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Dec 31 11 2:23 PM

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It's that time of year when 'experts' make forecasts for the upcoming year.
Does anyone here want to make a prediction ?

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#4 [url]

Dec 31 11 11:23 PM

I couldn't help myself - ryerro

Ditto - baja

My thoughts, ...

90% likely - The first half of the year will be good for everyone who happens to have a job (cash is king).  The second half of the year will be hard for everybody that has not been in survival mode for some time (bullets, beans and bullion).  Unemployment will double in the US.  Longer term it will get rough, if some level of real sustainability was not part of your plan (garden and chickens). 

80% likely in the next 12 months - China, Australia and Canada each get a real estate bust.  US real estate continues it down trend.  China has a banking and currency crisis.  Australia is hit particularly hard by China’s downturn. 

70% likely - Ron Paul’s popularity is just enough to keep the Republican Party from coalescing behind a single candidate.  A candidate, yet unannounced, wins the nomination and election.  Obama gives a speech to rival Lincoln when he admits to a huge lost opportunity after his defeat.  Carter becomes famous for commenting “Amen!”.

60% likely – The Fed buys anything and everything, in the way of financial paper, in an effort to re-inflate the economy (QE3).  It doesn’t work.

50% likely – the entire world gets World Cup and Olympic mania as a distraction for all the political and economic chaos.  Home teams do well.  The world is still f#ck'd up.

40% likely in the next 6-18 months - War with Iran.  Oil over $250 for a long enough period of time to shut down the world’s economy.  Eventually, the price collapses to under $50 as the real demand disappears.  Conventional war becomes too expensive to wage (in terms of energy) in the Middle East, so unconventional tactics and weapons are used.  WWWIII starts in earnest and quickly looses momentum and ends due to lack of commitment by all involved.  International travel demand drops due to the high cost & risk and never recovers.  Similarly, international trade, for inexpensive consumer goods, drops off a cliff.

30% likely in the next 12 months - Gold and silver go up in price by 200%, then fall 33%.  The dollar drops in value less than the euro and yen drop in value.  Treasuries hold their value until a half dozen other countries’ bonds crash, then they collapse too.  The FED shuts down and all the debt on their books are forgiven.  Congress issues new currency back by Gold, Silver, Nickel, Copper and Zinc.  All the current coinage is melted down for the copper and Zinc.  The nickel becomes the smallest denominated coin in wide circulation: penny are struck in zinc.  Silver coins are reissued.

20% likely – Ron Paul wins the first five primaries (and Obama doesn’t), gains momentum, wins the presidency and none of the above happens except Brazil winning the World Cup.  The year becomes a yawner, as everything changes - for the better. 

10% likely – the next President arrests all the past and current members of Congress who voted for bills that are obviously not constitutional and holds them indefinitely while new members are elected.  Some of them and others are tried for treason, quickly found guilty and summary executed.   Lobbyist leave the country likes rats jumping ship.  Bankers and executives are tried for financial fraud – most are found guilty.

Less than 1% possibility – Sarah Palin is elected President after getting the party insiders’ nod, at the convention, after the first ballot failure and Obama gets caught having sex with a farm animal (the EC count is close).  Jay takes off the gloves gets serious about the new world reality (given the truly dire situation for all of humanity) and starts a real community in FF.  We join.  Others emulate it.  Good thing too, Sarah lives up (down?) to expectations and world population drops 99% during her term.

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#5 [url]

Jan 1 12 1:19 PM

I dunno, I'm beginning to be slightly optimistic on a people level.  That is, for the folks that are learning to scramble.  Folks that have already lost their house no longer have a mortgage to pay for.  They are bankrupt and should now be learning to live within their means, however meager that is.  If they've become bankrupt yet are still employed, they should have more available income now, if they've learned to live within their means. It's an enforced austerity, but if they can learn to live it, they will have a much better foundation to go forward on.

Of the folks who have become unemployed during the past several years, for many their unemployment benefits have run out so they are learning to scramble.  Some of that scramble involves public assistance, but some of them are starting their own small businesses of one type or another.  The more folks we have producing whatever they can creates a much more solid foundation for the communities these folks live in.

That's on a people level.  On a governmental level, there is going to be higher fees and taxes for just about everything because they will be trying to make up shortfalls.  Less money in means less money out.  Governmental programs and services will be curtailed.

On an international level, I'm making no predictions.  What they do might affect me, but there's nothing practical I can do to effect their decisions.  Someone told me the U.S. has become an oil exporter this past year, I dunno if it's true but it's an interesting concept.  I think a lot of international interaction is about oil and finances.  Trade agreements and that sort of thing.  I'm really hoping we can keep it diplomatic and not military.  It would be interesting to see what the United States would be like without being at war with someone.  Maybe we can get out of Afganistan, too.

I'm also seeing a "correction" of the "global market".  Back around Carter's time, remember NAFTA?, - anyway, around that time there seemed to be a big push for the "global economy" and "international marketplace".  Unfortunately for the United States, that rather meant folks who didn't have OSHA, retirement benefits, health benefits and all the ecological concerns we do could directly compete against our manufacturing which has all these concerns.  So, in the global marketplace, the U.S.s role was almost entirely "consumer".  Which was jolly for awhile, but not - as folks are now noticing - sustainable.  There is now a push towards "buy local" which will hopefully provide these folks scrambling to produce something a marketplace to sell things in.

The other new thought I had this week is that we should all learn Arabic.  There seems to be a huge gulf between Muslim and non-Muslim world views.  At the moment, we can't really interact with them since most of us can't talk with them.  If the rest of the world could talk with Muslims directly and get a dialog together, perhaps we could work out an understanding which doesn't require war, genocide, etc.  If all the different sorts of folks in Hawaii can get along, maybe there's some way we can teach the rest of the world to get along.  I have no real hope this is going to happen, but the current way of getting along isn't working for the everyday person.  Maybe some sort of corporations are making money by war, but there's gotta be a better way.

So, anyway, for the upcoming year, I'm predicting sort of a continuation of where we've been but with a bit more gritty attitude and people pulling themselves up and getting productive.  Corporations and cushy jobs aren't going to be out there to save them, I'm expecting a little less of the welfare state attitude among the general population in the upcoming year.  Although there will still be a lot of them who won't get up and go, so perhaps this will be a winnowing year.

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#6 [url]

Jan 1 12 2:13 PM

Chooks, I share your sentiment about understanding other cultures, and agree with your basic premise. But learning Arabic doesn't sound very practical or realistic. As someone who spent years acquiring fluency in a foreign language, I can say with conviction that language ability by itself is overrated. Learning to speak a foreign language without a deep understanding of the target culture is kind of like learning to drive a car without knowing what a red light means. Unless we learn the "rules of the road' of whatever culture we're dealing with, the linguistic piece is meaningless, sometimes even dangerous. So my motto, based on personal, painful experience, is "culture before language". 

On a similar note, I'd like to see more young kids from around the world spending more time in foreign countries learning culture and language as a means of building intercultural relationships. If we have any hope at this juncture, I believe it's with the younger generation.

Here's an example of two cultures "connecting" even with a language gap:

A superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions - Confucius

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#7 [url]

Jan 1 12 3:05 PM

I think this chart has a lot to do with it. There comes a point where a society can't afford the costs of energy to keep the lights on, and that's nice to express in energy vs. GDP. We're again at the trigger point.

WIthout a doubt Iran is an issue, and it's worth considering in some detail. Game theory!

1) Israel can't tolerate a nuclear Iran, as they effectively will lose all clout in the region. A nuclear Israel can dominate a non- nuclear Iran and by default the rest of the area, but they can't dominate a nuclear equipped Iran at all. The issue is simple geography, and the fact that Iran is too big a country and too sparsely populated to clobber with tactical nukes. Israel, however, is a dinky little country and a couple of missiles could snuff out the whole place, permanently. All other issues apply, of course, as economics and whatever, and there's no winning in this situation, but there's definite "losing" that some will insure to avoid. You can expect that Israel will hit Iran soon.

2) The US wants to avoid this conflict as they've got no winning position either, and are going to try to pretend to not be involved as long as possible. Of course it was key that the US vacate Iraq ahead of prudent schedule, as any strike from Israel would have to come through US controlled airspace if we were still there, and would look to the world community as obvious cooperation.

3) Still, there's an expectation that if things get really ugly after the airstrike that the US will have to step up and open up the Straits of Hormuz or whatever-- supposedly in the role of defending international waters or whatever BS we dream up. We're hoping to do that as some kind of international "peace-keeping" effort. Enter now the non-trivial chance that Ron Paul could win a Republican nomination or mount a serious third party run. Ron Paul as elected would tell Israel to go screw themselves and handle their own problems-- and imagine the leverage such a non-interference candidate like Paul might have during a presidential election running against yet another unpopular, unaffordable, irresponsible conflict. Obviously, in this context, a strike must come very soon hoping that the mess and public ire can be mopped up before the elections get started in earnest, or they'll have to wait for some time. Israel won't wait.

So sure, you can bet we'll be slugging it out with Iran by summer, and probably before, as the desert is hard on our military in summer and we'd rather pound it out earlier. There's no reason to wait at all. It's not like the decision hasn't been made, obviously, conspicuously. 

So sure, oil is likely to break the 200 dollar mark by summer, in this context. Even the anticipation of this conflict will affect futures.

Global recession is in the cards.

Hawaii especially is heavily burdened by fuel cost already, and we see the effects. The amount of local GDP that gets lost with increases in fuel is pretty shocking-- even now a lot of people have a hard time affording to go about daily business. The issue is equally difficult for the state and budgetary issues will likely be worse. All in all it bodes pretty poorly, immediately. Calling timing in these sorts of things is always difficult but you can generally expect that events happen when those that need them to happen want to. And that time is now, unfortunately. 

Ironically, new sanctions signed here Saturday.

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#12 [url]

Jan 3 12 6:16 PM

I predict more earthquakes in Ohio and all the other places in the U.S. where our fracking oligarchs are fracking the hell out of the earth. 

Talk about unintended consequences!

The question is, will earthquakes be enough to make them stop?

A superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions - Confucius

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#16 [url]

Jan 4 12 11:47 AM

There's going to be some easy pickings like that over the next year, if you hold an "appropriately accurate" world view.

Anybody want to start a hedge fund? May pay better than growing vegetables.

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#18 [url]

Jan 5 12 10:55 AM

What sort of hedge fund?  Tea?  Yacon?  Or did you have something financial in mind?

As part of a sustainable sort of a thing, shouldn't there be some discussion on how to arrange finances?  Most prepper folks yell "Buy Gold!"  "Buy Silver!"  "Buy Ammo!" and that is probably a valid answer if TSHTF, but on a day to day sustainable basis,what sort of financial arrangements should we be making?  There is a need for money, to pay land taxes with if nothing else, but for dentists, for metal objects you can't make yourself, for trading with that person who wants some of your stuff but you don't want any of their stuff, etc.  So, should we have a hedge fund?  How can we increase our money?  How can we save our money?  Hiding our head in the sand and trying to do without money is denying ourselves a useful tool.

Maybe this should be another thread?

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