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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 04-15-08, 08:42 AM   #1
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Food riots and stuff going on...

It looks like our inflation rate is higher than 4.9% reported by the government. I mean that is the sense I get from the price increases that I know about. I don't see how energy and food cost rises and dollar devaluations can be so extreme yet inflation be so low.

http://data.bls.gov/PDQ/servlet/Surv...A0,CUUSA311SA0

Last week I saw headlines about food riots. Today, there is something about Russia having less oil than everyone thought? I keep hearing stories from friends of people who bought into the idea of home equity as line of credit and now owe incredibly more than their houses are worth. A friend's brother used the equity in his home to put a down payment on a second home and 8 cars and motorcycles!!! Then he lost his job. Nothing makes sense anymore. I used to think the frugal car-free lifestyle was a good cushion against life's vicissitudes but I'm not so sure a bike is an advantage over a steel cage during food riots.
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Old 04-15-08, 08:53 AM   #2
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What happens when the rioters tip your car over while you've stepped out to partake in the rioting? I don't think there will be drive-thrus in a food riot.
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Old 04-15-08, 08:55 AM   #3
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Hey lets subsidize the production of Ethanol.....wait...um.
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Old 04-15-08, 08:56 AM   #4
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I think they changed the composition of the CPI in the early or mid 1980s. How much the official inflation rate is a real measure of the amount we pay for basic goods and services is an open question.
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Old 04-15-08, 09:00 AM   #5
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Hey lets subsidize the production of Ethanol.....wait...um.

that's it in a nutshell. Vicious cycle. Subsidize ethanol so more farmers start growing corn. The crops they used to grow are more scarce and skyrocket in price. Add to that the plummeting dollar and you have around 15% inflation for food over the last few months.

Make friends with a microfarmer. If stuff really gets out of hand, they will be one of the few resources for food.
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Old 04-15-08, 09:12 AM   #6
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It looks like our inflation rate is higher than 4.9% reported by the government. I mean that is the sense I get from the price increases that I know about. I don't see how energy and food cost rises and dollar devaluations can be so extreme yet inflation be so low.

http://data.bls.gov/PDQ/servlet/Surv...A0,CUUSA311SA0

Last week I saw headlines about food riots. Today, there is something about Russia having less oil than everyone thought? I keep hearing stories from friends of people who bought into the idea of home equity as line of credit and now owe incredibly more than their houses are worth. A friend's brother used the equity in his home to put a down payment on a second home and 8 cars and motorcycles!!! Then he lost his job. Nothing makes sense anymore. I used to think the frugal car-free lifestyle was a good cushion against life's vicissitudes but I'm not so sure a bike is an advantage over a steel cage during food riots.
Ever hear the term "monetizing the debt"? All the gov't does is print more dollars (which makes
all dollars buy less) to keep the illusion all is well. The feds just put $20 billion more dollars into
circulation this March '08. It's also interesting that the "M3" (report on how much paper $ is in
circulation ) isn't available to the public anymore.

http://www.dailyrepublican.com/monetizing_debt.html

http://economistsview.typepad.com/ec...s_debt_mo.html
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Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 04-15-08, 09:53 AM   #7
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Grow your own food.
OK, maybe not all of it; but for a pretty minimal investment I've got a rather substantial garden going inside my apartment. $200.00 set me up with the MetroRack shelving unit, 2x 4-footer fluorescent housings, power strip, lamp timer, 4x full spectrum bulbs, seeds, soil and planters.
This is a picture from over a month ago. Now I've got lemon cucumbers ready to start producing, 2 kinds of tomatoes that are almost ready to fruit, a few pepper plants, some basil and cilantro, etc.
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Old 04-15-08, 11:27 AM   #8
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Grow your own food.
OK, maybe not all of it; but for a pretty minimal investment I've got a rather substantial garden going inside my apartment. $200.00 set me up with the MetroRack shelving unit, 2x 4-footer fluorescent housings, power strip, lamp timer, 4x full spectrum bulbs, seeds, soil and planters.
This is a picture from over a month ago. Now I've got lemon cucumbers ready to start producing, 2 kinds of tomatoes that are almost ready to fruit, a few pepper plants, some basil and cilantro, etc.
This is a good way to feed oneself but it still requires fossil fuels to generate the electricity.
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Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 04-15-08, 11:59 AM   #9
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This is a good way to feed oneself but it still requires fossil fuels to generate the electricity.
If you live in an area like Seattle, where the weather isn't conducive to year 'round outdoor farming, then yes it does (unless you're lucky enough to have property for a greenhouse operating on alternative energy).

It's not really to address the issue of fossil fuel reliance, but more aimed as another solution like bizzz111 mentioned (making friends with a microfarmer.) It's pretty easy to set things up on a small scale indoor garden, it's not that expensive, and if you know a few people who all have gardens, you can trade for food that you don't grow. I trade with some people at work who have orchards, so they get tomatoes and cukes and peppers, while I get apples and pears.
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Old 04-15-08, 12:29 PM   #10
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Last week I saw headlines about food riots. Today, there is something about Russia having less oil than everyone thought? I keep hearing stories from friends of people who bought into the idea of home equity as line of credit and now owe incredibly more than their houses are worth. A friend's brother used the equity in his home to put a down payment on a second home and 8 cars and motorcycles!!! Then he lost his job. Nothing makes sense anymore. I used to think the frugal car-free lifestyle was a good cushion against life's vicissitudes but I'm not so sure a bike is an advantage over a steel cage during food riots.
Being car-free obviously means that you are not getting deeply into debt buying cars and motorcycles, so you are protected there. The home-equity loan trap. Well, that's just stupid. The rule of thumb that you don't get a loan unless you can make more money with it that the cost of the loan always applies. Never spend your money like your job is guaranteed, and keep 6 months of income where you can get at it in case of such an emergency. Pretty obvious unless you are a sheeple.

Russia having less gas? Of course. Why do you think they've been making deals with Iraq and Iran.

Now, is a bike better than a car in a food-riot? I'd say yes, unless you have panniers or a trailer full of food. The car, representing wealth is a much more obvious target than a bike. But whatever is happening, get out fast. And that too may be easier on a bike.
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I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

Last edited by Artkansas; 04-15-08 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 04-15-08, 12:32 PM   #11
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Now, is a bike better than a car in a food-riot? I'd say yes, unless you have panniers or a trailer full of food. The car, representing wealth is a much more obvious target than a bike. But whatever is happening, get out fast. And that too may be easier on a bike.
Be prepared to defend yourself. People driven to criminal behavior by starvation are not likely respond to reason.
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Old 04-15-08, 12:33 PM   #12
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I like "Living Car Free", but you guys are a little Mad Max sometimes. My bicycle will allow me to evade the minions of Lord Humongous marauding for gas, I am confident.
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Old 04-15-08, 12:33 PM   #13
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A friend's brother used the equity in his home to put a down payment on a second home and 8 cars and motorcycles!!! Then he lost his job.
Loosing his job was not the problem. Eight vehicles and two houses on the front did him in long before the job petered out.
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Old 04-15-08, 12:39 PM   #14
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I like "Living Car Free", but you guys are a little Mad Max sometimes. My bicycle will allow me to evade the minions of Lord Humongous marauding for gas, I am confident.
Unless they accidently run over you, they won't even notice you since you have no gas.

It always seemed odd to me that in Mad Max, everyone drove despite the shortage of gas. No one pedaled a bike.
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I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
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Old 04-15-08, 12:52 PM   #15
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Unless they accidently run over you, they won't even notice you since you have no gas.

It always seemed odd to me that in Mad Max, everyone drove despite the shortage of gas. No one pedaled a bike.
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Old 04-15-08, 01:07 PM   #16
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I like "Living Car Free", but you guys are a little Mad Max sometimes. My bicycle will allow me to evade the minions of Lord Humongous marauding for gas, I am confident.
You know, I'm one of the selfish car free people. It just seemed in my best interest. The peak-oilers and global warmers have some imaginative and interesting posts here but those issues seem tangential and predicting the future seems like a game for losers. Some of the news just doesn't make sense. There seems to be a consensus that corn based ethanol is one direct cause of food price inflation. It was easy enough to start down that path so why not just back up and stop the subsidies? Or are food riots a good thing in the global capitalism perspective? Hungry people are more dangerous than starving people aren't they?
Isn't it a recipe for disaster to have interest rates way below inflation rates? Won't it drive people into debt because the rational decision in such a scenario is to borrow money at the low rate to buy durable goods with a cost that increases beyond the borrowing rate? But the response to rising oil prices has been to deny inflation and lower interest rates. Just a few years ago I had a sense that frugal living isolated me from the consumerist madness but it is looking like there can be some nasty spillover- like the peak-oilers were right but the government policies are making it worse not better.
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Old 04-15-08, 01:13 PM   #17
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That's sweet.

I like this one too.



Interesting entry to the thread.
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I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
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Old 04-15-08, 05:05 PM   #18
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Be prepared to defend yourself. People driven to criminal behavior by starvation are not likely respond to reason.
Is this why Wal-mart will track all guns sold forever?? Or is it an attempt to keep guns our
of peoples hands?
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I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 04-15-08, 09:52 PM   #19
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There's an excellent article by Kevin Phillips in the current issue of Harper's magazine, talking about inflation and unemployment figures. The article doesn't seem to be available online yet (unless you're a subscriber), but one considerate individual did copy this section:

"(from the last section of the article)
THE US ECONOMY EX-DISTORTION

The real numbers, to most economically minded Americans, would be a face full of cold water. Based the criteria in place a quarter centruy ago, today's U.S. unemployment rate is somewhere between 9 and 12 percent; the inflation rate is as high as 7 or even 10 percent; economic growth since the recession of 2001 has been mediocre, despite a huge surge in the wealth and incomes of the superrich, and we are falling back into recession. If what we have been sold in recent years has been delusional "Pollyanna Creep," what we really need today is a picture of our economy ex-distortion. For what it would reveal is a nation in deep difficulty not just domestically but globally.

Undermeasurement of inflation, in particular, hangs over our heads like a guillotine. To acknowledge it would send interest rates climbing, and thereby would endanger the viability of the massive buildup of public and private debt (from less then $11 trillion in 1987 to $49 trillion last year) that props up the American economy. Moreover, the rising cost of pensions, benefits, borrowing, and interest payments -- all indexed or related to inflation -- could join with the cost of financial bailouts to overwhelm the federal budget. As inflation and interest rates have been kept artificially suppressed, the United States has been indentured to its volatile financial sector, with its predilection for leverage and risky buccaneering.

Arguably, the unraveling has already begun. As Robert Hardaway, a professor at the University at Denver, pointed out last September, the subprime crisis "can be directly traced back to the (1983) Bureau of Labor Statistics decision to exclude the price of housing from the Consumer Price Index...With the illusion of low inflation inducing lenders to offer 6 percent loans, not only speculation run rampant on the expectation of ever-rising home prices, but home buyers by the millions have been tricked into buying homes even though they only qualified for the teaser rates." Were mainstream interest rates to jump into the 7 to 9 percent range -- which could happen if inflation were to spur new concern -- both Washington and Wall Street would be walking in quicksand. The make-believe economy of the past two decades, with its asset bubbles, massive borrowing, and rampant data distortion, would be in serious jeopardy. The U.S. dollar, off more than 40 percent against the euro since 2002, could slip down and even rockier slope."
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Old 04-15-08, 10:26 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
Grow your own food.
OK, maybe not all of it; but for a pretty minimal investment I've got a rather substantial garden going inside my apartment. $200.00 set me up with the MetroRack shelving unit, 2x 4-footer fluorescent housings, power strip, lamp timer, 4x full spectrum bulbs, seeds, soil and planters.
This is a picture from over a month ago. Now I've got lemon cucumbers ready to start producing, 2 kinds of tomatoes that are almost ready to fruit, a few pepper plants, some basil and cilantro, etc.
It's kind of impressive, but if you actually had to feed yourself with that setup, you would die.
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Old 04-15-08, 10:49 PM   #21
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It's kind of impressive, but if you actually had to feed yourself with that setup, you would die.
If I had to feed myself solely off what I could grow, I'd invest a lot more space and plant a much wider diversity of stuff. This year was just a trial run to see what would and wouldn't start well indoors, so I know what I'll be able to maintain over the winter.
1 little MetroRack of plants certainly isn't enough to sustain me without some purchased food, but it's going to be nice in a couple of weeks to have some fresh tomatoes and cukes a few months before the stores have anything locally grown.
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Old 04-16-08, 03:21 AM   #22
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Is this why Wal-mart will track all guns sold forever?? Or is it an attempt to keep guns our
of peoples hands?
I strongly suspect WM wants to become the store of choice and be a "good buddy" of the US Government. Also sadly but true they are the single largest gun(and many other product) retailer in the US. They have the resources to set up the tracking, if they do it and can convince the goverment to make it mandatory they will be able to squeeze out some more of the little guys and garner even more profits. This is pure conjecture on my part, but everything WM does is profit driven...

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Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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Old 04-16-08, 08:21 AM   #23
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I've worked in the same grocery store for over 7 years. This store is geared to offer rock-bottom prices on basic food items (mostly generic "brands with very little variety...it you want grape jelly you have one choice, a 32 oz size of a "brand" you will never see advertised on TV).

For approx the first 4 years I worked there (2001-2005) prices seemed to hold very steady (maybe a penny or two increase every year on a 50 cent item), with many 99 cent items (and $1.99 items) holding a constant price for years at a time.

In the last three years many of those 99 cent items have risen to $1.29 or more , and many 1.99 items are now $2.49 or more...so it would be no surprise to me if the true rate in inflation (especially for food) has been 25-30% over the last 3 years (about 8-10% a year)
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Old 04-16-08, 08:33 AM   #24
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gee highcyclist, this Harper's snippet you posted seems to say my illusion that there is a disconnect between the numbers from the government and my observations isn't really an illusion but that we're being lied to right and left. But who benefits? Years ago a friend was in journalism school and he told me the key to understanding events in the news is to pay attention to the money flows and figure out who profits from which event. But falsifying the basic decision making measurements for a complex system like economics- even personal economics, leads to disaster for the system. So the only people who would benefit from destroying the system would be people isolated from the system, like looting vikings. With a global economy who can be isolated to such an extent that they can profit by running it into the ground. I mean, for a smallish business owned by a few people, a viable business plan is to drive the business to bankruptcy while the decision makers give themselves huge salaries. But, in that case the decision makers can walk away to their next victim. In the global economy, there is no other victim to walk away to fleece. It can't be that Bush is enriching himself and his oil patch and finance buddies while impoverishing the rest of the world, because they have to live in this economy too. Can their venality so far overwhelm their intelligence that they do this? I think not.
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Old 04-16-08, 03:29 PM   #25
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I like "Living Car Free", but you guys are a little Mad Max sometimes.
+1 QFT
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