Quote of the Day: John Robb

Global transition points like this are so rare, it’s a great time to be alive.

John Robb

Right on. Yes. Yes.

More of this type of thinking, please.

If I could live at any time in history it would be now.

(If you are not a regular reader of Mr. Robb’s Global Guerrillas, get that way.)

(Also check out Mr. Robb’s way cool new Wiki MiiU, which is all about resilience. I eagerly await his book on resilient communities.)

(Here is an xcellent John Robb talk about open source ventures, but full disclosure, a lot of it sailed over my head.)

(And if you have not read his book, Brave New War: The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization, go get it.)

Friends, please let me know in the comments, on a scale of 1 to 5, strongly disagree to strongly agree, how you respond to this quote. Put me down as a 5, obviously enough.

21 thoughts on “Quote of the Day: John Robb”

  1. I read one of his posts and the comments appear to be 100% lefty moonbats. Who else reads his blog? I did think the post, on central planning and the end of the US global empire was interesting.

  2. “Who else reads his blog?”

    I do.

    “… the comments appear to be 100% lefty moon bats.”

    Don’t read them. Who has time for comments, except on CBz, anyway?

  3. I had the same experience as Michael. I’ve read some of Robb’s posts, typically when someone linked to them. He has interesting ideas, though I think he is weak on economics. But as with books, a blog need not be solid on every topic — it’s worth reading if you get something out of it.

    Some good blogs have dumb commenters, but it’s easy to figure that out and ignore them.

  4. Oh, I don’t blame him for the comments but it did seem odd that he would attract that element. I read Megan McArdle and she has lots of lefties but there is balance.

    As far as the quote, I am very gloomy about the economy. Possibly that is overly affected by my age but my high earning years are behind me and I have educated five kids and endowed two ex-wives. Inflation would be very bad for me and that is where I think we are going. Maybe not Weimar but in that direction. Re-election of Obama would almost guarantee it.

    I guess that would make my number low. Maybe not 1 but low. I am something of a futurist but I don’t see us getting past the debt thing.

  5. I think the economy could go either way. Continued recession, or God forbid some kind of dramatic Argentinian collapse, isn’t obviously the likely option. (Actually, I find gloom and doom predictions encouraging because historically they have so often been wrong.)

    Businesses and investors are hunkered down and not hiring or investing. Companies are lean. Equipment is not being replaced. My guess is that if Obama is not reelected the economy will take off. Even if he is reelected, with a Republican Congress he might be much less effective at imposing socialism than he has been so far. Economic expansion would go a long way to reducing the debt problem, particularly if there are some real spending reforms. None of this is certain but the odds of a good outcome aren’t too bad, IMO.

  6. Obama is noise around the signal at the transition point John Robb is referring to.

    If something can’t go on it won’t. Soviet communism fell apart because it could not work. Western social democracy is more slowly and, hopefully even less violently, similarly falling apart for similarly inevitable reasons. The technology which is coming online and which will be coming at a faster and faster pace is going to annihilate the legacy systems of the 20th century. There will be fierce resistance to this change, but it is coming. We are heading into a freer and more prosperous world.

    Mr. Obama is a leaf on the flood-tide.

    The world he and his allies are trying to prop up is already finished.

    They can try to crack down harder and harder, but this not Russia, and the people here will not put up stoically with unlimited oppression.

    The beneficiaries of the status quo, the ones who with unintended irony call themselves the seekers of change, are running up a steeper and steeper wall. They can’t take it much farther.

    The only question is how ugly, painful and protracted the transition will be.

    The next decade could be very, ugly and painful. Or it may go better and more smoothly than I fear in my worst moments.

    There is no question as to whether it will happen.

    The only thing holding us back is a decrepit political system. And it is in its final years, and final months — not decades.

  7. I worry about the Weimar example, though. The Germans had war debts they could not pay. They deliberately chose inflation to erase them. We face a similar situation with people no wiser than the Weimar government in charge. Schact was the best of the lot. And he chose Hitler.

  8. Michael K, I don’t think the German inflation was an attempt to erase war debts…the debts were denominated in gold and other tangible assets (coal, for example)….the allies may have been dumb, but they weren’t *that* dumb. As near as I can tell, the kickoff for the inflation occurred when the French occupied the Ruhr, the workers went on strike in protest, the German government decided to give them relief payments and funded those payments via money-printing. Then things escalated. Weimar’s Bernanke equivalent, Rudolf von Havenstein (“der geld marschall”) seems not to have understood monetary policy very well.

  9. I meant to note in the above comment–OUR debts are denominated in dollars, not gold, so inflation has to be a real temptation to our government. I don’t think there’s really a danger of Weimar-level inflation, but even Carter-level inflation would be bad enough.

    In his memoir of Germany between the wars, Sebastian Haffner made the following observations about the period of the great inflation:

    “The old and unworldy had the worst of it. Many were driven to begging, many to suicide. The young and quick-witted did well. Overnight they became free, rich, and independent. It was a situation in which mental inertia and reliance on past experience was punished by starvation and death, but rapid appraisal of new situations and speed of reaction was rewarded with sudden, vast riches. The twenty-one-year-old bank director appeared on the scene, and also the sixth-former who earned his living from the stock-market tips of his slighty older friends. He wore Oscar Wilde ties, organized champagne parties, and supported his embarrassed father.”

  10. I’m a 5, a confirmed Robb-o-phile. Charles Hugh Smith’s oftwominds is also good on resilience.

    Speaking of eagerly awaited books, may we please have an update on your collaboration with James Bennett?

  11. Carl, good to hear from you. Glad to have another 5.

    Stand by for big announcement about the book. Soon.

  12. Add me in as a five. I was very impressed with “Brave New War.”

    As to where we’re heading, both the US in particular and Western Civilization in general, the game changer has been the rise of the Tea Parties. (The unhinged response from the Left should be all the proof anyone needs.) Which is a phenomena that could have been used as an example in Robb’s book.

  13. Lex, I’m not sure why you included me, but thanks for introducing Robb’s blog. The blog looks very interesting. We do live in time of revolutionary change- individuals, especially education ones, have really huge amounts of individual power via their knowledge, access to technology and really very inexpensive resources. What are we going to do with this? Look forward to read a little more about this Robb’s blog.

  14. I guess I’d call myself a 3.

    My fear is that, in the US at least, we might end up in a metastable situation, where the Ruling Class manages to regroup adroitly enough that it doesn’t quite collapse under its own weight. I’m thinking of something along the lines of the Hoover and FDR years, but with rigid political correctness and a semi-functional crony capitalist economy.

    Arguing against that scenario is the amount of basic sense and human decency I see in so many people, which I would argue is the direct result of the continued strength of the Judeo-Christian* tradition here. On the other hand, many (most?) Americans are now so mal-educated that a broad Jeffersonian consensus may be beyond reclaim, at least in my lifetime.

    (*The spell-checker suggested “Judo-Christian” in place of this term. I doubt that’s a widely practiced martial art, but it makes for an interesting mental picture. Samuel L. Jackson seems the obvious casting choice.)

  15. I have to agree with setbit. The ruling class have a lot of dirty tricks up their sleeves to cling to power. Their whole lives are based around controlling others for their own glorification and they won’t go gently.

    It’s going to make things a lot worse for westerners, especially the poor. I really hope I’m wrong.

  16. The Ruling Class has recognized its enemy, the Tea Party, and has set about to destroy it before it becomes powerful enough to challenge them. Next year will be the first set piece battle.

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