Two Sets of Solutions as the Status Quo Crumbles

Two charts illustrate Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform: this chart of the S-Curve of financialization, leverage, debt, central planning, regulatory capture and globalization–that is, the engines of modern “growth”–depicts the inevitable stagnation and decline of these dynamics as overcapacity, debt saturation and diminishing returns take hold.

This chart illustrates the status quo’s insistence on doing more of what has failed spectacularly: since all this worked in the boost phase, the central planning Cargo Cult’s “leadership” is convinced it will all work magically again, if only we do more of it.

Alas, this is magical thinking. One might as well paint radio dials on rocks and expect the rock to magically turn into a functioning radio.

The chart of the Seneca Cliff illustrates how the S-curve of “growth” can continue expanding even as the foundation weakens. As the foundations of real growth weaken– productivity, collateral, social mobility, etc.–the system become increasingly fragile and brittle. But this fragility is masked by the appearance of stability until a crisis cracks it wide open.

Normalcy crumbles into instability, and people and systems accustomed to stable supply chains and political stability struggle to maintain their grip on income streams and resources as abundance slips into scarcity and dependence on central planning becomes a liability of learned helplessness.

The S-curve:

Seneca Cliff:

There are two sets of solutions as stability and financialized “growth” slide into instability and DeGrowth.

1. Acquire skills that will be increasingly scarce and a network of collaborators, customers and suppliers who value/make use of these skills.

2. Create a new mode of production that doesn’t rely on central banks, states and global finance to function: in effect, a decentralized, localized networked system that exists in parallel with the centralized hierarchies of the current mode of production which is centralized, industrialized, globalized, financialized, neofeudal, neoliberal, neocolonial, and dependent on ever-expanding leverage, debt, central planning, regulatory capture and fossil fuel consumption.

I describe the first set of solutions in my book Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy.

The second set of solutions are the subject of my book A Radically Beneficial World: Automation, Technology & Creating Jobs for All.

Ultimately, these two sets of solutions are two facets of the only solution: a more sustainable, just, efficient, decentralized, transparent and opportunity-for-all mode of production.

Naysayers love to claim that these solutions can’t possibly work for the usual array of reasons, which boil down to 1) my identity is dependent on poking holes in others’ solutions or 2) my status and livelihood are dependent on the status quo continuing exactly as it is now or 3) an unexamined faith that the current mode of production is the only possible mode of production.

Note to naysayers: the “solution” that can’t possibly work is the continuation of the status quo. There are only two pathways as the status quo arrangement destabilizes, decays and decoheres: 1) a doomed nostalgia for “solutions” that are no longer attainable (for example, Cargo Cults of “endless growth”) or 2) an alternative set of solutions that are sustainable because they are localized, networked, democratized, opt-in and self-funded.

We are about to start a painful learning process about what is “impossible” and what is inevitable. Once it becomes self-evident that the current mode of productionis not sustainable, we’ll have no choice but to try more sustainable modes of production that are not just more efficient but that offer greater stability, opportunity and social mobility.

Join me in seeking solutions by becoming a $1/month patron of my work via

My new book is #8 on Kindle short reads -> politics and social science: Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform ($3.95 Kindle ebook, $8.95 print edition)For more, please visit the book’s website.

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  • Oct 24, 2016 MORE PROOF: The Fed. Has Truly Lost Control.

    • madrino

      True! Manipulation of all commodities and financial instruments are out of control!


      Just FYI, that is the ‘pump and dump’ methodology, illustrated in a quick visual. It’s true. When they say buy, you should hold back. When they say sell, you should wait. When the markets are supposedly stagnant, that is a good time to utilize your carefully carved out leverage and participate. As a consumer in markets I prefer the thrifty method. I hedge purchase non perishables and durable goods at the bottom. I participate in real estate at the bottom. I live a mostly debt free lifestyle. Sure it was tougher to get credit in those markets, but if you can, it’s always smarter to pay less. Our next move is self sustainable greenhouse with self contained off grid solar. Now if only we could do away with this compulsory insurance problem which has now spread beyond house and auto, all the way into medical. What’s next compulsory life insurance? These are my dollars, every single dollar spent should be at my discretion completely. All forms of compulsory insurance represent taxation without representation. The economic analysis of the the day are like the author stated, dependent on the status quo of the current mode. Break the mold. If you owned a little home, you could free up a lot of consumer power. If you did not bleed out monthly subscription monies you’d have more to spend on owned and fungible items. etc, etc.

  • madrino

    Amen. A confederation of states with distributed strength among self sustaining communities that are cohesive but loosely coupled, tied together by cooperative agreements for the benefit of the common good (like the old time utilities projects). Two thumbs up on the Edward Abby picture.


      That’s the America I know and love. There is a saying; Your vote is in your wallet. / It continues to be the most important vote available, and we make it daily. Being an ethically concious consumer has dramatic and much further reaching influence than simply voting at the polls. It takes a lot of effort, but we learn one product at a time and boycott permanently one company at a time. Organic eating does more to stop environmental issues than being an activist. Being self sustainable and refusing all forms of debt builds a strong financial future in much shorter time than higher education for most people. Madrino, sounds like America to me bro. Power to the people. We The People. Our next family move is to get a greenhouse going on in backyard structure, roughly the size of a normal shed. Then we’ll run a small shed as a self contained battery housing unit which holds the batteries and inverters for the few solar panels staged. Then that bad boy atrium could hopefully continue to produce right through the winter, heat source and all. Integrated solar is not quite as strong as self contained if you ask me. I’m all for social reform so we can get back to the republic ideology. Ron Paul; One thing is for certain; The founding fathers never intended for the citizens to pay nearly half of everything they earn to the government. I’m a believer these institutions have enough money to get the job done and then some. I refuse to contribute or feed their growth until they can learn to be more efficient with the funds. Beans and rice for all welfare applicants. Remove patent rules. Stop cash for people private prisons. Lifetime ban on lobbyists. We the citizens stand against citizens united. And so on and so forth. The American dream to me is owning land and home and being able to drop out or be charitable at any given moment, not being obligated to serve another. Loving the articles here, thank you.

      • madrino

        I agree with much of what you say. However, many of the founding fathers were not so good. The federalists were voted out of existence for a reason. Direct from congressional records:

        Bank of the United States incorporated. An act to incorporate the subscribers to the Bank
        of the United States. (Expired.) Feb. 25, 1791 …………………………… 191
        Bank of the United States, Supplementary Alct to the Alct incorporating the. An act supplementary
        to an act entitled “An act to incorporate the subscribers to the Bank of
        the United States. (Obsolete.) March 2, 1791……….. ………………………… 196

        Andrew Hamilton and his fellow Judas minions created a PRIVATELY owned First Bank of the United States, of which most of the subscriptions were foreign, although non-voting, they did hold ownership until 1811. Then came the war of 1812, the owners wanted it back. Over 100 years later, the Third Bank of the United States, WITH STOCKHOLDERS, was created before America went to war, along with the new Income Tax so the people could pay for their own slaughter and the slaughter of others. Another law of Selective Service was also enacted before the war. The federal police bureau was created to put down dissent. It can be found at the 63rd congress, 2nd session chapter 6. It is not federal, it has no reserves, it makes money out of thin air
        Woodrow Wilson was played by the Creatures from Jeckyll Island, who also ran WWI with Bernard Baruch at the helm for the greatest campaign of war profiteering in history.

        If it was American’s treasury, do you think we would charge usury fees on ourselves? Would there be a reason to go to war? Some of the founding fathers like Jefferson stated that the whole idea was a scam, absolutely unconstitutional, and copied from the Bank of England!

        Gold and silver are a product of the Copper Age, a creation of priests and “teachers” at a time where god only to the rarest metals and usury was used to control the “unwashed”. It’s actual value in industry is far less, used throughout history mostly as adornment. Later, they became the The Bronze and Iron ages showed progression and the priest/teacher class turned into full time bankers, gold and silver maintaining stupid high values as the hard metals were vastly more useful. The tally stick is more intelligent. Lincoln and Kennedy, knew, as other before them, that an agreed on piece of paper and coin for the facilitation of trade of goods and services, would eliminate usury fees, increase productivity between the people that do the work, cut out much of the middle men who get their money for doing nothing but playing with the money created by the people that actually produced goods and services, and bring prosperity to the real creators. The real job creators are those that make the goods and services for the consumption engine, not by bystanders. The people can be their own capitalists if government didn’t follow big business and big money who put up big walls to enter into performing a trade of their own choosing.

  • diogenes

    The quotation from St. Edward Abbey is to the point. And that’s why Americans are being turned into debt serfs dependent on regimented blind obedience to corporate oligarchs for basic survival.

  • David Schultz

    The author contends that the leadership is does not comprehend what damage it is doing to the American economy. Many of us would now contest that notion rather that the leadership knows exactly what it is doing. There is simply nothing beneficial in their plans for most of us.

  • ICFubar

    I wonder if the massive debts will be foreclosed on and the assets/collateral all for sale at once and suddenly finding true price discovery while the bankers sail on to create knew banks to replace the failed ones?

    Smith’s books could offer valuable advice to those in the work force age group if the reader has the get up to take the advice.