Low growth, end of money and prioritising financial capital vs other forms

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vexed87
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Low growth, end of money and prioritising financial capital vs other forms

Post by vexed87 » Wed May 17, 2017 8:52 am

This is sort of a spin off to a post I almost made to the FI with a mortgage thread that came up recently, but thought it might warrant it's own discussion.

The beauty of ERE to me seems to be it's hedged nature, it's ability to deal with living the best life possible in an eternal growth scenario or it's ability to deal with the implications of peak oil, a very real possibility of low/negative growth future and an end to the highly specialised work and industrialised monetary economy (by way of implementing renaissance man ideals.)

Hypothetically, if your faith in the monetary economy had been rocked, how would you go about prioritising the building of capital in the absence of money, might you place equal importance on some or all? Depending where you are in the ERE-Wheaton scale, I imagine the following may shift around in interesting ways.

Financial Capital
Living Capital
Material Capital
Knowledge Capital
Emotional Capital
Social Capital
Cultural Capital
Time Capital

I'm going to be lazy and not define the above, I assume everyone has a good appreciation of these. Over the last couple of years I noticed a continual shifting of priorities in accumulating these forms of capital. Maybe there's lots going on to influence these changes, ranging from which book I'm reading, to how much I have in the bank, or what my next life milestone is, etc, etc. Having found ERE after reading MMM I went through the typical optimisation of expenses, followed by shifting away from buying solutions to my problems on the market. I now realise that if taxes and mortgage were non-existent*, I could live perfectly well spending essentially nothing at all. In fact, taxes aside, most of my spending now feels like complete and utter luxury. Soap is no longer a need for me, but a 100% luxury, in fact unless I get oil on my hands, I generally prefer to go without.

Naturally, basic FI blogs and forum's prioritise financial capital, but as I become 'wiser' I'm starting to realise that this should perhaps be at the bottom rung of the ladder, and all of the other forms of capital should take priority. Maybe what I'm saying here isn't particularly insightful, and plainly obvious to those already FI (ERE style) but I guess I'm interested in seeing how others react to prioritising capital in the absence of money.

I know I could be FI sooner, if I placed higher importance on being mortgage free, vs. say sooner having a place to learn to grow my own veggies, or a carpentry space in the garage, or forsaking that second bicycle purchase, but to me, accumulating financial capital seems more pointless every day**.

So for me, I would order them like so:

Time > Living > Social=Human > Material=Knowledge > Cultural > Emotional > Financial

= implies similar or equal importance.

** This stems from my recent reading of The Moneyless Manifesto, and inspiration to curb basically all spending that won't land me dead or in prison, damn taxes! :lol:

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Re: Low growth, end of money and prioritising financial capital vs other forms

Post by IlliniDave » Wed May 17, 2017 9:15 am

I would go first to land, guns, basic hand tools: the 19th century-style model. The land to exploit for sustenance and useful barter, guns for sustenance and to keep what's mine. I guess those would be living capital and material capital. Knowledge capital is fairly important too. The rest I would consider a luxury.

In other words, if the monetary systems collapse, I don't think it will be a peaceful transition to a world like hobbits living languidly in The Shire pre-Saruman. I think it would initially be chaos and violence and a lot of people would die.

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Re: Low growth, end of money and prioritising financial capital vs other forms

Post by ducknalddon » Wed May 17, 2017 9:28 am

@vexed I think you are in the UK, it seems to me the biggest issue here is housing, even in the North the costs are still substantial and very hard to avoid.

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Re: Low growth, end of money and prioritising financial capital vs other forms

Post by vexed87 » Wed May 17, 2017 10:23 am

I'm not necessarily equating total absence of money in your accumulation strategy with dealing with cataclysmic SHTF scenario, or planning for a transition to world without money, rather a scenario where investments cannot be relied upon for FI and meeting needs for retirement due to prolonged low growth/poor returns environment. I did mean to change the thread title so sorry if that gave the impression of this being an exercise in dealing with a doomer scenario. I suppose I was just thinking about putting money aside, which forms of capital would you accumulate first and reasoning for their order of importance?

@Duck, yes mortgage is my current biggest expense, short of living with parents, or bucking the trend and living in a studio apartment/van/stealth camping/tiny house, there's not much I can do to minimise this. I hope that changes quickly. DW would rather divorce me than be forced against her will to explore those options solely to be FI sooner. :roll:

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Re: Low growth, end of money and prioritising financial capital vs other forms

Post by oldbeyond » Wed May 17, 2017 2:05 pm

If you're expecting a future of low growth and returns it makes sense to acquire assets and skills that produce wealth, not money, ie shelter, heat, power, food etc. But if you're taking on debt to do so, you haven't really escaped the financial realm.

There are several descriptions of how people managed economic contraction in the recent past. Orlov's description of the fall of the Soviet empire, Surviving the Economic Collapse(Argentina), etc.

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Re: Low growth, end of money and prioritising financial capital vs other forms

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed May 17, 2017 5:05 pm

I am asking myself some of the same questions. My "strategy" appears to be more mixed (or schizophrenic), since I am simultaneously investing in planting perennial crops on my property and accepting dinner dates to expensive restaurants.

Instead of fuck-you-money, I have a fuck-you-camper-garden. I just managed to get something resembling a semi-functional water system in place, so, in theory, I could move in there and my yearly shelter expenses would be down to next to nothing, and my net food expenses (given some barter)would soon be almost non-existent.

I also recently acquired some paid labor in the form of a very fit 11th grade honor student recently immigrated from Yemen. So, I have all the competent manual labor I want available at a quite reasonable rate. Therefore, I could now make semi-valid calculations on the value of investing in my own small system vs. larger economy, as in "Buy Apple stock" vs. "Buy apple stock."

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Re: Low growth, end of money and prioritising financial capital vs other forms

Post by halfmoon » Wed May 17, 2017 7:26 pm

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Wed May 17, 2017 5:05 pm
Therefore, I could now make semi-valid calculations on the value of investing in my own small system vs. larger economy, as in "Buy Apple stock" vs. "Buy apple stock."
As an owner of both Apple and apple stock, I'd be extremely interested in those semi-valid calculations. Are you willing to share your evaluation method? Our factors are clearly individual, but the formula/rationale would be helpful. :)

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Re: Low growth, end of money and prioritising financial capital vs other forms

Post by George the original one » Wed May 17, 2017 8:18 pm

So much of what we know is for employment rather than living.

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Re: Low growth, end of money and prioritising financial capital vs other forms

Post by Riggerjack » Wed May 17, 2017 8:23 pm

I'm not necessarily equating total absence of money in your accumulation strategy with dealing with cataclysmic SHTF scenario, or planning for a transition to world without money, rather a scenario where investments cannot be relied upon for FI and meeting needs for retirement due to prolonged low growth/poor returns environment. I did mean to change the thread title so sorry if that gave the impression of this being an exercise in dealing with a doomer scenario. I suppose I was just thinking about putting money aside, which forms of capital would you accumulate first and reasoning for their order of importance?
And somehow you think this wouldn't be a SHTF scenario? Because business owners will just accept those losses, and life will just keep ticking along? Or do you think maybe, businesses will cut payroll and try to maintain profitability?

What you are describing is the great depression, only with far fewer self reliant people around you. So read up on how people made ends meet in the great depression, and take a good look around yourself. Base your plans on how likely you think your scenario is.

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Re: Low growth, end of money and prioritising financial capital vs other forms

Post by black_son_of_gray » Wed May 17, 2017 8:28 pm

Much as it is probably my worst category, I would put Social Capital at or very near the top... the reason being, if you have excellent social capital, then you have access to the other forms of capital (most of them at least, and with a breadth that is difficult to achieve alone) through your social network.

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Re: Low growth, end of money and prioritising financial capital vs other forms

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Wed May 17, 2017 8:43 pm

@halfmoon: Well, if you had $75 burning a hole in your pocket 5 years ago, you could have bought 1 share Apple or maybe 3 semi-dwarf apple trees within 5 years of average yield bearing age. Let's assume the soil/space in which the trees are planted would otherwise be devoted to lawn, negating other opportunity cost. Your Apple Stock doubled in value, and you have earned 2% dividend, you are cautiously optimistic going forward, but who knows? Your financial research maintenance costs are 2 hours of your time at $20/hr = $40. Your apple stock is now bearing 5 bushels of apples a year with maintenance costs of $200/year (15 hours of street-urchin labor at $10/hr./$50 other inputs.) Market price organic apples is $75/bushel. $375-$200 = $175 yield/$75 initial investment after 5 years.

Of course, if you don't plan on eating them all yourself, marketing costs would maybe half your profits. Dunno. In my situation, I pay about $15/year in property taxes (conservatively) for space necessary to grow to grow 3 semi-dwarf trees. So, could subtract that too.

In conclusion, apple stock grows faster than Apple stock.

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Re: Low growth, end of money and prioritising financial capital vs other forms

Post by halfmoon » Wed May 17, 2017 9:38 pm

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Wed May 17, 2017 8:43 pm
Your financial research maintenance costs are 2 hours of your time at $20/hr = $40. Your apple stock is now bearing 5 bushels of apples a year with maintenance costs of $200/year (15 hours of street-urchin labor at $10/hr./$50 other inputs.) Market price organic apples is $75/bushel. $375-$200 = $175 yield/$75 initial investment after 5 years.

Of course, if you don't plan on eating them all yourself, marketing costs would maybe half your profits. Dunno. In my situation, I pay about $15/year in property taxes (conservatively) for space necessary to grow to grow 3 semi-dwarf trees. So, could subtract that too.

In conclusion, apple stock grows faster than Apple stock.
This is one of many reasons why I find your perspective fascinating. I'm not accustomed to assigning a dollar value to my own time unless it's through my trade of accounting for others. I tend to write off the time spent researching investments or keeping our household books as fun/OBSESSION and a certain degree of necessity. The time spent on outdoor maintenance is pretty significant but also written off. On the other hand, the value of planting trees can't be written off. We often quote the maxim that the best time to plant a tree is 10 years ago.

Our property taxes are significant, but we would pay live here (until we couldn't) without any fruit production. It's a bonus that we reap more fruit than our lazy butts want to process. We make a pretty good stab at it, though: I ate pancakes today with last year's frozen raspberries. There may have been a few brandy-soaked cherries thrown in there, but don't quote me on it.

In conclusion: I can choose to disregard the costs of choices I make as long as the choice is quantified. I regularly lecture my clients on this, which makes me roll my eyes at myself in real life. There's a difference between making a conscious choice and defaulting to baseless assumptions or "whatever". Thanks for clarifying this piece of the puzzle. Continuing to stalk you. :lol:

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Re: Low growth, end of money and prioritising financial capital vs other forms

Post by enigmaT120 » Thu May 18, 2017 11:58 am

7Wannabe5 wrote:
Wed May 17, 2017 8:43 pm
Dunno. In my situation, I pay about $15/year in property taxes (conservatively) for space necessary to grow to grow 3 semi-dwarf trees. So, could subtract that too.
Don't buy dwarf or semi-dwarf, just buy normal apple trees and keep them small. I got the idea from an article in Mother Earth News and ended up buying the book. I just wish she had pictures of 25 year old trees pruned that way. Too late for almost all of my trees!


http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic- ... 0z15onzdel

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Re: Low growth, end of money and prioritising financial capital vs other forms

Post by IlliniDave » Fri May 19, 2017 7:12 am

vexed87 wrote:
Wed May 17, 2017 10:23 am
I'm not necessarily equating total absence of money in your accumulation strategy with dealing with cataclysmic SHTF scenario, or planning for a transition to world without money, rather a scenario where investments cannot be relied upon for FI and meeting needs for retirement due to prolonged low growth/poor returns environment.
Okay, well, it's hard for me to see a total absence of money in my accumulation strategy outside a SHTF scenario. Money just makes too much sense, and the only way for me to not be able to rely on it at this point is if my lifetime accumulation essentially vanishes, which is hard to envision outside a SHTF or near SHFT scenario.

But if I put on a hypothetical me hat (I'm still me but born into an alternate universe where there's no way for me to accumulate through financial investment) I probably would not have an opportunity to retire, much less do an ER. Assuming the brute force approach is not allowed, i.e., just slug it out longer as an employee and accumulate enough "extra" to cover the investment returns that are removed from the scenario, best case as an alternate to being an employee would maybe still be what I said above: somehow get a suitable plot of ground and homestead, which would at least give me a degree of independence. But that's not what I'd call "retirement", it's a ton of work of a sort I don't enjoy enough to call a leisure hobby. My personality is such that living in some sort of horse trade-driven or commune-like environment probably wouldn't work for me. For most things I don't like relying on relationships with other people--I prefer simple transactions.

As I've said before, if I tried to pose as a true ERE-er it would be a fraudulent gesture. My plan is somewhat dumbbell shaped. I'm optimized for a world that does not excur too far from what we have seen in the last 70 years or so, with the primary backup option being a largely self-reliant existence in a dystopian environment. There are a continuum of conditions in between that I don't think about much because my imagination fails me in that gap. Much of what I read about of other people's ideas in that span seem worse to me than staying employed, truth be told.

Odds are I have less than 30 years to navigate so I don't feel to bad about betting on continuity. If my math is right, excluding cataclysmic bad luck in sequence of returns, I can take 0% real returns plus complete loss of SS and my retirement annuity without going broke or going half-ration on the lentils (probably need to go to 3/4-rations though :) ).

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Re: Low growth, end of money and prioritising financial capital vs other forms

Post by vexed87 » Fri May 19, 2017 7:51 am

Yeah, interesting. I'm coming at it from a different angle, that of a 29 y/o, early on in accumulation phase, slightly anxious that I won't have enough time to accumulate enough to be FI before the industrial systems start breaking apart and it becomes impossible to join the ranks of the haves of society. I'm with a mortgage and I reckon it's 5-8 years to go before I could be happy retiring and living off financial capital alone, but with the caveat that I would consider retiring sooner if DW and I can become self sufficient in water, food and basic material needs, i.e. construction timber and fuel, this would require more land for a true homesteading approach. I'm working on that. In my mind, the money would be there simply to obtain the more complex material products of industrial society while it's still functioning like we are accustomed to, i.e. obtaining electric stoves, bicycle replacement parts, modern medicine, internet service etc, however I appreciate the irony in this approach, because I won't have need for those goods outside the industrial society, I only need my bicycle to travel a long distance to employed work. I only need the stove, because I haven't yet built an earthen oven out of local materials. I only need the modern medicine because what good is money if I am dead! I'm not so sure my own offspring (certainly grand children) will have access to all these same luxuries, so I am intrigued by learning to live without them, primarily by living on the returns of the other forms of capital.

Another reason for putting money aside, Its clear most people prefer the simple transactions, it's the easy way out. Obviously, it has lots of advantages, who needs to stand around for hours trying to work out a solution to a problem that a specialist has already figured out. That's why money has been around as long as it has. Reading around the subject leads me to think society as it stands is screwed without it. People are just not used to relying on each other beyond simple surface interactions facilitated by money. Money eliminates the need for basic resilience that comes with reciprocal relationships and community. That probably contributes significantly towards our current inability to act as cohesive communities, and we see it playing out in people's reaction to politics of the day. ERE in it's own way sort of encourages us to relearn skills that help us become a useful part of a community again, by being self reliant in the most basic needs of ourselves, and others. By side lining the financial capital (as much as feasibly possible in a industrial civic society) we open the door to becoming useful human beings again. Of course, it helps to have the money there to buy the luxuries we want in the short term. That's why I perceive financial capital to be a great hedge in case things don't change any time soon. I think we just need to be careful not to depend on money too much.

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Re: Low growth, end of money and prioritising financial capital vs other forms

Post by IlliniDave » Fri May 19, 2017 9:39 am

vexed87 wrote:
Fri May 19, 2017 7:51 am
... Its clear most people prefer the simple transactions, it's the easy way out. Obviously, it has lots of advantages, who needs to stand around for hours trying to work out a solution to a problem that a specialist has already figured out. That's why money has been around as long as it has. Reading around the subject leads me to think society as it stands is screwed without it.
I would call it often the simplest, most efficient, and sometimes smartest solution, before I called it the "easy way out" (though it can be that too).

And those of us who are strong introverts are never going to warm to a social culture where you have to spend all day seeking out other people and maintaining reciprocal relationships. What someone on the extrovert side of the continuum would naturally do and enjoy is torture for us. :) There's really not a one-size-fits-all "best" way to live.

The problem with a money-less society is what to do about the urban areas that can't readily supply themselves with basic necessities locally. I don't know that some form of money-less barter could support metro areas with populations in the millions or tens of millions. I don't see how chaos could be avoided. Money allows efficient trade, which in turn allows urban living.

A few city people could adapt though some form of urban permaculture maybe, but I think many/most would take to the age old human tactic of migrating to more resource-rich areas (often after arming themselves to displace or loot whoever already resides there). Wall street is good at looting but I don't know how well it will translate to the new money-less paradigm. ;)

We'd be so bad off without it that the only sane choice would be to preserve/maintain some form of monetary system, IMO.

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Re: Low growth, end of money and prioritising financial capital vs other forms

Post by oldbeyond » Fri May 19, 2017 3:24 pm

If we're taking about money disappearing completely, we're taking about a truly massive shift in the configuration of our entire civilization, which would require some deep and horrific catastrophe(s) to come about. A real doomporn scenario, were everything descends into chaos. That's pretty tough to plan for, with your outcomes being determined by luck and ruthlessness to a considerable degree.

If we are rather talking about lower(perhaps negative) growth, decline of the middle class, overindebtedness etc, declining resources etc, I'd say it's more likely that we'll see westerners struggle like the Brazilians or Greeks or Ukrainians, at least for a start. Rome didn't fall in a day after all(and the eastern half had another millennium in it). To be fair, this is already happening to a lot of people in the west, for whom the script isn't really working anymore. There's a lot to be said for acquiring other forms of capital and real wealth to the extent that it is practical. Even if you have a good job, it is a great hedge. But usually you need to take part in the money economy to some extent, to acquire the land and the tools and pay your property taxes. It takes some serious creativity to avoid it completely, though it has been done I'm sure.

Personally, like IlliniDave, I'm quite suited in many ways to the current system of salaried work and uninvolved transactions and I see no reason not to take advantage of that. But I see many good reasons to also acquire other forms of capital and wealth in the case my prospects should sour.

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Re: Low growth, end of money and prioritising financial capital vs other forms

Post by jacob » Fri May 19, 2017 4:54 pm

I wondering how this thread ended up planning for an end to the entire money system. You don't need to end it. You just need to materially hurt it to make the standard FIRE methods, which are quite fragile to out-of-sample events, fail.

Here's a more plausible list:
  • US gets close to defaulting on its debt. An arrangement is made in which everybody's investments take a haircut of 50%. This is organized over a banking holiday as a surprise. The public accepts the deal to preserve "way of life"/stick it to the bankers/because most people don't have much savings.
  • To prevent hoarding idle cash, an [annual] asset tax of 4% is instituted. Reason is that 4% is a reasonable risk-free growth rate. This applies to all liquid securities. Home owners go free because there are more home owners than people living off of capital.
  • Capital gains and dividend income taxes are simply scaled up to 40-60% over a period of 8-16 years as cultural and political values change. This applies to all non-retirement accounts.
  • The market realizes that treasure bonds are not "risk-free". Investors demand a higher risk-premium. The central bank is ordered to step in and buy it. Banks do not play along by stashing the cash in idle accounts but find a way to send it into the greater economy. Inflation rates go to 20-40% annually. All financial securities become very hard to price and liquidity dry up as people stop trying.
ERE would still be possible but somewhat harder (all things depending(*)). And of course, one could try to find a normal job under those circumstances.---Or hang onto it for dear life if one already had one.

(*) This comes down to how much of the budget is essentially "head tax" (RE tax, mandatory insurance, utility fees, ... ) and how much of it is consumption.

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Re: Low growth, end of money and prioritising financial capital vs other forms

Post by daylen » Fri May 19, 2017 4:59 pm

Just a few months ago, I was in the mindset of minimizing my reliance on financial capital in favor of other forms, but I have since came back to the conclusion that it would suit me better personally to strike more of a balance (as IlliniDave said.. social capital is hard to maintain as an introvert). I like to think of this balance of capital as a choice everyone has to make throughout their lives. Finding the right point in "capital space" for your own personality and environment is very hard, IMO. It really comes down to how you want to spend your time, and how you might want to spend your time X years from now. Not to mention the complication of a changing financial landscape.

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Re: Low growth, end of money and prioritising financial capital vs other forms

Post by IlliniDave » Fri May 19, 2017 7:09 pm

jacob, your four bullets look like the list they would come up with if they sat down and said, "Okay guys, how can we most efficiently muck up iDave's future?" AARP would be up in arms. You'd be cleaning out everyone's Granny's little nest egg. If it's just a wealth grab, you have to go after people's houses too with the asset tax. After the 50% seizure of all financial assets and the other measures the markets here would be annihilated and 4% of nothing is nothing. Only real estate would have value. And only entities with a semi-infinite timeline (endowments, trusts, etc.,) would participate in US markets, making a bet that in a generation or two things will get better and that the staggering discounts would eventually pay off. The gov't would be stuck with half a market's worth of worthless securities (though they do shave their debt and could collect dividend checks).

I'd be back to reluctant homesteading. Burning stacks (banded bundles of hundred-dollar bills) in the wood stove because they'd be cheaper than fire wood which would at least have barter value.

The other option for the gov't would be to attack services and entitlements and force people to shoulder more of their own financial burden. In other words, truly cater to the rich and powerful rather than the little guy. The debt doesn't look as bad if you just slash all your biggest future liabilities which are Medicare, Medicaid/ACA, and SS, IIRC. That would also be pretty painful to most people trying to provide for their old age in advance, including the FIRE crowd without a superabundance of assets.

Either way it would be a test of who really has the power: the elected fraction of the government, or the rest of them (what conspiracy mongers like to call the "deep state").

Depressing thought experiment. Defaulting on the debt might be better.

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Re: Low growth, end of money and prioritising financial capital vs other forms

Post by classical_Liberal » Fri May 19, 2017 10:03 pm

The determination of which capital to pursue in a situation when financial capital fails is completely dependent on ones strategy to survive. I've essentially narrowed this down to two historically successful strategies' "hunker down" and "stay mobile". Which one a person chooses is based on personality and aptitude. In a "hunker down" (ie homestead ) case I would think living and material capital would take precedence, along with knowledge capital in the form of knowing how to make it work (grow food, hunt, defend land, etc). In a "stay mobile" strategy (ie move away from trouble & to where the gett'en is good) an abundance of living and material capital could be a hindrance to your plans. Social, cultural, and knowledge (in the form of tradeable skills) capital would be most valuable. Time and emotional capital would be equally valuable in either situation.

Like any crisis those who have planned appropriately tend to thrive. I would say it is most important to first determine which strategy you prefer before deciding which capital forms should get primary focus. I'd also be curious to read if anyone has another viable strategy.

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Re: Low growth, end of money and prioritising financial capital vs other forms

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sun May 21, 2017 11:42 am

halfmoon wrote:I can choose to disregard the costs of choices I make as long as the choice is quantified. I regularly lecture my clients on this, which makes me roll my eyes at myself in real life. There's a difference between making a conscious choice and defaulting to baseless assumptions or "whatever".
I enjoy constructing models (schemes) to which I rarely actually adhere ;) I don't really think that Time vs. Money is a very useful dichotomy. "Life Energy", however woo-woo sounding, is more apt, although harder to quantify. Modern urban 6th graders use the word "lit" admiringly to describe somebody who is behaving as though they are in possession of a good deal of life energy. Of course, appearances can be deceiving. Humans can burn very hot with low resource reserve for a short time, but then they will burn-out. So, the trick is achieving the balance between conservation of resources and fire in the belly/fever in the brain/free, vibrant,vigorous expression of self-actualized creative purpose.

IOW, it's impossible to know what level of stock of any sort of capital you wish to attain or maintain, if you do not know the ultimate (or current) purpose or goal of your system. Survival? Freedom? Pleasure? World-domination? Love? Leisure?

Then, next challenge is figuring out how to quantify preferred qualities. Does SWR adequately ensure survival? Is "hugs/day" a valid measure of "love" flow? Also, when engaged in personal lifestyle system design, the maxim "Be careful what you wish for little girl, or you will surely get it." is highly applicable.

@classical_Liberal: I think "do both" is the answer to "hunker down" vs. "stay mobile." The questions have to do with ideal establishment and maintenance of range, domain and pattern or cycle of behaviors, and ability to scale up or down. For instance, cold weather is a minor cyclical problem that most living systems adapt to with either "hunker down" or "get mobile." If I establish a second camper-garden in rural South Carolina for the purposes of dealing with cyclical problem of cold weather, it will also afford me the option of a place to which I can scurry if I find that I must deal with other temporary acute problem such as food-riots in urban Michigan. The trick is finding solutions that balance current pleasure/yield with current maintenance costs while still increasing future options. Since propane heat is more expensive than yearly transport to South Carolina, and buying vacant land and derelict camper is cheapest shelter option, and it is easier to maintain health through exercise in January in South Carolina, the modular solution is Win/Win/Win.

I would also note that the formation or re-formation of some sort of monetary system generally takes place at very low level of population density or trade. All you need is 5 people who want to play poker, or 3 tinkers who make annual rounds, or two swains competing for access to the same bride, a 4 crop system and a community mill etc. etc. So, there is a need to better define what is meant by the failure of THE monetary system. I think it means something more like the end of cheap global transport of real goods. So, the solution is more local investment, but not necessarily rugged self-sufficiency.

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