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

Subscribe or login to read all comments.


Donate Shop

Get Your Subscriber Benefits

Private iTunes feed for all TF Metals Report podcasts, and access to Vault member forum discussions!

Key Economic Events Week of 8/19

8/21 10:00 ET Existing home sales
8/21 2:00 ET July FOMC minutes
8/22 9:45 ET Markit Manu and Svc PMIs
8/22 Jackson Holedown begins
8/23 10:00 ET Chief Goon Powell speaks

Key Economic Events Week of 8/12

8/13 8:30 ET Consumer Price Index
8/14 8:30 ET Retail Sales
8/14 8:30 ET Productivity & Labor Costs
8/14 8:30 ET Philly Fed
8/14 9:15 ET Ind Prod and Cap Ute
8/14 10:00 ET Business Inventories
8/15 8:30 ET Housing Starts & Bldg Permits

Key Economic Events Week of 8/5

8/5 9:45 ET Markit services PMI
8/5 10:00 ET ISM services PMI
8/6 10:00 ET Job Openings
8/8 10:00 ET Wholesale Inventories
8/9 8:30 ET Producer Price Index

Key Economic Events Week of 7/29

7/30 8:30 ET Personal Inc/Spending & Core Inflation
7/30 10:00 ET Consumer Confidence
7/31 8:15 ET ADP employment
7/31 2:00 pm ET FOMC Fedlines
7/31 2:30 pm ET CGP presser
8/1 9:45 ET Markit Manu PMI
8/1 10:00 ET ISM Manu PMI
8/2 8:30 ET BLSBS
8/2 10:00 ET Factory Orders

Key Economic Events Week of 7/22

7/23 10:00 ET Existing home sales
7/23 10:00 ET Richmond Fed Manu Idx
7/24 9:45 ET flash Markit PMIs
7/25 8:00 ET Count Draghi/ECB policy meeting
7/25 8:30 ET Durable Goods
7/25 8:30 ET Wholesale Inventories
7/26 8:30 ET Q2 GDP first guess

Key Economic Events Week of 7/15

7/15 8:30 ET Empire State Fed Index
7/16 8:30 ET Retail Sales and Import Price Index
7/16 9:15 ET Cap Ute and Ind Prod
7/16 10:00 ET Business Inventories
7/17 8:30 ET Housing Starts and Building Permits
7/18 8:30 ET Philly Fed
7/19 10:00 ET Consumer Sentiment

Key Economic Events Week of 7/8

7/9 8:45 ET Fed Stress Conference, three Goon speeches
7/10 8:30 ET CGP Hump-Hawk prepared remarks
7/10 10:00 ET CGP Hump-Hawk House
7/10 10:00 ET Wholesale Inventories
7/10 2:00 ET June FOMC minutes
7/11 8:30 ET CPI
7/11 10:00 ET CGP Hump-Hawk Senate
7/11 12:30 ET Goon Williams
7/12 8:30 ET PPI

Key Economic Events Week of 7/1

7/1 9:45 ET Markit Manu PMI
7/1 10:00 ET ISM Manu PMI
7/1 10:00 ET Construction Spending
7/2 6:35 ET Goon Williams
7/3 8:15 ET ADP June employment
7/3 8:30 ET Trade Deficit
7/3 9:45 ET Markit Services PMI
7/3 10:00 ET ISM Services PMI
7/3 10:00 ET Factory Orders
7/4 US Market Holiday
7/5 8:30 ET BLSBS

Key Economic Events Week of 6/24

6/25 10:00 ET New Home Sales
6/25 1:00 pm ET Chief Goon Powell
6/25 5:30 pm ET Goon Bullard
6/26 8:30 ET Durable Goods
6/27 8:30 ET Q1 GDP final guess
6/28 8:30 ET Personal Income and Consumer Spending
6/28 8:30 ET Core Inflation
6/28 9:45 ET Chicago PMI

Key Economic Events Week of 6/17

6/18 8:30 ET Housing Starts and Building Permits
6/19 2:00 ET FOMC Fedlines
6/19 2:30 ET CGP presser
6/20 8:30 ET Philly Fed
6/21 9:45 ET Markit flash June PMIs

Recent Comments

by Winder, 14 min 42 sec ago
by seneca sam, 15 min 27 sec ago
by lakedweller2, 33 min 4 sec ago
by SteveW, 59 min 38 sec ago
by bruinjoe, 1 hour 8 min ago

Forum Discussion

by NW VIEW, 35 min 30 sec ago
by sierra skier, 6 hours 52 min ago
by NW VIEW, 7 hours 54 min ago
by Porros, Aug 21, 2019 - 5:00am
by sierra skier, Aug 20, 2019 - 5:12pm