Monday, July 16, 2012

mulling manufacturing

MULLING MANUFACTURING
Now, I’ll be one of the first ones to admit that at times I can think and/or act like a real moron.  My only saving grace is that I love learning anew everyday and I have little ego tied up in my previous “facts” for the simple reason that eventually, if you study continuously, you are going to refute some of your old conclusions.  I loved Nasbit and Toffler way back in the early Eighties.  The Information Economy was a very interesting theory and one I embraced.  But now I wonder how much of that was just Grape Kool-Aid.  Recently as I read more and more about Peak Oil and our economic paradigm imploding, it was easy to understand that after five hundred years of “normal” it was missed by most that once resource growth stopped, so did the economy.  Since the entire infrastructure was built up around growth, it was easy to miss the forest for the trees.  We are educated that growth is normal, our property laws reflect that, our entire banking system can’t survive without it.  Growth is “baked into the cake”.  At the same token, now it is easy to see that besides banking, we had another factor that we had missed.  Manufacturing was also part of that infrastructure.
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I’d been so immersed into the propaganda that our wonderful new Information Age was our salvation and source of All New Good Things, I never stopped to think it was all a brilliant lie.  I just went along with the Factory As Dinosaur thinking.  Now, you can certainly have an Information Age.  That is not the point.  The point is that you can’t have one resting on the structure that used to support a manufacturing economy.  Hell, a civil war was fought in this country to usher in the factory economy, entire regions were colonized to draw in raw materials ( Yankee Scum Industrialists obviously learned well at the feet of their Anglo hero’s ) and the country almost tore itself apart as we lost the factories.  Yet, blissfully snoozing through that period as a child I just bought into the new school thinking that none of that mattered and our new worship of the silicon chip would be akin to a new, stronger deity saving his favored children.  Long before I became a survivalist writer, I was already deluding myself that all would actually be A-Okay in the end ( or at least buy us a lot of time ).
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Look at the state of the globe right now.  Everyone is doing poorly, everyone is on the edge of the abyss, but those doing less poorly are usually engaged in building things.  Not because we all need things.  In the end, the only thing we need are basic foods and fuel and shelter.  None of which need come from a factory.  If you come right down to it, all factories are doomed, churning out nothing life saving ( with a few exceptions of course- the last factory will most likely be churning out ammunition ).  So, of course in the end they will all close.  And if the globe is awash in production capacity, coupled with economic downturn, why in the world would factory nations be doing better than Information ones?  I contend that since all financial manipulation economies are walking zombies, the only thing that still has a resemblance to reality is manufacturing.  They are resting on the infrastructure that spawned them.  The information economy is resting on the electric grid and the Internet.  Which in itself would be fine.  But the real economic activity spawned by the microchip was always banking.  The Information Economy just got a free ride out of it.  The Information Economy is just as profitable as always, but the banking economy is most certainly not.  We fooled ourselves into thing the parasite was the profit center. 
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So, while manufacturing’s days are numbered, the decline in energy and all ores will certainly see to that, they are in much better health than the financial sector.  China is not doing so well because they will outlast us and be the new empire, or are better run, but simply because until the energy runs out they are better suited to the structure put into place centuries ago by others.  They are already masters of the new, or soon to be new, Salvage Economy.  They will merely be the last man standing, not the new rich kid taking it all over.  Japan might have had manufacturing, which might have been what saved their ass after the Tokyo Housing Bubble, but that all got washed out to sea amidst radioactive foam.  Germany is the sole bright spot in Europe ( one could argue most of the issues there are from using derivatives to fake the statistics enabling weak countries to be admitted into the economic union where the rich countries  could then keep them alive economically ), for now, because they are the manufacturing center.  Manufacturing will end with oil, but for now that is what is rewarded.  Hopefully those nations will do better than us using the grace period to manage contraction.
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Friday, I went shopping at Home Depot.  Good humping golly, that lumber sure adds up fast.  $400 for plywood, $300 for 2x4’s, $300 for concrete blocks, nails and plastic sheeting and $200 for fiberglass insulation.  I haven’t started building due to recent daily rains, but at least I’m prepped for it.  One little fact that really lit a fire under my ass to get this done was that fiberglass insulation contains corn in its manufacture.  I don’t know how much, but I could just see the whole pit project canceled because of the drought and almost sure coming corn failures.  I’m broke once again, but a few uninterrupted paychecks should build up the savings again.  Another side note, I got my first Bison Survival Blog CD sales check in the mail.  I sold seven CD’s in June.  Not a bad haul, with my portion being $36.  Of course, the rotten whoring bastards burning and mailing the thing make more than I do each sale, and I did all the damn work, but I’ll try to ignore that for now.  Thanks to those that bought, and to you others, don’t be shy getting your own copy. 
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3 comments:

  1. I hope you didn't forget the high intensity discharge lamps. Can't grow weed without 'em.

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  2. I think John Micheal Greer's analysis in The Wealth of Nature is most useful, namely that there are three economies: primary (farming, mining, logging, etc.), secondary (manufacturing), and tertiary (finances). Part of the reason the US and China are doing so much better than Europe and Japan is because the former still have a strong primary economy. In the case of the US I think a lot of our wealth and power comes from being "breadbasket to the world". The current drought may dramatically reveal that.

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  3. Our whole system is based on growth.
    To a large degree this means physical growth.
    More material to make more widgets, so as to raise and support a family. Rinse,repeat.

    That's well and good when there's only a billion or two people in the world, but it is unsustainable with 7 billion.
    The estimates (go research it for yourself) is that approximately 3 football stadiums of people (150,000) are added to the world EACH 24 hours.

    Think about the issues we've grown up hearing for decades:
    rain forest depletion,loss of fertile land, ocean fisheries exhausted, lack of fresh water sources, ozone holes in atmosphere, species extinction, smog, pollution,traffic congestion,forest being clear cut, etc etc etc.

    All this comes about because Joe Smuck is simply trying to make a living as his ancestors before him.

    It doesn't work once a certain critical mass is doing it. Instead it overwhelms the ability of the planet to renew itself.

    Even our money system is based on growth.

    All this needs to be addressed and the first step is to acknowledge the problem.

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