The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be

by | Apr 2, 2018 | Headline News | 53 comments

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    This report was originally published by Chris Martenson at PeakProsperity.com

    This marks our our 10th year of doing this. And by “this”, we mean using data, logic and reason to support the very basic conclusion that infinite growth on a finite planet is impossible. 

    Surprisingly, this simple, rational idea — despite its huge and fast-growing pile of corroborating evidence — still encounters tremendous pushback from society. Why? Because it runs afoul of most people’s deep-seated belief systems.

    Our decade of experience delivering this message has hammered home what behavioral scientists have been telling us for years — that, with rare exceptions, we humans are not rational. We’re rationalizers. We try to force our perception of reality to fit our beliefs; rather than the other way around.

    Which is why the vast amount of grief, angst and encroaching dread that most people feel in western cultures today is likely due to the fact that, deep down, whether we’re willing to admit it to ourselves or not, everybody already knows the truth: Our way of life is unsustainable.

    In our hearts, we fear that someday, possibly soon, our comfy way of life will be ripped away; like a warm blanket snatched off of our sleeping bodies on a cold night.

    The simple reality is that society’s hopes for a “modern consumer-class lifestyle for all” are incompatible with the accelerating imbalance between the (still growing) human population and the (increasingly depleting) planet’s natural resources. Basic math and physics tell us that the Earth’s ecosystems can’t handle the load for much longer.

    The only remaining question concerns how fast the adjustment happens. Will the future be defined by a “slow burn”, one that steadily degrades our living standards over generations? Or will we experience a sudden series of sharp shocks that plunge the world into chaos and conflict?

    It’s hard to say. As Yogi Berra famously quipped, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”  So, it’s left to us to remain open-minded and flexible as we draw up our plans for how we’ll personally persevere through the coming years of change.

    But even while the specifics about the future elude us today, “predicting” the macro trends most likely to influence the coming decades is very doable:

    Rising trends:

    • Populism in politics
    • Federal debt levels
    • Geopolitical tensions
    • Interest rates

    Falling trends:

    • Funding levels for pensions
    • The numbers of insects world wide
    • Confidence in the future among the younger generations
    • Wealth and income equality

    Trends can be expected to continue until they change. Therefore making “predictions” on trends is like making a “prediction” about which way an already tossed ball will travel. It’s not really a prediction at all, but a statement of observed data.

    These two lists bring to mind another great Yogi Berra quote:

    No, the future certainly isn’t what it used to be.

    Once it was a place in which you could invest towards your hopes and dreams, confident that conditions would be better for your children than they were for you.

    That’s no longer the case. The defining trends in play are all working to degrade, rather than enhance, our future prospects.

    Which is why it’s little surprise that millennials aren’t saving for retirement. Here’s the dim view many of them hold:

    “In general, I regard the future as a multitude of possibilities, but most of them don’t look good,” Elias Schwartzman, 29, a musician, told me. “When I’m at retirement age, around 2050, I think it’s possible we’ll have seen a breakdown of modern society.” Schwartzman said that he saw the future as encompassing one of two possibilities: an apocalyptic “total breakdown of industrial society,” or “capitalism morphing into a complete plutocracy.” “I think the argument can be made that we’re well on the way to that reality,” he added.

    Wood, 32, a political consultant, told me via Twitter that she felt similarly. “I don’t think the world can sustain capitalism for another decade,” she explained. “It’s socialism or bust. We will literally start having resource wars that will kill us all if we don’t accept that the free market will absolutely destroy us within our lifetime [if] we don’t start fighting its hegemony,” she added.

    (Source – Salon)

    As someone who tracks economic, environmental and energy data closely, these views are neither surprising nor really debatable. They are merely trend extrapolations, which are difficult to dismiss.

    What the older generations don’t yet understand is that the economic and social models that rewarded them so richly are not doing the same for younger folks. In fact, those old models are visibly breaking down. And confidence in them is failing, too.

    Younger people are increasingly seeing that the model of extractive, exponential growth (which is often errantly termed “capitalism” when, as practiced, it should be termed “corporate socialism”) has no future. And of course, they are right.

    But regardless of age, anyone with an open mind should be able to identify that something is wrong with the story of “endless growth”. The evidence is pretty much everywhere we look:

    (Source)

    If we’re willing to entertain the possibility that infinite exponential growth is impossible, and we extrapolate from there, what sort of economic trajectory would we expect to see as growth peters out? Exactly the sort we see in the above chart. Lower and slower growth that finally peters out and then slips into reverse for the rest of the story.

    Sociologically, we’d expect people to be nervous, anxious, and scared as their dominant cultural narrative is increasingly revealed to be no longer viable. Ask yourself: is the world becoming calmer or more volatile? The rash of mass shootings, anti-establishment election victories, prescription drug epidemics, and returning nuclear war fears make the answer sadly obvious.

    Biophysically, we’d expect to see key resources and species populations depleting at alarming rates — which we are. This is due to diminishing returns: nearly every planetary resource is getting harder and more expensive to obtain. Mars anyone?

    In a desperate attempt to mask the costs of of slower and lower growth, the world’s central banking cartel has deployed its  “one weird trick”: lowering interest rates to historic rock-bottom levels. This has allowed for more debt to be crammed into the system for a few more years, to keep the mirage of the party continuing for just a little bit longer.

    Because of that hail Mary, we have ended up in this very bizarre situation where our debt has been growing at twice the rate of our income — which clearly will end up in a solvency crisis:

    Perversely, the central banks are doing everything in their power to defend and propagate this unsustainable status quo, even though fourth grade math tells us it will surely end in ruin. How is it possible that this very simple observation eludes so many of those in positions of power? You’d have to be an intellectual yet idiot to hold the view that debts can forever compound at faster rate than income.

    Further, we find that when the US government’s deficit spending is stripped out from GDP growth, there actually hasn’t been any economic growth at all for years:

    (Source)

    The US has been going deeper and deeper in debt simply to maintain the appearance of “economic growth”. This whole illusion is being limped along for just a little while longer.

    For what purpose? And why? Both excellent questions without a good answer. You should be asking yourself what “success” looks like here. What’s the end game? More growth? Okay, then what? More growth? Keep going along that line of thinking. Take as much time as you need.

    Clearly there’s an end to that story somewhere. Growth ceases. Presumably smart people in power get this, too, although they’ll never admit it publicly so as not to spook the herd. Looking at the number of very well-connected and wealthy elites busily arranging bolt-hole properties to retreat to ‘just in case’, they’re already well ahead of the general public in preparing for the tribulations to come.

    All of which brings us to the very real prospect of war, as that has long been the favored path of politicians seeking to deflect public ire from their own policy failures. I worry that a major military conflict is dangerously close at hand.  The ridiculous UK government narrative around the Skripal poisonings (which remains utterly illogical from start to finish) used to seriously degrade relationships between Russia and NATO has all the hallmarks of contrived political operation.

    Added to the brewing geopolitical risk is the very likely prospect of the bursting of The Mother Of All Bubbles. When (not if, sadly) that happens, it will be truly catastrophic to every financial market in the world, and especially damaging to the western economies.

    So the race is on. Will the bubble burst first? Or can the political class engineer a massive military distraction beforehand?

    Regardless of who “wins” that race, you need to be physically, emotionally and financially prepared for these outcomes. PeakProsperity.com’s (free) What Should I Do? guide is an essential resource for those not yet fully prepped, as well as is our Self-Assessment.

    Yes. Things are that serious.

    If you’re not yet an enrolled subscriber to PeakProsperity.com, please consider becoming one now. 2018 is looking to be the shoo-in candidate for “The Year Everything Changed”. Interest rates are finally rising. Volatility is finally returning to the financial markets. Oil prices are threatening to finally return to the critical $70/bbl range. The populace is finally waking up to the extent of the abuse perpetrated on their safety, personal data, and civil liberties. The crypto bubble has finally burst.

    So many long-term trends that have defined the (false) sense of ‘prosperity’ over the past eight years are ending now. What ensues will be fast-paced disruption.

    By enrolling, you’ll stay abreast of developments and be able to position yourself (and your wealth) accordingly, benefiting from our daily work to harvest and synthesize all the complex information so you don’t have to. You’ll support will also help our ongoing efforts to bring Peak Prosperity’s alternative message and insights to a greater percentage of the general public, who desperately need this information to counter the “Don’t worry, everything is awesome!” narrative prevalent in our captive mass media.

    In this vein, in Part 2: Everything Is Suddenly Deteriorating, Fast we analyze the recent whipsaw volatility that has broken out in the financial markets and explain why it, along with other markers we’ve been watching out for, indicates that the markets are poised to fall dramatically further from here — whether war breaks out or not.

    But even if this is as far as you’re going to read, please get your preparations in place and get ready to hold fast.  Things are only going to get bumpier from here.

    Click here to read Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)

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      53 Comments

      1. Jas

        No shit. There is a limit to what this earth will support and at some point there is going to have to be a massive die off to bring it back to a realistic level.

        • Enzo

          Yes!
          As Martenson says, “the economic and social models that rewarded [the older generations] so richly are not doing the same for younger folks.”

          Starve the elderly!

          • Hillary's crotch smells like rotten shit

            The devil will get most people as they will gladly accept his mark and will afterwards forfeit their souls for an eternity of agony. Good times indeed!

          • Genius

            Feed retards like you to them!

          • NunyaBidness

            “starve the elderly”

            Hell no, end ALL subsidy of stupidity and let the idiots starve and die in the street if they won’t work. And protection of property and life are absolute, so if you try to take from me, I should be able to kill you with impunity.

        • TharSheBlows

          If I never had to pay the parasite Government income taxes I would be doing great. They suck me dry. And what do I get? Nothing for it, just more of their debt piled on my back.

        • TharSheBlows

          Lets just get rid of all the useless drooling old people, older than 65 YO. KILL EM ALL. Their Generation created this mess. THEN THERE WILL BE PLENTY OF SS FOR THE REST IF US TO RETIRE.

          • Heartless

            Couple of correct points, couple of incorrect ones TSB. Taxes (including the mandated SSI) are killing people’s futures. Debt to date/accrued is now impossible to pay off. As for ‘killing’ anyone designated by an age limit – be careful what you ask for. You (hopefully) will achieve that same limit and beyond. If you now ask for those who did pay in to just be slaughtered, what do you think the precedent for your own future will be created as? As for any funds in SSI now or in the future – it is gone. Spent, does not exist; furthermore, there are too few paying in now to support the future. Each month that rolls by the ratio becomes less and less. Last, whereas the generations before did create in some part ‘this mess’, you benefited. Perhaps you went to a public school, drove on a public road, attended some game in a public stadium, received some public healthcare along the way, had some soldier get shot up or die for you….. No TSB – no one in this country is free of the burden of the debts accumulated by the past. As someday, again hopefully, your own kin will take up the burden of you. Take it from a man who is caring for his own elderly parents – sometimes, I wonder why I do it. Then I recall – duty, honor, caring.

      2. Anonymous

        YEAH, LIKE WITHIN THE NEXT 10 YEARS– OUR GOOSE IS COOKED, MOSTLY.

        • WHERE IS THE SUNSHINE

          It’s already here.

      3. watching and waiting

        It is not, repeat not going back to as it was before 2008.

      4. B from CA

        Stop foreign aid.

        People reproduce when there is an abundance of food and unlimited free time. Let the worldwide parasite problem end.

        Remove parasites within our own system. Flush them out.

        Bring back our industries. Our own hard work and upright character will give us all we need.

        Outlaw compound interest. Jail the abusers who profit off others sweat, whom provoke war, whom undermine our endeavors.

        _ ✈️??
        _

        _

        • Enzo

          “Remove parasites within our own system. Flush them out.”

          Exactly right! Abolish Social Security and Medicare immediately!

          • Enzo

            “Outlaw compound interest.”

            Yes! After eliminating Social Security and Medicare, we need to cripple the ability for anyone to save for retirement!

            • Genius

              Ya steal everyones money they paid into all their working lives? Sounds great there Pusscake! Work yourself to death eh Minimus? Your about as smart as the shit I took this morning and probably smell about the same. Get a haircut….. Get a job…. Move out of mom’s house….. get rid of your faggot tatoos also.

              • NunyaBidness

                So you want SS and you somehow think you’re smart. You fvcking moron, SS doesn’t even return to you what you paid in.

                Sometimes the retards in the republitard party are their own worst enemies.

                Move back into mommies house, you’re economically illiterate.

                • Stuart

                  Sorry, wrong. If SS gave you back less than you deposited it wouldn’t be broke. SS will pay you far more than you put in – that is why it is a Ponzi scheme and why it is insolvent.

                  • Genius

                    “So you want SS and you somehow think you’re smart. You fvcking moron, SS doesn’t even return to you what you paid in.”

                    Are you about the stupidest mutherfooker on earth or what? I paid into it all my life and I WANT IT BACK ASSHOLE! Who’s the moron??? Ok you don’t collect it then dumb ass, I will collect it for you….

        • Rick Werner

          1000 up votes!!

      5. Kevin2

        A significant percentage of US “Foreign Aid” has strings attached. Its knowingly grafted off by government officials which is quite acceptable as its a legal bribe. Hillary ran something similar privately. Like Counterfeiting v Federal Reserve Uncle Sam isn’t like private operations.

      6. Old Guy

        The USA had been in decline ever since Nixon took the dollar off of the gold standard and OPEC was formed and we had the fake gas shortage. That was the beginning it opened the doors for fuel efficient import vehicles and started the down fall of the USA auto industry. We have become a nation of too many Parasite Takers and too few Producing Makers. Funding the shortfall of government funds by borrowing Fiat Created out of thin Air Petro Dollars cannot continue forever.

        • Genius

          But Damn it sure seems like it continues forever!

        • Concerned Citizen

          Old Guy: Yet again, Ding, Ding – you are correct Sir! Things in this nation must change or it will fail period. We cannot sustain things when a solid 1/3 of the entire population more or less does nothing – does NOT work but they take and take and take again while the other 2/3’s of us poor ba$tards are footing the bill. This country is in a seriously bad and very concerning equation – and the answer the Left and the DemonRATS come up with, Let’s disarm the populace for once and all. Uhh NO, that mess is NOT going to fly you god damned pee-brains you. Wake up people and get ready, as this is going to be one he## of a bumpy ride.

        • NunyaBidness

          That was not the beginning. The FED, Woodrow Wilson and FDR, were the beginning of the end for the republic.

          • Genius

            Abe Lincoln was the first nail in the coffin.

      7. aljamo

        Of course any present plan doesn’t include restoring America’s manufacturing base. There will always be cheaper third world labor somewhere else than can be found in the US. Workers are easily used up and spit out dog eat dog style.

        • Kevin2

          aljamo

          Your 100% correct. Its a race to the bottom.

        • Concerned Citizen

          Aljamo: Manufacturing is hugely vital for a country’s overall success and future but manufacturing within the US is done, gone, finished, screwed and what do we have in turn – all of this worthless garbage made in China, great…..

      8. Kevin2

        doesn’t not isn’t (stuck key)

      9. Enzo

        “I don’t think the world can sustain capitalism for another decade,” … “It’s socialism or bust.”

        As Martenson says, this isn’t debatable …
        HAIL COMMUNISM!

        • Genius

          I’m done with your mom now, she’s on her way home to make your tv dinner.

          • Enzo

            Union-boy likes the free market now, eh?

        • Enzo

          For others (not unionistas-in-free-marketeer’s-clothing):

          My comments in this thread (prior to 8:49p.m.) are not serious. They are sarcastic mockery of communists, conservation alarmists, fans of depopulation, and hypocrites stealing (or intending to steal) from their own children via Ponzi schemes that will bankrupt the nation.

          • Genius

            The depth of your thinking ability seems to be extremely limited. Evidently you have read my posts before. Ever THINK OF TRYING TO REFUTE THEM? Of course not. You dinner is ready now go upstairs and wash your hands first! 🙂

            • NunyaBidness

              Shut up you condescending dick

              • Genius

                It only sounds condescending if your an idiot. Coming from another knuckledragging moron mouthpiece that can’t refute anything… STFU troll…

      10. Concerned Citizen

        As far as the future goes and even my specific future – I think it all truly sucks honestly. Work hard, pay ridiculous amounts of money for everything under the damn sun and best of all you are paid complete shit for a so called wage – thanks Corp America and the cock sucking Federal Gestapo.

      11. Heartless

        The future isn’t carved in stone yet. If what’s coming comes, a lot of us will certainly have a stone over us. Fine by me if that is how I go out. What gets me most is that I’ve worked all my life to get to here and be debt-free. Owing nobody. Got too damned many actually who owe me at the moment. This whole entitlement crowd, the ones who think that food, water, education, medicine, transportation, housing, clothing, …. even having someone else to pay for carving lives out them when they don’t have the self-restraint to either say ‘no, I might get pregnant’… that even that horror should be free, the entire notion that it is always someone else to blame for their errors… to them all – I hope it comes crashing down. We shall see then how lives like your’s with no purpose, no real skills, no sense of right and wrong work out for you then.

      12. Him

        By the way, Winnie Mandela died today. As usual, the MSM is portraying her as an activist. For the record, she was a communist, racist, terrorist and a murderer. She had a suspected informant tortured and murdered in her home while she was there. The Pope says there is no devil, so she should be safe.

        • rellik

          I always liked the necklacing
          trick they came up with.
          It would be a real good video to see Obama
          get such a treatment. Perhaps on his next
          trip to Africa someone will make a video.

        • Rick Werner

          So true but don’t count on the MSM to mention those facts!

        • Concerned Citizen

          Him: Good, 1 less no good vile ape roaming the streets, talking all kinds of lies and propaganda and b.s. Now if only another 50 million of them would DIE, DIE, DIE there may be some chance of the world not destroying itself.

      13. Asshat

        I talked to a guy who runs a machine shop in an industrial park and he told me that the machine shops in the park talk and keep wages the same to avoid people chasing the dollar more an hr. They have destroyed competitive wage growth. I read somewhere that wages are based on the least productive worker. Tell me that isn’t a race to the bottom. take your employers$ and fucking sabotage them every chance trust me they deserve it. They will have you train your replacement and throw your stupid ass away. How many stories have you heard of that happening. Employers deliberately pay below poverty level to have the state subsidize people at the expense of higher paid workers. The walmart employee makes maybe $20k in earnings and $40k in subsidies. The nurse makes $60k with overtime and gets no subsidies. How fair is that. There is zero incentive to be an achiever in this world if we are gonna be all equal. We are all held captive as I see it. its hopeless we’re doomed. Being positive is false hope. It’s a fuckin joke. Shtf can’t come soon enough. The corporate criminal gangsters bodies stacked in the streets like cordwood. Then we can take control of our destiny and have hope.

      14. rellik

        I wasn’t going to comment on this post but,
        “What the older generations don’t yet understand is that the economic and social models that rewarded them so richly are not doing the same for younger folks.”,
        caught my eye.
        Our kids should be far richer than we were, technology, automation, and hopefully we will figure out fusion for energy, they should be all be very well off.
        The problem they have is Liberals and Moslems acting as a millstone around our necks, dragging us down. Hopefully our kids figure out what the real problem is and deal with it.
        If they don’t then they are weak and they will die as we won’t be around to help them anymore.

        • Genius

          relik, I’m pretty damn sure free energy has been invented several times BUT we will never see it. All works like that are stolen or patents bought out or inventors killed, there is NO MONEY in giving people free anything. There is a shitload of money though in promoting diseases and drugs to mask the effects. NO MONEY in cures. There is money in passing asshole laws to rape people in the court system that is one sided. There is no money in having a constitutional republic. There is a shitload of money in wars! There is very little money in peace……Get my drift~~~~~

          • Concerned Citizen

            Genius: The screen name is becoming to you. They want to sell us all kinds of crap and make us pay ridiculous amounts of money for it and in turn make sure WE are paid the last, shitty ass wage imaginable in life, so we can never get ahead and are always 1-2 paychecks away from complete financial ruin and devastation. Wow, I sure do enjoy the current system and how things seem to really work.

            • Genius

              That is how things are THAT is not my philosophy at all. I’m all for free energy and real medical cures and NO bullshit laws and wars. Perhaps I worded it a little hard to understand.

        • Frank Thoughts

          Every time Abundance is created it is squandered away on gimmigrants. If this was instead saved and spent on better housing and education, then you would see society improve. But by importing the third world, the first world is just made worse.

      15. AUBroker

        As a Megadeth song title………..Peace sells, but who’s buying?

      16. Him

        The future belongs to those that show up for it. White people stopped breeding. The future does not belong to them. Victims of communist feminism.

      17. Mount rushmore

        an author, that I can’t remember, an Italian fellow ,wrote in the 70’s,that our infrastructure would not be sustainable because of huge costs. . the labor and dollars required, wouldn’t be able to keep up! I think we are ther!!!!

      18. Terminator

        The Earth will be just fine.

        The rest of us, not so much.

      19. Naya

        I think many mis-interpreted the article. They weren’t talking about the US. They’re talking about the planet. And yes it’s going to slowly degrade until all of a sudden everything goes BANG. My guess is it will be over water, food, and basic shelter. That’s if we don’t start WW3 and go nuclear.
        What we should be doing is investing in settling another planet. This ones done for….

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