Signs Of Distress

by Chris Martenson, Peak Prosperity:

The world is edging closer to the final moments after which everything will be forever changed. Grand delusions, perpetuated over decades, will finally hit the limits of reality and collapse in on themselves.

We’re over-budget and have eaten deeply into the principal balances of all of our main trust accounts. We are ecologically overdrawn, financially insolvent, monetarily out past the Twilight Zone, consuming fossil fuels (as in literally eating them), and adding 80,000,000 net souls to the planet’s surface -- each year! -- without regard to the consequences.

Someday there will be hell to pay financially, economically, and ecologically as there simply isn’t any way to maintain these overdrafts forever. Reality does not renegotiate. Its deal terms aren't compromisable.

For those who have the neural plasticity to actually see what's happening around us, the changes are already here, blatant and frightening. Younger folks, with their fresher eyes and fewer ties to the past, can see them a lot easier than their elders.

The prosperity enjoyed by the past few generations -- especially the Baby Boomers -- was stolen from future generations. All the while, they pretended as if their borrowing-heavy standards of living were the result of sheer genius and intelligence; like trust fund babies who mistake being born on third base for hitting a triple.

Young people have sussed this out; and are now pulling back from many of the principal occupations of their forebears -- like marriage, babies and buying homes and cars. This perplexes older folks, who are beginning to find themselves increasingly at odds with the generations following after them.

Humans can be very very smart, but the flip-side of our ingenuity is our capacity for self-delusion. We’ve very consistently preferred to look past our faults. That can work for a while, but eventually an incomplete view will lead to a complete disaster. For example: depleting our topsoils today to grow more eventually leads to a collapse of our food system tomorrow. Similarly, increasing societal complexity ultimately drains the resources out of an empire, until it withers and fails. Such is what we can learn from history. Each of these examples is rooted in the self-delusion that today's actions don't have real consequences.

Monetary printing experiments like those currently being run by the world’s central banks are the ultimate form of self-delusion. Money is the most potent form of social communication, underlying all contracts and agreements. Violate those and literally everything falls apart, as we are seeing happen in real-time in Venezuela right now.

Money printing and its other historical debasement equivalents, serve to cover up (barely) critical signals. Derelict ideas that should die a quick death, instead, persist. Mis-priced money leads mal-investment (e.g., Italian junk debt selling with the same yield as ten year US Treasury debt!!). Extremely unfair redistributions of wealth from the bottom to the top result. Every. Single. Time. This time is no different.

If you cannot see this madness in the chart below, I strongly suggest you keep staring at it until you can. It shows the exploding balance sheet of the central bank of 'the floating retirement colony' known as Japan:

The Japanese money printers have gone hog-wild over the past decade. And they've had company. The other major central banks of the wold have been printing $trillions and $trillions, too, over the same time period. What will the repercussions be? The world is about to find out.

But it’s actually far worse than that. For those who can bear to look, the signs of illness are as startlingly obvious as gangrene on a necrotic limb. Species are going extinct at an unprecedented rate. Glaciers are fast disappearing. Frogs and insect populations are mysteriously collapsing. Massive destruction of the landscape as we chase the last low-EROEI fuels remaining (tar sands, and shale wells). Miles-deep mining efforts. Enormous human migrations away from economically and ecologically ruined areas (see: the MENA region).

But the average citizen remains largely blind and/or numb to these. Again, much of this has to do with self-delusion that broken signals enable. People worry less as long as the stock markets are showing higher values, which is precisely why we don’t trust them anymore – they have become the most important signaling devices for The Powers That Be. They are far too important to leave to the vagaries of investors, and must be rescued/controlled/manipulated so that the “right” outcomes can be achieved.

If we’re lucky when these financial delusions finally break, we’ll hopefully avoid a global war. That’s the usual route by which the politicians and bankers seek to avoid having to be held accountable for the colossal mistakes they made in the past. They drag everyone to in a manufactured confrontation, whooping up the populace into a fever pitch by inventing hobgoblins -- exactly as has recently happened in the US with the recent rash of Russia-phobia; a case study in how easily public perception can be manipulated (as well as proof-positive that critical thinking skills are no longer requirements for today's journalists).

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