Monday, May 11, 2009

The Great Reset Results In Traps

For several months now I have been thinking about what we should call today's economic environment. "The Crisis" is too generic and not descriptive enough; I reject "Great Depression II" for reasons I have previously explained (essentially, the Fed and Treasury injected trillions into the system and averted a banking meltdown). Conversely, "The Great Recession" is too mild a term for what is quite obviously something far greater and consequential than a few quarters of very low or negative GDP growth.

What then?

I have come up with "The Great Reset". By that I mean that the world as we know it, including finance of course, is not facing a simple reduction in economic activity due to a temporary inventory-demand imbalance, or a transient panic in financial markets. These are mere symptoms of a far more serious condition, or rather a series of conditions, that when taken together point to The End of Permagrowth. Too numerous to analyze here, they include resource depletion, climate change, overpopulation and, crucially for finance, too much debt vs. earned income.

I came up with today's Reset idea because I am hearing that a couple of investment banks are putting together "opportunity" funds to purchase distressed shipping loans, and perhaps even dry bulk and container ships outright. Now, I'm the first one to lambaste brokers when they hawk "hot" stocks or sectors right at the top (e.g. during the dotcom craze) and should applaud this latest move, as it is happening after a precipitous drop (see charts of ship charter rates and vessel prices below).

Baltic Dry Index

On the face of it, now should be a great time to invest in shipping, kick back and wait for the cycle to turn. Aaah, but... what if this is, in fact, The Great Reset?

Consider just this: Americans are the world's biggest consumers. With just 5% of the population they go through 25-30% of it's resources, from crude oil to copper.. and autos, sneakers, t-shirts and La-Z-Boy recliners. They have lately started saving again, reversing a three decade decline in the personal saving rate (see chart below).

US Personal Saving Rate

An increase in saving means a decline in consumption and results in a much bigger backlash for shipping today than any other time in history, since so much US and EU manufacturing has been off-shored to China. A prolonged period of increased saving, therefore, will spell trouble for shipping for a long, long time.

Thus, the "opportunity" may be nothing of the sort - it may, in fact, be just another money trap.


  1. Another top notch article. The Great Reset is spot on because all of the debt created in the 28 year Bull market must be cleansed from the system.

    Corrupt, debt-laden banks must be allowed to fail. BTW, they will fail propped up or not.

    Joe M.

  2. I agree with your ideas, Hell.
    I occasionally get worried about my perceptions of all of this.
    I KNOW that this model is going to fail. Because it HAS to. Because it rests on sand, on premises that humanity's dearly bought wisdom has lambasted.
    And as a result, I am trying to prepare somewhat for this failure : by INVESTING in skills that I think I will need later. By influencing my children to do this too.
    But sometimes I think...
    I am a minuscule atom in a long enduring process, and this model could fail...20 years from now.
    Or 30. Or 40.
    I have no doubt that it will fail, but what will our world look like WHEN it fails ? And how will we deal with it ?
    This uncertainty does not stop me from doing what I feel I must NOW, encouraging others to do so, and trying to bolster up collective morale in the face of such much (denied...) despair.
    But it's hard...

  3. (My "Word Verification" is "joyness". Seems ironic for the Great Reset post)

    Been meaning to ask Joe M., what are you're plans for the collapse? I haven't really done anything because my forecast keeps changing. But you seem pretty resolute, so I'm curious.

    For some reason a quote I had heard years ago got recalled:

    "Guilt is a rope that wears thin." - Ayn Rand

    I suppose you could replace "guilt" with "pity". People are doing dumb things and its frustrating. Basically, if someone decides to deny thermodynamic reality, then let the chips fall wherever they may.

    Cranky Monday Dink

  4. Again Dink, I think I am on your side ;-)

  5. I think there is not really a way to protect other then being more risk averse, and less prone to "chasing good news"", such as the current rally...

    I feel no urge to deploy capital today... this is not a regular environment, and my feeling that treating it as one will bring nothing but frustration.

    The talk about "green shoots" and playing the recession book has led to overextended early cyclical sectors (retail trades at 16x NTM P/E)... banks are again starting to trade on normalized earnigs (whatever those are), while credit spreads are still at 100 year extremes.

    Think about the market today... if consensus is right poiting to US$55 EPS for the S&P (normally its too high, but anyway), you are paying 16.5x 2010 P/E with huge imbalances in the economy. To buy here, would imply a bet that the EPS would go strongly into 2010/11, which is not a bet I would like to make.

    Other than that, I am thinking everyday about cheap inflation hedges... that's the one thing I think everyone should be worrying about in coming years.

  6. I don't know nothing about the Baltic Dry Index (other than what it is supposed to measure), but I notice that it is at levels of around 2005. That is not "bad" per se, so I don't see nothing special with that statistic (other that there is a big peak and fall around 2008). Being at 2005 levels seems OK to me as a statistic of sorts...

    I also note that permagrowth is with us for the last 30 years at least, and that, at the same time, median (and lower) income seems to have stagnated. One can propagandize the myth of permagrowth while the most of the population has actually stagnated. My point being: propaganda can maintain permagrowth for quite some time even if it is not felt by the general populace

  7. I don't agree with any position that preaches risk avoidance.
    I think we need to take MAJOR risks these days.
    We need to go all out.
    100 % risk.
    For a new world.
    But I don't think Barack Obama is our man for this.
    Maybe Abe Lincoln would have seen the light.
    Maybe not...
    But, that's what we need.
    And I'm absolutely certain on this one...
    The problem is that our in name only democratic oligarchies can't abide ANYTHING that resembles a risk.
    I like your word verification neologism, Dink.
    What could THAT mean ?
    Any speculators ?
    And Thai, I will shortly pull up my sleeves, get down and read your link... Promise.

  8. I like "The Great Reset" as a purely descriptive term but it does not capture the moral aspect of this fiasco. I prefer "The Great Comeuppance."

  9. I prefer "renormalisation", as in returning to normal.
    We will stop buying Japanese cars and we will start importing the iron ore to make those cars ourselves and that is what the bulk carriers haul. Then we will produce more cars than we can use so we will need the large car carrier ships.
    Timing purchases could be interesting. Presumably prices will collapse and recover successively for each class, but the debt that you use to buy those ships will be hyperinflated away.
    But how do you pay for maintaining those ships long enough for prices to recover? You can't just issue more debt than you need for the interregnum. That will be hyperinflated away just like the rest.
    Perhaps you could issue debt, buy the bulk carriers, and also buy a loaded tanker and sell off the oil (at a much higher price in inflated dollars and a much lower price in "real money") to pay the crews to staff the ships in layup in fjords somewhere?

  10. Love your blog, but Americans are more than 3% of world population.

    304mm Americans

    6,700mm people worldwide

    =4.5% of world population

  11. Certainly a reset (or set back?) for the US. But over time the consumer binge will shift to other parts of the world.
    "China's passenger car sales likely rose to a record monthly high of 1.15 million units in April
    U.S. auto sales fell 34 percent in April from a year earlier to 820,000."
    There still will be plenty of shipping, only the destinations might change a bit as the remaining 95% of the world population demand their fair share of the action.

  12. Whatever will we do with all those McMansions...

  13. "...what are you're plans for the collapse?"

    Anyone interested might want to evaluate the ten points presented in this article; a snippet:

    "...what if America permanently bankrupts, impoverishes, and marginalizes itself? What if its cherished institutions fail across the board? For example, what happens when the police realize that their under-funded pension plans cannot support a decent retirement? Will they stay honest, or..."

  14. Whatever will we do with all those McMansions...

    Dormitories for farm hands?

  15. Hellacious:
    Mencius Moldbug at Unqualified Reservations has used the term "reset" and called for one for over a year.

  16. What is it always Latino culture that fails first?

    Spain has the highest unemployment rate in Europe 17%

    Mexico is a cess pool.

    The Latin culture combine with catholosism is a complete nightmare.

  17. Thanks for the link, yoyo.
    I read it with great interest (and I bet Joe will read it with great interest too).
    Interestingly enough, at least one of my comments is going to address YOUR massive collective denial in the U.S., and I say YOUR, because for a change, it is not MINE.
    In Hell's last post, buried in there above the hateful comments of our current anonymous addition, I tried to draw EVERYONE ON THIS BLOG'S ATTENTION to the humungous level of imprisonment going on in the U.S. This imprisonment is accompanied by TORTURE, administered by all those nice, just doing their jobs, POLICE and PRISON GUARDS who are described in the link.
    Five years ago I was writing government officials in death penalty cases asking them JUST WHAT EXACTLY was federating the 51 united states, and I got the answer in this link : CONSUMPTION !!!
    Magic ! Surprise !
    Well, we'd better start looking for different and better ways of federating the 51 united states in a big fat hurry, because the union is already in a shambles, and has been for quite some time, you know.

    I am mystified that WHENEVER and WHEREVER I mention our incarceration rate, our dastardly human rights abuses, there is a resounding SILENCE on blogs ALL OVER THE COUNTRY.
    Don't feel concerned about it ?
    When are you going to wake up, you guys ?
    When are you going to see that it's a BIG PART OF THE PROBLEM.
    My maxim for the day : the left hand ALWAYS knows what the right is doing. Even if it wants to pretend to the contrary...
    Economics means "the life of the house".
    And the house is not JUST a matter of ++++, ------ and $$$$$$.

  18. Events - chemical conference in the middle east and the 125 who do not exist...
    No secret - self "Infra" life support - malinvestment cycle agony, yep it's dead, do what?
    Predicated contract business cycles
    BO sent packing by Mid East for capitalization, he's a tool anyway
    so more pressure, easier to find leaks in the real economy...
    Global reboot since the hard drive crashed but there to dumb to FDISK
    and the consumer got the blue screen of death and is not a factor for x amount of time. Even then the vanilla investors are pissed beyond repair on equity.
    Summer of discontent. How much of Crazy Ivan money can we squeeze in with pissing on the bond market again. <---- eastern capital

  19. ahhh.. what's the 51st US State Debra?

    Unless you mean the combined population of all State Penitentiaries?


  20. Mea culpa, Hell.
    I just figured that in all the time that I had been absent from the mother country, they MUST have managed to ADD another one...

  21. @dink,

    My prep has included getting completely out of debt, holding physical Gold/Silver, a large stash of food and a Doulton water filter for water from any source, tangible items of all kinds, tools etc.

    I am looking at buying a rural 8 acre property with a log home on it with a large pond that I will stock with fish. I will also garden the acreage.

    My problem is I do not buy into guns as I cannot fathom taking another human life, this may be my downfall but so be it.

    Best to all,

    Joe M.

  22. Meredith Whitney on CNBC late yesterday afternoon says banks earnings are "fabricated", sees many more rounds attempts to raise capital, etc. See here:

    Joe M: RE Gardening - Deer population is exploding here in Pennsylvania. Without 8 foot fences you'll likely need something to keep the beasts from your bounty.

  23. @ Thai,
    "I think I am on your side ;-)"

    Its good to have the "I think" qualifier in there just in case I head outside in my bathrobe to rant to the public about the dangers of central banking and monosodium glutamate ;)

    @ Debra,
    "word verification neologism"

    If it were my own, you'd diagnose me with something we don't have medication for, yes? Today its "sestrog". Hmmm.

    Also, U.S. imprisonment levels are a hard thing to gain sympathy for. Plus, we are lacking alternatives.

    Joe M. and Yoyomo,

    Interesting. Terrifying. WA state has a lot of rural areas and a lot of free rain. How are you storing food? I went to REI a few months ago and the organic vegetarian freeze-dried stuff had MSG in it. @$%^#.

  24. BTW, I read that 10 spot article last week. I agree with it but it is still on the lighter side. I read some of the comments and it is obvious most people are in denial.

    What we need to realize is Ben Bernanke is John Law resurrected with the same result.

    Joe M.

  25. Hell, Steve Ballmer of MSFT said a couple of months ago that this was a reset. Fast forward to the MSFT issuing debt..... and voila! Also, I do believe that Ballmer studied math at Harvard.

  26. God, dink, just WHO do you think I am ?
    ME, handing out (FREE...) diagnoses ?
    You must be kidding.
    I wouldn't be caught DEAD diagnosing anyone these days.
    Check out my response to Thai in one of our previous posts.
    No, diagnoses are out for me.
    I watered my tomato plants last night. They're doing fine. My future daughter in law wants chickens next, but I figure that they'll be like cats. I WILL END UP TAKING CARE OF THEM, NOT SHE.
    Last I heard, Cotton's garden is doing just fine.

    For all the Ivy League preppies and related who hang out on this blog, I REALLY RECOMMEND "Eats, shoots and leaves". This book will definitely CURE you of all your (not you're...) apostrophe problems, so that you can REALLY sound like Ivy league preppies...
    Just what you wanted, right ? ;-)

  27. Dink,
    I think MSG will be the least of your problems (unless you have a serious allergy to it) when the time comes to break into those NitroPaks. Don't be so finicky.

  28. When we get hell as IOU's this is the end.

    Then when we have hell's masthead quote, we have the beginning.

    This is the start-finish. Period.

    If you look at the sun (son) for guidance we now have the least number of sunspots since 1913. The FED_COUP. The SUN (SON) is now telling us the FED-JIG is up. Nature has spoken.

    Joe M.

  29. @ Friends

    May I suggest a subject to pursue. I am convinced that society must and will change drastically and that either into chaos or socialism we go- - probably with a green vocation in the case of the latter. One aspect of the "new" society to consider is the role of sports. I am almost shocked by the degree to which sports has been pushed all the way down into Middle School. It is extremely difficult for even the best athletes to make any teams in the 6th grade - - the first grade of middle school here-- as other kids are so much bigger. By seventh grade those few making a team have five day weeks practicing for several hours after school and a very competitive schedule with regional finals for some teams. Needless to say parents and kids are both caught up in the frenzy.

    Only two (special) schools in the whole county among almost two dozen have intramural sports rather than inter school competition. Here all the kids get to play, the emphasis is on exercise, sportsmanship and not on competitive excellence.

    The problem is much worse in high school where most kids become passive observers, an unfortunate lesson for later life, and by College the whole show is said to be indispensable because of the revenue it supposedly brings in, with sports scholarships, recruiting and obviously little time left for education. Where should we go with all this in the new society. I hardly think the schools can afford it except perhaps Colleges, if it truly brings in revenue, but my own druthers would be by far for intramurals with everbody involved. Big money sports is so much a part of the culture, however, that teachers will probably be fired here before any sports go in the economic downturn.

    Any thoughts?

    Changing the subject. Ah for the days when Debra had few attachments to America or France. She has gained tomatoes (what variety?), perhaps chickens or cats, a daughter, a husband, a daughter in law so perhaps a son, an ex-Algerian lover with tell tale semitic markings, all in the course of a few months. Is this the poet in her speaking? Where is chivalary in France, someone come to her rescue or at least to that of her prolific garden.


  30. SS, what exactly is socialism to you?

    I certainly see a collective organism if that is your definition.

    For IF I understand you correctly, you might look at American (world) birth rate demographics a little closer.

    Or have I misunderstood you?

  31. It is a depression. Why are you scared to call it what it is?

    That is how most depression happen, too much debt.

    What is the problem? Nothing is being reset

  32. "Meanwhile, thanks mostly to improvements in social conditions, there is no longer much difference in survival rates for children born into large families and those who have few if any siblings."

    I wouldn't count on that situation continuing for long once resource depletion starts to bite.

    Your comments on sports and intramurals stirred a thought and a memory. They made me think about Noam Chomsky's denunciation of scholastic sports as a form of thought control over young minds that programs them to be antagonistic to and want to defeat the other side without knowing why and thus become good little soldier boys.

    You also reminded me of when I was in college and they had just abolished mandatory phys.ed. (I almost didn't graduate because I couldn't pass the swim test). Well the university instituted a very comprehensive intramural program in all sports and relied on peer pressure to compel participation as each frat/dorm unit competed to be campus champs. As the campus is on the side of a mountain, even those who didn't compete got a vigorous workout getting to and from class. Just reminiscing.

    BTW, a few days ago you mentioned an article in the NYT about relations with Muslims, I dug up these two links for Thai (in relation to a little to and fro he and I had on zionism, and in that I include Christian zionism) but you might find them interesting/curious, especially the second one when it talks about Maimonides. Also, some interesting observations about deceptive comments being made by evangelical zionist preachers to incite animosity in order to (in the words of Chimp-Boy) "replenish the ol' coffers".

  33. GM will go bankrupt over the long weekend.

    Depression will really kick in this summer.

  34. Re: sports

    As the Romans used to say,Panem et Circensus (bread and circuses or spectacles).

    The huge expansion of professional sports is just another historical (gladiatorial) similarity between Pax Americana and Rome's Imperium.


  35. Well, SS, where have YOU been recently ?
    In the garden, I hope.
    Salvation in the garden.
    In the garden we will all ONCE AGAIN learn the meaning of WORK (ha, you thought I was going to stick PRODUCTIVE in there, didn't you ?...)
    Sports : well things have been going the same way in France for quite some time now. Whew, that was close, we ALMOST got pigeoned in Grenoble for the second time for that greatest of all panem et circusem (spelling ? but it's Latin so I have an excuse...) THE OLYMPIC GAMES.
    Luckily, a good deal of citizen outcry squelched that. But we will nevertheless get the backlash since the games might be in Annecy which is not too far away.
    The sports debacle is the ultimate demonstration of the dictature of what I call the phallic principle.
    You know, that one : it translates into : fast, easy, high, big,more, more, more, and you stick an "er" after all the adjectives to get the quintessence of the phenomenon.
    Then you look all around you, and you see it..
    Right ?
    Back to my knitting...

  36. OOPS, that last anonymous was me, Debra.
    Sorry about that you guys...

  37. "I wouldn't count on that situation continuing for long once resource depletion starts to bite."

    Are you too suggesting the underlying structure of society may be as immutable as gravity? ;-)

  38. Re: Olympic Games

    Their motto is CitiUS, AltiUS, FortiUS. Could it be that all that -US in the suffix is meant to convey a subconscious meaning, a sort of grey advertising.

    Bah.. it's just a bunch of overgrown kids, another version of Toys-R-US...

  39. Yes Deb, the garden IS going well. I even harvested 8 perfect strawberries yesterday (they're everbearing)

    But while were on the topic, I have to ask... Joe, why freeze dried rations? Why not get in the habit of growing all (or at least most) of your food. I say this cause it seems like your dream is to have all the stuff to survive the apocalypse (which is an extremely consumerist impulse), but without the know-how to build your own log cabin with those tools and garden know how, you're still in the same boat as everyone else... And maybe worse off since you've isolated yourself from your (and humanities) greatest resource-- the social network (thirty years ago that would have said family, but who are we kidding)


  40. @ Thai,

    My definition of Socialism is a society emphasizing collective well being rather than individual.

    As for the demographic article, rather interesting except that religious doesn't always equate with conservative and in DC as you know its hard to tell the dogs from the children, something in the upbringing, I think.

    @ Yoyomo

    "Noam Chomsky's denunciation of scholastic sports as a form of thought control over young minds"

    This kind of thinking, however, caused him to lose his free speech rights.

    @ Deb

    I'm here, sans tomatoes.



  41. No, simply that there will not be enough resources to go around and parents of big broods may not be able to provide for all their children. Think back to the 60's before the Green Revolution, famine was an annual occurrence in India and untold numbers quietly starved to death each year hence that era's admonition of every mother of a finicky child: "finish your food, don't you know there are starving children in India"

  42. @ Yoyomo,

    "unless you have a serious allergy to it"

    MSG is Dink Kryptonite. It does not make sense to eat what one will hurl 20 minutes later.

    @ Cotton re: Joe,

    Fresh grown is preferable, but its probably a good idea to have freeze-dried stuff around until you get adept at farming.

    @ SS & Thai,

    Socialism doesn't bring out the best in human behavior. Resentment builds among the better producers. If those with less sustainable lifestyle choices can always create more children to hold hostage, the better producers will either be overrun or stop caring about the fate of the hostages. Did you all see Geitner announce that Medicare only has 8 years left? I see some outrageous promises being made next election cycle...

  43. @ dink

    "Socialism doesn't bring out the best in human behavior. Resentment builds among the better producers."

    very unchristian of them -

    re.: better producers - we are entering a machine produced society where distribution is the problem not the fruit of one's labors;

    Just to forego confusion do bankers consider themselves better producers?


  44. Cotton,

    Point taken on social networks, I am a huge believer in this way of life as I am half Sicilian and we greatly view family/food.

    In addition, I am a huge western movie fan mostly about life in 1800's America where we were on a Gold standard and completely self-sufficient.

    Joe M.

  45. "very unchristian of them"

    Its just too exhausting to list the crimes of "christians". Burning-at-stakes, child-molestings, book-bannings, etc. Religion and kindness are not the same thing.

    "Just to forego confusion do bankers consider themselves better producers?"

    They may. In any endeavor, some are going to be more adept than others (bankers in money, finches in various Galapagos islands, etc.). The trick is picking the endeavor, I suppose. Maybe Joe M. has the endeavor right in self-sufficiency. Maybe Cotton has the endeavor right in a wide social network. And the winners of the contest may be using different criteria (pleasure, lifespan, most descendents left after 200 years, etc.). Hmmm. I think something Thai has been attempting to explain to me is starting to burrow into my skull finally...

    Anyhoo, I get off track. SS, have you never had a lazy coworker, neighbor, or family member that irked you? Could you stand for there not being any consequences? If everyone weighing 400 lbs+ used up all the socialized medicine budget so therefore you couldn't get glasses or a flu vaccine?

  46. @ dink

    It's the bankers not the 400 lb. airline passenger that's our biggest(not the same as largest) problem. Anyway Socialism will certainly include "disclipines" for unsocial behavior.

    We got to keep our eye on the ball dink. I do agree with you about Christians, mostly very unchristian but it won't help to exhort them to be better Socialists.


  47. Ha, what's your favorite SPORT ?
    Mine's Sudden Debt.
    Major disadvantage : it doesn't get me off of my butt and burning off a little bit more of that fat that gets added on invariably as one gets older...
    Very UNCHRISTIAN of you guys, your remarks on Christianity and Christians.

  48. @Joe- you really do sound like a nice guy. If you ever need someone to patch you up when the angry hoards attack your farm, please give me a call. ;-)

    @SS re: "It's the bankers and not the 400 lb. airline passenger that's our biggest".

    You are both right and wrong on this one (as the endless Krugman-Mankiw battles attest to the complexity of the issue- both points of view absolutely correct).

    Health care is a larger % GDP than banking.

    FWIW I certainly agree with you that health care spending can never really be taken in isolation from all the other ways we spend our money as a society, even if it may sometimes sounds like I make health care spending a static entity when I discuss it.

    AND I agree we can spend as much as we want on health care providing we also cut somewhere else to offset this increased spending.

    But I might also remind you that many on this blog (America really) are already complaining that 18% of GDP is too much.

    And IF we either want to cut from 18% or even just redistribute some of the money from those with more to those with less, please understand the money will need to come from somewhere in that 18% spending.

    And remember again that health care spending is quite "non-linear", e.g. in any given year 1% spend 25%, 5% spend 50%, etc...

    And while this inequity does somewhat decline over a person's entire lifetime, it is still remains VERY unequal no matter what time scale you look at spending over.

    So if you are cutting from any budget, where will the cutting come from?

    Will it come from cutting where most of it is spent? Or will it come from cutting where very little is spent? If you chose the latter, you won't cut very much.

    PS- I thought I once read you say you lived in NY?

    Please remember that YOU ARE IN GROUND ZERO (again).

    Are you as prepared to be in the firing line as you so claim? (fwiw my neighborhood is also in the firing line)

    And before you answer, please ask yourself again where you will cut from?

    For if you say "where most of the money is spent", I might again ask you which of your parents or friend's parents or even which of your friend's with (say) cancer, are you willing to deny at least some care to?

    How many days/weeks/months/years of life are you willing to shave from them (and which ones will you do it to) in order that others, in different neighborhoods (e.g. not yours and mine), can live longer?

    PS- I have no problem personally accepting this under CERTAIN conditions.


    Buddy, you are so close!

    Now just think about your absolutely true statement "unequal" not in the context that it contradicts socialism (or capitalism for that matter) but that SS is also SIMULTANEOUSLY CORRECT.

  49. @ Thai,

    I live in Woodbridge, a distant suburb of D.C., I'm from New york, hence your confusion. I think that if the main focus of your attention is health care it is not the same as saying that your focus is the percent of the population abusing health care nor certainly the obese, an even smaller percent. This is delusional to be polite for a New Yorker, that's about how polite I can be after 30 years in D.C. and Virginia. Its the bankers! In this case the insurance companies. In any case under a more socialist system I would charge the obese extra for airline tickets - - one and a half to two seats might be reasonable - - and charge extra for patients with overwieght conditions contributing to their health problems. It seems that under capitalism they are treated as special categories to be relieved of their social responsibilities in order to protect the individuals right to enrich himself at the expense of others.

    @ Debra

    Socialists are certainly not all the same no more than Christians.

    @ Thai, Debra and Dink

    I have to say from otherwise intelligent people you really need to exercise the cerbellum by thinking otherwise it atrophies,


  50. SS, I am confused. Oddly we may (?) or may not be saying the same thing (I am a little unsure).

    Can you clarify:

    "I think that if the main focus of your attention is health care it is not the same as saying that your focus is the percent of the population abusing health care nor certainly the obese, an even smaller percent."

    with your statement

    "This is delusional"

    If you are saying we should compare the crimes of individual bankers vs. the crimes of the obese based on amount of money they personally led us to all waste, I would agree completely.

    But I am not sure if this gets you any more than an "I agree" for there are a lot more obese than there are criminal bankers and when you start adding them all up, they have "wasted" more money.

    AND, fwiw, I am actually NOT picking on the obese as they are clearly not the biggest cost in medicine; a title which belongs to those with multiple medical issues.

    AND the most common feature of people with multiple medical conditions is mental illness. The issue is incredibly complex in its interrelationships.

    If you are saying "obesity so they deserve a "free pass"- fine.

    But understand, morality is every bit as genetic and if you do not see this, we are indeed very very far in our opinions.

    I do tend to agree with you re:"Socialism is a society emphasizing collective well being rather than individual."

    As I have said before, I am not afraid of socialism in the slightest.

    In fact, again fwiw, why do you think I tend to get so angry at Yoyomo and Marcus?

    I tend to see both their lack of trust (and refusal to work) as unbelievably selfish to the collective.

    However, I don't think because we call ourselves socialist it will change anything.

    Even if we are all taxed 100% and 100% live in a "socialist paradise", the nature of man will not change one bit.

    Selfishness does not go away.

    Goodness does not go away.

    People's behavior (and morals) are unbelievably genetically predetermined (AND environmentally influenced).

    Genetic differences in people's morality do not go away just because we "socialize" things.

    We can eliminate environmental differences between people if we want, and this will reduce the effect of "nurture" on outcomes.

    But all it will do is enhance the effect of "nature" on outcomes, nothing more.

    The outcomes themselves will still be the same.

    You are upset about inequality

    Do you mean inequality in America? A.

    Do you mean inequality in a single European country? B.

    Do you mean inequality in all of Europe? C.

    Do you mean inequality all over the world? D.

    If it is A. vs. B.- America does worse.

    But if it is A. vs. C., America is far far fairer.

    If it is A. vs. C, then things are clearly getting better (albeit at a cost I am sure you and I can both agree one).

    I am sure I needn't remind you that socialist leadership has had some truly stunning influence over the life and death if its citizens over time.

    Indeed, some lives have clearly been made quite meaningless in many socialist countries over the ages, on that I am sure we can both agree (as they have in many capitalist countries).

    So what is your outrage at my comments concerning?

    From my viewpoint, yours seem a little weak.

    @Marcus- if you watch the video above you will again see I have not made this "theory" up as you so claim.

  51. clarification:

    I meant to say "If you are saying obesity is a genetic problem and at least partially/largely beyond their willful control so they deserve a free pass"

    Then I would respond with "I agree".

    And I meant to give you a link re: morality and genetic predetermination. (If you need it to be from a Journal like Nature I can get one but I would prefer not as I let most of journal subscriptions expire for financial reasons).

    So from all evidence, Hell is hardwired to be selfish.

    ... While doctors are hardwired for altruism.

    (That is a joke Hell in case you miss it).


  52. Oh, and SS

    re: "In any case under a more socialist system I would charge the obese extra for airline tickets - - one and a half to two seats might be reasonable"

    How would this solve your inequity concerns?

    Would you take with one hand but then give back with another?

    And if you did, why spend the cost of transaction in the first place?

  53. Dear Thai,

    Not outraged at all you always have a very thoughtful take on things, I just thought and perhaps said a bit too aggressively - - certainly too aggressively for DC, even a New Yorker can acknowledge that - - that I thought you, Deb and Dink had not thought things through.

    You appear to define socialism as a perfect panacea or utopia than base your refutation on the system not living up to that.

    Think of it rather like the teachings of Christ something to be sought after, another way of living together.

    I may have time to reply in more detail tomorrow to some of the things you say. Best.


  54. Re: "You appear to define socialism as a perfect panacea or utopia than base your refutation on the system not living up to that."

    This is the one thing I hate about the internet- how easy it is to be misunderstood.

    I think socialism and capitalism are simply ways of perceiving society, nothing more.

    Society itself is independent of this perception and the change in perception changes nothing about society, it only changes one's own view of society (which as the link I gave you said, is largely genetically determined anyway).

    .... Thinking????

    Perhaps I can explain this another way (Yo blew his chance earlier today)

    As Hell remind us, all life is based on energy...

    Society is a fractal of cooperating energy packets (I like to call them "building blocks"), all cooperating in order to "compete" (vs. other energy packets) to acquire energy to continue to exist.

    Socialism is looking at this fractal from the perspective of the group of energy packets in the fractal (usually hoping the fractal will protect you as you protect it).

    Capitalism is looking at this fractal from the perspective of the individual energy packet.

    ... It is probably a stretch but is there any way that you Hell (or Cotton) would be willing to help me out (e.g. cooperate) here?

    I have never claimed to have either of your communication skills.

  55. Re: cooperation/socialism,

    I will share everything with good-willed triangle helper puppets. I will share nothing with rat-bastard square blocker puppets.

    @ SS:
    "you really need to exercise the cerbellum by thinking"

    The cerebellum just does some motor stuff (coordination, etc.). You're probably wanting us to use our frontal cortices.

    @ Thai:
    "you are so close...
    but that SS is also SIMULTANEOUSLY CORRECT."

    Ain't that a bi$%^! (muttering)Fractal warlock sonofa.. :)

    @ christianity from earlier today:

    "Evil: God isn't interested in technology. He cares nothing for the microchip or the silicon revolution. Look how he spends his time, forty-three species of parrots! Nipples for men!
    Robert: Slugs.
    Evil: Slugs! HE created slugs! They can't hear. They can't speak. They can't operate machinery. Are we not in the hands of a lunatic?"
    - Time Bandits (1981)

  56. Lots of jargon on this blog today.
    I challenge ALL of you to make your jargon comments in everyday English.
    Sigmund was good enough to make HIS comments in everyday (somewhat literary...) German, so, if you know what you're talking about, and if you have REALLY THOUGHT THROUGH it, then you can TRY to translate it into everyday English. (Yes, well, Thai, obviously some of it will be LOST in translation, but that is a chance we will have to take.) The EFFORT that you make in translation will SHOW you just how well you have understood/not understood the concepts you are dealing with. Believe me on this one. I have much practiced it...
    Your comment about thinking things through was very interesting, SS.
    This issue is exceedingly complex. Every thought and every theory has implications, in its own sphere, but more importantly, OUTSIDE its own sphere.
    As an egghead, I can affirm that it is very very difficult to move outside the specialized boxes that we have been putting our thoughts/theories into since the Age of Reason (lol...) hit the scene. So, obviously I have not totally thought through all of my thoughts, theories in this context. But then, neither have you. Neither has anybody ON THIS EARTH, I feel like saying.
    One of the more interesting things about this issue is what happens when you start looking at the ideological assumptions behind economic concepts like "budget".
    When you start talking about budgets, then you are reasoning in terms of finite resources that are to be DIVIDED UP into parts, equal or not.
    This is an ideological framework/assumption as to how economic issues should be handled.
    This is why I keep harping on the Merchant of Venice.
    Assuming FINITE resources that are to be divided up (here I'm talking about filthy lucre, NOT about water, air, etc...) assumes that money behaves just like any other REALLY finite resource, and I don't really believe that (Hell doesn't seem to believe it either, if I understand him correctly...) Money is a pure abstraction, a symbol, not water.
    So... why do we keep treating it as though it is a finite resource ? And why do we keep introducing limitations on it that are PERHAPS not applicable ?
    And why measure wealth ? Is wealth the same thing as having money ? What is our obsession about numbers telling us ?
    The Merchant of Venice shows us the OPPOSITE of a mentality of starting out with a FIXED, PREDETERMINED PIE, and trying to divide it up between the participants. It is all about INFINITE POSSIBILTIES and WEALTH generated through individual, and collective risk.
    As long as we stay in this moralistic, petit bourgois, and unambitious attitude of DIVIDING up the pie into EQUAL parts, we will not get out of this mess...
    So... I think that we can safely say that I am somewhat Keynesian on this issue, right, Hell ? :-)

  57. Deb, what is not everyday English to you?

  58. Social networking and self-sufficiency go together like a good marriage. This is what I alluded to about 1800's America. Everybody played a part in bringing together different foods and services forming a tight knit community.

    This is what we need to get back to especially in a world of resource depletion.

    Joe M.

  59. I prefer "The Great Ratcheting Down." The great reset has its merits, but reset doesn't indicated where the reset is to occur. The GRD tells one exactly which direction things are headed.

    Lee's Great Comeuppance has merit I suppose save for the injection of a certain shadenfreude into the affair. We simply want to describe (as best as one can given the limitations) what happened not add a whiff of moralizing

    My other term for what is occurring now is the "The Grand Wobble."

    And of course "The Greater Depression" is very good, but alas it's not mine.

    McMansion solution:

    Beat them into plough shares.

    And lose the golf courses.