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Crash Course: Chapter 1 - Three Beliefs by Chris Martenson

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  • Crash Course: Chapter 1 - Three Beliefs by Chris Martenson

    I think Rajiv posted this somewhere, Jtabeb seems to second in support of the material:

    Originally posted by Jtabeb
    This was the best encapsulation of EVERYTHING that we are facing as humans over the course of the next several decades. I think the most important thing is how it TIES all aspects of the economic growth paradigm in relation to money and the environmnet.

    Please watch the whole series and don't take my word for it. I'm sure it will be worth while.

    I should add that it's not that I didn't know these things, it's that I have never seen them addressed in such a coheisive and integrated fashion.

    Thanks, JT


  • #2
    Re: Crash Course: Chapter 1 - Three Beliefs by Chris Martenson

    Originally posted by Sapiens View Post
    I think Rajiv posted this somewhere, Jtabeb seems to second in support of the material:




    He FRED, Your own contributor's JUDGMENT is now CRAP?!?
    (Do prey tell answer why they have a comments section then?)

    What gives dude? I obviously don't get "it". Please re-educate me as I have gone astray, if you DARE that is.

    (It's okay FRED, I know you can't waste your time refuting this, as it would be far too difficult a task).

    He FRED, Next time before you SH!Tcan stuff. How about you actually review stuff before you censor it, okay big Guy?:mad:

    Thanks

    JT

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Crash Course: Chapter 1 - Three Beliefs by Chris Martenson

      Originally posted by jtabeb View Post
      He FRED, Your own contributor's JUDGMENT is now CRAP?!?
      What in tarnation are you reacting to, JT?

      I see a post by Sapiens linking to a Chris Martenson Crash Course youtube video, and then I see you go off the deep end, apparently due to some evil deed committed by FRED.

      Just what did FRED do?

      (And is "he" your spelling of "heh", rhymes with "hay", as in "Hey you!"?)

      P.S. Aha - I'm guessing you're objecting to the move of this thread to Junk Economics.
      Last edited by ThePythonicCow; 08-11-09, 11:53 PM. Reason: Add "aha" P.S.
      Most folks are good; a few aren't.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Crash Course: Chapter 1 - Three Beliefs by Chris Martenson

        Originally posted by ThePythonicCow View Post
        What in tarnation are you reacting to, JT?

        I see a post by Sapiens linking to a Chris Martenson Crash Course youtube video, and then I see you go off the deep end, apparently due to some evil deed committed by FRED.

        Just what did FRED do?

        (And is "he" your spelling of "heh", rhymes with "hay", as in "Hey you!"?)
        fred moved chris' junk economics to the junk economics forum. boo hoo.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Crash Course: Chapter 1 - Three Beliefs by Chris Martenson

          Yesterday, over on another iTulip thread,
          http://www.itulip.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11239, I made a controversial
          claim about Martenson's Crash Course, calling it "profoundly wrong." A couple of
          iTulip's finest disagreed and challenged me to justify my claim. That prompted
          me to review the "Crash Course" in some detail.

          I have two products from this review.

          First I have my rather terse and unreadable notes, in outline form, on all
          chapters of the Crash Course. These are attached as a file to this post. The
          file is formated in HTML, though I had to label it a TXT file in order to
          conform to the attachment format requirements of this forum. These notes were
          probably more valuable to me in the writing than they will be to others in the
          reading, but I make them available anyway.

          Second I have a more detailed "book review" of Martenson's Crash Course, which I
          hereby present inline in this reply.

          =============================================

          Martenson's Crash Course presents several problems that face the U.S. It warns
          us that the problems are serious and imminent. It encourages us to take
          personal action to prepare for major economic, energy and environmental problems
          in the next decade. It asks our help in getting this warning out to others.

          It tends toward the doomer, dramatic and scare mongering. However unlike many
          other doomer sites, Martenson does not warn of some evil conspiracy of dark
          people. Rather he warns of a combination of financial, economic, industrial,
          demographic and environmental problems that combine to make it likely (in his
          view) that the next ten years will be dramatically different than the last ten
          years and likely much more challenging.

          One of his favorite tools is the exponential graph, showing some statistic or
          other has just recently turned the corner and gone ballistic. He usually picks
          his chart axis's so that the resulting graph shape is about the same shape.

          My might suggest to Martenson that he consider using log paper for his
          exponential graphs. It makes the analysis easier of exponentially growing
          curves easier and less sensitive to the choice of axis's. I doubt that this
          suggestion would be considered by him, as it would not suit his purpose, that
          being to illicit alarm.

          His analysis of each of the several areas of concern tends to the simplistic,
          though clearly presented. There are few references to the work of others.
          There is little depth. His work is presented as his special and unique gift to
          us.

          His economics takes the rather common (though you wouldn't realize this just
          from his Course) position that debt based fiat money systems require continously
          inflating the money supply to cover the growth caused by accumulating interest
          due, until default is inevitable. One sees here little of trade or currency
          flows between nations. One sees little in depth understanding of the flows of
          trade, money or debt in various forms between various banks, nations and
          corporations. One cannot time a long or short investment in Chinese bonds (for
          example) from this Crash Course. There is no POOM.

          In his consideration of Peak Oil, Martenson makes clear a point that I don't
          usually see in the popular press, but which I presume is well understood to
          anyone who has studied the petroleum business more closely. In our extraction
          of oil, we have to pay particular note of the energy costs of that extraction.
          Most of the oil we extract is used for energy, and if it cost us two barrels of
          oil to extract one barrel, that is a stupid waste. Even paying one to get one
          which is about the case with ethanol as a fuel is quite useless from an energy
          perspective (and clearly done for political gain, not energy gain.)

          Eighty years ago, for each barrel of oil spent drilling and pumping, we obtained
          100 barrels. Oil was an easy source of enormous energy. This indeed is one of
          the more interesting (to me at least) points that Martenson made. The enormous
          growth in complexity and scope of human civilization was highly dependent on,
          perhaps even a consequence of, our unleashing of this cheap, efficient and
          abundant source of energy. The wealth of society depends in good part on the
          surplus energy it has for production above and beyond what is needed for the
          bare essentials of eating, and with oil, humankinds surplus energy lept
          enormously.

          Nowadays this ratio of oil spent to oil gained has shrunk from 100 to 1 down to
          about 3 to 1. We have already gotten all the easy oil and are having to spend
          more and more effort and energy for each additional barrel we extract. This is
          one of, if not the key, inescapable constraint on continued further economic
          growth.

          When you combine the limit on continued economic growth imposed by Peak Cheap
          Oil (iTulip term, not Martenson's) with a financial and monetary system that
          must continue to grow to service the increasing debt, you have a serious
          crisis. This is Martenson's central message, warning us of this crisis.

          Note by the way that much of what Martenson writes could have been written ten
          years ago, with the same alarm and warnings. His work is too simplistic to
          provide useful navigation specifics to either individual or organization
          finances. It's basically just things are coming to a boil, apparently real soon
          now, so beware (and be grateful to Martenson for the warning ;).)

          It is not just oil that is hitting its Cheap Peak. We are encountering Peak
          Cheap farmland, fishing, base minerals, rare minerals, uranium, water, and so
          forth. Civilization has been on a tear this last century, using up all the more
          easily obtained resources of Earth. This cannot continue unabated.

          There is also a demographic problem in America, with too many boomers expecting
          to be well supported in their retirement by too few workers in the next
          generation.

          Martenson summariezes all the above looming crises in the next to the last
          chapter of his Crash Course, entitled "Future Shock"

          Martenson closes this course in the final chapter "What Should I Do?" with some
          basic recommendations. He recommends you anticipate possible bank closures and
          food and gasoline shortages. He recommends you prepare a list of the actions
          one can take, prioritize the list in order of what should be done first, and get
          started working the list. He asks you to warn others and support his work to
          warn others. His recommendations of what to prepare for, when to expect it, and
          what actions to take in preparation are (in my view) shallow, brief and limited.

          In a comment a day ago on Consumerism is 'eating the future' I had described
          Martenson's Crash Course as "profoundly wrong". I would rephrase that now.
          His Crash Course is too simplistic to be profoundly much of anything. But it is well
          presented and appeals momentarilly to my doomer inclinations. On the other hand,
          the arrogance and lack of all that much appreciation of or references to the work
          of others turns me off a bit. Such an attitude seems to attract a different clientel
          than iTulip. I don't (yet anyway, in my first brief visits) find the delightful depth
          and variety of expertise from various highly valuable contributors on
          Martenson's site that I find here on iTulip. On the other hand, I have not
          yet spent much time on Martenson's site ... probably never will.
          Attached Files
          Last edited by ThePythonicCow; 08-12-09, 08:09 PM. Reason: fix formatting glitches
          Most folks are good; a few aren't.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Crash Course: Chapter 1 - Three Beliefs by Chris Martenson

            Thanks to the post just now by tacito http://www.itulip.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11284, I realize that much of the material I found new (to me) and most interesting in Martenson's Crash Course is just a popularization of Hubbert's Peak Oil theories, as applied to various other resources. See for example the article http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/top...rt_peak_theory for a presentation of some of the same material as in Martenson's Crash Course, but written in a quite different "voice." In this article, Hubbert's Theory is applied to a variety of natural resources. In the above post by tacito, Hubbert's Theory is applied to GDP.
            Most folks are good; a few aren't.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Crash Course: Chapter 1 - Three Beliefs by Chris Martenson

              Originally posted by ThePythonicCow View Post
              Yesterday, over on another iTulip thread,
              http://www.itulip.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11239, I made a controversial
              claim about Martenson's Crash Course, calling it "profoundly wrong."
              Thanks for taking the time to post your review, PC.
              Last edited by raja; 08-12-09, 10:14 AM.
              raja
              Boycott Big Banks Vote Out Incumbents

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Crash Course: Chapter 1 - Three Beliefs by Chris Martenson

                I think it good that you defended your original condemnation of Martenson's course, though I don't take your post above as all so condemnatory, which is not important.

                To me the value of his presentation is that is the closest thing I have seen that would explain reasonably well to average people, whatever that is, a lot of the problems that society faces.

                Thanks.
                Last edited by Jim Nickerson; 08-12-09, 01:06 PM.
                Jim 69 y/o

                "...Texans...the lowest form of white man there is." Robert Duvall, as Al Sieber, in "Geronimo." (see "Location" for examples.)

                Dedicated to the idea that all people deserve a chance for a healthy productive life. B&M Gates Fdn.

                Good judgement comes from experience; experience comes from bad judgement. Unknown.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Crash Course: Chapter 1 - Three Beliefs by Chris Martenson

                  Originally posted by Jim Nickerson View Post
                  I think it good that you defended your original condemnation of Martenson's course, though I don't take your post above as all so condemnatory, which is not important.

                  To me the value of his presentation is that is the closest thing I have seem that would explain reasonably well to average people, whatever that is, a lot of the problems that society faces.

                  Thanks.
                  With all due respect to cow, I take his piece more of a critique than a refutation. I don't think that the response was sufficient to refute any single point mentioned or the synergy of the arguments in total.

                  Of the critique, I think it is valid. It is simplistic and lacking in substantive depth BUT what it does do is exactly as Jim describes. It "is that is the closest thing I have seem that would explain reasonably well to average people, whatever that is, a lot of the problems that society faces."

                  V/R

                  JT

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Crash Course: Chapter 1 - Three Beliefs by Chris Martenson

                    Originally posted by metalman View Post
                    fred moved chris' junk economics to the junk economics forum. boo hoo.
                    Metal, come on. How many times do we have to have the "did you read/watch it", "No, but I got the gist" discussion.

                    I would love for you to actually channel that intellect at DESTROYING that piece, because frankly it is so fundamentally sound that I don't think you can.

                    But I would STILL LIKE TO SEE YOU TRY, BECAUSE...
                    Correcting a FALSE ASSUMPTION educates everyone.

                    Me, if I'm incorrect. You if you're incorrect.

                    But the bottom line is we both get BETTER understanding as a result.

                    So, Sir, School me. Please.

                    V/R

                    JT

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Crash Course: Chapter 1 - Three Beliefs by Chris Martenson

                      I have found but one point in the presentation to criticize. That has to do with the population. The implication is that population continues to grow exponentially and thus will explode. In point of fact, in the past 40 years it has grown by 3 billion (from 3 to 6) and in the next 40 years it will grow by "only" 3 billion (from 6-9). Were the growth not slowing, the population in 40 years would be around 12 billion give or take some. That is a big difference.

                      Also, the impact of the population is not as great as the numbers might imply because nations that are using energy and resources are mostly those that have gotten their populations more or less under control. So the impact of population growth on the richer part of the world is even less because growth is already decelerated (see map showing fertility rate). Now, for the areas of the world where growth is still rampant, suffering will abound.

                      I think this is important because of two issues. First, relentless population growth leads to a profound sense of futility that can paralyze efforts to deal with the other two contributors that are IMHO more pressing issues. Second, relentless population growth starts to imply legitimately scary draconian and maybe downright evil means to control it will be likely. Legitimate fear of that problem further detracts from working on the two issues that can be addressed now.

                      That said, the discussion of population is probably most useful to point out that all of the problems DO GET WORSE with time and we need to get a move on. If not, the problems themselves will get bigger and so will the population which will make them worse. Maybe pointing out that growth can be controlled and there is progress in much of the developed world could give people some hope that ultimately it can be solved.

                      In summary, I think it still is of great value to educate the general public in what is happening. We have a dearth of good information getting to our citizens from the media, meaty but basic presentations like this are very valuable. Imagine if this were made into a multipart documentary and played on the cable channels.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Crash Course: Chapter 1 - Three Beliefs by Chris Martenson

                        Originally posted by jtabeb View Post
                        With all due respect to cow, I take his piece more of a critique than a refutation.
                        That is a good characterization of my piece, yes, though I didn't read Jim as really disagreeing with this characterization, rather just phrasing his comment in different terms.

                        I did not defend my initial "profoundly wrong" conclusion by way of offering evidence therefore, but rather I "rephrased" (as any good politician can do three times before breakfast each day) that conclusion to say that Martenson's work was too simplistic.

                        With regards to Martenson's discussion of various cheap commodity peaks, such as oil and copper, I am way too much of a newbie on that subject to render either refuting or concurring judgement. Heck, as I also posted above, it was not until the accident of seeing another post by tacito that I even learned that substantial portions of this material of Martenson appear to come from Hubbert's work, applied to various commodities.

                        Martenson's discussion of demographics is one of the thinner parts of his work. Martenson made a couple of points in this discussion. He noted the burden that the Baby Boomer bulge will place on the social services and savings of America. As a Baby Boomer myself, about to collect Social Security, I certainly agree with that concern. Martenson was also alarmed that the worlds population seems to keep growing exponentially. ggirod nicely addressed this concern in a post just above. Thanks, ggirod.

                        Martenson's discussion of economics deserves a more nuanced reply. This is afterall the "Junk Economics" forum of iTulip, not the "Junk Demographics" or "Peak Cheap Junk" forum. (Wait - FLASH - Someone moved this thread off the Junk forum back to a more respectable location! Oh well .) I don't have a coherent response to this part of the Crash Course yet - sorry. Perhaps I will have such in a subsequent post.

                        Martenson's concluding section, "What Should I Do?", is flat wrong in my experience.

                        The only time I recall seeing such over simplified decision matrix methods are when school guidance counselors or coorporate human resource employees are tasked with assisting a group decision making process. They are a crock and a failure, in my view. That Martenson would even attempt such facilitation is symptomatic of a basic problem I have with his Crash Course. The entire course is presented as a self-contained gift from the master, as a static fait-accompli worthy of special status. I am well aware of the hubris that leads to such works. I've created a few such minor works in my career (none on the scale or of the appeal of Martenson's Crash Course.) They all died; none of them led to the organic growth of institutions and shared human effort that provides long term structure or benefit to humans.

                        Martenson is trying to elevate his work to such an organic institution on his website. I predict he will fail to gain much elevation for very long. His mind is not in the right place (in my no-so-humble view ;)) for such success at this time.
                        Most folks are good; a few aren't.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Crash Course: Chapter 1 - Three Beliefs by Chris Martenson

                          Good lord, the guy is selling his little self help course for doomers.

                          But is anyone here going to argue that we are not snuffing out creations greatness one little candle at a time? Do you really doubt that the fundamental idea of our economic system of unlimited growth is outright impossible to maintain?

                          I recommend a great short story by J.G. Ballard called 'Billenium". In it he imagines an overpopulated world of the future. Space for individuals is down to just a few feet because the population has grown at 2% for thousands of years. It is a great satire.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Crash Course: Chapter 1 - Three Beliefs by Chris Martenson

                            Originally posted by goadam1 View Post
                            Good lord, the guy is selling his little self help course for doomers.
                            Is this a straight comment or sarcastic?

                            Are you responding to a remark above or to what Martenson is doing?

                            Are you (sarcastically/directly) (supporting/objecting to) whatever you're responding to?

                            Originally posted by goadam1 View Post
                            But is anyone here going to argue that we are not snuffing out creations greatness one little candle at a time?
                            Who is the "we" in this sentence:
                            • Martenson
                            • Those who showed appreciation for Martenson here on iTulip
                            • Myself for criticizing Martenson
                            • iTulip
                            • Humans

                            Whatever you are saying was so obvious to you that you forgot to drop enough clues in your comments to convey the thought - sorry.
                            Most folks are good; a few aren't.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Crash Course: Chapter 1 - Three Beliefs by Chris Martenson

                              Originally posted by ThePythonicCow View Post
                              Is this a straight comment or sarcastic?

                              Are you responding to a remark above or to what Martenson is doing?

                              Are you (sarcastically/directly) (supporting/objecting to) whatever you're responding to?


                              Who is the "we" in this sentence:
                              • Martenson
                              • Those who showed appreciation for Martenson here on iTulip
                              • Myself for criticizing Martenson
                              • iTulip
                              • Humans

                              Whatever you are saying was so obvious to you that you forgot to drop enough clues in your comments to convey the thought - sorry.
                              you all do recall chris and ej had a good exchange back in 2006?

                              chris then started a web site & refined this idea ever since.

                              Comment

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