Sunday, April 24, 2011

Saudi Arabia, Peak Oil, Prepping Vs Homestead/ELM-ing

Post has been edited:

Saudi Arabia just said to the world:

"Don't look at me!"

The EIA and IEA prognostications on future world oil production will have to be ratcheted down once again... their "wishcasting" just got scrubbed.

OK. Who cares? The Peaknics were dead right/spot on. Now what?

The "what" is is that you have been put on clear notice that this is the time to spend your money doing all of the things you always wanted to do, and to take the remaining money and buy residential apartment properties, energy equities, utilities, and high dividend consumer product companies... but most importantly a homestead in low tax local and a local, productive, small business.

The world will not come to an end, but there will be winners and losers in all of this. There will be damn few "good jobs". There will always be commerce and small business.  The U.S. will survive, but with a quite a bit of gnashing of teeth by a great many people. Don't let it be you.

There will absolutely, positively be a food crisis here in the U.S. sometime in the next 25 years, probably in the next 10. Will it be next year? I doubt it. Yes, food prices are rising - that's a good thing. It will encourage people to make cuts and adaptions, and to increase efforts to produce. Crop failure will likely not be the problem. The problem will be scarcity. As in a glass of water has no value on the beach at the Great Lakes; a glass of water in Death Valley on the other hand... The food supply's liability is transportation and weather. The weather problem has ALWAYS been there - we have just been lucky - but the transportation problem is going to come to a head in the very near future. Then we shall see what kind of redundancy we have in the system.

Like I said... life will go on. For those of us over 50, you are where you are and you are going to live with your life's vagaries, decisions, and luck (or lack thereof). This is all about the future, and the future belongs to young people. That said, it is hard to find a greater volume of denial than in young adults... these poor people are going into debt for college, spending tens of thousands of $$ on new cars, engagement rings, weddings, honeymoons, travel... even though they are still in debt for their college "education".  They could have developed a marketable skill, got married at the Justice of the Peace for $15, and bought a homestead debt free with the money they spent on the ring, wedding party, and honeymoon... and why not? Because of their own ingrained denial helped in large part by the media.

I often hear the feminists rightfully criticizing the advertising and marketing industry for creating problems (in women's minds) that do not exist and then coming up with "solutions" and in the process  destroying the mental health and emotional well being of their customers. I watch my Amish neighbors have a multitude of children, teach them skills, help them financially buy a homestead... and get going with their lives... all without the assistance of makeup, hair dye, breast implants, high heels, engagement rings (or jewelry of any type), or expensive weddings. Think about it for a minute. These Amish folks at the age of 25 own a homestead debt free, have kids, and have begun to save money to help their kids do the same (America's 25-year-old-"kids" are broke/in debt, living home with their parents, spending precious hours watching TV and playing video games). How do they do it? How much does it cost to buy 10 acres in rural Tennessee or Kentucky? $30,000? They construct the house themselves, no wiring to worry about, and minimal plumbing, all cabinetry and fixtures are made by the man of the house (remember, he actually has skills).... so what does a 1,200 square foot house cost? $60,000? With barns, livestock, equipment and a well, all in its $120,000. From what I gather, Amish men have this in the bank when they marry at 21 because they have been working since 13, and since they don't waste a great deal of money on marijuana, beer, rock concerts, hookers... all they need do is make barely over minimum wage to achieve this.

On the other hand... There is a non-Amish family farm across the street from ours... and we have been friendly with their kids ever since we moved here and they were little.  The farm had been in the family for generations and had all the stuff you'd think you would need - a barn, a well with a hand pump, fruit bushes and trees, gardens and pastures. The place is falling down, the grounds are unkept, weeds choke the garden and the pastures... they have 4 kids and receive food assistance (they aren't married). My wife brought them some "Easter bunny cup cakes" yesterday. Now mind you, I have been working diligently at my garden, fruit patches,  and crops every hour that the sun is up for the past 6 weeks.... know what the man of the house was doing when my wife stopped by? Watching T.V. The place is in complete disrepair, they have room to grow food and keep livestock but instead opt for government food assistance ... and he is watching T.V... and receiving food assistance (yes, I am repeating myself...).  Did I mention that the property is in foreclosure? For well over 100 years that property provided for that family... and then the government showed up to "help". The oldest, a young man of 20 or so, has been in and out of jail on numerous petty crimes.

And the hits keep coming.

Our systems, not system, are broken. Our financial system, our food system, our family system, our political system - all broken. But you don't have to participate in ANY broken and enslaving system if you don't want to. All you gotta do is not want to. Some young people are getting this and are putting off adulthood as their response. Don't, you will regret that strategy.  Do reject all of the norms that will lead you into "a life long hell of debt and indecision". Because there are no norms anymore.

to be continued...

I use isolated groups as control groups, not because I intend to start wearing straw hats and eschew bathing during the week... I make no assertion nor have any opinion on the philosophies, religious beliefs, political views of my control group... only that they seem to be thriving and I want to know why. I assert that our culture has been eviscerated by the education establishment, the political establishment, the entertainment and media industry... as proof, I am discussing their reproductive history, debt levels, and age of attainment (homeownership, marriage, children), etc... when I said that the future belongs to the young, that's only the immediate future - today's young will age, too. The longer term future belongs to those that breed - "those who breed, succeed". And what is standing between today's young people and their future? Debt and/or a lack of savings/resources. There are only 2 ways to fix this: increase net income or cut expenses. There's no mystery here.

I have considered our system ad nauseum. We keep our future young couple in school until they are in their mid - twenties, on average... then we have them buy separate houses (big expense here), cars etc... (keep this in mind: Society NEEDS a new crop of human babies every day - PERIOD - and we have established cultural systems to see that this gets done (although the quality of childhood of these babies needs be considered, i.e. manufacturing less criminals would be nice)... I am merely dissecting that system... just observing it and making notes...) our well-educated marry late, often times not having children until well into their late 30's or 40's and even 50's. This was all done ostensibly so that these people could become established and provide a bette life for their progeny, right? OK, SHOW ME THE MONEY!! American's are NOT better off financially than their parents despite all of these efforts, or am I missing something? If that is true, and we want to know why... we gotta go back to the video tape. My favorite "video tape" in this circumstance is the individual's personal calendar AND their personal checkbooks/financial statements.

Now guess what we find? There, imbedded in all of the minutia of the details of our lives that most people do not look at is the freaking TRUTH of your life. How much gasoline one burned. How much money one spent on drugs in college. How many days one slept in rather than "making the donuts".  How many years one "wasted" (from a resources point of view) before actually settling down to the business of Life. Nobody wants to look at this stuff... it is just too painful. They'd rather blame a politician!

And what are the big expenses that prevented our future young couple from achieving some level of financial security? Tuition expenses (not just debt!), automobiles, living separately, engagement rings, weddings, and honeymoons, and divorce - the education/industrial complex and the marriage/divorce industrial complex. Remove that complex from the lives of the young middle and working class people and - Viola! Financial security.

This is not to say that society does not need educated professionals! It certainly does. My bet is that that could be accomplished FAR more efficiently if reconstructed under a vigorous cost/benefit analysis. Until that time, you will have to do that cost/benefit analysis for your own circumstances, because the end of the Oil Age is upon us!  The debate is over. Peak Oil won. Now what? Whatever that "what" is for today's future young couple, it ain't the same "what" that worked for the older Boomers.


PioneerPreppy said...

Ya know Greg I don't disagree with your premise but I do have a small issue with your example control group.

I am certainly no expert on the Amish or Menonite (sp?) or the various splinter/off shoot groups. I do not know what type of interactions they have in other parts of the country but around here they do receive certain unofficial and official benefits.

For one they have a corner on the market in certain agricultural and livestock business employment. I know of a few very large spreads who hire numerous employees yearly but never advertise and all their employees are pretty cookie cutter alike. For another they get a complete pass on basic services and educational scrutiny. My state is pretty open to home schooling and such but even by the loose rules they have most of these families are getting by simply because of their membership in the group.

A non-Amish family who tried living the way they do and raising their children in that manner would have social services crawling up their colon. Without the political and community support the Amish etc enjoy children are removed and placed in public schools and then the damage is done and can never be undone.

I have met more than one young Amish or Menonite refugee. Once they really get to see Paris it is not easy for some to go back. It has even been rumored there are a number of taxes evaded and community purchased land these younger Amish families are "homesteading".

Your message is clear I am just not sure the hermit Christian sects actually deal with the same world issues or pressures the rest of us do.

Or perhaps I could be way off the mark. /shrug

Charles said...


You may well be right that 'once they get to see Paris....' but having met lots of Americans in Europe, I'd say they split into two camps; those that love it and never want to go back to the States, and those that can't cope with Europe and can't wait to go home, about 50/50 i'd guess. But most Americans never leave the USA; it used to be that only 7% of Americans owned a passport, I'd be interested to know what the figure is now?

Of those that stay, there is no doubt that some of my American friends have struggled with, for example, the strong discipline in French schools, which turn out well educated, conscientious and well behaved young people at the expense of an American notion of 'freedom of expression'. Yet French schools have some of the highest educational achievements in the world.

But it seems to me mainstream American education is too often failing and, whatever you may think education is actually for, Amish education works in that it creates stable families which are self supporting, with full employment, little trouble and, perhaps most important to the state, minimal costs!

And if that's the case now, how much more so than in an energy-constrained future?

To me, one of the main issues for us to tackle is to manage the expectations of our young people, so they see a positive future of alternative opportunities, not just a poorer version of what our generation has found entertaining.

PioneerPreppy said...

Actually Charles, my point isn't to debate which is better between the two ideologies. My point is that Amish/Menonite and other like groups are left in relative isolation and therefore get to operate under different rules and avoid issues an average non-Amish family is forced to deal with.

Besides education, phone service and insurance come to mind. Non-Amish families have had children removed because they lacked these modern amenities. Federal Alphabet organizations have formed raids on minimal child abuse claims against smaller sects for stuff like that.

Your average garden variety non-religious American family who moved to the sticks with children and had no insurance, motor vehicle, phone service or public schools attendance would have Social services on them quick if even one child had a minor accident.

Greg T. Jeffers said...

"Actually Charles, my point isn't to debate which is better between the two ideologies. My point is that Amish/Menonite and other like groups are left in relative isolation and therefore get to operate under different rules and avoid issues an average non-Amish family is forced to deal with."

My point exactly. OUr systems have corrupted our young people, and the best proof is to look at the differences of groups living in isolation.

I was attacking the way our young people begin their lives - deep in debt and squandering resources (weddings, rings, and honeymoons) before they own a home (in essence, our middle class and working class young people are taking on the traditions of the European nobility... where the F**k did they get that idea?). And who convinced them that they need to do it this way? The same f**kers that convince women that they need "flawless cover" of the pores on their faces.

Greg T. Jeffers said...

The Amish are the only folks I have to observe that are in complete isolation... so I use them. If there was another group, I'd be on it.

Anonymous said...

Saw this on another blog this morning. Very interesting.. Its several pages long. But this link links to the page with Tennessee.

Best and Worst Run States

russell1200 said...

WSJ had a piece where they commented on the fuzzy numbers coming out of the House of Saud.

I am not sure if the link won't hit the paywall, but at least you have the quote.

Anonymous said...

You might want to read up on pretzel syndrome before making a statement on the advantages of the Amish lifestyle. Small highly inbred communities offer their own dangers for kids including life in a wheelchair, multiple hospitalizations and early death. Since they have no insurance and no way to pay hundreds of thousands in hospital bills this is generally all covered by the taxpayers and state medicaid funds. Granted, their avoidance of debt is admirable, but they do not avoid government assistance when it comes to medical care, in fact they probably use much more of it than the average citizen.

Stephen B. said...


The incidence of genetic diseases of which you assign to the Amish has nothing to do with their lower energy, more-work lifestyle but rather with the small size of their community. To connect the two is pretty disingenuous.

If you have hard data that show the Amish rely disproportionately on "free" taxpayer-funded health care, I'd like to see it as I don't believe it myself.

From what I've seen, they pay cash, are community and self-insured, and they even travel to Mexico and Canada sometimes for cheaper, cash prices for medical services.

Citations for your points please.

PioneerPreppy said...

The local Menonite members around here seem to spend at least some time with other groups in other states. The couples, at least from the small control group I have met over the years, usually had one (wife or husband) that came from a group some distance away.

Greg: I understand what you are saying and you're right there really isn't another group to use. Since I see you were using their isolation as a way to show the corruption of our current systems...well Hats off!!!

Greg T. Jeffers said...

Dear Anon:

If you can't follow my point don't comment - especially anonymously. I don't debate "Anonymous". nd I don't debate people that can't follow the discussion.

Anonymous said...

Go to California...look how the Asians are living (some, not all of them). When they first arrive they are often living 4 or 5 families to a house, which is owned by one of the family members, and they ALL are contributing to getting it paid off (IF it's even mortgaged, which many times it is not because they spent a whole generation saving in their home country to move to the USA and bought that pioneer home outright). After they get the first paid off, they move into a second, and the oldest family stays in the first, but continues to pay toward the second. Second house gets paid off, next family gets that one, BUT STILL KEEPS HELPING TO PAY OFF ALL THE CONSECUTIVE HOMES. This goes on until they own the entire block, each has a profitable home business or restaurant, and you and I pay them rent for the apartment in the building that they just purchased as a family. THAT is our future. Individualism in the old American sense is dead. There will be no more "I own something", it will be "we own something". Before you go pointing the finger at me saying" he's a commie socialist scumsucker!", know that I'm not saying this because I think it's a good's just what I see happening around me. I'd give anything to be able to live in my own home on my own land farming my own food, but I'm starting to accept the reality that the Chinese family-style living arrangement is likely to be my (our -- as in my family's) best option in the future.

Anonymous said...


Working as a family is not un-American, or commie! Having the economic freedom to do business and own property as you wish and with whom you wish is extremely American. The Commie scum-suckers are the ones who want the government to enforce their idea of propriety on your living arrangements and ownership rights. The Chinese immigrants are being VERY American. They prosper due to their strong family, thrift, work ethic and guts. More power to 'em.


Coal Guy

dennis said...

In my own family it boils down to the divorces. Kids these days have more grandparents than cousins.

Greg T. Jeffers said...

"Working as a family is not un-American, or commie! Having the economic freedom to do business and own property as you wish and with whom you wish is extremely American. The Commie scum-suckers are the ones who want the government to enforce their idea of propriety on your living arrangements and ownership rights. The Chinese immigrants are being VERY American. They prosper due to their strong family, thrift, work ethic and guts. More power to 'em."


And when did I suggest individualism over the family? "Not once, not ever, not now, not no way". Family, as in extended family...

And Dan... "More grandparents than cousins". How very f***ing telling. How powerfully f***ed up.

Stephen B. said...

Actually, I'd say that the idea that we're all supposed to be living "on our own", one or two people to a house or apartment, is extremely stupid and inefficient. Humans, by and large, have never been able to afford to live that way, up until the era of super cheap energy, also known as post WWII America.

That more generations of Americans will be living under one roof again is a given and much as been written about this very subject by a range of Peak Oil authors.

That the Chinese are thrifty, live together, and save money is something to be modeled and copied, not scorned.


Donal Lang said...

Someone want to explain to me the difference between community and communist?

ChrisInGa said...

> Someone want to explain to me the difference between community and communist?


Anonymous said...


Community is free association of free people to enter into social and economic arrangements as they see fit. This also includes the right to OPT OUT of any arrangement that becomes unsuitable to the individual who entered into it. It is free association from the bottom up. It exists outside of government.

Communists want to enforce their views from the top down. Conform to community standards or be persecuted. Choice is limited. Social and economic penalties are severe for those that do not conform. Government enforces norms to the benefit of the elite that prosper from them.


Coal Guy

Anonymous said...

Consider the effects of not being able to opt out.

I get my pants taxed off to support a social agenda that I don't support. It appears to me to be socially and economically destructive. If I decide not to pay taxes, someone will eventually show up at my door to collect. I'm part of the cash earning economy. They take their share before I get paid. But it is worse than that.

Kathy and others who participate here are preparing for the future by withdrawing from the economy to the best of their ability. But they cannot opt out just by non-participation. Just cooperation with your neighbors is taxable for federal income tax purposes. If you trade a jar of honey for a sack of potatoes, or help each other build barns, both sides of the transaction represent taxable income, etc., etc. TPTB want to make sure that no one escapes the system. It's not that it is particularly enforceable or enforced, but if you attract attention or piss somebody off...


Coal Guy