Preview review


Best Canadian prediction of the year: here


…another one




He was an institutional pollster, marketer, focus group leader and pundit. He’s served as a strategic advisor to the Greens’ Elizabeth May (after quitting in dismay). He’s a consultant and confidante to major corporate clients, and Dan Baril has been at the end of the phone when I felt in need of some political advice – one of the four people I trust.

A month ago I gave him a review copy of my soon-to-be-released book, After the Crash. He has today given me his response. — Garth

What if Garth is right again?

From Dan Baril’s blog, published Dec. 29

danbaril Chapter-after-chapter the crap scares out of you with near indisputable facts. Then, in the final chapter of his new book After the Crash, Garth Turner outlines three economic scenarios; Probable, Possible, and Worst Case. You’ll have to read the book yourself for the details when it’s available in mid-January, but that’s not what most caught my attention when I read my “review copy” of what will surely be another best-seller.

In that same final chapter, warding off the alarmist label some are sure to affix to his leathers, Turner rhetorically poses and answers two critical questions “…should a sensible, non-alarmist person worry about the “possible” or “worst case” scenarios above? Or is this stuff too over the top? The answer lies in the nature of risk. If the possibility of something happening is not 0%, then a prudent person usually does something to protect against it.”

The question I kept asking myself as I was reading, and since, is how much above zero percent probability are the Possible or the Worst Case scenarios, and to whom does one look for the answer?

Should Canadians look to a Prime Minister and his sidekick Minister of Finance who a few months ago told Canadians “our economic fundamentals are as solid as the Canadian Shield” or to the guy about who the Canadian Press says “…more important may be that the former MP’s alarmist book about collapsing housing prices in Canada – “Greater Fool,” which he began writing last December when the sky seemed to be the limit – has turned out scarily bang-on.”

Far from being just another “how to” book – although there is some of that too – reading between the lines of After the Crash, there is a far more fundamental message about taking back that which a few decades ago many of us unwittingly gave up. Control.

Control of what is another question, as is how much and in what denomination.

Garth makes it amply clear the decision about taking control is a very personal decision which ultimately each of us has to make on our own. The book doesn’t make the decision for you but there is certainly no shortage of facts, figures and a historical context to help the reader decide. By the end of the book it’s also clear what decisions and which path Garth has, and is, taking.

Looking back at 2008, I will be kind and generous. I won’t say politicians did what they did on purpose. Instead I will let them get away with saying they didn’t know – read as they proved their incompetence.

Truth is Misters Harper, Flaherty, Ignatieff, Layton, Duccepe, and their Provincial equivalents haven’t a clue what’s truly in store for 2009. I watched Stephen Harper’s year-end interview with the CTV duo, Robertson and Fife, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why the broadcaster needed two questioners of a man with no answers. The interview was about nothing like no show of Seinfeld ever was.

For certain and just as the real estate industry did a year ago and continues today, the government doesn’t see its role as telling the truth so much as it believes in self-servingly creating and maintaining an illusion and working to prevent widespread panic. Fair enough, there is no sense in making matters worse, but at some point – preferably sooner than later – Canadians need to draw the line on blatant deceitfulness driven by greed and power-hungry partisanship.

Politics is the blood sport it’s reputed to be. That much we know. But as of quite some time ago the end-game seems no longer about what political good is done with the winnings, rather it’s all about ensuring no end to the game of politics.

For those on the inside and those just on the outside it’s all good fun and terrific theatre. We get to play directly as strategists or indirectly as colour commentators about who’s right, who’s wrong, anticipated next moves, and an endless stream of differing analysis. But as my father used to say when we kids horsed-around too much, it’s all good fun until somebody gets hurt. And by some measure of account, it appears 2009 is going to hurt plenty.

To minimize the hurt each person has to decide for themselves how much of the Probable scenario they can weather or how much above zero percent is the probability of Garth’s predictions of the Possible Case and Worst Case scenarios. Rationalists may ask why plan for the less likely scenarios, and perhaps that’s a good question so long as you trust the person attaching percentage probabilities to each scenario.

True to form, the best line in After the Crash is a taunt at the end of chapter one; “…after you read the factors which got us here, and the trends now propelling current events, the ultimate decision is yours on how aggressively you prepare, or how much you pray you don’t have to.”

Ahem, Dear God…


#1 JO on 12.29.08 at 10:39 am

How can politicians be expected to know what is happening when they themselves, for the most part, don’t have a clue what is happening? From the get go, the vast majority of the world’s politicians and their “advisors” have completely misjudged the extent of the crisis and continue to act in a combination of denial and blatent incompetence. Many of these people are now relying on the same “advisors” who couldn’t see what was coming to help craft “solutions” to help deal with the crisis. Yet most of what has been done will simply delay the inevitable and make the end result worse. Instead of flushing the excessive debt in the system, eliminating fractional reserve lending, tightening credit underwriting standards, improving audit procedures and beefing up regulators, abolishing the BofC and other government sponsored debt enslavement machines such as the CMHC/NHA and CDIC, we have politicians rewarding failure and mediocre businesses with bailouts and see talk of “stimulus”. A complete farce if i have ever seen one. How can the same people who didn’t see this coming manage to get us out ? Any action which does not address the core issues of excessive debt will not work. Some politicans may know this but chose to delay the inevitable because they do not want the problems to happen on their watch.

Make no mistake, politicians are part of the problem. I offer a few ideas to improve our political situation (despite not knowing much at all about politics):
1) Extend all terms of office to 5 or 6 years and disallow re-election. Politicians would need to wait until the end of the term following their own to run again.
2) Any politicans who run up a deficit of 3 % or more would be automatically forced to call a general election. This ought to deal with the urge to spend other people’s money, much of it to help friends and business associates, on causes that do not align to the majority of the population.

For now, we might get lucky in 2009 and have a temporary respite in the economy with the slight chance of an inflation scare. But people should enjoy this respite as 2010-2013 will be full of crisis after crisis and deflation.

#2 Indicator on 12.29.08 at 10:49 am

I look fwd to reading your book Garth!!!!

#3 Kestral on 12.29.08 at 11:01 am

Looking forward to reading the new book! I do have a question for Garth, should I pre-order the book on or are you planning on doing a book tour in which we could buy the book and have it signed? Either way I’m buying the book but if I can get a signed one and listen to Garth speak, the sounds like a done deal to me.

You can buy in the store, or order it here…soon. — Garth

#4 Diabolo on 12.29.08 at 11:58 am

I hope Garth is wrong this time around…. But I fear that I am far fetched. Will read the book once I get it.
Being prepared is always good, but don’t make your life miserable in the due process.

#5 hal on 12.29.08 at 11:59 am

Garth: What about the pension plans? Many of us are dependent on pension plans that are invested in the stock markets and we receive monthly payments. We rely on them but they are beyond our control. Are the plans safe or will we be selling pencils on a street corner?

#6 real estate expert on 12.29.08 at 12:19 pm

Doug Kass’s 20 Surprises Of 2009

#7 blacksheep on 12.29.08 at 12:39 pm


I look forward to the book.

I use a number/letter option system [normally in a 4- box graph] for basic risk assessment

Combine any one number & any one letter to assess.

Potential outcomes:

1] We have NO crisis.
2] We DO have a crisis.
A] We take NO action.
B] We DO take action.

#1] + A]=We have NO crisis and we take NO action, spend no energy/money, were all good.

#1] + B]=We have NO crisis, and DO take action, spending energy/money prepping, but can eat our food stores and sell our gold, since there’s no problem.

#2] + B]=We DO have a crisis, but DO take action, preparing for it, will ride it out, as best as possible.

#2] + A]=We DO have a crisis, but take NO action to
prepare, find ourselves fiancially exposed and potentially reliant on the government, or the charity of others for our well being.

Out of the four combonations, the last one,
#2] + A] is the only risk outcome I’M personally NOT willing to take.

take care

#8 Jon B on 12.29.08 at 1:06 pm

Looking forward to reading the book. But why the long face Garth? For the book cover, you should have posed with a combination happy yet serious look. Its about AFTER the crash.
Alternatively you could have just featured a plate of Squirrel on the cover.

#9 Nicholas P on 12.29.08 at 1:11 pm

Dan Barill says:

“Looking back at 2008, I will be kind and generous. I won’t say politicians did what they did on purpose. Instead I will let them get away with saying they didn’t know – read as they proved their incompetence.”

Where are the “cohones” gentlemen?

Garth, your hyde got canned because your boss didn’t want you to spew any more thruth. Truth is the very reason why so many people have become daily visitors to your various websites, blog’s etc.

As soon as you and your trusted lumanaries take that final step and stand behind the notion that these poilticians DID mislead the canadian public on purpose, not because they were looking to minimize panic for our best interest but rather to maximise the effect, your following will grow that much larger.

Two years ago when this Ivy League “lone ranger” Ignatieff burst onto the scene seemingly out of nowhere, I thought to myself something is up here, what a perfect establishment candidate for the next Liberal leader. Well it seems the money masters decided it wasn’t the right time. We needed more circus to distract the people from what should have been painfully obvious about the global economy years ago.

Well here we are now, the problem created by not informing the public of the global issue at hand has been maximised, the public has reacted by begging for the “granny state”government to save us , and the solution the establishment has wanted all along is provided.

The article at Globalresearch “The Empire Strikes Back, Canadian Style” lays it out best here at :

I envision a new cover for your book. You standing there in a gangster rap outfit hold a big pair of cohones in your hand staring down the “establishment”. I’ll allow your artistic expression guide you on who “they” may be.

What do you think?

#10 Rob in Onterrible on 12.29.08 at 1:23 pm

Garth, I have a question regarding your new book: do you give any mention of where in Canada the “safest” place will be? For example, manufacturing is dying so that will kill Ontartio and Quebec. Oil is low so that’s not good for Alberta but Saskatchewan has food and people still need to eat so will that province fare any better in the future? This is what I mean by a “safe” place. Not a home in the country near Kapuskasing…

#11 vulture says 50% by spring on 12.29.08 at 1:48 pm

lets get the party started
50%off everything forever

#12 real estate expert on 12.29.08 at 2:14 pm

The Euro…RIP

200 Russian business leaders demanding handouts from Moscow to repay their loans to Eurozone banks.

Poland, Hungary, and other Eastern Bloc nations hanging by a thread.

China cuts interest rates fifth time in three months; sudden crash in exports cited … civil unrest feared, repayment of Eurozone loans in question. Similar, massive defaults likely throughout Asia.

Germany facing worst economy since Berlin was reduced to rubble in 1946. Massive defaults on loans made by European banks set to crush the euro early in 2009.

Martin D. Weiss

(Central & Eastern Canada are a lot closer to Europe than is Vancouver…hmmmmmm)

#13 truerickroll on 12.29.08 at 2:33 pm


2009 will be a year of stringent financial spending for my family and me. But I will surely go out and buy the book to check out the perspective of guidance through these rough times. The book looks great Garth.

All those greedy, stubborn, non-intelligent real estate bulls. You are all in for a rough ride in 2009.

Does everyone have their popcorn ready?

#14 Mark on 12.29.08 at 2:35 pm

Short everything. Particularly banks. HFD (on the TSE) is my insurance policy against the impending collapse of free market capitalism.

Take a look at the symbol HOD on the TSE. Good god. 1000% return in 5 or 6 months. Not bad I say.

Use this knowledge Garth is spewing out to make money. Turn the doom and gloom into cash.

#15 putw on 12.29.08 at 2:40 pm

I have a financial advisor who was frothing at the mouth when I told her that I was sitting on 6 figures of hard earned cash – by the way (putw = private unorganized taxpaying worker). So everything’s hard earned since I am neither in a PSU nor an appointed bureaucrat.

She kept insisting on me to put it somewhere or its value will diminish. This had been going on for a year + half.

She owns 7 commercial properties (read: tiny shops in run down malls) and rents them out. At least in the mississauga area I don’t find any such properties up for grabs in large numbers. So I am assuming that those barbars, bling retailers, ethnic take-outs, and cell phone shops must be doing some level of business to pay $1000 in rent per month.

She tells me that unlike fort mac, chatham, hamilton or windsor, toronto and gta have a “critical mass”. That is, a number of people large enough to sustain an economy and preventing a ghost-town-esque collapse. So if I don’t do anything with money (buy a house, or shop), it’s of no value to me because it’s not gaining value sitting in a savings account or GIC.

My question is, is this critical mass theory regarding large metropolis, true? That, no matter how bad a downturn, you’ll always be a winner?

Further, I work in IT and live at home. My dad’s an oil sands worker now for over 1.5 years. I’ve noticed that in some areas of toronto you can get a large sized shop in a plaza with a 2-3br apt above for under 300k. Is it worth it? Preferable over a SFH?

#16 Another Joe on 12.29.08 at 3:06 pm

Looks like everybody is busy buying your book , Garth

#17 jho on 12.29.08 at 3:40 pm

sweet! (sort of)… Can’t wait for the new book garth. If all goes to sh*t as you’re possibly predicting, will you refund the purchase amount (in cash…maybe booze) so I can put it in my emergency survival box???

#18 Ruhh on 12.29.08 at 3:48 pm

tip #145: Always wear the same shirt and tie ;)

But seriously now. Looking forward to the book and further exploring XURBIA.

#19 Another Joe on 12.29.08 at 3:52 pm

Peak oil myth. The opposite opinion

#20 Nick on 12.29.08 at 3:59 pm

Great preview Garth, I’m even more excited to get a copy of the new book. I’m wondering how many suggestions you have for a poor slob like me without a ton of money. I don’t own my own home and have a limited ability to make improvements to prepare for any catastrophe. Does your book give people like me some tips, or should I just start praying? :)

#21 Andrew toronto on 12.29.08 at 4:58 pm

Garth looks like Harry Dent is coming out with a new book has well in January his is called I believe The Depression Ahead . . what he’s doing is giving his readers a chance to buy online with 25percent off and get the book a few weeks before the mainstream. Just a suggestion for rewarding his followers. By the way I’ll be buying your book has well ..make sure you got enough printed.

#22 Larry on 12.29.08 at 5:00 pm

No signs of any these doomsday scenarios here in Calgary, my rent is increasing $100 to make that a 30.9% jump in 3 years. House prices are still not affordable for most folks. The malls had good xmas and boxing day sales with spending on a par with 2007. Most people in this city see the RE crisis as an American problem, the credit crisis as a Wall street one and the Auto inductry as an Ontario one. It’s business as usual here in Oilberta despite what you read here.

Enjoy your planet. Asteroid ahead. — Garth

#23 Ripped Off on 12.29.08 at 5:16 pm

It is amazing how fast you respond to questions about when and where people can buy your book (question #3), and how you gladly pass over honest inquiries of the ever day man about how we/they can manage our affairs during this downturn.
I would say this is capitalism at work under the illusion of helping the mis-informed common man. Looks like there won’t be any recession at your house next year…since you have them all feeding at the trough for scraps!!

Perhaps you’ve noticed I do not offer personal investment advice to anyone. There’s a reason: I’m not a licensed financial advisor or investment product salesperson. I’m a commentator and an author. People are free to come here for information and opinions on the economy, markets, trends, asset classes, opportunities and dangers. It`s a free blog and I try to help everyone in my own way. But Ann Landers, I ain’t. Deal with it. — Garth

#24 Keith in Calgary on 12.29.08 at 5:27 pm

Larry the troll has been hitting a number of RE bulletin boards today………

#25 Larry on 12.29.08 at 5:34 pm

Hope your right Garth and thanks for the heads up Keith.

#26 George on 12.29.08 at 5:45 pm

Dude, you shouldn’t be wearing a suit on the cover to sell after the crash. It looks too “martini shaken not stirred – where’s the hot young international chicks – bad marketing. Or is this good marketing and you want to look like a politician for “after the crash” so that people in the bookstores can figure out what to do with you like maybe perhaps elect you because you know how to wear a suit and all and isn’t that the brand identification of a politician. I think you should look more like DEVO with a Hazmat suit. You know surf the true power of image. That should snap books off the shelf. The suit waters down the message of the text in front of you. Suits will no longer be power images in your scenario of the future. It diminishes your power. Do you really think we’re going to trust “suit dudes” after SHTF.

Actually, that is not the cover, but a PhotoShop special done by the reviewer. The real cover is sadly devoid of my magnetic visage. — Garth

#27 Prairie gal on 12.29.08 at 6:56 pm

Garth, I look forward to reading your new book.

Thanks to you and others who are not afraid of speaking the awful truth (Naomi Klein comes to mind) I have decided to abandon my law practice and get a Masters in Public Policy. By the time I finish I hope to be a part of the solution and bring a close to this regrettable chapter in history. We haven’t even met, but I consider you a mentor. Keep up the good work!

I have converted a lawyer. My work here is done! — Garth

#28 dekethegeek on 12.29.08 at 7:06 pm

Garth , just curious as to why your not going to be in Vancouver for your book tour in Jan.
Victoria and Nanaimo , but no Vancouver ?
Worried some Realtors might be “a gunnin’ fer ya”?

I am speaking in (a) Victoria, (b) Nanaimo, (c) Parksville, (d) Fraser Valley location, (e) Kelowna and (f) Vancouver. Dates and locations will be announced here in a few days. — Garth

#29 dd on 12.29.08 at 7:09 pm

#6 real estate expert

… and Vancouver is going to be the centre of the Universe in 2009.

… and Vancouver real estate is sooooo undervalued today!

You read it here.

#30 dd on 12.29.08 at 7:48 pm

# 23 Ripped Off on 12.29.08 at 5:16 pm and Garth:

“Perhaps you’ve noticed I do not offer personal investment advice to anyone. There’s a reason: I’m not a licensed financial advisor or investment product salesperson”.

However, you have suggested to people to dump real estate … the largest financial purchase of all.

So you are advising people on financial matters.

I also think you’ll fall over things walking backwards. Be careful out there. — Garth

#31 nonplused on 12.29.08 at 7:52 pm

#19 Another Joe

Some ideas are too silly to be refuted except with extreme sarcasm so put on your seat belt.

Yes Virginia, the earth is like a chocolate Easter egg with a creamy oil center. It’s not magma like all those silly scientists say! It’s oil! Pure, virgin oil! And it bubbles up where ever we need it in just the right quantities!

This idea is absurd. The discovery of methane on other orbital bodies is not the same as a creamy rich oil core to the planet! Methane is a simple compound and is a common form to find carbon in the solar system, but not in the only life bearing planet confirmed so far! Why? Because when exposed to oxygen (which on earth is released by plant life) the methane breaks down to CO2 and H2O quickly.

Anyway, all oil fields decline and are eventually shut in and none have ever shown any propensity to fill back up again. So this mythical “a-biotic” or “a-intelligent” oil has yet to be discovered.

If there were significant abiotic oil production filling up reservoirs, there should be massive oil slicks above the reservoirs. This would be because a reservoir only continues to trap additional hydrocarbons until it is full to the “spill point”, which is basically the lowest level that remains capped by the impenetrable cap rock. (It’s at the bottom because hydrocarbons are lighter than water and get trapped at the top of a reservoir. If you don’t understand this point stop posting on the subject until you educate yourself.) Once the spill point was reached the incoming oil would then “bubble around” the spill point and proceed to the next appropriate reservoir up the geological column, until they were all full, at which point it would proceed to the surface. If it was being produced in any quantity the whole world would be an oil slick.

So the outcome is the same in either case. Either abiotic oil is idiotic, or it is not being produced fast enough to make any meaningful difference to our present problem.

Incidentally, there was a fairly flamboyant Calgarian personality who blew his fortune trying to find this “abiotic” oil under the tar sands. The theory he was using was correct, though, that being that if abiotic oil was being produced in quantity it should be identifiable by large oil slicks on the surface. His so called geologist reasoned that maybe that’s why there was so much oil in the tar sands. The abiotic oil was surfacing there. They found bedrock.

Let’s stop dreaming people! If their were any serious amounts of abiotic oil being produced, at some point in the future we’d have to talk about “oxygen depletion”. We’d still be screwed. The earth’s resources are finite. All of them. Except solar energy, but it only comes in so fast. Get used to it.

#32 islander on 12.29.08 at 8:09 pm

JO #1, good suggestions.

#33 E+R=O, eh on 12.29.08 at 8:20 pm

Garth, will the site continue or will it be replaced by a new site?

It will be enhanced. Everyone who comes here will be saved. — Garth

#34 E+R=O, eh on 12.29.08 at 8:35 pm

Mark #14, nicely said. I added those symbols to a watch list.

#35 Gold_Bug on 12.29.08 at 9:07 pm

After I visited Xurbia website, I thought Garth was going too far. Below is a link that confirms what he’s talking about.

To get a place in Xurbia, I need a mortgage. Wouldn’t that be the worst thing to do now, get saddled with debt?


Xurbia is a state of mind. No debt required. — Garth

#36 Wealthy renter 2 on 12.29.08 at 9:11 pm

#1 – JO! – Well said!

#15 – suggest you need a new financial advisor. One perhaps not in the real estate business. Another Suggestion: read RULE #1 by Phil Town. someday you might find the read useful.

#20 – Start planning now. It’s not too late. hoping and not doing anything won’t get you anywhere. own land so you can plant your own food is a start. (there are parts of Canada that still have ridiculously cheap land, including prairie country.) Start saving in an high interest savings account. In a deflation scenario, 3.25% will get you a whole lot of return! But watch carefully for the return of inflation. You’ll want to be invested somewhere else.

#37 Chris L on 12.29.08 at 10:06 pm

My book is on order. Hopefully my wife and I can meet you and have it signed. Keep us posted for dates around Toronto.

#38 Kanata has lots of Squirrels on 12.29.08 at 11:50 pm

We’ve been fatting up the Squirrels in our backyard and got them trained to come get grains from our backyard – we are getting ready for the worst!

Garth, can you confirm we get an autograph when we purchase the book from this site since I’d love that!


#39 Kelowna Gal on 12.29.08 at 11:57 pm

So glad to read that you are coming to Kelowna. I will continue to watch to see the date that you will be here. Again, I cannot wait to read your next book. My husband and I will definitely come and hear you speak. Thanks again for all you do Garth.

#40 Zoronqueen on 12.30.08 at 1:23 am

My book in on order too. Are you comming to Edmonton?

Is it too late for us?? We agreed to a contract of 90 days with our realtor. It’s 48 days so far and they still haven’t lowered the listing price of 347K. The one at 335K has not been sold and on the market for 129 days. However I see the 317K got sold…..

Rule 1: If no offers, you have the wrong price. Change it. I’m scheduled to speak in Edmonton in April. — Garth

#41 confused and a little crazed on 12.30.08 at 2:30 am

to #23 Ripped off,

Why are you complaining that Garth isn’t answering all of our questions? No of us pay him…right? Do you?

This is a blog not some subscription service. A lot of people here have given their opinions and i’m not complaining why they have not returned my questions.

Maybe if it ‘s something he feels strongly about. He might give an opinion…just an opinion. Like for instance we are all sitting at a pub and you picked a few teams that win next weeks hockey games…are you obligated to tell us the following week. If you tell me then why shouldn’t you tell everyone else. The list just gets bigger and bigger and what if you’re wrong…am I going to sue me for not being correct.

If you follow this blog closely…you can already tell what he is leading to. He bought a jeep therefore He probably thinks the auto industry will survive. But he still thinks it will suffer alot ” Not viable” does not mean extinct. Our Medical system is not viable either but it’s still there.

then he mentions buying stock. He did n’t say buy now but historically it has performed better than real estate and GICs ; Therefore he thinks it will survive to But not without suffering a lot as well

And Finally, The global credit crunch is unprecedented in history. there has never been this much Credit thrown out to the masses ever before and if the govt mishandles the situation the shit will hit the fan royally. Not just small pieces of Birdshot But big whole chunks of cow patties because he is still human . he has been wrong before. I remember him teeling me 15 % c orrection in Van back in mid 2007. I think some areas of Van the correction has surpassed that others not so much. I ‘m not complaining about you or him. we are all a bunch of Guys who look at the #s and say” WTF!” this does not make sense.

in summary ” Hope for the best and prepare for the worst” which is open to interpretation. Just watch for the signs he mentioned and judge for yourself

#42 Marlene on 12.30.08 at 8:39 am

So you are suggesting purchasing back up generators, solar power, growing our own vegetables. Bullfrog power is already offering green power generated by greener sources in Toronto. I believe most of it is from wind turbines and they hook up your home as they would your current mainstream service. There’s an entire neighbourhood in the beaches using this system. By the way, I love the booklet you offer about reducing our footprint on the environment. There should be another link for it on this blog. It used to be on your website under Halton…I believe you put it together with Dorothy?

Mel Bartholomew had an ingenious idea with the square foot gardening concept.

Use CSA local programs to reduce fuel usage. This would save millions of dollars in food transport costs accross countries.

Become localvores. We pay off mortgage debt. Borrow against it and invest in the stock market. Keep 6 month’s worth of food in your pantry as well as enough cash in the home to keep you afloat for half a year. Watch for a 6 month time lapse in the stock market which indicates a coming boost in the economy. Become more green. Save. Use cash or nothing???? Anything else? I guess I’ll have to wait for your book.

No, what I am suggesting is that people find ways of increasing the control over their own lives. That does not come from replacing one grid with another. While I applaud such green efforts, my goal at is help others achieve what I have found. — Garth

#43 Alex Curylo on 12.30.08 at 8:53 am

@ nonplused:

Actually, there is some fairly solid evidence that the abiogenic folks might be on to something. However, it does appear you’re correct that replenishment is far too slow for it to support useful consumption levels.

No, the real reason to not give a flip about peak oil is that getting oil from the ground will in shortish order appear as silly as rendering oil from whales does today. People like Sapphire Energy have sorted out how to produce it directly and it’s within spitting distance of being economically competitive to grow it instead of drill it.

#44 real estate expert on 12.30.08 at 9:11 am

Garth, dekethegeek, dd and to all my other fans and followers.

fyi…Xurbia is an excellent informative web site covering all emergency situations.

…However there is a second emergency alternative to the upcoming…”After the Crash”.

Move to and live in Vancouver BC…aka…the next financial/trade centre for all of North America.
(thanks dd)

#45 Westcoast Girl on 12.30.08 at 10:43 am

TO #40 Zoronqueen on 12.30.08 at 1:23 am WRT “Is it too late for us?? We agreed to a contract of 90 days with our realtor. It’s 48 days so far and they still haven’t lowered the listing price of 347K. The one at 335K has not been sold and on the market for 129 days. However I see the 317K got sold…..”

My heart goes out to you, I know all too well what you’re going through. We just had conditions removed on the sale of our home before Christmas, with completion early Feb. Bated breath for completion, only compensation is we’d have a hefty down payment to keep. We moved to Edmonton Jan 2008 (yes, 11 months ago) and bought (stupidstupidSTUPID) in a supposedly “toney” area of Alberta ( if AB can have such a thing and please, no offence meaning to be made to people who like the province, I’m just a westcoast person at heart who believes in social programs, doesn’t do -45 temps that well. hell, i didn’t own a pair of boots until I moved here. I also froze my hand to our front doorknob, but that’s another story…ahem, I digress…). We listed mid-August at 549,900, dropped to 539,900, 519,900 then relisted (the usual trick) at 499, said screw it shortly thereafter and dropped to 488 and got it sold darn near to asking. Did I mention we bought it Jan of THIS YEAR for 535 then I put another 20K into cosmetic (read: unnecessary) renovations (this is me, publicly flogging myself for my stupidity)…so all in all, not bad. We “only” lost 75K plus another 20K in realtor expenses in 11 months. Wow, that’s what – “only” 10K before taxes/month loss….

We are relocating back to BC for my job now, so ‘had’ to sell. Also, wanted to get out from the beejuzus-ly big mortgage. IF you truly want to sell, take control of your destiny: YOU tell them when you want the price drop, don’t rely on your realtor. YOU need to track what’s on the market, what’s having showings, what’s selling. I had all calls for showings go through me, so I could also gently qualify the potential buyers with their realtor before they had come through the house, then also did follow up with the realtors (they’ll call back a residential number before another realtor number these days). I also bartered on the commish paid out to my real estate agent – biz is biz and they’ll always cut if you threaten to walk somewhere else. I also led the negotiation process (hubby doesn’t have stomach for it and though our realtor was as good as it could get, bottom line it’s our money not hers)

Bottom line: if you want to sell the place, drop it darn near to your bottom line. We did that and ended up with (thank you, there is a God) multiple offers, which made negotiation for final price much easier. Good for us/sad for others here, there are a lot of people completely oblivous to what’s happening. Funny (in a perverse way and again, apologies to those I may offend) story, then I’ll let the people who write helpful posts as opposed to my somewhat amusing (at least to me) post back at it…was at a “women’s social” (my attempt to fit into a neighbourhood where being a professional wife is a fulltime sport) and talk got around to – what else in AB? – the oil sands. I mentioned about some work I was doing with some companies up there WRT tech and talk turned to economy…General consensus was that Fort Mac could never shut down, AB would fare better than anywhere in NORTH AMERICA (hullo, may I have three of whatever you’re drinking please) and 2 women didn’t realize when I talked of projects that had been discontinued, that their husbands worked for the parent companies…hullo Dorothy, we are SO no in Kansas anymore….

Good luck!

I’m so happy to be spending money on rent back in BC it’s sickening…and yes, I’m negotiating on that sum as well!

You prolly get sick of hearing it, but thanks Garth – my husband may say it’s consuming me but at least I’m a helluva lot wiser thanks to ALL of you than i was 4 months back.

#46 Fearing on 12.30.08 at 11:03 am

Your new xurbia website is just plain fear mongering. The most disgusting part is that you’re trying to profit off individuals who believe the world is about to collapse. But then again what do you expect from a former politician.

Anyone who has an opportuniity to prepare for the future, and does not, must have a reason. What’s yours? More curiously, what do you possibly hope to accomplish by coming here to insult me? — Garth

#47 ATM on 12.30.08 at 11:05 am

It will be enhanced. Everyone who comes here will be saved. — Garth

Garth. You’re starting to sound like Moses or that doomsday cult leader guy. he he he!!!

#48 prairiegopher on 12.30.08 at 11:06 am

I was talking to a friend in Edmonton and he says no one believes there is anything wrong with the economy. He says no slow down here. So what’s up? The world is unravelling and oilberta is immune?

#49 My_View on 12.30.08 at 11:34 am


Your sites/blogs just get better and better. Thanks for your time and effort for providing priceless info. I cant wait for the new book.

Let me try this whole peak oil talk.

First off, no miracle plant (corn, soy, algae, etc) will save us from our oil dependency. Even if every car on the planet was gone, we will still have to deal with Jet Fuel. More and more planes are in the air and they won’t fly on canola oil. Peak Oil, is Earths tank half full or half empty?

My 2 cents.

#50 Gord In Vancouver on 12.30.08 at 12:08 pm

1) Garth’s Book/Speaking Tour

Thanks for the update, Garth. If I’m in town when you’re here, I look forward to seeing you speak.

Don’t be offended if the Vancouver media gives your appearance minimal coverage. There are many people out here who are very appreciative of your blog.

#44 real estate expert

Move to and live in Vancouver BC…aka…the next financial/trade centre for all of North America.

This better not be a sign of what’s in store for Vancouver’s economy – retailers sticking it to Boxing day shoppers. 2010 better save us.

#51 lightning_kash3 on 12.30.08 at 12:13 pm

Garth, will you have your book tour in Calgary? Thanks. I’m looking forward to get this book.

#52 Kash is King on 12.30.08 at 12:36 pm

Interesting read from Karl Denninger today:

“The important part of this graph is what it denotes. Bernanke has lost control of “N” (or velocity), which is the actual knob that he is trying to diddle when borrowing rates are changed (and in fact its the market that sets that, despite his protests.)

In fact the most useful tool in The Fed’s box in terms of influencing monetary policy is the soapbox, that is, jawboning (whether it be by cajoling or threatening.)

The problem with an M1 multiplier below zero is that the effect of printing money is of course multiplied by the velocity. That is, if you print up $10 into the economy the impact it has on economic activity depends on how many times that $10 circulates in a given amount of time. The more it circulates the higher the impact and the more your efforts do for the economy.

The bad news is that when the multiplier is less than one the more money you spew into the economy the worse the impact, as you get less for each additional dollar.”

Whole article here:…..-Monetary-Flat-Spin.html

#53 Just a Girl on 12.30.08 at 1:20 pm

#40 Zoronqueen

My realtor worked very hard to sell my house quickly … which included aggressive pricing (critical strategy). Her agency did a bang up job promoting it, not just newspaper advertising, but video tours, colour brochures, radio promotions, free staging advice, etc. Plus lots and lots of personal support and encouragement. She also offered me an “easy out” contract … just sign it, and I could dismiss her immediately if she didn’t do her job.

So, what is your realtor doing?

Listing a house at an unrealistic price, and letting it sit on the market while their clients lose money is just plain irresponsible. I think some agents are scared, their clients will protest at lowering prices, so they avoid it. However, the market IS what it IS.

Garth is right, if no offers, you have the wrong price. And, usually the first offer is the best offer, so try to work with it, if you get one.

#54 dd on 12.30.08 at 1:23 pm

Jim Rogers interview

Commodities will be the place to be going forward:
Supplies on cominng on-line, depletion, short inventories.

#55 dd on 12.30.08 at 1:43 pm

#44 real estate expert,

Work and live in Vancouver BC. What real estate bubble?

To the moon Alice.

#56 Constructive Criticism - Garth on 12.30.08 at 1:58 pm

I appreciate your advice, your book, and your blog. I think most of what you have to say has a great deal of merit, and I plan to read your next book, too.

But your response to #46 Fearing only reinforces his point, and your response was very much that of a politician.

You’re going to have to deal with the type of criticism that he and others are going to be lobbing your way in the next few months, so I suggest that you prepare for it.

Head, heart, or wallet?: Whether your advice is sincere is sometimes not the point. A perceived conflict of interest is enough to sink your credibility. Xurbia exasperates that point and makes you look like someone who’s not only trying to selling books, but a merchant of fear who is literally selling survival supplies. While on the one hand you criticize Maureen O’Neill for having a stake in Toronto real estate and pumping properties irresponsibly, you may be perceived as doing the same with generators, seeds, and solar. Whether you end up being right is not the point. Perception can be reality, and you’re giving your foes a lot of ammo by running Xurbia and selling those supplies.

Divesting investors. It’s no different with your “In Praise of Smart Guys” post where you extol the virtues of using a Smart Guy — the same smart guys who pay you to do seminars and who you promote your services to on Airfare and hotels cost real money and there’s nothing wrong with taking a cheque. But when the person after you is selling investments (presumably after you’ve primed the crowd to be more receptive), they’re leveraging your credibility, even if it’s unspoken. You’re doing what Brian Costello “taking care of youuuuur money” did some years ago, albeit with a clearly more cautious bent, since you saw what happened to him. Watch out. When you’ve trained your readers to look into the motivations of banks, CMHC, and realtors, it’s not a stretch for them to find the same conflicts in your advice in time. And it’s even less-so for people who already think that you’re just out to sell books.

Last but not least, asking people what their reason is for not preparing for the worst is a bit of a red herring.

We all take calculated risks. Your readers look to you to help with those calculations. Some (perhaps many, and probably most) don’t believe that the worst is likely and that buying generators, seeds, and windmills at this point would be like building a nuclear shelter with a ten year food supply in your backyard during the cold war.

Did you build a nuclear shelter in your backyard, Garth?

You utterly miss the point. First, Xurbia sells tools to help people regain control over their lives. It is hardly ‘survivalist’ to have a backup generator (300,000 people in Ontario wish they’d had one this last weekend), or to be prepared should there be a just-in-time delivery failure at the local Loblaws because of the financial credit crunch. You can impune any motive you wish, but Xurbia came (as I say on the home page) from my own quest to look after my own family. That took months, and I found there was no location which would give me easily and conveniently what I wanted – or explain to me how it worked. Thus, my vision for a one-stop source for most people to find those tools and that knowledge which would give them comfort. Similarly, when I am hired to speak, I speak my mind and speak in the same voice as I do here. Anyone sponsoring an event with me knows that. I give any audience 100% credit for being able to sift through my words or anyone else’s for the truth. Thanks. By the way, read this? — Garth

#57 wealthy renter 2 on 12.30.08 at 2:25 pm

@ #46 Fearing

Ever notice that on blogs like this, you’ll get the people like you who are so dead wrong on every count, and they suddenly disappear once the truth has all been revealed? I’ve seen such a drastic change around stock blogs these days…all the idiot pumpers are gone? where did they go? They sounded like fools then, they look like bigger fools now.

Fear mongering is something the rich and the powerful have done for centuries to keep everyone else enslaved to them. Garth is actually trying to shed light on a topic that has kept the middle and lower classes enslaved for generations…..I guess you can call it fear mongering in a way, as it strikes fear in the minds of the rich and powerful. God forbid that the public were ever empowered with foresight!

#58 ted on 12.30.08 at 4:07 pm

#42 marlene

I think you might be mistaken what bullfrog power does. Your house is still hooked up to the same grid as everyone else. You are just buying financial power from a company that claims to cover their load requirements from greener sources. The electricity you use is from the same grid as everyone else and the percentage of green power is the exact same as everyone else in your neighbourhood.

Assuming they are regulated properly Bullfrog will sell only enough energy that they acquired from green sources. Of course wind generation and load patterns don’t match so excess wind generation will be sold off to “non-green consumer” and when there is a short fall of wind non-green sources supply the “green” consumers.

Don’t fall for this just go with who is cheaper.

#59 lgre on 12.30.08 at 4:15 pm

well said wealthy renter 2..nice to see some people thinking for once.

#60 CTA on 12.30.08 at 5:24 pm

Invest in companies that care about the environment and and working towards a green future.

Invest in local economies.

And have faith things will get better in the long run.
The sole purpose of a human being living on earth is not being a slave to a big mortgage on a shitty house somewhere in ( i.e.Vancouver) . There are far better things in life to strive for.

#61 random guy on 12.30.08 at 6:43 pm

i live in the ‘hard hit’ region of ontario with the power outages. the people who still don’t have hydro live so far in the boonies that most of them have generators anyways. i lost it for an hour and a half sunday morning. big deal

#62 Derrin on 12.30.08 at 9:58 pm

They are greasing up the debt machine again.It will start to roll again. People will start to buy cars again.
That means jobs for GM workers and money in their pockets. And so on…..

“GMAC modified its credit criteria so that it could lend to a wider range of potential customers, two-and-a-half months after significantly curbing lending.

Meanwhile, GM is offering zero-percent financing on several vehicles, and rates no higher than 5.9 percent on more than three dozen 2008 and 2009 models. The offer expires on January 5. Many eligible vehicles also carry cash discounts of $500 to $4,250.

The changes came a day after the U.S. Treasury Department agreed to take a $5 billion stake in GMAC, and lend GM as much as $1 billion to support GMAC, in an effort to help ensure that both survive.

“The bottom line is much better access to funding,” said Mark LaNeve, GM’s vice president for North American sales, on a conference call with reporters.

GMAC will now extend loans to retail customers with credit scores of 621 or higher, eliminating a restriction that required a score of 700.”

621 on your Equifax…….Wow!
Garth I think your generators on Xurbia don’t look so good – no financing.
I can buy a chevy instead.


Security is unattainable. Change is inevitable. Fear is for small people.Those that are fear mongers prey on the weak and desperate.

Be positive in 2009. I challenge the doom and gloomers to spend some time to pull themselves away from the usual financial doomsday sites and look around at how they can make 2009 a great year. How can we make this a great year. Let’s find joy in that.
Let’s stay away from …… I am smarter than the guy next door because I bought gold(or whatever your vice is) and ohhhh you just wait until the American dollar collapses……….ohhh boy oh boy I will be the smart guy then.
How about I am part of society and how can 2009 be a great year for all of us. Buy a generator if it makes you feel better but don’t get caught up in this negative mind muck that seems to be oozing from the pages of blogs/media.

Happy 2009!

#63 Another Albertan on 12.30.08 at 10:03 pm

Anyone believing Alberta/Calgary/Edmonton/FtMac is immune has been dipping into the holiday sauce.

I have had a number of frank discussions over the past week with HR executives and consultants in Edmonton. The story is consistent from all of them for the industrial sector:

A 10% headcount reduction that occurred in the 6 week period from Nov 1 to Dec 14. This was followed by the holiday season moratorium.

In January, many firms will look at an additional 1 to 2% every 2 weeks for the first quarter.

If “things” have not improved by the end of Q1, expect a wholesale staffing slaughterhouse to materialize. Many shops will be reduced to 1/2 to 1/3rd from peak levels.

One manufacturing firm is creating staffing plans for a cut from 200 possibly down to 40. Their module yard is closed. All rental equipment (cranes, etc) will be shipped back early next week. I expect basically all mod shops to be in the same condition, save for those fabricating for Shell Scotford and Suncor Firebag 3. There will be a lucky few who will prepping for some spring shutdown work (“construction and maintenance for operations”, not for net-new facilities). Otherwise, it is Game Over.

Assuming a 4x economic impact multiplier (a number cited by Peter Tertzakian – an individual who should be very familiar to Peak Oil enthusiasts), the collective impact throughout the Alberta economy in 2009 due to industrial construction cutbacks will be measured in the tens of billions (Sum up the CapEx cuts made by project owners and multiply by 4… these are real dollars that will not be accelerated through the economy)

For what it’s worth as an individual who plans and manages aspects of some of these mega-projects, I honestly believe that many people are in total denial of what may be coming (or not coming, as the specific case may be) down the pipe. The summation of the dozens of anecdotes I’ve collected in December points to some very scary potential outcomes in various parts of the marketplace.

#64 Don Bool on 12.30.08 at 10:59 pm


It,s suprising how many people and buisenesses who are in out of the way places take electricity for granted untill the lights go out. I don,t live in the tullies any more but still have the generator,kerosene lamps,spare propane and what have you to get through an outage with reasonable comfort. Last year in the Gulf Islands the power was out for weeks at a time. My generator spent the whole winter on the islands. Freezers need freezing and drilled wells need pumping. Pumps for drilled wells take a lot of juice.(much more then the usual 1800 to 2400 watt Gen. set.)
The local co-op store on the island in the last few years finally got a good diesel back up system. Every year the power would go out for days at a time and all the perishables(meat especially) would be flogged off for cost. What they couldn,t flog had to be thrown out. First time the power went out for 3 or 4 days the generator ran out of diesel. No electricity to pump fuel out of the 4000 gallon storage tanks. They had to beg for a wing pump with an extension after pulling their hair out for 2 days.
This Xurbia site of Gaths would clue many people in who should know better, but never gave it much thought because you,d get a little bit of advice here and a bit there and consequently put it off for another time. This is all packaged up so a person can pick which back-up system pertains to themselves. I could write a book about how many people(myself included) wasted their money on back-up systems that weren,t suitible for the job. This is one stop shopping for the right equipment.
From the look of the prices nowbody,s getting rich from this. The prices are within the range you,d pay buying from your local dealer. I would think you,d have to sell one hell of a lot of units just to pay for the effort.
It,s good info. and i,ll be printing it out to give to my friends. ( there,s no internet for most these people. Still in the dark ages, but they love it.)
I,m sure having a cabin in an out of the way location is one of the reasons Garth got into this subject of being independent and providing for ones self. It,s good sense no matter if ,in the city, or in the sticks to provide youself with the basics in an emergency or just for peace of mind. It,s an insurance policy. Good stuff.

#65 Alex Curylo on 12.31.08 at 1:21 am


“First off, no miracle plant (corn, soy, algae, etc) will save us from our oil dependency. Even if every car on the planet was gone, we will still have to deal with Jet Fuel…”

They’re all over it, friend.

“Solazyme Explores Jet-Fuel Market
The algal-oil maker announces plans to target the jet-fuel market, and says it aims to reduce production costs to $40 to $80 per barrel in a few years … Other companies developing algal jet fuels include PetroSun, Chevron and a new Arizona State University spinoff…”

It’s going to take a bit longer for the jets, yes, but there appears to be no fundamental obstacle to having the miracle plants sort them as well.

#66 Alex Curylo on 12.31.08 at 1:48 am

@Constructive Criticism:

“and you’re giving your foes a lot of ammo by running Xurbia and selling those supplies.”

Heh. Actually, looking over the site, that was my big disappointment, that there wasn’t any bulk ammo available. In times of chaos the only precious metal is lead, and all that :) Other than that it seemed all quite reasonable and quite in line with my existing preparations.

Well, aside from that hydropower wasn’t mentioned anywhere. That makes a lot more sense to us B.C. folk than solar or wind does.

#67 miketheengineer on 12.31.08 at 7:57 am

Garth et al

I am looking forward to the Xurbia web site.

Unfortunately, my spouse refuses to put our home up for sale. She would rather try and “stick” it out, than sell. When you look at rent costs versus mortgage costs, we are a “wash”. If we try and sell we may end up with some $$, but would we be any better off?

Garth…when updating it, I need you to add a site for “home security”. How to do it. Recommeded Products et. Some of us will not be able to relocate immediately to the country. And country properties are still expensive, within driving distance to the city. We will need some help with the home security.


#68 dotava on 12.31.08 at 8:18 am

#31 nonplused on 12.29.08 at 7:52 pm

good suggestion to educate – but education is a process where you should anticipate too. :-) You do not see bigger picture -> what about wind, thermal (you mentioned magma). :-)

Happy New Year to ALL!!!