Wudja git? I’ve long been a fan of Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, by Jared Diamond. I recommend it.  Sadly, our society seems to have chosen FAIL.

I use an evolutionary principle about civilizations. Organisms go extinct when they can no longer adapt to current reality. Civilizations and Societies go belly-up when they no longer adapt to current reality, preferring to live in the expectations and rules that don’t exist.

Diamond’s book is worthwhile. He discusses the fundamentals of collapse, naturally, and how some societies sit right on the train tracks when they see the train is coming. Adapting to current demands becomes less acceptable than collapse.

He took a lot from a book called “Collapse of Complex Societies” by Joseph Tainter – and that’s what Santa brought.  Far more in-depth.

I’m just starting into it. It seems biased a bit towards advance societies needing central control – an idea I thoroughly disagree with – but let’s see.
I am strongly suspicious that we are on a collapse pathway. We should learn from the collapse of the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc states that political collapse doesn’t mean knifing in the streets.

All that is unsustainable, ends, said Laurance J. Peter.

One of my favorite statistics is that over 95% of all species in history, and 95% of societies in history, are extinct – for similar reasons.

Thriving societies are able to effectively fulfill the processes needed to satisfy individual needs, and they progress as they ascend Maslow’s Pyramid.

Maslow’s postulate is that the highest level of society involves “altruism and spirituality.” I agree, interpreting it with the principle that the modern definition and sense of Liberalism is beneficent or toxic, depending upon the advancement of the society to prosperity.

If everyone greatly prospers from the fruit of their labor, then it is no great inconvenience to have some of one’s prosperity shared with the less fortunate, the public commons, etc.

But failing civilizations seem to turn to “toxic liberalism.”  They trust the generosity of the people during prosperous times – but they continue to tax and demand from the people during lean times.

That’s when governments become an active impediment to the people’s prosperity, and their days are numbered.  Even governments which are slavers like North Korea and suck the life out of their imprisoned citizens to feed the elite, are doomed.

Free everything for everybody!  That was the cry in the 60’s as well as now.  But during that time, the margin of prosperity was sufficient to play with ideas that might not pan out.

In 1960, 40% of American GNP resulted from civilian manufacture in the US.  Now, it’s about 5%  But then, 10% of the economy rested on FIRE (finance, insurance and Real Estate.)  Now, it’s about 50%

A great deal of that finance involves individual borrowing against future productivity for current consumption.  The American college carousel has hit the break-even point, where you may not be able to turn a net profit by virtue of HAVING a college education, versus NOT HAVING a college education.

In other words, education’s turned a net financial negative.

That’s what happens in societies sliding into the Dark Ages.  To know how to do something is valueless.  Jewelers, sculptors, musicians and artists took a big hit at the fall of Rome.  Knowing how to kill and dress wild rabbits, well, that was always important.

We are living at 0% interest, when spending now and earning later costs nothing.  What happens when reality strikes, and people realize that they cannot hope to pay back what they have borrowed, ever?  What happens when their lenders realize it?  Or all those entities holding US Bonds?

Lending involves the Four C’s – collateral, capacity, character and credit.  That’s why they used to say – the only people who can get a loan are those who don’t need it.  Back in 2005, that was out the window with the single-family-house game, and you didn’t need any of these things, the Government let you spin-to-play under any circumstance.  Then, poof.

Who is getting the Federal 0% loans?  Is there any chance they will be paid back, or will they be written off, like housing loans were in the past?

Now, the more debt you are in, the snazzier you look.  Leveraging a couple mil of property and debt is a snap.  A great amount of our financial transactions involves the payoff of personally-incurred debt for Winter Holiday purchases.  If that merry-go-round stops…

 

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