The World According to Ziehan

I write about OTG, boats, politics, engine repairs, firewood, my wife, economics, aging….kind of an eclectic grab-bag of my daily-life thoughts. I spare you dinner recipes but they occupy more than just a bit of my mind-space, too. And, of course, now and then, I mention the dogs (almost 14 months old and still growing!). This all about someone else!

In a sec….first me, of course.…..There is no denying that I have a bit of a doomsday streak running through a lot of what I write. The End of Days kinda thing. “Git yerself a cabin in the woods if ya wanna survive the Zombie Apocalypse!” “Get out. Get OUT NOW!!!” “Climate Change is coming!” “It’s here!!!!”

I can get a little hysterical.

I’ve been trying to tone it down a bit. “The sky is falling” gets a bit lame after awhile…..altho, the sky is dropping large balloons lately…jus’ sayin’…..

I have also been up front about all that – my dramatic warnings stem from a lack of good scientific data and information, media manipulation and a healthy but unchecked imagination. I tend to believe some of the ‘others’ when they warn us and ignore the ‘stupid others’ that say otherwise – but I do not know who is who. Not really. And I am not a researcher. I mostly go on feelings, inferential scanning (unconscious observation) and whatever madness comes with getting older. I am not really much of a bona fide source of anything except, perhaps, that I acted on my feelings. But so did Evel Knievel (and his son). Feelings are not always enough.

I mention all this because I just discovered an even more obnoxious, more arrogant, prognosticator than myself and he claims to actually KNOW something. His name is Peter Ziehan and he is a Geopolitical Futurist. He is a bit hard to listen to because he likes himself a bit too much. Even worse, he speaks faster than my cerebral absorption rate. I can barely keep up. If he says something I question (or do not hear quite right) he has already said three other things before I can scramble back aboard the Ziehan train. I really should not be too critical of his style, tho. I kinda like the guy in a ‘fellow-boorish‘ kinda way.

But having ‘style’ does not mean he is wrong. And I think there is an element of logic and accuracy to what he is saying. He is saying that the last 35 years have been mankind’s most enriching, most peaceful, most cooperative and most productive years in world history.

And they are now over.

And that Golden era was because of a few key things: The US kept international shipping lanes, safe. Globalization allowed countries, with only one or two things to offer for trade, to get other products and so further develop themselves. It was that new global trading synergy that created new markets and floated all boats. Plus we (mostly First World (FW) but including 2nd and eventually third world countries, too) had the labour and a system to make good use of it – i.e. Capitalism and the baby boomers.

He is big on Geography, too. Geography is and was a destiny definer throughout history. Still a huge factor for him. And, as an aside, he thinks the USA (the NAFTA zone, actually) enjoys the best geography in the world. It is the only large geographical entity that can run wholly independent of other countries. (There are a few other small ones that have the ‘right stuff’ like New Zealand and France.) Most countries NEED to still trade with FW foreign devils so as to better develop their burgeoning and infant societies. North America can continue on with just domestic devils.

He also notes that globalization is in retreat. The USA is backing away from being the world’s policeman. Nation states (autocrats) are re-asserting isolation/independence to their own and everyone’s detriment. He claims China is almost done, primarily due to population imbalance, Covid, poor soil, autocracy and trade dependence. He claims Russia is done. The Middle East is unsustainable without free trade — they don’t grow food! You need good geography, properly-balanced demographics, robust and varied agriculture and across-the-board industry – only the US has all that in abundance.

Covid exacerbated all that was going to become a disaster anyway as nations fade into oblivion caused by their aging populations and/or bad management. The Russia Ukraine war and climate change is adding to the deglobalization trend. We are all, it seems, downsizing — some quicker and more catastrophically than others.

But the biggest negative influence on the status quo is the aging of the First world. Consumption is falling. Workers are retiring. Capital is constricted. There are not enough young people to replace the retirees and the immigrants who are younger are not as skilled or integrated. Growth has been ruled out. Do not even hold your breath for the status quo.

We are doomed!

Well……..we are doomed to ‘transition’, anyway. Change is underway. BIG CHANGE is underway. HUGE CHANGE IS UNDERWAY. Maybe it will turn out to be a blessing?

In fact, Ziehan says this month is a bit of a reveal. It seems February 2023 is when the Baby Boomers wave of retirement really peaks. And transition time is for a long period, probably…well….it is hard to say…..because we do NOT know what we are transitioning to……but he figures it will take a two or three generations at least to sort out the new ‘world order’. It won’t be an easy transition and he has stated that those fifty years or so will experience great hardship and many countries and populations will go without what we have all come to expect. Life will get harder. Food choices reduced. Food volumes reduced. Trade and wealth around the world will drop. Much of the world will regress, devolve……

Ziehan makes me look like Mr. Sunshine.

So…let the sun shine in….he has not factored in robots, artificial intelligence, ingenuity or even technology — not really. He has not opined that Gaia might appreciate a rest and recuperation period as populations fall and abuse lessens. He has not considered the rise of the few countries that have young populations (sub-Saharan and South America) or those youngish, such as India and some SE Asian countries. There should be a lot less war (again, fewer young people). Nor has he considered the one aspect of our species that has served us the best – adaptability.

Regardless…Ziehan has entered the conversation with a new perspective…..something to think about.

24 thoughts on “The World According to Ziehan

  1. Naa, I have accepted that we are doomed! Its ok, the world will get along just fine without us. Wait 10 or 20 million years and another apex being will have that perfect chance once again.


    • Right, you are truly an optimist….a long, long view optimist but an optimist nevertheless. We, who are here for just a short time, have long, long views……and some of us are so stupid as to actually make PLANS!!!


  2. Plans are the folly of the optimistic. When you consider that all our plans for the future are in indefinite limbo as the leader of 1.87% of the world’s population plays God. Remembering that he has the power to smite everything several times over just as an angry God could, the question comes to mind why do we still believe in God’s and why can this happen? Is there a way can we get past this phase in our human existence to become true optimists? I’m betting on the reset in 10-20 million years.


  3. I started listening to Zeihan a few months ago when he was talking about Putin on a podcast.
    He does love to hear himself talk but he does raise some interesting comments about geopolitics, economics, demographics….etc.
    Just an interesting point of view I take will a grain of salt….like Jordan Pederson.
    Not the gospel just…..
    Interesting but …meh.

    Seems like you and Sal were ahead of the curve moving OTG 20 years ago.

    What do romantic OTG’ers do on Valentines Day?
    Carve hearts in tree bark?


  4. SpaceX is the game changer.
    Even Zeihan agrees on that.
    Cheap , reusable rockets for satellites, moon/Mars missions.
    hundreds of trouble free launches so far.
    Thousands of satellites in orbit ( SpaceX has launched more satellites into orbit in the last 5 years that all other space launches ever….combined)

    Get govt bureaucrats out of the way and the private sector wins every time.
    Musk refuses to patent many of SpaceX tech “firsts” because…he doesnt want the Chinese to steal them.

    The Starship may go to orbit next month.
    It will be the largest rocket ever, into space.
    Its a beast.
    The largest Rocket ever to lift off ( Russian) had 11 million pounds of thrust and exploded before reaching space back in the late 1960’s.
    Starship has 14 million pounds of thrust and can return to earth and land back where it started.
    How much is 14 million pounds of thrust?
    It’s big enough to lift two city busses into space at once.

    As Russia fiddles in a pointless war, lashing out at the one country that it has more in common with ( culturally, linguistically, historically) than any other country on earth……proving it is a corrupt, fading empire run by small minded men with delusions of grandeur..


    • Can’t disagree…..but, when the timeline is factored in, mine will be over for sometime before Musk does much for us like me. Musk is too far ahead of me for it to mean anything real. Ziehan, however, is claiming immediate or near-immediate adjustment, change, disaster and collapse. So, I am kinda focused on the near time, ya know? Call me nearsighted…..


  5. Maybe the speed of evolution is too much to handle for mankind. There has always been evolution, but never before at the pace of the last 100 years. And on top of the speed of evolution, we are depleting the natural resources on an enormous scale.
    And maybe there in lies the strenght and vision of Musk. To be honest, he is kind of a visionary, with the power to make his dreams come true.
    So maybe he has found a way to stop depleting our natural resources, but we will start to f*** up the moon or mars and get our resources from there?
    And maybe the only “good” thong to come out of the war in Ukraine (although it’s NOT because a vision of Putin) : the transition towards green energy has really gotten an enormous boost and will be e a reality much faster then any one anticipated.
    And maybe we might be just in time to save our planet after all
    And if not….we all hop an a Starship and move to some distant planet


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.