Save The World By First Saving Yourself

Ripped from today’s headlines:

From news reports like these, it's understandable to think that our future looks bleak.

At this point we can only ride out the consequences as the systems we depend on collapse and then ebb away – exposing that the structure of our modern way of life is really a just an edifice built of sand.

That may be true. But not necessarily.

I’m here with some good news today. There remains a multitude of options that each of us can and should do to prepare for what lies ahead. And in so doing, we can help to avert the worst of it, as well.

But only if enough of us try. Critical mass is key here.

Yes, the world is busy collapsing around us. That’s true.

But collapse is a process, not an event. It can be ameliorated and even reversed, depending on the actions we decide to take from here.

And there’s still time left to change our fate. Not much, mind you. But enough to matter.

The good news is that more and more people are heeding the call and taking action. The bad news is that too many still aren’t.

And the worse news is that the many entrenched powers of the status quo are working against our future best interests, as they desperately cling to old notions of advantage, wealth, and privilege.

Privately, many of the wealthiest and most politically powerful people are as worried as you and I about what’s coming. I can tell you from my personal interactions with them that many of the elite are preparing for crisis, building resilient “bug out” retreats and other safeguards.

Don't Rely On The Herd

Our model at Peak Prosperity remains: Learn, Decide, Act.

It all begins with educating ourselves about the (complex) systems in play and the forces driving where developments are headed.

From there, we ask that you trust yourself. This is especially important because, as social creatures, we are most comfortable moving where the herd is already moving. But by its nature, the herd (i.e., majority) is often behind the curve.

It takes time for privately-held but critically-important information to become acknowledged and accepted by the herd. Which is why so many of the masses become unsuspecting collateral damage when crisis hits. Since they aren’t privy to the early warnings, which are usually only noticed and appreciated by a proactive minority, they are caught by surprise.

And for many, even if they’re made aware of privately-held information, they still won’t depart from the false comfort of the herd. This explains the mysterious “bystander phenomenon” where people fail to come to the aid of a victim in distress if they don’t see other people reacting, too.

We all have the wired tendency to wait until others are moving before we move, too. Take a crowded theater, where a fire breaks out and smoke starts to billow into the space. A few people first take notice and begin to move to the exits. Then a few more. But at some point, the idea of a fire becomes ‘common knowledge’, when everyone believes everyone else agrees the theatre is on fire. Then bedlam and chaos break out.

As we wrote at length in this recent report, it’s really important to understand the importance and power of this tipping point, when previously privately-held ideas suddenly become common knowledge. Because that’s the moment where the status quo quickly morphs into something new, usually catching the herd completely flat-footed.

Trust Yourself

As I launched our Crash Course video series back in 2008, I implored people to trust themselves on a whole host of economic and financial indicators that were flashing red. We’re trained to trust authorities who sometimes don’t have our best interests in mind and who sometimes are even more clueless than average and really have no good answers, or even harmful ones.

I wanted folks to look at the data and decide for themselves whether the official narrative of “there’s nothing to worry about” truly made sense. Just a few weeks after I published the final chapter of the series, the Great Financial Crisis erupted and oil shot above $100/barrel for the next several years – and the rest, as they say, is history.

I wrote in 2009:

The key to navigating during moments when the dominant story is ‘wrong’ is to consciously block out the ‘programming’ that is constantly reinforcing the status quo and to examine each assertion made by authorities (and by advertising and journalists, and any and all experts, myself included) as though it were possibly a live hand grenade.

While you may ultimately end up agreeing with the assertion or claim, your first instinct should be one of suspicion. Often my first clue that I need to do more research into a particular assertion is simply a gut feeling that “something is not right here.” Even when I cannot quite articulate why, and maybe have almost zero hard data on the matter, I have learned to trust my instincts for when a story just doesn’t add up.

This principle can be applied to the Bernie Madoff swindle. Many investors have recently described that they had suspicions and concerns over the years about the steadiness of Bernie’s investment returns. Yet they kept their money with him. If they had simply trusted themselves and decided to move their money to an institution where they did not have these gut-level concerns, they’d be in infinitely better shape right now.

The benefits of trusting yourself, and applying your private knowledge, can be huge. The Bernie Madoff case illustrates this perfectly.

Lots of people had their private concerns, but since ‘nobody else’ seemed to notice or care, they did nothing. It was only once it all became “common knowledge” that the whole Madoff swindle broke into a shocking, wealth destroying scandal.

To avoid this fate, a key success strategy we can practice is to ‘trust ourselves’. Trust that our private knowledge is sufficient, and be confident that, eventually, the common knowledge crowd will catch up to us.

So what matters most is that we Act in advance of crisis. Especially, when those around us aren’t.

What I most want you to do, is to act on what you know. Because it’s time. Because you already know just how screwed up the systems are. Because your trust in the collective political and corporate leadership to act responsibly has eroded. Because you just know it in your gut.

It Takes Effort

Once the ball gets rolling, and more of the above concerns move from private to common knowledge, you should expect the pace of developments speed up quickly.

It’s like how Hemmingway answered the question “How did you go bankrupt?”. Gradually then suddenly.

So my question to you is, how many of these things are you holding right now as private knowledge?

  • The US justice system is corrupt and favors the wealthy
  • US financial markets are rigged and unfair
  • Our food system is, by and large, selling us toxic junk
  • Chemicals, such as neonicotinoids, are not fully tested before their deployment and are more harmful to our ecosystems than publicly admitted
  • Pharmaceutical companies often hide test results from the public that would reveal their drugs are less effective than advertised and have far riskier side effects
  • We should be a hell of a lot more concerned about the massive die-offs in animal, insect and marine life.
  • Weather patterns are become more extreme at a faster rate. Drought, heat, fires, hurricanes, and floods are happening with greater frequency and intensity than experienced in the past century.
  • The US political and military systems are not concerned about human rights or democracy. Instead, the US operates more as a modern version of the British empire, whose Redcoats mainly protected trade and other mercantile interests.
I'll wager few, if any, of these feel untrue to you.

I think part of the reason that such damaging revelations still remain as private knowledge is because moving them into common knowledge requires the destruction of closely-held belief systems. It takes time, mental effort and emotional strain to admit to ourselves that those in charge of society may actually not have our interests at heart.

Again, nature has provided strong protections to maintaining existing belief systems. Maybe it’s just too hard or expensive to alter them?

Whatever the reason, the more central the belief system, the more tightly we cling to it.

Some of the most tightly-held beliefs being:

  • Faith in authority
  • A belief in the fundamental goodness of people
  • Believing that your country is both moral and good
  • Bedrock knowledge that the justice system is blind and fair
  • A belief that nature will always bounce back
It’s far easier to live day to day walking around believing the above are true. A thousand times easier than giving them up.

To lose faith in these beliefs means squinting at every package label of food, wondering what hidden toxins might be lurking within.

It means questioning every news release. Take the recent coverage of the Epstein “suicide” (in quotes because it has been reported that after allegedly leaning forward onto paper-thin bedding to strangle himself ‘multiple bones in his neck were broken, among which was the hyoid’ … yeah, right, got it…ummmm…wait…back up… multiple bones?)

It means Googling your medical symptoms because you don’t fully trust in the treatment plan and prescriptions your health insurer is willing to cover.

I get it. All this work is definitely not as easy as trusting in the basic systems that govern and support our lives.

Challenging "Growth"

But the biggest fallacy of them all, the biggest belief system that is increasingly under attack in both private and common knowledge, is the idea that perpetual exponential economic growth is good, let alone possible.

Those like us at Peak Prosperity are unsettled with our private understanding that it isn’t. The public is catching on, albeit very slowly. While the keepers of the system remain busy deflecting attention and delaying the inevitable.

But it won’t matter. Eventually the reality catches up. Private knowledge becomes common knowledge and then everything changes very suddenly.

All of which brings me to my conclusions: Think for yourself. Make up your own mind. Be secure in your ability to think for yourself. And act now, before things get materially worse and your options become much more limited.

Which leads to my motto: I’d rather be a year early than a day late.

Tomorrow Needs Heroes Like You

You already know that it’s time to prepare for whatever is coming. None of us knows exactly how and when it will manifest, but our Spidey Senses are tingling loudly at this point.

We see the building tension in the mass Yellow Vest restiveness across France. And in the millions of protestors in Hong Kong.

It’s in the quickening breakdown of political goodwill between nations. It’s in the trade disputes. And in every tweet and headline desperately floated out there to divert the public’s attention from the problems we face.

It’s in the sudden appearance of $16.5 trillion of negative yielding debt and the many companies that make no profit but are apparently worth tens of $billions of dollars each.

All of which signals: It’s time. Time to act before the system falls apart.

Change is happening. Abrupt departures from the script are already occurring.

Which is why I implore you to see to your own provisions now, and to take the necessary steps to align your personal actions with your private knowledge.

Specifically, we have and continue to encourage folks to:

Step 1: Make sure your wealth is safely managed by prudent professionals or is entirely out of the markets. Our endorsed financial advisor uses a variety of hedging techniques to manage risk on existing positions to both limit downside as well as generate some additional returns.

Step 2: Have at least 3 months in physical cash on hand, and out of the banking system, for immediate access during an unexpected emergency. Beyond that, consider holding any remaining cash you have ‘in the system’ inside the US government’s TreasuryDirect program, where it will earn a higher return with greater safety vs being in a bank. Read our primer on how to use TreasuryDirect.

Step 3: Have a ‘crisis stash’ of physical gold and silver stored somewhere safe where you can get to it yourself, possibly quickly. Read our free primer on how to purchase and store precious metals.

Step 4: Get prepared. Be sure to have all the emergency basics safely stored and readily accessible. Food, water, personal protection, medical supplies, etc. This is smart preparation against any kind of unexpected crisis — be it a natural disaster, a painful economic downturn, social unrest, or something even worse. But it also to give you the peace of mind that will free you up for step 5.

Step 5: Be positioned to help those less prepared than you. Review our detailed What Should I Do? Guide, which is full of steps to take to get yourself well-prepared in advance for what’s coming. The most likely outcome of all this, probability-wise is a grinding decline that causes people to lose jobs and hope. Your role, as one who prepared in advance and hopefully still thriving, will be to offer as much support as you can to the masses who were caught unawares.

…and the above are just the absolute basics. We get into MUCH more detail on the wide range of steps you can (and should!) take to live with greater resilience in your life at the website and in our book, Prosper!: How to Prepare for the Future and Create a World Worth Inheriting. You should start reading both
These are all reflections of the idea that the current way of doing things cannot last. It’s no longer a good strategy to assume that they will.

It really all boils down to this: To save the world you first need to save yourself.

But first you have to trust yourself enough to act on your own. You may be the first among your friends and neighbors, or one of the final early movers within your community who shakes the herd of out its complacency to bolt for the exit.

In Part 2: Becoming Tomorrow’s Hero, we provide specific guidance on additional critical steps every one of us should take to bolster our (and our community’s) ability to persevere through the challenging times ahead.

Act now to get yourself safely and smartly positioned. Inspire as many others as possible to follow your model. And perhaps, together, we just might be able to save this world.

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 virtually everything. Just a few random comments for consideration:

  1. Not that it makes much difference, but the amazon, or any other stable forest for that matter, does not take in co2 and release oxygen. It is a widespread myth. That chemical equation in the above sentence mysteriously leaves out where the carbon goes. In reality, any carbon a tree gains from growing is ultimately released when the tree dies and decomposes. But of course, burning the amazon net contributes carbon as that stored reservoir is released.
  2. I understood mercantilism to be running a perpetual trade surplus so that gold accumulated in the nation in question. This seems to be the opposite of how the West is operating these days. I don't quite understand what is going on with gold movements around the world. We should find out soon enough however.
  3. To the bullet list of widely tightly held but false beliefs is the faith that technology will save us no matter what. It always has and always will. The emergence of solar power and e transportation reinforces this in people's minds. However, the data reveals otherwise due to the sheer scale of our energy predicament and ecological overshoot, and because our economic overlords continue to push economic growth which outstrips any efficiency gains from e transportation.
  4. People are reluctant to accept the truth not only because of herd mentality, but because they don't want to lose their faith in their world views. To accept the truths Chris summarizes in the other bullet list is to give up on so much of what they believe to be good about the world. A shift in attitude will only come after it is forced due to losing everything and being shocked. But by then it will be too late, the ponzi scheme will gave burst. Unfortunately, the elites use this human trait to rip us all off because so many are not willing to question the system for the scam that it is and the elites get away with murder.

My sleeves are rolled up, but I’ve come to realize that I’m not Atlas.

Sorry, I tried to link Don Henley’s “The Cost of Living,” from Cass County. Love that album.
Anyway, this new website doesn’t allow me to delete or modify posts. Also, the video is now blocked for copyright reasons.

Just a reiteration that we’re painfully aware of the desire/need to restore folk’s ability to edit & delete their comments.
Fixing this seemingly simple glitch has proved (much) more frustrating than I ever expected. But we are close. Within days.
Trust me, no one wants this swiftly resolved more than I do. Thanks for your patience.

The one belief that I doubt I could go on without is the belief that every person has within ourselves a capacity to do good, to contribute to the world. So I’m not ready to challenge the idea that people are good. But it seems transparently clear that once societies create hierarchies, human temptation gets out of hand and people’s behavior tends to goes south. So I’m not hoping that the existing system(s) gets “repaired.” The hierarchies are the problem.
But, IMO, so is the idea that “to save the world you first need to save yourself.” Whenever I hear this, the mental image I get is of a liver cell, convinced that it can save its environment by being a good liver cell, and in denial about the role played by the larger environment, specifically the alcoholic human of which it is a part. To save yourself you need to save the world. And that, it seems to me, is the thing none of us want to hear.

Nice observation Mark BC about the Amazon or any other stable forest taking in CO2 and releasing Oxygen. This is another failure in the education system specifically relating to the sciences. Like the belief/theory postulated by Fred Whipple that comets are large chunks of ice sublimating in outer space to leave behind the visible tail. People, in general and I believe in the majority, have little to no ability to critically think or analyze things to make better choices for their future, hence they trust elected people in government to make those decisions, and there are a lot of self serving, really screwed up minds in the government. Most will accept the story (fairy tale) they are being programmed with and not question anything.
In the 70’s, we were heading into another ice age.
In the 90’s the ice caps were melting and global warming was going to scorch the Earth.
2010, it’s climate change. A, duh, climate does change.
Now, pollution, I believe is the main problem facing our planet. The Earth has been here long before this iteration of God created man, and it will be here long after. The pollution will probably be here long after we destroy the Eco-system that supports our life. But those invested in the status quo cannot see any other way than to build, consume, waste, repeat. They are dependent upon other people not related to them to work and provide a comfortable lifestyle.
Invest in yourself and your skill set. I like to say, those who can’t do sell. Those who can’t sell go to work for the government.
Perfect example yesterday for me. I was working on site at one of my customers locations and one of the employees told me they had quit and got a job at the local public utility district. (Now I appreciate electricity but the waste and inefficiency of this outfit is a perfect example of why our government is so incompetent). I will regularly see 2 or 3 or 4 P.U.D. trucks with 6 to 8 people standing around for hours doing nothing, waiting for their shift to end. Leaning up against their trucks, smoking a cigarette or doing something on their phone, making $35-40 an hour. If there is no emergency, they are in no hurry to do anything. The flaggers are making $27 an hour. So I tell my friend, who just recently got hired at PUD, “you know, you are now a non economic producer for society for the rest of your life? Paying taxes on money that was taken from others in the form of taxes is not producing anything”. he answered, “I don’t care, my mom works there, it’s got great benefits and an awesome retirement after 25 years”.
That, right there is a major slap in the face to the privately employed individual who is constantly paying more taxes each year to pay for these kind of jobs and trying to keep a roof over their families head. I understand some of those jobs are necessary, but the fact that they pay far better than private employment and there is virtually no accountability for the work, or lack there of, they do is sad. And for a large group of people, that is their goal, get employed by the government.
Government, the welfare state with a future.

But it seems transparently clear that once societies create hierarchies, human temptation gets out of hand and people’s behavior tends to goes south. So I’m not hoping that the existing system(s) gets “repaired.” The hierarchies are the problem.
You must been reading John Michael Greer’s latest article because he delves and fully explores that very same topic !

It just occurred to me that although you can get more interest putting your cash into Treasury Direct, it is not necessarily “safer” as you say, since the money has to go from your bank account to Treasury Direct, and from Treasury Direct back to your bank account. So if we are worried that a bank can fail or more likely that a bank just freezes your accounts and makes you a “shareholder” overnight, then your money is still not safe. Any money going from Treasury Direct back into your bank account will not be available to you under these scenarios (bank failure or bank confiscation). So perhaps better just to say you can make greater interest (although still not much), but that your cash really isn’t any safer. Please let me know if I have misunderstood how Treasury Direct works.

phoenixl wrote:

It just occurred to me that although you can get more interest putting your cash into Treasury Direct, it is not necessarily “safer” as you say, since the money has to go from your bank account to Treasury Direct, and from Treasury Direct back to your bank account. So if we are worried that a bank can fail or more likely that a bank just freezes your accounts and makes you a “shareholder” overnight, then your money is still not safe. Any money going from Treasury Direct back into your bank account will not be available to you under these scenarios (bank failure or bank confiscation).
Here's how I understand it and have experienced how TreasuryDirect works to-date. TreasuryDirect takes $ out of my bank account to purchase a T-bill (or note or bond), which is then held for me at the US Treasury. Since I choose to roll over my T-bills as they come due into new T-bills, the Treasury re-invests my principal for me. That money does not make a round-trip back through my bank account beforehand. So, let's say I set up TreasuryDirect to purchase a 3-mo T-bill and then reinvest it for 6 cycles. My principal will be held throughout this time (=18 months) at the US Treasury. If my bank were to fail during this period, my funds would not be affected, as they're not in the bank; they're at the Treasury. And I have the option at any time to change which bank account I want the principal returned to when the reinvestment cycle ends. So if my original Bank A fails, I can just log into TreasuryDirect and specify that the funds should be returned to my other account at the more-solvent Bank B. ______ Extra credit: The only $ moving from TreasuryDirect to my bank during the re-investment cycle is my yield (the annualized ~2% that T-bills currently pay out). This is paid up front, when each new T-bill is purchased. Those payments, which are a small fraction of your principal, could conceivably be frozen/appropriated during the "bank holiday" you fear. Unless, of course, you withdraw them as they arrive.

Not really sure I accept the basic premise here, I mean, it seems a little simplistic to say the least; human beings seem to be good at hubris. But, let’s just say I did accept your premise; what’s your point? I mean, isn’t that like saying at some point the water in the ice on Greenland goes back to the see? I mean, it’s a store of carbon that emits 20% of our oxygen. Do we want none of the oxygen and the carbon in the atmosphere? The fact that the Amazon isn’t a magic carbon sponge seems irrelevant…

I have a TreasuryDirect account that I have linked to both a bank and a credit union. There is an option at TreasuryDirect to easily add another financial institution to redeem/purchase Treasury Bills.
Also, one doesn’t need to redeem/purchase every T-Bill from one’s financial institution. One can use the holding area in TreasuryDriect called the “Certificate of Indebtedness” to redeem/purchase T-Bills automatically.
I have four 4-week T-Bills that automatically roll over in TreasuryDirect, one T-Bill every week. The T-Bills can be set a maximum of 26 times to roll automatically from the “C of I”. The number of times to roll automatically can be reset when the number gets low to a higher number, or redeem the T-Bill back to one’s financial institution.
If one doesn’t want to purchase/redeem T-Bills, the "C of I’ can hold your extra cash indefinitely. Note that the “C of I” does not earn any interest.
more info at this link about the "C of I’

I didn’t know you could tell Treasury Direct to send your funds to a different bank. That makes all the difference. Thanks!

What kind of documentation is provided for the income you earn through Treasury Direct (that you would need for preparing your taxes) and at what rate is that income taxed?

Yagasjai –
You can find the details on TreasuryDirect tax reporting here, but in most cases, the interest income you receive from standard Treasury securities will be reported on Form 1099-INT
A notable benefit of the interest payments you receive is that they are exempt from state & local income taxes.

Not really sure I accept the basic premise here, I mean, it seems a little simplistic to say the least; human beings seem to be good at hubris. But, let’s just say I did accept your premise; what’s your point?
You mean my premise that forests don't produce oxygen? Well I'm just pointing it out because it is incorrect. Forests do not emit oxygen. There is nothing in the chemical equations where oxygen is emitted. They absorb carbon dioxide as they are growing up until they reach their maximum biomass, after which that carbon can be stored as a reservoir if the forest remains stable and standing, or is re-emitted again if the forest burns down. The equation overall is: CO2 + H2O => C6H10O5 (the formula for cellulose) There is more oxygen on the left than on the right when you balance it out which means O2 should be released as the tree grows but only until the forest reaches maturity, after which it enters steady state where no oxygen or carbon is net absorbed or released, other than through the tannins that leach through the soil and go down the rivers. Additionally, some of the CO2 that is absorbed by a mature forest is re-emitted as methane from termites' guts, so it may actually produce more greenhouse gases than it absorbs (methane is a more powerful GHG than CO2), depending on the forest.

I am buying one month t-bills through my brokerage account and I do not have them on automatic roll over because I want to be able to make a move and buy more gold in the event that the crisis hits. I understand that fidelity uses at least three different banks as to where your funds are held when the money hit your account. I am not sure that this is safe. I am very concerned about losing all of my money and have been holding back and buying more gold because of the price. It is hard when you do not have other like-minded individuals to communicate about the subject. I am thinking that the best thing may just be to convert everything or nearly everything into gold at any price because the devil is now at the doorstep.
Thank you
Laurie G

You’re clearly far more knowledgeable than I am in this area. However, you just told me at the base, that, forests aren’t a significant reason I’m breathing; not to mention a reason my soul continues to “breath”. Now, I can’t prove you wrong, but, deep down, I know you are…
Best Pip

what relevance does the oxygen in water bound to hydrogen have to my love for breathing? Is it me?

And maybe Pipyman is taking this wrong. I think it is important to know the facts, so I realy appreciate the information to realize that a steady state forest is neutral on the chemistry. I often wonder why we oversimplify in our teachings of the sciences when it would be just as easy to state the reality. Of course, I think this about my field, so about the physics of current, but I get wanting to correct common fallacies.
But even though a mature forest is overall neutral, what the trees do is bank the carbon, they store it until they decompose or burn. Or, if they are buried in the soil or water when they die they do not decompose as fast ( or at all in the right water conditions) so they keep holding on to that carbon.
Obviously cutting down all the trees is a problem as then all that carbon is released all at once instead of being in a steady state and storing carbon. A forest left alone, some die and new ones sprout, so overall, the carbon is stored. If you cut or burn them all down at once, that carbon is released. Unless you replant continually, yes, we have less carbon banked in the trees and more out in the rest of the world. If you plant new trees, they will also store carbon. So, if you are planting enough then it will take carbon out of the system and store it, you will have more stored than previously as you have more trees or forest overall. Healthy soil also slows down carbon release, it contains alot of organic matter and thus banks alot of carbon. When we denude soil and with modern farming practices make it sterile dirt we release alot of carbon too as the carbon that was there oxydizes and we do not replace it with decaying plant matter.