by Chris Martenson, Peak Prosperity:
The new era of adjustment has only just begun
A big, gigantic, heart-felt Thank You! to everyone who supported this website and our activities in 2016!
Really. Thank you.
We did a lot of great things in 2016 in terms of reaching new audiences and extending our message into new places.
While I am constantly driven to do more, and achieve more, this is a great time of the year to look back and ask how we did. It bears repeating that Adam and I are a two man shop, with awesome direct support from Jeanine Dargis and Les Pierce (Saxplayer00o1) with the Daily Digest, Jason Wiskerchen on content loading, and a different Jason as moderator. All in all a very small team given what we accomplish, our global reach, and the sheer variety of things that we also accomplish that are largely out-of-sight (and out-of-mind) for most people.
On that last point, Adam recently brought some of those behind-the-scenes efforts to light in the post title Shifting Into Higher Gear. Thank you to everyone that took the time to appreciate our efforts to make the site run faster, better, smoother. We do it all in the interest of serving you better and reaching more people.
Our mission is to create a world worth inheriting, and we do that by educating, informing and activating people to first understand the world’s various problems and predicaments, and then doing something about them.
In 2016, we were very busy spreading the messages of the Three E’s (economy, energy & environment) and being emissaries for the twin ideas that big changes are coming and that we can do something to prepare for them.
2016: By The Numbers
An important role of mine is to reach out to the world and make our views here at Peak Prosperity more widely available. A second role, no less important, is to produce content for the Peak Prosperity site generally, and for subscribers specifically.
Here’s some of what got produced/delivered in 2016:
46 full-length Featured Voices podcasts
51 public blog pieces
89 Insider content pieces (from all authors, combined)
15 podcast interviews given (to other sites)
46 radio interview posts
3 video/TV spots
11 print media interviews (magazines and newspapers)
2 College class lectures given (Harvard and Berkeley)
1 Rowe conference (4 day duration, plus time in preparation)
3 UN events attended as part of an advisory panel
1 Crash Course event delivered on mainland China
4 speaking events at wealth conferences
1 new book written and published (Prosper!)
And those are just the highlights. There were an enormous number of other events, phone calls, consultations, video updates, planning sessions, and even swanky parties and fundraisers where our mission was present and accounted for.
From a global standpoint, the Peak Prosperity website reached 231 separate countries in 2016 (with the US being the dominant one, by far):
And that does include, proudly, one log-in from Antarctica. We are aiming for at least a 100% improvement in that metric for 2017. 🙂
Yes this has been a busy year, but 2017 promises to be even busier. There is much to do and we are really just getting started.
A Terrible, Awful No Good Year
The ‘meme’ circulating the internet and among my personal friend group is that 2016 was something of an awful year.
Between a poisonous US election cycle, horrifying acts of senseless violence caused by refugees driving trucks in Europe, nightclub and other shootings, and high profile celebrity deaths it all conspired to create a sense of 2016 having been a bad year.
Truthfully, there’s a lot about which we should all be concerned, and I think that people’s sense of unease heading into 2017 is well-deserved, if sometimes misplaced.
What do I mean by that? Well, it is misplaced to be worried about symptoms instead of causes. The fever is worrying but it is not the cause of the illness.
At Peak Prosperity we are always and ever trying to determine what the root causes are, and burrowing around in the evidence to see if we can detect what is really happening and why.
As difficult as this is for some people to ingest, let alone digest, I view trump as the inevitable symptom of a nation that has for too long ignored its own people, especially those who are not in the protected classes. The populist uprisings all over the world are merely the beginning symptoms of a very long period of disruption that are precisely what we were speaking to when we said “The next twenty years are going to be completely unlike the last twenty years” way back in 2008.
The inevitable consequences of the confluence of many expensive trends all on this relatively tiny window of time (yes, I view 20 years as pretty short given what is likely to transpire during them) are going to be highly disruptive.
Some of those disruptions will be positively directed and some quite negative. Whether we rise to the challenges and make the best of what will come remains an open question, but I remain 100% convinced that each additional increment of time spent pretending that the prior direction remains the right direction represents wasted time and resources.
As bluntly as I can say it, anybody who found the level of disruptions on 2016 overwhelming is going to have a hard time navigating the future. The period of adjustment has only just begun.
2017 – A Sea of Exponentials
“The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.” ~ Al Bartlett
Perhaps the most vexing challenge remains how to more effectively communicate the various predicaments and problems we face.
It’s not having more numbers, or more data, that’s for sure. If numbers and data ‘worked then we’d have taken a very different path sometime back in the 1950’s.
As Admiral Hyman Rickover said in a speech to a group of doctors in 1957:
“I think no further elaboration is needed to demonstrate the significance of energy resources for our own future. Our civilization rests upon a technological base which requires enormous quantities of fossil fuels. What assurance do we then have that our energy needs will continue to be supplied by fossil fuels: The answer is – in the long run – none.
The earth is finite. Fossil fuels are not renewable. In this respect our energy base differs from that of all earlier civilizations. They could have maintained their energy supply by careful cultivation. We cannot.
Fuel that has been burned is gone forever. Fuel is even more evanescent than metals. Metals, too, are non-renewable resources threatened with ultimate extinction, but something can be salvaged from scrap. Fuel leaves no scrap and there is nothing man can do to rebuild exhausted fossil fuel reserves. They were created by solar energy 500 million years ago and took eons to grow to their present volume.
In the face of the basic fact that fossil fuel reserves are finite, the exact length of time these reserves will last is important in only one respect: the longer they last, the more time do we have, to invent ways of living off renewable or substitute energy sources and to adjust our economy to the vast changes which we can expect from such a shift. Fossil fuels resemble capital in the bank.
A prudent and responsible parent will use his capital sparingly in order to pass on to his children as much as possible of his inheritance. A selfish and irresponsible parent will squander it in riotous living and care not one whit how his offspring will fare.”
His logic was as irrefutably sound then as it is today. Such information was known at the highest levels throughout government and academia. But there was no, and continues to be no, sustained and well-funded efforts to grapple with the basic dilemma posed by increasing population as dramatically as we have all the while living on, literally eating, fossil fuels to encourage that rapid population growth.
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