Make Your Choice: Change By Pain Or Insight

Most experienced investors know the four most dangerous words are: This time is different.

It never is.

And yet one of my key predictions here at Peak Prosperity is that The next twenty years will be completely unlike the last twenty years.

So am I saying that things really will be different this time?

Yes, I am. But to understand why, you have to look closely at the unprecedented moment in history in which we live, as well as how the Three E’s – the Economy, Energy and Environment – all tie together now in a way they never have before.

For those who prefer their conclusions right up front, the simplest summary I can provide is that everything we think we know about “how things work” is just plain wrong.

This explains why, among many other grotesque distortions, the stock and bond markets are spectacularly overpriced and overvalued right now.

This danger is important to be aware of because when things correct, as they inevitably must, the next crash will be incredibly damaging. It could be as profound as that which dethroned Spain as a world power, permanently.

Peak Prosperity user Gyurash put this risk in context within his comment to our recent podcast on Economics for Independent Thinkers:

The mention of Paul Volker was interesting. I remember listening to a lecture given by Mr. Volker played on public radio in the mid 80s. He talked about the Spanish empire in the 16th century and the easy money train they had coming from South American gold and silver. He said that although it seemed to create great wealth it also made for a false economy in Spain. In addition to creating price bubbles, the Spanish did not use it to build much of anything other than big villas, built by itinerant foreign labor by the way, so when the gold and silver flow slowed when the biggest mines were effectively depleted, their economy crashed so hard that it never recovered, even up to today.


Delusional Thinking

What’s worse than wishful thinking? Delusional thinking.

The sort of ideas that harm rather than help those who hold them.

Of the many current policy delusions I could rail about, perhaps the greatest of them all is the quite-impossible belief that we can have infinite growth on a finite planet.

I know, I know, refuting this is so brain-dead easy to debunk that it seems pedestrian, if not childishly so, to raise it here again. It’s quite an impossible proposition.

Even the most cursory of reviews of mining data (just one of many possible examples), show that many critical ores and minerals are vastly more difficult and expensive to extract and bring to market than they were just a few decades ago. And the trendlines keep getting worse.

But let’s go through this once again, because it’s such an important point. For those of you already on my side of the boat, please bear with me. Perhaps something new will emerge for you on this next go around.

The Harsh Math

Exponential expansion requires not just some new minerals coming to market, but exponentially more.

It works out like this. Suppose that 100 units of copper were produced in year 1, and output (as demanded by economic growth) was expanding at a 3% rate. How long would it take for production to double? The answer is that after 24 years we’d find that 203 units were being produced. So a 3% growth rate means that it takes only 24 years to fully double production.

However, the more interesting fact is that over that same 24-year stretch, if we add up each year’s production into a cumulative total we discover that 3,546 units of copper had been produced. How much copper would you guess was produced over the prior 24-year stretch (the one that got us to 100 units in the first place)?

The answer is just 1775 units. In other words, half the amount produced during the next doubling. Going back further and adding up all of the doublings of copper production throughout all of history we’d discover that each new doubling produced (and consumed) as much as the sum total of all the prior doubling periods combined.

You can prove this to yourself by looking at a doubling sequence such as 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 etc. Note that 4 is larger than (0.25 + 0.5 + 1 + 2) and that 8 is larger than (0.25 + 0.5 + 1 + 2 + 4) and that 16 is larger than (0.25 + 0.5 + 1 + 2 + 4 + 8) and so on – into infinity.

Again, each new doubling involves an increase that is larger than the combined values of all the prior doublings in history.

For the visually-minded, here’s that same idea expressed in an image:

How Many More Doublings Can We Possibly Have From Here?

Only the most delusional would argue that we can dependably double our extraction of key natural resources forever.

Every two decades (or so), will we always be able to use twice as much farmland, twice as much fish in the sea, twice as much oil in the ground, as has been used before throughout all of human history?

Of course not. Planet Earth is a finite system.

This is why I claim that everything we think we know about “how things work” is wrong. Our entire economic and financial systems, their associated monetary models and their current financial asset prices, are predicated on the principle of continuous growth. And not just any sort of growth: Exponential growth. Predictable doubling – forever.

Look, it’s ridiculously easy to prove that there won’t always be twice as much copper (or nearly any other key natural resource) as has been extracted throughout all of prior human history. Things run out. They deplete. They become more dilute as the high grades are exploited first.

At some point, doubling becomes impossible. That’s when you’re past the point where half has been extracted and half still remains in the ground. After that, there are exactly zero doubling periods remaining! That’s just elementary math.

Why care?

Because once the doubling periods are over, every single economic model and financial asset that is predicated on continuous expansion breaks. Our systems stop steadily growing; and instead start increasingly shrinking.

This not a hard concept to grasp, intellectually, for most people with an open mind. But in practice, because it challenges our comfortable understanding of the world, because it collides with an entire Disney World of incompatible social belief systems, it’s pretty much impossible for the many people to even begin to wrestle with. Forget about a mainstream economist or central banker, whose salary requires them to adhere to the status quo.

The warning here is that we our deluding ourselves as a society. We are herding ourselves, lemming-like, straight towards the cliff ledge.

Think Critically!

Our mission here at is to Create a World Worth Inheriting. While we help people make informed decisions to imbue their lives with greater abundance and satisfaction today, it's our dedication to the long-term picture that shapes everything we do.

Very few voices are standing about waving their arms in the air like we are, warning of the approaching cliff. We’re aware that the point of no return might still be several decades out into the future, but we also realize that it could already be behind us. It’s nearly impossible to know right now given the complex system that is our planet – but given the existential risks involved, our opinion is that everyone should be mobilizing in response to this arriving (arrived?) crisis.

We often get labeled as narrow-minded “Malthusians”. Or accused of failing to account for human ingenuity. (Neither is accurate, we think.)

But in reality, we’re simply data driven. The facts are what they are. Logic is what it is.

And we get it. It’s both a factual and a logical nightmare for the infinite growth crowd that the earth is finite.

But as Einstein famously quipped:

And as you wrap your brain around the limits to growth, remember that you're subject to the same comprehensive programming that envelops us all. The messaging that constantly reinforces the idea that endless growth is what we need, and what we can expect.

This programming is subtle, reassuring and ubiquitous; which makes it hard to resist. Here’s a prime example:


To an economist like Bernanke, there are only virtuous expansions. Of course, the sort of expansion he refers to is exponential growth. Which is absolutely destined to fail in the long run (and now, maybe, the short).

And when that happens, the fallout will be spectacular and highly destructive to the hopes and dreams of literally billions of people.

Make Your Choice: Change By Pain Or Insight

What’s unclear to me is if there can be any meaningful recovery from this next crash, whenever it happens and however long it takes.

To return to the opening piece of this article, while I know that this time is different are dangerous words for investors to believe, the impending collision between delusional infinite growth thinking and resource limits and other realities will appear to the average observer like a gigantic change. But, in fact, it simply will mean that humans are subject to the same limits as any other life form on earth.

In other words, it really won’t be different this time.

In boy-meets-girl story form, the plot line of the natural process for all forms of life is:

  1. organism finds tasty energy source
  2. organism expands exponentially into that energy source
  3. energy source dwindles even as organism continues into population overshoot, and then
  4. happy times turn into tough times, and organism population plummets
Given that literally everything we hold dear and take for granted, such as well-stocked supermarkets, 24/7 electricity, and an appreciating retirement portfolio are all themselves dependent on an economic model that requires perpetual exponential expansion, several questions emerge.

How can I protect myself, my family and those I care about? How can I secure a prosperous future? What do I need to do to develop the right mental models and belief system to deal effectively with the coming challenges?

You can either address these questions head-on now, while the world still works the way we’re accustomed to. Or later, under crisis conditions.

We’ve learned that there are two ways that people change their beliefs and then their actions: by pain or by insight.

Most people go the pain route. And in the process, they waste a lot of valuable time that could have been spent constructively. It’s only after the heart attack, the divorce, the backing over the family dog while drunk—moments of extreme pain—that most people will begin to actively face the idea that they need to make different decisions in life.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Part of the beauty of being human is that we can learn from observation, reflection and experience, and can adapt. Critical thinkers have this ability to change by insight. They use new information to put new behaviors into practice until those practices become new habits. And with better habits, we achieve better destinies.

So which route will you choose? Pain or insight?

The story told by the Three Es is loaded with the potential for plenty of painful moments over the next few decades. Sadly, a lot of people will not take precautionary steps far enough in advance to matter. They’re just not focusing on the risks right now. As a result, much of the world will be forced to change its behavior via the pain route.

Use this awareness as a sense of urgency to prepare now. To secure your future prosperity, as well as to help those regretting that they didn’t follow your lead.

In Part 2: Steps For Changing By Insight, we lay out our prescriptive guidance what what to do now, in a world saddled with record debts, and a debt-based system of money that itself is utterly and completely dependent on infinite expansion, where something’s got to give

If you believe in eternal infinite growth, then sure, stay invested in stocks and bonds and go ahead and buy the dips.

But if you don’t, take steps today to change your life by insight, secure your future prosperity, and serve as a model for others.

Click here to read Part 2 of this report (free executive summary, enrollment required for full access)

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

I agree with almost everything Chris has said here. But I have developed great double about what to do about it. Ten years ago I thought it was imperative that everyone know this stuff and do something about it. More and more I have come to believe it might not matter.
The things he is talking about are huge. The world has never known a time when resources were declining. That would mean that each year there is less of everything to go around. People don’t like having less. They tend to get mean and nasty and blame the person next to them. Here in the US we already have animosity toward anyone who doesn’t believe like us. The President is telling us that we aren’t getting our share and others are trying to take ours.
As recession/depression hits our leaders will be pointing at other continents trying to get everyone to turn their anger on those who don’t matter. The military will attack those who our government say have wronged us and we will sacrifice whatever we have to in order get back the old plentiful life style we love so much. The US alone has more than enough nuclear weapons to turn the planet into a glowing ball of dust. Never mind what the rest of the world has.
Here in our own country we have over 300 million guns. Tensions are high now and will be much high when people are short on food. What will happen when the majority of the population doesn’t have a warm place to sleep and an empty belly? What will they be doing with their AR-15s and all that ammo? Of course the government will be protecting those who have the money and the power and aren’t cold or hungry.
Lets just say you spent the last 15 years preparing. You have a house that provides all its own energy. You can grow all your own food. You have your own well that I can pump water with solar power or by hand. You have a root cellar, a blacksmith’s shop, a wood shop and a lot of knowledge of how to use them. You have some gold hidden away and every month people pay you to live in the rental properties you own. But even with all that you can’t stop an anger mob, a 9mm bullet or a nuclear blast.
I am more worried about the anger we have than the Fed printing money.
Thanks Chris for all you do. I hope you are doing well.

Millennialist options for the post-Rapture generation. “What were we thinking”?

I think you speak for most of the “veterans”. However, it is this deep, painful reality that keeps the preps in perspective. It prevents, the “just on more tin” mentality that characterises the fear stage. It enriches life, even in the darkness. Oh, and helps to keep your wife by your side…!

I think it’s good to be aware of our predicament but worrying about things outside your circle of influence is a waste of time and energy. Some of the issues above have helped get clarity on what is important and focusing on those things. My life has improved whether we invent our way out of this or not.
For those interested in taking actions, you should check out Verge Permaculture on youtube. He is offering a free multi week course on permaculture. He speaks about many of the black swans identified above and things we can do improve our lives.
Thanks for the reminder to stay vigalent Chris.

Do you do this on purpose, or what? I was quietly enjoying my CC and Seven, along with my favorite rendition of Gumboot Cloggeroo, and saw your posting. After this weekend’s “pissa of a storm”, I fortunately made it to the end of the song (my favoride part) before spewing:

There's fish and brewis and a quahog stew And a bowl of clam chowder Just see me reach for that Newfie Screech When they deedle up the fiddle jig louder Hear the french girl sing, and the guitars ring And the squeezebox skweek-a-dee squakin' Me and my Sue are gonna "hoop de doo" Take her to the Gumboot Cloggeroo And we'll do a little gumboot cloggin' Do a little gumboot cloggin'
And then, as my mind tends to wander a lot, I thought of this:
Renewal. Renewal. Renewal.

I guess it’s been about 35 years now since a flood on a rain-swollen creek washed away a highway bridge on I-90 in upstate New York. It was late that night and there was almost no way for drivers to see the bridge had been washed away before it was too late for them to stop in time. The first car to stop in time screeched to a stop just a few feet from the edge. The two senior citizens jumped out and looked down into the abyss and saw the crumpled remains of the car ahead of them that had just suddenly disappeared from view. Without speaking they knew exactly what they had to do: they began running back the direction they had just come, waving their arms and shouting for drivers to stop. The first car to approach them was an old Cadillac with two men inside returning home from a bowling tournament. They slowed slightly as they approached the senior citizens frantically waving their arms. Maybe they saw the old people’s car stopped ahead on the shoulder. The driver of the Cadillac flashed the two senior citizens a crude gesture with his hand and resumed his speed. The old Cadillac plunged to the bottom of the ravine 75’ below with predictable results.
A lot of people are not going to make it.

themccarthyfarm wrote:
I agree with almost everything Chris has said here. But I have developed great double about what to do about it. Ten years ago I thought it was imperative that everyone know this stuff and do something about it. More and more I have come to believe it might not matter. As recession/depression hits our leaders will be pointing at other continents trying to get everyone to turn their anger on those who don’t matter.

I have a natural inclination towards caution and WCS thinking (worst case scenario), and I recognise the familiarity of fear in many of the points you raise. However, I consider myself lucky enough to have viewed first- and second-hand something which you have not raised -: the togetherness of a population when being oppressed, brutalised, or duped by its own government.
Self-preservation circumstances tend to trigger a WCS train of thought in an individual - it’s absolutely natural. But fast-forward, say, 50% through a journey of crisis, and collectively people start to wake up. The light bulb comes on, and they recognise the source of real danger. It’s not their fellow man/woman [not on a large scale, at least]. Despite the seemingly mass obsession with the size of Kim Kardashian’s arse or her latest baby’s name, people are not dumb. When it really counts they can see through bullshit. Those who can’t simply get left by the wayside as the hard rules of natural selection kick in.
I don’t doubt that there’ll be an unbearable amount of upheaval and suffering, but have faith - don’t discount the ability of people to band together in times of crisis. I don’t know whether this comes about through recognition of a common enemy or through an innate sense of species preservation. But it’s definitely there. It’s one of the biggest shames of our species, though, that it often takes a crisis to reveal itself… it should never get to that point.

CM: We often get labeled as narrow-minded “Malthusians”. Or accused of failing to account for human ingenuity. (Neither is accurate, we think.) But in reality, we’re simply data driven. The facts are what they are. Logic is what it is.
Thomas Robert Malthus was extremely data driven. Very logical. He dealt only with the facts. Very smart man.
The problem with Malthus? He couldn’t account for everything. Nobody can. This is the problem with all who think they can predict the future. It’s the same problem that Communist economic planners have. Bluntly, the world is too complex and black-swan-like to make predictions with confidence. “Data-driven” is often code for “hubris”.
When Columbus sailed, everyone educated mocked him since they already knew the earth’s diameter to a decent degree of accuracy since Greek times, plus knew the size of Asian continent. So they knew he could never make it to Asia in his tiny ship. They were right! Yet Columbus discovered something new by forging ahead…and his detractors looked foolish even thought they were 100% right! This is a lesson worth reflecting upon when predicting changes the economy, energy, or the environment.
CM: Exponential expansion requires not just some new minerals coming to market, but exponentially more.
This isn’t necessarily true. It’s the same mistake Malthus made. Fact: we really don’t know what will be used in the future to generate economic growth or decline, nor how it might or might not happen. Just like rock oil, NG fertilizer, communications, and engines came out of nowhere to destroy Malthus’ careful predictions, we don’t know what the future will hold, thus to try to predict it with any confidence is not data-driven. Hell, a few nukes could destroy everything overnight. Or the discovery of fusion as an energy source could get us off the planet in style. Myself, I think the former more likely, but anything could happen.
We also don’t know how the environment will effect us in the future. The decline of the number of species may have no notable effect on humans over the next 1,000 years. It may even have a positive effect. Who knows? Same with the economy. It’s impossible to predict. What do we know?

  1. We are wealthier today than ever before in human history. This is due to technical innovation. We can use less to achieve more. A lot of this has happened in the last decade. Look at China, the internet, communications, etc., etc.
  2. Everything mentioned about resources and the economy was flashing red 10 years ago. Yet there has been lots of money made during that time. Many people’s net worth has doubled over this time by taking an alternative view (or what might be called here a “non-data-driven view”. We could has said this since Malthus’ time, and many have foolishly done so.
    For an alternative view on the economy? Read this article at Vox: Thanks to a combination of greater energy efficiency, outsourcing of heavy industry, and customers generating their own power on site, demand for utility power has been flat for 10 years, and most forecasts expect it to stay that way. The die was cast around 1998, when GDP growth and electricity demand growth became “decoupled”: This sort of thing could happen to anything else in the economy, accelerating growth even as energy consumption declines. We simply don’t know.

Chris, thanks for including the graphics. Pictures help tell a story that has perspective and scale. A good telling of a story can do the same, a kind of ‘what if’ tale. Tom Murphy over at Do The Math told a vivid ‘what if’ back in 2011 that I though really showed the ridiculousness of continuous growth expectations.
Indeed, even the current scale of the world economy is mind blowing. It is possible to define the total volume of oil used each year as a single space, given that an oil barrel holds 42 gallons, the number of barrels used each year is roughly known, and we know how much space a gallon of liquid is. Interestingly, the world has been using approximately one cubic mile of oil each year, every year. One of anything doesn’t sound like much, the world is a big place, but I wondered, what does that look like. So I mapped out a square mile and put a cube on it. This is what it looks like:

All very true but its also delusional to think that there is a way out. Civilizations throughout history are described by prosperity, growth and inevitably collapse.
Its seems almost certain those civilizations were populated by a small proportion of practical realists who, like the same people today, complained about the glaring faults in society and political thinking and tried to do something about it. The problem however is “the human condition”, which is to believe and hope that everything will be ok or in thinking that the group to which they belong has all the answers. In a phrase the problem is “crowd think”.
It is the all too human habit of relying instinctively on paralyzing crowd-think that makes almost everything the human race does, wrong. The way we eat, the gluttonous energy consuming way we live, the way we grow food, the way we pillage the planet, the oligarchy of modern politics, the corruption of economic systems and even the way groups of people relate to each other… these are all driven by crowd think.
Crowd think is the central pillar behind all religion and is the reason religions have survived for millennia. Crowd think is what kept the uneducated Neanderthal alive and it is a survival characteristic shared by all animals. It takes real awareness and education to know when crowd think is infecting our decisions. So count on one hand the number of people you know who can truly think outside that box; who know when they are falling back upon hope and crowd think to balance their choices.
We are all doomed by the things that make us human. The pain from forced change or collapse is inevitable. You can try and insulate yourself or escape to a distant land but you’d simply be trading one pain for another. You can’t possibly convince people that religion is based on superstition and has no valid basis in science so how in the hell can any group convince another that the learned-from-birth belief they have in their world is based on a self destructive infinite growth model destined for overpopulation and hunger.
Good luck getting the common people to understand (especially the one’s that vote avidly for our current governments) that they shouldn’t have children or that their cars, houses and white picket fences are part of an unsustainable delusion. Or that their God is just a romantic wisp of hope in a world driven by the practical cruelty of Mother-nature’s laws of physics and the mathematical inevitability of entropy. Good luck telling people that the US constitution is outdated, that the US isn’t the home of democratic superiority but merely the power-house of sweeping global corporatism, that secret agencies don’t fight to free the world but instead often work (blinded by belief) only to suppress the real voices of truth and reason.

At some point, the resource thing is going to matter. At some point, the debt thing is going to matter too. Which one will come first?
Peak oil - driven by peak US shale - probably happens in 2020-2021. It might be trumped by a massively deflationary debt bubble pop.
My current favorite peak-oil-savior from the tech world is the self-driving car. If we have a debt bubble pop prior to 2021, then peak oil won’t have much impact, since the decline in consumption will disguise the decline in production.
But a debt bubble pop will greatly slow the deployment of pretty much any tech, due to the lack of capital to buy the new stuff. So is 3 years enough time to deploy enough self-driving cars to move the needle? Probably not.
If we have to depend on one of the magical new battery innovation technologies we hear about all the time - they are at least 5-7 years out, which is not soon enough to deal with peak oil, assuming no deflationary crash, and assuming one of these technologies actually ends up working. That’s a lot of slips twixt cup & lip there, and a short timeframe to get it right.
What’s more, there is the political aspect. Right now, with a global growth impulse under way, we are seeing lots of migration, serious political division in the US, a massive increase in deficits, we are at or near peak debt, and we see continued money printing by the ECB, mainly focused on saving the Eurozone by monetizing Italian sovereign debt. The system appears to need constant propping-up by a nervous group of central bankers. All the signals we get are telling us that things are pretty iffy, especially outside the US.
These are “the good times.”
What happens during the upcoming contraction? All the problems we see get magnified. Migration becomes more intense, unemployment shoots higher, a lot of the walking-dead companies default, and “populism” gets a yuuuuge boost. Trump appeared during “the good times”. Just imagine who will pop up when things actually turn down. Populists will be elected to office literally everywhere. That alone will blow the EU apart. They will not survive the next downturn - strictly because of politics. The downturn will also take down all the heavily indebted Chinese manufacturers. The great depression hit the US hardest, because we were the exporter. Same thing will probably happen to China, although it will be interesting to see how a command economy will end up navigating the crisis.
Individually we have the power to chart our own course. Reduce debt, remain aware of the fragilities in the system (especially banking, bank deposits, and sovereign debt), expect the gang in charge to first lie, and then suddenly change the rules we all hold dear. But I don’t see Mad Max. The US is the core economy. I don’t see it going the way of Zimbabwe. That will happen to the periphery, not the core.
My plan: while all that stuff is going on, I want to try to be really clear about what sort of experience I want to create for myself. I tend to focus too much on what is happening now, rather than what I’m looking to create. (A lot of us here at the site tend to do this.) This makes it more difficult for me to create something different & better.
Here’s another point. Although “the system” is giving off all sorts of iffy signs, there are definitely opportunities. Example: someone who writes AI code: $300,000/year. From what I hear anyway. If you keep your eyes open, there are often ways out of the maze for individuals. If you don’t focus too much on “what is”, of course. If you are dead certain that your keys aren’t in the kitchen, you will never find them there, even they if they are sitting on the counter right there in plain sight.
My current signposts for trouble ahead: currently, my eye is on rising long rates, and rising BAA rates.
Based on some of my recent work, here are some fun housing market facts:

  • rising 1-year rates are initially positive for home prices, but turn negative after an 18-month lag, with full (negative) effect 2.5 years in.
  • rising 10-year rates are also initially positive for home prices, but turn negative with a 9-month lag, with full (negative) effect 2 years in.
  • rising junk rates (BAA rates) are immediately (mildly) negative for housing prices, ramping up to very negative after 12 months.
  • a rising BAA-AAA ratio is negative for housing prices immediately, ramping up to very negative after 9 months.
    YMMV. Not financial advice. Etc.

“Stupidity is a more dangerous enemy of the good than malice. One may protest against evil; it can be exposed and, if need be, prevented by use of force. Evil always carries within itself the germ of its own subversion in that it leaves behind in human beings at least a sense of unease. Against stupidity we are defenseless.
Neither protests nor the use of force accomplish anything here; reasons fall on deaf ears; facts that contradict one’s prejudgment simply need not be believed- in such moments the stupid person even becomes critical – and when facts are irrefutable they are just pushed aside as inconsequential, as incidental.
In all this the stupid person, in contrast to the malicious one, is utterly self-satisfied and, being easily irritated, becomes dangerous by going on the attack. For that reason, greater caution is called for than with a malicious one. Never again will we try to persuade the stupid person with reasons, for it is senseless and dangerous.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, from ‘After Ten Years’ in Letters and Papers from Prison

We are numbers people we can’t help it is just what we are. My wife hates it when I start to numbers and facts to some of are friends. She calls me her numbers man a badge I were with pride.

If there’s a severe economic downturn it seems to me that the price of silver could crash since the industrial demand will be next to zero. That might be offset somewhat by safe haven demand. Have any opinions on that?
That electric car stuff makes me roll my eyes. The energy to charge them has to come from somewhere. The vast majority will come from the usual fossil fuels. It may actually increase the CO2 produced since there will be yet another inefficiency factor that’s introduced. Instead of burning the fuels directly in the car engine we would burn it some centralized and remote power station to generate electricity that will then be used to charge the car. The additional inefficiency of converting that power plant heat energy to electricity, transmitting that electricity over miles and miles of power lines, etc will result in an increase of usage. It’s a win-win for the Koch brothers. Increasing consumption under the illusion of saving the planet is a perpetual profit generator in the short term.
Self driving cars makes me think of the 60s song “In the year 2525.” They could also be used in a new episode in the Comedy Channel’s South Park where self driving cars evolve (as long as it maximizes profits) to self driving humans. At the front end is a combine in a factory farm that pipes the preprocessed food directly into the strapped in consumer’s mouth. Another pipe is connected to his other end which then pumps the left overs back into the farm. A self driving CEO could be the ultimate horror flick.
A sterilized global ecosystem “Trumps” all of these other peaks. The big question is whether it can recover after all of us humans kill each other and everything else off.

Hello thc0665,
I am torn between my appreciation, and then the horror of lost time today, simply because your quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer dove me down a brain-storming rabbit-hole of divergency - names, authors, characters - the clay in which to write and publish my book.
Surrounding me at given passages are books lain open, strewn about my desk and floor and chairs - the building blocks of their creation - then you throw in several paragraphs from Prisoner for God by Deitrich Bonhoeffer and break open yet another portal of investigation to migrate into.
To build you a picture and name but few of the authors I have strewn in array, I have : -
At the Mind’s Limits by Jean Amery
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
Simulacra and Simulation by Jean Baudrillard
Democracy Inc by Sheldon Wolin
The Great Shark Hunt Vol.1: Strange tales from a strange time by Hunter S. Thompson
Thomas Pynchon and Gravity’s Rainbow
Edward Bernay’s Propaganda
Umberto Eco - Foucaults Pendulum
… and now I also have Prisoner for God by Deitrich Bonhoeffer.
Why Bonhoeffer, and why write this post?
Because Part 1 of the book is After Ten Years, and the opening chapters first paragraphs fit the premise of this thread so tightly that it could well have been written by one of us, here, today: -

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote:
After Ten Years Ten years is a long stretch in a man’s life. Time is the most precious gift in our possession, for it is the most irrevocable. This is what makes it so disturbing to look back upon time we have lost. Time lost is time when we have not lived a full human life, time unenriched by experience, creative endeavour, enjoyment and suffering. Time lost is time we have not filled, time left empty. The past ten years have not been like that. Our losses have been immeasurable, but we have not lost time. True, knowledge and experience, which are realized only in retrospect, are mere abstractions compared with the reality, compared with the life we have actually lived. But just as the capacity to forget is a gift of grace, so memory, the recalling of the lessons we have leamt, is an essential element in responsible living. In the following pages I hope to put on record some of the lessons we have learnt and the experiences we have shared during the past ten years. These are not just individual experiences; they are not arranged in an orderly way, there is no attempt to discuss them or to theorize about them. All I have done is to jot down as they come some of the discoveries made by a circle of like-minded friends, discoveries about the business of human life. The only connexion between them is that of concrete experience. There is nothing new or startling about them, for they have been known long before. But to us has been granted the privilege of learning them anew by first-hand experience. I cannot write a single word about these things without a deep sense of gratitude for the fellowship of spirit and community of life we have been allowed to enjoy and preserve throughout these years. No Ground Beneath our Feet Surely there has never been a generation in the course of human history with so little ground under its feet as our own. Every conceivable alternative seems equally intolerable. We try to escape from the present by looking entirely to the past or the future for our inspiration, and yet, without indulging in fanciful dreams, we are able to wait for the success of our cause in quietness and confidence. It may be however that the responsible, thinking people of earlier generations who stood at a turning-point of history felt just as we do, for the very reason that something new was being born which was not discernible in the alternatives of the present. Who Stands his Ground? The great masquerade of evil has wrought havoc with all our ethical preconceptions. This appearance of evil in the guise of light, beneficence and historical necessity is utterly bewildering to anyone nurtured in our traditional ethical systems. But for the Christian who frames his life on the Bible it simply confirms the radical evilness of evil. The failure of rationalism is evident. With the best of intentions, but with a naive lack of realism, the rationalist imagines that a small dose of reason will be enough to put the world right. In his short-sightedness he wants to do justice to all sides, but in the melee of conflicting forces he gets trampled upon without having achieved the slightest effect. Disappointed by the irrationality of the world, he realizes at last his futility, retires from the fray, and weakly surrenders to the winning side. Worse still is the total collapse of moral fanaticism. The fanatic imagines that his moral purity will prove a match for the power of evil, but like a bull he goes for the red rag instead of the man who carries it, grows weary and succumbs. He becomes entangled with non-essentials and falls into the trap set by the superior ingenuity of his adversary. Then there is the man with a conscience. He fights single-handed against overwhelming odds in situations which demand a decision. But there are so many conflicts going on, all of which demand some vital choice — with no advice or support save that of his own conscience — that he is torn to pieces.

A New Republic of the Heart addresses our global meta-crisis in all its aspects—environmental, economic, political, and cultural—from a breathtakingly all-encompassing perspective. Even more remarkably, it frames our global and societal crises and opportunities as challenges to us, now, personally—in terms that penetrate our usual abstractions and avoidance. In fact, our own future and the future of our very life-support system are shown to be utterly dependent on the quality, intelligence, tenderness, and courage of our ways of being.
We need Integral/Synthetic/Evolutionary thinkers … Terry is one of the best

A New Republic of the Heart addresses our current planetary crisis in all its complexity and uncertainty, exploring the nature and implications of global citizenship, and clarifying a radical new understanding of practice and activism.

Part One summarizes our cataclysmic ecological predicament, the wholeness underlying our inter-connected, more-than-human world, and the evolutionary and integral visions that establish a basis for a more integrated consideration of how we live meaningful lives in a time of crisis.

Part Two explores an integral understanding of the nature of individual and collective spiritual practice, purpose, social responsibility, and evolutionary activism. These explorations point the way toward an integrated practice that is both personal and social and that enacts whole-system change—a process that is profound, radical, and all-inclusive.

A few years ago Alan Watkins noticed while watching a news story about a global crisis that he kept hearing about the same problems over and over again. “Why is it that these problems are intractable?” he asked himself. Thus was born Wicked and Wise: How to Solve the World’s Toughest Problems, which he co-wrote with Ken Wilber.

Many [business leaders] are beginning to realize that there is something else other than quarterly profit, there’s something else other than returns to shareholder, there’s something else other than just growth and the relentless pursuit of growth. More companies are recognizing social purpose is important. –Alan Watkins…