Published Somedays

The beginning of the end..

(updated: Oct 11, 2008)

"The car lanes of today are the bike lanes of tomorrow."

Looks like this might come true. Things are unraveling faster than I had imagined. I thought by 2010 it would happen (There will be bikes), but it has started now -- this is the beginning of the end, at least for America.

Money is disappearing faster than governments can give it away, often to very same criminals that caused this mess. Yet some people think this is a temporary blip, and that things will return to normal. They will not. We are still a country in denial, a country which has eaten through all its natural resources, and which people are now clamoring to drill whatever pieces of land haven't yet been drilled, an surefire way to make the problem worse.

There is a big difference between the depression of the 1930's and the one that's coming. Back then, the US had plenty of natural resources. We were the biggest oil producing country in the world. Now we import 60% - 70% of our oil. We had a huge manufacturing base - a country that produced physical goods. Now, most of what we use is outsourced, and what we produce is financial pyramid schemes, which have now blown up in our face.

Therein lies the core of the problem. It is the thinking that we are somehow disconnected from very real resource limits on a finite planet - water, soil, potassium, oil, gas, etc.; that growth in resource consumption (particularly, fossil fuels) is sustainable. It is the assumption our system is based on. That's why banks were allowed to create more and more money (debt) until they leveraged the underlying physical assets 20 to 50 times their equities and liabilities. That means that in order to pay back all that debt, real assets would need to balloon 20 to 50 times. Meaning there needs to be more houses, roads, strip malls and fast-food franchises. But then that new level of assets would become the basis of an even larger 20 to 30 times future growth. This is the exponential function popping up again. Anyone who has read my previous posts knows that "The greatest failure of the human race is our ability to understand the exponential function." Yet people still believe that this normal pattern of growth will continue. I can assure you, it will not. No matter the wishful thinking of people, reality is in command. The system is fatally flawed.

The signs were everywhere this year. Skyrocketing oil prices and prices of commodities and natural resources. Record destruction of forests and production of greenhouse gases. Melting icecaps. The limits to growth. Nature was giving us a warning. We ignore it at our peril.

This funny clip could represent our economy vs. nature

So now you see the price of gas dropping like a rock because the economy is getting crushed. People are losing their jobs and unemployment in soaring. Talking about drilling offshore now is ridiculous unless oil companies believe that prices above $100 a barrel will return. Should the economy recover even a small bit (perhaps after going full throttle on the magic money printing presses for the next two years), the price of oil will skyrocket and choke the economy again.

People tell me "They'll figure it out", or "Somebody will come up with something." We already have it figured out. It's solar, wind, geothermal and nuclear. If we don't invest in alternative energy and transportation, we are finished. But since we have not done so, and now that we've blown hundreds of billions, soon to be trillions of dollars, on attempting to prop up a flawed system, we have lost the ability to invest. The American empire is unraveling.

So I doubt you will see any projects for alternative transportation, bike paths or lanes, or any spending on cycling. Despite, as Ed told me, Interbike was bigger than ever and the commuter segment was booming. You will just have to ride on the roads. Good thing is, the roads should get a lot less crowded with cagers. Bad thing is, they may be filled with a lot more cracks and potholes.

You may not believe me. I don't care. I just wanted to live in a society that recognizes that you cannot have infinite growth and puts the financial systems in place that works within the laws of nature. The end of fractional lending. A currency backed by gold. Accountability. One that puts great value on natural resources and not on ever increasing material wealth and consumption. One that understands the importance of the common good and public spaces. One that celebrates human powered transportation instead of worshiping the automobile.

Unfortunately, the US is not that society. Maybe its citizens would be, but its government has been co-opted by corporations, and they have pulled the wool over your eyes. They have lied to you and had you believe that you could get rich and live the American Dream. But most will not. This is the myth of the ownership society. Most will figure out that they will have to get by with less to make room for more and more people clamoring for the ever smaller piece of the pie. But at the top echelon, each addition person (consumer) contributes to the ruling elite's bottom line and makes them ever wealthier, until 99% of the wealth is concentrated in 1% of the population. One thing's for sure, if you're not at the top, you'll likely suffer. Future generations certainly will.

For those not at the top, here's a piece of investment advice:

"REALITY CHECK, INVESTMENT ALTERNATIVE: If you had purchased $1000 of Delta Airlines stock one year ago, you would have $49 today. If you had purchased $1000 of AIG stock one year ago, you would have $33 today. If you had purchased $1000 of Lehman Brothers stock one year ago, you will have $0 today. However, if you had purchased $1000 worth of beer one year ago, drank all the beer, then turned in the aluminum cans for recycling, you would have received $214 today at redemptions. Based on the above, the best current investment plan is to drink heavily & recycle. It is called the 401-KEG Plan."


Filed Under: General Entries


1. Ed said...

Sign me up !!!

Oct 12, 2008 @ 9:42 PM

2. Randy said...

I went home and pushed for the 401-keg plan. Doesn't look like it will be our family investment strategy, but it is on par with my 9 new bikes for '09 plan.

Oct 13, 2008 @ 8:51 AM

3. serr lots uh lot said...

Oct. 3 2008 might be viewed by our children as the flash point date when the US and its systems became terminally ill and began a long and turbulent systemic unraveling. On that date, Congress voted against the very citizens that they are charged and pledge to represent. The high ideal of Democracy was discarded. The Bail Out represents a foolish effort to back stop deflating 'paper' capital with the earnest effort capital of the taxpayer. Of course it won't work because it requires a perversion of logic and a belief that you can successfully throw good money at bad.

Oct 15, 2008 @ 9:30 AM

4. sir poops alot said...

Don't sweat this jazz man. One day alive on this planet should be a fucking miracle. The reason all of the natural resources are gone, is because we as humans were never supposed to inherit the earth, but we did, and used what we used. If it were all to end tomorrow, and another world was created, humans would fuck it up again. For some reason, people seem to feel entitled, like the earth is here for them. We are nothing, absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things.

Oct 15, 2008 @ 12:44 PM

5. PK from Raleigh said...

Here is an interesting link

Oct 15, 2008 @ 3:59 PM

6. SBA said...

I'd like to post more mtb-related stuff, but I haven't been riding much. But I'm making the point that all the things the government could have wasted taxpayer money on, this was the worst - because will be vaporized, sucked into the giant collective maw of the banksters. If before this disaster a bill was put forth to spend $700 billion of taxpayer dollars on bike facilities, most cagers would revolt and call it massive pork. Well, $700 billion worth of bike facilities doesn't sound so bad now, does it? Our congresspeople spat on democracy by voting against the American people. And it's far from over yet because $700 billion is a drop in the bucket next to the trillions of bad derivatives lurking out there. The point is, we lost the opportunity. It will never return. Yes, they are throwing good money after bad. They are treating the symptoms not the problem.

I need to get out and ride somewhere, but I have to work and I worry about losing my job. And I believe this issue is just too important to ignore. I'm sorry, people can remain in denial but it's not going to go away. People need to stop what they're doing and wake up and start a revolt against our elected officials. The more we pretend it will fix itself, the worse it will be for us.

"If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose that freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that, too." --Somerset Maugham

Oct 15, 2008 @ 8:26 PM

7. PK from Raleigh said...

Pisgah Forrest is the cure for the modern day aliments, when I ride there I feel that I could live "deliberately" and be satisfied with living a simple life. I am concerned for my children and the future that they are going to face. We all need to redefine what is important.

Oct 16, 2008 @ 1:04 PM

8. sadman said...

This is really not what most people want to see when they log into a cycling club's home page.

If I want politics, I'll go to a political website. If I want finances, I'll go to a...

Really, I just want to ride my bike, but can't because it's raining. So, I go to a bike website and get even more bummed.


Oct 18, 2008 @ 9:11 AM

9. SBA said...

Ever read drunkcyclist? Cycling and politics.

Sorry to bum you out, but next year, when the great discontinuity occurs and the US defaults on its debt, you can't say you weren't warned. Get prepared is my advice. If I have to do it on my site, then so be it.

I really hope I'm wrong. Then you can laugh and say that sirbikesalot is crazier than a bag of hammers.

I promise I'll do more riding.

Oct 18, 2008 @ 9:37 AM

10. sadman said...

I'm sorry. I didn't realize it was your site and you didn't really care about the opinions of those who use it. I thought it was just a nice service for area bikers.
my bad...

Thanks for letting us use your forums and such.

Oct 24, 2008 @ 10:02 AM

11. SBA said...

Pay me to go ride trails, then I'll post more bike stuff. It's getting kinda tough for me these days. I have a trip Nov 14 to Brevard. I'll try to ride something new.

Oct 24, 2008 @ 9:35 PM


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