Chris Martenson PhD has taken four years off to produce a twenty lesson crash course on the ills of the western world based on its financial ails, its growing population and ever diminishing resources. He has managed to tie all this together to show our overall position. It is very educational and I have to confess, just a little frightening. The link to the crash course is at the bottom but first of all, Chris Martenson’s credentials…
Executive summary: Father of three young children; author; obsessive financial observer; trained as a scientist; experienced in business and finance.
He is not an economist. Chris was trained as a scientist, having completed both a PhD and a post-doctoral program at Duke University, where he specialized in neurotoxicology. His job was to gather data, develop hypotheses, and continually seek to accept or reject any hypotheses based on the evidence at hand. He believes in letting the data tell the story.
Chris started teaching at the college level as he enjoys the challenge of explaining difficult or complicated subjects to people with limited or no background in those subjects.
Because of college politics where an “effective teacher” was pretty much near the bottom of the list of characteristics that factor into tenure review, he switched gears, obtained an MBA from Cornell (in Finance), and spent the next ten years working his way through positions in both corporate finance and strategic consulting.
The most important thing for you to know is the impact that the information that he has now placed on this site had on him.
Before: He was a 40-year-old professional who has worked his way up to Vice President of a large, international Fortune 300 company and lived in a waterfront, 5 bathroom house in Mystic, CT, which is mostly paid off. His three young children were either in or about to enter public school, and his portfolio of investments was being managed by a broker at a large institution. He did not really know any neighbours, and many of his local connections were superficial at best.
After: Now a 45-year-old who has willingly terminated his former high-paying, high-status position because it seemed like an unnecessary diversion from the real tasks at hand. His children are now home-schooled, and the big house in Mystic was sold in July of 2003 in preference for a 1.5 bathroom rental in rural western Massachusetts. In 2002, he discovered that his broker was unable to navigate a bear market, and he’s been managing the family’s investments ever since. Since that time, their portfolio has gained 166%, which works out to a compounded yearly gain of 27.8% for five years running (whereas the broker, by keeping him in the usual assortment of stocks, would have scored a 38% return, or 8.39%/yr). He is a keen gardener preserving food, and brews their own beer & wine, and raises chickens. He has carefully examined each support system (food, energy, security, etc.), and for each of them he’s figured out either a means of being more self-sufficient or a way to do without. But, most importantly, he now knows that the most important descriptor of wealth is not dollar holdings, but the depth and richness of their local community.
He is helped by his wife and four others who are volunteers and who believe in everything he is trying to do.
You can visit the site and take the course as often as you need to get it right, and there is never any charge. You can donate but only if you physically click on the donate button. It is entirely optional. I am not rich, but will give a small contribution as I believe in what he is trying to do.
The biggest weapon those who would keep us down is the fact that we are ignorant of the bigger picture. By understanding the larger picture we are half way to enlightenment and, as such, reduce the powers of the politicians and others to keep us downtrodden.