2012/11/05

Indirect clown fire

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Hat tip to Eric Palmer, from whom I shamelessly stole this great headline.

An allied Afghan platoon opened up with their .50-caliber machine gun, spraying bullets all over the valley, and their mortar team went into action. Within seconds, the team of three had run down to their position, yanked the cover off the mouth of the heaviest weapon on the post, unwrapped an 82-mm round and dropped it down the tube. There was a strong metallic clink, followed by a blast as the bomb went zooming out from the mortar. Seconds later a boom reverberated over the surrounding mountains, and the Afghan crew stood on tiptoe, trying to see where it had landed. 
And that is the point. Over the course of 10 days in October 2011, the Afghan National Army (ANA) mortar crew never actually aimed their tube. They never took a bearing, never read out elevations, never set up their aiming sticks — though they did continuously clean and oil the weapon.

Bombs Away: Will Afghanistan’s Artillerymen Learn How to Shoot Right?


War is a continuation of politics. Politics is mostly talking. Some ways of warfare seem to be a lot about noise and less about killing and destruction than others. I suppose the Afghan way of doing war and the always amusing yet tragic photos of African 'militiamen' are about a way of war that prefers to talk with guns rather than to focus on killing with guns if faced with armed opposition.

It is a lot more about doing noise than Western troops can possibly accept as competent. This kind of works among themselves, and that's probably what we should allow to happen.


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29 comments:

  1. Sven, unfortunatly Eric Palmer didnt comment on incompetent ISAF mortar crews.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfzyFvZzIH0

    "Some ways of warfare seem to be a lot about noise and less about killing and destruction than others."

    Well Sven, sometimes you even hear/see both, noise and killing. ;)

    http://www.youtube.com//watch?v=2hF-5DY6kTU

    Best regards silent reader

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  2. The depicted African war cultures and the described Afghani approach do make a lot of sense. If you don't use aimed fire the killing progresses least efficient and few people will get hurt during the dispute. That makes death tragic, but relieves the minds of humans from the moral dilemma of having killed (just look at the attitudes in Europe during early gunpowder warfare). If people get intentionally killed war is no more fun and one side will opt to not show up or work at adopting the deadlier war dances of the murderous inhuman invaders(the problem in Afghanistan?). You could try to improve the show effect equivalent to the firepower, but even in my wildest dreams, I can not image what a 100 Western military must look like. That would be THE ART of war.

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  3. Someone much better then me made an analysis about an Afghan campaign.
    I believe his analysis fits perfectly todays Anglo campaign down to details.
    "The Afghan commander realized that the object of the British offensive was not to hold territory but to destroy the tribal infrastructure (that is, their houses, crops, animals, and wells) and the fighting capability of the tribe. So there was no point in dying for their country; they needed to make the other poor dumb bastards die for their country than grab a hat.

    He also got that the whole point was to inflict pain to drive the enemy to the negotiating table. He inflicted that pain, and minimized his losses."
    "Bottom line; the Afghan commander flat-out whipped the British commanders. He used his head, knew his troops, knew his enemy, and accomplished his mission.

    The British also achieved their tactical objective, but at great cost - disproportionate cost for the value of the objective. That cost, paid throughout the Tirah campaign, eventually caused the British to make peace without fully "pacifying" the rebellious tribes."

    Links:
    http://firedirectioncenter.blogspot.ro/2012/10/battles-long-ago-dargai-heights-1897.html

    http://firedirectioncenter.blogspot.ro/2012/11/tactics-in-khameez.html

    Warfare is like football a result oriented show.
    Very easy to see who scores and who doesn't.
    No matter of propaganda/media spin can hide results for an observer. Of course the normal/common people just watch the news and there you can convince them of anything the ones paying for the media structures might desire.
    Wars like WW2 are very rare exceptions in human warfare. Very very rare ones.


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  4. I would not count out the African low intensity warfare either. It is very easy for us indoctrinated Euros to look with extreme superiority at this approach.
    But as previously mentioned in warfare like in football results are easy to measure.

    This African type of low intensity warfare Bantus practice has led to one of the most successful and largest human migrations from somewhere around central-west Africa to 3/4 of a huge continent. Only the enormous Sahara desert prevented them from taking over the entire continent. Anyway the Nile valley contains a very large genetic presence from Sub- Saharan Africa.
    Afterwards they colonised the Americas. Of course had to use Euros for transportation. Pretty complex subject no need to detail. Like Organisms from the South American continent used floating wood to reach Galapagos Africans used Euro's ships.
    And now many expanding Africas are present in the Americas. Something like 200 mil people have African origins. Of course in some areas they had complete success like in the Caribeans or the majority of large metropolitan areas of US. In others results are more mixed.
    Europe is in a process of colonisation right now.
    Of course the most desirable parts of it first like London or Paris.
    I have seen this kind of warfare we usually so deride practiced last year on the streets of London. German stosstruppen could not do it. The boys we laugh of can do it and show us they can by practicing it wherever they want - if not yet then coming soon - and when they want.
    So in the end who's kind of warfare is more successful?

    PS> Some pockets of Europeans still exist in South Africa , remains from a previous migration wave of Europeans. But they will be whipped out pretty soon.
    Arabs also invaded and brought colonists - that is why Swahili language exists - but they also got obliterated some time.
    Warfare is something very complex. He who might seem strong sometimes proves to be weak.
    Of course we do not know who might come out on top in the future we can only analyse the past and present.

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    Replies
    1. I suppose your text suffers from huge inaccuracies concerning the meaning of "warfare" and "colonization".

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  5. Warfare is a brutal affair about land and resources. And about who's descendants get them.

    Nice games played by infantile men which involve a lot of kabooms but do not change in positive ways the future of the group doing the kabooms are just stupid children games.
    Of course infantile minds confuse ability to make kabooms with the complex social activity called warfare.
    That is why big differences of interpretation might show up.
    German practitioners of warfare were able to make very nice and interesting kabooms but could not get London.
    Bantus did not make big kabooms and are not interested in such an endeavor. But were able to take in a low intensity warfare a good chunk of the city for themselves. And used only knives. No need for more.
    The take over of US metro areas involved a little bit more fire power due an easier access to fire weapons, but the principle was the same.
    Warfare has many forms and shapes. Big kabooms and parading with interesting machines armored or not which might shoot each other or not is not the only way. It is the most interesting one for for childish minds - I am one also so don't accuse me of arrogance - but not always the most profitable.

    To make it even simpler. If one guy gets a British bomb on his head and another gets a part of the capital for his group we know who is the better warrior.
    The fact that the first used ballistic weapons and the other a kitchen knife does not make a difference in the outcome. Of course the guy who got the bomb on his head manages somehow to twist the events so that he is a better warrior then the one who got half of the imperial
    capital.
    Knife/ballistic missile.
    Humans make the difference.

    This is the most extreme example. Life is complicated on planet Earth. I think it becomes too complex and it's place is in a different place.
    The Afghan example is rather more simple.
    Small decalibrated infantry weapons + small IEDs versus all the arsenal of the industrial/information age.
    Children are toy oriented. For them it is easy who has the advantage.
    But for us adults life is more complicated.
    Smart humans can make a difference.
    And we can see that the ones who have cheap toys can beat with ease the rich boys who have expensive shiny toys. Of course in this case it takes time, the rich boys are really rich. And have many subjects who can be tapped for resources and contingents.
    The invaders have all tactical advantages they might want. But their apparently weaker opponent is a strategic player/fighter. It is the difference between a very strong street punk and a martial arts fighter,much older and smaller. He is in a different category.
    It is the story of sensei Funakoshi robbed by some big young street punks. He even let them took his wallet. Which they humbly returned afterwards finding out who they robbed. Dimension and flashy clothes would not have helped them, had he want to beat them.
    It is quite a novel idea it appears that there is more to warfare then the ability to make a lot of noise and smoke.

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    Replies
    1. I already pointed out in the blog post that their seemingly inept way of warfare is kind of effective in its own right, but I think you get fundamentals of war wrong.

      War is rarely about land and resources, and neither is a sensible reason for any offensive war.
      It has been proved again and again that a country's prosperity does not depend on the exploitation of much land and resources. Many of the richest countries of history were small.

      The German experience showed that even after losing several per cent of the population, much more per cent of land and mineral resources and the vast majority of city buildings pre-war wealth was restored within much less than a decade after a world war.

      It's a medieval line of thought to assume that land and resources are very important. It's technology (in a very broad, economic definition) and labour participation (low unemployment even amongst women) that drives wealth and thus even power.

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    2. teo, some of your stuff sounds like "Blut and Boden".
      Migration brings ambitious and capable people to other places on earth. Many of them procreate with the locals. That has been going on forever and will not stop. If there are capable and ambitious people who consider their best chance to earn a living is by crime why would they not commit their energy to this? But becoming a criminal because you can't find a suitable job is not the same as warfare. Warfare allows to establish structures, crime has a hard time dodging persecution and does only survive because it can serve needs of a society (drugs, cheap loot, prostitutes). Immigrants can be criminal because they are the best men for that job (intelligent and without chances considered a better choice), but they get their money from the people who are locals and occupy the structures of power and money. These immigrants are tolerated, they do not rule and they serve a role the local society has set out for them. Places like Haiti are abandoned by the previous European elites who imposed their structures on them. The remaining population has a hard time establishing their own order in an economically successful fashion that neither existed under the prior elite if you take median income. The essence of wealth is cooperation and organization of people. You can't destroy them in war, but you can alter them under created conditions and war is one of the tools to create conditions.

      As for the great Bantu migration, it's a joke to see it as a massive population wave because locals adopted a culture from a few immigrants that very much suited them. The geography in the place of origin and extension all had similar features.
      The people exported as slaves to places out of Africa are predominantly not Bantu. Between them and the Bantu is as much difference as between Spanish, French, English or Dutch.

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    3. 1. Land and resources are important.
      The last decades , the apex of the oil age and of western hegemonic control over all resources of the world - former USSR/China excluded - made such theories possible.
      I already sended the comments made by prof. Bardi about Italy.
      Now Japanese government is asking its people to endure cold and not to start heating. To eat hot food!!! instead. And of course to use warm clothes. They consume small amounts of food - more in line with NK then US or Russia - and now they can't even keep themselves warm.
      In 2008 they saw how real famine might come to Japan when exporters compensated for a price spike by blocking all exports - some of them.

      2. In the 30s and 40s a huge capital investment spree took place in Germany. So after the war the human and industrial capital were present.
      All that were needed for an economic take off were the starting capital , the raw materials and of course the markets. Due to political reasons Anglo/American Empire provided them.
      Cheap energy was a must anyway and it was there.
      They will shiver and think about the coming famine - food production is under immense strain as we speak and large price spikes are inevitable - but hey... maybe from Germany an idea comes. Their lack of technology and low labor participation is the problem.
      Without joking the last decades were an absurdity which is now coming to an end.
      Humans - a small part of them - found a source of cheap, concentrates energy in large quantities. From this they developed a theory about a new paradigm.
      Now that source stopped being cheap and the entire model comes crushing to the ground.

      3. War is always about land and resources.
      As long as a benign hegemon like US offers cheap energy and raw materials and access to markets manufacturing brings the bacon. If the above mentioned cheap plentiful energy and raw materials stop coming and become scarce and expensive the model stops working.
      Of course many wealthy political entities , small ones , existed across the ages.
      But they were such because they managed to take over large areas by military means on land or sea. And keep competitors out the usual way. (By killing them).
      The way resources flowed to the small rich country, by commercial means or direct extraction of tribute , is a detail.
      Great analysis about world economic flows are written by Fernand Braudel. You can find numerous examples of small wealthy countries studied across centuries.

      I send bellow 2 links regarding this subject.
      It is the last time I approach this subject. I like the subject but coming to square one each time , at the basic info about the importance of energy for modern societies survival becomes tiring. It is not something medieval, Kcal per unit of mass, enthropy, 2nd law of thermodynamics are about physics.

      http://ourfiniteworld.com/2012/11/06/financial-issues-affecting-energy-security/#more-37331

      http://peakoil.com/generalideas/the-cause-of-riots-and-the-price-of-food/

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    4. The USA do not offer access to cheap raw materials. They merely don't block it with violence, which can just as well be said about Europeans.

      Energy is physics, but economy is not. Our wealth depends largely on technology, not on cheap raw materials.

      Likewise, Malthusian great famine predictions have been proved wrong again and again. In worst case we would use greenhouses on our fields to multiply harvests.

      Lack of energy in general is a particularly pointless fear, for regenerative energy is available. Conservatives in Germany claimed that nuclear power was indispensable - until Fukushima, when they turned away from it on the spot. All it takes to substitute for non-regenerative energy sources is the will to do it, a few years and capital of which we have a lot.


      Finally, wars are NOT always about land and resources. In fact, few wars are about either. Most wars are political games, being fought because people want power or because people in power are dangerous idiots.

      Gratefully you claimed wars are "always" about land or resources, which makes it particularly easy to falsify:
      * Panama invasion
      * Grenada invasion
      * Pancho Villa expedition
      * War of Spanish Succession
      * English Civil War (Cromwell)
      * English-Dutch wars of the 17th century
      * Genoese-Venetian Wars

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    5. Yes I used always but left the few decades of the Oil age under the Pax Americana out.
      But I can still comment upon the examples you graciously offered.
      1. Panama
      In the great confrontation called the Cold War one of the most important choking points was the Panama Channel. So in order to stop a sliding to the left like in Cuba - another choking point but of less importance - a strong gang of ruthless narcotraffickers was helped and maintained to power. Led by the well known student of the School of the Americans gen. Noriega.
      The Soviet menace disapeared. So the brave general had to go. Only detail he did not want to.
      He even very amusingly kept crying that if he is not left alone he will tell. That he worked under the direct orders of the former CIA boss then president Bush. Of course everyone new that Noriega was just a low ranking small baron in the empire and the narco operation was a CIA one so his great info were neither new or important.
      So he was epurated by the US Army.
      Nice exercise. Due to his insubordination the general is rotting in a cage as an example to others.

      2. Grenada. Same stuff. A small police operation. Vassal state gone awry. Can be compared with the French operation in the Ivory Coast from 2 years ago.

      3. Pancho Villa.
      You probably think at the US expedition led by Pershing against Pancho.
      Possible still that you thought about his raid in Colombo.
      Both were border raids.
      Of course the stronger gang hit back harder. Results were nil. US remainded the overlord but it did not use again this direct action methods. Useful lesson it was.

      4. War of Spanish succession.
      It seems to me it fits perfectly the description. The superpower of the day - France - wanted to swallow Spain with its Empire. A huge power block would have formed and dominated Europe. You know like many lands and resources under one leadership.
      Others could not let that happen.
      Something similar to a German-Russian union under one political leadership. Anglos will never let something like this happen.

      5. English Civil War.
      Hmmm wasn't it a fight between two gangs over who gets to control the political levers in Britain/UK?
      And who gets the land and money.
      A huge transfer of wealth in general and of real estate in particular took place.
      Winners took the land.
      Of course a lot of political cover up. But the essence was about who gets to live in the palaces and owns the land. And of course the public contracts like those for the furniture of fleet and army, customs licences etc - who gets them.



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    6. 6. English - Dutch war of 17th century.
      They fought over who gets to control the world commerce. And all the wealth which flows to the owner from such an enterprise.
      In the end Brits won but France appeared on the scene. So a deal which stands today was struck.
      Dutch empire became an integral part of the British one. The became junior partners.
      But the wars were fought for control of the navigation lines and control of world commerce. For land and money that is. In the end Dutch kept some real estate and a share of the cash flow. And became loyal partners and servants of the British Empire.

      7. Genoese - Venetian wars.
      Two naval commercial powers fighting for control of commerce and the cash flow derived from it in the Med area.
      It is the twin of the English - Dutch wars.
      They fought less for land and more for naval hegemony. Quite logical for two naval powers fighting for control of sea transport - commerce.

      Other examples?
      I liked these ones.
      Though they make wars between states seem quite similar to gang warfare.
      Of curse depending on the type of activity and on geography differences appear.
      Sometimes gangs fight for control of narcotics supply lines. In this cases the teritory aspect might seem secondary.

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    7. Energy is the basis of economic activity. And of all life in general. I am thinking about biological survival.
      Well about wealth...
      We are fast going from one model to another.
      Cheap, easily available energy and a lack of industrial/technical accumulated capital on large parts of the planet.
      In this scenario inputs - energy and raw materials - were cheap and plentiful.
      Margins were high due to a lack of competition. Nice times. The age of plenty.
      Even resource poor countries like Italy, Germany or Japan had a go.

      But times change. Geology and political economy conspired to bring an end to tis happy times.
      Cheap energy started to become less plentiful. New very expensive sources had to be brought on line to keep our society functioning. In a recession mode - meaning reduced consumption - but collapse was rather unpleasant.
      So in this new age inputs have become expensive. Others accumulated the industrial/technical/skilled manpower resources and started to compete. So margins had to go down and they did.
      Germany feared much better for a time then the others I used as examples.
      Of course it was a temporary advantage and now it is coming to an end.
      Japanese case is the most interesting one I believe. Too bad Prof. Bardi did not study it.
      This winter Japanese government asks its subjects to avoid using heating as much as possible. To use warm clothes, hot food and drink instead. Because feeding them is already an effort. Keeping them warm is beyond Japan's ability.
      Of course in case of large price spikes for food like in 2008 feeding the Japanese people will also be beyond the ability of their country and they will have to learn from the experience of their cousins from NK. I remind you of the export bans imposed in 2008. Fortunately for the hungry ones we managed to dodge the bullet back then. Now we get to play again - big big problems in large agricultural areas this year. Something unpleasant is going to happen next year.
      And we are just at the begging. He have just hit Peak Oil and the climate changes have barely started to hit us.

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    8. It is abolutely true that after pouring a lot of money/capital into Spanish real estate bubble German finace/industrial complex had a new idea and started to pour capital into wind turbines.
      Unfortunately the ability of regenerative energy to supply our industrial society is not there. It would be great if it worked. But it doesn't.
      Already poorer states like Spain can no longer sustain the regenerative energy sources. Because they consume more capital then they produce. It is an activity which consumes from society. As long as one can obtain enough fossil fuels he can play with wind turbines to his heart content. And banks and industry involved can be kept happy and prosperous.
      But when society can not afford them well they stop being used. I work in a technical field and hit the problem of energy often.
      For all the talk about energy efficiency is just that. Talk.
      Electric vehicles, solar pannels on individual houses etc. Nice in presentation brochures. Nice for the producers who get the public money. But they won't help us as a society.
      It is a different subject all together.
      Can not be discussed here in small posts.
      Germany is in this case the canary in the mine.

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    9. I am sorry for late replies.
      But it is also connected to warfare.
      When I attempted to write back wife waged psychological warfare against me.
      It was as any warfare one fought over resources. In this case my time and energy which could be used for cleaning the house and carrying family shopping or to write back to interesting people on the Internet. In this case I lost so the above mentioned resources were appropriated by the winner and replies had to wait until Monday.

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    10. The problem is that you've got a "land and power" goggle on and see everything through it.
      Many wars that you appear to consider wars about resources were wars about power in my opinion.
      The king of France would have wanted some say in Spain even if it was all Estremadura. People in power often want more power, resources are often merely important to pay for the war, so you can wage yet another war for power right after this one.

      True wars first and foremost for resources are relatively rare. Hunnish/Mongol "conquests" for tribute and loot might be considered such, but they didn't really care about owning the resources, as long as they got gold (which they had little use for as long as they were nomadic, though).

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    11. You are right but I was also right.
      Power means ownership of resources and the capacity to use violence to protect the property.
      They are connected. More resources mean a stronger king/country.
      Of course we can talk philosophically about the use of it all.
      We can clearly see that Empire building - successful ones I mean - always lead to the destruction of the Imperial ethnic group. Be they Castilians, Assyrians, Latium Romans or todays WASPs.
      The level of damage supported by the Empire builders is in strict accordance to the level of success and their staying power in the empire business.
      So why do people still do it?
      I do not know for sure, maybe it is genetic.
      Sociologically we can observe that the ruling class of the empire building ethnic group profits mightily from the enterprise. So that might be the reason we are looking for. Big houses become palaces, household servants become armies of servants, instead of couches/limos - according to age - private ships/planes appear etc.
      That is how we are wired as a specie.

      But usually it is about survival. Need land to feed the kids. That is why we have a Germanic Europe now. Because who owns the real estate gets the food to feed his children.
      We managed to skip this constriction for the last few hundred years because Europeans had access to the huge continents made available by the navigation skill of the mariners and the superior fire power of Europe's soldiers.
      So a lot of land were Europe could export its surplus population. And after WW2 we entered the age of oil. Which brought us the Green Revolution.
      Due to this these fundamental truth were almost forgotten in the European Peninsula. But now they are coming back with a vengeance.
      I am somehow optimistic for us. We have access to the enormous land and energy resources of Eurasia. Of course it will lead to a political dependence of Europe - in any form it might have then - on Russia. I seriously doubt the US will have the will or the means to supply us with the needed energy and foodstuffs.
      It is still a possibility but not the most probable outcome though. Of course others might disagree. It is just talk for now anyway.
      By the way the most vulnerable of the "developed " resource poor countries is getting crushed right now. Japan.
      They have neither a common market like EU nor the Russian Federation behind them like Germany.
      Their ability to generate wealth is eroding with incredible speed. It was visible for the last decade but now it is breath taking.
      Interesting to connect this to our discussion about GDP/energy/etc.
      How can we define a society which can not keep its population warm and can barely feed it? Feed it for now I mean.
      Wealthy?
      Of course we can see a lot of economic activity taking place. But it does not generate enough wealth to pay the bills any more.
      We are living through times of great change. What has been valid for the last decades is no longer so in the new age.
      http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.ro/2012/11/japan-plunges-into-deep-recession-gdp.html

      Of course more vulnerable countries like Egypt already exploded. And the drama is just beginning there.
      I can not understand how countries like Pakistan, Nigeria or India can resist still the enormous stress they are exposed to. But they will crack. Incredible still that they managed to resist until now.

      All shocks will be transmitted through the financial system. So we will continue to call the unpleasant events which will take place as financial crisis. But the fact that a wealth generating structure in the age of cheap energy like Japan stops being such a thing in the age of expensive energy is not a financial function but an energy one. We will call it by mistake a financial collapse.
      Such are the ways of Man.

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    12. Maybe you wouldn't view economics in such grandiose and dramatic terms and its crises rather as the result of imbalances and poorly allocated resources if you would choose the economics blogs you read more carefully:

      "Actually, Japan has extremely serious issues already, it's just that the market is ignoring them for now. If interest rates rise by a mere 2% or so, interest on the national debt will consume 100% of Japanese tax revenue."

      Yeah, sure. ~5% GDP additional expenses would crowd out their non-interest spending.

      Less fatalism and sensationalist interest in doom scenarios would suit you better.

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    13. I have not used monetary terms.
      Those I pretty irrelevant for a my analysis.
      In theory a lot of people in Japan have paper wealth. They will get very little out of it. Because it is just paper.
      Same in Europe. Lot of paper wealth.
      So pensions will be small in strict accordance to real wealth. It is simple and logical.
      I do no to preview major problems, old people do not riot. Their main way of protest is by dieing sooner rather then later. So no problem.
      I was using energy terms.
      The fact that Japanese economic model is no longer able to create wealth in a high energy cost enviroment is a different matter.
      I work with energy and energy consumptions every day. I even wrote articles about new tech equipments whcih will reduce consumptions, save the planet etc.
      In truth we do not have anything. Anything useful in strictly energetic terms. A lot of hype, a lot of orders for the industry - that is good, that is how I earn a living - but nothing of any use for us as a society.
      If we do not find a source of cheap energy modern industrial society will not survive. It is that simple.
      It is already under an enormous stress.
      And technologically we do not have ANYTHING.
      We have hit already Peak Oil few years ago - conventional one. For a time the play can be maintained by the use of capital intensive low EROEI sources. Just that industrial society can not function in this manner. And it collapses. Just like that.
      Of course poor countries like Egypt or Japan are the first to do so.
      Nobody can make any predictions.
      IMF had a good study where they also said the same. After a certain price level - capital intensive low EROEI sources, not paper values - no predictions cam be made. Evolution stop being liniar they say. :)
      Meaning other things start to happen. Like wars, collapses, famine etc.
      Those things are not new.
      After King Hubert wrote in 1956 his Peak Oil theory everything could be precisely predicted.
      He was an optimist by the way. He hoped that nuclear energy will develop to became the basis of our energy industry.
      Now we know that did not happen. And probably never will.

      It is not a doom scenario. Doom? What doom?
      Just that industrial society can no longer be maintained by the use of fossile fuels. Their use was a once in a lifetime event. That is a geological reality. Of course pretty unpleasant events follow but for the Planet it is pretty irrelevant. After overshoot corrections follow. Always.
      That is how things work in a finite world.

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    14. We weren't able to sustain the wood fires culture either, went to coal. It turned out pretty well.
      ________

      Japan has had a trade surplus for a real long time and has only had approx. balanced trade (if graphs are smoothed) since 2008. This is not because of some specific Japanese unsustainability or similar, but rather because their export markets lack demand due to the economic crisis. In other words; the Japanese don't export more because they don't want to do additional exports in exchange for mere promises to pay for them sometime in the future only.
      Germany has about the same problem.

      Whatever wealth one has, one has it because society's rules grant it. It's the society which grants you private property and claims by not disputing, but rather enforcing them. Whatever paper wealth Japanese people have, it's as much real wealth as other Germans' paper wealth.

      The problem with fake wealth is wealth based on unsustainable behaviour such as running into debt individually or as a nation. The Japanese economy is no more sustainable in regard to resource consumption than other developed ones, but it cannot be said that it didn't provide enough exports to afford the imports. The small trade deficit episodes of the recent past are a mere hiccup in comparison to what they accumulated previously.

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    15. That was not the point.
      The US treasuries Japan's central bank owns have the same value as the treasuries which filled the safe rooms of the central banks of Vichy France, Romania, Hungary, Holland etc in the first half of the 40s. No value at all.
      Can Japan seize anything from the US? No more then Romania could seize Krupp and IG Farben from the Reich.
      They have nothing.
      And about the import/export issue also that was not what I meant.
      Low cost imputs + large margins = wealth generation . Meaning enough is produced to feed, clothe, keep warm the population etc.
      High cost imputs + low margins means not enough wealth is produced for the necessities above, which are more expensive then in the previous scenario.
      It is that simple.

      Let's try an example.
      1. You own a plasma cutting machine for thin metal plate. The only one in town.
      One of the 3 existing in the Land.
      Electricity - cheap gas - and gasoline are cheap.
      You have high margins.
      You live a prosperous life.

      2. Electricity becomes more expensive.
      Others have the same type of equipment.
      Margins fall and fall.
      Gasoline/diesel keeps getting more expensive chewing up due to high transport costs your margins.
      Sending items to other cities becomes a money making business soon.
      You contemplate a very unpleasant exit from business. Have problems paying the bills and maintaining a standard of living similar to what you had before.
      Tell wife to shut off the heat. Stop using car so much. Cancel vacation plans. etc etc

      Notice that until you start loosing due to transport costs your clients from other cities you turn over did not decrease. Of course the fact that start ups are very agressive in poaching your clients does not help at all.
      Back to Japan.
      So apparently from an economic point of view GDP did not decrease.
      Of course Japanese tourists almost disappeared, food / cars/ clothes consumption decreased, even keeping warm in winter became a problem. But hey GDP did not decrease on paper so everything is OK.
      The country is still first class, right?

      Without a decrease of the turnover you can travel from wealth to destitution. You keep exporting but get poorer and poorer.
      You keep sending your metal ducts whatever from Wurzburg to clients in Frankfurt. But due to transport you make no money of it. Nothing to take home.
      So you have to tell wife : " we worked hard, sended a lot of stuff in all directions but barely managed to cover the cost of operating the business. So pls dear do not turn on the thermostat."


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    16. Of course economists will notice the trend exactly when you start having problems feeding and keeping warm the kids. It could have been the other way around. It seemed like that in 2008 that feeding was the first problem. But it got delayed until next year I think.
      The squeezing of Japan has started in the same time with the Peak conventional Oil event. As soon as prices started to climb.
      It takes time. Nothing happen in one night. But the direction and pattern is extremely clear. From IMF to Bundeswehr everyone made quite good analyses.
      Same results in line with what I described above. More technical but that was to be avoided. You'd have jumped on any number, interest rate whatever and proved that if we change some numbers in accountancy the barrels might show up somehow. :):)

      I hope I managed to explain better this time the issue I was trying to approach.

      PS. Japanese old people's paper wealth is no different from the German one. Paper is paper. It was invented long time ago and it is the same everywhere.
      The old ones will receive a part of whatever surplus their society manages to produce. Nothing more no matter how many papers they might have under their mattress. If the country generates wealth they will be fed. If not well pretty bad for them. Bad luck.
      Pls do not interprete what I wrote in the sense that I desire such an outcome. I don't. But it is the most probable one.
      And the math models pointing towards this future are pretty old. We knew for the last decades what lays in store in the future. It is not some new descovery I made.
      Unfortunately we are absolutely incapable as a society to do anything about it. Even if we could be - human nature precludes it but let us dream - from a socio-political point of view then probably technology/physics would not be on our side.

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    17. Keep fiat money nonsense ideas out of this blog, please. Here's room for discussions about the 15th century, but not for 15th century discussions.

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  6. I generalised because details were not really important and using one term for what I consider a highly successful approach to doing things makes a debate easier.
    And the Bantu migration has a strong biological component. You can ask the survivers clustered around the Cape how did it work for their ancestors.

    And if through violence one ethnic group takes control of a valuable piece of real estate from another I consider that as being success, be it in South Africa of Washington DC. Even if it's low intensity violence the essence is the same.
    Warfare as I said has many forms. And some of the most efficient - based on results - are sometimes derided.
    If we laugh with superiority results do not change a mm.
    Some time ago the European style of warfare was superior.
    So results were that Europeans were able to take over large chunks of real estate from others, to migrate to their lands and mainly rule.
    Now - I reduce the comparison to this tiny example we debate now - their approach is no longer efficient. Others come and get themselves nice pieces of real estate in the lands of the Euros. Rule the streets etc.
    Was is efficient today might not be tomorrow. But for the time being Impis can have a go on the streets of London whenever they might feel the need to.
    Still I noticed that others who did not have the demographic mass could compensate through superior organization. Like the Sikhs. But they played defensively and that allowed them to concentrate their manpower in important areas. Understanding Frederic II they abandoned large parts of their commercial real estate to the fury of the Impis.
    Was it not warfare? A spike in a usually very low intensity long one but the entire story spanning decades is that of a long war.
    Interesting this age natives proved to be the most unable. Too coward and dissrganised, hiding behind others more adapted.

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    1. Dear teo, this genetic component claim of the Bantu migration gets disproven at each Olympic event. The East Africans dominate long distance running and the West Africans(including most distinguishable African immigrants to other countries) dominate in short distance sprints.
      Why? The East Africans still have their tendency for more elastic sinews in their legs and the West Africans have more white fast reaction fibres.
      Bantus were a West African population that travelled east and then south. They had no qualms with polygamy or slavery and thus the Bantu tribes incorporated lots of people (Just like the La Tène culture swept across Europe and the Irish until today claim they are Celts and have a connection to La Tène). In South Africa the difference became more pronounced between the stream of northern East Africans and the residents of old.
      So far, South Africa is nowhere near Jamaica in sprinting or near Kenia in long distance running at sports events. They simply lack the genetic dispostions that would have been transmitted by a massive flow of people.

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    2. teo, a straightforward question:
      You want to shoot immigrants on sight because every non-native has no right to exist in England?

      No street gang whatsoever will stop you in any of these quarters as long as you don't extort protection money, sell drugs or prostitutes there. Turf wars between gangs is not occupation of a country.

      You might notice that Europeans, including English, abroad often settle together in close communities. The Africans and others are not different.

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    3. I used the term Bantu in a very loose sense in order to have one word to define something very vast. An alternative word might have been dangerous.I might have been incorrectly suspected of who knows what crime thought.So I had to be careful.
      I agree with your details of genetic composition of Africa. But that was not the sense in which I used the word.
      It was a misunderstanding. Hope the smoke is cleared now.

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    4. I do not have any interest in a reduction of immigration to England. I might have a small intellectual one in its continuation and increase. It will provide an entertaining spectacle.
      For God sake I was able to see the Impis going around Sikh/Paki militias.
      In this particular type of low intensity warfare demographic mass is a must.
      Immigration alone will not provide it. But I could see that the Impis contained quite a large number of White natives.
      So by assimilating a number of natives to what is becoming the popular dominating cultural model the problem of a lacking demographic mass might be solved. Mixed mating also helps in many ways. Especially by bringing legitimacy and roots in the realm.
      Anyway a long period of calm has descended. Now it is very low intensity. Violence spikes come at pretty long intervals measured in years. But we know for sure they will come. And they increase in intensity according to the mass of young warriors available.
      For now their numbers will increase so we can presume that the intensity of the next spike will be larger.

      Of course if you pay the necessary respect to the owners of an area they will leave you alone. The overlord does not go around bashing the heads of the subjects living on his land.
      Especially if he does not have complete political control of the area. And they don't have it. Other big powerful well armed gangs owned by the white establishment can come anytime.
      Confronting them is quite stupid.
      The approach includes low level of constant violence punctuated by big riots at a few years span. Riots usually make clear for everyone who owns the streets.
      In US former natives run away after they loose. In UK that is not always possible for all so some of the White working class will have to assimilate to the new dominant culture/ethnicity.
      It is an interesting phenomenon and it is happening right now so that we can study in detail.
      Problems will show up - we know because it is already happening - with the Asian communities. I do not see the Sikhs and Pakistanis being assimilated in the new culture. They already started to fight in the 80s. And as each community increases in numbers the fight will become more intense.
      I especially appreciated the new tactic of car ramming the Paki defensive lines. Next time we will see what the defenders come up with. Like the introduction of elephants which took the Romans by surprise it happens only once. The surprise I mean.
      It is warfare. That is issue.
      Real well defined communities fighting for resources. Only numbers define the scope.
      With enough numbers complete takeovers like at Detroit or Cleveland are in the realm of possible. We like it. We take it. Not enough numbers of course lead to compromise solutions. Like in London or New York. Details vary .
      It is a very efficient type of warfare. In certain ages like this one I mean.
      For all their hype and weapons neither the Wehrmacht nor the Red Army could scratch a brick in the Motor City. Not a single brick. The tribal warriors derided by many were able to take the whole city for themselves and their community. Last battle was fought in 1968 if I remember correctly.

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  7. "Japanese old people's paper wealth is no different from the German one. Paper is paper. It was invented long time ago and it is the same everywhere."

    You are apparently among those who have no clue about what property is. Property is respect. You only have property if others respect it, for you cannot defend it on your own.

    The respect for your property of gold is about the same as for your property in paper money. Likewise, the relative valuation by others for this is known as gold price.
    Even the baddest pro-gold fanatics should understand that paper money is not worthless nor inherently less valuable than gold. In fact, the relative value is known, it's merely changing up and down.

    So keep your fundamental ignorance about how post-neolothic societies work away from this blog, please. Especially as it's 100% off topic anyway. I don't care how many others are this ignorant about economics. I simply don't want to get bothered by this extremist economics nonsense and I don't want anybody to bother my readers with it any more.

    Topic is closed.

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