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Well... I'm just not ready for all this!

If you are through speculating, this is the place to discuss actions you are taking.

Re: Well... I'm just not ready for all this!

Unread postby Loki » Wed 22 Feb 2012, 01:12:17

Great advice Wild Rose.

Much of the good advice in this thread boils down to living as frugally as possible.

I live pretty frugally and invest most of my modest surplus in building useful skills (preferably employable) and acquiring useful tools. Enhancing family and community connections should also be top of the list (I have my failings on this point).

It never hurts to have a small stockpile of food; start with a month's worth and build from there, and learn how to cook from scratch. Store some water in containers for short-term emergencies; get a good filter and locate a water source for longer term outages. Put aside at least a month's worth of living expenses in cash in a safe place in your home. Think about security (guns). Reduce your reliance on grid power. Get healthy.

As Pops said, we really need to think about what exactly we're prepping for. Pretty hard to prep for generalized doom. Run some specific scenarios through your head and think about how prepared you are to deal with them.

IMHO long-term economic decline/collapse is the most likely scenario (i.e., getting a lot poorer). But we shouldn't rule out more acute events. I've been thinking lately about how unprepared I would be if I had to isolate myself for 3 months in response to a serious disease outbreak. An unlikely (but not impossible) scenario, perhaps, but I think 90 days of complete self-sufficiency is a good goal to shoot for regardless.

Re. gardening, as my signature says, “a garden will make your rations go further.” You might consider focusing on vegetables that you spend a lot of money on. Which brings us back to reducing expenses and living frugally.

Get thee a water bath canner, I got my last one for $7 at Goodwill. Also get the Ball Blue Book, start with jam and work your way up. After a while you'll be dying for a pressure canner (I recommend an All American). It's really satisfying to see a pantry full of home-canned food.

None of us are fully prepared. It's a matter of degree. I just strive to improve, year by year.
A garden will make your rations go further.
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Re: Well... I'm just not ready for all this!

Unread postby doady » Thu 23 Feb 2012, 19:40:47

Let me see...dinner last night had ginger root from China, parsley from Texas, green onions from Mexico, and chicken that was probably processed far from my home. In a word, I am not even remotely prepared for PO. In fact, I am barely prepared if I lose power for a couple days.

I do plan on planting a garden this spring. Hopefully getting away from oil heat this summer to a combination of wood and solar if I can afford it. I have building skills already. I have started to use more hand tools so I can build these skills and pass them to others in my family. Long-term I am thinking of moving closer to a waterway that is able to support some type of commerce.

Baby steps then run like the rest of them (plan B)
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Re: Well... I'm just not ready for all this!

Unread postby Ibon » Fri 24 Feb 2012, 09:38:34

Just knowing that energy costs and resources in general will only become scarcer and scarcer is a great catalyst toward living a frugal life. Beyond that simple truth you can then go about your life and basically forget about fretting over something that is beyond your scope to influence. There is a nuanced sweet spot where knowledge gained is then put aside and forgotten. This permits a conscious life without denial and without worry. There is no need to be overly concerned here. Just aware and proactive about what you can influence.
If Karma is true all of us alive today will come back as maggots eating our grand children. Our resiliency resembles an invasive weed. We are the Kudzu Ape
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Re: Well... I'm just not ready for all this!

Unread postby Maddog78 » Fri 24 Feb 2012, 09:57:04

Plantagenet wrote:Image
EV motorcycle


Hahaa, funny picture.
A KTM RC8 is not an an electric motorcycle. It has a 175 hp v twin.
That plug is going into the exhaust outlet.

Zero and Brammo are two companies I'm aware of.
They both had booths at our last motorcycle trade show.
Not many people stopping in to talk though. :cry:

http://www.zeromotorcycles.com/
http://www.brammo.com/home/
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Re: Well... I'm just not ready for all this!

Unread postby JimG » Sun 26 Feb 2012, 16:15:55

Wild Rose- thanks very much for your post. I've read it three times over the weekend...you are very helpful here! I keep coming back to it, not so much as " gee- who's reading and posting here?" but more of a " am I missing something while reading.. her post is brilliant?" (My apologies if you arent a woman? I'm assuming gender by the name alone. )

Whats cool - or interesting at least - is that I'm doing some part of all of your suggestions. Cook books? Check. Quality tools and clothing, check!

Loki- I'm listening to The Dead Kennedy's and drinking home brewed beer while I type...forgive the typos. But a pressure canner is now on the "very soon radar". It's late February - snowed a bit this AM- and the broccoli isn't in the ground yet. So ok maybe there's some wee bit of time yet.

Ritter - I'm looking into backyard chickens. The kids want a dog, (sigh) and I want something that provides eggs and garden manure. So, chickens are winning out here, fo sho.
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Re: Well... I'm just not ready for all this!

Unread postby Plantagenet » Sun 26 Feb 2012, 19:14:09

Maddog78 wrote:
Plantagenet wrote:Image
EV motorcycle


Hahaa, funny picture.
A KTM RC8 is not an an electric motorcycle. It has a 175 hp v twin.

Zero and Brammo are two companies I'm aware of.
They both had booths at our last motorcycle trade show.
Not many people stopping in to talk though. :cry:

http://www.zeromotorcycles.com/
http://www.brammo.com/home/


Yup---the stock KTM RC8 isn't electric, but the KTM RC8 actually is available in a modified electric racing version--- way way too fast for me. Its also so tricked out that its being sold as a "laptop on wheels". It even comes with its own IP adress and a built-in wifi network.

Mavizen modifies KTM RC8 to electric version

Mavizen TTX02 electric superbike

PS: Ski season is almost over here and I can't wait for the snow to melt so I can and get back to riding. [smilie=5moped.gif]
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Re: Well... I'm just not ready for all this!

Unread postby Ibon » Mon 27 Feb 2012, 07:28:48

Historically civilizations only empowered a very small elite supported by a vast peasantry. In spite of disparity of wealth increasing today our modern civilization, thanks largely to the fossil fuels, has empowered a far greater percentage of the human population with wealth than civilizations
of the past.

Does peak oil represent a catalyst to a new paradigm or a slow falling back to the historical norm of a much smaller elite and larger peasantry?

Whatever your answer to this question has a powerful impact on how you position yourself economically and psychologically in preparation of coming resource constraints. In either case frugality is a primary meme for a growing disenfranchised underclass. If we do this collectively it will represent a paradigm shift. If we do this preserving a powerful elite and growing impovershment of the middle class and serfs than the status quo will be preserved.

Many of us have hoped peak oil will be a game changer. I used to believe this. I still believe peak oil will be a catalyst, but not toward a new paradigm but rather toward a hardening of the status quo.

This is not a cheerful message but a very realistic one in guiding yourself in preparation for the decades ahead.

Frugality should be your daily mantra whatever the resulting social upheaval.
If Karma is true all of us alive today will come back as maggots eating our grand children. Our resiliency resembles an invasive weed. We are the Kudzu Ape
blog: http://blog.mounttotumas.com/
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Re: Well... I'm just not ready for all this!

Unread postby vision-master » Mon 27 Feb 2012, 09:08:49

I disagee with the slow falling back to the historical norm. Impossible, ain't gonna happen. Quit living in the past, it's over and done - won't return (ever again). Everything is getting more and more complex at a faster and faster rate - hold on to your hats.......... We are in for a wild ride.
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Re: Well... I'm just not ready for all this!

Unread postby AgentR11 » Mon 27 Feb 2012, 10:11:10

Gonna be US specific, but I think the general structure holds for most countries, as the underlying impact of increased technology coupled with energy becoming increasingly costly is what creates this result. Attempts to act counter to those realities causes fun results like Somali and NK...

Ibon wrote:Historically civilizations only empowered a very small elite supported by a vast peasantry. In spite of disparity of wealth increasing today our modern civilization, thanks largely to the fossil fuels, has empowered a far greater percentage of the human population with wealth than civilizations
of the past.

Does peak oil represent a catalyst to a new paradigm or a slow falling back to the historical norm of a much smaller elite and larger peasantry?


I tend to think there is a new paradigm being crafted, though its not one that benevolent, egalitarian people would embrace willingly. But rather, one where this very small elite class, manages and directs the production of a modest sized class of professionals; and then through non-skilled non-jobs and government issued ration card supports, the bulk of the population manages to stay well enough fed, and well enough entertained that they don't rise up and break important stuff. (and no, city hall, wall street diners, nor public parks count as "important stuff".)

When you look at facts like what percent pay federal income tax, how many are on food stamps, the separate treatment of investment income, existing wealth, gifts, inheritance, and wage income; it seems ever more designed to guarantee the elite position (though its members come and go), lock in the professional class (20%'ers), and pacify the non productive class from which occasionally, exceptional individuals arise. Heck, the top 25% pay about 90% of the income tax collected by government.

With cheap energy, it was easy to mask this; members of the lower 80 could easily afford to burn ridiculous amounts of energy, doing nothing particularly useful in the process; and it was consistent with the interests of the elites for this to be allowed to continue as long as possible. Peak removes "possible" from the equation; and so now, the process of pricing the lower 80 out of the energy consumption market is underway. Keeping these folks entertained while they loose easy personal transportation will prove modestly challenging, but generally, people restrain themselves well enough as long as they are fed, and can feed their kids.

I do wonder how far along the plateau we have to go, before this arrangement gets discussed openly, if it ever is discussed that is.

In either case frugality is a primary meme for a growing disenfranchised underclass.


Frugality is good for all. It looks different when practiced by the 0.01%, but its principle remains. Don't waste. When you consume something, be certain to get good and full value out of it.

Many of us have hoped peak oil will be a game changer. I used to believe this. I still believe peak oil will be a catalyst, but not toward a new paradigm but rather toward a hardening of the status quo.


It is a game changer in that the veil of this productivity gap is being shredded. Whether we can all manage to live as civilized humans once this structure is laid bare, remains to be seen. (Some don't seem to like it very much already eg OWS)
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Re: Well... I'm just not ready for all this!

Unread postby vision-master » Mon 27 Feb 2012, 10:39:00

New energy sources will be shown to us very soon.........
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Re: Well... I'm just not ready for all this!

Unread postby WildRose » Mon 27 Feb 2012, 11:48:38

JimG, I'm glad I could be of help to you. As I mentioned earlier, it's an ongoing challenge for me and my family to scrutinize our spending, trying to save more, etc., but it is rewarding. And yes, I am female! Thanks for your kind words, and good luck to you!

Loki, as always you give sound, practical advice.
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Re: Well... I'm just not ready for all this!

Unread postby WildRose » Mon 27 Feb 2012, 11:58:43

Ibon wrote:
Does peak oil represent a catalyst to a new paradigm or a slow falling back to the historical norm of a much smaller elite and larger peasantry?

Whatever your answer to this question has a powerful impact on how you position yourself economically and psychologically in preparation of coming resource constraints. In either case frugality is a primary meme for a growing disenfranchised underclass. If we do this collectively it will represent a paradigm shift.If we do this preserving a powerful elite and growing impovershment of the middle class and serfs than the status quo will be preserved.


I find this compelling, Ibon. Could you please expand on this, especially the sentence I bolded?
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Re: Well... I'm just not ready for all this!

Unread postby Ibon » Tue 28 Feb 2012, 00:42:55

AgentR11 wrote:I tend to think there is a new paradigm being crafted, though its not one that benevolent, egalitarian people would embrace willingly. But rather, one where this very small elite class, manages and directs the production of a modest sized class of professionals; and then through non-skilled non-jobs and government issued ration card supports, the bulk of the population manages to stay well enough fed, and well enough entertained that they don't rise up and break important stuff. (and no, city hall, wall street diners, nor public parks count as "important stuff".)

You mentioned that your comments were US based. What you have just described is pretty close to many of the 3rd world economies I have lived and worked in the past 30 years. This confirms pretty much my main point that we will fall back toward historical elite/serf civilization arrangement and since resource constraints will be slow and drawn out there will still be abundant enough energy to support a professional class between the serfs and elite. Much like the merchant class of say during the Roman empire, just larger. For me this is pretty much the status quo preserved.

I do wonder how far along the plateau we have to go, before this arrangement gets discussed openly, if it ever is discussed that is.


I have had to come to accept this will probably never get discussed. Which for me means the status quo is preserved. My 30 years experience in developing countries only reinforces this belief. My daughter who is in her 3rd year in a university in the Philippines summed it up beautifully a couple of months ago. She said " Dad, the poor are so exhausted at the end of the day just trying to get by that they have no energy left to dedicate to reform and the elite, who have the time, means and energy to reform are the very ones benefiting from the corruption and inequities".

As you yourself have mentioned AgentR11 the professional or merchant class (10-20%) will toe the line of the elite. So from what segment will this new paradigm shift ever get discussed? This is not a definition of a paradigm shift to me, it is a scenario where the status quo is very much preserved.

It is a game changer in that the veil of this productivity gap is being shredded. Whether we can all manage to live as civilized humans once this structure is laid bare, remains to be seen. (Some don't seem to like it very much already eg OWS)


As I said this structure will not be laid bare. This is no game changer.
If Karma is true all of us alive today will come back as maggots eating our grand children. Our resiliency resembles an invasive weed. We are the Kudzu Ape
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Re: Well... I'm just not ready for all this!

Unread postby Ibon » Tue 28 Feb 2012, 00:57:13

WildRose wrote:
Ibon wrote:
Does peak oil represent a catalyst to a new paradigm or a slow falling back to the historical norm of a much smaller elite and larger peasantry?

Whatever your answer to this question has a powerful impact on how you position yourself economically and psychologically in preparation of coming resource constraints. In either case frugality is a primary meme for a growing disenfranchised underclass. If we do this collectively it will represent a paradigm shift.If we do this preserving a powerful elite and growing impovershment of the middle class and serfs than the status quo will be preserved.


I find this compelling, Ibon. Could you please expand on this, especially the sentence I bolded?


Wild Rose, what I found so compelling 8 years ago when the peak oil light bulb went off in my head was that this would be a catalyst that would dissolve polarities, bring the global civilization together in some mega Sputnik moment that would enable us to collectively confront solutions to this great peril.

Today, for reasons I just outlined in my last post to AgentR11, I no longer believe this.

This is a depressingly sad realization, believe me. Being an inherent optimistic facing this truth has not been easy. It is not mentally healthy to contemplate the consequences of peak oil at the same time as you realize it will not move significantly the status quo which will only remain more entrenched.

For this reason you may find me increasingly absent from this site. I no longer find peak oil as a concept contributing very much toward any collective realization of our collective peril.

It is valuable to understand peak oil, become a realist around the need of frugality, and then for me atleast, drop it as a possibility of mobilizing humanity toward some paradigm shift.

Find your own niche of family friends and place and be grateful for the harmony and balance that this brings to your life. Do not make your mental well being dependent on seeing society as a whole waking up to the reality of peak oil. To do so will bring only anguish.
If Karma is true all of us alive today will come back as maggots eating our grand children. Our resiliency resembles an invasive weed. We are the Kudzu Ape
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Re: Well... I'm just not ready for all this!

Unread postby Loki » Tue 28 Feb 2012, 02:06:48

Ibon wrote:It is valuable to understand peak oil, become a realist around the need of frugality, and then for me at least, drop it as a possibility of mobilizing humanity toward some paradigm shift.

I find peak oil a useful motivating factor in terms of my own personal preparedness activities, but I've never quite understood the evangelical bent some peak oilers have. You're bound to be disappointed if you think peak oil will result in a positive societal paradigm shift. Kudos to the Transition Town types, but they're fighting a nearly vertical uphill battle.

Seems clear to me that the Long Decline will result in a deepening of social inequality. Shrinking pie, growing number of mouths, the math is easy.

That's not to say the average Joe can't learn how to adapt to the new normal. The sooner we start, the better we'll adapt. I think discussing personal adaptation strategies ("planning for the future") is a conversation worth continuing. The challenge is how to not only survive the Long Decline, but thrive.

To quibble with Agent again, your 20% figure is optimistic. It's more like 5% now, and that will shrink with time. Upper middle class status will offer no shield.
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Re: Well... I'm just not ready for all this!

Unread postby AgentR11 » Tue 28 Feb 2012, 10:08:43

Ibon wrote:
AgentR11 wrote:
It is a game changer in that the veil of this productivity gap is being shredded. Whether we can all manage to live as civilized humans once this structure is laid bare, remains to be seen. (Some don't seem to like it very much already eg OWS)


As I said this structure will not be laid bare. This is no game changer.


Its why I suggested my comments were US centered, for a while, I guess since WWII, the US had been running on a paradigm of an expansive, consuming middle class, fueled by cheap oil, lots of land, and essentially free food (compared to income level). An expansive middle class full of college grads with useless degrees and little challenging learning, however, can't be supported in a time of expensive energy. As energy gets rarer, its application has to be driven by economic production, not time-killing for mid level paper pushers.

I concur with you about the 3rd world though, the difference between the lives of the professional/merchant class and the lower 80-90 is just staggering, even in the face of the huge gap in wealth between the elite and the professional class, it remains mind boggling. The US is shifting towards this I think.

There is one difference though between the old paradigm of elite/merchant/serf and whats being crafted now. In the old form; the elite needed the labor of the serf; today's form though, the elite simply need the serfs to stay out of the way. If you grasp that notion, and then observe around you as you move about the place, you'll notice how very few IMPORTANT infrastructure assets are easily accessed by a typical angry serf type human. How often does Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, or a Koch Bro place themselves in a situation where an angry serf could even inconvenience them. Strategy 101: Denial of Opportunity.

So I'd suggest it is a game changer. One that doesn't fair well in the light of an open debate. Thus, I hope you're right and it remains out of the public discourse; the serfs need to keep getting fat on plastic wrapped, processed grain; canned processed grain, with some lumps of sucrose thrown in for good measure. To be blunt, there aren't enough AHI and rib eye steaks to go around; and I'm rather partial to mine! (lol).

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Re: Well... I'm just not ready for all this!

Unread postby vision-master » Tue 28 Feb 2012, 10:10:54

Must you all read from the same script?
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Re: Well... I'm just not ready for all this!

Unread postby AgentR11 » Tue 28 Feb 2012, 10:24:51

Loki wrote:To quibble with Agent again, your 20% figure is optimistic. It's more like 5% now, and that will shrink with time. Upper middle class status will offer no shield.


Of course you could be right on the 5 vs 20; but I'd offer this as counterpoint: What makes OWS and other future uprisings non-influential is numbers. If they truly were a 99% representative, they would crush any an all opposition (I'd list the communist wins in Russia, China, and Cuba as examples of 99/1 failure). Its my opinion that the motivated self-interest of the tiny upper elite is expressing itself in keeping this professional class fairly large, and to a certain extent well integrated into the same structures that the elite use. An example that pops in my head; isn't it a bid odd that any ole schmoe (of the 20) can easily afford the gear to setup a large, multi system/monitor trading platform, instantly access important financial statements and filings, put his few thousand dollars of investment cash in an account, and trade effectively without having that asset destroyed by huge fees and pushy brokers doing the hard sell thing? I'd say, if anything, the elite are going to great lengths to pull a large enough buffer class along with them to keep them safe from uprising and mayhem.

I tend to think the number is 20%; 5% is just too small to create an effective buffer.
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Re: Well... I'm just not ready for all this!

Unread postby vision-master » Tue 28 Feb 2012, 10:28:35

I think you know not what you are talking about - sorry........
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Re: Well... I'm just not ready for all this!

Unread postby AgentR11 » Tue 28 Feb 2012, 11:01:30

To the original topic in reference to this class system aside; it depends on where you find yourself at the moment. Mobility between the bottom and this professional class is getting ever tougher, and given that many of us could occupy our professional positions well into our 80s if we chose to, future mobility could get tougher still.

So, if you find yourself on the low end of this mess, the adaptive response will be very different than if you're participating on the professional/(or even) elite side of the economy. For the low end, I'm of the opinion that the food stamps and other supports aren't going away, they are there so the elite can sell their grain and sugar, which they grow on farms measured in square miles. This guts the fast-crash, zombie-geddon, wasteland now, type scenarios that make good media but are simply not realistic. I know its hard to sell a show who's premise is, "this sucks, I made $3000 less than I made last year but bread and gas cost more"... but that's the hand the low end has been dealt. Year after year, it will be hell, but a really, really boring hell. Frugality is honestly, THE answer to making this hell reasonably comfortable, even if it means one wage earner using a scooter instead of two commuting in sedans.

For the professional, know who you REALLY work for and why; and no, its not usually the twit that arranges the vacation schedules or oversees the coffee machine. Know to whom your loyalty is owed, and make it count.

The elite, while it'd be easy to say, "they can do whatever"... Its far from the truth; physical assets are hard to protect, e-assets are vulnerable to systemic hazards; personal security for the full family gets costly and less dependable the more you have to depend on people just doing the job for the money. Someone "standing guard" for a paycheck will flee rather than face fire if it is at all possible to do so; but if it is not possible, they may leave as soon as worry gets the better of them. So, know who will place themselves in harms way for you, because of who you are and their relation to you. Know which firms will honor your accounts in the face of systemic failure, and which ones won't answer the phone. Decide how to respond in the event that regular communications are not possible before such a thing comes to be. Never get trapped at the end of a tunnel, if you know what I mean.

vision-master wrote:Must you all read from the same script?


You're the one posting insubstantial one-liners. That some of us have different objectives and viewpoints on the issues and can discuss them at length does not imply reading from a script. Hasty one-liners are much more common in that which is called a "script".
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