Saturday, November 19, 2011

War is Constant, Predictable, & Inevitable

When the topic of war comes up most people immediately envision bombs, bullets, troops and the like. A traditional military campaign. This is only one form of war, often the least desirable, but a valid form nonetheless. It is widely accepted as the least desirable because it threatens a common value: life. It is an uncomfortable and undesirable thing, which galvanizes everyone no matter what their opinion on the topic. Because it is so undesirable it is often the last type of war to be fought, with other forms leading up to it. This is an absolutely pivotal concept to grasp, because it implies that all-out war can be predicted based on prior events. If this is true, the trajectory can be manipulated to prevent it, cause it, or at the very least, prepare for it. So what causes all-out war to occur? In essence, what motivates people to accept death as a viable outcome? In this analysis I am not referring to small skirmishes such as Iraq, Afghanistan, or similar campaigns. These were initiated by decree and issued more as a 'job.' What I am referring to is something where common, non-soldiers are galvanized to the point of large-scale common resistance in either a civil or world war format. Determining this will provide the first clues as to the conditions just prior to traditional warfare, call it DEFCON 2, whereas DEFCON 1 is full-scale war.

As alluded to, people value life first. Second to life is liberty, or freedom. Third may be a sense of possession or ownership. To summarize, life, liberty, and property rights are universally valued, and often the source of war. As examples, if one feels threatened by another this is grounds for war to preserve their own life. If another power tries to enforce their will on a people, if pushed far enough, the people will initiate resistance on the grounds of liberty. Finally, if a land is conquered by a non-native force, the native people will be resentful, make claims to that land, and when possible, launch a military campaign to retake it. These are a small subset of examples, and one can think of many more, but the associated values are the source of the most fierce warfare in history including civil, revolutionary, and world wars.

As an aside, when someone commits a crime they are stripped of possessions (i.e. fine, confiscation), freedom (i.e. imprisonment), or life (i.e. capital punishment). This is how the justice system is constructed, and for obvious reasons. Punishment is designed to significantly alter the risk/reward structure, creating a net disincentive.

Now that we have established the three most valued traits the task of gauging becomes necessary. As a whole, the value associated with each of the traits is rather constant among people. Of course there will always be extremes where people are willing to sacrifice freedom to secure life, forego life for possession, or even sacrifice property for life. All-out war requires one to sacrifice life above all else, therefore it is dependent on the other two properties unless a direct threat on life is detected. In the absence of a direct threat the other two properties must be sufficiently strained, such that death appears to be less of a burden. This can be summed up in a simple quote: "I'd rather die than tolerate this." Of course, it is not that simple, because a fight precedes death and a fight has a probability of death associated with it. If that probability is sufficiently low, then the barrier to accept death as a possibility is much easier to overcome. For example, people get into their cars and drive to work every day knowing that there is a chance that they will be killed in the process; however, the perceived risk is sufficiently small compared to the reward, such as a paycheck and food on the table. People know that if they don't go to work, they may have no shelter, food, or other necessities. This forces them to take risks because the alternative is less desirable. Whether people know it or not, they are constantly evaluating risk/reward structures. Again, this is a pivotal concept to grasp because there is a commonality to this among humans. This common thread serves to fix certain parameters, which makes mass behavioral prediction much easier. This becomes more difficult on an individual basis because people have unique traits and value systems, but it is still possible. Further difficulty arises when the opposing individual is aware of your intentions. However, when dealing with people as a whole the conditions are rather constant. With the value system established, identifying human behavior and gauging sentiment is the next step toward predicting future behavior.

I'll stop here, but there are several more concepts to consider. This is because others also possess this knowledge and have an interest in influencing people around them. This adds stimulus to the system and competing agendas. You can think of the general population as pawns who are stimulated by outside forces (i.e. media, politics etc.) and those feeding the stimuli are on a second level. Further, there are those who understand levels one & two, they are third level players. They possess an intricate knowledge of the system and can influence any of the levels below. When you begin to understand the multiple levels, how they operate, and their weaknesses you can begin to infiltrate them. With all of this said, people share the same exploitable weaknesses. The entire value system is constructed from two underlying principles: fear & love.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Information Overload: Part II

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Young Hyun, CAIDA

Due to popular demand, I have put together another helping of economic information to supplement what's already on the blog. With that said, feel free to browse older posts as most are still relevant. If you find any of the information useful, share it.

Previous Blog Posts

Mike Maloney's Full Presentations on Gold & Silver *make sure you read this post*

Information Overload: Part I 

Money: What is it?

Chris Martenson's Crash Course (Economic Basics)
Outlined below is a good introduction to current economics and money. It is a little slow to start, but I encourage you to watch all of the videos. Also, note that this video series was created in 2008.

1. Three Beliefs: A short introduction, http://youtu.be/XnXZzx9pAmQ
2. The Three E's: Economy, Energy, & Environment, http://youtu.be/JTEHUbfP7OA.
3 & 4. Exponential Growth & The Power of Compounding, http://youtu.be/W2rTQpdyCFQ
5. Growth vs. Prosperity, http://youtu.be/k1KsFDLZ3B4
6. What is Money? http://youtu.be/U8dq1bH1X6s
7. Money Creation, http://youtu.be/qIxhsF6JLEA
8. The Fed & Money Creation (be sure to watch this one), http://youtu.be/p3_Q1SiRN-A
9. A Brief History of US Money (more on the Federal Reserve), http://youtu.be/kM7rITeNW6U
10. Inflation (everyone should understand this), http://youtu.be/afWqKcqntfs
11. How Much is a Trillion? http://youtu.be/caMRBGmja3w
12. Debt (must understand), http://youtu.be/bcc-TqvCXqU
13. A National Failure to Save, http://youtu.be/Mrp1N1N2cWs
14. Assets & Demographics (interesting discussion about baby boomers), http://youtu.be/fUJU1aLEQQA
15. Bubbles (housing included, also see blog posts related to Real Estate), http://youtu.be/0F7SCbrU5sQ
16. Fuzzy Numbers (fyi: government numbers are a joke), http://youtu.be/zPkTItOXuN0
17a. Peak Oil, http://youtu.be/cwNgNyiXPLk
17b. Energy Economics, http://youtu.be/WeBtdwPpTQM
17c. Energy & The Economy, http://youtu.be/6w6gf3tSGTg
18. Environment, http://youtu.be/PfAQktktGgQ
19. Future Shock, http://youtu.be/YDNvr82gqd0

Relevant Interviews & Presentations

The mainstream media would have you believe that the economic collapse was unpredictable, however this couldn't be further from the truth. Thanks to YouTube and the internet, one can look at the track records of those who predicted the collapse and learn how they were able to do so. Reverse engineering if you will... There were a number of individuals who saw it coming, warned of it, and some even profited. Outlined below is an assortment of individuals who I'd say are in the know, be sure to check them out.

Peter Schiff: Without a doubt he has a sound understanding of how things work, especially in the economic realm. He gets it and has a track record to prove it. Period. http://youtu.be/6uDbrvir6Lo. Also see Peter Schiff's 2006 Mortgage Bankers Presentation where he predicts the housing collapse:  http://youtu.be/6G3Qefbt0n4.

Jim Rogers: He's a smart guy and a commodity pro. I have the utmost respect for Jim as he's a straight shooter and tells it how it is. Check out his YouTube channel: http://youtu.be/PnozPXgHYeM.

Gerald Celente: He's not an economic/finance guy per se, rather, he understands the full system and has an unparalleled grasp on history and the projection of human nature and events. He may seem a little off the wall at first, but he has a track record to back up his predictions. His trends journal can be found here: http://www.trendsresearch.com. Also be sure to check out the top 11 trend predictions of 2011 (released in January of 2011).

Other Informational Videos

Gold: Independent Money, http://youtu.be/RvL_Dm2d99A.

Money as Debt (slightly grainy, but includes a good history), http://youtu.be/Dc3sKwwAaCU.

Useful Blogs

Zerohedge.com, though the information is often deep and involved, it is one of the most valuable economic/financial resources out there. I check Zerohedge every day, no exceptions.
SHTFPlan.com, if you're the survivalist type, you'll have a fun time here...