That first line from David Bowie’s Changes sums it up well, as does the other lines of the chorus:  “Don’t want to be a richer man…just gonna have to be a different man…Time may change me, but I can’t trace time.”

What follows are my notes on the following two videos and my periodic responses to the ideas discussed in the linked video series.  What I publish tends to touch on topics that in some way affect your freedom to earn and/or accumulate more than what you need to survive.  It’s a concept I spread broadly as a blanket called “wealth”.   Your ability to earn even a living today has come under assault.

Most often considered in monetary terms you’ll hear in the following wealth information discussed as your shelter, health, food, talent, and skill sets which have all historically been one step back from our traditional use of money (in light of the fragility which surfaced due to the Covid-19 pandemic) but which will have stepped to the forefront.  Nobody likely told you; hence my efforts here.

The following round-table discussions are some of the best forward-focused ideas I have yet heard of how this series of economic events triggered from a pandemic has changed our world forever.  Few people in the mainstream are thinking this far ahead with viable ideas.  Pay close attention and look for the opportunities which may arise from what others around you may only ever see as devastation.

This article is a little lengthy; I agree.  I put forth the effort to type it.  It’s not the time for a sound bite friend, but for information you can use to forge ahead.  Shaken by recent events, I think many people could use help and a sense of hope.  I summarize below two hours and ten minutes (02:10:00) of a two-session, round-table discussion among three and then four well-informed professionals.  So, there’s a bunch of ideas worthy of consideration in the notes I took for you.  “No really, don’t mention it…”  😀

My Reactions to Events

…are included as well.  Despite my best efforts, I’m not usually one for brevity.  I know, fall off your chair in shock…  So, the summary or synopsis will appear in BROWN, while my comments appear in GREEN.  What I added would have been my contribution had I been invited to the discussion; a boy can dream.  Of course you can just listen to their conversation, which I found valuable and interesting.

“Can’t you squeeze it into a 20 second Instagram post?”

Image courtesy: NASA

To quote Chris Martenson toward the end of session two, “It is little understood that this is the defining moment of our time.”  So, here’s your Instagram post: “Life on Earth has changed.  What opportunities lay ahead for you?”  Because there’s truth in the old adage: “It’s not what happens to you, it’s how you react to it that matters”.  The consensus of the conversation: “life will be better once we shed the complexity and the baggage dragging us all down…”

There will be growing pains. Those in seats of power put this economic correction off for years until what was somewhat economically uncomfortable became a catastrophic financial event for all humanity.  It might be worth a bit of your time to embrace a few ideas that help you plan for what comes next.  I hope the ideas help; I really do.  Sorry… you had something else on your calendar during the Covid-19 social-distancing and lock down?

I’m an Educator.

Why publish commentary on another producer’s videos? All teachers use materials published by producers other than themselves.  Also, many times I hear people tell me, “I don’t pay attention to financial information.  It never makes any sense; I don’t understand it.”  The only way to ever have information on any topic make sense is to involve yourself in the discussion.  It’s going to take a little effort.  You’ll need to be more financially astute going forward.

My personal views are there in GREEN if you’re interested in what I have to say… as if you could stop me.  Some net-troll might succeed in canceling me… but they can’t stop me.  That would suggest more about them than me anyway; something about being ugly, smelly, and coveting the slimy dark corners under bridges.  Well intentioned, of course.

Learn the vocabulary which is used to express the related ideas.  Listen for how those ideas and concepts interact.  Achieve an understanding one step at a time.  Start somewhere… With podcasts you can download or call up at will and listen to repeatedly, that level of effort has never been easier.  I’ve been considering a podcast of my own.  I should add that to my list of ideas that need to see the light of day… See?  Turning and facing the strange…

If you need to start here with my commentary on the very valuable information I’m presenting as beneficial for you, then I’m privileged and honored to help guide you.  Let’s look for the opportunities together, shall we?

“Where there is no vision, the people perish…” Proverbs 29:18

A little shameless self-promotion:

Hey, I warned you first…  I was a teacher for over a decade.  I know most classroom teachers to be great selfless heroes.  The system they work in sucks.  (did I type that aloud?)  I’ve seen public education from the inside out.  If our people, our society was better financially educated and could stay informed with accurate information, I don’t believe those in power could have corrupted our systems to this degree over this number of years.  We The People of the US govern ourselves.  We vote them into office.

Seeing that overall problem, I wrote a book and am in the process of publishing videos to help people become more financially effective. The first edition was introduced in 2011.  Believe me, I’ve been trying to get the message out for a decade.

Most financial education out in the market is organized or sponsored by the banking industry.  That’s like seeing your local drug dealer for his associated 12-step program!  The banking industry will instruct you in accordance with their banking industry agenda.  That hasn’t worked out well for most people’s net worth.

What I think people could have used before the Covid-19 catalyst, that straw that broke the camel’s economic back, are in my MoneySmart book:

  • Chapter 7: Where to Find More Money
  • Chapter 8: How to Reduce Your Debt Load
  • Chapter 11: The Nature of Money
  • Chapter 12: Investment Position Worksheet
  • and of course, Chapter 2: Monthly Budget Worksheet

You’ll find all that wealthy goodness under the Publications tab at

Those concepts could have saved many people a great deal of hardship and heartache.  I’m also working on a walkthrough series of each chapter, as well as a Financial Education series which was completed earlier this year.  Take a look; bring a friend.  I sincerely hope my efforts help you.

Economic Shockwaves: How the Coronavirus is Impacting our Future

What to Listen For (synopsis)  My comments appear below this synopsis section in GREEN:

  • The Covid-19 pandemic, while dire, was a catalyst for a much broader economic issue
  • Inflation resulting from currency creation vs. deflation of consuming market economy (Rubino)
    • Less market demand pulling prices down
    • More currency to chase goods encouraging prices to increase
  • Globalization, financialization, and rising cost structure (Smith)
    • Offshoring of jobs and production; maximizing profits
    • Financialization of assets sold to investors, often overseas (derivatives)
    • Commoditizing everything for sale, expanded through borrowed money (debt)
    • Loss of purchasing power through rising prices and devalued currency
    • Small businesses will fail in droves: high costs climbing, revenues falling (lost jobs)
  • Just-in-Time supply chains were dependent upon all things working smoothly; they don’t
    • Parts and/or production from China exposes business to supply chain problems
    • Production will become more local, despite higher prices (more reliable)
  • Recession, reduction of financial activity, will spread to entire economy, worldwide
    • Government likely to extend unemployment (inflationary)
    • Also likely to expand business assistance (inflationary, property rights)
    • Massive debt loads will further slow recovery
  • Debt Elimination will be an inevitability. What are government’s choices? (Rubino)
    • Natural elimination – default as people and entities have far less cash flow
    • Artificial elimination – increased currency supply, decreased value, pays off debt with cheaper dollars. (Think in terms of “currency units”; they create more, send you more, each unit holds less value, you trade them for a fixed number of “units” of debt. It’s dishonest, but it’s how our financial world has worked for decades)
    • Real property with inherent value (fixed assets) will demand more devalued “currency units” (higher prices in “dollars” for items of real value. Higher prices are a symptom of inflating the currency supply)
    • The rich will be educated about this because they pay financial advisors to inform them
    • The average working person must rely on what public school taught them (or didn’t teach them), or the information that they learned through their own search.
  • The over-reaching debt super cycle is the end of the corporatized financial road (Smith)
    • Borrowing money into existence doesn’t create real value
    • Debt taxes future income at cost plus interest (MoneySmart: good vs. bad debt)
    • Once borrowers go belly up, the banking sector follows along with services/production
      • We’ve been living beyond our means, personal, corporate, and government
    • Handling your own capital (wealth) will require your personal financial education.
      • Trusting a fund manager to make your rich allows the same old extortion
    • Currency creation is nothing new. Its effects are established throughout history.
  • What does it take to hold those who wield financial power accountable for a broken system?
    • Civil discord – The Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street, 2016 election of non-politician
    • if you ruin the financial system, you ruin the political system (and they’re panicked)
    • extreme political and civil unrest is one of the possibilities of an unforeseen future
    • Iceland made depositors whole and threw the bankers in jail (hmm…)
    • Hunger drives people to revolt, as can lack of cash flow (work) in modern society
  • Where is the hope, the opportunity in this story?
    • There will be a reset and we’ll (Smith)
      • Re-localize (work and industry) and decentralize capital
      • A networked (cooperative) rather than hierarchical (authoritarian) structure
      • Other longer-term incentives will succeed over profit alone
    • Sound money is crucial to a functional new system (Rubino)
      • 1971 removed the gold standard, intro: unlimited world fiat currency
      • Governments cannot be permitted to create unlimited currency

My take on the information:

  • Extended business suspension: some businesses won’t survive; some jobs will never return
  • Society will adopt greater simplicity as over-complexity limits resilience and survivability
  • Society will also dilute to much less urban concentration,
    • Enabled by telecommuting tech, decentralizing services, and skilled individuals
    • Leaner employers will divest themselves of peripheral costs of employees
      • contractors have their own desk, computer, electricity, coffee, and bathroom.
      • Not to mention healthcare, time off (unpaid), transportation, etc…
      • What service could you provide businesses as a 1099 independent contractor?
      • Could you aggregate a team of people to subcontract?
    • Recurring recessions result from over-monetization, interference with free markets
    • With business activity and markets under stress, you’ll need to be more self-sufficient
      • In agrarian society, you fed chickens, grazed the herd, tended crops: no work; no food!
      • Expecting business to provide everyone jobs will meet with disappointment
      • Think: what will people need, and how do you provide that to the most people
      • The days of having someone tell you when to show up, how long to stay, what you’ll do while you’re there, and how much that is worth to them may be over for many people.
      • Concepts I cover in my MoneySmart Financial Education series
    • The political class and financial corporations are not likely to produce any real solutions
      • Don’t look for government to “do something”; what they’ve done got us here.
        • Politicians and bankers only have a hammer; to them, everything is a nail.
      • An informed population will need to pressure the political class toward real solutions
      • An uphill battle considering:
        • current levels of financial education lacking in public education
        • overcoming apathy for financial education after-the-fact
      • Fiat currencies will lose value if not become worthless (nearer to or really zero)
        • Holding wealth denominated in dollars is likely to lose value
        • Printing currency as a money substitute is a historical problem, but not standard
        • Collecting interest on debt by loaning fiat currency is dishonest and should stop
          • Today money is created by loaning it into existence.
          • A bank enables a trade, a car for example, by creating debt on one side and crediting the account of the car dealer on the other; never having the money.
          • It’s called “fractional reserve banking”. They depend on depositors not demanding their deposits all at once
          • They lend out money that isn’t theirs, beyond which they loan money they don’t really have, on which they collect fees and interest over the life of the loan.
          • How it should work is that bank depositors should indicate how much of their deposits are available for loans, how long they’ll loan that money, and the interest on which they are willing to loan their money on deposit. The depositor should write the terms of their own bond.  The bank can then market those terms to interested borrowers adding their own profit, which should be a smaller share than those whose money they are loaning.  Banks then bring borrowers and lenders together, which is a service worthy of a little compensation.
          • Currently, banking works nothing like rewarding depositors for keeping funds on deposit and subject to loan. Currently, your deposits in a bank reflect partial ownership of the bank and your redemption (withdrawals) are subject to the banks daily operating interests.  “Sorry, markets are closed and we’ve temporarily suspended redemption” is an ever present reality. (search 2008 Greece/Cyprus and do a little Steven King-level suspense reading.)
          • In every other situation, “those with the gold make the rules.” If you’re the one putting up the capital, you should have something to say about the terms. In a home sale, you expect this.  But not on your bank deposits, your available capital.  So why does this continue?  The common depositor, you and me, have allowed the bankers to dictate the rules as if there were no other options.  Education… what else is out there you aren’t being told about?  Don’t expect your banker or Wall Street broker to tell you, it doesn’t pay as well.
          • It’s not just wrong, it’s evil. Listed among a number of moral offenses plaguing the people at that time, Ezekiel lists the expression of the following.  Ezekiel 22:12 & 13 In thee have they taken gifts to shed blood; thou hast taken usury and increase, and thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbors by extortion, and hast forgotten me, saith the Lord GOD. Behold, therefore I have smitten mine hand at thy dishonest gain which thou hast made, and at thy blood which hath been in the midst of thee.  In light of that perspective, I say the following:
          • Jumping off a tall building expecting to circumvent the law of gravity along your trip down is unlikely. Breaking the moral laws of how mankind establishes an ordered society without killing one another at every turn is also likely to lead to an eventual impasse.  For those non-Christians reading along, that’s why God gave us laws and moral guidance, so that we don’t just kill one another; physically or spiritually.  From his perspective, we’re all his kids; even you (especially you; He’s likely worried about you most of all).  He knows rather intimately just how exasperatingly annoying we can be when left to our own devices…  You’ve read me, I know you see what I mean.
        • We’re offered free market capitalism and socialism and neither are sufficient… (Smith/paraphrased)
          • Here is the first point in the discussion with which I take issue (after 50 minutes)
          • We don’t operate in a free market and haven’t for decades (I can argue back to 1913)
          • We are under an oligarchy where a few powerful entities tend to control everything
            • Major corporations with big lobbies and budgets write many of our laws
          • Socialism never exists in a vacuum, but is always followed by communism
            • Get with the system or those in power ostracize or outright kill you (history)
          • Again, financial (and some historical) education are in order to have that talk
          • “mixing capitalism and socialism is not working; it has lead us to where we are now”
            • I think Smith ends on the right point, except the term is “free enterprise”.
          • Taggart comments, we can learn by insight or through pain.
            • I’ve taught high school and I drive on the highway. Each have taught me that people don’t move until you draw blood.  …and here we are.  We won’t come through this period of time without some considerable growing pains.
            • By the way, the left lane is for passing slower traffic that should stay to the right. Check your mirrors; if anyone’s behind you on a road clear to your front, the problem creating traffic congestion is you.
          • My hope is that:
            • The citizens once again assume a greater responsibility to be informed and involved
            • leads to less corrupted systems, and less need to overcome corruption to achieve
              • up to now, everyone has paddled against a rushing torrent
            • Resulting in smaller chasm between earned income and take-home pay: lower taxes
            • Less power centralized in politics as tax and allocate is all the power politicians have.
            • Balanced budgets where our great-grandchildren aren’t still paying the bill
            • More honest banking and investment vehicles will:
              • Allow growing capital so that people don’t work as hard, retire earlier
              • Have capital to either fund their own business or invest in others

(Part 1) Economic Shockwaves: How the Coronavirus is Impacting our Future

Peak Prosperity
John Rubino, Charles Hughes Smith, with host Adam Taggart.

What Will The Post-Coronavirus World Look Like?

What to Listen For (synopsis)  My comments appear in GREEN beyond this synopsis section:

  • What comes next?
    • Shift from discovering and exploiting new lands to… what? (Rubino)
      • Online, enabled through technology
      • Activities that don’t require large amounts of natural resources (services)
      • (Communication and collaboration) can happen quickly due to internet
      • Implementation will vary from (early adopters) before now, to 30 years out
    • What are components of a sustainable economic structure? (Smith)
      • Stable financial systems enable stable social and political systems
      • Capital creation must exceed expenses (work > taxation and spending)
      • Societies under stress express and shift values as individuals (greed vs. altruism)
    • Is this the tipping point from old system to new? (Martenson)
      • The credit bubble was doomed for a long time (the straw for camel’s back is C-19)
      • The system that worked for a long time has crashed, damage beyond repair.
      • (Rubino) that system required “perfection” to continue… (a hyper-fragile system)
      • Just-in-Time supply chains were dependent upon vastly dispersed steps
      • (Smith) Off-shoring everything introduces security issues in the supply chain
      • Profit alone will be superseded by other concerns: delivery schedule, security, etc.
      • Higher prices for distribution will drive production centers closer to end markets
        • produce from Chile, or from California to New York may be cost-limited
      • Production and supply chains need to be more resilient (Martenson reconnected)
      • Individuals will need to be more self-reliant, resilient in food, energy, work…
        • From individuals, to community, region, state, and country
      • C-19 events are likely to impact and change everything
        • Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – simpler life; more meaningful and effective
      • We have managers now, not leaders; and not particularly good managers
      • Corruption continues with mortgage bonds and Fed Reserve buying assets:
        • major business and banks get bailout payments in days
        • the average citizen waits for months for relief (Sept)
      • Allowing government to create and introduce currency has negative effects. What’s next?
        • (Rubino) Currency is a confidence game – holds value because people believe it does
        • Government wields power by collecting taxes, printing, and redistributing money
        • This ends when population realizes that devalued currency is power (a stealth tax)
        • There will be a monetary reset when this becomes obvious to the population
        • Transfer currency assets (valued in dollars) into physical assets that (shed) value
        • (Smith) two types of currency, one to store value, another to transact trade.
        • Governments hold power to produce currency, likely to ban/outlaw alternatives
        • The productive value of an asset is what counts. Nominal currency units mean nothing.
      • When the dust settles, how bad will this be with small to medium businesses closing en masse?
        • Low level jobs are gone currently and may not return
        • (Martenson) government is again, upside down and backwards
          • trillions of dollars sooner at large corp. who should be resilient in tough times
          • Put off the US household and wage earners for months
        • “It’s not understood thus far that this is the defining moment of our time” (Martenson)
        • There will be plenty of jobs out there (manufacturing and production coming to US)
        • Changes in the status quo introduce new opportunities
      • The level and speed with which capital is created will change from historic capacities. Life will likely simplify.  Isn’t that an improvement?
        • (Martenson) Who am I going to be in this life and what am I going to do with it?
          • What will you do that is important; that really matters?
          • Local community and economy will revitalize as society focuses closer to home.
        • (Taggart) When polled, senior citizens reinforce, “life is all about relationships”
        • (Rubino) The past system was unsustainable and would have ended anyhow
          • This started and will end quickly (economic fallout)
          • You will need to specify your needs and wants, and focus on needs
        • (Taggart) the looming threat (for decades) is actually a relief now that it’s initiated

My Take on the Information:

  • I’ve been an early adopter for several years, seeing that financial service is person to person:
    • No public office, no staff, no marble floors, very little overhead
    • People want valid information and serenity of trust in the person helping them. They don’t need to sit in my opulent office wondering how much of it they’ve paid for.
    • Much of my activity centers around education on one front or another
  • Smith: “Community can generate currency (and) gainful employment… For-profit-only centers won’t create gainful employment or a stable economy.”
    • I don’t back Smith up on this view. Business orbits around fulfilling a need, solving a problem, or making someone’s life easier or more enjoyable.  When you attract more consumers to what you offer, you’ll need help; hence jobs.  When people are gainfully employed, they satisfy both their needs and some of their wants spending what they earned at another series of businesses in the community who make their lives free of certain problems, easier, and/or more enjoyable.  That’s called the velocity of money and it takes place in the community.
    • You cannot guarantee human behavior in community support from the individual for societal issues that reach beyond government’s mandated powers. While that hasn’t stopped government in the past from pursuing civil projects, socialism isn’t what government of the US should be pursuing.  That’s not how a fledgling nation rose to its status as an economic powerhouse from 13 loosely related colonies in 170 years (1776-1946).  People need to care for their neighbors and community.  This was once a function of community especially faith-based societies like churches and synagogues.  That idea has lost its luster in our hyper-PC society.  I think we’d better find it again.  When people choose to volunteer their time and sometimes their capital, we have a condition of the human heart known as “charity”.  No amount of government extortion of your earned income redirected to any worthy cause can ever be called charity.  Extortion is extortion, even if you vote for it.  Remove choice as the main ingredient and the product is no longer charity.  The issue that some will have with allowing people to address those societal issues individually is they don’t trust people to solve the problem.  They must therefore be coerced, or “taxed”. Americans tend to be some of the most prosperous and generous individuals and society in the world.  Watch them trailer their fishing boat and drive across country to pull people out of flooded regions while they aren’t being paid a dime.  Why?  Because they can… “There’s a need and I’m equipped and available to meet a portion of that need.”  Off they go… God bless America!
    • Even Taggart mentions “redistribution” following Smith’s comments. Anti-monopoly guidelines so that you have more than one choice in the market, but centralized distribution control is what they argued against in the first segment.  We’ll need to be careful how those guidelines are created.
  • Answers to the Just-in-time fragility:
    • Business will pull production and manufacture closer to home, likely from overseas to the continental US and easily accessed territories. We’ll likely see legislation at Federal Level that deals with national security as to what can be manufactured and where as defense and security are dependent upon predictable production.
    • We will rediscover, through much wailing and gnashing of teeth no doubt, that dictating to business what a low-skilled worker must be paid as “a living wage” drives up the cost of the end product or service to price it out of the prevailing market. The idea that “no sales means no jobs” will become painfully obvious.  Yet again, people don’t move until you draw blood…
    • With more production coming back to the US, one idea to fight the “living wage” problem is a preponderance of jobs as employers who need workers will need to offer attractive wages and benefits to ensure quality production or service. “Don’t like the wage offered?” head down the street and get another offer leaving your current job for someone else less experienced more accepting of the wages offered… there will be jobs to choose from in the resulting worker’s market.
  • US Silver Dollar over fiat money paper and tokens.

    (Smith) “There can be two currencies, one to store value, and one to transact in trade. A great variety of currencies is how I see the way forward.”  The more Mr. Smith speaks, the less I like what he has to say.  Money functions as money specifically because it holds value.  At least he did label his idea as currency which, lacking inherent value, does not function as money.  Here’s your litmus test:  holding a Federal Reserve note over the past 20 years has resulted in much less purchasing power.  Holding a one-ounce silver coin over the same period (also labeled “one dollar”, oddly enough) has greatly increased in value over the same period.  Money and currency function very differently.  In 2000 the spot price of an ounce of silver was around $5 USD.  Today, even in a depressed market, the value in dollars is up over 300% at $15.42 USD.  Can you buy three times of anything with a Federal Reserve note today versus 2000?    Money and currency function very differently.

  • (Smith) Also proposes a work-hours-based currency, which makes zero sense. If you believe that one person’s work is financially equivalent to another person’s work based on time spent, I think the surgeon, the bio-chemist, the brilliant guitarist, the honest mechanic fixing your largely computer-controlled 2nd-mortgage automobile, the talented song writer with several gold albums and a few Grammys; each might take issue with the guy walking your groceries out to your car arguing equal compensation.  Any less important?  Probably more-so important to you while at the grocer, but equal in earned financial reward?   You get to decide what you’ll tip them. And few would take the side that those efforts and talents are financially equivalent.  People work to solve a problem, or make a life easier, or more enjoyable; that’s business.  The songwriter may only make your life more enjoyable, but only the individual (millions of them) can decide whether that is worth $0.99 per song to enjoy it at the time of their choosing.  Lots of people record music that nobody buys.  Would the grocery clerk wish to be on par with any of them?  Probably not… Only millions of people making those decisions on an individual basis can fairly decide what is worth compensating to higher degrees and why.  That’s where “value to the community” that Mr. Smith mentioned is decided, the free market.  Who sits on the committee to decide otherwise?  Not anyone likely to live through their first term.
  • I like Martenson’s point that government has chosen again to wield their power both upside down and backwards (my shorter interpretation). Government officials assume their power through amassing billions upon billions of dollars and allocating, or deciding, where that financial power will be focused.  They’ve proven over decades that they don’t wield that power with any degree of responsibility whatsoever.  What are millions of dollars for the Lincoln Center for the Arts doing in a health crisis relief act? … and I could go on (and on, and on…)  One, serving the people in your district as a congressional representative should be reserved for people who have understood the free enterprise system, put that system to work, have a business or intellectual property that pays them over and over regardless of what they do with their time, endeavor to protect that system, expand it for broader access for more of their constituents, and ensure that those principles are there and better for his district’s grandchildren.  They should do so faithfully, voluntarily, and free of charge, or they don’t belong in congress; the obverse indicating they obviously don’t understand what they are there to achieve.  Are there some morale hazards that go along with that?    Are they worse or better than the waste and corruption we see taking place daily now?  I highly doubt it.  You learn a few things in the sacrifice of years spent building something that belongs to you.
  • How will things change? (Smith) “The future will come; labeling it good or bad won’t matter… Everyone should be doing work that is beneficial and useful.”  People (especially employers) don’t pay for work that isn’t beneficial and useful, Mr. Smith.  Either you bring something valuable to the trade or the buyer goes elsewhere.  Sorry folks, but Smith is just getting worse for me every time he responds.  I don’t think he rates a seat in a discussion with Rubino and Martenson.  If he was invited to balance the discussion with PC views, then he’s certainly hit the target.


(Part 2) What Will The Post-Coronavirus World Look Like?

Peak Prosperity
John Rubino, Charles Hughes Smith, Chris Martenson, with host Adam Taggart.





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