Eight Rules for a Poor Life

Eight Rules for a Poor Life

We rented a car in Paris yesterday and drove down to the old family property south of the Loire. The rental — a new ‘DS’ from Citroen — was quiet and comfortable. But it kept nagging us — in English.

Beep, beep, beep…put your hands on the steering wheel’, said the message on the screen, even though our hands — the only two we have — were already on the steering wheel.

Beep, beep, beep…you are following too close to the vehicle in front of you…

Beep, beep, beep…a seat belt is not buckled…

Beep, beep, beep…you need to take a rest…

Beep, beep, beep…you are exceeding the speed limit.

Damned electronics’, we said to ourselves.

We looked for a way to turn them off…but we couldn’t decipher the electronic instructions. It was hard enough to figure out how to turn the car on. The ‘start’ button is hidden — in plain view — in the middle of the dashboard, where the emergency flasher button should be, not where you expect to find it.


The deciders in France live in chic neighbourhoods in Paris. They don’t drive very much. And they’re happy to make life more difficult for ‘the people’ who do. ‘Drive more slowly’, they command; ‘it will reduce carbon emissions’. And save the planet! So the speed limit on rural roads has been reduced to the point where you go along as if you were driving to your own funeral.

Then, you speed up to pass the slowpoke law-abider in front of you, and your car talks to you as if you were a criminal.

But remember, it’s for a good cause.

Here in Poitou, our farmer friends reported last night:

It’s terrible. Prices for fertilizer have gone through the roof. And we can’t find replacement parts for our machinery. “Ukraine…Ukraine…Ukraine…” Whatever the problem, it’s blamed on the Ukraine.

Back in the US…

The days of abundant resources and farm inputs are over’, said our favourite tractor company’s CEO at John Deere’s ‘Investor Day’ last week. Deere chief Sam Allen says the company is rolling out electronic gadgets to help farmers save money.

His pitch sounded like what you get on your boots when mucking out a horse’s stall. What farmers need is lower prices for fertiliser and farm equipment, not more complicated technology.

And high input prices are not just a problem for farmers themselves. Higher cost inputs inevitably reduce outputs…which will mean less food and higher food prices. Again, the deciders won’t suffer…but it’s a life-threatening trend for the world’s poorest people.

A wealth of poverty

But that’s the problem with the ‘Poverty is the new Prosperity’ hustle. The elite can afford a little poverty. Other people can’t.

‘Demand destruction’ is the term economists use. It describes the self-correcting phenomenon: how high prices cure high prices…and why inflation will take care of itself if left alone. As prices rise, people can’t afford to buy so much because they are poorer. So prices fall simply because there is less demand for goods and services. Less is made. Less is consumed. Prices fall. And less energy is used.

Two problems solved.

And people adjust as necessary. They get by and make do. When they can’t afford steak, they switch to hamburgers.

But now…

‘Even chicken is getting too expensive?’ asks a Bloomberg headline. And the geniuses at the Davos Summit…where the elite of the elite…the crème de la crème…dine on caviar and chateaubriand, after telling the masses to eat less meat…have a solution for that too. Just go further down the food chain.

Here’s the latest propaganda from the World Economic Forum (sponsors of the Davos Summit): ‘Good Grub: why we might be eating insects soon’:

Per kilo of live weight, bugs emit less harmful gas than more mainstream farm animals. A cow, for example, produces 2.8 kg of greenhouse gas per kilo of live body weight. Insects, on the other hand, produce just 2 grams.

They also consume fewer resources than traditional livestock. For each kilo it weighs, a cow needs 10 kg of feed. Bugs on the other hand need just 1.7 kg.

Water, which is becoming an increasingly scarce resource in some parts of the world and which is used liberally in intensive farming offers another interesting comparison. To produce a single gram of insect protein, you’d need 23 litres of water. That might sound like a lot. But to get that same gram of protein from cattle, you’d need 112 litres of water.

It sounds disgusting…but it’s for a good cause!

And here at the Letter, we aim to do our part. Yes, we’re going to help you get in sync with the ‘Poverty is the new Prosperity’ claptrap.

Here are our ‘Eight Rules for a Poor Life’

First, spend money you don’t have on things you don’t need. Use your credit cards. Buy lifetime memberships in golf clubs and health spas — and die soon.

Second, give generously to the political party of your choice. It’s money down the drain, for sure, but it might keep those other SOBs out of power.

Third, ask your boss to cut your salary in half and remove the AC from your office. Sweat stains will soon be a fashion statement.

Fourth, buy cryptos…meme stocks…NFTs…and techs. Tell yourself that you are wisely ‘buying the dip’. Then, wait for them to go down more. And put your dollar savings in a safe place. Keep them there, and guard them carefully until they are worthless.

Fifth, learn how to make ‘grasshoppers a la mode’…and ‘maggot linguini’.

Sixth, on your tax return, check the box that asks, ‘Would you like to contribute extra money so federal employees can live better than you do?’ Of course, you would.

Seventh, refuse all government handouts — whether for unemployment, Social Security, or welfare. You’ve made yourself poor; you want to enjoy it fully.

Eighth, sell your car. Henceforth, travel only by bicycle.

Ninth (a bonus!): scrounge around. Find a discarded tent. Set it up under an LA freeway. Panhandle…but with a superior sniff. You need some money to survive…but now you have a higher social status than those who give you loose change.

After all, you’re saving the planet.


Dan Denning Signature

Bill Bonner,
For The Daily Reckoning Australia