mellowtigger: (economy)
Okay, one more depressing post, and then I'll try to get back to talking about happy bunnies and dancing unicorns.

I've read elsewhere that Soviets observed the illegal cannibalization of infrastructure as they reached the breaking point of their failed economy. During the last two years, I have kept my eyes open for signs of such activity here in America. I find plenty of it, but it's still not quite enough to reach popular attention yet. All it'll take is one big power outage in a major city for everyone to finally notice.

Here in Minnesota, thieves are stealing manhole covers and sewer grates from the streets, copper from vacant buildings, and copper wiring from park lamp posts. Around the country, similar things are happening. Thieves are taking copper wiring from parks, copper plumbing from business properties, copper wiring from live transformers, copper tubing from air conditioners, and they've even caused a power outage in a small Ohio town by taking down an electrical substation.

It's becoming a big problem. The New York Times did an article back in February. They mention that there's even a national coalition that's formed to help bring awareness and promote legislation to slow this black market activity. USA Today did their own article in April on the theft of catalytic converters.

The economic spiral continues downward. At the national level, Republicans and Obama together are still bent on reducing government employment. I said two years ago and still maintain that we need huge national government projects that put massive numbers of people to work.

In the United States during the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Works Progress Administration provided paid jobs for millions of unemployed men and women (as well as youth in a separate division, the National Youth Administration).
Incredibly, during the current Great Depression, government employment has been shrinking (aside from temporary census hiring last year).
- http://rwer.wordpress.com/2011/07/12/the-incredible-shrinking-state/

It annoys me that the national government continues to do things that I think are unhelpful and/or idiotic.  It seems so obvious to me what needs to happen.  Exactly the opposite of Republican strategy, I think that big wages need to end so that big employment can happen.  Tax the living daylights out of the rich and use that money (yes, redistribute the wealth!) to pay for huge public projects that give spending money back to the population and renews their job skills so they remain employable after the projects eventually end.  Much better than simply extending unemployment benefits, I think.
mellowtigger: (Terry 2010)
It's finally happened.  Minnesota is "shutting down" its government.  A judge has ruled on what services are deemed "essential" for the safety of the population or necessary to meet federal obligations, and those will remain functioning.  The effect will be the furlough of 2/3 of state government employees, the largest layoff in state history.  I think my list of the essentials would have been slightly shorter, but hers includes:
  • judicial courts
  • most of the state's prison system, state patrol
  • driver license renewal, vehicle license plate renewal
  • buses and rail lines (I would have closed them as being huge conveniences but inessential to state government)
  • emergency maintenance of roads and bridges
  • K-12 education, and state colleges and universities (I would have closed all of them)
  • benefits payments for medical assistance, MN Care (that affects me directly, presidential-hopeful Pawlenty intended to cut it)
  • welfare, child support, refugee assistance
  • veterans homes
  • unemployment benefits
Services that will be shut down:
  • benefits for childcare assistance, criminal background checks, food shelf distribution
  • regular maintenance of roads and bridges (this change affects my commute across various bridges over the Mississippi River)
  • new driver license testing services
  • highway rest stops
  • minnesota historical society sites
  • minnesota zoo (except as needed to keep animals safe and secure from escape)
  • state parks
  • hunting and fishing licensing
  • race tracks and state lottery
  • some legislative staff (apparently, though I can't find specifics on who)
  • any new payments to city or county governments
I already got my letter from Minnesota Care warning me that if I had trouble getting any service, I should just go to a hospital emergency room.  *sigh*  Some non-profit agencies are going to suffer tremendously for lack of support from state government.  Luckily, I work someplace that receives no money from government except (I think) for a few city contracts to provide their animal control shelter service.

I happen to like living in a society that includes almost every service that Minnesota state government provides.  Exactly which of these services are frivolous?  I presume that the race tracks and lottery are meant as revenue generators rather than mere entertainment.  Which service exactly is the one that Republicans are offended at supporting?  That's what I don't understand.  For the most part, I like this government.  How do we benefit by refusing to fund it?  I think it could certainly be simplified (especially the tax process) but not eliminated.

Suppose a government needed to acquire 20% of all money circulating in its economy to keep its civilization content.  If you can't collect any more money from the poor ("squeeze blood from a turnip" is a phrase that comes to mind) then you have to tax the rich since they have the majority of the money anyway.  Republicans seem hellbent on protecting the rich on both the national and state levels, however, so now we get to see what it's like to do without much of the government.  They couldn't legislate their way to smaller government, so I guess they intend to starve it instead.  They're having much more success with that method.

We've turned off the infrastructure repair in Minnesota today.  What happens when we shut off education and prison too?  Why can't we tax the rich to keep all this stuff functioning?

It's a http://www.shutdownshame.org/main/, indeed.
mellowtigger: (economy)
any job will doI still say that there needs to be zero growth in the economy, zero growth in population, and zero growth in energy consumption. After, of course, a significant decline to get everything to a sustainable level. Decline is painful. Steep decline is even worse.

Here is a photograph of a neighborhood home (about 4 houses away) that I took last year around 2010 August 18.

And here's the photograph I took of the same house today.
not enough jobs

mortgagesI guess that desperation to work and do any job is insufficient to overcome these economic doldrums. Very sad.

Next month should show us if things are holding steady at "bad" or if they're about to get even worse.

"They're saying there are more jobs. I'm just wondering where those jobs are," Lambrecht said.

About 6.2 million Americans, 45.1 percent of all unemployed workers in this country, have been jobless for more than six months - a higher percentage than during the Great Depression.

 

Rough times.  So far, I don't regret cutting expenses by living without an automobile for the summer.
mellowtigger: (absurdity)
China buys West Texas oil field formationGuess who just today cut off America's supply of rare earth metals?  China. Guess who's buying rights to oil fields in Texas?  China. Guess who's the number 1 consumer of world energy?  China. Guess who owns more dollars than any other nation? China.

I introduce to you the new world superpower: China.

America has lived by an odd philosophy for many years, wondering why God put our resources under other people's soil.  Now we'll get to see what it feels like, as a more powerful nation begins eying us for the sole purpose of figuring out how they can exploit us to sate their own desires.

I wrote my final paper in geology class a few years ago (college: the second attempt) in part on China's plans to mine the surface of the moon for tritium to feed its nuclear fusion plants.  They're far behind schedule, but at least they have a perfectly logical utility to their space ventures.  America doesn't.

I've warned about it repeatedly, but hopefully our nation will finally get serious about the state of our material resources (which are depleting rapidly).  Maybe now we can have a real space program, please?

Liberals are prepared to understand the inevitable future in a way that conservatives will entirely fail to grasp.  Our future be constrained (finally) by resource limitations which are good for the environment, as Green folk have been warning for decades.  Our future will be multicultural (finally) with a pseudo-communist nation leading the planet.  Our future will be dominated (finally) by a nation that doesn't spend an absurd percentage of its gdp on its planet-wide military complex.  Why bother, when the natives willingly sacrifice their future to the god of exponential money supply growth via legally enforceable bank contracts?

I, for one, welcome our new Chinese overlords.  Ni hao.  (Free Tibet!)
mellowtigger: (economy)
Keeping Out The GiraffesTED is such a wonderful institution.  The presentations that they host and the videos that they publish are both great additions for teaching and conversation.

Today's video is by economist Tim Jackson.  He adds human psychology back into the economic equation.  The elimination of "rational agents" from economic theory is a cornerstone of the "post-autistic economics" movement.  It's good to see other economists joining the effort, although they probably wouldn't know it by that name.  Maybe eventually we'll stop worrying about those giraffes.

http://www.ted.com/talks/tim_jackson_s_economic_reality_check.html (direct link to this embedded video)


Now, excuse me while I shutdown my pc to remove my RAID 1 array.  I plan to eliminate the duplicate hard drive energy consumption and wear-and-tear.  I think perhaps I can learn to live without the convenience of Windows' restore from sleep mode.

Here in Minnesota, we have giraffes at the Minnesota Zoo only during the warm months.  During the winter, we haul them to warmer climates in special giraffe trucks.  We're safe from giraffes during the cold season.  I guess I can spend my time thinking about something else... like impossible hamsters.
mellowtigger: (Green Lantern)
Technology is great. The user interface still needs a lot of improvement, but this is exactly the kind of tool that can help promote democratic discussion! Individuals now have the power to experiment with government budgeting.

This website offers a tool to help people see just how difficult (or easy) it is to balance the Minnesota state budget.  Tweaking taxes upward (not even a lot) solves the deficit very quickly.  Cutting expenditures requires some really awful choices when you see how all of the costs are divided between various programs.

http://www.mymnbudget.com/

How do the various candidates stack up, when you get to play with the numbers yourself? They only link to PDF documents instead of providing a template with the user interface widgets already adjusted for you, but at least it's a start! As this local newspaper article mentions: "[The Democratic candidate] boasts, not unjustly, that he has been "far more explicit than other candidates about what I intend to do."

The Republican mantra ("Cut taxes!  Cut spending!") looks pretty awful when you watch just which programs have to get axed, rather than blaming some nebulous and nefarious "gummint". Only one of the Big Three candidates has no explicit budget proposal on the site: the Republican candidate.

I happen to dislike both the Democratic and Republican candidates, so I am looking to give my vote to a minor party instead. This tool, however, is awesome for comparing the various political platforms on one important issue.
mellowtigger: (economy)
economic non-recoveryI've stated before that the methods used to calculate the health of our economy are incorrect.  They favor corporate profiteering but ignore personal hardship.  Economies exist because people need them; it should be its effect upon people by which we measure the health of any economy.


stimulus is workingA recent article by the post-autistic economics crowd sums it up nicely, although I would edit their title to become "Obama's profitable non-recovery".  The chart to the right explains the situation rather well.  If you use metrics of corporations, things are looking up already.  If you use metrics of personal hardship, however, a very different picture emerges.

Cut to avoid being too image-heavy... )

I keep saying that we need a zero-growth financial system.  We need a zero-growth society to go with it.
mellowtigger: (economy)
I already told you about oil producing countries in the middle east attempting to create their own non-exponential currency (based on gold) for valuing their oil instead of using U.S. dollars.

Last week (June 29th), the United Nations began encouraging countries worldwide to choose some other currency (besides the U.S. dollar) as their reserve currency.  They've said it before, but they seem serious this time.

Scrap dollar as sole reserve currency: U.N. report

A new United Nations report released on Tuesday calls for abandoning the U.S. dollar as the main global reserve currency, saying it has been unable to safeguard value. But several European officials attending a high-level meeting of the U.N. Economic and Social Council countered by saying that the market, not politicians, would determine what currencies countries would keep on hand for reserves. "The dollar has proved not to be a stable store of value, which is a requisite for a stable reserve currency," the U.N. World Economic and Social Survey 2010 said.
...
The report supports replacing the dollar with the International Monetary Fund's special drawing rights (SDRs), an international reserve asset that is used as a unit of payment on IMF loans and is made up of a basket of currencies.  "A new global reserve system could be created, one that no longer relies on the United States dollar as the single major reserve currency," the U.N. report said. The report said a new reserve system "must not be based on a single currency or even multiple national currencies but instead, should permit the emission of international liquidity -- such as SDRs -- to create a more stable global financial system."

"Such emissions of international liquidity could also underpin the financing of investment in long-term sustainable development," it said.

- http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE65S40620100629

They used the key phrase "long-term sustainable development", which is a useful code for people like me who believe that all exponential money systems must fail by design.  I hope that their use of that phrase means that people behind the scenes understand that reality, even if they refuse to admit it publicly because of the collapse of confidence it would create in existing exponential money systems worldwide.
mellowtigger: (banking)
Switching banks is not a fast process these days, but I did it!  I moved from Wells Fargo bank to Financial One credit union.

It's a slow process because there are so many pieces to manage.  1) I ordered new checks.  2) I switched my paycheck direct deposit.  3) I updated my annual recurring charges (like webpage registration).  Having my money split between accounts was confusing, and I discovered by happenstance last night that I didn't have enough money at the new checking account to cover my rent check!  Oops!  :(

For the last few weeks, the bridge leading to my bank has been under construction, so I haven't driven there to close my accounts.  This morning, I finally drove across the Mississippi River (at a different bridge) and wandered back around to my bank.  I closed my checking account.

I talked with a banker at a desk who helped me close my credit account.  (All he did was push a desk phone at me that I used to talk with the person who closed it for me.)  That one hurt more than the checking closure.  Wells Fargo had given me (in the 12 years that I've had my account) a line of credit equal to my annual income.  Financial One, on the other hand, has limited me to $2000 credit.  That amount won't even cover a major car repair.  *sigh*

But, I did it!  I feel good about taking control of my own small influence over the banking industry.  Washington won't effectively regulate Wall Street (in spite of reforms that the current administration is now, finally, trying to legislate).  So it's up to people to individually exercise their authority.  I enjoyed driving immediately afterward to my credit union, making my deposit to cover the rent check, and doing it without even having to fill out a form.  They're beginning to recognize me.  Not many longhaired men visit their credit union, I'm guessing.

Move Your Money.  Find a bank or credit union near you.
http://moveyourmoney.info/find-a-bank

Do it!  You have the power to create change!  Don't accept "Too Big To Fail"!
mellowtigger: (the more you know)
The last oil crunch is not decades away and not years away; it is months away, according to the U.S. government and military.  Here is the information that I think will help you prepare for the change that is fast approaching.

See the chart and read the lists... )

In summary:

Soon, energy costs will increase sharply.  Do everything you can now to prepare for this change.  It will affect everything.  It doesn't have to end anything, though.  You can easily survive the change with extra planning.  Start practicing now.  Purchase what you need now.  Don't wait until everyone else is scrambling to adapt, because that market demand will increase product prices too.
mellowtigger: (Daria)
I'm still a believer in zero-growth as the new worldwide paradigm.  Sadly, to reach that point, there will first have to be negative-growth to reach equilibrium.  Negative growth is painful.  Sustainable economy is a reasonable and possible endeavor.  Here's the situation as I see it:

1) Price for oil should be a lot higher than it is now.  Large-scale concerns (worries about the health of the economies that consume oil) have kept the price artificially low.  I find proof of this interpretation in the recent price hike that resulted only from good economic indicators.  Price increases usually result from changes in supply or demand, but this price increase at the gas pump resulted only from optimism rather than actual demand.  That's how eager the industry is to raise prices to their proper equilibrium.

Oil prices rose more than 2 percent on Monday to their highest since October 2008, after U.S. manufacturing, home sales and jobs data boosted optimism about a recovery in the world's top economy. The U.S. service sector grew in March at its fastest pace in nearly four years while pending home sales also rose, according to the ISM industry survey and a National Association of Realtors report on Monday. That added to optimism following Labor Department data released on Friday showing U.S. payrolls rose by 162,000 last month, the fastest rate in three years. U.S. crude oil for May delivery settled up $1.75 to $86.62 a barrel. Prices have risen by 8.3 percent since March 26, in their steepest 5-day winning streak since December.
- http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6142V820100405

2) Full-time jobs aren't coming back.  The official unemployment rate seems to have leveled off finally, but that's nowhere near the same thing as a recovery.  Also, the "feel" of the economy is worse than the unemployment rate would suggest.  This table shows why.  U3 is the "official unemployment" rate, but U6 is better at showing how the typical American is faring under the hardship.  U6 is much higher than U3.  People are staying unemployed, temp employed, and part-time employed for very long durations.  This stall is not the same as "recovery".

3) Our industry (as currently structured) cannot recover unless cheap energy is available. Peak oil has passed, and it's not coming back.  Recent news about Obama authorizing drilling off our coastlines is only good press meant to mollify conservatives.  It won't actually help our underlying problem.  This table (skip to page 8) shows why.

That link provides a March 2009 presentation from U.S. Department of Energy conference.  They point out that after the year 2011, world energy needs will be met by this mysterious white space called "Unidentified Projects".  That's a polite way of saying, "There isn't any more oil."  Drilling off the coastline won't erase the gap.  Drilling in Alaska won't erase the gap.  The problem is that there was a limited amount of oil on the planet, and more than half of it is now gone.  The Iraq war was about fighting to keep our hands on some of the last productive fields on Earth.

4)  Obama has also announced plans to help build new nuclear reactors. I've already explained why building new nuclear reactors is the same bad decision as drilling for more oil.  Limited resource, dwindling supplies, no long term energy solution.

5) The dollar is toast.  World banks are colluding to keep it propped up beyond its natural lifespan.  We chose an exponential function for the creation of our currency, and such a decision embeds late-life hyperinflation into the structure of the thing.  We've reached that point finally.  It's not Bush's asshattery, it's not Obama's lousy financial regulation, and it's not the corrupt Federal Reserve Bank.  It's the mathematical model that we chose decades ago for our money.  It's absolutely the wrong model.

"The fact of the matter is, the US government is now conducting weekly Treasury auctions that are as large as quarterly auctions were just a few years ago.  Exponential increase, anyone?  $165 billion in a single week is an enormous pile to unload."
- http://www.chrismartenson.com/blog/shell-game-continues/37778

In summary, I think this is what zero growth feels like.  This is what life will be like after the crash.  (Yes, I said after the crash.)  Learn to live with less stuff (energy, tech, travel), and life will actually be rather nice.

I went out to garden this morning after 8am, but the temperature was barely above freezing.  I got my hands in the dirt and they went numb, so I came back inside. It's nearly time to plant, and I'm eager!
mellowtigger: (Default)
So should people be held to moral responsibility for their intellectual acts?  I think so.  That instinct is what drives a lot of politics, I think.

Well, now you have the opportunity to vote in a poll to determine who wins responsibility for contributing most to the recent global financial collapse.  It was previously called the "Ignoble Prize in Economics", but I figure that somebody rightfully complained about use of that name and the confusion that would ensue.  This poll is now called the "Dynamite Prize in Economics".

There are 10 selections from which to choose.  Pick 3 of them.  Each includes a short explanation to justify their inclusion on the list.  You may vote here:
http://rwer.wordpress.com/vote-here-for-the-dynamite-prize-in-economics/

I kept wanting to choose someone to blame for getting the whole concept of economics wrong, but really this poll is limited only to the recent financial problems.  It took me a while to decide who should get "kudos" for that.

I finally decided to blame Milton Friedman, Larry Summers, but especially Eugene Fama's "efficient market hypothesis" as the central failure.

In finance, the efficient-market hypothesis (EMH) asserts that financial markets are "informationally efficient", or that prices on traded assets (e.g., stocks, bonds, or property) already reflect all available information, and instantly change to reflect new information.
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Efficient-market_hypothesis

In other words, baseball trading cards are valuable because they have a price tag attached to them.  Never doubt the price tag.  Hooey.
mellowtigger: (Default)
I believe that the world (the whole universe, actually) lacks all the resources that are desired.  Meaning... every desire cannot be fulfilled.  Some want has to go unfulfilled.

Minnesota is facing severe budget shortfalls.  Our ideologue governor, however, promises not to sign for a single tax increase.  Instead, he's in the habit of pushing costs downward to more local governments which then have to raise their taxes to compensate.  The ideologue wins on a technicality.  *disgruntled sigh*

He's now announced his most recent budget proposal.  There are lots of cutbacks.  Frankly, all of them seem disturbing.  A followup article focuses specifically on the health care cuts.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty's proposal to cut a net of $347 million from programs for sick, aged, disabled and jobless people is akin to the advice an ailing George Washington got from his doctors 210 years ago, one critic said Monday: Bleed him, in hope of a cure. 

Pawlenty would eliminate the General Assistance program in which about 20,000 disabled and very-low-income people receive an average of $175 a month. 

He also would remove about 21,500 childless adults earning between $8,100 and $27,000 from MinnesotaCare, the health insurance program for lower-income working people.

- http://www.startribune.com/politics/state/84422862.html

That last sentence?  That would be me.

The sad thing is that even all the harsh cutbacks still depend on receiving future federal money.  They still depend on pushing true costs out into future state budgets.  Both obvious signs of accounting hack jobs.  (But don't you dare raise taxes, no, because that would destroy the republic.)

I go in next week for my EMG tests.  I go see the neurologist two weeks after that.

It's a race to see if I can leech taxpayer money for my medical diagnosis before the money disappears.
mellowtigger: (economy)
Another creative work that tries to explain why exponential economies are bad.  I've officially joined the Impossible Hamster Club.


There's also a 146-page article (which I have only briefly skimmed) with the succinct title, "Growth Isn't Possible".
http://www.neweconomics.org/sites/neweconomics.org/files/Growth_Isnt_Possible.pdf

Maybe the One Hundred Months clock will finally get me to work on my bearlyinvolved.org website?
mellowtigger: (economy)
The Telegraph is a conservative newspaper in England.  Go see what they are saying now about the American economy.  They move from one discouraging observation to another to yet another.
"America slides deeper into depression as Wall Street revels"

Oh, and don't miss reading the comments.  They're a hoot.

Sort of related, here is an interest image that shows what resources our expanding industry is exhausting.  (Peak Oil is so yesterday.  We're at Peak Everything already.)  Now you can see why China is securing its mineral access all over the planet.



For those interested in an amusing detour...

Read more if you have the time... )
mellowtigger: (Default)
The "Move Your Money" effort has now been covered on MSNBC and the Christian Science Monitor.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036677//vp/34758640#34758640
http://www.csmonitor.com/Money/new-economy/2010/0107/Want-to-protest-bank-bailouts-Move-your-money-a-new-campaign-urges


I haven't moved mine yet, but I have been checking things out.

I very much like that Franklin Bank has "Social Responsibility" as one of its main sections on its webpage.  Unfortunately, its locations are not entirely convenient to me.  I'd have to go to downtown Minneapolis.
http://www.franklinbankmpls.com/socially-responsible.asp

Very nearby (within walking distance) is a credit union for people here in Anoka county.
https://www.financialonecu.com/

The only reason I hesitate leaving Wells Fargo is because of their outreach to the GLBT community.  Even here in the Twin Cities, I saw more than one advertisement from them in our local magazine this week.  Still, though, the list of gay-friendly workplaces includes a lot of very familiar (and infamous) names.  I shouldn't condone their harmful practices while congratulating their helpful ones, maybe?
http://www.gayfriendlycompanies.info/content/view/19/26/

I wish Franklin Bank had a branch in north Minneapolis.  My choice would be easy.  I could have my banking convenience and my social responsibility all in one place.
mellowtigger: (Default)
Of course, I'm of the opinion that feeding the exponential economy is always bad, no matter how you do it.  Still... I wanted to pass along this website to everyone, as I think it can still be useful.

http://moveyourmoney.info/

It opened a few days ago.  It's a way to look up your current zip code and find local, small, community-minded, highly-rated banks where you can move your accounts.  As far as I know, every single American bank is FDIC insured, so your accounts are equally protected no matter where your money goes.  This website makes the point, however, that your money can be used by banks in very different ways.

Remember these scenes from "It's A Wonderful Life"?


I'm considering it.  I don't do savings accounts or IRAs or other "money hiding" shell games where profit magically shows up without my having to work for it, but I am considering moving my checking account (/debit card).  Wells Fargo recently jacked up the interest rate on my credit card (just as I paid it to zero), so I might as well move that elsewhere too.

The founders of this movement (which started on the liberal left Huffington Post but seems to appeal to pretty much everyone) are also collecting stories from people about their banking experiences with large banks, small banks, and credit unions.  Some of them have been interesting too.

It's a great reminder that you, "the people", do have powerful authority to dictate the nature of the market.  You're not left solely to the whims of business executives and Washington politicians.  That's always a good reminder, so I'm passing the information along to people who can learn from it.  :)
mellowtigger: (economy)
We haven't even adopted it as our paradigm yet, and it's already solving problems.  ;)

A month ago, I told readers here about my idea that the reason we haven't encountered aliens yet is because they're hiding until we prove our ability to adopt a sustainable lifestyle.

In flights of fancy, I also easily wonder if other spacefaring civilizations wait to see the outcome of this very decision before they make contact. Species that opt for perpetual growth, after all, would need to use resources outside their native star system. Enforcing isolation seems a very efficient way to let unrestrained species burn themselves out (by destroying the ecosphere of their homeworld) without endangering the rest of the galactic neighborhood.
- http://mellowtigger.livejournal.com/118559.html

For those unfamiliar with the Fermi paradox, it's a logical argument about the existence of extraterrestrial civilizations.  The paradox is a result of a contradiction: there is a high probability that other civilizations are out there, and yet we have failed to detect any trace of their existence.  How can we appear to be "first" in the universe when that status would be so unlikely as to be impossible?

I learned yesterday on National Public Radio that some scientists back in June explored the idea that sustainability is the solution to the Fermi paradox.  They point out that the paradox assumes exponential growth.

Drawing on insights from the sustainability of human civilization on Earth, we propose that faster-growth may not be sustainable on the galactic scale. If this is the case, then there may exist ETI that have not expanded throughout the galaxy or have done so but collapsed. These possibilities have implications for both searches for ETI and for human civilization management.  ...
Collectively, these possibilities suggest the "Sustainability Solution" to the Fermi Paradox: The absence of ETI observation can be explained by the possibility that exponential growth is not a sustainable development pattern for intelligent civilizations.

- http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0906.0568

Amen!  They're preaching to the choir, here.  It remains to be seen if there is actually intelligent civilization on earth.
mellowtigger: (economy)
I don't know, is Business Insider generally reliable for meaningful information? I ask, because today's headlines there are more exciting than my own usual sky-is-falling routine. I found only 1 story that was sort of upbeat. Here are the other notables:

SocGen Tells Clients: Here's How To Bet On Total Global Collapse : The dollar will tank, the US is headed for a lost decade, junk bonds will be crushed, and emerging markets will not be spared.
SocGen Analyst: Our Governments Are Insolvent, Gold To $6,300! (GLD)
The Housing Double Dip Has Arrived

The Most Important Housing Chart Shows Things Are Still Getting Worse
AOL Asks 2,500 Employees To Quit (TWX) : Voluntary layoffs start December 4th. Then comes the firing...
California Has No Idea How Bad Soaring Oil Is Going To Hurt
California: Another Budget Crisis As Soon As This Spring
Bob Toll: FHA Lending Is A "Train Wreck"

But the most interesting read, even though it's 2 days old and not very detailed, is:
Michael Panzner: Commercial Real Estate Is A "Tsunami Unfolding"

Panzer thinks we may see hyper inflation as the share of U.S. outlays relative to the deficit are about 40%. "It may not be such a good idea -- even though the Krugmans of the world think it is -- to spend unlimited amounts of money without thinking through the potential consequences."

Wow. I thought I was being a negative nancy.

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