Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Peek Into Post-Collapse Russia

Keeping in mind that history may not exactly repeat itself in North America, there may be some rhymes we should take into account between post-collapse Russia and post-Collapse America. Dmitry Orlov literally wrote the book on this, but other voices can help give you perspective as well.

Here is an interview with the foul and frantic Mark Ames about Moscow the paper he founded with Matt Taibbi, The Exile, back in the 1990's and the difference between what he saw on the ground in post-Soviet Russia versus the stories flowing from the mainstream press. This could matter when trying to sift between truth and fiction in a post-market collapse America...

Just something to think about.

Socionomics (Takes a) Hit

In the July 2009 issue of The Socionomist, the lead article by Euan Wilson, entitled "The Coming Collapse of Modern Prohibition," predicted the coming collapse of marijuana prohibition - if not the collapse of the entire War on Drugs.

He wrote:

History shows that mood governs society's tolerance for recreational drugs. A rising social mood produces prohibition of substances such as alcohol and marijuana; a falling mood produces tolerance and relaxed regulation. In the case of alcohol, the path from prohibition to decriminalization became littered with corruption and violence as the government waged a failed war on traffickers. Eventually, as mood continued to sour, the government finally capitulated to public cries for decriminalization as a means to end the corruption and bloodshed.

We predict a similar fate for the prohibition of marijuana, if not the entire War on Drugs...

Well, turn your eyes to the West Coast to find that:

State's voters to decide on legalizing pot
by Wyatt Buchanan, Chronicle Sacramento Bureau

California voters will decide this November whether to legalize and regulate adult recreational use of marijuana. The secretary of state on Wednesday certified that a Bay Area-based effort to put the issue on the ballot has collected enough signatures to do so.

If passed, California would have the most comprehensive laws on legal marijuana in the entire world, advocates say...

By the time November rolls around, I would expect the negative social mood to have increased significantly, setting this measure up for passage and setting California up for a direct confrontation with Federal Authorities to a degree not seen since the Southern portion of these United States tried opposing Civil Rights legislation in the 1950's and 1960's.

In addition, this will only add fuel to another building fire - separatism and eventually secession - as described in the January and February issues of The Socionomist.

I point all this out not to sound like a shill for a newsletter, but to reinforce why this blog exists in the first place. Socionomics as a theory is proving time and again to have some degree of predictive power. If you know the "tone" of coming events, you can structure your assets, your education, your location and your mindset in preparation. Whether or not you agree with a specific prediction I may make, or the professionals over at the Socionomics Institute may make is not the issue. The issue is that we have a theory on our hands that allows us glimpses of the future. The pictures we see may not be pretty, but forewarned is forearmed.

California is going to be a raging cauldron soon. Watch for the trends that spin out of Golden State.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

More on Anger and Health Care

John Robb has an outstanding post up over at GlobalGuerrillas with his take on the anger that is permeating the U.S. social and political system. Well worth your time.

RAGE AND HEALTH CARE
by John Robb at GlobalGuerrillas
...The final and most damning step in this process was how that even after this theft had become public knowledge (on the front page of every newspaper from here to Timbuktu), the governmental system we expected to punish malfeasance didn't work. Not only didn't it work by failing to punish these traitors (as those who damage a nation in the worst possible way are termed) for their acts, it actually rewarded them. It made them rich with hundreds of billions of dollars in bailouts and tens of trillions in public guarantees (to protect them against losses on their future thefts), in effect extending them a golden invitation to pillage our future again.

As the event dwindled into history, the anger didn't. It became diffuse and festered. Some of it eventually found a home, directed (or redirected, if you think the public is easily manipulated) against the government and the prevailing party, particularly as it pushed forward changes in the health care system. For many the connection was that this is yet another theft, either by the health industry that wrote the bill or a government that wants to redistribute wealth via expansion of coverage...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Health Care Bill as High Water Mark for Sentiment

Rarely do they "ring a bell at the top" - but I think we may have just that in the form of the Health Care Bill that has just been passed.

Democrats hail landmark US healthcare bill
from the BBC
Democrats have hailed the approval of legislation extending healthcare to an additional 32 million Americans as a historic advance in social justice.

The speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi said it was comparable to the establishment of Medicare and Social Security.

The bill was passed in the House on Sunday evening by just seven votes...

...The president said that after nearly 100 years of debate and frustration, Americans finally had the assurance of universal health cover.

"We pushed back on the undue influence of special interests," he said in a statement. "We didn't give in to mistrust or to cynicism or to fear. Instead, we proved that we are still a people capable of doing big things..."

Big laws like this need mass positive sentiment to pass, in my interpretation of socionomic theory. The rebound from March of 2009 has been a nice exercise in mass societal self-delusion, as the U.S. populace has pretended to believe that TARP, TALF and the other machinations by the Treasury and Fed were not exercises in the looting of the country by the wealthy elites, but sound policy designed to stabilize the U.S. economy and establish a foundation for future growth.

This exercise in self-delusion has enabled Congress, in the face of the kind of uncertainties you expect in a corrective wave, to pass a Health Care Bill. Proponents say it is a small victory for health care justice. Pay special attention to the words emphasized in the quote above - that is straight out of the Positive Mood User's Guide. The fact that it rings hollow with a sizeable portion of the population shows that we are in a corrective phase and that we are trying to revive a mood and a sense of being that began dying a decade ago.

Opponents say it is the final march of socialsim masquerading as a boondoggle. Check out any quote from the Republican opposition for quotes straight out of the Negative Mood User's Guide.

Red vs. Blue philosophical yammerings aside, I say it is the last gasp of the optimism of 20th century Big Iron thinking - where big programs run by efficient bureaucracies spread the benefits of wealth to all levels of society. How each side chooses to filter their perception of the mass mood and project that onto events is not my concern. What is my concern is trying to use the filter of socionomics to see a bit more clearly at what this legislation means as a symbol of mass mood. I have a fairly firm idea of what it means in practice.

I think the U.S. saved comprehensive government-run/influenced health care as the last expression of the positive mood that drove the relatively benign versions of socialism that overtook Europe in the aftermath of the negative mood that gave us World War II. The governing elites grew up and had their educations shaped by the ideas and influences of the Activist State (either supporting or opposing) and in an era bereft of creative thinking in positions of power, it makes sense this type of enormously complex, top-down control type of bill would be the final philosophical battleground - with the positive mood crowd thinking the "justice" part of spreading health care around trumps the "injustice" of saddling an overly complex system of taxation and governance with what may the final great bill passed before what we'll wind up calling the Great Collapse.

The rally will soon be over. Prepared yourself. The hostility you see expressed in the arguments over health care and the polarizing nature of President Obama - and his opponents - is only getting started.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

In Dodd We Trust

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
In Dodd We Trust
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Revenge Hacking

Next time you read amount layoffs, think about the people on the receiving end. Then think about all that fear and anger, combined with a general mass sense of unease and the ability to use technology to leverage that anger into revenge...

Hacker Disables More Than 100 Cars Remotely
By Kevin Poulsen, Wired
More than 100 drivers in Austin, Texas found their cars disabled or the horns honking out of control, after an intruder ran amok in a web-based vehicle-immobilization system normally used to get the attention of consumers delinquent in their auto payments.

Police with Austin’s High Tech Crime Unit on Wednesday arrested 20-year-old Omar Ramos-Lopez, a former Texas Auto Center employee who was laid off last month, and allegedly sought revenge by bricking the cars sold from the dealership’s four Austin-area lots...

And when the layoffs hit a biotech firm? One wonders what an angry bio-hacker could accomplish...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

You are Here

click on graphic to enlarge

My best guess is we are towards the far right end of the "Blissful Ignorance" stage of this highly sciencish graphic as relates to the decisions made in response to the Crash of 2008. Enjoy it. Continue to work on whatever crash plans you are putting in place. Maybe we even get a couple more months where mass mood holds together at a reasonably optimistic level.

Maybe.

h/t Cracked

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Rethinking Music

During eras of negative mass mood, the arts revolt. This has been well-described by Robert Prechter and others (see Popular Culture and the Stock Market for more details).

This is something to keep an eye on, for those interested in the arts, or who don't want to be taken by surprise by the odd sounds that will be emanating from their radios sooner rather than later.

The Bohlen-Pierce scale is one example that could catch on. I don't have much depth of knowledge on music theory, so I won't pretend to give out details - you can examine it yourself. I will just say that first, it is interesting this was developed independently in the 1970's and early 1980's (an era of negative mass mood in general) and second, if there is a new eruption in the music world, stay aware - both for reasons of potential investment and support as well as using the changes as a marker of coming social change.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Crickets

The sound of silence is at times deafening. Sorry for the lack of posts lately. Real life has been extremely hectic. I am working on an analysis of how nuclear weapons, nuclear power and mood intermix and hope to have it ready soon.

All I can really say is continue to enjoy the rally. Spring is coming. Plant a garden. Buy some high quality gardening tools that will last in the coming years. Be thinking about your crash business. Be working on some hard skill that you will enjoy should your current employment or retirement check dry up with the coming wave of State insolvencies.

Smile. Even in the worst of times, life goes on and can be enjoyable.

More to come...