Globalization Proponents Starting to Sweat

October 11, 2016

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-imf-g-idUSKCN12629J

As illustrated in the above-linked article, advocates of globalization, an experiment embarked upon in the wake of World War II to spread prosperity and avert future wars, are growing desperate to stave off its collapse.  It has indeed spread prosperity to some but a fatal flaw has been exposed.  Instead of turning overpopulated and desperately poor nations into Western-style consumers that would eventually lift the growth rates of economies that they scavenged in the first place, globalization has evolved into more of a host-parasite relationship that has left the “host” economies of Europe (most notably Great Britain, but there are others) and especially the United States, weakened, angry and ready to revolt.  Great Britain already has.  America and others soon will.

Globalization was doomed from the outset thanks the failure of economists to look beyond the resource challenges of overpopulation to consider the economic ramifications of declining per capita consumption and rising unemployment.  Now, a half-century into the experiment, instead of developing into the economic “growth engine” that its architects envisioned, it more resembles a sort of poverty-sharing program where the fortunes of some people have improved somewhat, but only on the backs of the more prosperous who now find themselves unwilling and even unable to sustain it.

Now the world’s ruling elite are calling for a coordinated effort among the host nations and their central banks to boost deficit spending and to keep interest rates near zero, ignoring the risk of eventual economic collapse posed by such reckless policies.

“On Thursday, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said policymakers now have a better recognition of the need for their actions to ‘more immediately, tangibly and clearly, transparently benefit larger segments of the population.'”

All along, we have been assured by the advocates of globalization that all of us benefit, but those benefits may just be too complicated and ethereal for the rest of us to grasp.  No one, at least not in the host countries, is buying it any longer.  Why didn’t globalization provide more benefits that were “tangible, clear and transparent” from the outset?  Because it can’t.  It’s simply impossible for the host in a host-parasite relationship to experience any benefit.  So now they want to administer a little food and medicine to the hosts by jiggering the system, keeping them alive a little longer.

Reducing poverty in the undeveloped world is a noble goal.  I might even be able to get on board with globalization if, at the same time that the host economies were being scavenged, there were provisions to address the root cause of the poverty – gross overpopulation – that necessitated globalization in the first place.  (Before many of you who haven’t read Five Short Blasts freak out, I’m talking about doing this through economic incentives to encourage people to have smaller families.)  But that’s not what globalization’s advocates want.  They not only want to scavenge host economies, but they want the host nations to take in the overflow population from the rest of the world in order to fuel the revenue growth that the global corporations – who fund the campaigns of the ruling elite – demand.

Regardless of how the U.S. presidential election turns out, the pressure to scrap the globalization scheme will only intensify.

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Life Expenctancy for Some U.S. Women Declining

March 5, 2013

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/03/04/study-life-span-women/1963093/

It’s not just “some.”  Life expectancy for women is declining in 43% of the nation’s counties. 

This above-linked USA Today article reports on a University of Wisconsin study of federal CDC (Center for Disease Control) mortality data.

They found that nationwide, the rate of women dying younger than would be expected fell from 324 to 318 per 100,000. But in 1,344 counties, the average premature death rate rose, from 317 to about 333 per 100,000. Deaths rates rose for men in only about 100 counties.

“We were surprised” by how much worse women did in those counties, and by the geographic variations, Kindig said.

The study wasn’t the first to reach those conclusions. Two years ago, a study led by the University of Washington’s Dr. Christopher Murray also looked at county-level death rates. It too found that women were dying sooner, especially in the South.

In Five Short Blasts, I hypothesized that it would be poverty that would eventually stabilize the world’s population.  It’s only logical.  Beyond a critical level, increasing population density erodes per capita consumption.  This is a fact – not theory.  (Just because it hasn’t been recognized yet by the field of economics doesn’t make it any less factual.)  As per capita consumption declines, per capita employment must also decline, resulting in increasing poverty.  And poverty has, throughout history, been the world’s number one killer.  As poverty intensifies, it’s inescapable that life expectancy will decline.

 Some other studies that focused on national data have highlighted steep declines in life expectancy for white women who never earned a high school diploma. Meanwhile, life expectancy seems to be growing for more educated and affluent women.

… the proportion of women who failed to finish high school is also highest in the South.

Note the disparity between “white women who never earned a high school diploma” and “more educated and affluent women.”  There seems to be no agreement among experts as to the exact cause of falling life expectancy in these (predominantly rural) counties, but it seems obvious that the factors that seem to be involved can ultimately be traced back to poverty. 

I’ve been wondering how long it would be before the CDC’s mortality and life expectancy data would begin to reflect the rise of poverty in America.  The CDC seems content with merely reporting the data by age range and race, which is unlikely to expose poverty as a factor (although the data clearly demonstrates that the death rate is highest for blacks where, not coincidentally, the unemployment rate is highest as well).  But these deep-drill studies of the CDC data by independent researchers is beginning to show a clear trend of falling life expectancy among the poor.


Poverty Fueled by Population Growth in the U.S.

December 21, 2012

http://www.reuters.com/subjects/income-inequality/indiana

The above-linked story was the feature article on Reuters yesterday.  It caught my eye because, though I now live in Michigan, Indiana was my home state.  The article uses the state of Indiana as a case study in the growth of poverty in the U.S.  It seems that Indiana has the second fastest-growing poverty rate in the country, second only to Nevada.  I suppose that the writers chose Indiana over Nevada for their case study since it better represents middle-class America, as opposed to a state whose economy is built around gambling and entertainment. 

It’s a very long, thorough treatise of the problem of poverty in America, but it’s this one sentence in particular that reall caught my eye:

The number of Americans below the federal poverty level – $22,350 a year for a family of four – hit 48 million in 2011, 17 million more than in 1989.

With this data, we can do a little math.  In 1989, the U.S. population was 247 million people.  At that time, the number of people living in poverty was 31 million (48 million minus 17 million).  That’s a poverty rate of 12.5%.  In 2011, the U.S. population was 310 million, and 48 million lived in poverty.  That’s a rate of 15.5%.

But consider this:  between 2011 and 1989, the U.S. population grew by by 63 million people, and 17 million have been added to the ranks of the poor.  That means that 27% of the people added to our population since 1989 are below the poverty level! 

The theory I presented in Five Short Blasts predicts that a growing population (once some critical level has been breached) will result in rising unemployment and poverty.  This piece of data corroborates that theory, and even I was surprised at just how rapidly it’s fueling the poverty rate. 

And, as the article points out, all of this is in spite of the fact that the federal government spent a record amount in 2011 to combat poverty.  Given the impetus to cut federal spending, what is the likelihood that this effort to hold back the tide of poverty can be sustained?  Only slightly better than the likelihood that it will address the real root cause of the problem.


Poverty in U.S. at Record Level

November 7, 2011

http://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/income_wealth/cb11-157.html

You probably heard reports about this story last week when the Census Bureau released its annual report on Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage.  The report revealed that the percentage of Americans living at less than 50% of the poverty level hit a new record in 2010.  (See the above link for highlights of the report.)   One out of every 15 Americans (6.7%) has an income of less than $5,570 for an individual or $11,157 for a family of four.  Here’s a link to the table: 

http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/data/historical/people.html    (see table 5)

The percentage of Americans living at or below the poverty level rose for the fourth year in a row to 15.1%, the highest level since 1993.  The Census Bureau began tracking poverty in 1959.  At that time, it was over 22%.  It fell steadily every year until reaching 12% in 1969.  Since then, it has exceeded 15% only three times – in 1983 (15.2%) , 1993 (15.1%) and 2010 (15.1%).  Here’s the chart: 

http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/data/incpovhlth/2010/figure4.pdf

Given that incomes are continuing to decline, it’s a sure bet that the overall poverty rate will rise in 2011 to its worst level since 1966.

This data is of special significance for those who understand the new economic theory I put forward in Five Short Blasts.  If that theory is valid, there are a few key events that we should witness as the U.S. and the world grow more crowded.  We should see unemployment steadily rising and, as a result, we should see poverty rise as well. 

We’ve already seen unemployment rise dramatically with virtually no prospect of decline, at least not as long as current trade and immigration policies are maintained.  And now we see that poverty is on the rise as well, hitting record levels by one measure and close to 40-year highs by another.  One parameter remains – life expectancy.  We should soon see declines in that measure as a result of increasing poverty.  But, alas, it seems that the Center for Disease Control stopped publishing life expectancy data in 2007.  One can only speculate as to the reason why, but perhaps its because the data would be too inflamatory to release to the public.  It’s one thing to hear that the economy is bad.  It’s quite another to hear that you can expect to die sooner.

Since developing this theory in 1993 (and finally publishing the book in 2007), I have seen absolutely nothing to call into question the validity of the inverse relationship between population density and per capita consumption, nor its implications for trade policy.  Conversely, virtually everything we’ve witnessed casts doubt on the prevailing economic theories of growth and free trade – enormous global trade imbalances, the implosion of the global financial system, falling incomes, soaring unemployment, rising poverty and nations collapsing under the weight of their accumulated debts.  And what do we get from the field of economics in response?  Almost comical rationalizations and a shift in focus to goofy new economic theories about “happiness” and “promoting life.” 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to life.  I enjoy the hell out of it.  But, after centuries of promoting population growth because it seemed to make economic sense, to now divert attention from this theory’s failings by suggesting that life should be promoted for some kind of intangible, intrinsic value is indeed preposterous, goofy and comical.  The other sciences once mocked the field of economics for accepting the theories of Malthus.  Where are they now when economists truly deserve to be mocked for abandoning data, reason and scientific curiosity in favor of something more akin to some kind of irrational voodoo-ism? 

* * * * *

There are a couple of nuggets in the summary of the report that merit comment:

  • If you scan the highlights of the report, you’ll see that in some regions of the country or in some demographic group, the data held steady.  But nowhere in the report is there a single instance of any improvement in any group or region in any of the paramters measured – income, poverty and health insurance.
  • Since 2007, the year before the most recent recession, real median household income has declined 6.4 percent and is 7.1 percent below the median household income peak that occurred prior to the 2001 recession in 1999.
  • Since 2007, the number of men working full time, year-round with earnings decreased by 6.6 million and the number of corresponding women declined by 2.8 million.  (In other words, 9.4 million have gone to the unemployment line, not to mention the 6 million new workers who have gone there as well.  That’s a total of 15.4 million added to the ranks of the unemployed since 2007.)
  • In spring 2011, 5.9 million young adults age 25-34 (14.2 percent) resided in their parents’ household, compared with 4.7 million (11.8 percent) before the recession, an increase of 2.4 percentage points.  It is difficult to precisely assess the impact of doubling up on overall poverty rates. Young adults age 25-34, living with their parents, had an official poverty rate of 8.4 percent, but if their poverty status were determined using their own income, 45.3 percent had an income below the poverty threshold for a single person under age 65. 

Regarding that last item, consider the effect on per capita consumption when the number of young people living at home is on the rise and their poverty rate is 45.3%.  Aside from food and clothing, they consume virtually nothing.  Remember, as per capita consumption goes, so too goes employment and poverty – a cycle that begins to feed on itself.


The Sun Won’t Rise Tomorrow

October 5, 2011

No, this isn’t a prediction of the apocalypse.  Rather, I’m using the title of this post to make a point.  The terms “sunrise” and “sunset” are vestiges of the geocentric model of the universe, in which the earth lay at the center while the sun, the moon and stars revolved around us.  Thus, the sun “rose” in the sky in the morning and “set” in the evening.  This model was developed in ancient Greece and held sway until approximately the 17th century.  So fiercely was it defended by the Catholic Church that, when Galileo developed his more accurate concept of “heliocentrism” in which the earth revolved around the sun, he was tried and found guilty by the Inquisition, forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest.  Ignorance doesn’t die easily.  To this day, approximately 20% of adult Americans still believe that the sun rotates around the earth.

And so it is with the field of economics today.  Like Pope Urban VIII who had Galileo tried by the Inquisition, modern economists are just as unwilling to consider any challenge to their irrational model of never-ending growth, and they are just as eager to label anyone who dares to delve into concerns about overpopulation a “Malthusian” as Urban was in condemning Galileo as a heretic.  Tomorrow (whether it’s literally tomorrow or sometime in the near future), they say, economic growth will rise again, just as surely as the sun will rise tomorrow.

But the sun won’t rise tomorrow.  While the earth continues its never-ending rotation, which will indeed bring the sun into view on the eastern horizon, the sun is setting forever on economists’ equivalent of “geocentrism,” their flawed theory of never-ending economic growth.  The field of economics will continue its plunge into the darkness of ignorance – perhaps forever or, hopefully, until some economist, as did Galileo, has the courage to brave the scorn of his/her peers and consider economics from a different perspective, willing to examine the full gamut of challenges that overpopulation may present.

* * * * *

This post also marks a turning point in my forecasting of future events, which will take a decidedly more gloomy tone.  From the beginning, when I first began to develop my theory about the effects of the inverse relationship between population density and per capita consumption, I envisioned it as a process that would unfold slowly, taking perhaps decades to manifest itself in noticeable changes in our economy.  I fear that I’ve underestimated the gravity of this theory, blinded by the effectiveness with which debt was used to mask its effects.  That debt ploy has nearly reached its limit and, without it, the effects of unemployment and worsening poverty will escalate rapidly.


The Catholic Church: Reaping What it Sows – One Tiny Example

June 8, 2008

During this morning’s sermon, our pastor announced that, regrettably, he would have to devote this week’s sermon to discussing the parish’s finances.  It seems that donations are down by about $55,000 on an annualized basis.  He implored parishioners to dig a little deeper.

That donations are down is no suprise, given what’s happening in the economy.  To sum it up, Americans are growing poorer through declining net worth as their home values erode and through wages that are either not keeping pace with the high rate of inflation or, worse, are actually being cut.  None of this is a surprise.  As the supply of labor grows more out of balance with demand as our population grows, both on a national and global level, it’s only natural that wealth is declining and poverty is on the rise.

The Catholic Church loves population growth and denies that overpopulation could ever be a problem.  While economists maintain that man is ingenious enough to overcome any obstacle to never-ending growth, the Church goes them one better.  If man does meet such an obstacle, they declare that Almighty God, out of His infinite love for mankind, will simply strike down that obstacle.  Apparently the Church believes that collective  stupidity is one sin that either God is incapable of recognizing or will always forgive. 

Since the Church believes that God will always come to mankind’s rescue as our population grows and grows, then isn’t it logical that God will also remedy all of the consequences of this unending growth?  Therefore, the Church should trust that God will take care of this shortfall in weekly donations.  No need to trouble us parishioners. 


Yesterday’s Immigration Rallies Fizzle

May 2, 2008

http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSN0146621520080502?sp=true

Here’s an article about the immigration rallies across the U.S. yesterday.  There was a little bit of local news coverage of the rally held in Detroit.  It appeared that there were about 300 people involved.  I saw one American flag and three or four Mexican flags displayed prominently. 

I’d like to comment on some excerpts from the Reuters article:

“Thousands of immigrants marched through cities across the United States on Thursday, but smaller crowds suggested their cause had lost momentum in this election year.”

Perhaps the crowds were smaller because the pool of available participants has shrunk.  Although the issue has thankfully been pushed to the back burner of Congress, it’s still very much alive on the state and local levels, with many, many laws being passed to make it ever more difficult for illegal aliens to function in our society.  Here in Michigan, the law was recently changed to prevent them from obtaining drivers’ licenses, as an example.  Other locales have passed laws to crack down on employers who hire them and on landlords who rent to them. 

“‘This is a very young country built off immigrants. The immigrants of yesterday are citizens today, so immigrants of today should become citizens tomorrow,’ said Jose Rodriguez, who came to the United States from Mexico illegally in 1989 and has since gained permanent residency.”

First of all, this guy is a criminal and should be deported.  Secondly, his logic makes no sense whatsoever.  Just because a nation is built of (not “off”) immigrants, it’s not a rationale for continuing to import more people forever.  It’s like saying that a building made of concrete, once it is finished, should continue to have concrete poured in through the windows just because the building has a history of using concrete.  The guy has no concept of overpopulation (except perhaps the overpopulation in Mexico that he ran from in ‘89).

“‘The police are deporting immigrants because they have broken the law but I think there is a higher law and that is to treat someone in a humane way,’ said Rodriguez, 42.”

Agreed.  All illegal immigrants should be treated humanely during the deportation process.  Did Mr. Rodriguez really come here to champion this “higher law” or did he come here, ignoring our laws, for purely economic reasons?  Then isn’t it really poverty that he considers more inhumane?  If so, then why didn’t he stay at home and champion this “higher law” of humane treatment of the poor in his own country where the need is greater? 

“In Phoenix, no one turned out to march, in contrast to past years when central thoroughfares were packed with protesters.

In Tucson, Arizona, a few hundred pro-immigration supporters walked through the streets carrying placards with messages such as ‘Citizenship Yes! Deportation No!’ That fell short of organizers’ hopes that several thousand would attend.”

I suspect that, not only is the pool of available marchers smaller, but the remainder are laying low out of fear of being identified and deported. 

Activists said the low turnout stemmed from the failure to push a bill through Congress last year that would have given illegal immigrants a chance to legalize their status. An estimated 12 million illegal immigrants, mainly from Mexico, live in the United States.

In one major raid last month, U.S. immigration agents arrested about 400 employees at five Pilgrim’s Pride Corp chicken plants from West Virginia to Texas in connection with immigration-related crimes, including identity theft.

So there’s 11,999,600 to go.  Sounds like the immigration authorities better get busy!

Rampant population growth threatens our economy and quality of life. Immigration, both legal and illegal, are fueling this growth.  I’m not talking just about the obvious problems that we see in the news – growing dependence on foreign oil, carbon emissions, soaring commodity prices, environmental degradation, etc. I’m talking about the effect upon rising unemployment and poverty in America.

Our policies of encouraging high rates of immigration are rooted in the belief of economists that population growth is a good thing, fueling economic growth. Through most of human history, the interests of the common good and business (corporations) were both well-served by continuing population growth. For the common good, we needed more workers to man our factories, producing the goods needed for a high standard of living. This population growth translated into sales volume growth for corporations. Both were happy.

But, once an optimum population density is breached, their interests diverge. It is in the best interest of the common good to stabilize the population, avoiding an erosion of our quality of life through high unemployment and poverty. However, it is still in the interest of corporations to fuel population growth because, even though per capita consumption goes into decline, total consumption still increases. We now find ourselves in the position of having corporations and economists influencing public policy in a direction that is not in the best interest of the common good.

The U.N. ranks the U.S. with eight other countries – India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Bangladesh, Uganda, Ethiopia and China – as accounting for fully half of the world’s population growth by 2050. The U.S. is the only developed country still experiencing third world-like population growth, most of which is due to immigration. It’s absolutely imperative that our population be stabilized, and that’s impossible without dramatically reining in immigration, both legal and illegal.  If we don’t, soon rampant population growth won’t be the only thing we have in common with the third world.

Pete