Tag Archives: self-sufficiency

Rather Than Focus on What You Don’t Control (“The News”), Focus on What You Do Control: What You Grow, Eat and Own, by Charles Hugh Smith

You’re not going to change the world, but you can make your own life better. From Charles Hugh Smith at oftwominds.com:

Now that globalization and financialization are finally unraveling, people are slowly awakening to the national security foundations of localizing production.

What exactly is “the news” other than an inducement to passivity, despair and derangement? Since we exert zero control over what happens in distant lands and global economies, why waste time passively consuming “if it bleeds it leads” offal designed to addict us to a steady stream of despair and derangement?

Why not ditch “the news” in favor of focusing on what we do control: what we grow, eat and own? It’s almost a binary choice: either focus on screens of addictive offal for hours every day or act on our own behalf in the real world.

Food inflation is highlighting the financial value of home gardens. Paul of the Silver Doctors and I discuss turning gardening savings into more ownership of something we control (for example, precious metals) in Save Money On Food, Get Free Gold & Silver, Beat Price Inflation (1:08 hrs).

I’ve been posting about the value of gardening for over a decade, describing the financial and health benefits. I Dig Dirt: The Remedy for Derealization (July 23, 2011)         The Hidden Value of Gardens (September 13, 2014)

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How Russia Will Counterpunch the U.S./EU Declaration of War, by Pepe Escobar

Russia has been reorienting its economy more towards Asia and the East, and towards more self-sufficiency, for years. Most importantly, it has also moved away from Western fiat currencies and financial arrangements towards gold. From Pepe Escobar at strategic-culture.org:

Only self-sufficiency affords total independence. And the Big Picture has also been keenly understood by the Global South.

One of the key underlying themes of the Russia/Ukraine/NATO matrix is that the Empire of Lies (copyright Putin) has been rattled to the core by the combined ability of Russian hypersonic missiles and a defensive shield capable of blocking incoming nuclear missiles from the West, thereby ending Mutually Assured Destruction (M.A.D.)

This has led the Americans to nearly risk a hot war to be able to place hypersonic missiles that they still don’t have on Ukraine’s western borders, and so be within three minutes of Moscow. For that, of course, they need Ukraine, as well as Poland and Romania in Eastern Europe.

In Ukraine, the Americans are determined to fight to the last European soul – if that’s what it takes. This may be the last roll of the (nuclear) dice. Thus the next-to-last gasp at coercing Russia into submission by using the remaining, workable American weapon of mass destruction: SWIFT.

Yet this weapon can be easily neutralized by rapid adoption of self-sufficiency.

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World China Shows Its ‘Trump’ Card, by Eamon McKinney

China is massively stockpiling all sorts of “real” goods. From Eamon McKinney at strategic-culture.org:

In a world of chronic shortages China has realised that commodities hold more value than cash.

The current trade war with China began at the very outset of the Trump administration. Apparently alarmed at America’s dependence on Chinese goods, particularly the extent to which its defence industries are reliant on Chinese components and rare earths, Trump had a point but may have better served to speak softly about this vulnerability. He mentioned only two dependencies, there are thousands of products that America relies on China exclusively for.

In moves that were simply anti-competitive practices he then launched in a “tech war” with China. Banning the sale of chips and semi-conductors, along with bans on Chinese 5G and Huawei the global leader in particular. Not content with that the U.S. launched a global push to pressure its “allies’ to also ban Huawei and its state of the art 5G technology. Not to be taken in isolation, the tech war was just part of an overall strategy to damage and restrain China’s economy. “Decoupling” had arrived into the general lexicon.

To an extent the measures worked, the chip shortage caused a slowdown among many tech dependent sectors, but not for long. China has developed its domestic production at a pace not possible anywhere else. It has also convinced China that it needed to greatly accelerate its self-sufficiency across all sectors.

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Can You Afford Not To? by Eric Peters

Some chickens and a greenhouse can come in mighty handy. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

It is generally sound advice to not spend money you haven’t got – so as to have money  to spend when you need to buy something. But we live in unsound times, especially as regards the money  – which it isn’t really – we’re forced to transact business with.

This money is just paper. It is alarmingly possible that it will soon be worth the paper it is written on – and perhaps not even that. While most people have been allowed to work again, they are working for less – in terms of what their money will buy. The sheet of plywood that cost $20 this time last year now costs $60. The not-quite-a-pound anymore pack of bacon (which they can’t make any smaller without it becoming too obvious what’s going on) now costs $7.

More, if you don’t want nitrates with that.

A small bag of McFood at the clown store costs $20.

The minimum wage may be going up, but it is buying those who earn it less. And everyone else less, too. No one who works for a living isn’t paying more to live. We have taken what amounts to a 5 percent or more (depending on whose numbers you use; the government’s being as reliable as the soundness of its paper money) pay cut this year so far.

What happens when it becomes a 20 percent pay cut? 50 percent? When people can no longer afford to buy anything because their money isn’t worth more than the paper it’s written on?

You can have $15,000 in the bank but what good is it if it doesn’t have the purchasing power of a stack of copy paper? This has happened. It is happening, again. Not yet at the rate it happened in Germany back in the ’20s and in Venezuela, just recently (and ongoing). But to deny it is happening here – and getting worse – is almost as delusional and believing that wearing a “mask” serves a medical rather than psychological purpose.

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Flying Blind, by James Howard Kunstler

We’re transitioning to a more decentralized way of life, and nobody in Washington gets the joke. From James Howard Kunstler at kunstler.com:

Events are in the driver’s seat now, not personalities. Gil Scott-Heron was right way back in the day when he said, “the revolution will not be televised.” Only what he called “revolution” turns out to be collapse, led by the disintegrating news business, so that the people of this land are flying blind into a maelstrom of hardship. Everything is going south at once here, and you probably don’t know it.

If you think we’re headed into a transhuman nirvana of continuous tech-assisted orgasm, social equity, and guaranteed basic income, you are going to be disappointed. Our actual destination is a neo-medieval time-out from all the techno-dazzle of recent decades. It’s not as bad as you might think. The human project will continue at a lower pitch, probably for a good long while, but minus most of the comforts and conveniences we’re used to, and with very different social arrangements. You can waste your energy hand-wringing and wailing over all this, or summon the fortitude to go where history is taking us and make something of it.

The old economy is wrecked. Many Americans already know this because they’ve lost their businesses and their livelihoods. What used to be there isn’t coming back. But there will always be ways to make yourself useful providing things and services that other people need, just not within the crumbling armature of the economy we’re leaving behind. There will be a lot of debris left in the way to overcome, especially the crap we’ve smeared all over the landscape.

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A Lost Year – Where Do You Go From Here? by Peter R. Quinones

Survival strategies in an increasingly insane age. From Peter R. Quinones at libertarianinstitute.org:

The point of no return may have been reached. The effects of the government-mandated shutdowns due to Covid-19 on businesses—especially small businesses—may not be known for months, even decades, but anyone who is paying attention is beginning to realize we are somewhere new. A place no one could’ve predicted at the beginning of 2020 when onlookers were just anticipating an ugly election year. They got more, much more.  

Leaving aside an economy that is at best questionable: the culture, interactions amongst family members and strangers, have been negatively affected in an already insane age where one’s character is judged by whether they believe Donald Trump is “literally Hitler,” an amusing deviation, or the Messiah who has come to deliver us from the Left.” This cultural phenomenon was already in full swing before the war between the “masked” and “unmasked,” or those who believed CV-19 will “have people dying in hospital parking lots,” and those who look upon it as just a “spicy cold” started. 

As if all of this wasn’t enough, in May a video was released of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin with his knee forced onto the neck of a prone George Floyd who died during the 8 minute and 46 second assault. Protests, rioting and looting immediately sprung up in Minneapolis which spread all over the country and continue to the day this is being written. Calls for various sorts of police reform have largely gone ignored by those with the power of change. 

Some students of history may look at the past several months and see a government that is out of control. A few may see one that is at the top of their game, especially at the state and local level. Others might see a dying wild animal, losing power and lashing out; a sort of death throes. No matter how it is being interpreted by the onlooker, something big has to happen next. Solutions have to be presented. 

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He Said That? 1/18/15

From Michael Corleone, in Mario Puzo’s novel The Godfather:

I don’t trust society to protect us, I have no intention of placing my fate in the hands of men whose only qualification is that they managed to con a block of people to vote for them.

A prediction for the still young year: trusting politicians who can con blocks of voters, never wise, will be particularly foolish in 2015. See “Be Prepared,” SLL, 1/15/15.

Be Prepared, by Robert Gore

Straight Line Logic has published numerous articles forecasting debt contraction, deflation, a financial crisis, and a severe global depression. For anyone who needs a review, at the end of this article is a list of links. A recent article, “Who’s Right?” (SLL, 1/5/15) examined commodity, credit, and foreign exchange markets, and various indicators of the real economy, and concluded they were all sending a different message than the US equity market, where some indexes made new highs in December. Now, however, volatility has increased dramatically in that market, and it may be joining the other indicators, signaling at the least an economic contraction, and almost certainly worse. If that is the case, while it will be important to understand how it happened, it will be even more important to take the necessary mental, psychological, and physical measures for what’s to come. In other words, look forward, not backwards; there’s still time for significant preparation.

Many people have trouble grasping that a bullish trend has reversed. History is full of such reversals. After the tech wreck at the turn of the century and the recent financial crisis, risks and dangers should be on everyone’s mind, but they’re not. Hope springs eternal, and today’s version rests on faith in governments and their central banks to manage economies and financial markets. Few SLL readers share that faith, but for those that do, consider renouncing it (see the links at the end of the article for intellectual and empirical arguments against statist religion). One cannot prepare for turmoil, financial carnage, contraction, and possible collapse if one does not believe they can happen.

Emotionalism, fueled by fear, the most powerful human emotion, surges during a crash. Even for those who expected it and may be profiting from it, the emotional register jumps. Humans are quite sensitive to other humans’ emotions, especially in a group setting. To counter the often manic impulses of the herd requires a deliberate braking effort, telling one’s self, perhaps out loud, to slow down, to breathe, to carefully consider—away from the herd—and reconsider important decisions, and then, before your decision is final, to talk with someone whose judgment you trust.

Should you try to profit financially from a crash? It’s a lot harder than it looks. Most investors, especially those not involved in markets day-to-day, should put their money in cash, cash equivalents, and precious metals and wait it out. There are ways to profit from market crashes, and some mutual and exchange traded funds employ leverage that allows speculators to magnify their bets. They are generally quite popular at the end of bear markets and shunned at the top of bull markets. More leveraged bets—options and futures—are only for the pros. Even when the timing is correct, most people making leveraged short bets have trouble handling the excitement and profits when the market’s going their direction or the snapback rallies that invariably start at the most unlikely times and force many of them to cover. If you’ve got strong nerves, a cast-iron stomach, and can sleep under any circumstances you can perhaps risk nonessential capital. If you’re not part of that small group, play it safe.

Speculation can only increase inner emotional turmoil at a time that demands calm rationality. As deterioration accelerates, so too does chaos. Businesses go out of business and individuals and their families face unemployment, poverty, and homelessness. To the shock and dismay of those keeping the statist faith, governments break down as they go broke, and they are unable to provide the services that had been taken for granted. Government “safety nets” fray or rip entirely. Infrastructure deteriorates as maintenance, repair, and capital investment are permanently deferred. Crime increases and the government’s ability to do anything about it decreases.

Those who thought the government would always protect them and their property will discover they’ve been living in a fools’ paradise. Self-defense is the first imperative of survival. For the heretofore defenseless, the time to acquire firearms and learn how to use them is now. In general, the complex systems we take for granted—industry, commerce, finance, transportation, agriculture, communications, information technologies, as well as security—will be subject to severe stress, some to the breaking point. This will drive what will become the mantra of the coming crisis: self-sufficiency.

The basic theme is that the more you have and the more you can do for yourself, the better. It is beyond the scope of this website to provide comprehensive instruction on emergency preparedness and learning gardening, mechanical, medical, and other useful skills. Googling “emergency preparedness” will yield a trove of sites and information. For the heretofore unprepared, the time to start preparing is now.

As the mechanisms of our society break down, the areas with the best chance of developing a tolerable lifestyle under the circumstances will be smaller communities. Cities are apt to be dangerously chaotic and violent. While rural areas may be safer, they will be isolated and offer fewer of the benefits of trade and mutual assistance. In smaller communities, barter and exchange of services (among those with something to trade and useful skills) will be the order of the day. Such communities can band together to provide their members a measure of security. Get to know your neighbors, now. Take a daily walk through the neighborhood and strike up conversations. Attend homeowners’ association meetings. They are tedious and often degenerate into vicious battles over trivialities, but they offer an opportunity to meet people it would be helpful to know in a crisis. Try to get phone numbers and addresses (the phones may not work).

A final note. One thing you can count on in a crisis: governments will make it worse. Prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for their cupidity, stupidity, mendacity, rapacity, criminality, and tyranny. It’s the other good reason to arm yourself.


A Skyscraper of Cards

A Brief History of Government


The Economics of Debt, Deterioration, Deflation, Depression, and Disorder

Bankers’ Nirvana

A Mania of Manias

Oil Ushers in the Depression

Oil Economics, Part 2

Who’s Right?


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