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24-Nov-2016 18:07

Wishful Thinking, Technology, and the Fate of the Nation The nationally best-selling author of "The Long Emergency" expands on his alarming argument that our oil-addicted, technology-dependent society is on the brink of collapse—that the long emergency has already begun. The way I figure it, jobs in Japan fall into seven categories: 1. These jobs are generally not available from overseas, and most of the people who do them seem to wear faded suits and sweat profusely. If you’re doing a Skype interview, at least wear a suit from the waist up, and hope that nobody asks you to stand and do a demo lesson.Their stated goal is to reach an ultimate wind-down velocity of billion a month (cue laugh track). And don’t even ask about all those bundles of janky Freddie Mac mortgages fobbed off on the Fed.If they ever get there (cue laugh track) it would take 20 years to complete the wind-down. When a bond matures, the issuer has to send the principal back to the lender. Instead, when the theoretical principal is returned to the Fed, the Fed disappears the money, like the girl in a bikini onstage who enters the magician’s sacred box and vanishes. The explanation, of course, might be that the money was never really there in the first place, so it makes sense to fire it back to the alternative universe it came from. The catch is: for a while it was here on earth and folks were doing stuff with it, such as the aforementioned drone strikes and pole dancers. The reason they did that in the first place was because those mortgages weren’t being paid off, and the banks and insurance companies that held them were choking to death on them.

For my first interview, I wore a red tie and sat in this giant videoconference room in L. Nobody wants you to put the coffee scoop into the tea pot. I never really considered this option, since in the past I’d been a programmer in the States, and I knew what that entailed. This is what you do when you’re done teaching English. “Training” may also be part of the job, which is where you take a group of jet-lagged college grads whose last job was scooping ice cream and explain to them the intricacies of teaching English in a day and a half. Recruiters may also fill other positions, working on commission.

I don’t like to sweat, as it messes up my hair, so I ruled out this category as well. There are some things interviewers do not want to see. The number one thing they’re trying to weed out is flaky people.

If you’re from some place like Britain, you may be able to get a Working Holiday visa in Japan. Even nationality isn’t that important, although the more Asian you appear, the better your English will need to be. Nobody wants to 747 your ass all the way to Japan, get you set up with an apartment, a train pass, and a group of students, only to have you decide three months later that Japan isn’t the heaven you dreamed it’d be. They also want people who are “flexible.” You’ll hear this in Japanese interviews all the time.

These securities, mostly US government bonds of various categories and bundles of mortgages wrangled together by the mysterious government-sponsored entity called Freddie Mac, represent about .5 trillion in debt.

They’re IOUs that supposedly pay interest for a set number of years.When that term of years expires, the Fed gets back the money it loaned, which is called the principal. You see, the money that the Fed loaned to the US government (in exchange for a bond) was never there in the first place.