by James Corbett
May 30, 2015half-empty-half-full

There are two types of people in this world: the glass-half-fulls and the glass-half-empties. The fulls see the silver lining to every gray cloud and the empties scoff at silver linings. It’s the yin and yang of human nature, and, like all such dualities, we’re all a little bit of both, depending on the situation.
But whichever side might be more dominant in you, one thing is for certain: locking ourselves away from the other perspective isn’t healthy. It’s too easy these days to get lost in the echo chamber of online opinions where we only ever read what we already believe to be true. The fulls believe everything is hunky dory because the websites they frequent and the people they talk to focus on the positives and downplay the rest. The empties are the opposite.
With that in mind, this week we’re going to examine five signs that the empties are right when they say that the world is heading to hell in a handbasket. But don’t worry, next week we’re going to balance the equation with five signs that things are not as bleak as they might seem.
#1 – The mega-rich are getting mega-scared
You know things are bad when the big story out of Davos is that the super-rich are buying private airstrips in New Zealand. But that’s exactly what news came out of Davos 2015 this year, when the jetsetting super-gophers of the powers-that-shouldn’t-be descended on the Swiss ski resorts for their annual chin wag about the global economy. As The Guardianreported at the time, one jam-packed session was abuzz with former Soros henchman Robert Johnson’s revelation that “I know hedge fund managers all over the world who are buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand because they think they need a getaway.” Given that Soros was the man who predicted growing civil unrest three years ago and thenpaid Ferguson protesters $33 million to make it happen, we should be concerned about such talk for a number of reasons. Oh, and what else did Johnson say? “If they can get off, onto another planet, some of them would.”
And it’s not just hedge fund managers. Jamie Dimon is buying a Micronesian private island. Henry Paulson bought an island off the coast of Georgia shortly before he presided over the 2008 meltdown. Director James Cameron is pulling stakes in Hollywood, the town that built his billion-dollar fortune, and permanently moving to New Zealand where he’s planning to become a citizen.
Those super-rich who are stuck in major Western cities are preparing by building increasingly fortified living spaces. The trend toward these high-tech fortress hideaways has been mainstream headline news for years, but now even the New York Times is runningfeature stories on the increasingly elaborate “panic rooms” of the 0.1%.
So what are they preparing for?
#2 – Mainstream Economists, Pundits and Analysts Are Calling For a Crash
marketsquareBill Gross, co-founder of PIMCO and certified multi-billionaire, raised eyebrows earlier this month with a particularly bleak investment outlook for his new outfit, Janus Capital Group. Entitled “A Sense of an Ending,” Gross explores his own approaching mortality in comparison to the predicted end of the 35-year investment supercycle that began in 1981, and ends by saying:
“As it is, in 2015, I merely have a sense of an ending, a secular bull market ending with a whimper, not a bang. But if so, like death, only the timing is in doubt. Because of this sense, however, I have unrest, increasingly a great unrest. You should as well.”
And he’s one of the more optimistic advisers out there. Earlier this year Ron Paul–whowarned of the disastrous housing bubble on the House floor as far back as 2001–warned of the dollar bubble and the fact that America (and by extension the world) is just one geopolitical shock away from the economic brink.
Ann Pettifor, the author who warned of the 2008 collapse in her 2003 book, The Coming First World Debt Crisisputs it bluntly: “We’re going to have another financial crisis.” As Pettifor point out, the recent dollar bull run has pushed a number of developing economies to the brink, the very developing countries who were supposed to be the engine of economic growth in the “new economic order” of the 21st century. As she points out: “absolutely nothing has changed since the crisis.”
And in an uncomfortable parallel of Greenspan’s infamous “irrational exuberance” statement of 2000, current Fed Chair Janet Yellen has come out to warn of “potential dangers” in the (QE-inflated) equities markets. Heck, Greenspan himself is now warning that there’s now way out for the Fed from its QE-created nightmare other than by a “significant market event” which he defines as “either a stock market crash or a prolonged recession.”
So what would happen if the bottom fell out of the markets tomorrow?
#3 – Greece is on the Edge of a Bail-in (and the rest of the world might not be far behind)
Today’s 24/7 news cycle creates such a hectic flow of information that the Cyprus bail-in of 2013 seems like a distant memory. For those who don’t remember, Cyprus was hit particularly hard by the 2008 Lehman meltdown and resulting crisis, not just from the slowdown in its own economy, but by the fact that its offshore-oriented banks were over-exposed to toxic Greek debt. A 50% haircut on that debt in 2011 led to serious concerns about the Cypriot banking sector and an acute liquidity crisis in the nation’s financial markets. The Cypriot government, relying on an emergency loan from Russia, officially turned to the EU for a bailout in 2012. The situation came to a head in March 2013 when the government announced bank closures to prevent emergency withdrawals. When the banks re-opened a week later, a new word was added to depositors’ vocabulary: bail-in.
Although hardly anyone thinks of it when depositing money in their bank account, what they are actually doing is lending that money to the bank. When banks go under, then, depositors are just another creditor looking to get their money back. During a bail-in, depositors can be asked to take a haircut on their deposits just like any other creditor of the bank. In the Cyprus case, an estimated 48% of the country’s uninsured deposits (anything over 100,000 Euros) disappeared into the black hole of the Greek debt contagion.
For many at the time, this was just a quirk of an isolated country best known as an offshore tax haven. As I discussed at The Corbett Report at the time, however, the truth is that groups like the shadowy Bank for International Settlements have been constructing the infrastructure for international implementation of bail-ins for years. In 2010 the BIS (the “central bank of central banks”) released a white paper proposing the bail-in of Tier 1 and Tier 2 capital in the event of future banking crises. And in recent years the BIS’ even more secretive “Financial Stability Board” sub-group followed up with explicit bail-in resolution plans for financial institutions in crisis.
bankofgreeceNow it looks like the Greek people themselves may be the next victims of this tactic, and they know it. They have good reason to be concerned: not only is neighboring Cyprus fresh in the minds of the Greek people, but in April cash-strapped Athens already forced Greece’s local governments to send their reserve funds–nearly $2 billion in total, held in commercial banks and used for paying municipal pensions and salaries amongst other things–to the central bank for investment in short-term government debt. In plain English, the Greek government confiscated the reserve accounts of its own municipalities to buy itself a few more weeks respite from its creditors. Does anyone doubt that they would do the same to the banks’ depositors if push came to shove during a Greek default crisis?
Well, the Greek people don’t doubt it. There have been remarkable outflows from the Greek banking sector in recent months as depositors scramble to get their money out of the bank. Last month alone approximately 5 billion euros were withdrawn from Greek banks as people prepared for the now seemingly inevitable default.
We know that the bail-in regime is ready to be implemented globally. The BIS and the FSB have been laying the foundation for it. Mark Carney, the head of the FSB, former Governor of the Bank of Canada and current Governor of the Bank of England, has confirmed it. Cyprus proved it. Greece may be the next domino, and given all of the other worrying signs of systemic crisis in global markets and the precarious nature of the world’s derivatives-leveraged financial institutions, the only serious question is: can Europe, the US and other “first world” Western economies avoid it?
If they don’t, things are about to get much worse on the streets of our cities.
#4 – Baltimore is Just the Beginning
Baltimore has descended into chaos. With 38 homicides so far, May has been the deadliest month in the city in nearly 20 years. There are reports of gangs walking with impunity through areas of the city, brandishing weapons and threatening others without any sign of police presence. The Baltimore riots come on the back of a series of protests that have rocked the country in recent months, including the (Soros-sponsored) #BlackLivesMatter protests of Ferguson and the Eric Garner protests in New York.
baltimoreriotsWhat these incidents of police brutality, protest, riots and chaos in recent months has shown us is that the United States remains a deeply divided country that is simmering with racial tension, economic deprivation, and civil discontent. If an economic collapse were to happen in this environment, it is difficult to imagine that crisis as anything other than a spark in a powder keg.
During the Great Depression of the 1930s the first world was still primarily rural and agrarian. There were no electronic gadgets to distract the masses and children still played outside, the public was more engaged with their community and their neighbors and people were used to relying on themselves and their communities for feeding, clothing, and sheltering their families. In 2009 the world’s urban population outstripped the rural population for the first time in human history. People in these urban environments are less connected to their neighbors and more connected to their electronic devices than ever before. Homecooked meals and family time spent in the community are increasingly rare, and food self-sufficiency (independence from the industrial-agricultural supermarket system) is almost non-existent.
Can there be any doubt that a 1930s style Great Depression would not result in rioting and chaos even worse than what we have seen in Baltimore? And is this why the government has been spending billions of dollars to militarize state and local police across the US for the past two decades? Or why the DHS has been buying up billions of rounds of ammunition? Or why the public is on a knife-edge over Jade Helm exercises that will involve military personnel going undercover in various towns across the American Southwest “play acting” a scenario involving a domestic insurgency?
But as worrying as all of this is, it might all pale in comparison to the even bigger worry during times of economic instability.
#5 – Everyone’s talking about WWIII
Of course politicians, bankers and other would-be rulers of society love to misdirect public attention during times of economic crisis by staging geopolitical events and waging war. After all, WWII got the world out of the Great Depression, didn’t it? (Well actually no it didn’t, but don’t let those pesky facts get in the way of good Keynesian propaganda, eh?)
As James Evan Pilato and I discuss on the latest edition of the New World Next Week, WWIII is in the air, with shadowy NATO sourcesofficial Chinese media and (of course) George Soros warning that war is a virtual certainty in the near future. For those who have seen my commentary on this news, they’ll know that I don’t think war is right around the corner just yet…
wwiii2…but in times as volatile as these, all it takes is one wrong shot at the wrong time in the wrong place to start a war that no one–not even the powers-that-shouldn’t-be–planned for. China is pushing brinksmanship in the South China Sea (and, oh yeah, the US is too). The US is sending Cold War workhorse B-52 Stratofortresses to Stockholm as part of a military drill as tensions mount with Russia. The Yemen proxy war is threatening to ignite into direct warfare between Iran and the US.ISIS is moving forward under the watchful eye of its US backers. It is hard to think of a time since the height of the Cold War when there have been so many potential flashpoints for all-out global warfare.
And given the technological “progress” that has been made since the end of WWII, no one can deny that WWIII could very well be the actual, literal end of the world (or our place on it).
But it’s not all bad news…
The world situation is grim at the moment; no one can deny that. But there are plenty of hopeful developments that show the future is not written in stone and there are things that we can do to turn things around. In order to have a healthy perspective, we must bring these two perspectives together. Stay tuned for next week as we examine the five signs that the world isn’t ending after all…


As a counter-balance to last week’s doom and gloom, in this week’s subscriber newsletter James outlines four signs that the world is not necessarily going to hell in a handbasket. And in the subscriber-only video, James sets the record straight on all those stories of “wacky Japan”…by showing you the real wacky Japan.

This month James takes on some of the made up stories of “wacky Japan”…and shows you some wacky things in Japan.

by James Corbett
The International Forecaster
June 6, 2015
Active warfare is taking place in Yemen and Syria and Iraq. Proxy-funded civil warfare is taking place in Ukraine. The economic warfare of the central banksters and their cronies against the people of the world is only intensifying with the Greek people’s heads still on the chopping block for the sins of their mis-leaders and the average working person getting poorer and poorer as the 0.01% get richer and richer. The internet clampdown seems to be getting closer and closer as the technological surveillance state becomes normalized. Heck, it’s even getting harder and harder to help feed the homeless without getting fined for your trouble.

As I discussed last week in these pages, there can be no doubt that the world is in a precarious place right now. There can also be no doubt that we need to be aware of these problems in order to confront them squarely and bring about real change.
Having said that, it does us no good to only dwell on the negative aspects of life either. There are many positive developments taking place around us each and every day, and we neglect those examples at our own peril. At best they can give us ideas that we can adopt ourselves in our own attempts to change the world for the better, and at the very least they remind us that we are not alone in this fight.
With that in mind, let’s examine the flip side of the coin this week as we look at four signs that the world is not, in fact, ending.

#1: Citizen initiatives can and do make a difference
One of the things I love about the member community at is its ability to source stories from all around the globe, stories that I couldn’t possibly find all on my own. One such story was posted up to the site last week when Corbett Report member “lincolnlea” linked to a YouTube video of a grassroots citizen activist network in Kodiak, Alaska.
The video details how a small band of citizen activists, concerned about the UN-led Agenda 21 exposed by Rosa Koire, founded a grassroots movement to oppose a 320-page Agenda 21-inspired zoning law on the island. The group was persistent, packing hearings and meetings on the proposal with hundreds of concerned citizens. In the end, the group was successful: the law was voted down.
The story is instructive for a number of reasons. For one, it shows us that grassroots movements can organize around issues of shared concern and, just by standing up and saying no, win the battle. Now this isn’t a Hollywood happy ending. The war isn’t over by any means, and the people of Kodiak would be naive to think that this legislation won’t return in some altered form down the road. But this time, the people will be ready; the anti-Agenda 21 group now has a mailing list of 400 out of a total population of 6000.
The story also shows us that the favorite tactic of the oligarchs and their politicians is to back down in the face of direct conflict. Just like when the TSA stepped down from enforcing body scans during Opt Out Day 2010. It doesn’t mean the fight is over, but it does mean that the establishment is scared of confrontations with motivated, organized citizen initiatives.
There are many examples of how groups like these are making a difference all around the world. Some have succeeded in getting fluoride removed from the local water supply. Others are overturning the homeless feeding bans that seek to prevent people from taking care of the less fortunate in their own communities. We saw similar popular movements derail large political initiatives like the North American Union-in-waiting SPP or the internet-freedom-destroying ACTA treaty.
All around the world, people are standing up and making a difference.

#2: There are more economic opportunities now than ever before
It may seem strange to people who note the declining labor participation rate in the US or the chronic youth unemployment rates in Europe or the plummeting real wage levels in Japan or similar economic indicators, but the economy is not all doom and gloom. Or, more specifically, the alternative economy is not all doom and gloom.
“What’s that?” you say. “The alternative economy?”
The alternative economy. I’ve explored many aspects of this economy in these pages in the past and through my work at These include alternative and complementary currencies like time banking and cryptocurrencies, LETS systems and other forms of mutual credit, cooperative banks including mutual credit, mutual savings and building societies, peer-to-peer businesses, farmer’s markets and flea markets, barter communities and sharing communities, grey and black markets, and all the other ways humans can trade without the imposition of a third party entity (like a government or a central bank) in that interaction. Although many of these ideas sound like trivial side-issues to those who have never participated in them, there is a burgeoning economy out there that is finding a way to connect producers with customers in ways both time-honored and cutting edge.
Take the phenomenon of the farmer’s market boom. By no means a new or novel idea, farmer’s markets have been around for as long as people have grown food. But whereas once they were seen as a quaint vestige of a forgotten past, since the 2008 crisis in the mainstream economic world reminded people of the precarious nature of our finances and our food supply they have experienced a dramatic comeback in country after country around the world, from the US to Australia to the UK and beyond. In fact, such is the resurgent popularity of the idea that there’s an entirely new problem for local farmers: a glut in the market leading to falling prices. Indeed, for those who have experienced the farmer’s market experience–the discovery of fresh, seasonal, locally-grown produce, the ability to get to know the local farmers and their products, the community experience of shopping in an open-air marketplace–it almost makes you wonder how people ever became convinced that the factory-to-plate industrial farming experience of the modern sanitized supermarket was the only natural way to source their food. And of course the community nature of the farmer’s market allows for an exchange that you will never find in your national chain supermarket: alternative local currencies, barter, or mutual credit payments are all possible when you are interacting directly with the person who grew the food that you are buying.
But if you (like me) were born with two black thumbs and don’t think you’ll make your fortune (or even earn some pocket money) contributing your guerrilla gardened produce to a local market, the possibilities for participation in the alternative economy are only limited by your imagination.
People are supplementing their earnings (or even making their living) putting their services up for bid on any number of task sites that have sprung up in recent years, from bicycle delivery to graphic design to furniture assembly.
People are designing and selling (or giving away if they are so inclined) designs for objects to be downloaded and printed on 3D printers.
People are selling music directly to their fans, no record label needed.
People are funding pet projects through crowdsourcing, from the mundane (documentary films and book projects) to the useful (new technologies and gadgets) to the truly bizarre (world’s largest jockstrap, anyone?).
Heck, some people are even making a living podcasting. I know, I know. I can hardly believe it either.

#3: Technology is a double-edged sword (that means one side is good)
The alt media (myself included) often highlight the creepy, dystopian nature of our increasingly technological world, and why not? With 24/7 surveillance and drone armies and brain chips and mind reading technologies to worry about, there’s no shortage of reasons we should be treading into the Brave New World of our computer-controlled future extra carefully.
But (and stop me if you’ve heard this), technology is a double-edged sword. Yes, it can be (and currently is) used for a lot of evil, tyrannical purposes. But it is also the same technology that can be wielded to make it possible for me in Japan to send these words to you wherever you are in the world right now.
But it’s more than just that. With a crop of technologies that are coming into view now, humanity is on the cusp of a revolution that will make the Industrial Revolution look like a minor event. The potential for the alleviation of human suffering is likewise staggering.
I’ve talked before about the 3D printing revolution and its potential ramifications on the wider economy. Although still in its technological infancy, as printers become cheaper, more powerful and more ubiquitous, the idea of mass-produced goods from distant factories being shipped to local shopping malls in the hopes that you might be enticed to pick one out from the bargain bin some day in the future will seem as out of place in the future as lamplighters and knocker-uppers and cobblers are in our own time.
But it’s not just that. 3D printing is replacing $42,000 myoelectic hand prosthetics with a homemade $50 equivalent. The result? The $50 replacement works better. 3D printed guns are rendering gun control a technological impossibility. 3D printed houses are replacing aging, squalid Chinese village tenements with clean, modern houses. And if you still think 3D printing is newfangled, cutting-edge technology, wait until you get a load of 4D printing.
Another example culled from the research of the Corbett Report member community (courtesy of user “Trudy-Alan”): the Ecocapsule. Just when you thought bugging out to the woods in the middle of nuclear armageddon and martial law couldn’t get more comfortable, along comes this Slovakian architectural design for a self-contained, off-grid, low-energy house. Although they are yet to start shipping completed units, prototypes are up and running and generating their own power with solar cells and wind turbines, and built-in rainwater collection and filters allow for hot showers and flush toilets.
Technological innovation is not just about transforming the lives of the world’s richest countries, though. It’s about empowering the poorest people in the world, and there are any number of technological innovations coming up that promise to do just that, from low-cost desalination and water filtration technologies for providing clean drinking water to low-cost, open source shelters to meet immediate housing needs in the wake of emergencies and humanitarian disasters.
No, technology will not be the sole savior of humanity in the tasks and trials ahead, but it is important to remember it can be wielded for good as well.

#4: We are many, they are few
This may seem like a trivial point, but it is not. It is sometimes easy for those who are submersed in the alt media to lose track of the fact that the world is composed of billions upon billions of people more or less like ourselves and a relative handful of evil, manipulative, psychopathic control-freak globalist schemers. In fact, even the elite supergophers themselves estimate there are only about 6000 of them, serving a class of powers-that-shouldn’t-be that would presumably be an order of magnitude smaller.
Yes, there are many, many more people manning positions in this system that, wittingly or unwittingly, aid and abet it. But think about the people in your own life. How many central bankers or corrupt politicians or Machiavellian technocrats do you know and interact with in your day-to-day life? And how many everyday people trying to provide for their families and be left alone do you know? I’m going to take a wild guess that it’s nearly 100% of the latter and nearly 0% of the former.
It’s a point that’s been made many, many times before, but it’s no less valid: there are many of us. There are very few of “them.” The power to transform this world still rests primarily in our hands, and we are making the decision whether to wield this power each and every day by participating in the hard work of building up these alternative economies and steering these empowering technologies and leading these citizen initiatives or not doing so. And by not doing so, we’re still making a choice.
Larken Rose explained the insanity of the many asking for permission to live their lives from the very, very few perfectly in his brilliantly simple video, The Tiny Dot.

The path from here to the world we want to bring into existence is not an easy one by any means. There are many problems, setbacks and pitfalls strewn along it, and nothing is for certain except this: if we don’t start down that path, we’ll never get to the other side.