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A SURVI VAL KI T FOR EXTRAORDI NARY TI MES
Bookl et #1 0:
Ought to Know
2 ECONOMIC RESILIENCE: A SURVIVAL KIT FOR EXTRAORDINARY TIMES
Third edition December 2012, released in ebook version via
Change-Making.com May 2014
Chard by Christine Budzowski
Community Garden at Holy Nativity by Lynda Modaff
Environmental Change-Makers, 6700 West 83
, Los Angeles, CA 90045
This booklet is published under the Creative Commons license: Non-
commercial, attribution, share-alike.
You are welcome to use excerpts of less than 500 words for non-
commercial purposes if you give ECM proper credit. For excerpts longer
than 500 words, please contact ECM in advance of use.
Additional copies are available via www.EnviroChangeMakers.org
TABLE OF CONTENTS
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY .................................................................. 5
ABOUT ECONOMIC RESILIENCE .................................................... 6
Economic Change-Making ...................................................... 6
Transactions between people ................................................... 7
THE DARK SIDE .......................................................................... 10
Seeing Through the Smokescreens ........................................ 12
Possible Ways off the Mountain ............................................ 15
Your Fair Share ..................................................................... 17
A Warped Inside-out View .................................................... 18
Five-Planets-Worth-of-Consumption .................................... 20
Made Worse by the Credit Bubble ........................................ 21
The Beginning of Contraction ............................................... 24
The Road Ahead .................................................................... 27
ECONOMIC RESILIENCE ............................................................... 30
Local Resilience Through Collapse ....................................... 30
Extraordinary Tools for Extraordinary Times ....................... 32
What can we do?.................................................................... 34
• Humanity is in the midst of a triple crisis: peak oil,
climate change, and economic contraction.
• Economic contraction is happening as a result of
unrealistic assumptions built into the foundations of our
• There is no support – physical nor social – to create a
• Any solutions, any long-term plans which we put in place
today must address all three aspects of the triple crisis.
ABOUT ECONOMIC RESILIENCE
An economy is like an ecosystem: it has many interrelated and
interdependent parts. To achieve “a resilient local economy,” we
must recognize and cultivate many different aspects of change.
It’s popular right now to focus on “green jobs” as the salvation of
both economy and environment. But as you’ll learn in the pages
ahead, “green jobs” alone are completely inadequate to save things.
The ECONOMIC RESILIENCE booklet series helps you recognize what
elements are essential to a local economic “ecosystem.” That way,
as these elements pop up in your local community, you can help to
You will learn to spot what is missing in your local area, both as
personal business opportunities, and also to help nurture these
resources. You will learn how to recognize the glimmers of the
new economic future as they emerge, so that you can help them
Within your local neighborhood, these will ultimately become your
“safety net” for economic survival in the years ahead.
When it comes to change-making, I tend to be the person you’ll find
wielding a shovel, either literally or figuratively. Although I spend
plenty of time talking in meetings, I feel happiest when I’m out
there digging in a community garden, tending my city chickens, or
drying herbs in my solar cooker – getting things done. With a
shovel in hand, I can really feel progress.
I get frustrated by environmental and social change books where
80% of the book convinces you of today’s problems and how bad
they are, with only one skimpy chapter at the end telling you what
you might do about it. I’m also weary of books that present
theoretical and inaccessible “solutions” – things that have never
been tried before, never been achieved anywhere on the planet.
Give me my shovel. I need something tangible to work with.
Economics isn’t necessarily a tangible field. There is plenty to
economic change-making that has to take place through talking in
meeting rooms. Only a limited amount is tangible and can be
attacked with a shovel. But in this booklet series I have tried my
best to point the way toward the corners where the “shovels” and
“pickaxes” are stashed, for those who are eager to get down to
6 ECONOMIC RESILIENCE: A SURVIVAL KIT FOR EXTRAORDINARY TIMES
On the back cover of this booklet, you will see a spiral graphic
listing the first ten Practical Tools. These Practical Tools provide
the most basic fibers for weaving our local economic “safety net.”
Once in place, these will likely become the fundamentals from
which the economy of the future will arise.
This inner portion of the spiral is our starting point as change-
makers. Yet the process of creating the economy of the future will
expand outward from here in ways we cannot possibly fathom
sitting where we are today.
TRANSACTIONS BETWEEN PEOPLE
A few of the Practical Tools in this booklet series can be
accomplished alone or with a single family. But for the most part,
these Practical Tools need to be worked at a community level. This
is where economics takes place: it all boils down to transactions
Booklet #10 explains the problems, because we shovel-wielders
really should understand what we are working with even as we
begin to solve it.
Booklet #11 critiques what several economic theorists see as
possible routes forward for the Big Picture economy. Some of this
does fall in the “theoretical and inaccessible solutions” variety,
because these guys are working from a macro-economic,
government-policy-making level. Most of us don’t operate there.
But the central question of this booklet series remains what we can
do at the grassroots level. Booklets #12 through #16
(approximately 70% of the ECONOMIC RESILIENCE series) offer a
panorama of concrete and practical examples from around the
world. Ideas, yes – but more concretely – practical resources for
building economic resilience in your local community.
We begin, not with some utopian fantasy of where we could be in
the distant future, but with where we are right now: surrounded by
a crumbling economy, entrenched in old habits, saddled with rent to
pay and children to feed. What can we do to survive?
THE ECONOMIC RESILIENCE BOOKLETS
Understanding Today’s Economy Booklet 10
Seeing through the Smokescreens
Possible Ways off the Mountain
The Road Ahead
Positive Scenarios for the Future ww.ResilientEconomy.net
from Herman Daly, Tim J ackson, J ames Gustave Speth,
Helena Norberg-Hodge, Charles Eisenstein,
and The New Economics Foundation.
Local Resilience: The Blueprint
10 Practical Tools Booklet 12
1. Inner resilience
2. Cash conservation
3. Beyond “J obs”
4. Resilience-building types of businesses
5. Multiple currencies
6. Community-based investment
7. Indicators that measure the right stuff
8. Redefining “Success”
9. Inclusivity, cooperation, democracy
10. A New Economic Philosophy
8 ECONOMIC RESILIENCE: A SURVIVAL KIT FOR EXTRAORDINARY TIMES
The idea of resilience comes from the study of ecology. It’s really
about how systems, settlements, withstand shock from the outside
... that they don’t just unravel, and fall to pieces. ... It’s about
building modularity into what we do, building surge breakers into
how we organize the basic things that support us.
– Rob Hopkins, TED talk
THE DARK SIDE
The economy as we know it is crumbling. Despite the desperate
attempts by media, politicians, and economic pundits to construct
signs of a “recovery,” the usual tools of tweaking interest rates,
money supply, taxation, and government subsidies no longer work.
There are several much larger elephants in the room.
Peak oil is the understanding that our planetary oil supply is finite,
and that humanity is currently burning its way into the declining
second half of that oil supply. Biocapacity, or “peak everything,” is
the realization that oil isn’t the only resource for which humanity is
Climate change is beginning to be seen, yet its sweeping economic
impacts have barely begun to be felt. We will experience mounting
expenses: the costs of repairs after storms and hurricanes; seawall
construction; water supply reconfiguration; the staggering costs to
the agriculture industry of heat waves, droughts, flooding, and
invasions of exotic pests.
Economic contraction is a game changer. Along with oil and the
climate, the economy is threaded through all that we do. Economic
“growth” – particularly as we have known it for the past 30 to 80
years – is history. Instead, we are more likely to see long-term,
ongoing, and virtually relentless economic contraction, probably for
the rest of our lives.
As the economy we now know crumbles, the far-reaching
repercussions will sculpt every aspect of our future. Any
forward-thinking plan that is created at this point in time must
anticipate that it will unfold amidst a world of economic
contraction. We have to plan for it, and put alternative financial
tools in place to weather it, or else economics will undermine all of
our other efforts.
ELEPHANT #1: CLIMATE CHANGE
The First Number: 2° Celsius [3.6° Fahrenheit]: The temperature
rise we need to work as hard as possible to limit total warming to if
we want to have our best chance of averting multiple catastrophes
and amplifying carbon cycle feedbacks.
The Second Number: 565 Gigatons: “Scientists estimate that
humans can pour roughly 565 more gigatons of carbon … into the
atmosphere by midcentury and still have some reasonable hope of
staying below two degrees. (‘Reasonable,’ in this case, means four
10 ECONOMIC RESILIENCE: A SURVIVAL KIT FOR EXTRAORDINARY TIMES
chances in five, or somewhat worse odds than playing Russian
roulette with a six-shooter.)”
The Third Number: 2,795 Gigatons: “This number is the scariest
of all – one that, for the first time, meshes the political and scientific
dimensions of our dilemma…. The number describes the amount of
carbon already contained in the proven coal and oil and gas reserves
of the fossil-fuel companies, and the countries (think Venezuela or
Kuwait) that act like fossil-fuel companies. In short, it’s the fossil
fuel we’re currently planning to burn.”
“If we spew 565 gigatons more carbon into the atmosphere, we’ll
quite possibly go right past that reddest of red lines. But the oil
companies, private and state-owned, have current reserves on the
books equivalent to 2,795 gigatons – five times more than we can
ever safely burn. It has to stay in the ground.
“Put another way, in ecological terms it would be extremely prudent
to write off $20 trillion worth of those reserves. In economic terms,
of course, it would be a disaster. …
“What … the energy-industrial elite are denying, in other words, is
that the business models at the center of our economy are in the
deepest possible conflict with physics and chemistry. The carbon
bubble that looms over our world needs to be deflated soon. As with
our fiscal crisis, failure to do so will cause enormous pain – pain, in
fact, almost beyond imagining. After all, if you think banks are too
big to fail, consider the climate as a whole and imagine the nature
of the bailout that would face us when that bubble finally bursts.”
tipping point: 565
emissions if we
burn all the proven
SEEING THROUGH THE SMOKESCREENS
The scale of denial is breathtaking.
– Jerry Mander
It might appear that there are very contrasting takes on what is
happening in the economy. But remember there are all kinds of
commentaries denying global warming and peak oil as well – and
the well-informed can see the gaping holes in the arguments. It
takes self-study and hard work to learn to see through the
smokescreens that have been painstakingly erected to obscure the
In the field of global warming, there are individuals who are well
paid to distribute bad science to “prove” that global warming isn’t
In the energy field, the companies who stand to
profit on oil don’t want to admit it has peaked. Similarly, there is
an enormous financial incentive for people to declare that there will
be a lasting “economic recovery.” Growth will soon resume, they
tell us, and collapse fears are unpatriotic (so we should all go
In economics, it takes more than work to see the holes in these
arguments – it takes raw courage. With the economic issue in
particular, each one of us is wrapped up in it. It is our bread-and-
butter, it is the roof over our heads, and it can be truly horrifying to
Perhaps five, maybe six years ago, I read an article by an author
who referred to “the triple crisis” of global warming, peak oil, and
economic collapse. It was the first time I’d ever heard it put that
way. At the time my stomach turned; I actually felt sick for a few
This is the bare bones of what our future holds: Climate change –
with extreme storms, erratic weather patterns, rainfall shifts,
droughts and flooding, glacial melting, agricultural pests and
firestorms. Peak oil – with shortages, limited energy, supply
difficulties, transportation curtailment, extreme competition, and
potentially civil unrest. And economic contraction, their inevitable
At the time I first heard about “the triple crisis,” I was
simultaneously reading the books of Robert Prechter, Warren
Buffett and Sy Harding.
Prechter taught about Fibonacci patterns
and the effect that the rise and fall of cumulative human emotions
builds into every market: that after any exhilarating crest, there is
12 ECONOMIC RESILIENCE: A SURVIVAL KIT FOR EXTRAORDINARY TIMES
an inevitable fall. Buffett’s book coached readers to analyze the
underlying fundamentals: the assets, liabilities, goodwill, and other
fundamental aspects of the company in which you were considering
making an investment. Yet in company after company that I was
testing at the time, Buffet’s formulas proved that the companies
were already ridiculously overvalued for their underlying worth. At
a time when the front pages of the newspapers were celebrating the
nosebleed pinnacle of stock gains, Prechter and Harding warned
readers to prepare for the great bear market.
Some people are now beginning to accept what they gingerly call
“the end of economic growth” as a part of the massive triple crisis
that affects every aspect of our future course. But what we face
goes far, far beyond “the end of growth.” By the end of this booket,
you will see that the economy as we know it today is inevitably
going to contract. It will shrink. Grow smaller. “Powerdown.”
Media drama likes to call the stock market stumble of 2001
“economic collapse.” But 2001 will seem a mere hiccup compared
to what lies ahead. The Depression of the 1930s will no longer
merit the adjective “Great.”
Whether this contraction will result in full-scale civilization chaos
like J ared Diamond describes in Collapse, or whether we will be
successful in creating locally-managed “surge breakers” in time,
remains to be seen. But either way, we’d better try our best to get
something in place.
ELEPHANT #2: PEAK OIL
Peak oil is the understanding that humanity is rapidly burning our
way into the depleting second half of the planetary oil supply.
“Peak” refers to the peak of the bell curve of supply. And by most
scientists’ estimation we are at that point right now, give or take a
few years. The actual date of peak becomes irrelevant when you
begin to think about the repercussions.
Our current society is completely and utterly dependent upon oil for
everything. – basic transportation, agricultural fertilizers and
pesticides, food processing, transporting and purifying water,
transporting trash and dealing with sewage, plastics for just about
everything, high-tech drugs and medical devices,
fire/police/hospital services, and more. The idea of shifting all
these things over to post-petroleum operations isn’t even on the
radar for most people. Instead, we continue to invent and
popularize more and more ways to consume energy. But the signs
are clear that the grand party is nearing its close.
Slides from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (the
agency that supplies official government statistics to the U.S.
Department of Energy) reveal government worries about peak.
Many oil executives are on record as admitting their concern.
Some economic analysts are now beginning to speak in terms of
“economic peak oil” - the point at which the cost of incremental
supply exceeds the price economies can pay without significantly
disrupting economic activity at a given point in time.
The fact that
the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has produced two papers on
the subject this year gives some indication of how seriously it is
taking the issue.
Peak oil thinkers such as Richard Heinberg and J ames Howard
Kunsler cast gloomy projections about what it might be like if we
move into the post-petroleum era with an unprepared society. Dark
imaginations stir up visions of severe shortages, competition over
final remnants, civil unrest, and war.
The international Transition movement was founded with the idea
of proactively planning for life beyond oil. Transition groups work
to put in place the tools, skills, infrastructure and changed social
dynamics our local communities will need for a positive outcome.
14 ECONOMIC RESILIENCE: A SURVIVAL KIT FOR EXTRAORDINARY TIMES
POSSIBLE WAYS OFF THE MOUNTAIN
Anyone who believes that exponential growth can go on
forever in a finite world is either a madman or an
– Kenneth E. Boulding
Over the course of industrialized civilization we have experienced
an enormous assent of consumption of raw materials and
consumption of energy. In his Energy Descent diagram (Color
Plate 1, located inside front cover), David Holmgren depicts this as
a climb up a mountain.
Right now, sitting at the very peak of the mountain, what are our
options? What are the possible ways forward?
The TECHNO-FANTASY option is the business-as-usual, eternal
growth scenario. It says We’ll just keep going the way we are now,
with more of the same. Keep on shopping! Don’t worry that we
don’t have the oil to keep going like this, we’ll just send an army
over and conquer the country that has it. We’ve heard this one
before, and you’ll note the word “fantasy” in the name.
The GREEN TECH STABILITY scenario says Okay, we know that
eternal growth isn’t possible, so we’ll ditch the growth idea. We’ll
just continue along at a reasonable level, kind of steady, right
where we are now. So we’re running out of oil: we’ll use wind and
solar and biofuels and all that renewable stuff to replace it. But
there are some serious problems with this Green Tech proposal.
The first problem is the idea of energy density. Oil gives us
tremendous power, and no combination of renewables can possibly
replace what it does for us.
Renewables cannot possibly match
scale to which we have become accustomed.
As an adjunct to the energy density problem, we have a mismatch.
Oil runs our transportation industries, but the world of renewables
produces mostly electricity. Renewables do not offer adequate or
efficient answers for transportation.
The second is timing: those renewables aren’t in place now, in
anywhere near sufficient quantities, to avoid the pain of energy
shortages. As we shift our limited renewables to power society’s
most essential functions, there won’t be much renewable energy for
frivolous applications. We will still have to powerdown.
The third problem is that our entire economy is built upon the
presumption of everlasting growth. Everything from our stock
market to our accounting systems is founded upon the premise that
growth is good and lack of growth is failure. Thus even the
adjustment from the steeply ascending line to a flat line is a very
significant one. We will feel the ouch.
The fourth problem is the “peak everything” issue. There is a
serious problem with the level at which we declare that flat-line
stability, but we’ll examine that in Booklet #11. For these four
reasons, we should be calling this a Green Tech fantasy scenario.
The CRASH scenario – the Mad Max scenario – means the collapse
of civilization as we know it. It means chaos, survivalism, violence,
and war. This is what happens if we keep on going in Techno-
fantasy and ignore the problem a little longer. Speaking personally,
I have two children growing up to find their way in this world.
There’s got to be a better alternative than this.
Holmgren offers another scenario: ENERGY DESCENT. This scenario
says we can take the boundless human creativity that got us up the
mountain and apply it toward actively designing a careful way
down. This is the path the international Transition embraces. In
this booklet series, we will be exploring the path of Energy Descent.
It is very important to understand that inherent in the Energy
Descent scenario is the downhill slope – the understanding that
there must be a descent. There must be a powerdown. There must
be a significant decrease in consumption overall. And as you will
see in the following section, that means there will inevitably be a
severe and permanent contraction in our economic systems.
Powerdown refers to decreasing your energy consumption overall.
Given that world energy supplies are decreasing, powering-down
your lifestyle is an absolute necessity.
Consider all the ways you currently use energy. I’m using energy
to write this document on my computer. It took energy to make the
computer. The airplanes at nearby LAX airport use energy, as do
the cars on L.A. freeways. Our society uses energy in agriculture to
run tractors and combines, in industry to run forklifts and bobcats.
To bring your food to conventional supermarkets, trucks use
energy. So do the air-conditioned warehouses operating behind-
the-scenes. Most office buildings and schools use energy for
heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Energy runs fire trucks,
ambulances, hospitals, and the sophisticated laboratories that make
16 ECONOMIC RESILIENCE: A SURVIVAL KIT FOR EXTRAORDINARY TIMES
We use energy in frivolous ways too. They’ve put timers in kids’
toothbrushes. Most contemporary appliances involve some
energy-consuming component. Cargo ships haul opulent quantities
of consumer goods from manufacturing plants on far-away
continents. We now regard the latest cell phone gadget as a “must-
Peak oil / peak everything means that most of those uses of energy
are about to end. Those that do remain will be quite restricted. The
severe constriction of our energy supply which is on the horizon
dictates that we become far, far wiser about the places we chose to
use energy. And global warming says we’d better make that
(inevitable) shift immediately if not sooner.
Powerdown means becoming aware of all the places you use energy
and systematically eliminating them. Rather than an electric juicer
with unrepairable plastic parts, the next time it breaks buy a durable
manual metal one that will serve your family for several
generations. When making home repairs, install operable windows,
design for cross-ventilation, and choose manual drapes to control
Powerdown practices include manual tools, mechanical devices,
and learning the skills of self-sufficiency. Get your bicycle back
into repair. Build your muscles for walking, biking, lifting,
growing food and carrying water.
Get to know your neighbors. Move close to family, if you want to
see them often. As the post-peak era unfolds, the people you’ll be
socializing with and working with will be those who live nearby.
Help your local community understand peak oil and plan for it.
Fight energy-oriented build-outs such as airport expansions and
new freeways. Plan for low-energy food production, low-energy
water supply. In a nutshell, powerdown means preparing for the
realities of the new future.
YOUR FAIR SHARE
Our current economic system is based entirely upon the
presumption that growth will be ongoing, unceasing, and unlimited.
This in turn requires ever more extraction from the earth. At this
most basic level, our tour of economics must begin with
biocapacity, which is also known as global footprint.
Global footprint is how much raw materials we use, and how much
waste we generate. This is compared to how fast the planet can
make more resources and clean up our mess in the same time
period. Humanity as a whole has been using more resources than
the planet can make, and generating more waste than the planet can
clean up. This state of affairs is called ecological overshoot. We
have been moving deeper into overshoot since the 1970s.
Humanity is simultaneously cresting the peak in oil production
peak natural gas, peak coal
, peak copper
, peak uranium
, peak fresh water
, peak arable land
, and more.
Richard Heinberg has nicknamed this dreadful combination “peak
Ecological overshoot gets even worse when we look at it by
continent. (see Color Plate 2, located inside back cover) If we take
all the “stuff” there is on the planet, all the fresh water, all the
arable land, all the fisheries, all the forests, all the energy resources
and more – and we divide it up by the number of people we have
here today – we get a figure we can call our “fair share.”
Your per-capita fair share is 2.1 hecatres (ecologists measure this in
an equivalency unit called “bioproductive acres”). Humanity as a
whole uses on average 2.23 hecatres per person. Right there you
can see the ecological overshoot: our average consumption of 2.23
exceeds our 2.1 fair share.
Here in North America, we consume at a rate of a whopping 9.4
hecatres per capita. That is nearly five times our fair share. In other
words, if everyone on the planet consumed the way we do – the
way we tell each other is “normal” – it would take FIVE PLANETS
to provide for it all.
This means that we would have to reach for six, seven, and eight
planets-worth-of-consumption in order to “grow” this economy.
It is quite clear we cannot do that.
A WARPED INSIDE-OUT VIEW
How did we get into this mess? One of the ways is by embracing a
warped, inside-out view of “The Economy” in relation to the planet.
18 ECONOMIC RESILIENCE: A SURVIVAL KIT FOR EXTRAORDINARY TIMES
The standard view is that “The
Economy” is all, and the
environment/ecosystem is just
another element within the
overall economy. The earth
and all its resources are merely
a line on the balance sheet, an
asset to be exploited.
The earth is also regarded as a place to dump waste: exhaust
dumped into the air, regardless of ozone layer or global warming
effects; toxins dumped into storm drains which flow to the ocean;
single-use “disposable” goods and packaging thrown “away” to
landfills. The capitalist goal is to outsource waste. You are
“successful” if you can cleverly sidestep the cost of that waste so
that your company doesn’t have to bear the burden. In this standard
view, there is no place for environmental laws – they might restrict
“economic growth.” But this standard view is completely out of
contact with physical reality.
We have only one small earth. Everything is contained within that
single planet: forests, oceans, redwoods, minerals, atmosphere. All
human endeavors are similarly contained here: politics, sociology,
technology … and the economy.
Reality-based economics acknowledges that everything on earth –
including “the economy” – is within the earth’s ecosystems
The economy is basically the sum total of people’s transactions
with each other. And the sum total of people’s transactions with
each other takes place upon this one small planet. The economy
exists within the environment.
The economy is a wholly
owned subsidiary of the
environment, not the
– Herman Daly
Given that we have only one finite planet and the economy exists
within that finite physical realm, it becomes much easier to
understand that there are limits to economic growth.
Since we have a finite planet, how did North Americans get to five-
planets-worth-of-consumption? Naresh Giangrande and Sophy
Banks describe three ways:
GHOST ACRES – taking from others. We have raped and pillaged the
raw materials of other continents (leaving the people who live on
those continents with far less than their fair share). We’ve
consumed those goods here, meanwhile persuading each other that
they were rightfully ours.
DRAW DOWN – taking from the future. As we desecrate ancient
forests and deplete fisheries, we are consuming today the natural
treasures which should be our children’s inheritance.
ANCIENT SUNLIGHT – taking from the past. Fossil fuels – oil, gas,
coal – are captured ancient sunlight. In the space of a mere 150 or
so years out of the entire history of humanity, we are gobbling up
the entire planetary supply.
We have an economic system that is entirely dependent upon taking
from others, taking from the future, and taking from the ancient
past. This economic system is built upon the presumption of
everlasting growth. Thus in order to keep it going (keep it growing)
we must take more from others, take more from the future, and take
more from the ancient past.
Peak oil is the laws of physics telling us it is no longer possible to
take more from the ancient past. Biocapacity is the laws of physics
telling us it won’t be possible for much longer to take from the
future. “War that will not end in our lifetimes” is a sign that taking
from others has maxed out. No amount of “stimulus,” “green jobs,”
or changing political representatives is going to “fix” these basic
20 ECONOMIC RESILIENCE: A SURVIVAL KIT FOR EXTRAORDINARY TIMES
We are at the end of growth. We’re actually beyond the end of
growth into the very beginning of a massive economic contraction.
The task ahead is to manage that contraction such that it unfolds
with as little Mad Max, as little civil unrest, and as little additional
war as possible. It’s up to us to design this transition so that it
unfolds as peacefully as possible.
MADE WORSE BY THE CREDIT BUBBLE
For the past couple of years we’ve been enjoying a
species of faux growth based on massive injections of
cash from the Fed and $100 billion a month in Federal
deficit spending. Take those away and the anemic
residue of growth we’ve been enjoying will go too.
– Richard Heinberg
An economy should be built upon fairly solid transactions: I build a
chair, and you buy it. You bake a loaf of bread, I buy it. These are
solid economic transactions. But Canadian energy and economic
analyst Stoneleigh (pen name of Nicole Foss) emphasizes the
impact of the credit markets. She explains that much of what
should be solid substance in our economy is really inflated
valuations, exotic derivative financial vehicles, and credit. Like a
bubble blown in chewing gum, these devices haven’t made the
gum-wad grow; rather they’ve created the illusion of tremendous
FIGURE 1: DEBT AND GDP
When one bank is buying another bank’s mortgage paper at a
discount, or you’re buying a stock which is valued not by
underlying assets but merely by its popularity in the market, or
you’re drawing cash out of a refinance on the real-estate-bubble-
inflated value of your house, that’s not solid substance. That’s
At present, there are 3½ times as many fluff transactions as solid
transactions. Our economy is very much out of touch with the real
stuff of the planet.
Stoneleigh asks us to think of a pie. Rather than us each owning
our share of the pie, she describes this credit bubble as creating
multiple competing exclusive claims on the same piece of pie. In
other words, for each single slice of pie – each real, solid item
within the economy – we have the equivalent of three to four
competing creditors and financiers each claiming the exclusive and
conflicting “right” to trade the value of that single slice of pie.
22 ECONOMIC RESILIENCE: A SURVIVAL KIT FOR EXTRAORDINARY TIMES
Stoneleigh’s broader market projections match those of Robert
Prechter about the depths to which the markets will eventually
decline. Stoneleigh expects real estate values to return to the levels
of the 1970s. Both say the financial markets are headed for a drop
so steep, and for so long, that we will not trust the stock market
system again in our lifetimes.
Stoneleigh expects deflation; others talk inflation. Which will we
see? Honestly, it doesn’t matter. The magnitude of the looming
inflation and/or deflation is so extreme that it will destabilize the
steady economic system that most of us alive today have always
known. Thus our communities must prepare for either, for both,
and for cataclysmic systemic failure.
BUT AREN’T WE MAKING PROGRESS?
Our conventional economic figures are very much out of touch with
any sense of real progress. GDP has become the world’s most well-
known indicator of “economic progress.” But we don’t stop to ask
whether it is measuring the right stuff.
GDP is a bit like measuring how many gallons of water flow out of
your garden hose and persuading yourself that makes a statement
about how healthy your apple tree is. GDP is “merely a gross tally
of products and services bought and sold, with no distinctions
between transactions that enhance well-being and those that
When calculating the figure economists use for GDP – to measure
“progress” – the “expenditures triggered by crime, accidents, toxic
waste contamination, preventable natural disasters, prisons and
corporate fraud count the same as socially productive investments
in housing, education, healthcare, sanitation, or mass
“Instead of distinguishing
costs from benefits,
productive activities from
destructive ones, or
sustainable ones from
unsustainable ones, the GDP
simply assumes that every
monetary transaction adds to
social well-being by definition.”
Thus an increasing GDP doesn’t mean that things are getting better.
In fact, the work of J ohn Talberth et al establishes that – despite
skyrocketing GDP figures – our sense of well-being plateaued in
the 1970’s and then stagnated.
THE BEGINNING OF CONTRACTION
Understandably, everyone wants it to get “back to
normal.” But here’s a disturbing thought: What if that is
not possible? What if the goalposts have been moved, the
rules rewritten, the game changed?
– Richard Heinberg
There are times when rats get into my grapefruit tree. They bore a
small hole in one side of the fruit, then crawl inside and eat all the
flesh. You’re left with an empty, hollowed-out rind dangling there
on the tree. From one angle, the fruit looks plump and normal.
From the other side, it becomes clear that the very substance that
should be there is completely missing.
The substance that supports many of our conventional economic
transactions is rapidly depleting. Peak oil promises absolutely
staggering economic implications. Already we’ve seen a doubling
of retail gasoline prices over the past three or so years, and the
ramifications of that are still playing out across the market. Fed Ex
costs more, trucking costs more, moving everything around the
surface of the planet costs more. Food costs a lot more. And the
curtailing of our oil supply is just getting started.
The end of cheap oil will mean the end of globalization as we have
known it thus far. Right now we call it “normal” to harvest raw
materials on one continent, to ship them to another continent for
manufacture, and to still another continent for sale. This absurd
extravagance – only possible with plentiful, cheap oil – is at its end.
So too is the globalized economy that was built around it.
An October 2012 report from
we’d better quadruple the
current rate of
24 ECONOMIC RESILIENCE: A SURVIVAL KIT FOR EXTRAORDINARY TIMES
Here is further evidence of the empty, hollowed-out rind:
Government: Everyone’s eyes are focused on Greece. But our own
government is in dire straits: our California and Los Angeles city
budgets are completely upside down, forcing them to slash
programs across the board. Cities across my home state of
California are declaring bankruptcy. As I write this, each citizen’s
share of the national debt is $52,180.
The decreased tax base due
to other economic factors will only exacerbate the plight of our
government in coming years.
Consumers: Some sources estimate that the real unemployment rate
jumps by nearly double when long-term jobless and discouraged
people are included. Many who have managed to find work are
now underemployed, earning far less than their skills once merited.
One in two recent college graduates cannot find work in the field
they trained for.
The number of Americans on food stamps
hovers at record highs. My local food bank reports that demand has
tripled over what it was three years ago. A March 2011 report
indicated that 20% of families in California struggled to afford food
the prior year,
and 14.9 percent of American households were
food-insecure (20.6 percent of households with children).
Following the drought of summer 2012, one study suggests a family
of four will spend $600 more in 2013 to buy the same products they
But perhaps the most powerful “indicator” of
all has been the numbers of people at Occupy Wall Street and other
major financial centers who took to the streets and camped out for
weeks to voice their frustration with today’s broken, unjust
Labor: We have an aging population demographic, with increasing
numbers of retirement-age individuals, and social security sliding
into permanent deficit.
We have an obesity epidemic across the
population, including (saddest of all) among our youth. These
statistics signal increasing
demand for oil-intense
medical care, which the
failing system won’t be
able to supply. These
statistics also mean
decreasing numbers of able-
bodied adults to perform
manual labor, keeping in
mind that the need for
physical workers will only
increase as the post-
America has entered a period
of “systemic crisis – an era of
history in which the political-
economic system must slowly
lose legitimacy because the
realities it produces contradict
the values it proclaims.”
– Gar Alperovitz
petroleum era unfolds. Who will create “more” for this “growing
Social: The rate of emotional depression in the U.S. has increased
more than tenfold in the last fifty years. Some thinkers declare that
Western society is in the grip of a “social recession.” Our
population has a psychological and spiritual sense of “maxed out.”
J ames Gustave Speth quotes the United Nations Development
Programme’s 1996 report (which, rather than being outdated,
indicates how very long our society has been desperately off track).
This report lists several ways that economic performance has gone
• J obless growth – where the overall economy grows but
does not expand the opportunities for employment;
• Ruthless growth – where the fruits of economic growth
mostly benefit the rich;
• Voiceless growth – where growth in the economy has not
been accompanied by an extension of democracy or
• Rootless growth – where growth causes people’s cultural
identity to wither;
• Futureless growth – where the present generation
squanders resources needed by future generations.
Our economy is indeed that empty, hollowed-out rind dangling on
the tree, without substance, without the materials for “more.”
Every market is an accumulation of human emotions. From the
tulip mania of 1637 to the Dow J ones of today, mass human
enthusiasm drives market values higher; mass human distrust and
fear pulls economic values down.
When we look at the emotions of a market we see where we are.
We all heard the “new paradigm” a few years back when media
broadcast that things would only get better. That was right before
the first plunge. In denial, we now desperately search for signs of
“recovery.” To which Stoneleigh declares with bright sarcasm:
“Those green shoots of recovery? That would be gangrene!”
26 ECONOMIC RESILIENCE: A SURVIVAL KIT FOR EXTRAORDINARY TIMES
FIGURE 2: EMOTIONS OF A MARKET
Around me I see lots of fear. We’re in a momentary time when
people desperately hope that we’re “returning to normal,” yet their
guts confirm the exact opposite. It’s clear where we are on the
emotions-of-a-market chart. And we can see what lies ahead.
The question before us is: what are we going to do to survive it?
THE ROAD AHEAD
We cannot be sure exactly how the economic contraction will
unfold. I once saw a video which depicted the path of energy
descent with a cartoon character in a roller coaster car. His ride
wasn’t at all like the nice smooth descent of Holmgren’s curve.
Instead, the path of energy descent included loop-the-loops, wild
dips and plunges, and occasional brief ascents.
Is this collapse? Your determination will probably depend upon
where you are standing and how much of your personal stake is
caught up in the roller coaster plunges. Yet the term “collapse” to
me implies unrestrained chaos. The Transition movement is an
effort to consciously design our descent from the energy pinnacle. I
do believe that the “surge breakers” that the Transition movement
works toward – in food supply, water supply, economics, and more
– stand a solid possibility of staving off unrestrained chaos ... if we
can get them in place in time.
As all the intricacies of peak oil, climate change, and peak
everything unfold, in my opinion we are very likely to see a
dramatic shakedown. The few, the wealthy, who currently hold so
many assets and so much power, do so within the current system –
which is inextricably built upon cheap oil, globalized transactions,
and continued growth. Remember how the Crash of 1929 and the
Depression of the 1930s caused a massive shakedown and
reallocation of wealth: those who entered with money and power in
many cases weren’t the ones who afterward emerged with it.
As the cornerstones to the wealth of today’s power elite dissolve to
nothingness in their hands, I believe we, the people in the trenches
with “shovels” in our hands, hold enormous potential to re-craft
things like asset distribution, democratic voice, and lifestyle pace,
in a vastly different way.
HOW DO YOU COPE WITH ALL THIS?
How might one best manage the feelings of overwhelm,
devastation, and defeat that can arise at the point when you really
“get” peak oil and peak everything and their implications?
The first point is to realize that feeling like this is natural. Indeed, it
is far more natural than feeling nothing or blanking it out. It is a
Secondly, seek to generate what Chris J ohnstone calls “Inspirational
Dissatisfaction,” where the feelings generated motivate you to make
changes in your life. Acknowledge that the change you want to see
starts with you. View the feeling that your life has been turned on
its head as a precious opportunity to rethink some basic
Finally, don’t rush it. Take some time to just sit with this new
awareness. Although it feels uncomfortable, within it lies – as in
the bleak opening chapters of most adventure stories – a call to
adventure. You will come to look back on this as a major, but
positive, transition in your life.
28 ECONOMIC RESILIENCE: A SURVIVAL KIT FOR EXTRAORDINARY TIMES
Resisting or postponing the collapse will only make it worse.
Finding new ways to grow the economy will only consume what is
left of our wealth. Let us stop resisting the revolution in human
beingness. If we want to outlast the multiple crises unfolding today,
let us not seek to survive them. That is the mind-set of separation;
that is resistance, a clinging to a dying past. Instead, let us shift our
perspective toward reunion and think in terms of what we can give.
What can we each contribute to a more beautiful world? That is our
only responsibility and our only security.
– Charles Eisenstein
In a report prepared for Brookings George Washington Urban
Institute, Edward Hill et all attempted to define economic
resilience: “The economic literature that deals with the idea of
resilience typically is concerned with the extent to which a regional
or national economy is able to return to its previous level and/or
growth rate of output, employment, or population after
experiencing an external shock.”
I italicized the phrase I disagree
with. Given what we now know about biocapacity, peak oil, and
the hollowed-out grapefruit rind, the concept in Hill’s quote is pure
In his TED talk, Rob Hopkins offers a far more useful view.
Resilience is “about how systems, settlements, withstand shock
from the outside ... that they don’t just unravel, and fall to pieces.”
My objective in this booklet series is to point out what it takes to
create that ability to withstand shocks – without our local
LOCAL RESILIENCE THROUGH COLLAPSE
Our first task is to create a shadow economic, social and
even technological structure that will be ready to take
over as the existing system fails.
– David Ehrenfeld
When a trapeze artist begins his perilous flying leaps between tiny
solid platforms high above a chasm, he has a backup system in
place. He uses a safety net that will catch him as he falls.
Right now the economy is horribly scary because you, your family,
and your local community are making perilous leaps between tiny
solid places without a backup system. If things fall apart – and as
you saw earlier in this booklet, they likely soon will – there is no
net to catch us as we fall.
It’s time to get out the rope and begin tying knots. Time to start
crafting that safety net.
What might an economic safety net look like? In Booklet #11, we
will see what big-picture thinkers say: people who have examined
the possibilities from a macro-economy, government-policy-making
30 ECONOMIC RESILIENCE: A SURVIVAL KIT FOR EXTRAORDINARY TIMES
But most of us don’t operate at that level. Most of us have little-to-
no ability to make an impact at that scale. Rather, most of us
operate at the local level. And at this level we hold tremendous
capacity to make a difference.
Thus for most of the ECONOMIC RESILIENCE booklet series we will
leave the macro-economics transformation to those who have
ability to teach and influence at that level, and we will turn to the
grassroots level. What can we do, at the grassroots scale, to address
economics and to build local resilience?
It’s perhaps easier to see how this safety net approach applies in the
case of our food systems: By building up local, organic urban
agriculture, we are better prepared for the point at which peak oil
and climate change choke out massive-scale agribusiness and cause
it to crumble and fail.
In our economic systems, too, we must create the safety net that
will be ready in place as the existing system coughs, sputters, or
fails. As all of this economic contraction unfolds – as globalized
corporations struggle and panic, as today’s power elite are tumbled
and replaced, as we all ride the wild rollercoaster – we, the little
guys, will still need to feed our children, maintain a roof over our
heads, and maintain a relative degree of order within our local
It might help to remind you of the simplicity, that what economics
really boils down to is the sum total of transactions between people.
Think of a simple barter transaction: You know your neighbor and
he knows you. You swap some homegrown zucchini for a few
backyard chicken eggs. That’s an economic transaction, full of
vitality, life, and interdependence.
At this most basic scale, we feel secure: there will be food on the
table. When we become producers – particularly, producers of the
basic stuff of everyday living – we will always have something to
In the booklets that follow, you’ll learn about some of the most
essential pieces necessary for a local economic safety net. First of
all, we’ll each need a bit of courage (Practical Tool #1) to strike out
into new directions that are contrary to the ways we’ve always
We’ll need to get creative – to start thinking outside the box – about
how we’re going to handle basic living expenses (Practical Tool
#2). The old ways will no longer do. We’ll need to grow a network
of local businesses that provide for our most basic needs (Practical
Tools #3 and #4) and develop ways of channeling resources to
support them (Practical Tool #6). We’ll need to have a means of
exchange (Practical Tool #5) and ways of keeping score (Practical
Tools #7 and #8). If we want to keep peace within our local areas,
we’ll need to bring everyone along (Practical Tool #9).
As we craft our community safety net, the edging, the “bindings” –
the way we define the net’s overall shape – will be defined by a
new philosophy about business and the economy. A philosophy
that respects physical limits and is appropriate for the new future.
A philosophy that orients us all toward greater satisfaction,
fulfillment, and connection with each other. We need it to survive.
“Energy Descent” is Permaculturist David Holmgren’s term for
intentionally designing a way off the peak of energy and
consumption. With that Descent, “economic contraction” –
shrinking, tightening, becoming smaller – is a necessary and
“De-growth” is a term that is emerging in post-peak blogs and
conferences. De-growth means intentionally crafting the economic
In contrast to inaction and allowing the economy to fall apart in
unrestrained freefall, de-growth says we’ll apply our knowledge and
creativity and ingenuity to designing the way down. De-growth
means planning and action: putting in place some economic safety
nets, and picking up some rather extraordinary tools.
EXTRAORDINARY TOOLS FOR EXTRAORDINARY TIMES
When times were good and the economy was hurtling along in
phenomenal-growth mode, we had certain powerful tools for
building wealth and security. Things like the stock market,
leveraging, appreciating real estate values, 401ks, and globalized
business strategies were the “backhoes” and “concrete pumps” of
the phenomenal-growth financial picture.
If you paid attention and learned how to drive them, those old
power tools worked great for you, particularly through the 1980s
and into the 1990s. You could amass great financial security and
In the 2000s, that plan kind of faltered. Sometimes those good ole
power tools got balky. Other times they ground to a halt, or
32 ECONOMIC RESILIENCE: A SURVIVAL KIT FOR EXTRAORDINARY TIMES
dropped your nest egg without much warning. The public clamored
“fix them!” and Congress poured on what they presumed was
machine oil to get the whole process moving smoothly again. But
what few people recognized was – no matter how much machine oil
– those old power tools were in terminal decline.
The power tools of economic ascent do not work in the
economically contracting, energy descent playing field that we have
today. They simply cannot function. These tools were designed for
the ascent, and they are useless in the upside-down world of
From the 1970s on
the power tools of economic ascent – like the
stock market, leveraging, and globalized business strategies –
pursued Color Plate 1’s orange line, the Techno-Fantasy scenario.
As we continue to pour resources, hopes, and dreams into those
antiquated tools, we will soon experience the red line, the Crash
scenario. The power tools of yesterday are now falling apart.
In a world of energy descent, the old tools are crumbling and
disintegrating. They aren’t the route to economic security, or even
Through all the excitement of the markets of the 1980s and 1990s,
when there were backhoes and concrete pumps to be had, you
would have been crazy to pick up a simple shovel or pickaxe. The
world would laugh – you could never achieve with those simple
tools what you could with a backhoe!
Yet throughout history, mankind’s financial tools for building
security and stability have looked a lot more like shovels and
pickaxes. These basic tools are strong and durable. They are
understandable and repairable, and they don’t require fossil fuels.
They are easily transferrable between people – when you get tired,
your neighbor can help dig for a while. Basic tools aren’t
crumbling today. They’re strong as ever, languishing in the back of
the shed, rarely used and nearly forgotten. Now wise people are
beginning to polish them up and return to them.
Today we are experiencing the bare beginnings of a massive
economic descent. Whether it is planned de-growth or unrestrained
chaos is yet to be determined (by those who read and apply ideas
like the ones in this booklet series). Simple powerdown tools are
very effective in a de-growth world. No, they won’t build mind-
boggling wealth for you. But building mindboggling wealth is a
fantasy of the growth economy, the ascending line. The world isn’t
Rather, we’re sitting in the middle of a “make the best of it”
situation. Along with “let’s keep peace while we do it.” And in
that situation, shovels and pickaxes are going to work just fine.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
• A panorama of solutions are explored in 10 Practical
Tools for a Resilient Economy – available as an ebook
34 ECONOMIC RESILIENCE: A SURVIVAL KIT FOR EXTRAORDINARY TIMES
WHY ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF ECONOMIC CONTRACTION IS
VITALLY IMPORTANT for climate change, environmental, and social
Economic contraction will hit us first. Of the triple crisis issues,
the timeline for economic contraction is the shortest; it will hit
before we feel the worst of peak oil (which will hit most of us
before the slow and steady boil-a-frog aspects of climate change).
Our economic predicament is also the most volatile, the most
sensitive to shocks. Particularly here in the U.S., it will be felt the
most tangibly. Peak oil and climate change will probably be first
felt economically by most of us.
Economic contraction alters the types of solutions that are
available. Many high-tech proposals such as solar energy, electric
cars, and LEED buildings are vastly expensive. In a future with
ongoing economic contraction, these types of “solutions” become
accessible only for the wealthy niche and won’t achieve widespread
application because the economic growth necessary to create
surplus cash flow to create investment pools simply won’t happen.
Lack of funding will pull the rug out from underneath the best-laid
plans. In many areas, economic decline is already being felt and is
a major influence on all decision-making. Acknowledgement of
economic contraction as the “third crisis” helps us stay on track
with low-tech, low-input, relatively inexpensive proposals.
Economic contraction will impact your activist organization.
Funding schemes such as grants depend on surplus cash flow. As
economic surplus disappears, so do grants programs. We have
already seen the days of “peak nonprofit.” We are currently into
post-peak. Grant dollars are precious, and will become even more
so as the years go on. The same goes for charitable contributions,
no matter whether these are from members or from strangers. We
need to set up environmental and social change organizations as
entities that will endure, rather than go bankrupt. We need to focus
on the real work that needs to happen to prepare our local
communities, rather than having to spend all our time chasing
fundraising to keep the doors open. Rather than the corporate-
styled “nonprofit organization” model of the past 30 or so years, our
organizations might more wisely structure themselves as “the way
of being” within a given local circle of community, pooling the
volunteerism of all. (More at “Resilient nonprofits” in Booklet #12)
Economic contraction will impact the people of your local
community. It is widely stated that the “recession” has touched
nearly everyone. If it didn’t hit you, it hit someone close to you.
Whether you call today’s economy “double dip recession” or the
beginning of the Greater Depression, but my opinion is we’re in for
a whole lot more. We will need to support each other, and support
our fellow community members. That means we will need to create
local economic structures to help people in need, in extraordinarily
long-term fashion. We will need to put in place local “inner work”
professionals (mental health professionals, counselors, spiritual and
religious leaders, etc.) who are prepared to work with the issues that
arise as people cope with economic contraction.
36 ECONOMIC RESILIENCE: A SURVIVAL KIT FOR EXTRAORDINARY TIMES
More about the fundamental problems with the old economy:
• J erry Mander, “Barking up the Wrong Tree” – a (brutally)
concise, one-page synopsis written by J erry Mander of the
International Forum on Globalization.
• Stoneleigh/Nicole Foss, “Century of Challenges” DVD
• Stoneleigh/Nicole Foss, “Making sense of the financial
crisis in the era of Peak Oil,” chilling, fast-paced audio
• Heinberg, Richard, “Who Killed Economic Growth?” a
basic animated short on You Tube, good for sharing a
• Nate Hagen, “Navigating Through a Room Full of
Elephants,” ASPO Conference 2012
• Transition United States, “Economic Crisis”
About the author:
J oanne Poyourow merges an understanding of post-peak concepts
with a background in economics. She is the initiator of Transition
Los Angeles and currently directs the Environmental Change-
Makers nonprofit organization.
J oanne was a C.P.A. in public practice for 13 years. She holds a
degree in Business Economics from the University of California,
J oanne has extensively studied post-peak materials – post carbon,
post-petroleum, and post-growth – in search of positive solutions
which will work at a grassroots level.
She offers guidance for small businesses through Your Local Cup of
Tea (available via www.Change-Making.com) Her ebook 10
Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy series shares what can be
put in place within a local community to prepare us for what lies
Rob Hopkins, TED Talk
Summary of Bill McKibben’s landmark article (“Global Warming’s Terrifying
New Math,” rolling Stone, July 19, 2012) summarized by J oe Romm
Bill McKibben, “The Great Carbon Bubble,”
Union of Concerned Scientists, “A to Z Guide to Political Interference in Science”
Robert Prechter, Warren Buffett, Sy Harding book titles
Cumulative list of oil company quotes http://transitionla.org/Resources.htm
Victoria J ohnson, New Economics Foundation,
Kurt Cobb, “Does the IMF Believe We Have a Peak Oil Problem?” Nov 2012,
Energy Bulletin http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2012-11-11/does-the-imf-
Learn more about peak oil at www. EnergyBulletin.net/primer
Diagrams reworked from Center for the Advancement of a Steady State Economy
I am indebted to Sophy Banks and Naresh Giangrande for an explanation in the
Transition Training here in Los Angeles in 2008, which really broadened my
38 ECONOMIC RESILIENCE: A SURVIVAL KIT FOR EXTRAORDINARY TIMES
J ohn Talberth, Clifford Cobb and Noah Slattery, “ The Genuine Progress Indicator
2006 Executive Summary,” February 2007. Emphasis added.
Hope Yen, “In Weak J ob Market, One In Two College Graduates Are J obless Or
Underemployed”, Huffington Post, April 22, 2012.
Quoted in J ames Gustave Speth, The Bridge at the End of the World
Robert Prechter has written several books about how mass human emotions drive
Adapted from Rob Hopkins, The Transition Handbook
Charles Eisenstein, Sacred Economics
"Economic Shocks and Regional Economic Resilience," Edward Hill et al,
Prepared for Brookings, George Washington, Urban Institute, Building Resilient
Region Project conference on Urban and Regional Policy and Its Effects: Building
Resilient Regions, Washington, DC, May 20-21, 2010
explanation at page 24
Page 9 of the pdf: www.postcarbon.org/report/44377-searching-for-a-miracle
access via www.transitionus.org/blog/our-end-economy-moment