Ranger Man’s Review of Spiraling Downward: Thinking About and Planning for Economic Collapse

Time to answer the question some of you guys have been asking.  Namely, “Where the hell did Ranger Man go?”

Well, I was going to spin a yarn about how he was abducted by wolves and finally fought his way up the chain until he was leading the pack, but him being a lone wolf and all I knew you guys wouldn’t fall for it.  So I’ll let him do the ‘splainin’ for himself.

He’s been a big help to me during the past six months and we’ve even had the odd breakfast together here and there to discuss other cool projects.  So here he is to fill you in himself… Ranger Man!

The blog is open for you any time, bro!

-Jarhead Survivor

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I’m baaaa-aaaaack! Some of you are like “who are you?” Some of you are like “where have you been?” Before I get on to my rippin’ book review of Spiraling Downward, lets briefly address these questions.

Who am I? I’m Ranger Man – duh. I founded this blog years ago. Then I sold it. Then I bought it back. Then I sold it again, left it in the very capable hands of Jarhead Survivor.

Where have I been? Well, it’s Jarhead’s site now, so I’ve been sitting around, reading from afar, being lazy. No, the reality is I’ve been busy as sh*t. Due to my financial situation, selling the blog and focusing my limited spare time on other efforts made more sense. So what am I doing back, writing here and now? I missed you preppin’ peeps! Well, that and the folks at Prepper Press had my old contact info and asked if I’d like to review some books on the site. So then I was all like “What? Free books? Write reviews? Psshh-yuh!” And then I was all like, “Yo Jarhead, can I post reviews for free books?” And he was all like, “Psshh-yuh!

Spiraling DownwardSo this is my first post in a sporadic, periodic book review guest blog post. First up being Spiraling Downward: Thinking About and Planning for Economic Collapse by Peter Damaris. Is it cray? Oh, it’s cray. It’s cray cray, baby. To first have a conversation about the book, you should first read the back cover, so you understand where I’m speaking from. Witness:

America has suffered two economic blows in less than a decade: the collapse of the dot.com bubble in 2000 and the collapse of the real estate bubble in 2007-2009. These blows have left the U.S. struggling to stay on its feet. Spiraling Downward considers the consequences if a still-weak America took another hit, another stock market crash and credit crunch. Given unaddressed imbalances in the US economy, an economic collapse, is indeed possible.

This book charts a path that an economic collapse might take. It starts with the anatomy of a market crash and a credit crunch. It seeks to identify the danger zones from which another crash might arise. It then looks at how a crash might shock an economy already weak into an unarrested downward spiral. Spiraling Downward thus offers a way to think about the unthinkable. At a time when conventional views of recession and recovery prevail, this book asks us to consider a different proposition: maybe this time it’s different.

It’s ill. Chapter One starts us off with a relatively simple market crash. It defines it, provides an overview of what happens in a market crash, how and why. Then it provides warning signs that might indicate a market crash is coming, describes types of market shocks, historical examples, and how to prepare yourself financially. I haven’t quite read a financial “prepper” book like this before. I’m not even sure I’ve seen one.

Chapter Two kicks the market crash up a notch, moves the economy into a credit crunch. Like the first chapter, it then talks about what to watch for, how to prepare yourself financially, etc. Chapter Three moves the economy further into economic despair by describing a breakdown in the U.S. economic model, what to do, etc. Things then get worse, the transition period, economic and political turmoil, breakdown in social cohesion, and so forth.

A “store X beans and Y rounds of ammo” this book is not. It describes the ways in which the national and global economies could flounder and head into a steady downward spiral, getting worse as it goes. It educates the reader on economic upheaval.

Who is the author, Peter Damaris?

Peter Damaris has spent more than 30 years working in a variety of financial institutions and consulting firms both in the US and overseas. He has specialized in risk management, financial analysis, equity portfolio management, and distressed debt resolution. He holds bachelors and masters degrees in International Affairs with concentrations in Economics and East Asia. He and his wife currently reside in North Carolina.

I give Spiraling Downward book two thumbs up.

– Ranger Man

BTW: What have you read lately?

31 comments… add one
  • Spud April 17, 2013, 7:24 am

    Economic collapse of the all mighty US of A ?
    I’m sure you’ll hear many nay saying that one heh…

    Reply
  • Selkirk April 17, 2013, 7:34 am

    I haven’t heard of this guy, but that stands to reason if he’s been working in private industry and hasn’t published anything before.

    That progression is what happens. It’s really a question of the degree. Was he expecting actual chaos, or just an unpleasant market correction? Most people who actually work in finance only consider market corrections.

    If you want the apocalypse, you’ve got to find a good Marxist political economist. They always want to burn the house down.

    Welcome back.

    Reply
    • D'ja'c April 18, 2013, 5:58 am

      I almost chocked on my fruit loops the morning I read this one… “There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of a society than to debauch the currency”. – Lennin

      Reply
      • Selkirk April 18, 2013, 4:33 pm

        John, or Vladimir?

        Reply
        • D'ja'c April 18, 2013, 8:34 pm

          V.

          Reply
  • rush2112 April 17, 2013, 8:17 am

    thanks for the review, next time at the book store I’ll look for it. I’m really interested in profiting from the collapse. Does it go into any of that aspect? For example there were some people who profited when housing market collapsed because they had placed their “bets” on that happening.

    Right now I’m reading “Closing of the American Mind” by Alan Bloom. I had read it about 20 years ago and heard someone on TV reference it. So I’m reading it again. I’m weird like that – I hold on to books and read them again.

    Reply
    • Babycatcher April 17, 2013, 9:45 am

      I do the same thing! It comes in handy to let people read it who may have never heard of it before…

      Reply
      • rush2112 April 17, 2013, 10:23 am

        yeah, now that my kid is getting older I have given her some of the books I read in high school. She’s reading Orwell’s 1984 now. I stay away from e-readers cause you cant share an e-book thirty years later.

        Reply
  • SD3 April 17, 2013, 8:39 am

    “The Price of Glory”, – Alistair Cooke
    Man on the ground history of the battle of Verdun, 1916

    Reply
  • Babycatcher April 17, 2013, 9:44 am

    Got it on order, and I can’t WAIT to read it! Welcome back, Ranger Man! I’m a newbie…good to meet you…

    Reply
  • Brad in South FL April 17, 2013, 11:09 am

    Nice to see you back, this is the first prepper blog I found years ago!

    Reply
  • irishdutchuncle April 17, 2013, 11:14 am

    planning for economic collapse: lots of canned food. (and a shotgun)

    why it’s going to happen isn’t as important, as getting ready for it.

    Reply
  • Charles,,,, April 17, 2013, 11:46 am

    Welcome back RM, glad you haven’t closed the lid on your silo,lol… economic collaspe, I looked at my garden just yesterday and thought, the corn I planted, I never see it grow, one day theres bare dirt, next I look theres a 2″ sprout, few week’s later I now see 6-8″ stalks beginning, In a month there will be 6-7′ stalks but I’ll never see it growing. I buy 1 lb bag of redbeans, in rotating a bag from 4 years ago comes out with a sticker price of .63 cents, the replacement bag is $1.63, take the newest ammo crisis, from panic to acceptance now, I see people paying 60 bucks for what less then 1/2 a year ago was 20 bucks….brings to mind the frog in the pot on the stove story……
    Reading’s: a continuous read is my King James, just finished reading Holding Your Ground and started Beyond Collapse…..
    Economically, few see it collasping, then a few thousand years ago Pharoh hired Joseph to prep Egypt for the food (draught) collaspe, which he did a fine job of it, but theres no record of anyone else (country) being prepared. One man’s thought.

    Reply
  • Lumberjok April 17, 2013, 11:47 am

    It’s about time you showed up for work….I for one have missed your commentaries….if you ever make it up to the frozen north…shout out…we can pop a few beers and tear up the gun range.

    Reply
    • Ranger Man April 17, 2013, 1:27 pm

      Where is “frozen north”? Canada?

      Reply
      • Lumberjok April 17, 2013, 7:49 pm

        Far Northern Maine…I’m not in Canada but I can see it from here.

        Reply
  • Calamity Jane April 17, 2013, 12:20 pm

    I’m currently reading The Golden Spruce, which is an AMAZING look at the forests of the North American NW, and the people that live there, and the people that work there, and the people that benefit from them.
    I’m also reading “The New Jim Crow, Mass Incarceration..” and the last work of Masunobu Fukuoka “Sowing Seeds in the Desert: Natural Farming, Global Restoration, and Ultimate Food Security”

    Spiraling Downward looks like it would be right up my alley. I’ve got it on my wish list.

    Reply
  • Jason April 17, 2013, 1:14 pm

    Incredible timing – this morning I just read a post you wrote in 2008 about the M4 & thought, I wonder what Ranger Man is up to these days. Glad to see you back in the saddle again!

    You said “breakdown in social cohesion” & I could not agree more in fact, it seems quite prevalent today because we have such a polarization of opinions in most every area of life from Kim Kardashian to Gun Control, there is no middle ground anymore, only the extreme edges of the pendulum swing.

    One thing that has continued to puzzle me is how things operate in this economic vacuum. I have begun leaning towards an economic downfall that can happen but not an all out collapse. It may be, on my part, blind optimism, head in the sand or seeing how we have averted a severe crash in 2008 that is driving my thoughts. I read a considerable amount & used to do consulting with a couple of big banks regarding the real estate default portfolio & what I saw in 2008 & the growing trend was spooky as hell.

    In the mid 90’s banks ran, at the maximum, 5-8% of their real estate mortgage loans in default & 8% & was widely considered by the industry as a HIGH number. This means that 92% of their portfolio was performing & making profit. One bank I was consulting with panicked when they it 8% because the way the regulations USED to work, the banks were forbidden to loan out money (actually curtailed) until they controlled their defaults. It is long & complicated but it has every thing to do with the capital reserve requirements (real cash on hand).

    In 2008 the non-performing portion was 20-22% & I nearly crapped my pants when I read it because it was clearly past the tipping point & all that needed to happen was the public to find out & it would have hit 50-60% in less than a month. BTW, this did NOT include credit card debt & default or auto loan defaults – those were kept well away from the equation.

    I work with numbers, though I don’t enjoy that part much because it is pretty damn dry & was in meetings with people who were white with fear, working overtime because it was well beyond unchartered water, Columbus just sailed over the abyss.

    The banks did something unprecedented with their economics & started slashing interest rates, doing loan modifications at ridiculously low interest rates, not reporting defaults in the time they are required to do & not foreclosing on homes for 18-48 months. I was surprised to find that banks operate similar to the Wall Street stock market in that public perception is everything, analytics mean very little to John & Mary Q. Public. It is a reverse Robin Hood action – rob from the poor & give to the rich.

    So here we are in 2013 & the defaults have eased back to probably 15-17% (still over 2 times worse than the 90’s or the early 80’s) but they are still doing the other things I mentioned & piloting another solution facet to the finger in the bleeding dike program. If their was no problem or the trend was towards improvement, they would stop those money loosing ideas. Banks are about one thing only – profit. In mid 2010, I quit that job & will never go back to it.

    I have come to the conclusion with global economics that the only thing that is for certain is uncertainty.

    Reply
  • Glenn April 17, 2013, 5:33 pm

    “Pacific Glory” is a great book. Forget who it is by.

    Reply
  • smokechecktim April 17, 2013, 6:19 pm

    a book on the battle of kasserine pass in north africa. It was the first time americans fought against german troops. It did not go well!

    Reply
  • D'ja'c April 17, 2013, 7:32 pm

    Welcome back, Ranger Man. Jarhead S. and Calamity J. et.al. have been doing a great job but I have missed your (cough, cough) “style”;-D. “… Then I sold it. Then I bought it back. Then I sold it again.”. Sounds like guitars I’ve owned. Anyway this when this market crashes it is going to be spectacular to any one who is paying attention. The american idles and “reality TV/ gamers” may not even notice. But TPTB have QE-ed up the market for a tremendous fall. “O-o-o-on W-w-wa-a-all Street ding, ding, ding another record high today”. I’m so sick of hearing that 3-4 times a week. I want to yell at my radio, “wake up you fools. Its all smoke and mirrors”. There is bound to be a correction and some sort of collapse. It won’t be Little House on the Prairie or Rawlsian Patriots or
    anything. But we will all get a good kick in the butt. When will it happen? That book sounds like a good way to look out for it and prep for it. Hopefully we’ll be ready. Living below our means, staying out of debt, buying useful stuff that lasts and learning and teaching useful skills all sound good. Get in shape mind, body and spirit.

    Reply
    • Jason April 17, 2013, 9:10 pm

      I loved this post – laughed out loud at this one –

      “O-o-o-on W-w-wa-a-all Street ding, ding, ding another record high today”. I’m so sick of hearing that 3-4 times a week.

      Reply
      • T.R. April 17, 2013, 10:07 pm

        You ever watch those jerkoffs when the market tanked at a record low ? they all were grinning and clapping at the closing bell , sort of ” YAY !!!! I just lost my ass !!!! itsn’t this wonderful ! “

        Reply
    • Jarhead Survivor April 17, 2013, 9:32 pm

      Man, I’ve been thinking exactly the same thing, D’ja’c! I wonder what would happen to the markets if the fed turned off the money spigot? I have a feeling the thud would be loud and heard ’round the world as the market took a nose dive.

      Reply
  • T.R. April 17, 2013, 10:01 pm

    Look at total economical collapse as not a disaster , but an opportunity to take our country back by force and do a long overdue purge .
    It would be an easy matter to point to the current government as the scapegoat for all the peoples suffering and injustice and lead them to act accordingly . Just sayin .

    Reply
    • Jason April 18, 2013, 12:11 pm

      What a great point T.R. – if the government ran out of money to feed the military and law enforcement, taking over would be easy because we’d have ALL of the weapons on our side and we could then put those liberal, socialists into the FEMA camps that don’t really exist *wink, wink*

      Reply
      • T.R. April 18, 2013, 4:41 pm

        AYE !!!!

        Reply
      • T.R. April 19, 2013, 3:41 pm

        I was thinking also about trials for crimes against the american people from both government and corporate leaders ……..all of who will be found guilty and taken to Auschwitz .

        Reply
  • JL April 18, 2013, 12:40 am

    I’m glad you were not abducted by aliens Ranger Man.
    I read a couple Walking Dead books. Granted they are fiction, but it shows the good and the bad sides of people in a total society break down. It gives my more reason to want to be prepared.

    Reply
  • sirlancelot April 19, 2013, 6:14 pm

    so you came crawling back , did ya ? :-)

    there must be something about running a blog because the burnout rate seems to be 4-5 years.

    Jarhead has been dong a very nice job and we even have videos now !

    He’s field tested stuff and offered some nice sleeping bags for sale so i’d say it was a very good transition.

    nice to see you back. don’t be a stranger

    Reply
  • Pineslayer April 25, 2013, 12:25 am

    This title is my constant rant. It might be the best case scenario, more time to prep. I am going throttle up here, many great ideas on this site. I will be buying this book, reading it and passing it on. Waiting for the thaw so we can plant those berry bushes. “Plenty of time to in the grave”, CTB.

    Reply

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