Friday, May 24, 2013

The Bottom Line: Cutting off our nose to afford our face

Well I wasn't sure what to write today, if I was going to write today, I have been feeling completely defeated.

Oh look! another news article which is caked in propaganda but if you read between the lines tells you exactly how fucked we really are. Should I tweet it? nah. So I made some grilled cheese.

The criminals are out in full force and society as we know it is dying, or perhaps already on it's death bed. It's hard to say. So why did I decide to write today? The Washington State bridge collapse, believe it or not.
Clibborn said the collapse will call attention to the issues facing bridges — especially the old bridge over the Columbia River that connects Vancouver and Portland, Ore.
Of course the collapse of infrastructure is something I have been forecasting, it's probably one of the easiest forecasts to make, Business Insider has a great chart showing why (infrastructure spending as a percentage of GDP):


Neat eh? It's easy to make "profits" when you don't spend any of your money on the future. But hey! It's not just limited to the U.S., this event had me recall an old post I saw put out by the Canadian Government back in 2008.
"Adding to the problem is the fact that many of Canada's highway bridges built in the 1960s and 1970s are approaching the end of their expected life spans," says Dr. Cusson. According to Statistics Canada, the average age of bridges is rising due to insufficient investments in bridge maintenance and renewal. As of 2007, Canada's bridges on average have passed 57 percent of their useful life.

Dr. Cusson and his research team recently completed a 10-year study of corrosion on the Vachon Bridge in Laval, Quebec. Their goal was to identify effective technologies that can delay corrosion and extend the lifespan of Canada's concrete bridges.
The 100 year expiry date on our modern society is becoming quite apparent. Do you think world governments in their current fiscal shape can afford to replace all of these bridges? Hint: They are investing significant resources into ways to extend bridge lifespans.

So here we are as a society, trying to figure out a way to "grow" and the evidence of our growth? Piles of profit and neglect of the infrastructure which makes that "profit" possible. The piles of profit sitting unused or "invested" into the global gambling system we call a market probably resemble visually the mountain of coke waste sitting in Detroit the Alberta government never mentions. Here's another example:
When commercial nuclear power was getting its start in the 1960s and 1970s, industry and regulators stated unequivocally that reactors were designed only to operate for 40 years. Now they tell another story — insisting that the units were built with no inherent life span, and can run for up to a century, an Associated Press investigation shows.
Notice an emerging pattern? When infrastructure item X was built in the 1960s and 1970s.. blah blah blah. 1960s, and 1970s. In fact if you go and look at the majority of the base infrastructure we as a society use you'll notice almost all of it was built during the 1960s, and 1970s. No one else is saying it so I'm going to say it: The Baby Boomer generation, famous for calling Generation X and younger "lazy", and which at the same time has the hubris to stack their debts on these same generations (and their children and so on) had all of the infrastructure for their grand society provided for them by their parents, and you know what they did with it? They allowed it to rot. The infrastructure they do build today is done cheaply with profit and not a functioning society as the driving force. If you can even call making piles of money off housing bubbles "infrastructure spending".

Speaking of which, Mark Carnage has some parting words of wisdom for Canadians:
He reiterated that Canada’s post-crisis growth model of domestic-led consumption has reached its limits.
No doubt right? If only he had been this honest with Canadians last year...

Btw, if you're feeling overwhelmed and defeated as I was, give this a listen - this is the most important information anyone needs to hear right now. There is a path forward, but our "modern society" needs to learn how to listen, accept criticism, and understand we're all in this together:

http://prn.fm/2013/05/19/lifeboat-hour-051913/#axzz2U9dSSY2y


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Richard Fantin is a self-taught software developer who has mostly throughout his career focused on financial applications and high frequency trading. He currently works for eQube gaming systems.

Nazayh Zanidean is a Project Coordinator for a mid-sized construction contractor in Calgary, Alberta. He enjoys writing as a hobby on topics that include foreign policy, international human rights, security and systemic media bias.

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