Posts filed under ‘Economic Collapse’

Privacy Is The New Transparency

Bright Neighbor Walled Garden

To the folks on Mashable that think they know markets had better listen up. Privacy is the new Transparency.

Social innovation and technology are starting to stink. I am neck-high in communications technology development, and the abuse of it is making me just want to throw my gadgets away except for my i-pod so I can rock out to tunes while I’m gardening.

Facebook sucks, because you never know when someone is going to blackmail you with naked pictures.

Thurs., Feb. 5, 2009
MILWAUKEE – An 18-year-old male student is accused of posing as a girl on Facebook, tricking at least 31 male classmates into sending him naked photos of themselves and then blackmailing some for sex acts.

Seriously, things are getting out of hand. The watchdog group Privacy International is sounding an alarm about Google’s new phone tracking system, Latitude. “As it stands right now, Latitude could be a gift to stalkers, prying employers, jealous partners and obsessive friends,” Simon Davies, director of Privacy International, said in a new report.

So let me just lay it out on the line. Here are the hot trends that will be followed by money in 2009 – because my company is making money with them.

1) Walled Gardens & Private Clubs Will Soar
Walled Garden
It sucks to not know if the person who you are chatting with is real or not. I’m no fan of Ronald Reagan, but he had one thing right: Trust, but verify. Just like the real world, you are allowed into some clubs and not allowed into others. You will start to see a lot more “Pay To Enter” groups, clubs, and social networks, because privacy is something that people will still pay for. It’s no big secret that humans like to have fun and enjoy sex and drugs and other social taboos. It’s whether or not it hurts your relationships and ability to earn money that matters. And relationships are where it is at. So businesses that capitalize on private, licensed walled garden community technology as well as free, community supported social networks will win.

And I’m just kidding about Facebook sucking – Facebook rocks. I see it as a vital player in helping America deal with our upcoming liquid fuels crisis. President Obama will be issuing orders through it, and it’s not Facebook’s fault anyone can use technology to do harm if he or she is a bad person. My bet is that they mimic and monetize Bright Neighbor’s member verification process.

2) The return of activities based on Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs
Bright Neighbor
This economy sucks. But hey, mountain hiking is practically free! And bowling is cheap! And people like to gather in the real world! So we will replace lost jobs with activities that help shape up our country. We are angry Americans, pissed off that we are losing access to money, but still the spoiled brats of technology and oil culture. That means we aren’t going to roll over and die just because some old fogies in Washington can’t get their checkbooks balanced.

3) Hyper-Local Community and Permaculture Becomes Sexier Than Hollywood
Bright Neighbor Permaculture
Please Hollywood – no more computer generated action sequence movies for a while. Batman is a weird, weird guy. We need stories that show monetary incentives that rally Americans to pick up shovels and get digging – not geomagnetically blowing up stuff and talking to armed vampires. It’s time that we all start listening to local hippies and farmers that get to say “I Told You So”, even as globalists start to freak out at the prospect of their capitalist empire of global trade shattering.

Because even though it looks like we have extra oil now that the price has dropped, it’s not the price that is the concern – it’s the supply. If someone blows up an oil terminal, we will have a real liquid fuels crisis, and immediately could suffer energy and food shortages, leading to social, business, and military pissed-offedness in a world full of really, really big missiles and boom boom sticks.

So 2009 is the year to get to know your neighbors better, even if you don’t want to. And don’t just get to know them, start hanging out with them and put yourself in an uncomfortable place for a while to get used to it. Because in case you haven’t noticed, we are arriving in Hell’s lobby. We have to take evasive action to immediately build hyper-local trust networks because people’s willingness to do things for each other, and to trust one another, depends on how well they know each other and how often they see them.

This has been my mantra for a long time, and luckily we do have so many ways to communicate with one another. It’s whether we are doing the right activities that counts more.

One last trend to report… hacked road signs. The trend is growing!

Randy White Bright Neighbor

Randy White is the Founder of Bright Neighbor, a community self-sufficiency and technology company that specializes social collaborations and logistics to help communities adapt to the triple threat of economic, ecological, and energy collapse. A city dweller who has focused on reducing his impact on the planet while helping entrepreneurs forge new businesses, Randy’s expertise focuses on home-based self sufficiency opportunities. He will be speaking at the Pacific Northwest Better Living Show March 28th at the Portland Expo Center.

February 6, 2009 at 9:43 am Leave a comment

How To Profit From America’s New Shopping List

Barack Obama Shopping List

Hey America, if you are paying attention, you can make a lot of money right now!

President Obama just told us his shopping list for his three year plan (funny, it takes three years for fruit trees to produce). Obama is about to get a check for $825,000,000,000 dollars and he wants to buy all sorts of cool new things for America, such as:

10,000 school renovations – Great for all the folks who can help kids learn about chickens and growing vegetables and neat stuff like that

Improved local community communications networks – Hey, I sell those things!

75% of Federal building to be more energy efficient – You mean like ride sharing? Light bulbs? Turning computers off?

2.5 Million weatherized homes – Wow, whoever makes bricks and insulation from waste plastic bags & stuff will make a killing!

Double America’s renewable energy – Woo hoo! I sell hooch making machines! I’m gonna be rich!

Anyway, I am writing about this because the secret is, and always will be, to be a master of markets for things people really need. That means neighborhood collectives can team up and go legally harvest firewood and split it up among the community, where people volunteer their labor in exchange for good and services they need.

Money, as we know it, is just a means of representing value. What has real value to you? Probably the same things that have value to everyone else: Food, shelter, transportation, water, electricity, friends, resilient neighborhoods and communities, skills and stuff the community can use.

That’s the power behind Bright Neighbor. We offer a machine that helps fix community economies and ecology. Think about it this way…

Chickens are egg machines.
Gardens are fruit and vegetable machines.
Trees are fruit and nut machines.
Worms and mushrooms are soil fixing machines.

Bright Neighbor is a communications system, a carbon reduction machine, a money saving machine, and a community repair machine all-in-one. We have implemented it in governments, businesses, faith communities, private corporations, and with individual community organizers who want to fix their community. Our customer base now ranges in all of these markets, and if President Obama wants to buy any of these things, Bright Neighbor is one of America’s post-petroleum startups now open for business.

Three cheers for the Three Year Plan! I hope you make oodles of money.

– Randy White

PS: If you are interested in setting up a Bright Neighbor community communications system, please fill out this form.

January 24, 2009 at 3:36 pm Leave a comment

The Mother Of All Crossroads

Bright Neighbor brave

My buddy Sam Drevo is a world class kayaker. He has navigated some of the fiercest waters on planet earth while simultaneously making love to and taunting mother nature. Sam looks at rapids ahead, and paddles straight into what could be the last moments of his life every time. It is his confidence, training, and humility that always allow him to come through alive, even if he knocks his head along the way. At least he has a plan for rough waters, and knows how to navigate new, uncharted territory like an expert.

And Sam has known adventurers who have made mistakes and paid with their lives. We are all fallible, right? You know you yourself have made miscalculations in the past just like everyone else, and things haven’t gone according the exact way you thought they might go.

Oh sure, you must have been smart about your plans, made all your mental details, laid out your strategy, and went for it, right? You were plotting, you see. We all plot every day, because we have to in order to survive. It could be anything from what to do in case you wash your cell phone and lose all your stuff, get that hot person to go out with you, or try to get away with something naughty. It could have be anything from trying to fake your own death, to helping fix your community. As long as you have a plan.

And right now, it seems many people have been caught off guard with this economic hardship and are just now scrambling to make a plan.

Who usually makes the plans for you? Is it your faith leader? Your boss? Your spouse? Henry Kissinger?

As we continue along the timeline of our lives, we are at the mother of all crossroads in human history. Everyone knows something really, really big is going on, but no one seems to know who to listen to about it anymore. Even as Obama takes his place on the throne, I am finding people asking themselves “what is my plan, and do I know exactly what to do?”

Miscalculation

We can certainly make up for our past mistakes, we absolutely must. We blew it, America. We screwed up, bigtime. I have screwed up , you have screwed up, we all screwed up. Now we are facing the consequences, and we need plans that are not only ready to go, but that are already working.

As we each can at least pitch in at the local level, we need to be asking ourselves:

– Do I have a good relationship with my neighbors?
– What skills do I have that can help the community?
– What can I do to help others that will make me feel better?
– Do I really need all this stuff I have acquired to be happy?
– How will I make rent / the mortgage this month?

In globalism, we are expected to either be a producer or a consumer. You either make something, or you use something. Then there are the middlemen – called markets. And it is the markets that are collapsing, along with the ability for people to earn money as markets cease. If you get laid off, and no one else will hire you, what are you going to do to survive?

It is for this reason that I created Bright Neighbor. We are setting up communities across the country right now, and we are here to help governments, communities, businesses, and faith groups. We are already doing it, and are teaming up with Powell’s Books to offer the new Bright Neighbor University lecture series.

In April, I will be presenting an hour long workshop called “Lawns to Gardens: 10 Strategies For Thriving Through The Recession“. Or a title like that. More details to come!

– Randy White

BONUS VIDEO:
Sam Drevo and the Down The River Cleanup Crew

January 14, 2009 at 1:15 pm 3 comments

World Leaders Admit The Planet Is Screwed

Oops

Well, world leaders are finally fessing up to Einstein’s folly – that the spread of nuclear weapons and technology of mass destruction cannot be controlled.

Eventually, there are going to be very big explosions in a city near you.

So party while you can, and be a good human. That means trying to help other communities so they don’t blow you up, and vice-versa.

This means all kids on earth need to get along or we will certainly witness one of mother nature’s big bangs.

Merry Christmas!

December 17, 2008 at 6:16 pm 1 comment

The Recession and Depression of Plenty

Homeless Cell Phone

Have you noticed how even homeless people have cell phones?

The peak oil community, for the longest time, has been freaked out about running out of resources. There have been all sorts of efforts to help people prepare for a society fighting over the remaining resources. The problem with our society and economic system, however, is the opposite of the normal peak oil argument – we actually have too much stuff, not the other way around. Granted – there are people that go without things like ipods – but they make due.

Poor man Wii

In general, we have created an over abundance of cars, toasters, programmers, and advertising sales people. The problem isn’t ‘stuff’ depletion as much as money depletion. We have plenty of stuff. Which is why with food available, people aren’t trying to learn how to garden – they are just trying to land another job to pay their bills.

The fight is really between human laws and mother nature’s laws. We are at the peak of everything, but the cash is scarce – having been sucked into corporate officers’ pockets. Right now, CEOs and lawyers are still fat and happy, while your average worker is getting laid off due to their redundancy. The system hasn’t collapsed – it has retracted. Without any money in savings, the ability for people to live at the same level of comfort is what is threatened, not the monetary construct. We haven’t created a new economic system to replace the old one, so suffering is occurring as the old system ceases like an engine without oil.

If we all defaulted on our debts to banks – could the banks kick everyone out of their homes at once? We aren’t there yet, we are still in the peak oil ‘collections period’.

This means while jobs and money become more scarce, we are back to people trying to sell off their goods and services to make ends meet – creating a surplus of Nintendo Wii consoles on Craigslist. All the people with money have to do is wait longer, and the prices will come down even further. Yes, the general population has been fattened for the slaughter, and the feasting has begun.

So, what to do?

Well, I created a sharing system for friends and neighbors (or anyone in a geographic region or community for that matter) to share resources. If groups of people would inventory their stuff, they could share things. But sharing stuff only helps save money – it doesn’t generate it, unless you rent out your stuff when you let someone borrow it.

For instance – many people have tools. The stores have plenty of tools, too. So when someone needs a drill, they can either borrow one or they can buy one. But lots of people already have drills – and the folks at the drill factory are being laid off as the realization that we have materialized enough stuff for everyone kicks into our consciousness.

And when there is no more market demand for cars, toasters, or whatever has been produced enough – people get laid off. Those workers still need to make payments for bills and debts, however. So they ask for assistance from the government – racking up more claims and causing a drain on government resources.

How long can the government hand out food stamps and heating assistance before it is overwhelmed and more people are taking than adding to it? We are seeing it happen in front of our eyes.

So as this recession continues, it is the quest for continued sources of money – not the quest for ‘stuff’ that is the way the average person is experiencing peak oil. I think we will continue to see more people living together rather than having their own private nests.

At least we have lots of Nintendos to play.

December 15, 2008 at 2:32 pm 2 comments

America Has Lost The War For Oil

Government failure

Well folks, George Bush just signed our “Game Over” papers for us.

Most Americans still don’t know what the SOFA agreement is, or what it means. I would say it means you won’t be able to as easily lay your ass around the couch anymore, but there is a more adult explanation going around the media.

The key elements of the President Bush signed SOFA agreement are the requirement that U.S. forces leave all Iraqi cities and towns by June 2009, and leave Iraq entirely by December 2011. In addition, all U.S. military action must now be coordinated in advance with the Iraqis, and the United States may not use Iraq as a base to attack neighbors (that is, Syria and Iran).

The terms of the SOFA pact contain some vague language and the U.S. military says it’s counting on its ability to interpret the language in ways that it prefers. It is said that Bush has thereby gotten a better deal than Obama’s 16-month withdrawal plan. This is a big, fat lie. Obama definitely had the better withdrawal plan. Obama’s proposal had been that U.S. combat forces leave in 16 months, but had set no date for “training” forces, leaving open the possibility of indefinite stationing of some U.S. forces. The SOFA agreement gets all forces out by December 2011. And Bush, not Obama, signed off on this.

Even Michael Moore has issued his “Oh Shit” proclamation. Regarding the collapse of the Big Three US automakers, Moore proclaims:

“You might assume that I couldn’t give a rat’s ass about these miserably inept crapmobile makers down the road in Detroit city. But I do care. I care about the millions whose lives and livelihoods depend on these car companies. I care about the security and defense of this country because the world is running out of oil — and when it runs out, the calamity and collapse that will take place will make the current recession/depression look like a Tommy Tune musical. “

The good news is that we don’t need oil to survive – there are lots of ways to live a tip-top life without oil. The people who run the world know this – they just want to keep everyone convinced to keep using their products to run cars that are cheaply built.

We can fuel America’s vehicles on the 70 million acres if mesquite that grows in the southwestern united states without using a single ear of corn. We can grow kelp farms that cool the ocean temperature while rebuilding living ocean ecosystems that help fix the planet. You can make ethanol from the kelp, which grows and regrows every time you harvest it (it grows about a foot a day).

So the real question for Americans is what they will do about losing the war for oil. We are getting our military out of the place with lots of oil. We have no choice but to move to alternatives, which I have listed time and time again on this blog.

Luckily, Bright Neighbor has already been deployed and is ready to help any city or community inside or outside the US. As times get really tough, we will be helping people gorw their own food and fuel, move things around better, share resources, share rides and transportation, as well as help community organizers as communities relocalize.

If we get hit with oil shortages in the US, we stand ready to work together – we just need real leadership and for each of us to focus on work that matters – including rebuilding our infrasructure so we are no longer dependent on oil. The work has already begun, and there is certainly lots of opportunities to start a profitable new business right now.

December 4, 2008 at 2:30 pm Leave a comment

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