Friday, October 17, 2008
Thursday, October 09, 2008
We are going to have to live a lot more locally and a lot more intensively on that local level. Industrial agriculture, as represented by the Archer Daniels Midland / soda pop and cheez doodle model of doing things, will not survive the end of the cheap oil economy. The implication of this is enormous. Successful human ecologies in the near future will have to be supported by intensively farmed agricultural hinterlands. Places that can't do this will fail. Say goodbye to
I'm not optimistic about most of our big cities. They are going to have to contract severely. They achieved their current scale during the most exuberant years of the cheap oil fiesta, and they will have enormous problems remaining viable afterward. Any mega-structure, whether it is a skyscraper or a landscraper - buildings that depend on huge amounts of natural gas and electricity - may not be usable a decade or two in the future.
What goes for the scale of places will be equally true for the scale of social organization. All large-scale enterprises, including many types of corporations and governments will function very poorly in the post-cheap oil world. Do not make assumptions based on things like national chain retail continuing to exist as it has."
Friday, October 03, 2008
As I continue to read "rebooting america: Ideas for Redesigning American Democracy for the Internet Age" I keep finding even more interesting ideas. The next one comes from the essay "Professional Politicans Beware!" by Aaron Swartz.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
"Well, I think in any personal activity, business activity or certainly governmental activity, you know, there should be -you should be thinking plenty about what happens down the road."
I deserve to be laughed at. When I first heard the name Warren Buffet a few years ago, I said to myself, "Who knew that the guy that sang Margaritaville, was an investment genius?" I just read this long transcript from August 22, 2008 when Warren Buffet was on CNBC. He had some very enlightening things to say about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I tried to find some video to post, but my googlizing skills failed me. My full notes are here. Below are a few excerpts that I found especially interesting, they are a little bit long but give me a break the transcript was from a 3 hour interview.
"Well, I think in any personal activity, business activity or certainly governmental activity, you know, there should be--you should be thinking plenty about what happens down the road."
On regulators at Fannie and Freddie:
"Well, it's really an incredible case study in regulation because something called OFHEO was set up in 1992 by Congress, and the sole job of OFHEO was to watch over Fannie and Freddie, someone to watch over them. And they were there to evaluate the soundness and the accounting and all of that. Two companies were all they had to regulate. OFHEO has over 200 employees now. They have a budget now that's $65 million a year, and all they have to do is look at two companies. I mean, you know, I look at more than two companies.
More on Fannie and Freddie and their dual business goals:
"Well, how they got here was they had two businesses, basically. They insured mortgages on a huge scale, trillions, and then they ran sort of a hedge fund, a carry trade where they bought mortgages and borrowed extensively against them. And because they had really the backing of the United States government--and everybody assumed they had the backing. I assumed it. And the truth is they do have the backing of the United States government in terms of their debt, not in terms of their equity--they were able to borrow without any normal restraints in terms of capital or margin requirements or anything of the sort. They had a blank-check from the federal government.