Greenspan: Economic Problems Stem from Discounting the Future

I have been definitely doing that – discounting the future. Early in the talk he points to taxes & entitlements as leading causes of this global consensus, but I think it runs deeper. I suspect a fellow like Alan Greenspan would never say exactly he thinks at an on-the-record talk at a Council on Foreign Relations talk, so I’m sure there’s more.

I doubt he’d go down the rabbit holes I like to visit, but I’ll take a stab at it. I think the leading causes of uncertainty come from:

  1. East/West divide and the threat of world war. While war can be profitable for some, it’s not for most. As the BRICS rise they threaten the West’s hegemony. The US has deployed military assets globally. The BRICS continue to strengthen by leveraging production based economies. The timing and outcome of this tug-of-war is anyone’s guess.
  2. Centralization of power and the closing of free markets. As the rich get richer they naturally gain more power and control over the game… exactly like the Monopoly board game. At the end of that game there are only two players left and one quickly bankrupts the other – while all the loosing players just watch the last two try and destroy each other. That’s where we are today in the real world.
  3. Lack of global governance standards. I don’t think we need a world government, I think we need global governance standards so that all people can play on a level field. Right now we play on rocky mesa with the people on top holding all the cards but still needing the resources below the mesa. Globalization has given the people at the foot of the cliffs a view of the top, and they want that life too. Instead of going to war on a global scale we could choose to adopt a set of standards that restores fairness to the people of the world. I’m not describing communism or socialism; I’m describing rules that helps restore balance between the powerful and the powerless.

So to eliminate uncertainty we somehow need to prevent a global war, decentralize power, and establish global governance standards that allow the nations of the world retain their sovereignty while reducing the chances of future conflicts. To be blunt, uncertainty can be eliminated by positioning the world for peace and prosperity.

Until then we should discount the future. For the rich that might mean hedging bets through diversification – for the rest of us that might mean stockpiling bullets, beans, bandaids, and yes, bunkers.

Health-centric Civil Defense Program

I always try post solutions for the problems I callout in my posts. It just seems to be the right thing to do… if you don’t think something is being done right, suggest another way to go. These ideas often get buried in my posts. This is a repost of an idea I posted in response to what I’d characterize as Obama’s mishandling of the Ebola problem. You can see the original post here. Here’s the idea:

…This is an opportunity to kick-off a health-centric civil defense program, which might even help promote and support Obamacare indirectly.

The primary core message for jump-starting this program would be confronting Ebola head-on with an overwhelming force. It’s not an over-reaction to fear but a calculated asymmetrical assault on the disease that confronts every possible avenue this enemy could take. It’s not a war on Ebola, which would be too cliche, but an strategically overwhelming response that closes all gaps for this disease to spread.

Such a bold move could also earn President Obama serious kudos. Instead of attempting to downplay the risk, which the public sees as weakness and avoidance, he could use the appointment of Ron Klain as the catalyst for this shift in approach.

Immediate actions for a health-centric civil defense program could be:

  1. Encourage people to build-up their immune systems. Make it widely known that eating less gluten, dairy, fast food, manufactured food, etc, weakened the immune system and increases an individuals chance of beating any bug. Strengthened immune systems start with a healthy gut. When your gut is clogged with cheese, gluten, and empty calories they become a breeding ground for bad gut flora, and your health deteriorates.
  2. Develop and distribute a Home Ebola Early Detection Kit along with the necessary personal protective (PPE) gear and information to help people isolate households where Ebola is discovered. This should be as easy to use as a home pregnancy kit and come in easy safe disposal packaging.
  3. Encourage people to wear PPE gear as soon as they feel sick or travel in public – even if Ebola has not reached their area. Gloves and an N95 mask, plus good safe handling measures (avoid touching face, or unnecessarily touching surfaces) can give someone an edge over any contagious disease including the flu.
  4. Be ready to distribute supplies and care information to households where Ebola emerges. This will help folks voluntarily shelter in place for long time periods. At some point hospitals may not have space or adequate numbers of healthcare workers to handle a growing number of Ebola patients. If this happens we will need a back-up plan ready to roll. The most obvious next step would be to empower people to shelter in place and care for themselves.
  5. Provide people with assurances that they will not loose their jobs or income if their household needs to be quarantined. I realize this could get very expensive financially, but giving people the security to isolate themselves should help eliminate the pressure to leave their quarantine.
  6. Build a robust plan to keep public utilities operational like the power grid, water system, teach pickup, and sewer. Work immediately to decentralize the power grid to eliminate key points of failure and improve the overall robustness of the grid.
  7. Immediately ramp-up the manufacture of PAPR (Powered Air Purifying Respirator) forced air breathing units and other necessary PPE gear. While the current message from the WHO and CDC says that Ebola is not airborne, others suggest that it can be under certain situations. So as an informed precaution give healthcare workers and emergency responders the best PPE possible. This will also help keep people on the job longer.
  8. Until the danger has passed, improve control at the borders. Require waiting periods of up to several days to monitor for signs of infection. Use disaster relief housing units at the borders as temporary housing.

Consider making this kind of civil defense program international since the problem can travel everywhere. Then, like the powers-that-be are already suggesting, ramp up the international response in Africa. Heading off the disease at its source should be the top priority.

So just to recap… where I disagree with the White House is in the domestic approach, not the efforts in Africa.

What to Do?

I’m skeptical that our government is capable of implementing anything like this, or inclined to do so, we should consider these kinds of measures for ourselves.  This you can do right now are:

  1. Learn how to improve your own immune system and make those changes now.
  2. Acquire basic PPE gear now (N95 masks, gloves, etc), and learn how to use it in an emergency.
  3. Be ready to shelter in place for an extended time.
  4. Reduce your exposure to all pathogens by limiting travel and unnecessary activities outside the home.
  5. Prepare back-up plans for electricity, water, and sewer.

An Ebola epidemic in America is on the table. We must not give into fear and respond stupidly, but we should not cling to the idea that everything is under control until the American people themselves feel empowered to defend themselves against this enemy.



Dangers of Fluoride from Dr. Mercola

99% of the fluoride added to U.S. drinking water never touches a tooth. It’s no conspiracy, 98% of Europe doesn’t fluoridate their water. So if they can do it, why are American’s asleep at the wheel and continue to allow this toxic chemical in our water?

Did you know that not all communities in the U.S. fluoridate their water? I live in one of them, Fair Oaks, CA, a suburb of Sacramento, CA. It’s not widely advertised, or easy to find, but can be confirmed in the Fair Oaks Water District Consumer Confidence Report. The only fluoride in our water comes from erosion of natural deposits.  Check your local water district’s website for a similar report to learn if your water has fluoride in it.

China Overtakes U.S. As World’s Largest Economy

Chris Giles at the Financial Times flagged up the change. He also alerted us in April that it was all about to happen. Basically, the method used by the IMF adjusts for purchasing power parity, explained here.” – Business Insider

The rise of China was bound to happen. No amount of progress on built on debt can ever surpass indefinitely the potential for progress built on production. It’s simple math.

Now we wait and watch for the official news that the Petrodollar is declared dead. It may take weeks or months, but it will happen. What is unknown is wether the PetroYuan will replace it – or if bilateral trading will take over leaving no reserve currency in the Dollar’s place.


36 Year Low Labor Participation Rate Explains Low Unemployment Rate

While by now everyone should know the answer, for those curious why the US unemployment rate just slid once more to a meager 5.9%, the lowest print since the summer of 2008, the answer is the same one we have shown every month since 2010: the collapse in the labor force participation rate, which in September slide from an already three decade low 62.8% to 62.7% – the lowest in over 36 years, matching the February 1978 lows. And while according to the Household Survey, 232K people found jobs, what is more disturbing is that the people not in the labor force, rose to a new record high, increasing by 315,000 to 92.6 million!” – Zero Hedge.

What baffles me is that the media touts the low unemployment rate as a good thing – but these numbers don’t lie.


HealthMap May Become Very Popular

The freely available Web site ‘’ and mobile app ‘Outbreaks Near Me’ deliver real-time intelligence on a broad range of emerging infectious diseases for a diverse audience including libraries, local health departments, governments, and international travelers.” – About HealthMap

A very cool infectious disease tracking website just came across my computer’s desktop. This should be very helpful for monitoring the Ebola and other outbreaks. See the map live now & sign-up for free alerts.

Russia Discovers Massive Arctic Oil Field

In a dramatic stroke of luck for the Kremlin, this morning there is hardly a person in the world who is happier than Russian president Vladimir Putin because overnight state-run run OAO Rosneft announced it has discovered what may be a treasure trove of black oil, one which could boost Russia’s coffers by hundreds of billions if not more, when a vast pool of crude was discovered in the Kara Sea region of the Arctic Ocean, showing the region has the potential to become one of the world’s most important crude-producing areas, arguably bigger than the Gulf Of Mexico.” – Zero Hedge

Imagine that. So surprised. Who would have guessed there was oil under the Arctic. Oh, so maybe that’s why they re-established that abandoned military base up there. Yawn. Duh.

Next up… continued world divisions and moves away from Petrodollar. Got seat belts?

How Can We (The People) Stop This New War?

I’m at a loss. Our government seems hell bent on destroying the Middle East. Logic tells us that they know this will inevitably cause a backlash on U.S. Soil. So does that mean they want war on U.S. soil?

The pessimist in me tells me that the events unfolding today are more like dominos falling at this point. In other words shear momentum is carrying this forward and there is probably not much that can be done to stop it from toppling that last domino.

The optimist in me hopes that the people of the world, who mostly don’t want war at any time, will raise their voices loud enough to stop this chain reaction.

Update: Seems the video I linked to has been made private.