VIDEO: A National Failure to Save & Invest

As detailed in earlier chapters, the US’ debts and unfunded liabilities far exceed its assets. But making matters worse, the country is suffering from a prolonged failure to save and invest — both at the personal and national level.

Being over-indebted and under-capitalized is a recipe for hardship as we move into the future, especially if economic growth is going to be harder to come by (which we forecast in the upcoming chapters on net energy). Each year we continue this deficit makes us less able to withstand systemic shocks (a 2008-style financial crisis, an energy shock, the outbreak of war), some number of which lie undoubtedly ahead at some point.

How did we get to this point? Do we really want to pass these problems along to future generations? Questions like these should be front and center in the national debate, but sadly, are not. We need to work to change that — and in the interim, lead by example at the individual level.

For the best viewing experience, watch the above video in hi-definition (HD) and in expanded screen mode

Coming next Friday: Chapter 17: Bubbles

For those who simply don’t want to wait until the end of the year to view the entire new series, you can indulge your binge-watching craving by enrolling to The entire full new series, all 27 chapters of it, is available — now– to our enrolled users.

The full suite of chapters in this new Crash Course series can be found at

And for those who have yet to view it, be sure to watch the ‘Accelerated’ Crash Course — the under-1-hour condensation of the new 4.5-hour series. It’s a great vehicle for introducing new eyes to this material.

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  • jadan

    There is no “national failure to save and invest”. Scratch the surface of Chris Martenson and you find that old tyme religion, in which God’s elect are wealthy and wise and bound for heaven, and the sinners are lazy, parasitical entitlement addicts hell-bound for sure. With Chris, it’s an individual thing. You can change the economy by practicing virtuous saving and investing all by yourself! It’s not a question of our monetary system, it’s individual virtue. Inspire your friends by burning your candles at both ends, picking up pennies from the gutter, and buying the cheaper single-ply tissue. Your irritated anus will remind you throughout the day that you saved $1.29 and will go to heaven for sure!

    But, seriously now, the dilemma Chris presents, has nothing to do with individual failure, or government failure. It is the failure of our monetary system. People will save and invest if they have a surplus of income. They save and invest if they can afford to do it! The system we have, called the Federal Reserve, is a private monetary system based on debt. What the government spends, it must borrow at interest. The people are taxed to pay this interest. The creditors are the wealthy, the debtors are all of us, the 99%. Debt overwhelms us not because we have failed to be virtuous, as Reverend Martenson implies, but because the elite, which owns everything, sends our jobs overseas. Autoworkers who once set the standard for middle class prosperity now make bupkiss by comparison.

    The failure of the government is to act in the public interest, but it cannot really do this effectively if it does not control the monetary system. If we want money we have to go into debt to get it. We have to borrow from the rich, to put it simply. Our usury-based monetary system eventually gobbles up all the players, leaving just a very few at the top holding all the assets. It’s the system, Reverend! It’s failing and no amount of personal virtue is going to fix it. We must change our monetary system! People don’t understand what’s happening and you just make it worse when you blame the people. That’s your game, and it’s not helping anyone.

    • Voice of Reason

      These monetary reformers are a curious lot. Blame everything on the banksters (not that they are without sin) and just forget about what the miracle of compound interest will do for the big fish whose grandparents earned their money the old-fashioned way machine-gunning the peasants who made that money for them when those peasants asked for a living wage. THE problem isn’t a monetary system based on debt. Money IS debt. Every greenback created implicitly creates an obligation of the population in whose name that money was created to redeem the claim the holder of that money has on an equivalent amount of society’s real wealth.

      THE problem is the rampant creation- in association with their accomplices the banksters – of too much (money as) debt by Wall Street and its financial engineers. The Wall Street wolves (WSw) work for themselves above all of course. But they also work for the ‘smart money’ (defined as clients smart enough to keep the WSw from stealing them blind) that has decided to get out of the business of making money making things and into the business of just printing money (AKA ‘toxic waste’) and passing it off on a gullible public led to believe it is all for the purpose of saving rather than eating them.

      • jadan

        Money is a system of measuring value. If a government funds an infrastructure project with money it creates ( as Lincoln’s government created the greenback ), the person who receives that money in compensation for working on that infrastructure project creates wealth which that money represents. The worker creates an obligation in the government to pay. The paper money issued by the government is like a coin in that it does not represent debt, in contrast with the “Federal Reserve Note” we currently use, which does represent debt. The person who earns the money is the creator of the real wealth, and that money earned measures the amount of wealth created. It happens that money is created that is not earned. This is the business of Wall Street: to create unearned wealth through usury. This devalues the money. This is our situation today. Our debt-based money in combination with usurers who call themselves “investors” creating illegitimate claims against society’s wealth. Martenson and others of his ilk are oblivious…..