Author Topic: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation  (Read 55002 times)

tyort1

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #250 on: March 12, 2017, 11:51:52 PM »
Just don't let it turn you bitter.  I do in fact know people that predicted it was all going to shit back in the 70's and 80's and they ended up quite bitter that it never actually happened.  When you put yourself into a position to hope for bad outcomes, it is a very slipper slope.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #251 on: March 13, 2017, 02:29:29 AM »

Quote
If those places were going down the tubes, then I'd look at other countries.  If your idea that America and Europe are in decline, then that means that there's some other area that must be on the rise (I mean, we have to have empires, right?).  So just move to whatever country is doing well.

Yeah, but I don't like the Chinese view on the world, and I don't speak Russian.

This is why many American FI's are moving to New Zealand, especially those who want to be prepared for when the shit hits the fan, with the shelter room full of storage. This was an article in the Guardian that I read recently. Those Americans think New Zealand is so far from everything, that it might have better survival chances. Apparently New Zealand has no problems with these immigrants who are wealthy.

maizeman

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #252 on: March 13, 2017, 08:26:13 AM »
Yeah, but I don't like the Chinese view on the world, and I don't speak Russian.

This is why many American FI's are moving to New Zealand, especially those who want to be prepared for when the shit hits the fan, with the shelter room full of storage. This was an article in the Guardian that I read recently. Those Americans think New Zealand is so far from everything, that it might have better survival chances. Apparently New Zealand has no problems with these immigrants who are wealthy.

Advanced degrees from western universities with experience working in the country seems to be the big thing you need to get into New Zealand. (At least I did their official online points calculator and managed to come in, barely, over the 100 pt cutoff to be eligible.) I imagine a couple dozen million dollars doesn't hurt though.


Metric Mouse

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #253 on: March 13, 2017, 08:47:26 AM »
Yeah, but I don't like the Chinese view on the world, and I don't speak Russian.

This is why many American FI's are moving to New Zealand, especially those who want to be prepared for when the shit hits the fan, with the shelter room full of storage. This was an article in the Guardian that I read recently. Those Americans think New Zealand is so far from everything, that it might have better survival chances. Apparently New Zealand has no problems with these immigrants who are wealthy.

Advanced degrees from western universities with experience working in the country seems to be the big thing you need to get into New Zealand. (At least I did their official online points calculator and managed to come in, barely, over the 100 pt cutoff to be eligible.) I imagine a couple dozen million dollars doesn't hurt though.
This. Being rich is helpful, but being rich and having an in demand job seems to be even more helpful as far as immigrating to NZ. Whereas cental America will take people with large 'staches, NZ is a bit more picky from my research. Considering the last time I was held in a police station was in NZ, it may be even more difficult for me than an average mustachian to immigrate.

Syonyk

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #254 on: March 13, 2017, 09:53:00 AM »
Just don't let it turn you bitter.  I do in fact know people that predicted it was all going to shit back in the 70's and 80's and they ended up quite bitter that it never actually happened.  When you put yourself into a position to hope for bad outcomes, it is a very slipper slope.

There's a huge, huge distance between "hoping for bad outcomes" and "recognizing that bad outcomes are a possibility, and preparing to deal with some of them."  I put myself firmly in the second category.

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #255 on: March 13, 2017, 12:03:38 PM »
There's a huge, huge distance between "hoping for bad outcomes" and "recognizing that bad outcomes are a possibility, and preparing to deal with some of them."  I put myself firmly in the second category.

+1.

Bonus: 100% of my own (relative) wealth was built on that second approach.

Syonyk

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #256 on: March 13, 2017, 03:18:32 PM »
There's a huge, huge distance between "hoping for bad outcomes" and "recognizing that bad outcomes are a possibility, and preparing to deal with some of them."  I put myself firmly in the second category.

+1.

Bonus: 100% of my own (relative) wealth was built on that second approach.

You'd think a lot of people in this thread either don't wear seatbelts, or are depressed if they do wear seatbelts, based on some of the arguments made...

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #257 on: March 13, 2017, 03:39:49 PM »
You'd think a lot of people in this thread either don't wear seatbelts, or are depressed if they do wear seatbelts, based on some of the arguments made...

lol, yes :)

I have an acquaintance who lands there, so have had opportunity to observe, explore, and discuss this in person. According to him, nothing bad will ever happen anywhere to anyone. So, he (in fact) wears no seat belt, leaves his tiny kids in a vehicle in an unsavoury area with the keys in, leaves same in unfamiliar house for hours in the night with no phone, breaks countless other laws (no concern for safety, jail time, etc), and so on. He describes himself as an optimist and people like me -who, oh, ensures there is an adult home at night with a four year old- as a pessimist. Different definitions, for sure...      Me, I feel like it's no skin off my nose to click my seatbelt in, and totally worth it to me to bring my kid with me. No biggie.

dougules

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #258 on: March 13, 2017, 03:41:26 PM »
Just don't let it turn you bitter.  I do in fact know people that predicted it was all going to shit back in the 70's and 80's and they ended up quite bitter that it never actually happened.  When you put yourself into a position to hope for bad outcomes, it is a very slipper slope.

There's a huge, huge distance between "hoping for bad outcomes" and "recognizing that bad outcomes are a possibility, and preparing to deal with some of them."  I put myself firmly in the second category.

You've also got to prepare for good outcomes.  Every preparation for a bad outcome comes with a risk of losing out on possible good outcomes.  You have to weigh risk in proportion to its likelihood as much as its severity.  I could spend half my stash on a shelter to get me through the next asteroid impact, but it would come at the risk of losing several years of FIRE. 

maizeman

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #259 on: March 13, 2017, 03:50:23 PM »
Well one argument is that there are things you can do that prepare for both good AND bad outcomes.

That was my argument way, way, upthread: that having a significant, liquid, stash is a great preparation for both good outcomes (because you can FIRE) and bad outcomes (because you have the resources that would allow you to leave the city, region, country if things got bad).

Syonyk

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #260 on: March 13, 2017, 03:51:07 PM »
You've also got to prepare for good outcomes.  Every preparation for a bad outcome comes with a risk of losing out on possible good outcomes.  You have to weigh risk in proportion to its likelihood as much as its severity.  I could spend half my stash on a shelter to get me through the next asteroid impact, but it would come at the risk of losing several years of FIRE.

And that's why my interest has been in things that are generally useful if things go well also.  Solar?  Perfectly useful going forward.  Gardens?  Also widely useful (seriously, store vegetables are so bland).

And a lot of options don't have an ongoing expense.  Having a year's worth of food in rotation (like the Mormons do) doesn't actually cost anything extra past that initial purchase, and if you're equipped for that type of food storage, you can find very nice bulk deals every now and then and buy six months or a year's worth of something-or-other when it's on sale for stupid-low prices.

Classical_Liberal

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #261 on: March 13, 2017, 07:41:52 PM »
Well one argument is that there are things you can do that prepare for both good AND bad outcomes.

That was my argument way, way, upthread: that having a significant, liquid, stash is a great preparation for both good outcomes (because you can FIRE) and bad outcomes (because you have the resources that would allow you to leave the city, region, country if things got bad).

Right!

The "hunker down" vs "be mobile" variations of dealing with crisis.  As I eluded to before, my way is the latter.  This isn't because it provides some statistically significant improvement to survival rates in a peak oil nightmare scenario, rather its just one benefit of a lifestyle which compliments other goals & interests. Mobility has significantly increased income and savings rate for FIRE.  New skills have been refined which provide me with personal accomplishment, confidence, and independence.  My travel bug is being satiated while I earn, rather than having to spend. My carbon footprint is relatively low. I'm much happier than I was living in a fixed suburbia location. Prosperity or catastrophe, I'm living the life I want to live.  I'd really rather it be in prosperity, if not, oh well.


joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #262 on: March 13, 2017, 07:53:33 PM »
The "hunker down" vs "be mobile" variations of dealing with crisis.

Yeah, I think that's it. I too prefer the cash + mobility approach, but I do think both (hunker/move) are perfectly valid and reasonable. Like C_L notes, if your choice lines up with your lifestyle preferences, you're gold. Mine is a bit of both: mobile myself over to those who hunkered down and could use an injection of dollars, labour, or skill in a tough time.

baffi piu grandi

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #263 on: March 14, 2017, 09:49:42 AM »
First time writer been lurking for several years.

Has anyone noticed the correlation between the RISE in Progressive Liberalism / Socialism and the decline in the USA that people imply.
The 1960's, the great give away that Senator / then President L.B. Johnson perpetuated to secure the minority vote. P.S. He was a true racist, however without the minority vote he would not have been elected. And this was a way of trapping minorities on the wheel of quid pro quo. Which is a race down a rabbit hole with only losers, we the people.

Instill good Family and Faith and conservative  values, ie: live within/under your means. Random acts of kindness, you will see our system will work.

There was a radio station in upstate New York that there sign on/off was and i believe still is "Be Big Be A Builder".

Progressive / Liberalism / Socialism does not build, it takes away from someone else work.

So my synopsis is you can sit on the fence and complain and become the problem, or get up and do something constructive, Capitalism is the only way.

If you don't believe me go to Cuba today 3/14/2017.

Go into a local store and TRY to buy toothpaste, suntan lotion, or anyone of a 1000 things we take for granted, PS you can not use a debit or credit card there, so bring cash and be ready for the cabbies that will try to rob you blind, because they cant make money off the locals.


I'm on the cusp of FIRE. My wife and children say pull the trigger.

you might try this website to run a Monte Carlo Retirement Simulation. I like including a higher stock market crash probability. I use  30% with 100% stocks  est. returns of 7% and inflation at 3%.

www.retirementsimulation.com



baffi piu grandi

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #264 on: March 14, 2017, 10:07:14 AM »
I forgot to mention I use 30% possibility of a crash in the market at age 67, figuring worst case .

In 1976 I received a windfall, I bought and sold a piece of property PDQ and walked with $7500 in about 60-90 days. All my friends told me I should by myself a new car, Volvo at the time was Hot. 

I did not buy a new car, my 1949 Plymouth had taken me across country several times and was fun to drive, wish i still had it!!

I invested those dollars in the market, not a great time. I have never added to that account, however I always reinvested dividends etc. $7500 is now sitting at plus $500,000.

Just saying. I love CAPITALISM...

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #265 on: March 14, 2017, 10:23:37 AM »
^ A lot of folks on the forum are economically conservative and socially liberal. I.e., We don't have to restrict who people are in order to implement sound financial policy. Diversity, support for the less-lucky, and financial sense can all happen at the same time :)       I look forward to that world.

maizeman

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #266 on: March 14, 2017, 11:17:04 AM »
Well said jooniperberries.

baffi piu grandi

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #267 on: March 14, 2017, 06:33:37 PM »
A lot of folks on the forum are economically conservative and socially liberal. I.e., We don't have to restrict who people are in order to implement sound financial policy. Diversity, support for the less-lucky, and financial sense can all happen at the same time :)       I look forward to that world.

Social Liberal means many things. On one level what a person does in their bedroom is there own business.

Diversity and support for the less lucky, this can be dissected many ways.

Diversity sounds like affirmative action, is that what you mean? If so does it build self esteem to tell a person your not good enough but because your________. We will lower the standards.

Support for the less lucky, from a government entity, never works, churches and families are what work and build people up. Government hand outs are just a demeaning trap.


joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #268 on: March 14, 2017, 07:17:57 PM »
Diversity sounds like affirmative action, is that what you mean?

No.

Support for the less lucky, from a government entity, never works...

It did for me. And thousands of my clients... And countless friends... And some neighbours...

, churches and families are what work and build people up.

I'm sure they do for some people, in some cases. (It wasn't so for me, and for others in toxic families or congregations.)

Government hand outs are just a demeaning trap.

They weren't for me. For me, they were necessary, life-changing, and I would daresay lifesaving. Professional reports share that opinion. (Thank you governments, social workers, support staff, and the medical folks who ensured I received those!)

Just Joe

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #269 on: March 15, 2017, 10:04:01 AM »
Some of Cuba's problems are related to the embargo the American gov't imposed on them. They may have done as good as they could considering the circumstances. If you study their history - their embrace of communism was at least partially in response to monopoly situations where the owners paid workers tiny wages. A little studying reveals that this same situation was the origin of communism in other countries as well. Communism might not have come to be the primary political system but it shaped politics. Italy is one example I know pretty well.

Churches CAN be a positive influence but some fail to ever become a positive one and instead become exclusionary or abusive.

Capitalism is fine and dandy but taken to its extremes can create a monopoly situation that takes away opportunities to excel and prosper from everyone else. This goes back centuries and there are many, many examples to read about.

We as a country have internal needs that need to be addressed more so than a military larger than any other in the history of mankind. ACA Healthcare is a big topic that the GOP is hellbent on tearing apart probably b/c it represents a cash cow for some of the largest GOP supporters. So buying bullets and bombs are more important than taking care of each other? The American political playbook is worn out. Time to do what is right for the majority of Americans and quit just making the rich richer. Time to quit demonizing people b/c of who they are born (sexuality, gender, ethnicity, religion, etc).

Telecaster

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #270 on: March 15, 2017, 10:16:33 AM »
First time writer been lurking for several years.

Has anyone noticed the correlation between the RISE in Progressive Liberalism / Socialism and the decline in the USA that people imply.
The 1960's, the great give away that Senator / then President L.B. Johnson perpetuated to secure the minority vote. P.S. He was a true racist, however without the minority vote he would not have been elected. And this was a way of trapping minorities on the wheel of quid pro quo. Which is a race down a rabbit hole with only losers, we the people.


It is an interesting theory, except the standard of living is vastly better now than it was in the 1960s, especially for minorities. 

tyort1

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #271 on: March 15, 2017, 10:32:12 AM »
Some of Cuba's problems are related to the embargo the American gov't imposed on them. They may have done as good as they could considering the circumstances. If you study their history - their embrace of communism was at least partially in response to monopoly situations where the owners paid workers tiny wages. A little studying reveals that this same situation was the origin of communism in other countries as well. Communism might not have come to be the primary political system but it shaped politics. Italy is one example I know pretty well.

Churches CAN be a positive influence but some fail to ever become a positive one and instead become exclusionary or abusive.

Capitalism is fine and dandy but taken to its extremes can create a monopoly situation that takes away opportunities to excel and prosper from everyone else. This goes back centuries and there are many, many examples to read about.

We as a country have internal needs that need to be addressed more so than a military larger than any other in the history of mankind. ACA Healthcare is a big topic that the GOP is hellbent on tearing apart probably b/c it represents a cash cow for some of the largest GOP supporters. So buying bullets and bombs are more important than taking care of each other? The American political playbook is worn out. Time to do what is right for the majority of Americans and quit just making the rich richer. Time to quit demonizing people b/c of who they are born (sexuality, gender, ethnicity, religion, etc).

This is true - capitalism does tend toward monopolism.  We learned that in the US the hard way (hello Standard Oil) so we have anti-monopoly regulation.  But the truth is that the nature of the beast is to aggregate a lot of money and power into the hands of a few.  That's the whole reason we have anti-trust, anti-monopoly and anti-insider trading rules at all.  Because people did self-serving crap which screwed over everyone else, and ended up super wealthy and powerful as a result. 

FI4good

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #272 on: April 30, 2017, 03:26:08 PM »
My money is invested the USA .

Population there looks good although not a bell shape it isn't an inverted bell like japan, Taiwan or recently the UK ( possibly the uk will get worse post brexit due to limiting immigration ) .

The markets in the USA are attractive to world class business, why else would Alibaba be there, being a constituent of the s&p 500 or DJIA is huge , money from around the world floods in, in investment .

The US economy is huge, if it sneezes the rest of the world catches a cold, this is still true . on a relative wealth basis if the USA declines so will everywhere else.

The USA is the bread basket of the world and it supplies huge amounts of cheap food . Really when it comes down to it food is the basic building block of an economic system you have an abundance.

Also it's hugely wealthy in natural resources coal, oil, natural gas, fish , animals , land .
 
The dollar is the worlds reserve in currency , do you think i invest or look for companies doing the bulk of their business in sterling that goes up and down like a yo-yo .. walk along any street in the world with gold coins , US dollars or bitcoin nearly everyone willing to take payment in a non local currency would choose the USD.

If yellowstone blows then the whole world has had it , the second largest natural disaster i can think of happening is the san andreas fault levelling SF, even then the USA has the power and dynamism , the human capital and can do attitude to bounce back .

Where else is my money safe ?
 china & hong kong in the hands of the communists and bureaucrats, the isolationist and possibly breaking up UK ? the EU with its unemployment and pension issues in the south, with the north footing the bill ? japan with an ageing population and decline in births and lacklustre growth ? India with its bureaucrats and restrictive markets ?  maybe NZ or Australia but the population is relatively small for a diverse economy there is no MGM or Disney to speak of there, a few good miners ..

Nope it's USA all the way for me or should i say the mega-corps listed on the markets there. It's the only game in town and in my opinion the people who own the world, do a lot to make sure it stays that way.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2017, 03:29:59 PM by FI4good »

Syonyk

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #273 on: April 30, 2017, 07:02:35 PM »
The US economy is huge, if it sneezes the rest of the world catches a cold, this is still true . on a relative wealth basis if the USA declines so will everywhere else.

And if the US catches a cold? :)

Quote
The USA is the bread basket of the world and it supplies huge amounts of cheap food . Really when it comes down to it food is the basic building block of an economic system you have an abundance.

I certainly agree that we have a lot of cheap food - but that cheap food is heavily based on diesel, rock phosphorous, and other non-renewable inputs.

Unfortunately, it does seem that the cheap food is "fucking awful" for humans.
 
Quote
The dollar is the worlds reserve in currency , do you think i invest or look for companies doing the bulk of their business in sterling that goes up and down like a yo-yo .. walk along any street in the world with gold coins , US dollars or bitcoin nearly everyone willing to take payment in a non local currency would choose the USD.

USD is certainly the world's reserve currency - right up until it isn't.  Russia, China, and a good chunk of Europe are working to make that not the case anymore.  The US's addiction to debt works quite nicely - as long as we're the reserve currency.  And given US politician tendencies to not really do much useful, we'll keep trying to print money long after we're no longer the reserve currency.  Which will kind of suck once reality does what reality does to such situations.

Quote
If yellowstone blows then the whole world has had it , the second largest natural disaster i can think of happening is the san andreas fault levelling SF, even then the USA has the power and dynamism , the human capital and can do attitude to bounce back .

Yellowstone is a problem.  Flattening SF?  *shrug*  The world will survive.

Quote
Nope it's USA all the way for me or should i say the mega-corps listed on the markets there. It's the only game in town and in my opinion the people who own the world, do a lot to make sure it stays that way.

And when that game stops working?  What then?

History shows, rather clearly, that empires eventually stop being empires.  And when they refuse to admit it, it ends poorly.

former player

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #274 on: May 01, 2017, 02:45:58 AM »
maybe NZ or Australia but the population is relatively small for a diverse economy there is no MGM or Disney to speak of there
Sounds perfect.

albireo13

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #275 on: May 01, 2017, 04:36:48 AM »
I'm more worried about our own government (US) raiding the SS system down the road.
Politicians have already talked about such things.

Our national SS resources sit there like a Twinkie sits on a plate in a room full of hungry fat kids!

Syonyk

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #276 on: May 01, 2017, 07:07:44 AM »
I'm more worried about our own government (US) raiding the SS system down the road.
Politicians have already talked about such things.

Our national SS resources sit there like a Twinkie sits on a plate in a room full of hungry fat kids!

I just treat SS as a tax. I don't expect a thing out.

boarder42

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #277 on: May 01, 2017, 07:11:57 AM »
I'm more worried about our own government (US) raiding the SS system down the road.
Politicians have already talked about such things.

Our national SS resources sit there like a Twinkie sits on a plate in a room full of hungry fat kids!

I just treat SS as a tax. I don't expect a thing out.

the social disruption that would be caused by 0 payout would be monumental.  that being said i treat it the same way since we'll quit around 35-37.  too difficult to plan that in IMO. b/c we know ages likely will change. i doubt highly it goes to 0 unless the US govt dissolves, then thats a different story.  Some form of universal income is likely to exist by the time our generation reaches 70 anyways.  AI is coming fast.

Syonyk

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #278 on: May 01, 2017, 07:18:41 AM »
Ages will creep up, payouts will go down in real terms (failing to track inflation is a useful way to do this), and I expect at some point in the next 30-someodd years it will become means tested to avoid "giving rich people more government money they don't deserve or need" - or whatever the popular phrasing at the time is.

The means testing is the most likely to impact RE types - and that would drive payouts to zero.

I'm a whole lot less optimistic about basic income. I know paying people to do nothing sounds popular, and I don't think the US will make it happen.

PizzaSteve

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #279 on: May 01, 2017, 07:57:20 AM »
I'm more worried about our own government (US) raiding the SS system down the road.
Politicians have already talked about such things.

Our national SS resources sit there like a Twinkie sits on a plate in a room full of hungry fat kids!
You do know that the SS Trust fund is just IOUs from young US workers to older US workers, right?  Payments are funded from current taxes.  If there is a surplus they buy govt debt with it. So i am assuming by raid you mean lowering or taxing future benefit payments.

Rimu05

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #280 on: May 01, 2017, 08:46:34 AM »
We are only at the tip of the iceberg, of a new industrial revolution.....thanks to technology.

THe vast majority of the world is just beginning to consume online content and have access to e commerce.

In 2025, you can FIRE into the matrix.


This its incredible that people see us as peaking right now.  we're 5 years away from every device talking to everything cars driving themselves everywhere. and not as reliant on their sensors anymore but their communication with other cars.  20 years from now you wont be able to drive a car on the interstate you will have to have an self driving car etc.  the growth of AI is coming at an exponential pace b/c it can learn and teach itself now. 

The future to me looks much more like wall-e and the jetsons than the aftermath of world war 3 .

 
I guess many people are luddites. I work in technology, so I have a unique insight into how rapidly it's changing the world around us. We can't even begin the fathom how much advancement is ahead of us in the next decade or two. It's going to be a VERY different world folks, grab your popcorn.

I think a lot of us though adjust to technology and reduce it to mundaneness (is that even a word?). Furthermore, when new technology is introduced, it doesn't just rock our socks off over night and often, it's not very accessible. I mean has there ever been life changing technology that has been instantly accessible to the masses? From a car to computers, these initially cost a fortune. Even now the electric car is very pricy. Self driving cars too have been around for a couple of years now but it's not accessible. Another funny thing is with technological improvements we look back and marvel at how things we thought were amazing now are just not. I mean, have you ever whipped out your playstation 2 and every game you thought was amazing just looks terrible. Heck, now virtual reality gaming is slowly becoming a thing.

I'm not sure the future looks like the Jetsons or Wall-e on account of billions of people not having access to things like clean water. While there are amazing technological advancements being made around the world, there is also the opposite side without access to any of it much less basic necessities.

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #281 on: May 01, 2017, 10:00:23 AM »
We are only at the tip of the iceberg, of a new industrial revolution.....thanks to technology.

THe vast majority of the world is just beginning to consume online content and have access to e commerce.

In 2025, you can FIRE into the matrix.


This its incredible that people see us as peaking right now.  we're 5 years away from every device talking to everything cars driving themselves everywhere. and not as reliant on their sensors anymore but their communication with other cars.  20 years from now you wont be able to drive a car on the interstate you will have to have an self driving car etc.  the growth of AI is coming at an exponential pace b/c it can learn and teach itself now. 

The future to me looks much more like wall-e and the jetsons than the aftermath of world war 3 .

 
I guess many people are luddites. I work in technology, so I have a unique insight into how rapidly it's changing the world around us. We can't even begin the fathom how much advancement is ahead of us in the next decade or two. It's going to be a VERY different world folks, grab your popcorn.

I think a lot of us though adjust to technology and reduce it to mundaneness (is that even a word?). Furthermore, when new technology is introduced, it doesn't just rock our socks off over night and often, it's not very accessible. I mean has there ever been life changing technology that has been instantly accessible to the masses? From a car to computers, these initially cost a fortune. Even now the electric car is very pricy. Self driving cars too have been around for a couple of years now but it's not accessible. Another funny thing is with technological improvements we look back and marvel at how things we thought were amazing now are just not. I mean, have you ever whipped out your playstation 2 and every game you thought was amazing just looks terrible. Heck, now virtual reality gaming is slowly becoming a thing.

I'm not sure the future looks like the Jetsons or Wall-e on account of billions of people not having access to things like clean water. While there are amazing technological advancements being made around the world, there is also the opposite side without access to any of it much less basic necessities.

there is about to be a car released for 35k that has the option to drive itself.  in today's consumer america thats a car available to the masses. which means in 6 years i can buy the old tech version of it people dont want for pennies on the dollar.  the biggest question will be.  is it still getting updates.  cars unlike phones arent disposable every 2-3 years and musk has indicated he will not make things retrofitable.  the question is to what level will the car still be updated so it can still drive itself.

as far as the 3rd world countries i see your point. 

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #282 on: May 01, 2017, 11:33:53 AM »
Large scale technological change brings with it large scale social change.  The industrial revolution brought then end of agrarian society, which in turn brought a huge increase in standard of living for Western countries.  It eventually lead to the consumerist culture so many on this forum rally against, so one could argue it's not all good.

The current technology revolution has many differences from previous changes. Perhaps chiefly the speed (ie timeline) at which these changes can affect the daily lives of the masses.  A point OP has made many times is that these transitions may end up good (but not guaranteed good) over the long term, but there can be substantial suffering in the short/mid-term.  It's easy to breeze over the very long transition periods of history where a large number of people suffered.  I wouldn't have wanted a family farmer in the 1880's, or made a living with horses in the 1910's.  These folks suffered, economically and socially. Maybe they were all Luddites, but I think its very difficult to truly predict the future and make changes in advance.  To think that we know the outcomes of technological changes decades in advance, even as an expert, is probably wishful thinking.

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #283 on: May 01, 2017, 11:56:20 AM »
I'm more worried about our own government (US) raiding the SS system down the road.
Politicians have already talked about such things.

Our national SS resources sit there like a Twinkie sits on a plate in a room full of hungry fat kids!

Well the good news is that unless the road you are traveling on is taking you back in time to 1983, you don't have to worry about that any more.

 

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #284 on: May 01, 2017, 12:03:20 PM »
Large scale technological change brings with it large scale social change.  The industrial revolution brought then end of agrarian society, which in turn brought a huge increase in standard of living for Western countries.  It eventually lead to the consumerist culture so many on this forum rally against, so one could argue it's not all good.

The current technology revolution has many differences from previous changes. Perhaps chiefly the speed (ie timeline) at which these changes can affect the daily lives of the masses.  A point OP has made many times is that these transitions may end up good (but not guaranteed good) over the long term, but there can be substantial suffering in the short/mid-term.  It's easy to breeze over the very long transition periods of history where a large number of people suffered.  I wouldn't have wanted a family farmer in the 1880's, or made a living with horses in the 1910's.  These folks suffered, economically and socially. Maybe they were all Luddites, but I think its very difficult to truly predict the future and make changes in advance.  To think that we know the outcomes of technological changes decades in advance, even as an expert, is probably wishful thinking.

You are in the wrong thread, the OP and others like him are convinced that there's a fundamental lack of sustainability with the present and we're in for a pretty dramatic downturn.  When exactly that happens, or whether it's an abrupt or gradual shift, and the duration of it are all a bit fuzzy.  But dammit, it's gonna happen!  Haha, sorry I know I shouldn't even post in this thread anymore because the OP and I simply disagree about this point. 

I did want to reply to Rimu05 though.


I think a lot of us though adjust to technology and reduce it to mundaneness (is that even a word?). Furthermore, when new technology is introduced, it doesn't just rock our socks off over night and often, it's not very accessible. I mean has there ever been life changing technology that has been instantly accessible to the masses? From a car to computers, these initially cost a fortune. Even now the electric car is very pricy. Self driving cars too have been around for a couple of years now but it's not accessible. Another funny thing is with technological improvements we look back and marvel at how things we thought were amazing now are just not. I mean, have you ever whipped out your playstation 2 and every game you thought was amazing just looks terrible. Heck, now virtual reality gaming is slowly becoming a thing.

I'm not sure the future looks like the Jetsons or Wall-e on account of billions of people not having access to things like clean water. While there are amazing technological advancements being made around the world, there is also the opposite side without access to any of it much less basic necessities.

Rimu, I hear you about what seems like a basic inequality.  More work needs to be done.  But as an optimist (and someone that is data driven), here's some interesting data points to know, re: quality of life now for people around the world:















Could things be more equitable?  Yes, absolutely.  But don't let that obscure that humanity has made some incredible strides across the world. 

And everyone benefits from this - as the rest of the world comes out of poverty, it adds to the overall robustness of the world itself.

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #285 on: May 01, 2017, 12:08:20 PM »
You are in the wrong thread, the OP and others like him are convinced that there's a fundamental lack of sustainability with the present and we're in for a pretty dramatic downturn.  When exactly that happens, or whether it's an abrupt or gradual shift, and the duration of it are all a bit fuzzy.  But dammit, it's gonna happen!  Haha, sorry I know I shouldn't even post in this thread anymore because the OP and I simply disagree about this point.

Yup.  We use radically more each year than the (finite) planet we live on can recover.  It's by definition unsustainable.

We live in a nation that believes it can spend more than it brings in, every year, indefinitely.  That's another thing that, throughout history, has been demonstrated to work - right up until it suddenly doesn't. 

Quote
And everyone benefits from this - as the rest of the world comes out of poverty, it adds to the overall robustness of the world itself.

And the destruction to the environment done from bringing the rest of the world out of poverty, or even just done by the US population, will catch up - eventually.  I'm glad I'm not living near one of the coastlines...

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #286 on: May 01, 2017, 12:14:02 PM »
You are in the wrong thread, the OP and others like him are convinced that there's a fundamental lack of sustainability with the present and we're in for a pretty dramatic downturn.  When exactly that happens, or whether it's an abrupt or gradual shift, and the duration of it are all a bit fuzzy.  But dammit, it's gonna happen!  Haha, sorry I know I shouldn't even post in this thread anymore because the OP and I simply disagree about this point.

Yup.  We use radically more each year than the (finite) planet we live on can recover.  It's by definition unsustainable.

We live in a nation that believes it can spend more than it brings in, every year, indefinitely.  That's another thing that, throughout history, has been demonstrated to work - right up until it suddenly doesn't. 

Quote
And everyone benefits from this - as the rest of the world comes out of poverty, it adds to the overall robustness of the world itself.

And the destruction to the environment done from bringing the rest of the world out of poverty, or even just done by the US population, will catch up - eventually.  I'm glad I'm not living near one of the coastlines...

Oh, you know, one question I didn't ask before but I am curious about.  If you had a magic wand and could have people make the changes necessary to prevent the pending downturn, what would it be?

Classical_Liberal

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #287 on: May 01, 2017, 12:31:18 PM »
You are in the wrong thread, the OP and others like him are convinced that there's a fundamental lack of sustainability with the present and we're in for a pretty dramatic downturn.  When exactly that happens, or whether it's an abrupt or gradual shift, and the duration of it are all a bit fuzzy.  But dammit, it's gonna happen!  Haha, sorry I know I shouldn't even post in this thread anymore because the OP and I simply disagree about this point. 

Ha!  Maybe I am, but I do agree with his assertions that the current state of society is not sustainable. I do think western society has peaked and we are due for some very substantial changes that will be painful for many. What I may disagree with is extrapolating today's use of resources (or current state of affairs) decades or centuries into the future.  I don't think we can take a single point in time and then make an accurate model or future assumptions based on that point.  Rather, I believe, the model will change.  That may mean new technology allowing for continued standard of living increases (optimistic?),  it may mean a slow decrease of standard of living, or it may be fast & devastating change (pessimistic?). Nassim Taleb would probably say we refuse to acknowledge the vast amount of things we just don't know.

In any event, I am also curious to the answer of this:
If you had a magic wand and could have people make the changes necessary to prevent the pending downturn, what would it be?
« Last Edit: May 01, 2017, 12:33:04 PM by Classical_Liberal »

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #288 on: May 01, 2017, 12:52:50 PM »
Oh, you know, one question I didn't ask before but I am curious about.  If you had a magic wand and could have people make the changes necessary to prevent the pending downturn, what would it be?

"What magic wand could you wave to make a person live forever?"  It's the same question - civilizations and nations have their arc, and pretty reliably go through it.  There's no quick fixes.

At this point?  I don't think there's much that can be done - one of the things history teaches is that the only way to make a civilization last a very long time is to have things be very, very static - you get stability, but not much in the way of technological progress or anything.  You can have Egypt under the Pharoahs, which was very stable and long lasting, but had very little change over time, technological or otherwise.  China managed to find a way to maintain some sort of cultural thread through their repeated cycles, but it wasn't particularly stable over the long run either.  They just kept doing it over and over again.

There's no way to take a nation or civilization that's heading down the backside of their arc through history and turn it around that anyone has found, so far.

That said, things that would radically reduce the impact of what I view as the coming likely storms, and likely prolong the nation:
- A return to a focus on local manufacturing and local economies - and not debt-backed ones, either.  Those work great right up until they don't.  Having heavily distributed production facilities means that you don't lose as much when one area fails due to a natural disaster.  It's very inefficient, but "efficient" systems have little or no redundancy - look at Toyota when their one supplier of brake cylinders a few years back had a problem.
- A radical reduction in energy use - this would be the biggest one in terms of having an impact.  We should be designing housing to work with the local environment, not fight against it (typical suburban homes are uninhabitable without a lot of energy spent on climate control, and a properly designed home for the environment doesn't have that issue).  Renewable energy sources are fundamentally intermittent, and designing low energy housing systems that work with that goes a long ways.  There's no excuse for homes being built without solar hot water, proper thermal mass, earth coupling (if in a cooling dominated climate), proper solar exposure, etc.  Unfortunately, you can't retrofit that into a home easily.
- A focus on distributed food production - industrial scale food production has major problems if the debt and non-renewable resources (phosphorous is the most likely to get exciting soon) aren't available.  The same thing with distributed industrial capabilities applies here.

If we are going to try and maintain an industrial civilization, on top of that, I'd like to see a good high voltage DC grid built out for regional interconnection in the US (it's a lot easier than AC for long distance now), and I'm a fan of breeder reactors to make use of our waste sitting around (the amount of unusable nasty stuff in reactor waste is pretty small - most of it is either short lived or still entirely unburned and useful uranium).  But I'm not sure that building new reactors is a good idea at this point in our arc.

And then there are the cultural aspects.  We've passed the point where politicians are particularly useful - and people look at the political process mostly as, "What can I get for me out of who I vote for?"  Again, history shows that this doesn't end well.  I can dream of a few politicians with their heads on straight, but when the whole system is focused on short term thinking and funneling wealth to whoever scratched their back last, a few people don't make a difference.

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #289 on: May 01, 2017, 01:07:21 PM »
Ok, so that was a lot of text!  But thank you for the detailed reply.  I'll just point out a couple of places where I think we disagree the most, because a point by point rebuttal would be, well, pointless.  Haha!

You posit stability as the desired goal, and correctly point out that static cultures are very stable.  True.  But that means progress is the enemy of the stability.  I think that's true.  And I embrace improvement even if it causes some instability.  I'd rather live in 'unstable' 2017 USA than 'stable' 1500BC Egypt.  Sorry, but life is just better now.  Much, much better. 

I'm glad you brought up Toyota.  Because I think the system we have in place is actually self-healing.  Its becoming more robust over time, not less.  Having the problem with brakes caused Toyota some short term problems, but they are still around and doing  as well as ever. 

I am not sure that producing food locally is ever the answer.  The vast majority of local climates simply won't allow the production of enough food to support the populations that are there.  So you produce food where you can grow a lot of it easily and transport it to where it's not easily grown. 

And... well I'm going to stop typing because I can already feel my words having zero impact with you.

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #290 on: May 01, 2017, 01:34:45 PM »
Ok, so that was a lot of text!  But thank you for the detailed reply.

That was the summary... :/

Quote
I'd rather live in 'unstable' 2017 USA than 'stable' 1500BC Egypt.  Sorry, but life is just better now.  Much, much better.

Certainly.  But, the thing that you don't seem to be willing to think through is, "What happens when that unstable 2017 USA does what unstable civilizations quite reliably do?"

If you agree that a static culture tends to be stable, and agree that if you want to see improvement (or change - I prefer "change" to "progress" as a description), you require an unstable society, then that unstable society is, one day, no longer going to exist.  Perhaps you expect things will remain stable enough for the remainder of your life?  If so, that's a reasonable enough approach.  I'm less optimistic, but I certainly understand my bias as a paid pessimist.

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I'm glad you brought up Toyota.  Because I think the system we have in place is actually self-healing.  Its becoming more robust over time, not less.  Having the problem with brakes caused Toyota some short term problems, but they are still around and doing  as well as ever.

No, it's not becoming more robust over time.  A robust industrial system is dreadfully inefficient, but shrugs if a supplier burns down because they've got months of parts stocked in the factory warehouses, and goes about trying to find a replacement at some point.  JIT is literally the opposite of robust.  It's a truck breakdown away from a line stoppage, in the ideal case.

Quote
I am not sure that producing food locally is ever the answer.  The vast majority of local climates simply won't allow the production of enough food to support the populations that are there.  So you produce food where you can grow a lot of it easily and transport it to where it's not easily grown.

That then should raise the question, "Are those environments suited to having massive numbers of humans in them?"

Phoenix is uninhabitable desert without an insane amount of energy and water, as an example.

I would argue most coastal cities have radically exceeded the number of people that should be there as well, but more people keep piling in.

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #291 on: May 01, 2017, 01:44:27 PM »
Also, not all cultures relied on leafy greens and oranges -opting for the local whale fat and fermented fish, etc. Granted, previous peoples had much shorter life spans that we do now. I don't know that we should all have such long ones, though. And I think I'd prefer everyone live well for 30 years than a percentage live wildly well for 98 at the expense of others' wellness.

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #292 on: May 01, 2017, 01:47:26 PM »
See, and here's the problem.  The conversation starts out as "hey, we should change our behavior to stave off bad stuff" and always ends up with "well, it's the population itself that's unsustainable". 

So you start talking about what?  Population control ala China?  Mass planned starvations ala early USSR?  That's a lot of misery you're willing to inflict now, on actual living people, for the sake of something that 'might' happen in the future. 

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #293 on: May 01, 2017, 01:55:17 PM »
Also, not all cultures relied on leafy greens and oranges -opting for the local whale fat and fermented fish, etc.

Sure - Vietnam has a great history of fermented food, because it works wonderfully for food preservation in their climate.

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Granted, previous peoples had much shorter life spans that we do now. I don't know that we should all have such long ones, though. And I think I'd prefer everyone live well for 30 years than a percentage live wildly well for 98 at the expense of others' wellness.

Be careful - "Average lifespan" numbers normally include the infant/youth mortality rates.  If you survived to adulthood, expected lifespan was quite reasonable in a lot of cultures.

See, and here's the problem.  The conversation starts out as "hey, we should change our behavior to stave off bad stuff" and always ends up with "well, it's the population itself that's unsustainable".

Well, yes.  That does seem quite likely.  My focus for this thread was more on individual plans, not ways to forcibly reshape society.

I've made no claims about population control, though.  Nature has a way of handling excess population, eventually.

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #294 on: May 01, 2017, 02:09:15 PM »
That's the interesting thing about how we (as humans) reason.  We aren't objective, and what's reasonable to us (or not) depends upon our initial premises. 

For example, if your premise is that our current course is not sustainable, then nothing I post (or anyone else posts) will ever change that.  And vice versa. 

I see this all the time in the Investor Alley.  Stock markets are regularly hitting all time highs.  For some people it's "yay, more money things are going great".  For others, it's always "Now things are REALLY gonna crash!"

Crashes do happen, and nations do lose their spot at leader of the world.  But the world (and the market) march on.  Onward and upward. 

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #295 on: May 01, 2017, 02:15:38 PM »
For example, if your premise is that our current course is not sustainable, then nothing I post (or anyone else posts) will ever change that.  And vice versa.

You say that...

Quote
Crashes do happen, and nations do lose their spot at leader of the world.  But the world (and the market) march on.  Onward and upward.

And then you follow up with that.

A 100 year view isn't useful to people if they can't feed their families today.  Read some of the stuff from people who lived through the transition period from the USSR to the current Russian government - it was not a pretty time.

And, again, I've been trying to focus on things that are useful either way.  If things go well, great.  I make a chunk of change selling home grown aquaponic fish at my local farmers market.

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #296 on: May 01, 2017, 02:30:09 PM »
Well, what you are doing is hedging against that temporary condition.  I can respect that.  At least you aren't advocating that no one be allowed to live past 30!  Or some other population control BS which always ends up with a lot of people getting murdered. 

I think Britain is a great example to look at - used to be the world leader, now it is not.  Would I rather live in Britain now, or in the 1800's?  Now.  For sure now.  Because it's a better place to live now than it was even 100 or 200 years ago. 

If you look historically at who tends to do well/best when things like that shift, it's usually the wealthy because they can be flexible in a way that the middle class and the poor cannot.  That's my plan.  Have a lot of $$.  Get the hell out of Dodge, if SHTF. 

Oh, which reminds me - one other question that popped into my head:  When do you think this will happen?  Our lifetime?  Kids lifetime?  100 years?  And do you think it'll be a gradual decline or a drop off the cliff decline/reset?

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #297 on: May 01, 2017, 02:34:35 PM »
If you look historically at who tends to do well/best when things like that shift, it's usually the wealthy because they can be flexible in a way that the middle class and the poor cannot.  That's my plan.  Have a lot of $$.  Get the hell out of Dodge, if SHTF.

That's fair.  It works, if there's somewhere else to go, and you manage to get out with your head, which isn't always the case.

Quote
Oh, which reminds me - one other question that popped into my head:  When do you think this will happen?  Our lifetime?  Kids lifetime?  100 years?  And do you think it'll be a gradual decline or a drop off the cliff decline/reset?

I expect a long, gradual decline, which is what generally happens throughout history, and I think that it will certainly be noticeable within my expected lifetime.  I'm in a rural area, so it's likely to happen earlier here than in the coastal cities, but the coastal cities are going to have to figure out how to deal with the ocean increasingly trying to occupy their basements.

tyort1

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #298 on: May 01, 2017, 03:10:15 PM »
If you look historically at who tends to do well/best when things like that shift, it's usually the wealthy because they can be flexible in a way that the middle class and the poor cannot.  That's my plan.  Have a lot of $$.  Get the hell out of Dodge, if SHTF.

That's fair.  It works, if there's somewhere else to go, and you manage to get out with your head, which isn't always the case.

Quote
Oh, which reminds me - one other question that popped into my head:  When do you think this will happen?  Our lifetime?  Kids lifetime?  100 years?  And do you think it'll be a gradual decline or a drop off the cliff decline/reset?

I expect a long, gradual decline, which is what generally happens throughout history, and I think that it will certainly be noticeable within my expected lifetime.  I'm in a rural area, so it's likely to happen earlier here than in the coastal cities, but the coastal cities are going to have to figure out how to deal with the ocean increasingly trying to occupy their basements.

Yes, agreed about the coasts.  Well, I guess they'll all just move to Denver.  Seems like they are already doing that anyway!  Haha, as I sit here and watch the real estate market here in Denver/Boulder/Golden go insane.

I guess my last question for you is this - do you think only the US is on a long slow gradual decline?  Or the world as a whole? 

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Re: Thoughts on FIRE in a declining nation
« Reply #299 on: May 01, 2017, 03:20:06 PM »
Be careful - "Average lifespan" numbers normally include the infant/youth mortality rates.  If you survived to adulthood, expected lifespan was quite reasonable in a lot of cultures.

Yes. But I also think we are new in living this long, that people died at 50/40/30 depending on the time and culture. i.e., Maximum expiry date vs average.

I'm saying I support local diet, even if that means shorter lifespans across humanity.