Greetings from Poland

Say hello!!
Post Reply
TheloniousMonk
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 1:08 pm

Greetings from Poland

Post by TheloniousMonk »

Just wanted to say hello to forum members. I dabbled in reading jacob's blog for quite a while, it's been enlightning to see that saving 70-80% of one's income is not impossible, it just takes some delibrate action to achieve it.

I'm 25, living in Poland. It's funny I can relate to prices and salaries mentioned here, only the currency is different :) I currently save a bit more than 50% of my take-home pay and hope to bump this number, possibly by taking a different approach to international travel.

I took a minimalist road to arriving here, getting rid of most of excess stuff from my hoarder childhood [in polish terms, that is. Some US documentaries I've seen just blew me away.] Just recently I sold some of my unused sports equipment and I really felt ashamed that it were my parents who paid for all of it.

Right now saving is the only rational thing to do for me. It's consistent with my values. The only question I ask myself is how optimistic shall I be about the future. On the one end of the spectrum you've got preppers (and to some extent Jacob the peak oil proponent), on the other - Raymond Kurzweil who says in 30 years technology will take care of everything. I must say both sides sound convincing to me. It's hard to quantify risk/reward ratio in preppers doomsday scenario. I don't feel threatened too much [although my level of comfort as a country which boarders with Russia could be higher right now], although I would hate to think in the future "***k, I could have prepared myself a nice retreat in the middle of nowhere with lots of food and farmland, I obviously had the money to do it back then and I knew the risks". On the other hand I feel this would bother me too much in the long run in the most likely scenario. What are you thoughts on this?
Last edited by TheloniousMonk on Mon Mar 21, 2016 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 11624
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: Greetings from Poland

Post by jacob »

Not much is going to happen in 30 years. Thirty years ago was 1986 ... what can we say about 1986 compared to now?

* No world wide web but there was an internet and also a fidonet. Although they didn't serve as a giant movie-streaming shopping channel in the way the interwebs do now ... but if you wanted to do the equivalent of getting on the ERE forums, you could do that in 1986.
* No cellphones or smartphones
* Real wages were higher for the median worker
* Fewer people around (about 4.5 billion people --- were you to be transported back you'd notice how cities were smaller)
* Much less government surveillance of their citizens

In summary, in terms of real stuff, the world has continued its very slow decline in richness. In terms of virtual stuff, the shift has been revolutionary---not so much in terms of software (we had texteditors, spreadsheets, browsers, databases, etc. and games back then looked much like today ...) but in terms of size and speed which have improved by a few orders of magnitude. Had a similar improvement happened in transportation, we'd all be driving hypersonic cars now. But they'd still be cars.

To illustrate how extrapolations often go too far, Bladerunner was written in 1968, filmed in 1982 and is supposed to take place in 2019. I can easily imagine a similar movie being seen through the techno-optimistic lens as strong as Kurzweils and filmed in 2016 depicting life in 2053 complete with flying cars and androids that are indistinguishable from humans but I actually doubt we'll see many flying cars or androids walking around in 2053. What you'll like see is that real wages are even lower. The size of newly build houses trending downwards. People moving into the cities. Work becoming intermittent. Maintaining a farm in the middle of nowhere would be hard and expensive. The cost of transportation would be high.

Ydobon
Posts: 412
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:15 am
Location: Scotland

Re: Greetings from Poland

Post by Ydobon »

@jacob -

If it's not too broad a question, do you see an end to our 'slow decline of richness' and if so, which of the following paths which would be more likely in your eyes?

1) Falling birth rates/lots of people dying
2) Technological breakthroughs
3) A combination of 1) and 2) with the addition of a global outbreak of common sense around consumption

jacob
Site Admin
Posts: 11624
Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:38 pm
Location: USA, Zone 5b, Koppen Dfa, Elev. 620ft, Walkscore 73
Contact:

Re: Greetings from Poland

Post by jacob »

@Ybodon - It's important to acknowledge that technology as well as a high population is something that needs continuous inputs in order to maintain it. Technology and knowledge doesn't work like a library in the sense of once we have achieved it, it can never be lost. Current technology exists by virtue of the massive energy inputs we supply in the form of infrastructure and keeping 7 billion people alive with enough spare time so that many may spend their time thinking about technology. Take that away and technology goes away. Case in point, while we have the blueprints for the Saturn V, we would not be able to rebuild it because many of the manufacturing methods died with the brains of the old engineers when they died. Actually worse, much of the nuclear stockpile is in the same sorry state. The example I remember (see Command and Control) was a certain kind of composite plastic that was part of the bombs which people simply have no idea how to manufacture to the required specs anymore ... back then it was not expected that bombs would be kept around for 50+ years ... and now that plastic has decayed).

It's possible to support a technological civilization at a given level given the given level of the energy input sources. We have NO comparable replacement for the current energy inputs that support this population/technological house of cards we've built. We only have lower-quality replacements in the pipeline. For example, right now about 80% of the nitrogen in your body is generated industrially via the Haber Bosch process creating fertilizer out of natural gas as a feedstock and an energy source. It would be impossible to run the same economy using wind or solar panels to drive the process while getting the hydrogen by electrolysing water. Were we to generate the food to feed 7 billion people with something like permaculture to replace industrial/motorized farming, we would be taking manpower away from R&D and thus reduce the level of technology we can support.

This is a process that will take a few centuries to play out. Most people won't be paying enough attention to correctly attribute the causes. I do not expect a global breakout of common sense. Nor do I expect a techmological wonder solution to the energy problem.

cmonkey
Posts: 1790
Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2014 11:56 am

Re: Greetings from Poland

Post by cmonkey »

It never ceases to amaze me how much energy we use and waste and how it's even possible that the civilization we have built is even functioning at this point. I probably just don't have a good understanding of how much energy is out there, in the same way I can't get a handle on how large stars, galaxies and galaxy clusters are. Just completely different scales of thought are necessary. 90 million bbl/day of oil equivalent consumption seems an impossible number to fathom.

vexed87
Posts: 1484
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2015 8:02 am
Location: Yorkshire, UK

Re: Greetings from Poland

Post by vexed87 »

@TheloniousMonk, welcome!

@ydobon, just in case you haven't seen it, the Arch Druid report is a great blog on this very topic.

TheloniousMonk
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 1:08 pm

Re: Greetings from Poland

Post by TheloniousMonk »

@Jacob, thanks for your thoughts. Although I really liked your point about extrapolations, I don't quite agree with your linear approach to history. I'm sure if we were talking in 1910 you wouldn't have predicted what would happen in next 30 years. Me neither. My point is: black swans happen.

Regarding technology: Well, I disagree too. This video sums it up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVlhMGQgDkY
Sure, one could say USA sent people to moon and we don't do it anymore. Yeah, but NASA had 4% of federal budget for that. I think once computers processing power reaches human brain then it gets really interesting. I don't see why it shouldn't happen. I'm just not so sure about the time horizon in contrast to mr. Kurzweil.

@vexed87 thanks for arch druid report!

Egg
Posts: 139
Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2014 10:59 am

Re: Greetings from Poland

Post by Egg »

Hi @TheoloniousMonk.

Lovely country Poland. I am a citizen and have lots of ties (including that my parents live there), but I have to say the current government over there concerns me. No desire to move to another country like so many Poles of our age?

TheloniousMonk
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 1:08 pm

Re: Greetings from Poland

Post by TheloniousMonk »

Hello Egg! Yes, current government actions concern me. They behave like an unleashed dog. However, my concerns are primarily for long-term financial stability of our country. I'm also quite concerned with growing "competences" (lack of supervision for) certain national agencies, but I don't think it will be so bad in a year or two that my passport will be taken away from me. I hope people sober up here and finally government will have to adjust.

Mostly Poles left for money, but life is very comfortable here for a software engineer. I strongly consider moving to US or Switzerland for 2-3 years to speed up my road to FI [and get a perspective on my home country], but it's not like my life forces me to and I plan to come back afterwards.

JL13
Posts: 617
Joined: Sat May 17, 2014 7:47 am

Re: Greetings from Poland

Post by JL13 »

How's living in Poland for non-Polish speakers?

TheloniousMonk
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2016 1:08 pm

Re: Greetings from Poland

Post by TheloniousMonk »

@JL13 I assume we're talking major cities? I'd say it's pretty good. English is certainly no. 1 foreign language here (it has changed a lot during the last 20 years). I can't estimate how many people speak fluently, because I attended a good highshool and university and it skews my view, but you'd have no problem finding friends to talk with, much less getting directions. Tourist industry is quite developed already and every restaurant in the city centre will have good English speaking staff. However, it's not like in India where you don't ever need to learn native language - my foreign friends took up learning Polish sooner or later.

Post Reply