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Signs Of The Time, Part 117

Any Survival And Prosperity readers use Facebook?

I originally signed up for the social media/networking service some years back with the intention of creating a “page” for my research/blogging.

I would create the additional page and populate it with material… and then it would magically be “reset” the next time I tried to access it (yes, I did select “save” when available).

Weird, huh?

So I gave up on that. And these days, I just use Facebook to stay abreast of what’s new with family, friends, and others.

But in recent times- coinciding with the 2016 campaign season heating up to be exact- I’ve been required to scroll down my “Home” page much more than usual to read posts about exotic travels, kids’ accomplishments, new pets, and other good stuff.

Why? Because the rest of that page is often heavily-populated by political posts “shared” or “liked” from my Facebook friends. Most aren’t very complimentary about President Trump and the Republicans, I might add (and not too surprising considering where I live).

But I’m not complaining, as my Facebook friends are entitled to post about their personal politics on their chosen social media platform.

As for me, I’m not too comfortable discussing politics with other people, save my girlfriend, who is a distant relative to an obscure former Senator from Wisconsin by the name of Joseph McCarthy and rather well-versed in government goings-on (being a former civil servant herself).

As individual politics vary so much and “anomalies” exist even among the political partisans (I’ve encountered a staunch defender of gun rights… who also happens to be a hardcore Democrat), I figure I’m bound to tick someone off with “deep conversation” about such matters. Which works well with running Survival And Prosperity, as it’s a project focused on financial/personal safety and not a “political blog.”

That being said, my decade-long track record (counting Boom2Bust.com) shows I don’t hesitate to assign blame- be it the Republicans or the Democrats- where blame is undoubtedly due and identification of the political party is central to the discussion at hand.

I’ll leave readers with this. Regarding all the animosity being directed against the Trump administration and the Republicans, while a good deal of it stems from ideological differences, personal dislike of the man, the fact that POTUS is a male, etcetera, keep in mind something that FOX 32 News (Chicago) political editor Mike Flannery pointed out while getting gassed at the Washington, D.C., riot on Inauguration Day:

Democrats currently hold fewer elected offices nationwide than at any time since the 1920s.

And what’s that old saying?

“Desperate times call for desperate measures”

“Desperate measures” will undoubtedly be taken to compensate for/attempt to regain that lost political power. That’s just how the politics “game” is played.

And the “resistance” will continue for the foreseeable future.

Even on Facebook, by the looks of things.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

2/13/17 UPDATE: Regrettably, one of my Facebook friends has now been “unfollowed” for clogging my “Home” page with political posts. Like I said above, they’re entitled to post about their personal politics on their chosen social media platform. But consider the ramifications of such activity on the recipient(s) of this material. In this case, the number of political posts being authored, “liked,” and “shared” made navigating Facebook a real chore. I held out as long as I could- didn’t want to miss important achievements/events in this person’s life shared via Facebook- but it was just too much in the end.

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Thursday, February 9th, 2017 Government, Political Parties, Signs Of The Time Comments Off on Signs Of The Time, Part 117

Rich Americans Keep On Prepping

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know that I’ve been observing and blogging about “prepping” for several years now. Case in point, this 2011 post recapping a new TV show called Doomsday Preppers (ever heard of it?).

Early on I noticed wealthy Americans were getting into preparedness. They recognized and took steps to deal with potential TEOTWAWKI scenarios- just like their lower-net worth compatriots.

And such activity continues to this day, spurred on not just by concerns over major emergencies and man-made/natural disasters, but fears of a financial crash, civil unrest/war, and impoversihed and angry masses turning against the rich.

Earlier this evening I finally got the chance to read an article from the January 30, 2017 issue of The New Yorker entitled “Doomsday Prep For The Super-Rich.” Evan Osnos penned:

Survivalism, the practice of preparing for a crackup of civilization, tends to evoke a certain picture: the woodsman in the tinfoil hat, the hysteric with the hoard of beans, the religious doomsayer. But in recent years survivalism has expanded to more affluent quarters, taking root in Silicon Valley and New York City, among technology executives, hedge-fund managers, and others in their economic cohort…

The lengthy-yet-interesting piece took a closer look at the prepping mindset and priorities of the wealthy these days. One notable passage was:

I asked [prominent investor and co-founder of LinkedIn Reid] Hoffman to estimate what share of fellow Silicon Valley billionaires have acquired some level of “apocalypse insurance,” in the form of a hideaway in the U.S. or abroad. “I would guess fifty-plus per cent,” he said…

There was also this from Osnos:

In building Reddit, a community of thousands of discussion threads, into one of the most frequently visited sites in the world, [co-founder and CEO Steve] Huffman has grown aware of the way that technology alters our relations with one another, for better and for worse. He has witnessed how social media can magnify public fear. “It’s easier for people to panic when they’re together,” he said, pointing out that “the Internet has made it easier for people to be together,” yet it also alerts people to emerging risks. Long before the financial crisis became front-page news, early signs appeared in user comments on Reddit. “People were starting to whisper about mortgages. They were worried about student debt. They were worried about debt in general. There was a lot of, ‘This is too good to be true. This doesn’t smell right.’” He added, “There’s probably some false positives in there as well, but, in general, I think we’re a pretty good gauge of public sentiment. When we’re talking about a faith-based collapse, you’re going to start to see the chips in the foundation on social media first.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I’ve noticed a growing amount of anger directed against President Trump and the Republicans on my Facebook “home page” these days.

“Early signs” of significant civil unrest coming?

If you’ve got some time to spare, head on over to The New Yorker website and check out the Osnos piece here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Thursday, January 26th, 2017 Civil Strife, Class Warfare, Emergencies, Government, Man-Made Disasters, Natural Disasters, Political Parties, Preparedness, Technology, TEOTWAWKI, War, Wealth Comments Off on Rich Americans Keep On Prepping

Signs Of The Time, Part 114

Anyone use the popular online social media/networking service known as Facebook?

I do, but I wouldn’t call myself a “super-user.” Nor do I have a lot of “friends” either.

But among the “friends” I do have, a few have been authoring/disseminating quite a bit of material on Facebook related to last week’s U.S. presidential election.

That’s cool. If they want to use the free service in that manner, then that’s their prerogative.

However, such posts aren’t exactly sitting well with other Facebook users. From the Fox News website this past weekend:

In the wake of the 2016 election, some Facebook users are purging friends with whom they disagree politically.

On “Fox & Friends Weekend” this morning, Kurt “The Cyber Guy” Knutsson reported that the U.S. election was responsible for 10 billion likes, posts, comments and shares on the social medium from March 23, 2015, through November 1, 2016, according to Facebook.

Additionally, Knutsson reported that on Election Day alone, 115.3 million people on Facebook worldwide generated 716.3 million likes, posts, comments and shares related to the election.

He said that Facebook, however, doesn’t have any data on how many unfriendings there were during the 2016 presidential election or on Election Day, but it does appear that there is an “unfriending frenzy” occurring

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

For more information about this “unfriending frenzy,” head on over to the Fox News website here.


The Dandy Warhols, We Used To Be Friends (2003)
YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Tuesday, November 15th, 2016 Government, Signs Of The Time Comments Off on Signs Of The Time, Part 114

Jeremy Grantham Identifies 10 ‘Potential Threats To Our Well-Being’

Jeremy Grantham, the British-born investment strategist and founder/former chairman of Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. (oversees $117 billion in client assets as of June 30, 2015), just released his latest investment letter on the GMO website. Writing about the second quarter of 2015, Grantham, whose individual clients have included current Secretary of State John Kerry and former Vice President Dick Cheney, focused on ten “potential threats to our well-being” (echoing a Morningstar piece I blogged about on July 14). These threats are (in his own words):

1. Pressure on GDP growth in the U.S. and the balance of the developed world: count on 1.5% U.S. growth, not the old 3%
2. The age of plentiful, cheap resources is gone forever
3. Oil
4. Climate problems
5. Global food shortages
6. Income inequality
7. Trying to understand deficiencies in democracy and capitalism
8. Deficiencies in the Fed
9. Investment bubbles in a world that is, this time, interestingly different
10. Limitations of homo sapiens

Grantham talked about each threat in detail. I’ll be focusing on those items I think would interest Survival And Prosperity readers.

Regarding pressure on U.S./developed world GDP growth, Grantham wrote:

Factors potentially slowing long-term growth:
a) Slowing growth rate of the working population
b) Aging of the working population
c) Resource constraints, especially the lack of cheap $20/barrel oil
d) Rising income inequality
e) Disappointing and sub-average capital spending, notably in the U.S.
f) Loss of low-hanging fruit: Facebook is not the new steam engine
g) Steadily increasing climate difficulties
h) Partially dysfunctional government, particularly in economic matters that fail to maximize growth opportunities, especially in the E.U. and the U.S…

On “plentiful, cheap resources” being gone:

All in all I am still very confident, unfortunately, that the old regime of irregularly falling commodity prices is gone forever…

On oil:

Oil has been king and still is. For a while longer… Now, as we are running out of oil that is cheap to recover, the economic system is becoming stressed and growth is slowing…

Grantham added:

The good news is that with slower global growth and more emphasis on energy efficiency and a probability of some carbon tax increases, global oil demand may settle down to around 1% a year for the next 10 to 15 years. At that level of increase in demand, even modest continued increases in recovery rates will keep us in oil even if no new oil is found for the next 15 years.

Beyond 15 years, the resource and environmental news gets better because cheaper electric vehicles and changes in environmental policy will enable steady decreases in oil demand…

On global food shortages, Grantham referred to some recent research. He wrote:

I was completely gruntled by a report last month from the Global Sustainability Institute of Anglia Ruskin University in the U.K. This unit is backed by Lloyds of London, the U.K. Foreign Office, the Institute of Actuaries, and the Development Banks of both Africa and Asia – a grouping with a very serious interest in the topic of food scarcity and societal disruptions to say the least. The team of scientists used system dynamic modeling, which uses feedbacks and delays, to run the business-as-usual world forward 25 years. Without any new and improved responses from us, the results are dismaying: Prices of wheat, corn, soybeans, and rice were all predicted to be at least four times the levels of 2000. (They are currently about double.) The team concluded, “The results show that based on plausible climate trends and a total failure to change course, the global food supply system would face catastrophic losses and an unprecedented epidemic of food riots. In this scenario, global society essentially collapses as food production falls permanently short of consumption.” And you thought my argument on food problems of the last three years was way over the top!

Grantham is still not impressed with the Federal Reserve. He predicted:

And what of the current Fed regime – the Greenspan-Bernanke-Yellen Regime – that promotes higher asset prices and lower borrowing costs, which facilitate stock buybacks amongst other speculative forces? Well, this regime, too, will change. Regression of regime, if ou will. Painfully, politicians, the public, businessmen, and possibly even some economists will recognize the current regime as a failed experiment.

And on the “limitations of homo sapiens”? Grantham observed:

Not only does our species have a strong predisposition to be optimistic (or bullish) – it is probably a useful survival characteristic – but we are particularly good at listening to agreeable data and avoiding unpleasant data that does not jibe with our beliefs or philosophies. Facts, whether backed by 97% of scientists as is the case with man-made climate change, or 99.9% as is the case with evolution, do not count for nearly as much as we used to believe. For that matter, we do a terrible job of planning for the long term, particularly in postponing gratification, and we are wickedly bad at dealing with the implications of compound math. All of this makes it easy for us to forget about the previously painful market busts; facilitates our pushing stocks and markets on occasion to levels that make no mathematical sense; and allows us, regrettably, to ignore the logic of finite resources and a deteriorating climate until the consequences are pushed up our short-term noses.

The take-away from all of the above?

• Grantham forecasts U.S./developed world GDP growth to slow to 1.5 percent
• Investment opportunities may exist in commodities, agriculture, and other things food-related
• The outcome of the Fed’s current monetary policies will be painful
• Human nature- in particular, our unbridled optimism and focus on short-term gratification- will continue to result in asset bubbles and longer-term problems outside of the financial markets/economy/larger financial system

You can read Grantham’s latest investment newsletter on the GMO site here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein)

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Tuesday, August 4th, 2015 Agriculture, Bubbles, Capitalism, Civil Strife, Commodities, Crash Prophets, Energy, Environment, Federal Reserve, Food, GDP, Government, Income, Investing, Monetary Policy, Natural Resources, Population, Stocks, Vehicles Comments Off on Jeremy Grantham Identifies 10 ‘Potential Threats To Our Well-Being’

Marc Faber Shares 2014 Predictions

“Doctor Doom” Marc Faber shared his 2014 predictions on the CNBC/Yahoo! Finance investing show Talking Numbers on December 19. The Swiss-born investment advisor and fund manager predicted the following for next year:

1. The S&P 500 won’t surpass its November 19, 2013, high of 1,813
2. Facebook, Tesla, Twitter, Netflix, and Veeva Systems are “grossly overvalued,” and shorting a basket of these stocks will return at least 30 percent next year
3. Physical precious metals, gold shares, and Vietnamese stocks are “buys”

On precious metals, the publisher of the monthly investment newsletter The Gloom Boom & Doom Report told viewers:

Given all the money printing that is going on globally- not just in the U.S.- and given that the total credit as a percent of the advanced economies is now 30 percent higher than in 2007 before the last crisis hit, I think that gold is a good insurance. So I would buy some physical gold here…

I’d rather buy something that is reasonably priced. And I think gold shares are very inexpensive. So a basket of gold shares, I think, next year could easily appreciate 30 percent.

Dr. Faber was bullish on other equities as well. He said:

I think the Vietnamese stock market, which this year was up 22 percent- which is not bad for an emerging market- will continue to go up.

You can watch the entire Talking Numbers segment with Marc Faber on the Yahoo! Finance website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Sunday, December 29th, 2013 Asia, Commodities, Crash Prophets, Credit, Emerging Markets, Investing, Monetary Policy, Money Supply, Precious Metals, Stocks Comments Off on Marc Faber Shares 2014 Predictions

Jim Rogers Short Technology Stocks

Jim Rogers, the CEO and chairman of Rogers Holdings, revealed to CNBC he is short technology equities. CNBC Associate Editor Shai Ahmed wrote Monday morning:

He said he would be interested in broader technology stocks, but is currently short the sector.

“I am interested in technology in some shape or form, but I can’t imagine buying any of them. They are a bit hot these days and they have been for two or three months, so that’s why I am short. I don’t buy high-priced stocks,” Rogers said.

That includes Facebook as well, according to Ahmed.

(Editor’s note: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page)

Source:

Ahmed, Shai. “Jim Rogers: I Would Not Buy Facebook.” CNBC.com. 30 Jan. 2012. (http://www.cnbc.com/id/46186936/). 2 Feb. 2012.

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Thursday, February 2nd, 2012 Crash Prophets, Investing, Stocks, Technology Comments Off on Jim Rogers Short Technology Stocks
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