‘prospects’ are daydreams.

    • It’s the “have at least some prospects” bit that trips up most everyone else. You’re lucky in that you have some prospects, though they probably aren’t as secure as you think.

      I’m like you, only a few years ahead of the curve. I finished grad school and lucked out, landing a decent job that gave me some experience for my resume. My wife and I moved to a new state, where I got a better job. Things were looking up, despite the economic fallout. My wife was having trouble getting a full time job but between here part time and my full time pay, we were fine. Then I got laid off, because my job was restructured out from under me, due to budget cut backs.

      Now, my prospects are gone because I have too much experience to get a low level job (recent grads will do the job for half the pay and no benefits, not realizing they are being screwed) and for every higher-end job that I am qualified for, I have to compete with 100 other people with the same qualifications, but maybe they have +5 years experience, or know someone.

      I’ve been unemployed for 14 months (“14) If you’re out of work more than 2 months your odds of getting another job drop through the floor.  If you do get one, odds are it will pay much less than your previous job.”) My wife is pregnant, and still working part time.

      Employers don’t look at us and see 2 highly trained, qualified professionals, they see 2 giant liabilities, and so move on to the next resume in the pile.

      • regeya says:

        Not to take sides in a partisan debate…okay, so I will:  If you were to sell that narrative to a Republican party member, you probably could have given a speech at the RNC as evidence that Obama has killed the job market.  If you had chosen instead to go to the Occupy protest outside the RNC, though, they’d tell you to go get a job, there’s three million jobs unfilled, ya lazy bum.

        I’m not saying that to say, “vote Republican,” I’m saying it because of my disgust after reading a hit piece on the Occupy protest outside the RNC being a Democrat planned event, and the protest outside the DNC being a farce.  In the U.S. we have two parties, and neither party seems to get it.  We want leadership, we want solutions, and what we get instead are gay marriage, fetus citizenship, and partisan sniping. I know some people will take my exception to including gay marriage but, I’m sorry, it’s not one of the top issues for most Americans.

        • B E Pratt says:

          That makes as much sense as Clint talking to an empty chair. Why is it that Republicans have drilled down to a core argument that simply consists of “I’m rubber and you’re glue”?

    • eviladrian says:

       Dude, I have like fifty chickens here!

    • benenglish says:

      “… any job I get in law, including private practice, is likely to make me more per year than I’ve ever made before.”

      Ya think so?  Last time I had a serious need to examine the Statistics of Income tables compiled by the U.S. Treasury, I was interested in attorneys in and around Houston.  They averaged about USD$34K/yr.

      That was a while back but the point remains valid – most lawyers make a laughably small percentage of what the world thinks they make.  The few superstar mega-earners are counterbalanced by a whole bunch of sole practitioners who are struggling to eke out a living serving the needs of people who occasionally try to pay them, well, slowly, if at all.  Possibly in livestock.

  6. Pedantic Douchebag says:

    It’s strangely comforting to know that we’re all in the shitter together. I guess.

  7. Cowicide says:

    Since China is the main engine of the world economy, followed by the US, this is really bad. If it goes into an actual recession, bend over and kiss your butt goodbye.

    What does that mean in more concrete terms, I wonder?

    • Ito Kagehisa says:

       It means “FEAR!  BE AFRAID!  DO WHAT I TELL YOU!  STOP THINKING!”

      Really the low point of an otherwise well crafted message.

    • Ryan_T_H says:

      In some ways, China crashing could be a good thing (long term) for the first world political and economic system.

      Cheap Chinese goods are the paper that is being used to paper over just how screwed the middle and lower classes are in North America and (less so but increasingly) Europe. If China really crashed out and that flow of nick-knacks and little end-of-paycheque luxuries was restricted for even six months I think you would see a rude awakening of many of those currently tuned out.

      On the other hand, China crashing would be a short term bloodbath. In the literal sense in some places. So it’s a hard thing to want.

      • IokSotot says:

        I think it would be better for the rest of the planet if the USA just painlessly evaporated. It would would solve practically every major global problem. Except Walking Dead season 4 might not work in mandarin.

  8. Tom Jackson says:

    I notice that Cory leaves this out, perhaps because it makes Welsh less credible:

    “6) failure to restructure the economy to get off oil and over to an electrical economy means that the US (and the world) are caught in the oil price dilemna: any real recovery increases oil price and will be derailed by those high oil prices.”

    I’m not clear on how those of us just getting by are supposed to be able to suddenly switch to more expensive forms of energy. 

    • IamInnocent says:

       Well, since the price of oil raises almost daily, aren’t we switched almost every day, want it or not ?

    • Trent Baker says:

       Because if you switch to sustainable energy generated at a fixed rate like solar, tidal or wind power the price isn’t going to keep rising as the resource (like oil and gas) is exhausted.

      • digi_owl says:

        Never mind the effects any futures gambling by Wall Street and City can have on farming costs elsewhere in the world, and the resultant food prices. Speculators have already attempted to use oil as an alternative to gold as wealth storage in case there is a big jump in inflation.

        Btw, i ran into a story once about a power dam company in a northern US state, for decades it had basically had held stable low prices for the locals and one could basically use their stock as a savings account.

        This changed when a new young CEO was picked by the board in an attempt to make the stock price more interesting for the Wall street traders. Within week he had asset stripped the company and invested in all kinds of frothy sectors.

        End result was a predictable bust, and a massive price hike. local businesses that had stayed in operational for 3+ generations thanks to the predictability of the price ended up closing, or selling out to massive chains, because there was no way to make it one their scale with the new costs.

        All because some suits wanted more short term bang out of their portfolios…

    • chris jimson says:

      This is really a long term problem, one which politicians don’t want to tackle (or perhaps I should say “one which oil companies don’t want politicians to tackle.”)  Obama has done some work in trying to promote wind/solar, but it’s a drop in the bucket.  In the long run we need to get off oil, but the sooner we do the better.

      We should be very afraid of fracking, and fight it with all our might just to slow it down to where people can see the aftermath of counties that have been fracked, it really is like killing the goose that laid the golden egg– you destroy the water source, you destroy the land, and what you extracted from the land just goes up in smoke anyway.  

    • Thomas Jørgensen says:

      Electricity is cheaper than oil. Much cheaper. A full order of magnitude cheaper. Electric cars are currently expensive as heck, but if someone rolled out a electric car priced at a reasonable point tommorow, you would have to be a complete imbicile to buy anything else. 

  9. Everyone will be on a level playing field once the ultrarich have destroyed everything. Then humankind will spend thousands of years building a civilization that will again be destroyed by greed, war and environmental degradation.

  10. angusm says:

    Point 5: “… the same people who caused the 2007/8 financial crisis still control the economy and the government …” is of particular interest given that one of the stated objectives of Mr Romney’s campaign is to remove some of the restrictions that were placed on banks and other financial institutions in 2008.

    In other words, the guys who brought us to the brink last time get a second chance to bring the whole economy down in flames.

  11. GawainLavers says:

    “10) Austerity is a means by which the rich can buy up assets which are not normally on the market for cheap.”

    Well put.

  12. Aloisius says:

    Honestly, this list appears to be designed to depress and/or scare people. A few of these points are frankly, bs.

    China’s at no risk right now of a recession. Its economic growth has slowed, but from 9-10% to 7-8%. That’s hardly recession territory.

    The developed world, no matter how hard you squint, is not in a depression. It could spiral into one, but we’re not there.

    The author tells you not to pay attention to economic numbers and trust in your gut, because for some reason, things are different now. Inflation isn’t a problem (bls.gov has a full breakdown of the CPI and the price of food has not dramatically gone up as the author suggests). Unemployment numbers are useful even if people have always dropped off unemployment rolls because they’ve always dropped off the rolls; that doesn’t mean it is not a useful metric to compare to the past.

    The author about wages being broken in developed world because the rich believe in slave labor. Really?

    • Ryan_T_H says:

      China’s economic numbers are almost all self-reported. Even the more independent analyses are forced to rely on information from the Chinese government.

      And those official Chinese numbers included things like new giant shopping malls without any tenants or even access roads. Entire cities built and standing empty. Google ‘China empty Cities’ or ‘Chinese Ghost Towns’. There has been some good reporting lately.

      So there are a lot of indications that China’s growth numbers are so leveraged and fudged that it makes the 2008 sub-prime look like a paragon of responsible accounting. The entire thing might NOT collapse, but if it does it could happen very completely and with little warning.

      If the Chinese government is now willing to admit that their economy is slowing, god knows what the actual numbers look like.

    • Al Billings says:

       Oh, so the people without jobs for a year or more and the empty houses in my city are just my imagination. Great!

      • Aloisius says:

        I have no idea what else you’re imagining, but you seem to have imagined I said or implied that there was zero unemployment or the economy has completely rebounded.

        The economy simply isn’t as dismal as the author’s hyperbole makes it out to be.

        • Al Billings says:

           According to whom? The New York Times or ???

          • Aloisius says:

            The US Government.

            The Bureau of Labor Statistics and Department of Commerce have, quite literally, perfect records of straight shooting for the past hundred years and they can be cross-verified using state government data.

            The numbers aren’t great, but every sign points to a slow, but accelerating economic recovery.

        • Al Billings says:

           (I can’t reply at your comment depth.)

          I don’t trust the Federal statistics on labor. I know, for a fact, that they’ve redefined “employment” multiple times over the last 50 years, moving the goal posts and fudging numbers.

          If you’d mentioned an independent, NGO or the like, I might have believed it. Not the Feds.

  13. Glippiglop says:

    “Austerity is a means by which the rich can buy up assets which are not normally on the market for cheap.”

    If you accept that austerity drives down asset values, then it is fair to say that ‘rich people’ holding these assets will also have suffered a significant decline in their existing holdings, so they are now worse off to start with.  Buying up depreciated assets during a depression is a gamble that is likely to worsen your already sick balance sheet, not magically improve it.

    There is one group that stands to gain from declining property values: those that don’t already own one and have sufficient savings to buy.  Unfortunately due to new lending requirements, you technically do have to be rich these days just to afford the deposit, at least in the UK.  Go figure!

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      If you accept that austerity drives down asset values, then it is fair to say that ‘rich people’ holding these assets will also have suffered a significant decline in their existing holdings, so they are now worse off to start with.

      Somebody with $100,000,000 still has plenty of assets to leverage even if their net worth has declined due to the overall economy. Someone with almost no money may be forced to sell off minimal assets at rock bottom prices in order to make the rent or put food on the table. You’re comparing apples and apple mega-farms.

    • Andrew Kay says:

      By “assets which are not normally on the market”, he means things like forests, hospitals, rail networks, public infrastructure. If the owner is the state, it’s not “rich people” losing out. He’s not talking about property values generally, there is always property on the market.

      • Glippiglop says:

        So are the rich buying forests, hospitals, rail networks and public infrastructure in Greece?  Is big business even doing that?  Evidence please.

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          Are you joking? All of those assets are being privatized throughout Europe. Read a newspaper.

          • Glippiglop says:

            So you’ve read the articles and can name me some of these rich people / businesses that are buying state assets in countries facing austerity?

            Privatization occurs in even the best economic climates, so what is that a measure of?  And I do keep up with the news – do I need to even bring up the Argentinian government seizing Repsol from foreign investors?  That’s not exactly privatization now is it?

            Why would anyone in their right mind even start buying up assets in a country under austerity measures?  Would you buy assets in Greece right now if you could afford it?  They might be back to the drachma come 2013!

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            With a target of $72 billion by 2015, Greece’s privatization plan aims to raise more cash as a share of gross domestic product than any Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) government has managed before.

            http://www.startribune.com/business/125378893.html

            Plenty of results by googling “greece privatize industry”. Next time, do your own fucking research.

          • Martijn says:

            Absolutely. Some guy in Mexico is buying up Dutch utilities.

        • Navin_Johnson says:

          In the U.S. you have parking meters, roads, airports, schools etc.

        • Al Billings says:

           Ayn Rand called. She wants her book back.

          • ImmutableMichael says:

            I can remember owning shares in telecommunications, ultilities, airlines and the health sector.  Then the government sold them.

          • Al Billings says:

            Vote Republican and I’m sure that you’ll get them back.

          • artaxerxes says:

            Ayn Rand called AGAIN. She wants her Medicare and Social Security back. Damn lumbago’s acting up again, apparently. Well, that and the lung cancer. Which, she adds, is yet another flaccid fabrication typical of the liberal media elite. In response, she offers wisdom from a real man of the people, Tex Ritter*: “I’ve smoked ‘em all my life, And I ain’t dead yet.” Well-played. Well-played, indeed, Tovarishch Rand.

            Further, she’s blazing with red-hot ire at the perfidy of Signet, her most illustrious publishers (*cough*). An acquaintance has brought to her attention the existence of something called e-books. This acquaintance is in publishing, or was it emu husbandry? No matter. The fellow is a sterling example of a renegade American achiever, with a fine square jaw and a gigantic head covered with thick, sandy hair. 

            At any rate, he has informed Rand that savvy authors who’ve grasped the sea-change in digital publishing are harnessing the power of new paradigms and publishing their own Intellectual Property. Being an ahead-of-the-curve-kinda-gal with an indomitable sense of her own superiority and why that should make people give her lots of money, she grasped the water buffalo by the horns and browbeat a team of dull, but awe-struck, graduate students into publishing her most popular novels as e-books.

            And wouldn’t you know it? Those Marxist lickspittles at Signet (and Plume and I’mAHammerYou’reANail, et al.) had the nerve to have their lawyers inform her that “the digital properties” were, in fact, their Intellectual Property and she’d best cease and desist before they hauled her gangrenous, chain-smoking Zombie Hips’n’Tits into court. And about any profits you may have generated, Miz Rand… In sum, better step in line with a quickness, missy.

            As it ever was, the entire population of the world, excluding her, is abysmally imbecilic and intellectually cretinous, lagging light-years behind her in the evolutionary march towards merciless godhood. 

            So, it’s easy to understand why she’s having difficulty with such a simple task as crafting a narrative that blames this cock-up on the Bolsheviks (Obama. She got the mail.) But in the mean time, she’d like all of us to know that the Bolsheviks are behind this. All. Of. This.

            She will be exposing this entire dastardly hoodwinking as soon as she super-humanly can. 

            She can’t afford an internet connection right now (She’s a senior on a fixed income with serious chronic health problems, what the hell do you expect?), but her local public library has all the resources she needs to prove that the responsibility for this corruption of flawless capitalist method is the sole fault of the Obama administration, his liberal goons and his Arugula-worshipping wife.

            She asks us all to wait until next Tuesday or so, because lacking computer and connectivity (just for the time being), she’ll be using the new Macs and lightning-fast wi-fi at her local branch. And Darryl’s next shift isn’t until Thursday. 

            Darryl’s her research assistant, a rugged, individualist libertarian and high-school sophomore, who volunteers Tuesdays and Thursdays after school, teaching seniors internet skills and the basics of word processing and spread sheets. He might even help her with the PowerPoint. (Squee!)

          • Al Billings says:

            You have too much free time. :-)

          • ImmutableMichael says:

            @Al – I think we might be talking at cross purposes or my satire detector is set to “obtuse”. I was thinking about the privatizations that took place in many countries in the 80′s and 90′s. As a taxpayer, I used to own these things before they were sold off to equity firms at bargain basement prices.

            Getting those shares back would mean nationizing those companies. I don’t know much about the GOP, but they (or any other Major US party) don’t strike me as the nationalizing sort….

    • Al Billings says:

       By “rich” do you mean “governments” here?

  14. so i just graduated and looking for a job lol

    • Ashen Victor says:

      Good luck finding one barely related to your studies.

      And I´m dead serious, I wish you good luck.

    • Ryan_T_H says:

       It could be worse. You could have graduated years ago and still be looking for a job. See what you have to look forward to?

      • bcsizemo says:

        How I know this pain.

        My father worked the same job for 33 years, retired with pension and everything….  Trying to explain to him why I can’t find a decent job is like trying to get water from a stone.

        • mccrum says:

          We’ll have him talk to my dad who worked for the same company for 20 years until they decided it was cheaper to just lay him off instead of doing things the traditional way and save money and time with experienced personnel.

          It was literally, here’s your clock for 20 years of service, good luck out there!

  15. Sean Breakey says:

    If things don’t change, there’s going to be another revolution.  If the rich stopped acting like horrid monsters right now, they will have to settle for 3 or 4 out of their 10 houses.  If the revolution comes because people have to work 2 jobs and still not be able to cover basic expenses, it’s not going to be 4 houses out of 10, it’s going to be the guillotine.

    I’m not looking forward to another Great Terror, or any council on anti-revolutionary activities, but when people start starving, it’s going to happen.

    Oh, and the more people working lower-pay jobs, (if that), the sooner it’s going to happen.  Considering most people are barely making by, it  can’t be too long.

    • digi_owl says:

      Watch the price of food carefully. It lit the fuse in France back then, and more recently the Arab Spring (poor Russian grain harvest drove the price of basics like bread up, meaning more people ended up feeling the hunger).

      • petr says:

         High food prices were definitely the spark in the Arab Spring. And grain prices are even higher with this year drought in the US.  But for an interesting commentary on the economy I suggest Jeff Rubin’s the End of Growth. The main point that much of the driving force behind the world’s economy was cheap energy and of course it’s not that cheap right now. Oil has increased 5-fold since 2001 and is unlikely to go down. Rubin maintains that despite whatever measures gov’ts take the main problem is the cost of energy is the main problem. Also, nothing’s really been done to address the causes of the downturn – ie. the wall street and banking ponzi schemes. Just look at the recent Libor scandal or MF Global that bet on the European debt and has a $billion in depositor’s funds missing.

        • Sean Breakey says:

           Proving even more how governments  are in the pocket of certain corporations is how little has been done on energy.  Renewable energy and electric cars have been viable technologies for 20 years.  Why take free energy from the sun, when we could be shipping toxic sludge from warzones?

          Why have a car that would make no noise, greatly reduce emissions, (even if charged from a COAL PLANT), and can be plugged in at home and charged for a couple dollars, (if that), when I can make a special trip to get gas from an environmental / fire hazard waiting to happen and spend $50 to fill up my Yaris?

          Even the US Military is petitioning the government to focus more on renewable power, (as expensive as oil is getting here, it’s a hundred times worse in warzones).

          And, as you said, the banks are no more regulated now then they were just before the world economic catastrophe, and Mitt Romney wants to REMOVE EVEN MORE REGULATION.

          Funny enough, Canada is passing laws to solve the problem, when it wasn’t our problem to begin with, (we never removed the regulation that would have started the crash, which means there was nothing to fix).

          Oh yeah, and for food, we’re letting major corporations play dangerous games with our food supply.  GMO’s and desertification have recently caused famines, and the other horrible things about industrial feedlots aside, the simple act of having them is causing major issues in world grain supply.

          It’s like the big pocket corporations are playing with matches, and instead of taking them away, the government is giving them more tinder.

          • digi_owl says:

            Not sure if in pockets or if bought the idea of current economics as a hard science rather than a social science. End result is that they thing the best approach is a hands off approach regarding the economy.

        • digi_owl says:

          Yea, the proverbial free lunch. Hell, during the early days of oil most of it was left in pools or pumped into rivers because all they wanted was the Kerosene. From today’s viewpoint the wastefulness was epic.

    • lanny says:

      Marginal revolution maybe …  No way there will be a shooting revolution in the USA because there are too many vested interests that own the established security and judicial systems.

      • Sean Breakey says:

         That’s what makes it a revolution.  When the peasants are starving and they can’t trust the established authorities to protect them, is when most revolutions start.

        And in the US there are a LOT of rednecks with guns who are not too fond of the established authorities.

  16. Mantissa128 says:

    Oh Gods of Post-Scarcity, save us. I want to see these rich bastards shit themselves when their power is devalued virtually overnight.

    • Domino P says:

      Assuming you’re talking about the currently rich people who built up, materialized, and are struggling to maintain the illusion of post-scarcity, I think they couldn’t save us even if they wanted to.

  17. SedanChair says:

    the wealth of the rich and major corporations has recovered and in many countries exceeded its prior highs. They are doing fine. Austerity is not hurting them. They control your politicians. The depression will not end until it is in their interest for it to do so, or their wealth and power is broken.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygQvB6OjHOU

  18. Wreckrob8 says:

    For developed economies isn’t belief in growth as a fundamental indicator of economic well-being the problem. The only people who benefit both in times of expansion and contraction are the wealthy. Beyond a certain level of development the majority are only trying to get by and are subject to the ups and downs which benefit the few. People feel the lack of security which that produces and so vote for the growth which prevents them achieving the security they need. It is a vicious circle. What developed economies need is flexibility in the application of resources (and not the spurious flexibility of job insecurity) which the search for growth prohibits.
    This ‘bad news’ (which is the same old news) doesn’t get us very far.

  19. futnuh says:

    Christ, reading this thread is like hanging out in a Czech nightclub. The pessimism is palpable. I almost feel guilty for being happy.

  20. robcat2075 says:

    On item 12 and “you will devastate the environment”… US carbon emissions are at a 20 year low because the new prevalence of natural gas supplies.  Low cost cleaner gas is displacing dirtier coal in power plants.

    • wysinwyg says:

      You do realize there’s more to the environment than the greenhouse effect, right?

    • IronEdithKidd says:

      Do you not understand what happens when hydraulic fraking is done wrong? 

    • Ito Kagehisa says:

      The fact that US gasoline & diesel sales have been declining since 2006 might have something to do with that.  People can’t afford to blow so much carbon out of their tailpipes any more, and modern hyper-efficient cars like the Toyota Prius have 90% less emissions anyway.

      Also, note that the environment is composed of more than just air and carbon.  You can pull carbon out of the air by planting trees, but you can’t unfracture bedrock.

  21. Amelia_G says:

    “There’s a l-i-i-i-ight…” Politicians in many EU countries will only behave better after experiencing credible pressure. We in the USA see only the credible pressure, and we can’t picture politicians’ actually straightening up and flying right.

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