Thursday, October 20, 2016

Welcome to Neocolonialism, Exploited Peasants!

The U.S. peasantry has been stripmined exactly like the powerless colonial peasantry in the old colonial model.
In my latest interview with Max Keiser, Max asked a question of fundamental importance: (I paraphrase, as the interview has not yet been posted): now that the current iteration of capitalism has occupied every corner of the globe, where can it expand to for its "growth"?
My answer: neocolonialism, my term for the financialized quasi-colonial exploitation of the home domestic population. I described this dynamic in The E.U., Neofeudalism and the Neocolonial-Financialization Model(May 24, 2012).
We all know how old-fashioned colonialism worked: the imperial power takes political and economic control of previously independent lands.
In the traditional colonial model, there are two primary benefits:
1. The imperial power (the core) extracts valuable commodities and low-cost labor from its colony (the periphery)
2. The imperial power sells its own high-margin manufactured goods to the captured-market of its colony.
This buy low, sell high dynamic is the heart of colonialism, which can be understood as one example of the The Core-Periphery Model (June 11, 2013).
The book Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History is an excellent history of how this model worked for Great Britain.
The Imperial Core controls finance and credit via its multinational banking sector, and it maintains high profit margins via its state-cartel model of production. The state enforces a cartel-crony-capitalist pricing structure in which competition is strictly limited to street stalls and black markets, and the corporatocracy can raise prices at will: for example, pharmaceutical products such as Epi-Pens can be repriced at will from $60 to $600 each.
If the colonists resist, the resisters are silenced and the media brought under control of the Imperial Deep State. (Sound familar? It should.)
This traditional model of colonialism was forcibly dismantled in the 1940s-1960s. Former colonies established their political independence, a process that diminished the wealth and global reach of former colonial powers.
In response, global financial powers sought financial control rather than political control. This is the key dynamic in the Neocolonial-Financialization Model, which substitutes the economic power of financialization (debt, leverage and speculation fueled by globalized mobile capital) for the raw power of political conquest.
The main strategy of financialization is: extend cheap credit to those with limited access to capital. Those with limited access to capital will agree to penalties, high interest rates, etc. because they have no other way to acquire a university degree, a mortgage, a vehicle, etc.
These tactics have been well-documented in books such as The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism and Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.
But the economic pillaging of former colonies has limits, and as a consequence the Imperial financial powers developed the Neocolonial Model, which turns these same techniques on their domestic populations.
In the E.U. version of Neocolonialism, the forces of financialization are used to indenture the peripheral Elites and populaces to the financial core: the peripheral "colonials" borrow money to buy the finished goods manufactured in the core economies, enriching the ruling Elites with A) the profits made selling goods to the debtors B) interest on credit extended to the peripheral colonies to buy the core economies' goods and "live large", and C) the transactional skim of financializing peripheral assets such as real estate and State debt.
In essence, the core banks of the EU colonized the peripheral nations via the financializing euro, which enabled a massive expansion of debt and consumption in the periphery. The banks and exporters of the core extracted enormous profits from this expansion of debt and consumption.
Now that the financialization scheme of the euro has run its course, the periphery's neocolonial standing is starkly revealed: the assets and income of the periphery are flowing to the core as interest on the private and sovereign debts that are owed to the core's central bank and its money-center private banks.
Note how little of the Greek "bailout" actually went to the citizenry of Greece and how much was interest paid to the financial powers.
This is not just the perfection of neocolonialism but of neofeudalism as well. The peripheral nations of the EU are effectively neocolonial debtors of the core, and the taxpayers of the core nations are now feudal serfs whose labor is devoted to making good on any loans to the periphery that go bad.
Neocolonialism benefits the financial Aristocracy of both the core and periphery. This is ably demonstrated in the recent essay Misrule of the Few: How the Oligarchs Ruined Greece.
In the U.S., the Neocolonial-Financialization Model now dominates the U.S. economy. America's debt-serfs now toil their entire lives to pay down student loans, mortgages, auto loans and a host of other debts. High debt loads stripmine their earnings (already declining due to hidden inflation) and makes it difficult to acquire any income-producing assets of their own.
Note that the wealthy own productive assets while the peasantry "own" debt.
We are now reaching the limis of the predatory, parasitic Neocolonial-Financialization Model. There are no more markets to exploit with financialization, the incomes of the debt-serfs have stagnated to the point they cannot take on any more debt and the reality that the mountains of debt are unpayable can no longer be masked.
No wonder the Ruling Elite Has Lost the Consent of the Governed. The U.S. peasantry has been stripmined exactly like the powerless colonial peasantry in the old colonial model, and they are finally identifying their oppressors: the ruling Elite of the U.S.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Ruling Elite Has Lost the Consent of the Governed

Brimming with hubris and self-importance, the ruling Elite and mainstream media cannot believe they have lost the consent of the governed.
Every ruling Elite needs the consent of the governed: even autocracies, dictatorships and corporatocracies ultimately rule with the consent, however grudging, of the governed.
The American ruling Elite has lost the consent of the governed. This reality is being masked by the mainstream media, mouthpiece of the ruling class, which is ceaselessly promoting two false narratives:
1. The "great divide" in American politics is between left and right, Democrat/Republican
2. The ruling Elite has delivered "prosperity" not just to the privileged few but to the unprivileged many they govern.
Both of these assertions are false. The Great Divide in America is between the ruling Elite and the governed that the Elite has stripmined. The ruling Elite is privileged and protected, the governed are unprivileged and unprotected. That's the divide that counts and the divide that is finally becoming visible to the marginalized, unprivileged class of debt-serfs.
The "prosperity" of the 21st century has flowed solely to the ruling Elite and its army of technocrat toadies, factotums, flunkies, apparatchiks and apologists.The Elite's army of technocrats and its media apologists have engineered and promoted an endless spew of ginned-up phony statistics (the super-low unemployment rate, etc.) to create the illusion of "growth" and "prosperity" that benefit everyone rather than just the top 5%.
The media is 100% committed to promoting these two false narratives because the jig is up once the bottom 95% wake up to the reality that the ruling Elite has been stripmining them for decades. As I have tirelessly explained, the U.S. economy is not just neoliberal (the code word for maximizing private gain by any means available, including theft, fraud, embezzlement, political fixing, price-fixing, and so on)--it is neofeudal, meaning that it is structurally an updated version of Medieval feudalism in which a top layer of financial-political nobility owns the engines of wealth and governs the marginalized debt-serfs who toil to pay student loans, auto loans, credit cards, mortgages and taxes--all of which benefit the financiers and political grifters.
The media is in a self-referential frenzy to convince us the decision of the century is between unrivaled political grifter Hillary Clinton and financier-cowboy Donald Trump. Both belong to the privileged ruling Elite: both have access to cheap credit, insider information (information asymmetry) and political influence.
The cold truth is the ruling Elite has shredded the social contract by skimming the income/wealth of the unprivileged. The fake-"progressive" pandering apologists of the ruling Elite--Robert Reich, Paul Krugman and the rest of the Keynesian Cargo Cultists--turn a blind eye to the suppression of dissent and the looting the bottom 95% because they have cushy, protected positions as tenured faculty (or equivalent).
They cheerlead for more state-funded bread and circuses for the marginalized rather than demand an end to exploitive privileges of the sort they themselves enjoy.
Consider just three of the unsustainably costly broken systems that enrich the privileged Elite by stripmining the unprivileged: healthcare (a.k.a. sickcare because sickness is profitable, prevention is unprofitable), higher education and Imperial over-reach (the National Security State and its partner the privately owned Military-Industrial Complex).
While the unprivileged and unprotected watch their healthcare premiums and co-pays soar year after year, the CEOs of various sickcare cartels skim off tens of millions of dollars annually in pay and stock options.
The system works great if you get a $20 million paycheck. If you get a 30% increase in monthly premiums for fewer actual healthcare services--the system is broken.
If you're skimming $250,000 as under-assistant dean to the provost for student services (or equivalent) plus gold-plated benefits, higher education is working great. If you're a student burdened with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt who is receiving a low-quality, essentially worthless "education" from poorly paid graduate students ("adjuncts") and a handful of online courses that you could get for free or for a low cost outside the university cartel--the system is broken.
If you exit the Pentagon, CIA, NSA, etc. at a cushy managerial rank with a fat pension and lifetime benefits and are hired at a fat salary the next day by a private "defense" contractor--the famous revolving door between a bloated state and a bloated defense industry--the system works great. If you joined the Armed Forces to escape rural poverty and served at the point of the spear somewhere in the Imperial Project--your perspective may well be considerably different.
Unfortunately for the ruling Elite and their army of engorged enablers and apologists, they have already lost the consent of the governed. They have bamboozled, conned and misled the bottom 95% for decades, but their phony facade of political legitimacy and "the rising tide raises all boats" has cracked wide open, and the machinery of oppression, looting and propaganda is now visible to everyone who isn't being paid to cover their eyes.
Brimming with hubris and self-importance, the ruling Elite and mainstream media cannot believe they have lost the consent of the governed. The disillusioned governed have not fully absorbed this epochal shift of the tides yet, either. They are aware of their own disillusionment and their own declining financial security, but they have yet to grasp that they have, beneath the surface of everyday life, already withdrawn their consent from a self-serving, predatory, parasitic, greedy and ultimately self-destructive ruling Elite.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

What Happens When the Electricity Is Off for Three Days?

what happens when an electricity dependent society and economy has an extended loss of electrical grid and communications?
One of the hidden realities of modern life is its fragility. For example, few people are aware of the precariousness of the supply chain that refills gasoline/petrol stations around the world every few days.
A new book, When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation explores the fragilities of our truck-dependent supply chains.
Longtime correspondent Bart D. (Australia) recently experienced a multi-day regional loss of electricity. His first-person observations help us understand what breakdowns in energy are like on the ground.
*     *     *
Observations of life in an extended power failure by Bart D. (Australia)
South Oz is continuing with its streak of extreme weather. The latest being our encounter with what's being described as a category 2 'hurricane' with the added bonus of a severe front preceding it that produced many low-grade tornados. A score of major power transmission towers were twisted off their footings, 80 000 lightning strikes fried out a lot of 'secondary' electricity infrastructure ... 40% of power that is usually being generated from wind had to be shut down due to extreme winds and base load backup generators failed in many locations (including my region).
End result ... entire state without electricity for a day and a half. Some regions, including my home region, (about the size of the state of Tasmania) were without electricity for 3 nights and 2.5 days.
It was a fascinating opportunity to observe firsthand what happens when an electricity dependent society and economy has an extended and complete loss of electrical grid and communications.
Key observations for my local area are:
1. Many people have small petrol generators thanks to our lovely coastal wilderness and a preoccupation with Glamping (Glam Camping)
2. Very few people had a store of petrol at home more than 5 to 10 litres. (usually kept for use in lawn mowers, brush cutters, chainsaws). Some owners of small boats had up to 20 litres on hand.
3. When the electricity goes out ... the pumps at fuel stations don't work. To my great surprise, only 1 fuel station in my nearest city of about 14 000 population had (or quickly acquired) a back-up generator to work their fuel pumps. There was a 3 hour wait for customers to get from back of queue to the pumps ... and a ridiculous show of 'bulk buying' where people didn't just take fuel that they personally needed; they showed up with between 3 and 8 X 20 litre (5 gallon) fuel cans as well as filling their cars. Hopefully the canned fuel was distributed among family and friends. (My assertion is that the owners of the station should have rationed fuel to 40 litres per customer to keep the que moving faster and to make sure everyone had some, rather than creating an 'all or nothing' situation)
4. Due to the difficulty with getting hold of petrol after the blackout started ... almost everyone with generators at home could only run them for a few hours over the course of the entire blackout. Even then, the small camping gensets usually lacked the capacity to run large modern refrigerator/freezers. So ... most people lost the contents of their fridges by the end. Due to cold weather, at least freezers stayed cold for the most part.
5. Big shops had their own gensets ... but they can't power the banks of chillers for meat and dairy ... so these items became unavailable by the evening of the blackout starting.
6. The full loss of grid, grid back-up and other smaller backups caused telecommunications and data transmission to practically cease. This meant limitations of EFTPOS in stores. Banks were shut, ATM's didn't work and some shops that were open could only take cash. Generally though, everyone muddled through the sketchy electronic payment systems one way or another. Internet access failed for the most part. Social media pretty much collapsed ... my two daughters though their social lives were over. I didn't miss it. My wife found more time to do other things too.
7. The items that disappeared from the shelves fast, and were tricky to find after 24 hours without power were : Bread, D cell batteries, 6 volt square batteries, matches, heat beads, butane gas cans, fresh meat, sandwich meats, cheeses. (not sure about bottled water - most here have rain tanks anyway). Everything else seemed fine, although fresh fruit and veg got limited after 48 hours.
8. In hardware/camping stores that managed to open: bottled LPG quickly sold out as did BBQ's, camp stoves, camp lights and batteries to run them. Most here have a gas BBQ at home, but if you didn't already have a full bottle of gas ... it was very hard to get a replacement after 48 hours.
9. No one here knows how to use a road intersection properly when the traffic lights are out! I think this helped create major gridlock in the states capital but was even noticeable here at my much smaller regional city with just one such intersection containing lights. (public education urgently required on this)
10. The number of back-up gensets at critical locations (including hospitals and communications systems) that failed was disturbing. There needs to be a major inquiry into why the back-ups on critical services failed. This nearly caused a shutdown of mains water supply as our water is pumped out of aquifers and has to be lifted to storage tanks high up in the hills. More of a problem for sanitation than drinking, as rain tanks are common here.
11. Then there were a few people like me ... I ran my big 'workshop' genset 7 hours a day (hour in the morning, hour at lunch time, 4-5 hours in the evening) and was burning about 7 litres of fuel a day in doing so. My home fuel reserve meant I could run at that extravagant level for a month if need be, or supply others who fell short. We ran refrigerators, lights and TV almost 'as usual' and offered to charge anyone's batteries who needed it and supplied a small camping gas burner, full cylinder of gas and a good battery powered camping light to my parents-in-law who were seriously underprepared. The rest of my small home town (located 20km from a regional city) was rather dark and quiet for the three nights (in part due to the lack of pre-stored fuel to run camping gensets).
12. We have a gas stove in our kitchen, with bottled LNG that lasts 3 -5 months in normal use, so cooking was as normal for us. Since we didn't try to use the gas to also heat washing/bathing water it would have lasted for the usual amount of time.
13. When most were having cold showers, no showers, wasting their BBQ gas to heat pots of water or crowding into friends and relations who had LNG hot water systems in their houses ... our family had hot baths by candle light in huge volumes of wood heated water. (Picture of my old wood heater below.) It is very efficient, made in the 1940's I think, but possibly much older. The inner bowl is copper and absorbs heat from a small fire lit behind the square opening in front. It can boil 70 litres in 20 minutes from a cold start, or 15 minutes for a refill of water once it's already been going a while.
14. Apart from the fuel distribution fiasco everything remained orderly, people remained calm and helpful and life went on. Strangers were a lot chattier with other strangers than usual ... which is good to see. I saw examples of shops extending 'unsecured credit' for small amounts of basic food items to people who had no cash on them and whose cards didn't work. No looting, no "Law Enforcement" out making trouble and plenty of sharing and cooperation.
15. Although about a quarter of houses have solar panels or solar thermal hot water where I live ... none of it worked as it's all grid connect AND doesn't work under the heavy cloud/rain/cold of a 3 day storm.
I've been thinking about getting 'stand-alone' solar power (ie connected to my own batteries) since they closed the big coal fired station in the north of my region, (and the price of these systems has become quite affordable). Our region is at 'the end of the line' of our state grid now and I expect regular outages this summer when hot, calm conditions prevail that reduce our wind generation output at the same time as spiking power use for air conditioners. Our electricity now has to travel up to 1600km (1000 miles) from the state of Victoria to reach us when the windmills aren't working here!
*     *     *
Thank you, Bart, for sharing your observations. The resilience (or lack thereof) of complex systems is difficult to assess until there are atypical strains placed on the system.
What seems effortlessly resilient on average days can break down dramatically if redundancies, proper maintenance and crisis response have been stripped from the system by incompetence, budget cuts and/or the self-serving priorities of managers and employees.
As a result, we only discover systems have become fragile and brittle in crisis, when it's too late to restore resilience.
Of related interest: Australia Finds Out Wind Power Doesn’t Really Work (via John D'A.)
This entry was drawn from Musings Report 42. The Musings Reports are emailed exclusively to subscribers and patrons at the $5/month or above level.

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Monday, October 17, 2016

What Triggers Collapse?

A variety of forces will disrupt or obsolete existing modes of production and the social order.
Though no one can foretell the future, it is self-evident that the status quo—dependent as it is on cheap oil and fast-expanding debt—is unsustainable. So what will trigger the collapse of the status quo, and what lies beyond when the current arrangements break down?  Can we predict how-when-where with any accuracy?
All prediction is based on extrapolating current trends. If we expect 'more of the same', it’s not too difficult to make predictions about the near future. But history is not always simply more of the same.
Suppose we are in the midst of an era that is as monumental as the first Industrial Revolution or the fall of Rome. Suppose we're in an era that will compress a century of transformation into the ten years from 2017 to 2026. In this scenario, those who get it right will be riding the disruptive wave that is crushing everyone who blithely expected 'more of the same'.
It is especially challenging to forecast the outcome of crises that break the status quo and establish a new social/economic order.
We are carried along by the broad sweep of history with a piecemeal understanding of the larger dynamics that are reshaping our world. We discern these forces in fragments of data, but cannot predict how they will unfold, for we are constantly extrapolating trends that are rapidly evolving. As a result, our predictions fail to capture the way these dynamics will transform our world.
As Marx famously noted, everything that is solid melts into air as capitalism dismantles old systems and spawns new ones. These forces don’t just shift the economic landscape; they also disrupt the social order, the political system, finance, family relations and our relationship with Nature—in other words, our entire mode of production.
Our Mode of Production: Centralized, Industrialized, Globalized, Financialized, Networked, Fossil-Fuel Dependent, Neofeudal and Neoliberal
What is a mode of production? The Wikipedia entry offers a deft summary. A mode of production (in German: Produktionsweise, meaning 'the way of producing') is a specific combination of productive forces (financial capital, labor and the means of production -- tools, equipment, buildings, technologies, knowledge, resources and improved land) and social and technical relations of production -- the social, legal and political relations governing a society's productive assets.
“According to Marx, the combination of forces and relations of production means that the way people relate to the physical world and the way people relate to each other socially are bound up together in specific and necessary ways. For Marx, the whole 'secret' of why/how a social order exists and the causes of social change must be discovered in the specific mode of production.”
What characterizes our current mode of production?
It is centralized (controlled by central governments and banks that hold monopolies on power and money), industrialized on a global scale (production and labor are commoditized), financialized (dependent on the processes of finance—debt, leverage and the proliferation of financial instruments), networked (dependent on flows of information and feedback loops) and dependent on fossil fuels (roughly only 3% of total global energy consumption is currently generated by alternative renewable energy sources).
I have long argued that this mode of production is fundamentally neofeudal, meaning that the few at the top of the power/wealth pyramid benefit at the expense of the many, as the entire system is structured to create and protect privilege, which I define as unearned wealth, power and benefits.
In effect, the current structure of state-finance-capitalism is an updated version of the old feudal model of landed nobility skimming rentier wealth from serfs. In the current version, the employed serfs are fragmented and politically powerless, and the rentier skim is typically financial (hence my use of the term debt-serfs).
This is the result of the dominance of finance capital over industrial capital: state-cartels such as banking, healthcare and higher education enforce pricing that extracts profits by limiting competition, and foster a dependence on debt (for housing, higher education and consumption) that effectively enforces a financial form of feudal servitude on debtors.
In this neofeudal mode of production, central banking delivers newly created capital into the hands of the few who then buy political influence (a.k.a. regulatory capture) and outbid those without access to cheap capital to take ownership of value creationin the economy.
The regulatory/political capture secures protection from competition while ownership of value creation generates the income needed to buy protection: this state-cartel marriage creates a virtuous cycle of expanding wealth/power for those who already own the wealth.
In this system, power and wealth inevitably accumulate at the top of the wealth-power pyramid, and wealth-income inequality rises accordingly.
In terms of systems analysis, there is no other possible output of this mode of production.
This neofeudal mode of production is supported by a neoliberal set of values drawn from game theory: markets exist to maximize narrow self-interest and payoffs to participants, and these markets are the most efficient way to allocate capital and labor.
This neoliberal view gives unparalleled advantages to mobile capital that can move easily around the world, exploiting resources, cheap labor and poorly regulated markets to serve neoliberalism’s sole goal: to maximize private gain by any means available.
These neoliberal values and mechanisms corrupt the political process, dissolve social cohesion (defined as the shared purpose that binds the various classes into a unified society) and distort the allocation of capital with perverse incentives.
Forces that Transform the Mode of Production
Though central states and banks appear to be in control of the political, social and economic order, history shows that the forces that disrupt or make obsolete the existing mode of production cannot be stopped or even slowed by governmental edict or financial controls.
For example, the advent of the printing press enabled mass distribution of the Bible and other books, which boosted literacy and distributed heretical ideas that soon upended the social order and the medieval mode of production. Heavy-handed efforts to suppress this technology’s spread of new ideas (such as killing those caught distributing Bibles in vernacular languages) all failed.
A variety of forces can disrupt or obsolete existing modes of production and the social order they support:
1. Environmental: resource depletion, population exceeds the carrying capacity of the ecosystem.
2. Commerce: vital trade routes are disrupted or cut.
3. Political: mobilizing for war, reshuffling power after losing a war.
4. Energy: a new higher-density form of energy becomes available.
5. Social: rising income-wealth inequality and shortages of essentials undermines the regime.
5. Technology: new technologies obsolete existing profitable processes, disrupt state-cartel rentier arrangements and upend labor-capital markets.
6. Commoditization/globalization: new low-cost supplies destroy the scarcity value of existing products and processes, slashing profit margins.
7. Organizational innovation: new ways of organizing capital and labor, enabled by new technologies or social innovations.
8. Elite privileges: cost of protected classes/rentier skims bankrupts the system.
9. Complexity “tax”: the diminishing returns on complexity act as a system-wide tax; benefits of complex systems no longer exceed the costs.
10. Excessive debt: interest payments cripple investment, defaults lead to currency collapse.
Clearly, these forces are intertwined. In many cases, special circumstances must be present to obsolete or fatally disrupt a mode of production. For example, an environmental crisis (poor crop yields, a scourging disease, etc.) might be survivable if the regime was otherwise sound, but combined with high inflation and a loss of social cohesion, this scarcity of food would be enough to push the regime over the edge.
In other words, modes of production with reserves of resources, social cohesion and organizational ability can weather crises that would sink more fragile, less adaptable social/economic orders. The tipping point is rarely visible; weaknesses can pile up for quite some time before a crisis triggers collapse.
Not every technological innovation triggers the dissolution of the existing mode of production.  For example, the invention of eyeglasses spread very quickly around the globe, but it didn’t undermine the social/political order as did the printing press.
A nation may suffer a crisis and keep its social order and mode of production intact, or it may lose a key source of income route but compensate by expanding an alternative source.
But once a nation or empire loses access to an irreplaceable food or energy source—for example, once the Western Roman Empire lost its North African wheat breadbasket—it can no longer support an elite-dominated social order that skims much of the system’s surplus. Some re-ordering of the mode of production is required for the regime to survive.
There are many examples in history of each of these dynamics.  The French Revolution, for example, was triggered by soaring prices for bread and the bankruptcy of the state.
An irreplaceable loss of income can trigger a destabilizing transition to a new mode of production. Once the East (China) lost its monopoly on silk, tea and porcelain (the French began producing silk, Britain colonized India to secure a source of low-cost tea and Europeans began making porcelain), the flow of gold/silver from the West to the East dried up and everyone who had skimmed a profit from the East-West trade saw their income dwindle.
The rise of large European merchant sailing fleets bypassing the Silk Roads to China was an equally fatal disruption, as this sea trade eviscerated profits earned by all the intermediaries on the land routes.
Crises often trigger collapse and transformation, but new technologies and discoveries can also upend the existing mode of production. The development of the steam engine and the exploitation of a higher-density source of energy—coal—famously drove the First Industrial Revolution.
Widespread electrification, the auto industry, the globalization of the oil industry and the development of telephony powered the Second Industrial Revolution.
Digital processors and software (computers) drove the Third Industrial Revolution, and the Internet, artificial intelligence, 3D fabrication and the expansion of automation and robotics are pushing the current Fourth Industrial Revolution.
In highly complex societies, losses can dismantle parts of the system, but gains (such as cheap energy) can grow new sectors that replace what was disrupted/obsoleted. This has been the fundamental narrative of the Industrial Revolutions: the old modes (buggy whips) vanish but are replaced by something much more powerful, convenient and productive. 
But this movement to higher energy densities and technologies that enable more of everything is not a law of Nature.  It can be fatally disrupted, too.  Indeed, this is precisely what we will be experiencing in real-time in the coming decade.
In Part 2: Opportunity In Crisis, we explore the dynamics of the coming shift from the current mode of production to a new and as yet undefined mode of production. This transition will be experienced by many as a collapse, but this will not necessarily be so -- it's going to be more of a rapid, disorderly adaptation as the fatal paradoxes of the existing order are revealed by interconnected, mutually-reinforcing crises.
While the social class that loses their unearned privileges and wealth will likely bemoan the transition to a new mode of production as a disastrous collapse, those with productive experience will find that opportunities will abound.
Click here to read Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)
This essay was originally published on, where I am a contributing writer.

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