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. (Source)

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 PeakProsperity.com 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:

(Source)

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)

The House approved a new aid package for Ukraine of nearly $40 billion, which will increase the total U.S. funding for Ukraine's war efforts to a whopping $58 BILLION since March, if the package passes in the Senate. Meanwhile, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testified before Congress that the Biden administration is considering diverting resources away from an already-struggling VA (Department of Veterans Affairs) to deal with the border crisis.

"I am not making this up -- this will [make] your head explode," Glenn Beck said in the radio program Thursday. "They are going to divert costs; the Biden administration is taking money from the VA. Now already, our veterans get seconds, and we are [considering] diverting VA funding, and doctors, and nurses, away from our vets and to the migrants at the border, so we can take money that we don't have, $58 billion, and send it to Ukraine. What the hell is wrong with us?"

"Now, some Republican lawmakers are attempting to fight this," he added. "But, most people haven't even heard of this. This is how the atrocities at the border go unchecked. Biden sweeps it all under a rug. The mainstream media covers it up. And, meanwhile, people suffer and die. And in this case, it's not only the people on the border, but it is also our veterans in VA hospitals."

Glenn went on to detail the unreported deadly consequences of Biden’s border policies which have led to enough fentanyl to kill millions of Americans pouring across the border and terrorists having found easy paths into our country.

Watch the video clip below to hear more from Glenn:

Can't watch? Download the podcast here or listen to the episode highlights below:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn’s masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution, and live the American dream.

Corruption, greed, and death. This is what the Left’s border policy is REALLY about, not the humanitarian effort they claim it is.

On tonight's episode of "Glenn TV," Glenn Beck exposes the groups benefitting from the border chaos under the Biden administration. A leftist money supply flows to NGOs on the border that are now taking the roles that the government should be filling with immigration and helping immigrants to flood into the U.S. Glenn asks: Why is the U.N. funding the flow of migrants to our border and subverting Congress? Why are former Biden staffers working for “non-profits” that are now getting exclusive, HIGHLY irregular multimillion-dollar border contracts? Worse than that, the consequences of Biden’s border policy have now turned deadly. National Guard members at the border are dying, fentanyl from China pours across the border, and terrorists have found an easy path to enter our country.

Finally, Glenn asks Texas Rep. Chip Roy if it’s time to impeach DHS Secretary Mayorkas for his negligence that is costing American lives.

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn’s masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

I can no longer relate to the modern pro-choice woman. I don’t want to shout my abortion. I want to pretend it never happened. Up until the SCOTUS leak, I had done a pretty good job of burying my 20-year secret. But the Roe v. Wade information earthquake triggered an eruption. I can no longer pretend to be ambivalent or leave it to blue-check pro-lifers to speak for me. My days of repeating the “safe, legal, and rare” mantra like a good, GenX libertarian feminist are over.

Some pro-abortion activists call their life-ending procedure “self-care,” like they just booked a hot stone massage or a facial at a spa. This is a polite euphemism many women tell themselves – not because we are cold-blooded killers, but because it’s how we survive. We HAVE to lie in order to justify what is actually taking place. Denial is a protective coating, a barrier from the truth. Remember, any woman born after Roe v. Wade has been programmed to believe that abortion is a natural-born right. “It’s legal; therefore it must not be evil. This is a medical procedure. Women do it every day.” Planned Parenthood has a nice way of describing abortion on its website: “A doctor uses a combination of medical tools and a suction device to gently take the pregnancy tissue out of your uterus.” “Gently take the tissue out.” Benign euphemisms that wrap our hearts and minds in a suffocating cocoon. Benign euphemisms to keep us in line.

I was raised in the Bible Belt and to believe that sex before marriage was the gravest of sins. You’d be better off robbing a store by pistol than to be caught fornicating with a boy. And yet I did fornicate with a boy. No boy I’d ever be proud to bring around to my parents. I never gave him the option to talk me out of it. I just demanded he pay half for the procedure and never speak of it again. I told myself it would be easier to survive the hidden shame of the abortion than wear the shame of my sin on my belly for the next nine months.

...the pill I took made an ugly, painful mess, and it didn’t finish the job.

I took the so-called “easy” way out at six weeks along and swallowed a pill I got from some abortionist who gave me the creeps. He was no medical saint like the one portrayed in “The Cider House Rules,” nobly saving women from coat-hanger abortions. The doctor in my story made a quick buck at the expense of terrified “good girls.” Years later I would learn he kept aborted fetuses in buckets and was under investigation for shady medical practices. I couldn’t leave his clinic fast enough, but at least I wouldn’t have to miss work or skip my college classes. I could finish my degree and still make my parents proud. How convenient. But the pill I took made an ugly, painful mess, and it didn’t finish the job. Now I had to see a real obstetrician, get an ultrasound, and deal with the aftermath.

This doctor’s office was nicer. It had bright lights and pink walls. Although my doctor was professional, I still felt the quiet judgment in her voice. I refused to look at the image of my tortured fetus on the screen. I knew what it would mean if I did – my feminist career ambitions would lose the battle to my soul if I looked at that baby. The doctor told me the fetus was still viable but likely mentally damaged. The “kinder” thing to do would be to finish the job at an in-clinic abortion. End the fetus’ suffering and end my own self-torture. I woke up from anesthesia to learn the abortion was complete. It’s over so quickly, but the internal conflict hangs. And hangs.

You find weird ways to cope. Not long after, I discovered an abandoned robin’s egg, still perfectly intact. I wrapped it in a sock and carried it with me for over a decade. If I couldn’t do right by my own child, maybe I could keep this unhatched egg safe. Eventually, I had to come to terms with the fact that the bird egg was dead, and I got therapy. He was a good New York psychologist. Secular, liberal, tolerant. He helped me to forgive myself, but I always knew who I really needed to ask for forgiveness …

It’s easy for a young woman with all those stockpiled eggs in her ovaries to be pro-choice. She can toss away the miracle of life like a rotten banana or a bruised apple because it is easily replaced. It wasn’t until I was forced to confront the mortality of my own fertility that I felt the full force of my regret.

But I do not write this letter to achieve redemption or to be the new face of the pro-life movement. You will not see me pleading with women outside an abortion clinic. You will not see me protesting with a cutesy, homemade sign at the March for Life. You will not see me sparring on Twitter, confronting baby-killers with cold, hard facts. For now, you will not even know my name. I suppose this is not very brave, but my story is not complete and God’s work in me is in an active state. Mine is a modest mission: Maybe if I’m honest about my own wounds, I can help other women like me to heal. Maybe I can love the terrified, knocked-up woman in the Bible Belt who believes the best worst lies our society has ever told, better than any conservative talk show host ever could.

The SCOTUS leak ripped a band-aid off a festering 50-year-old wound.

The SCOTUS leak ripped a band-aid off a festering 50-year-old wound. It’s naive to think we will fix this mess for the unborn overnight and deprogram men and women plugged into 50 years of slick, well-packaged lies. Slavery was legal in the U.S. for over 200 years before we fought a war to end it. And it was another 100 years before we ended state-sanctioned racism.

When it comes to the issue of defending innocent life, I know it’s hard to be patient. This is a clear battle of good vs. evil for many on the right, but you need allies like me – the former “safe, legal, and rare” pro-choicers who are afraid to come out of the shadows. Afraid to become a political prop in the culture wars, but willing to do the quiet missionary work in our back yards.

I hope for the day future progressives look back in horror at today’s progressives fighting to keep abortion on demand. I hope for the day the New York Times publishes the pro-life version of the 1619 Project. Maybe they’ll call it the “1973 Project,” “whose mission is to reframe the country's history by placing the consequences of abortion and the contribution of the pro-life movement at the very center of our national narrative.”

Until that day, I want to help these women to be braver than me. To see beyond their impossible tomorrow. If I had allowed someone the chance to help me be brave, I might not have had the same successful career, but I would have a 20-year-old son or daughter in whom to invest this unexplained overflow in my heart.

Dear EV drivers: Think you're safe from soaring gas prices? Think again.

Image source: (Left) Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images (Right) Video screenshot

Diesel fuel prices have surged to record levels, adding to already record-high inflation in the U.S. But most Americans don't drive cars that run on diesel, and many have turned to electric vehicles (EVs) to avoid the ever-increasing pain at the pump. So, how would diesel supply shortages — and the resulting sky-high prices — affect you or your budget?

On the radio program Monday, Glenn Beck explained why every American should be concerned about the rising cost of diesel.

"Diesel fuel is the fuel that powers the economy," Glenn began. "How does that work? Well, let's start over in China. You want something from China, you have to put it onto a big boat, a slow boat from China, and that's powered by diesel.

"Then, it gets to our docks," he continued. "You know all of those big cranes and everything else that take that crap off of the ship and then put it on the ground? Run by diesel. And then the forklifts that come and pick it up and then bring it over to the train, those run on diesel. And then the train, those engines, they run on diesel. And then the trucks that get it halfway across the country from the train where they're picked up again by the forklifts, run by diesel. Then they're put into another truck, also run by diesel."

"I sure hope all the people bragging about their electric cars as gas prices skyrocket have a backup plan for their food too. Because as diesel prices go crazy, so does the price of EVERYTHING," Glenn posted on Twitter.

Watch the video clip below to hear Glenn explain how diesel supply shortages will affect all of us:

Can't watch? Download the podcast here or listen to the episode highlights below:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn’s masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution, and live the American dream.