The long-term strategy for building economic wealth appears to be holding house prices steady while waiting for wages to catch up. This article does the maths to answer one question: how long until the average wage has the same housebuying power of the average wage in 1992?
By 2021, the average New Zealand house price has climbed to some $750,000, while the average wage languishes at around $34 an hour. This means that most Kiwis today are looking at putting in 22,000 hours of labour before they can get to the position of homeownership.
Economists predict that the average New Zealand house price will increase by double-digit percentages in 2021. 5% increases are expected for the two years after that, up until March 2024, which is as far ahead as anyone responsible will try to predict.
Let’s make two assumptions: firstly, that these forecasts are broadly correct; secondly, that house prices stop increasing after March 2024, allowing wages to catch up.
This suggests that house prices will top out at a national average of about $910,000 ($750,000 x 1.10 x 1.05 x 1.05). This assumes that they increase by around 10% in the year to March 2022, and then 5% for the two years after that, before remaining stable thereafter. The reality is, of course, anyone’s guess, but let’s say for simplicity’s sake that house prices reach $910,000 by March 2024 and then stay there in perpetuity.
To buy a $910,000 house with 7,000 hours of labour, a worker would have to be getting paid $130 per hour. Assuming that all other things (labour share, taxes, rents, non-rent living costs) are equal, $130/hr is what the average wage would have to be for the average worker to have the same housebuying power as the average worker in 1992.
As mentioned above, the average wage in New Zealand is around $34 right now. This means that it has to increase 3.82 times for the average worker to have the same housebuying power that the average worker had in 1992 – without house prices increasing beyond March 2024.
Wage growth over the past 28 years in New Zealand, from just under $15 an hour in 1992 to around $34 an hour at the end of 2020, has run at about 3% per annum.
If we assume future wage increases of 3% per annum, and no further house price increases beyond March 2024, then we will have to wait around 48 years for the average wage to catch up to the housebuying power that the average wage had in 1992.
In reality, it’s unlikely that house prices will remain exactly the same for the next 48 years. When the Boomers start dying off en masse, beginning in about 15 years, the demand for housing will rapidly fall all across the Western World. At that point, house prices could go in any direction depending on how much immigration takes place.
Of course, if house prices continue to increase beyond March 2024, then wages will simply never catch up. The West will become more and more verticalised until we effectively regress into a feudal-style economy where 99% of people are renters for life.
What can be said with confidence, however, is that it will take around half a century, at current rates, for wages to catch up to the point where the average worker has the same housebuying power they had in 1992. And that is even if one assumes that house prices don’t continue to increase.
The following is an attempt to reconcile ancient Western esoteric psychology with ancient Eastern esoteric psychology. The idea is that all human psychopathological conditions fall into one of twelve categories, the categories being all permutations of genetic, environmental and spiritual (in the first place) and clay, iron, silver and gold (in the second place).
The first condition is genetic clay. This refers to a person who is weak for genetic reasons.
In this category are all sufferers of genetic conditions which make them weaker or more passive than normal. The typical outcome of falling into this category is that a person becomes resentful and bitter. Hatred for the world and for life in general is characteristic of people in the first condition.
This is also the category for people who are simply dumb. Most people not naturally intelligent enough to find a place in the world become resentful. In practice, there’s good reason to categorise such people with the other genetic unfortunates. In principle, it doesn’t matter much if a person is genetically weak for physical or mental reasons, because the attitude will be similar.
The second condition is genetic iron. This refers to a person who is cruel for genetic reasons.
The usual reason for a person to fall into this category is that they are physically stronger than average, but mentally weaker than average. This combination can lead to contempt for those physically weaker than them. This is the category that schoolyard bullies usually fall into, and it’s the one that adults fall into if they don’t grow out of the schoolyard bully stage.
People in this category might be ‘bad’, but they’re not ‘fucked-up’ or ‘evil’ like people from the sixth and tenth categories. It’s more a matter of being unusually boisterous or vigourous. Many juvenile delinquents fall into this category owing to understimulation, and most of those grow out of it (or have it knocked out of them).
The third condition is genetic silver. This refers to someone who has no genetic conditions, but who is otherwise not special.
The condition here is indifference towards those who are genetically less fortunate. Many people who are born without genetic conditions are incapable of understanding the suffering caused by them, and as such they feel contempt instead of sympathy towards those who have them.
Characteristic of the third condition, then, is a callous kind of apathy for ordinary people. It’s not really malicious, although it can be. It is different to the cruelty of the second condition in the sense that people in the third condition tend to direct others to cause harm, rather than causing harm themselves.
The fourth condition is genetic gold. This refers to someone who is perfectly in balance.
Those of genetic gold possess neither the weakness of people in the first condition, nor the brutality of people in the second condition, nor the cold apathy of people in the third condition. Belonging to this fourth condition are all the people who naturally feel empathy with other living beings.
Insofar as belonging to this group is a condition, it is the condition of suffering the envy of the less gifted, and the despair of not being appreciated in proportion to one’s true worth. Those of genetic gold will always have to adapt themselves to a world created to suit someone else. Someone in the fourth condition, then, is someone who literally has it too good for their own good.
Those are the four genetic conditions. In short, they are: suffering weakness and becoming masochistic; suffering weakness and becoming sadistic; not suffering weakness and becoming apathetic; and not suffering weakness and becoming sympathetic.
The fifth condition is environmental clay. This refers to people who have endured so much trauma that they have become depressed.
Abuse and neglect that lead to giving up on life is the most common reason for a person to belong to the fifth condition. If a person suffers so much during childhood that they come to feel that the world is an evil place, and so there’s no point in trying to be happy here, then they fall into this category. This is also the category for people who have become shut-ins owing to adverse early childhood experiences.
The fifth condition is for people that were created genetically normal but who were then broken by the world. A great number of suicides fall into this category, because those with harmful genetic conditions have often learned to live with them by the time they reach suicide age. Most deaths of despair afflict people in the fifth condition.
The sixth condition is environmental iron. This refers to people who have endured so much trauma that they have become sadistic.
When children are born, they don’t immediately know if the world is a good place or an evil one. They learn this, based on how their environment treats them. Those who come into the world and are met with abuse learn that the world runs on abuse. As such, they naturally come to abuse others. Alchemically speaking, their environment has hammered them into shape like a blacksmith would hammer into a shape an iron dagger.
The main difference between genetic iron and environmental iron is that the former is dumb, whereas the latter can be of any level of intelligence. Genetic iron tends to fall in line with a smack to the head; environmental iron is much less predictable. Although people of both genetic iron and environmental iron can behave like psychopaths, the latter is closer to what used to be called a sociopath.
The seventh condition is environmental silver. This is otherwise known as “having a decent upbringing”.
It’s comparatively rare for people to grow up in this world without suffering heavily. Someone who grew up genetically unremarkable and who also had an unremarkable upbringing usually enjoys the human experience. Much like people in the third condition, the major characteristic of the seventh condition is apathy.
The main difference between the seventh condition and the third is that people in the seventh condition are much more likely to move out of it. Those in the third condition are usually stuck there on account of the mindless inertia of biological forces, but those in the seventh can either reason their way out of apathy or have an experience that causes them to learn sympathy.
The eighth condition is environmental gold. This refers to a person who has endured trauma that made their behaviour worse, but who has overcome that.
The eighth condition is analogous to gold because of its value and rarity. The vast majority of people who suffer heavily become either meek or cruel, and the majority of those who don’t suffer become apathetic. A person who has suffered, and overcome it, has demonstrated a spiritual quality of the highest value.
All of the world’s genuine spiritual leaders fall into this category. It is the category for those who have learned the ultimate spiritual and alchemical power of transmuting suffering into joy. Eckhart Tolle is probably the most famous example right now, having learned to transmute a near-suicidal depression into tranquility.
These are the four environmental conditions. In short, they are: suffering trauma and becoming masochistic; suffering trauma and becoming sadistic; not suffering trauma and becoming apathetic; becoming sympathetic regardless of whether one suffered trauma.
These eight conditions are as far as mainstream psychology goes. Mainstream psychology is only concerned with biological nature and environmental nurture; it allows no concept of any spiritual dimension, because any such dimension would not be amenable to measurement. The latter four conditions in alchemical psychopathlogy are spiritual.
The ninth condition is spiritual clay. This refers to a person whose true will is to withdraw from the world.
People in the ninth condition have a spiritual attachment to suffering. They are often described by others as excessively sensitive. They are not broken like people in the fifth condition or defective like people in the first. They just don’t want more life.
Many old people come into this condition once the prime of their lives are over. It’s both common and understandable for a person to mentally check out of reality once they only have pain and suffering to look forward to. People with schizoid personality disorder also fall into this category, as does everyone who has simply become bored of life.
The tenth position is spiritual iron. This refers to people whose true will is to increase the amount of suffering in the world.
People belonging to this condition are rare, and are often hard to detect until it’s too late. People without a genetic reason to be resentful and who have not suffered significant environmental trauma, but who still act to increase the net amount of suffering in the world, could be said to be evil.
The characteristic way to recognise a person in this condition is that there’s no explicable reason for their actions. This is why they can’t be said to be ‘fucked-up’ like a person in the sixth condition. A lot of old people end up in the tenth condition if they become bitter, because it’s common for old people to become resentful about their impending deaths and to take this resentment out on the young.
The eleventh position is spiritual silver. This refers to people whose true will is to be indifferent to suffering.
Most people in the eleventh condition have drifted through life in a state of bliss. They haven’t suffered for genetic reasons, haven’t suffered for environmental reasons, and they do not have a strong spiritual attachment to suffering. They experience life much like an enlightened person does, without appreciating why.
People in the eleventh condition are different to people in the seventh because people in the eleventh are indifferent to their own suffering, not only (or even primarily) the suffering of others. Someone in the seventh condition might suffer and then become a person of the fifth or sixth conditions, but a person in the eleventh condition can suffer without being affected.
The twelfth position is spiritual gold. This refers to people whose true will is to decrease the suffering in the world.
People in the twelfth condition are the bodhisattvas of this part of the Great Fractal. They are the ones who have managed to find a way to transmute suffering into joy, not just for themselves but also for others. Their spiritual nature has overpowered both their genetic nature and their conditioned nature, but in the best possible way. People in this condition plant trees even though they won’t get to sit in the shade of them.
David Bowie once said that “Religion is for people who fear hell, spirituality is for people who have been there.” The twelfth condition is for those who have suffered but who have found a way to overcome it absolutely, not partially or temporarily as people in the eighth condition have. These people are the masters of alchemy who have succeeded at the meaning of life.
These are the four spiritual conditions. In short, they are: a true will to withdraw from suffering; a true will to increase suffering; a true will to be indifferent to suffering; a true will to decrease suffering.
Generally speaking, a person will fall into one of the earlier conditions as their life begins, will move into the middle conditions as their life progresses, and will finally move into the latter conditions as their life comes to a close.
This reflects the developmental influences of humans from almost purely genetic when they are born, to genetic and environmental in youth, to genetic, environmental and spiritual in middle age and to spiritual in old age.
The whole world seems to be at a standstill, awaiting a coronavirus vaccine. Only when a vaccine is available, we are told, can we risk opening up the borders again and resuming normal life. But there are many good reasons to be skeptical about these impeding vaccines. I won’t be taking one – and in this essay I explain why not.
The mainstream media has presented a misleading picture of how easy it is to produce a coronavirus vaccine. The story we’ve been sold is that we just have to wait a few months longer, then it will be ready and all will be good. Apparently, “COVID-19 vaccine development has been expedited via unprecedented collaboration in the multinational pharmaceutical industry and between governments.”
By September last year, a variety of different potential vaccines were supposedly in advanced stages of development. At some point – soon – doctors everywhere will be telling people that they have an effective and safe coronavirus vaccine, and they’ll be expecting people to believe them and take one, as they expect people to believe everything else they say.
And I won’t be believing them and I won’t be taking a coronavirus vaccine.
Because they still don’t know that cannabis is medicinal. If they still don’t know that cannabis is medicinal, when there is mountains of evidence suggesting this and has been for decades, then how can I trust them to have an accurate picture about a coronavirus vaccine?
In 1996, doctors in California, being aware already then that cannabis was medicinal, organised to have it made legal. They arranged to have a referendum on the subject and made sure that the voters were correctly educated. Since then, recognising the science, 16 countries and 39 other American jurisdictions have legalised medicinal cannabis.
Despite these advances, doctors here in New Zealand have resolutely stayed ignorant. They know nothing about medicinal cannabis, not even the difference between CBD and THC. All cannabis use causes mental illness, they bleat, as if it were still 1970. The most recent quarter-century of scientific advancement can just fuck off.
So when doctors start telling me about a coronavirus vaccine, and how they’re sure it’s safe and effective, I’m just going to laugh. Their approach to medicinal cannabis has shown me that they’re more interested in political realities than scientific ones. Twelve years of trying to communicate with New Zealand doctors about medicinal cannabis has been utterly fruitless.
If these doctors want people to trust them about a vaccine that has been known for a few months, they have to start telling the truth about a medicine that has been known for thousands of years. If they’re not capable of doing that, I’m going to stay well away from any vaccines they might offer me.
That Clown World is at the point where democracy tips over into tyranny is evident from the state of elections today. If there’s anything in today’s world that could be compared to a grotesque circus, it’s our general elections. The political world has always been like a circus, but in Clown World the circus is 24/7.
Problems with starting a democracy in places like Africa, it is said, don’t generally arise during the first election. It’s in one of the subsequent elections, when the winner of the initial election loses, that the problems start happening. It’s all well and good for one party to assume control after winning the first democratic election. What matters more, though, is what happens when they lose control and are asked to hand over power.
Characteristic of democratic elections in African scumholes is that they are contested. Almost inevitably, the loser accuses the winner of cheating, either by stuffing ballot boxes or by intimidating opposition voters into staying home. This is especially likely to be true if the loser won the previous election. It’s common for these disputes to end up in massacres or even civil wars.
Characteristic of democratic elections in the West is that the loser accepts the result. This is why it was so shocking for the 2000 American Presidential Election to drag on for as long as it did. But in Clown World, elections in the West have started to go down the African route.
The first real sign of it was the Russian interference conspiracy theory that was pushed by Democrat Party operatives in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 loss. This conspiracy theory suggested that the election result might not have been legitimate because it was influenced by the actions of the Russian Government, who supposedly purchased enough FaceBook ads to switch the result from Clinton to Donald Trump.
At time of writing this chapter, the result of the 2020 American Presidential Election still isn’t clear. Seven weeks after the election, neither Joe Biden nor Donald Trump has conceded (although the mainstream media has anointed Biden the winner). Trump has mounted a number of legal challenges relating to the vote, and rumours persist that he might try to enlist the military in a coup.
The tendency of Clown World politicians to dispute election results is made worse by the fact that the elections themselves have become detached from reality. The election process presents an image of a politician that 99.9% of voters will never meet. So it’s almost impossible to know if the results of a general election reflect the will of the country. This makes disputes much more plausible.
In Clown World, elections come down to a battle between competing narratives. Whichever narrative can assert itself the strongest wins, regardless of what any vote tally might say. Elections aren’t so much won as consent for one side’s victory is manufactured. This has made elections into permanent public relations exercises more than temporary leadership contests.
Buying media space is how positive public relations are maintained, and thereby how most elections are won. 90% of the time, the better-resourced candidate wins. This is because most voters in a democracy simply vote for the candidate with the most name recognition. If they saw Candidate A on the television and not Candidate B, that must mean that Candidate A is superior.
It’s even possible to calculate how much money you need to buy enough positive attention to win. A seat in the United States House of Representatives, for example, will cost around $1.6 million. However, it’s not always as simple as money – Michael Bloomberg spent $500 million to win the Democratic nomination for the 2020 Presidential election, and failed. Generally speaking, the lower the office the easier it can be bought.
No matter how hard it is to buy an office, though, people will always try. Because of all the mainstream media propaganda and disinformation this leads to, we still don’t know who has won the 2020 Presidential election. Faith in institutions is so low that there’s no-one we trust to tell us the definitive truth about who the President will be. FaceBook will censor anyone questioning Biden’s supposed victory, but as of right now it’s not clear that Trump intends to concede.
The great risk when elections become disputed is that it can lead to tyranny. The logic is that if the other side isn’t going to play fair, then why should we? Mistrust can escalate to the point where both sides reason that they had better get their retaliation in first. At that point, the country is essentially in a state of civil war.
Unfortunately, if the last two decades of American presidential elections are anything to go by, civil war is almost inevitable. It seems like the election results are becoming more and more heavily disputed by the loser. Trump is digging in his heels right now, and ill will is so widespread that if he called for a million Republican supporters to hit the streets with firearms he might get it.
For democratic elections to work, there has to be widespread confidence that the electoral process is legitimate. This means widespread confidence that there is no voter suppression, no foreign interference, no collusion with outside third parties and no influential disinformation campaigns. If one or more of these factors are present, the results are liable to get disputed.
It might well be that democratic elections themselves are inherently signs of Clown World. But the decay doesn’t stop at democratic elections. The predictable future is increased Weimarisation, up to the point where the system collapses or is overthrown. One possible pre-emptive solution is withdrawing the franchise from certain anti-social groups.
This article is an excerpt from Clown World Chronicles, a book about the insanity of life in the post-Industrial West. This is being compiled by Vince McLeod for an expected release in January 2021.