Saturday, April 19, 2008

A Series of Unfortunate Events

In aviation safety, there is a phenomenon called the "Accident Chain". The idea is that aviation accidents do not just happen spontaneously, they are almost always caused by the convergence of several factors in a chain of events. The key for pilots is to percieve the chain forming and then break it before it's too late. When two or three things in a row start going sour on you, such as bad weather, followed by a malfunctioning instrument, followed by whatever else, you'd better get really alert and land, like now. Too many people have died because the kept pressing on until they got to the last link in the chain.

I've found the
accident chain is a useful concept for any disaster, small or large. It's how history repeats itself, and then we look back and say "Why didn't we see it coming?!" "Why didn't we stop Hitler at the Rhineland?" "Why didn't we evacuate New Orleans sooner?" "Why did we launch the Space Shuttle when the o-rings were frozen?" etc. We need to always be looking for the accident chain.

Here it is:

1. Deficit Spending: Your unpaid credit cards are really nothing to worry about. The US Government is in hock to the tune of
$9,444,399,908,743.20, as of April 15 (tax day!). Massive as it is, it hasn't sunk us all by itself. It's just the concrete block around our necks as we try to keep our head above water.

2. September 11, 2001: As horrific as that day was, it did not sink us. In fact we recovered brilliantly in the short term, which is cause for future optimism. But the consequences that followed have piled on the pressure.

3. Afghanistan war: A necessary evil, and another financial pressure on the US economy.

4. Iraq War: Regardless of your opinion on this war, you have to agree it is very expensive.

5. Oil Prices: This is very big, in the sense that rising oil prices push everything else up.

Ethanol debacle: A self-compounding problem, of breathtaking stupidity by really smart people, especially if you look into the physics of it. And remember: Ultimately it's all physics.

7. Food Prices: Oil prices + Ethanol stupidity +
Low crop yields + Increased demand + Hey, we're talking about a "chain", right?

Credit/Mortgage crisis: There's more to come in this department. Where do you think the government getting the money for these bailouts? I mean, besides from China and you?

9. Some Random Future Event: We don't know what's the last link in the chain. Perhaps we're already there.

It's not too late to break the chain. It won't be easy, but hyperinflation isn't easy either, now is it? Here's what to do: Land the plane before it "lands" for you. Stop creating money out of thin air. Suck it up, you can fly another day.


Accident Chain
The Debt to the Penny and Who Holds It
Fuel Choices, Food Crises and Finger-Pointing
Global warming rage lets global hunger grow
Energy Fundamentals
Drought slashes Australian wheat crop
A Worsening Food Crisis
We Didn't Bail Anyone Out -- You Did

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