Post-SHTF Critical Occupational Thinking Skills

Wed, Jul 2, 2014 - 10:34pm

When the almighty dollar ends its reign, likely occurring marginally and incrementally, although imperceptibly as I write this, what kinds of thinking skills will emerge as being valuable, specifically those geared towards providing a living?

Is the answer none, since most occupational thinking skills are based on inefficient industries only kept alive by misallocated capital from the western fiat banking system? I ask this because it dawned on me today that my entire livelihood is based strictly on a rules-based system of dispute resolution. The barriers to entry are extremely high, and once in the profession, longevity tends to lead to a steady source of clients and income seemingly based on longevity alone. There is a constant addition of supply of new lawyers, while the attrition through various means tends to cull the herd somewhat. But, the simple fact remains: there are thousands and thousands of lawyers within 100 miles of me. What are we all going to do when t SHTF?

On that point as well, look around, and ask where do the best and brightest go once they get their educations? Do they join engineering firms en masse? [Dagney will say hell no]. Do they become teachers and professors? Some, but not the vast majority. Instead, those best and brightest go into finance. But what will happen to all of them when the system resets?

I started thinking of this in earnest today, as I slogged through a four page letter from an opposing counsel, from a big, nationwide firm, who graduated from a big, prestigious undergraduate college, and went to a top ten law school. Here is this stellar thinker, trained at the best schools this country [USA] has to offer, and this great thinker is trifling over scheduling of depositions. Seriously. Four pages to try to work out a simple schedule for four witnesses to testify. Not one phone call was made to me. Instead, I got a four page letter, replete with citations to the Code of Civil Procedure, threats of going to court and getting a protective order, demands to reschedule, musings of unfairness, the list goes on and on. Why did I get a letter and not a phone call?

Here's why: that brilliant attorney, because she is from a great undergraduate college, and a top ten law school, working at a big, nationwide law firm, is paid a LOT of money. In exchange for her law firm paying her astronomical salary, she has to generate enough billable hours every month to justify her existence. She does not work on one case. She has dozens. She must generate billable hours that some client pays for, in order to keep her job. She is a slave to the billable hour. She needs to bill at least 180 hours every month, just to keep her job. If she wants a promotion, she has got to put in 200 or better billable hours every month. That is billable hours. That means some of her time she cannot bill for, and that means she works even more hours than the net billables at the end of the month.

So, what incentive does she have to pick up the phone and call me? NONE. She bills an hour to draft a letter, purporting to "solve" a legal problem on the case. What an utter waste of time. This goes on day after day, year after year. She is an expert at quibbling. Makes my wife look like a saint. But what kind of skill set is that, really? [the lawyer, not the wife!]

In a post-SHTF world, does the expert quibbling lawyer have marketable skills? Does her thought process add value to anything? For that matter, does my existence as a trial lawyer for the workers subjected to illegal employer practices, create any value at all down the road should the dollar cease existing as the hegemon? I say yes and no.

It is in this spirit that I write this blog today. We all need to take an assessment of our real-life skills we have, and not pigeonhole ourselves into believing we are skilled solely by the label we give ourselves, or others put on us.

For example, in a quarter-century of plying my craft, I have seen and dealt with untold numbers of human beings, in all their wonderful shapes, forms, and states. I have seen firsthand abysmal living conditions, unspeakable aftermath from horrific violence, all sorts of bad behavior and its results, as well as crafty, shifty, brilliant con-artists and psychopaths and had to learn how to deal with them. I have won and lost, and have experienced all the emotions one can experience. I have dished out misery, and extreme joy. I have looked into the eyes of cold blooded criminals, and well as victims of interfamily sexual predation.

I know how to deal with people, listen to them, and solve their problems, using a rules-based dispute resolution system. My skills are universal. I am an experienced, expert, human condition problem-solver. I spot issues. I have command of years of arcane information and data. I routinely critically think, and defend my reasoning while at the same time attacking others who try to attack me. I am skilled at rapid-fire thinking under pressure. I am cool under pressure, and can deliver a scathing rebuke, or a soothing pleasantry. In short, I am the community leader that no community can be without. But no one will pay me a fraction of what I make, so I best be able to do something else!

Now for the transition. What does this have to do with post-SHTF critical occupational thinking skills? It leads me to the point, that we need to also be focused on developing ADDITIONAL skills, because one never knows what thinking skills will be in demand.

Notice I said "thinking skills," not manual skills. There is a big difference.

In a post-SHTF environment, the survivors are likely those who are neither rabid ideologues, nor meek followers. Both of those types will almost certainly be wiped out or imprisoned. Instead, the survivors will be those that can THINK, and be nimble and adapt and survive.

I look at that brilliant attorney opposing me, and I ask: "what skills does she have?" She is a normalcy-bias infected, rabid follower of the status quo. She will be lead around by whomever she perceives is the authority figure. She will not dare speak out, independently, because she has no such body of skills to work with, or any experience doing so. She is a follower. She will huddle with the masses and not be a leader.

Here is another thing I think about, related in a macro kind of way.

In China, they do not have general aviation. That is largely because all of the airspace is controlled airspace from the ground up. That means someone cannot, unlike in the USA, hop in a small private plane and fly across the country. One must get prior government permission, with its reams of red tape, etc. As a result, there exists an astronomically huge opportunity for general aviation companies provided that China opens its airspace to general aviation. I am looking at this intently, and have always kept this in the back of my mind as a possible thing to do should things open up. Similarly, perhaps Africa is the last aviation frontier with China backing. Who knows? Remember, I am an experienced, professional pilot. I make my living as a trial lawyer, but should the situation arise, I can always ply my trade as a pilot. So, I figure I have something to fall back on.

Anyhow, I bring this up, because the regulatory frame-work here in the USA is simply getting beyond oppressive to the point that two economies are developing. One can make a living in the alternate economy, but one has to appreciate the risk / reward set up. It is knowing that there exists such an opportunity, that sparks the creative juices flowing. Perhaps embarking on a skill useful in the alternate economy right now will lead to an opportunity later when the SHTF?

What will YOU do when it all blows up?

About the Author


Dr Syn
Jul 2, 2014 - 10:41pm


First time for everything

Dr Syn
Jul 2, 2014 - 10:46pm

What will I do when it all blows up?

lock and load boys, the clock just ran out.

Jul 2, 2014 - 11:07pm


When the M.E. is on fire, Israel is invaded by armies from the north, the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas is once again controlled by the hoards from the south and California is just a dust bowl, we will be forced into grabbing a hoe to weed the garden. That will be the new skills that will be needed for a season. Bartering skills will work for a time but when one runs out of items to sell/trade, the real panic will begin.

Most will not be looking for help from those with a PHD, but for someone who can dig up some spuds. jmo

Dr Syn
Jul 2, 2014 - 11:15pm

Their ain't no way that you won't find

those that dig and those with guns.

Jul 2, 2014 - 11:34pm

Like This?

The Good The Bad and the Ugly (HQ).mp4
Jul 3, 2014 - 12:04am

Right now I am thinking....

about marketing a wonder tonic that cures ailments like scabies, foot and mouth disease, meningitis, and sexual dysfunction. For $$$ mas....I will throw in a sure fire batch of mother-in-law silencer tonic. But my real problem is finding a slick lawyer to write an ironclad disclaimer....because an asterisk noting "results may vary" might not work.

Spartacus Rex
Jul 3, 2014 - 12:08am

Hey Cal,...

1) Undoubtedly having “a quarter-century” of experience under the belt, you obviously are aware of the procedures and remedies available to compel quibbling & stalling opposing counsel to commit to scheduling depositions.

2) You also mention being qualified as a professional pilot. Single Prop? Multi- Prop? Jet?

The reason for my asking, is that given both of your professional qualifications, and the current state of the economy, have you considered directly marketing your skills to aviation/capitol leasing firms who have clients in arrears w/ their scheduled payments, and thus in need of qualified individuals to repo the leased aircraft? Pays damm good from what I gather.

3) One bone of contention, is that attorneys invariably seem to be inherently adept in employing euphemisms, rather than speaking plainly. (eg “almighty dollar”)

Since the U.S. Dollar is actually defined in LAW, ergo “Statutory”, I find it wholly disingenuous, bordering on gross incompetence, to use the term “dollar” in a manner which either confuses, or conflicts with its legal definition.

Cheers, S. Rex

Jul 3, 2014 - 12:12am

Trading or Buying Gold

The $1326 has failed in its attempt to become a new bottom for the ninth day in a row. We now face what i have dreaded(but am prepared for).I see we currently are trading $1321 plus change. This had better recover in the NY session or

Captain Orders To:


Jul 3, 2014 - 12:23am

in order of irrelevance....

bankers (mention setting up a central bank= summary execution, period, no appeal)

politicians (this includes lobbiests, staffs et al)

government workers (desk jockies and field supervisors){irs,epa,etc may just wanna keep their pie holes shut, forever, period}

global warming/climate change supporters, "scientists" and their ilk (again, pie hole shut, forever)

corperate ceos, coos board members (does this really need explaining?)

and yes, sorry cal,


addendums as needed

Spartacus Rex
Jul 3, 2014 - 12:25am

@ metals..."Brace For Impact"

This is an incredibly narrow and short sighted focus. Key events transpired earlier in the week, ergo it doesn't matter if TPTB throw everything & the kitchen sink against gold, nothing can, or will stop gold's steady slow march upwards.

Cheers, S. Rex

Jul 3, 2014 - 12:33am

SR you are correct in the grand

scheme of things. I on the other hand speak of timing.Should one wish to acquire more bullion or pm stocks, the time is quickly coming upon all who so desire.Cheap as it will get in this bull market.

More Bang For The Buck. Buying an item at $1326 is as foolish as buying the same at $1600 when you can procure said item at $1200 or $1225.

Just too clarify, Charles Nenner called this 18 months ago.Not events this week. Events are the why. Why will prove itself after the fact as you have so naively pointed out.

Spartacus Rex
Jul 3, 2014 - 12:43am

Metals. Yes, however...

1200-1225 is neither a given, carved in stone, or even remotely possible at this point and only serves to keep the potential bottom fishers sitting on the sideline while the East continues to hoover up non stop, month in, month out, while the physical can still be had. Cheers, S. Rex

Spartacus Rex
Jul 3, 2014 - 12:46am
Jul 3, 2014 - 12:50am


CL Cool... I Did not know you are a pilot...

GA in china is an interesting idea, as much as we bitch about thigns I think GA here is freeer than almost anywhere else.

I'm Pilot as well, my dad ran a bush airline in Alaska and I had pilots license before drivers license.

What and where do you fly....

If you are ever in San Diego I'll give you a ride on my own new (to me) toy... I pick it up next week...

(I also have more traditional aircraft )

Commercial SEL,

Instrument, PP MEL,SES, glider and A+P license.

I take my Commercial MEL and CFI checkrides this month.

I'm doing the CFI because my 27yr old son wants to learn to fly.

As far as other skills, I can build or fix anything and have a Full CNC shop in my garage.

I make my $$ as an embedded systems computer designer/programmer/Entrepreneur.


Jul 3, 2014 - 12:50am

The only thing that will keep the bottom feeders out

are the incessant pumpers that have hollered BTFD from $49 A $1900 A .

For those very same bottom feeders would have done exactly that-they are cash poor and high-priced stack rich.Pm stock over load ,no bids poor.

If you seriously believe that bottom fishers who read this site can some how effect the flow of Eastern demand, you sir must be Mad as in Mad as a hatter.

Jul 3, 2014 - 1:02am

S Rex - Response

Quick reply:

1) Duh. You missed the big picture point I was making. Are you just demonstrating what I was railing against to be obtuse?

2) Your assumption is too narrow. You have not been following my posts for very long. I wrote a long post on dynamic instability, comparing the financial system with the concept of flying a particular flying contraption, referred to by one expert witness as a "flying vibration lab."

As for the job info, no thanks. I like suing companies for illegal employment practices. There is NO shortage of this, so I have an endless stream of clients.

3) Come off the soap box. I'm growing weary of your incessant drivel on this. Please do enlighten us all with your brilliance. Otherwise, please focus on the topic and contribute. What skills can you recommend? Surely you have something worthy to add here, no?

Dagney Taggart
Jul 3, 2014 - 1:03am

Judge Narragansett

Relax CL. There is room for lawyers in the post-dollar world. It depends on what you call "work". Are you the type of lawyer who pushes paper for a fee, adding no value: One who just transfers it? Or do you shine light on the legal loopholes that allow corruption to flourish and what the common man's protection is from the vultures?


"Judge Narragansett (fl. 2011-), in Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged, was a trial judge who left the bench and vanished after his judgment in a case involving a banker accused of loan discrimination was reversed on appeal. He was one of the earliest strikers in the great strike of the men of the mind called by John Galt. At the end of the narrative, he was preparing some badly-needed corrections, additions, and clarifications to the Constitution of the United States."

Spartacus Rex
Jul 3, 2014 - 1:06am

@ metals - Cognitive Dissonance?

Cui Bono? It is your choice to ignore the bullion banksters' re-hypothecation of physical gold. Let us know how that works out, in the remote possibility that paper market charades subsequently manage to indicate a 1200-1225 price. Just do not take umbrage with the LCS who simply tells you to Go Fish. Cheers, S. Rex

Spartacus Rex
Jul 3, 2014 - 1:15am

@ Cal WTH?

I did not miss either the big picture or your professional options, and it was you (ipsi dixit) that brought up when the SHTF. Chill Out. WTH is with the thin skinned sniveling/sniping? Is that your idea of a rebuttal to the point which I was making, or simply a forfeit? If you can't raise the Bar, meet it. If you can't meet it, at least reach for it, for crying out loud. Cheers, S. Rex

Jul 3, 2014 - 1:19am

Cui Bono?-For all, for

Cui Bono?-For all, for all.

ce n'est pas possible.

Go fish? I prefer high stakes Poker.

Trust in this, the local coins here have plenty to sell. Over flowing. The simpletons are selling BECAUSE the pog is falling.Suits me fine, let the idiots sell for the currency de jour.

Spartacus Rex
Jul 3, 2014 - 1:23am

@ metals..

" let the idiots sell for the currency de jour." I am 100% with you on that point Cheers, S. Rex

Jul 3, 2014 - 1:28am


ASMEL, Instrument, Rotorcraft-Helicopter, Instrument.

Had a CFI ASEL, was planning to get full ticket (MEL-II), then ATP, and get on with a commuter then the big boys, but did not like the damn low pay and miserable conditions, let alone the sketchy aircraft of the part 135 outfit I was flying for at the time. I fell asleep one afternoon while bringing an empty plane back to Burbank from Phoenix. It was only for a few minutes, but when I awoke, ATC was asking me why I was entering the MOA north of the I-10 freeway near Blythe. I quickly turned left and descended, hugging the freeway at low altitude until I got past Chiraco Summit. Never did get an FAA letter, so whew!

Anyhow, that seems like ages ago!

Spartacus Rex
Jul 3, 2014 - 2:02am

Dateline: To Catch A Trader

To Catch a Trader (2014)

Video unavailable
Spartacus Rex
Jul 3, 2014 - 2:05am
Spartacus Rex
Jul 3, 2014 - 2:09am
Spartacus Rex
Jul 3, 2014 - 2:14am

Similarities Between 1914 And 2014

This is an excerpt from the latest Global Gold Outlook Report (full paper). Take a free subscription to receive similar updates in the future via e-mail:

As we approach the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, the (non-mainstream) media is starting to talk about the parallels between then and now. Could it be true that there are similarities? In this article, I would like to discuss some of the intriguing, and frankly disturbing, parallels I see between the period just prior to WWI and today. I think that understanding these parallels is of utmost importance, not only because the events leading up to WWI are, in my view, also the indirect cause of the Second World War, but they are important to understand the similar problems we could be facing today.

Geopolitical power shift underway

Until 1914, the British Empire dominated the world by controlling the seas and ruling over many territories and colonies. However, starting 1871 with the unification of the German “Kaiserreich”, Britain’s superpower role became increasingly challenged by the Germans. Germany was becoming an economic giant. By 1913, the Germans produced more steel than Great Britain, Russia and France together, and had overtaken Britain in terms of world industrial output. The basis of this economic success story: Education. The school system was “producing” engineers, scientists and a skilled labor force. Its literacy rate among recruited soldiers was the highest in Europe. Out of 1000 soldiers, 330 in Italy couldn’t read. In Austria-Hungary, it was 220 out of 1000, and in France 68. In Germany, the literacy rate was nearly at 100%. In the 40 years prior to 1913, salaries in Germany more than doubled in most industries (this increase was more or less in real terms due to the strong gold standard). On the other hand, in the richest country on earth at the time, Britain, approximately a third of the population suffered from poverty and was living in slums and under miserable circumstances. I am convinced that one of the key reasons for WWI was the above-mentioned geopolitical and economic power shift and not the fight about good versus evil.

I believe we are seeing similar patterns evolve today. The rising powers in the East under the leadership of China and Russia are calling the Western supremacy, led by the United States, into question. The Western world is facing the biggest economic crisis since WWII and has accumulated the largest amount of public and private debt ever (this is not to say that the East does not have its fair share of problems). Similar to the British situation in 1914, the United States’ share of world GDP is sinking. There is no real reason for optimism that these problems will change any time soon.

No silver lining ahead

Today we have almost 50 million Americans living off of food stamps. The Eurozone’s youth unemployment rate has skyrocketed to between 30% and 60%, and the real economy is far from showing any marked improvement! Steen Jakobsen, chief economist of Saxo Banks recently wrote, “I think people are mistaking low interest rates for a recovery, it’s not. If you look at history, this has happened before in other countries but if the recovery means you have the lowest productivity and the highest unemployment in 10 years, then it’s not really a recovery”.

This dire situation, in combination with the massive loss of production capacity of the West in the past decades, is an explosive mix. This environment where the younger generation is unable to find a job without a prospect of a brighter future can lead to a radicalization of the people over the coming years. This is what worries me the most.

The situation today resembles that of the period prior to 1914; we are currently living in very uncertain and dangerous times. I see the mid-term risk of wide-scale social unrest or possibly a lot more dangerous, the start of a new World War, as each state seeks its own interest instead of the greater good. We already see the re-emergence of nationalism in many countries in Europe. An outright sectarian war in the Middle East can also not be ruled out – any form of clashes within them or between them will have serious consequences, similar to the Balkans prior to 1914.

Profiteers haven’t changed

Prof. Dr. Carroll Quigley, the historian and book writer, gives us an interesting perspective in his 1966 book “Tragedy and Hope”. According to him, the main profiteers of the war were the bankers; their every move was dictated by their own personal interest at the detriment of the British people. Quigley describes what happened at the time as follows: “The British government paid for this war in various ways: by taxation, by fiat-money, by borrowing from banks (which created credit for the purpose), and by borrowing from the people by selling war bonds to them. Each of these methods or raising money had a different effect upon the two chief financial consequences of the war. These were inflation and public debt”.

Similarly in the US, the bankers cemented and increased their power by establishing the “Federal Reserve System” in 1913. At the same time, the income tax was implemented, which in my opinion was done so out of two reasons: first, to create a demand for the currency, and second, so that the government could afford to pay for the debt-based monetary system, which has made governments reliant on central bankers.

To sum it up, the war was paid by the “little” people in the respective countries, be this through inflation or taxation. The large banks and big industries, mainly the military industrial complexes, were the main profiteers.

When we look at the world today, we see the funded and unfunded liabilities of the Western world have skyrocketed in historical comparison. Only during the inter-war period between the First and Second World Wars was the debt level comparable to the levels we see today. The profiteers today are the same as those before and during WWI. In essence, I believe that war does not necessarily need the destruction of human lives, but is defined by loss of the products of human effort. Therefore, I believe that the ongoing “Currency War” is comparable to WWI. Instead of using missiles, currency has become the weapon of mass destruction.

More and more centralization

As we have mentioned, and as the results of the European Parliament elections have shown, the people want more decentralization. This totally opposes the massive increase in centralization we have seen in recent years. The tentacles of the state are increasing on a daily basis and are now touching many aspects of our lives.

In general, legislation worldwide is giving more and more power to the federal government and is undercutting the sovereignty of states. The same is true for the tendencies we had prior to 1914. Some examples include the introduction of the income tax in the US or the fact that prior to 1914, people could move freely without passports throughout Europe. The structure of Europe and its governments was historically loose in the 19th century until the rise of nation states in the beginning of the 20th century.

Imperialism and alliances

When I look at our world today and see what happened within the last 10 years in Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe, one could argue that another parallel is imperialism!

The proper definition of imperialism is: “It is the policy of extending a nation’s authority by territorial acquisition or by the establishment of economic and political hegemony over other nations.” Interestingly, the period between 1870 and 1914 was also called “the era of the European, Russian and American imperialism”. Towards the end of the 19th century, 20% of the global land area and 10% of the global population fell under the rule of the imperial powers. Alignment of British and French interests in Africa and similarly between London and St. Petersburg in Asia had a strong impact on strategic alliances; these political entanglements played a significant role leading to the start of the First World War. We can see that even back then, imperialism was driven by trade and economic interests and access to natural resources in combination with national prestige and power.

Just think about the fact that today, the US has more than 700 military bases in 130 countries around the world. Using Ukraine as the most recent example, we can also see what alliances are at play. We have China and Russia (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) on one side, and the US and NATO on the other. Although both sides have no interest in going to war, the situation remains explosive.

Even today, Africa is not immune from the policies of neo-colonialism and military interventions, as China and the West benefit from natural resources, particularly oil. My mentor, Ferdinand Lips, summed up his views on wars with the following: “Often wars are started to divert attention from problems on the home front. In the Middle East, both aspects are involved: the control over oil resources and the distraction from the disastrous condition of the U.S. financial system.”

Although I neither believe, nor hope, that we are on the verge of a new World War, I see worrisome parallels between the situation today and the situation in 1914.

In such precarious times, I believe that direct and unencumbered ownership of physical precious metals stored outside the banking system is not only your insurance against unexpected monetary events, but especially in the case of an escalation of the political situation. It is crucial here to remember the words of professors Roghoff and Reinhard: “The 5 most expensive words in human history have been ’this time it is different’.”

This is an excerpt from the latest Global Gold Outlook Report (full paper). Take a free subscription to receive similar updates in the future via e-mail:

Spartacus Rex
Jul 3, 2014 - 2:19am
Spartacus Rex
Jul 3, 2014 - 2:23am
Spartacus Rex
Jul 3, 2014 - 2:32am
Spartacus Rex
Jul 3, 2014 - 3:01am

Subscribe or login to read all comments.


Donate Shop

Get Your Subscriber Benefits

Exclusive discount for silver purchases, and a private iTunes feed for TF Metals Report podcasts!

Key Economic Events Week of 6/10

6/11 8:30 ET Producer Price Index
6/12 8:30 ET Consumer Price Index
6/13 8:30 ET Import Price Index
6/14 8:30 ET Retail Sales
6/14 9:15 ET Cap Ute and Ind Prod
6/14 10:00 ET Business Inventories

Key Economic Events Week of 6/3

6/4 All day Fed conference in Chicago
6/4 10:00 ET Factory Order
6/5 9:45 ET Markit Services PMI
6/5 10:00 ET ISM Services PMI
6/6 8:30 ET US Trace Deficit
6/7 8:30 ET BLSBS
6/7 10:00 ET Wholesale Inventories

Key Economic Events Week of 5/28

5/28 10:00 ET Consumer Confidence
5/30 8:30 ET Q1 GDP 2nd guess
5/31 8:30 ET Personal Income and Consumer Spending
5/31 8:30 ET Core Inflation
5/31 9:45 ET Chicago PMI