Snapshots of the Great Unwinding, 1st person, 50 words or less

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#1 Thu, Jun 16, 2011 - 8:02am
Plan B
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Snapshots of the Great Unwinding, 1st person, 50 words or less

Challenge: document the unwinding of the just-in-time, cheap-oil-and-debt fueled consumer culture in 50 words or less. Make a verbal snapshot of the collapse/transformation - including positive aspects. Post as often as you want.

I'm interested because I live in Uruguay. Property values are soaring in glitzy Punta del Este - up 80% in three years. For most locals, though, there's an order of magnitude less distance to fall than in the USA: less affluence (real or imagined), not a consumer/credit society for the most part, families important, no universal fear programming as in the USA, benign police.

I read about TSA gropers, militarized police, foreclosures, food stamps, tent cities and RV living in WalMart parking lots, floods and drought and impending food crisis. What are you seeing day to day?

No essays, no analysis: just focused observations. Preferably 50 words or less. Extra points for haiku ;-)

calm in uruguay
but nothing lasts forever
dollars used in trade

Edited by: Plan B on Nov 8, 2014 - 5:27am
Thu, Jun 16, 2011 - 10:44am
Gold Nugget
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It is really pretty calm in

It is really pretty calm in USA.

‘Nine times out of ten when I see an attractive woman walking down the street, I turn and take another look. Ten times out of ten she does not turn around to check me out.’
Fri, Jun 17, 2011 - 3:53pm (Reply to #2)
Plan B
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It's also calm before a storm.

Gold Nugget wrote:
It is really pretty calm in USA.

It may be calm, but I can feel the seething underneath the surface from 8,000 miles away. Where are you that you have no sense of that?

This observation from 'Simon Black' arrived today:

I was enjoying a perfectly nice afternoon yesterday walking around the Upper West side. When I got to Lincoln center, roughly at the corner of Broadway and W 62nd Street, reality set in. No fewer than ten NYPD storm troopers were 'patrolling' the sidewalk outside in full combat gear: Kevlar helmet, flak vest, semi-automatic 9mm sidearm, and Colt model 933 ... A few of them had M203 variety grenade launchers fitting snugly underneath the barrel.

I'm sure the scene was calm there that day, but to make that observation would be rather profoundly missing the point, no?

Sun, Jun 19, 2011 - 12:55am
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The product of my own labor.

No taxes will be collected when I bring my carrots from the garden to my table. The fruit on the trees I planted will create no jobs when my children eat them for breakfast. The eggs from my chickens will generate no revenue in my frying pan. These are small things- a few apples not bought, a few less trips to the store. But they are something more, too. They are the products of my labor, put forth for my and my families benefit in a manner entirely outside the system. The most profoundly transformative aspects of the great unwinding will be quiet acts of self- reliance, defying a system reliant on both our participation and our dependence. I choose to labor for my own ends. I am not alone.

Sun, Jun 19, 2011 - 1:44am
Aronnax
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US New England - denial/repression but subconscious realization

Colleagues with faces drawn, circles under their eyes. Yet chatting about the Royal Couple or Rep. Weiner, studiously avoiding meaningful discourse. The few that I talked to about the "true" state of things are sometimes positively panicky, as realizing the need to prep still causes acute cognitive dissonance. Must help more.

Mon, Jun 20, 2011 - 4:48pm
Captain Silver
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Snapshot of a dead industry

Non commercial aviation and small commercial aviation:

Over the past 10 years:

Asset prices down up to 95% in some markets,

We closed a deal on an older business jet a couple of months ago. They were asking 2.7 million in 2007, got the plane for 150k. We chopped it up for spare parts and scrap.

Fuel costs up over 100%, some of it do to price gouging. Ten years ago when a gallon of jet fuel was under $2, no one was making $3-4/gal dollar profits. Greed has caused the industry to feed on itself.

Regulatory compliance requirements that arose as a result of lobbying by sectors of the industry competing against each other has resulted in a whole new class of support services that have spiked annual operating budgets for aviation operators by ~30% before fuel costs since 9.11, mostly without promoting any increase in security, safety or efficiency. I like to say that we're being sacrificed in the name of progressive security theater.

Decreased activity has led to layoffs, closings, loss of tax revenue with a larger and larger portion of money being spent on bureaucratic overhead.

All of this has reduced employment and stunted forward growth in what was once a uniquely American, strong, high wage, high skill industry. 

And BTW, no signs of recovery. By most metrics the downward spiral continues in this sector of our economy.

Our monetary system has been hijacked by morons! Abandon ship!!!!
Mon, Jun 20, 2011 - 4:52pm
Captain Silver
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Sorry

Sorry, didn't see the 50 words or less part.

Summarized: The US aviation industry is screwed. Until I got out last year, I felt like my government had declared war on my way of life. 

Our monetary system has been hijacked by morons! Abandon ship!!!!
Mon, Jun 20, 2011 - 4:56pm
uptofreedom
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The Land of the Free Once a

The Land of the Free

Once a bright, shining beacon

Now Too Big to Fail

Tue, Jun 21, 2011 - 5:50am (Reply to #7)
Plan B
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Carry on!

Captain Silver wrote:
Sorry, didn't see the 50 words or less part.

No sweat - thanks for writing more!

I marvel here (Uruguay) at people - including a retired commercial pilot - who make lifestyle plans predicated in the ready availability of cheap, fast, and easy long-distance travel. Personally, I think dirigibles would be cool ;-)

Tue, Jun 21, 2011 - 6:23am (Reply to #6)
Plan B
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Amen.

Captain Silver wrote:
I like to say that we're [airline business] being sacrificed in the name of progressive security theater.
Tue, Jun 21, 2011 - 6:26am (Reply to #5)
Plan B
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Cognitive dissonance, breeding ground for zombies

CD wrote:
Must help more.

I admire the urge to help, but wonder how much one can do at this point. Some people don't want to know, like a friend who's traveled widely (more than my 45+ countries) who's convinced that everywhere but the USA is a corrupt third world shithole. (Been to Detroit lately?)

Tue, Jun 21, 2011 - 6:54am
mastercylinder
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with apologies to Basho, Leon Thomas, & Robbie Plant!

take da trip where it be hip

to unwind longside the great unwinding

road dat never end

my beggared n befuddled friend.

there really is no stairway to heaven

just live beyond 7/11, 24/7; 

& you will find why Bodhidharma headed West at last!

east be west and west be

we out!

‘I turned their right, pierced their centre, broke them everywhere; the day was mine, and yet they did not know it and would not run.’ Marchal Soult, (despatches to Napoleon)regarding the 57th Middlesex Regiment @ the Battle of Albuera 16 May 1811
Tue, Jun 21, 2011 - 6:56am (Reply to #11)
Silver bear of very little brain
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Meanwhile, in Iberia

Every time I go into town (Eastern Spain) more and more businesses' have folded, a recently opened Mall sees shops open and close in what appears to be an ever accelerating cycle. The owners now rent out floor space in the walkways to market stall type operators selling pointless tat and probably undermining the shop renters yet further. Neglected orange and lemon groves are being ripped out and replanted as vegetable gardens in a good few places.

I like my honey solid and golden
Tue, Jun 21, 2011 - 7:11am
Maximillion
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Uk snapshot

Unemployment; 25% 18-25yr olds, $50k university debt for those who try.

Lots of part-timers for the other age groups. Shopping prices up 25% from xmas so local pubs are struggling as people reduce the number of nights going out.

Manufacturing; Traditional Gone, now mainly service employing eastern eu workers who send £ back home (don't blame them)

Housing; younger generation can't afford to buy, older can't afford to sell for less.

= Stagnation !

Tue, Jun 21, 2011 - 7:25am
BlackHawk
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In Flippin' Florida

As War is America's Business

Pay is fat to hone the drone,

or play with magnet power.

Call Raytheon and General Dy.

Else, No Soup For You!

Homeless nest shared with gators.

Under bridge,

Sell Sunday papers wearing DayGlo vest

For Safety.

Tue, Jun 21, 2011 - 10:38am (Reply to #11)
Aronnax
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@Plan B - zombies vs. deer in headlights

I used to hold a similar view towards many/most Americans myself. But as I tried to explain to others my sentiment toward this country where I have now spent almost half my life -- if you can't find decent, intelligent, cool people with a sense of humor in a country of 300M+, the problem lies within you...

The folks I am talking about have finally realized that things are massively awry, and not getting better anytime soon -- whether due to my input or on their own. They just lack self-confidence to take necessary steps, having never done "it" before. They are in the paralysis phase of realization that comes after denial.

Those that continue to talk about putting their 401k money in REITs, discussing poor Princess Kate's life in a gilded cage or incessantly blathering about reality/contest shows -- no, life is too short to try to help those folks. And you are right, they are by far in the majority.

Then there are also the friends/ex-colleagues whom I have not even tried to warn yet. You are right, there is only enough room and rowing power on my life boat for me & the family - yet perhaps those still on the ship's deck may yet have a better chance in the water, even if swimming with a life preserver or holding onto a barrel, than they would aboard the good ship Titanic.

Tue, Jun 21, 2011 - 10:53am
Hackswell
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Uruguay

Plan B wrote:

No essays, no analysis: just focused observations. Preferably 50 words or less. Extra points for haiku ;-)

calm in uruguay
but nothing lasts forever
dollars used in trade

Do people know about and appreciate gold and silver? And other commodities? How well do you think Uruguay would be if the dollar started sliding at an even steeper slope? Would Uruguay get caught unaware, or would they figure out something quick? (In your mind... nobody can REALLY know what a politician thinks or will do!)

Tue, Jun 21, 2011 - 11:53am (Reply to #10)
Captain Silver
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You got it much worse!

Plan B wrote:
Captain Silver wrote:
I like to say that we're [airline business] being sacrificed in the name of progressive security theater.

No, you guys are getting taken out back and beaten senseless. When ever I fly the airlines and see crew stripping in front of a full body scanner I give the "Security Theater" a big fat thumbs down! Ridiculous!

Our monetary system has been hijacked by morons! Abandon ship!!!!
Tue, Jun 21, 2011 - 9:45pm (Reply to #6)
fatcat
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That is sad

Wow Captain,

Didn't realize the small aircraft industry crashed and burned like that. My dad use to be a mechanic for Cessna, working on the Citation business jet back in the late '70's and early 80's. He made good money - working on aircrafts is nothing like working on cars.

Looks like another nail in the coffin for America.

Tue, Jun 21, 2011 - 9:49pm
UGrev
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What ever you do, don't turn

What ever you do, don't turn the lights on. I want to make believe these are real tits I'm feeling but I know it's probably a fat roll.. dear god, let the bulb be broken.. *flick*.. 

Wed, Jun 22, 2011 - 9:21am (Reply to #20)
Plan B
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@uptofreedom @mastercylinder

@uptofreedom @mastercylinder @BlackHawk - awesome and inspiring contributions!

@Silver bear of very little brain @Maximillion - thanks for the insights from Europe!

@CD "-- if you can't find decent, intelligent, cool people with a sense of humor in a country of 300M+, the problem lies within you..." Ironically, I've found many more decent, intelligent cool Americans in a country 1/100 that size ... or perhaps not so ironic, given that it takes a little more effort to get here than say, driving to Mexico, where the expats I knew reflected the 'average' American's outlook. In addition to travel, this is the 6th country I've lived in. Since teenage years I've (not always successfully) shunned the American consumer mentality. I don't have my school yearbooks, and I designed them. Part of me is traveler, nomad - I commented to a friend in college that my goal should be to have all my possessions fit in a shoebox [ironically, given iPod and netbook and foundation and corporation, at this point it would be feasible, just not in the wandering-Taoist way I imagined at the time ;-] In terms of what we're discussing, I have to remind myself that I'm an outlier.

"Then there are also the friends/ex-colleagues whom I have not even tried to warn yet." I hear you. The handwriting has been on the wall, the history-echoing trends in place for some time. When I started becoming aware of this stuff in 1986, it was a matter of faith. Today, it's right in front of everybody's face - and most are hypnotized ... another point that might help explain my situation: I last watched TEEVEE on a regular basis in 1966. Yes, 45 years ago. In my teenage years I became aware of how susceptible I was to falling into a trance-like state watching TV - since definitely proven by studies.

@Hackswell - good questions about Uruguay. Buying gold and silver here presents a challenge, but in any event I don't think that's the answer. Barring a tsunami, Uruguay has some favorable SHTF aspects: 1) nascent consumer culture and credit 2) large percentage of working poor 3) as opposed to the US '3,000 mile salad,' here it mightbe 300 km. Meaning, overall, there's less distance to fall (see Dmitri Orlov). Families and connections are strong, police are weak (memories of the early 80s dictatorship still vivid), and as a tall pink person I don't stand out amongst short brown people (Uruguay is more European than Europe at this point). OTOH, it's highly socialized and all bets are off when 'entitlements' fail. I guess the answer is ya veremos - we'll see.

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