‘The Overpopulation Argument’ by Professor John McMurtry

The following are excerpts extracted from McMurtry, John. The Cancer Stage of Capitalism: From Crisis to Cure. Pluto Press. Kindle Edition that addresses ‘The Overpopulation Argument’.


“The most established general argument for our parlous condition is that the global crisis is led by ‘overpopulation’ – or more precisely, ‘seven billion human beings overloading the carrying capacities of the Earth’. The overloading of the earth’s life-carrying capacities is certainly true, and this study identifies it as a life-capital rundown and waste that is the most fundamental economic disorder of the world, ever. But the crucial point is missed by the ‘overpopulation’ argument. The over-demand on the earth’s resources is the problem, and its cause is not ‘human beings’ – a shallow overgeneralization. The causal mechanism is a deregulated and exponential growth of transnational money-sequences and commodities extracting, polluting, depleting and despoiling the earth ever more widely and deeply at every level with no accountability to any natural capital base. Blaming overpopulation may be equivalent to blaming the poor majority for what is in demonstrable fact runaway looting and pollution by multiplying transnational money-sequences.(My emphasis here).

McMurtry, John. The Cancer Stage of Capitalism: From Crisis to Cure (p. 10). Pluto Press. Kindle Edition.


“The Overpopulation Argument (in Chapter 1)

‘Excessive population growth’ has long been a favourite explanation of downward slide of global life-support systems. The initially plausible logic is that rises of human populations have overloaded the life-carrying capacities of the planet. Yet in fact the global rate of population increase has halved since its peak of 2.2 per cent in 1963. It is still too great a load at 1.1 per cent, the answer might be. Yet not one of the degenerate trends identified above is coherently attributable to population rises. Even the rundown of material and energy resources has been led by vast wastes and unneeded uses by multiplying corporate commodity cycles propelled by private money-sequences serving a fraction of the global population. The real and underlying problem is thus concealed. (My emphasis added).

Blaming global population growth for the rising pollution, depredation, depletion and destruction of the planet’s life-support systems is, in short, a fallacy of common cause. In logical form, it is like saying ‘my sore throat caused my headache’ without recognizing flu as the common cause. In committing this fallacy, the overpopulation argument has to blinker out the most basic facts. For while some populations grow fast, others decline: namely societies where women are literate and self-determining. Lack of literacy and self-determination of women is, in turn, typically based in conditions of mass impoverishment. Yet Kerala India has a lower per capita income than most states in India and higher female literacy and a lower birth rate – all supported by state and community programmes. Population growth depends on social conditions, and the most important of these are women’s literacy and decision in child-bearing with social support systems replacing multiple births for family life-security. All of these are elements of civil commons development analysed in the final chapter of this study. This is why developed societies show significant negative endogenous population growth – all of Europe, Russia, Japan, and Canada, for example. What these countries have in common is nearly 100 per cent literacy and social life-support systems and programmes to protect and enable women to exercise informed decision. It is these social conditions which decide whether or not overpopulation is a problem.

Social life-support systems which enable reduction of population and, more deeply, life-coherent demand on resources require social investment and collective regulation – precisely what the reigning system rules out. This is the reason that when endogenous populations decline, the degenerate trends still escalate. The ‘population bomb’ argument blocks out the common cause of these degenerate tends, and that is its ideological function.”

McMurtry, John. The Cancer Stage of Capitalism: From Crisis to Cure (pp. 75-76). Pluto Press. Kindle Edition.


“It cannot be the human species per se because over 99 per cent of the species’ time on earth has been free of any such pervasive, systemic pattern of incremental environmental destruction. And it cannot be coherently diagnosed as human overpopulation as we have seen in Chapter 1. In fact we can clearly now see that not only all the 33 degenerate trends defined there follow from the money-sequence cancer as diagnosed, but the three universal bases of human life in the world – sufficient means of life-provision, contributory life-function of individuals, and sustained life-carrying capacities of the planet– are all systematically attacked by the same ruling disorder not yet recognized.”(My emphasis here)

McMurtry, John. The Cancer Stage of Capitalism: From Crisis to Cure (p. 171). Pluto Press. Kindle Edition.


“Life-Capital: The Base of the Real Economy and Cure

Once we recognize that real capital is life-capital – the natural and human-made wealth that produces more through time without loss– we re-ground. Private money capital is the opposite to the extent it destroys life-capital. Consider, for example, private money-sequences of mono-crop factory agriculture that destroy the life-capital of the soil as well of biodiverse seed stocks as well as of rivers and waters polluted by their waste and chemical run-offs, as well as farming communities not doing so, and so on. They even produce 25 per cent of the world’s climate-destabilizing carbon gases endangering the lives of billions of the world’s peoples. Here and elsewhere, the ruling money-sequence system is structured to destroy life-bases to extract more money from them. The solution is itself destroyed by elimination of the life-capital bases that carry it – the long sustainable ecological family farms which produce little or none of these ‘externalities’.

Systematically life-destructive money-sequences now plunder all real life-capital we can see – the forests and mangroves and their biodiverse inhabitants, the freshwaters and oceans and their fish stocks, the world’s hydrological cycles and non-renewable energy resources, and societies’ life-support systems themselves. The more this system grows, the more life-capital it despoils and destroys. This is its carcinogenic nature, not human overpopulation – as demonstrated in ‘The Overpopulation Argument’ in Chapter 1. Consider the global pattern. Air, food and water themselves are in a one-way downward trend of degradation. Common aquifers and major rivers have been rapidly polluted or drawn down across the world for private industrial farming, factory sinks and golf courses not to mention new corporate fracking and tar-sand boiling. At the same time billions of people are going short of water and billions more to come in the most important basic shared life-capital of the species. In all, ever more polluting and extraction of natural life-capital free of effective public regulation is the law-like macro pattern.

With the basic forms of human-made life-capital, there is also a downward slide across domains. For example in Africa, the most basic literacy and health care systems collapsed as governments were forced to spend four times more on compounding interest payments to foreign money-debt sequences than on all public health and education combined – even if incurred by elites allied with transnational banks who deposit their stolen money capital in them.32 The outcome is illiteracy and death to millions of children. The reason is public funds reallocated to service private-bank payments.33 Everywhere we look, it seems, the same disorder is on the march into the United States and Europe themselves.”

32Larry Elliott, ‘Why the Poor are Picking Up the Tab’, Guardian Weekly, May 17, 1998, p. 14.

33Maggie O’Kane, ‘A Plague That Kills Millions – The Plague of Debt’, Guardian Weekly, May 17, 1998, p. 1.

McMurtry, John. The Cancer Stage of Capitalism: From Crisis to Cure (p. 199-200). Pluto Press. Kindle Edition.

2 thoughts on “‘The Overpopulation Argument’ by Professor John McMurtry

  1. True arguments, especially the one about literacy.
    The real reason though for the failing monetary system is, it only rewards labor as life support/ in stead of rewarding consumption needs (the mentioned support systems).
    That way you keep overstreching shortages/ or otherwise keep overrewarding unnecessary artificial addictions.
    There is no proof a little more time and patience would not meet demand anymore/ certainly when it at the same time overstretches frustration – and thus creates overpopulation.

  2. We are so removed from are nature as a social mammalian species few seem to realize the obvious here in the US.
    For some reason we were unable to continue the purge of psychopathy, which we must have done as a matter of survival, following the migrations as hunter-gatherers and in my best guess early communal agriculture.

    The great evolutionary leap forward as conscious social predators, the adapted inherent attributes we still use to define us as human; empathy, selflessness, sacrifice, and a conscience, were no match for the new owners who purchased their leaders, maintained huge inefficient groups of men, and stepped backwards as their nature dictates, taking full advantage of their inherent lack of moral restraint.

    Had we somehow retained our hierarchies of true leaders, continued to evolve as a social species, I believe we would not have the problems of overpopulation; this is a result of replacing the progression of short term profit of the long term survival of humanity – the profits “earned” from massive inefficiency and the suppression of efficiency, that which gives human life purpose and exists as a practice the only path to true progression.

    Overpopulation is the likely result of an easier life; but more importantly it was encouraged in order to grow armies, lower wages, and increase consumption by a system of survival, capitalism; a parasitic system operated and managed by the generational accumulation of wealth by our fractional parasitic twin – the asocial sociopath far removed from the masses of domesticated prey.

    It saddens me that it is unlikely I will ever see what we could have been had we continued to purge this inhuman from our communes; perhaps millions upon millions of efficient groups networked and working together to maintain an order of ultimate efficiency – providing equal opportunity on a global level in order to encourage diverse groups in diverse locations with a united purpose of achieving technologies only for the good of the human condition and long term goal of surviving our host planet.

    With an evolved system of economic survival our growth would be determined by (again) increasing efficiency with incentives to maintain win-win in every circumstance instead of a tiny fraction in defense of power and wealth utopias, dislocated from humanity, yet depending on us as their only renewable resource; competing among each other in a zero-sum game until only one is left standing.

    I can imagine options of either free advanced education in a variety of sciences, liberal arts, and a career in the advancement of humanity or careers of those not choosing education working in service of humanity having the incentives of no more than 2x the access to recreational equipment, vacations, etc.

    So long as I am correct and we would need far fewer laws, natural shame for selfish or wasteful behavior, there might be some need for a small amount of personal ownership but no generational accumulation of wealth – exception for sentimental items. The global state would own nothing; all property would be publicly owned; maybe each quarter we would get a report on our net worth so we could see if there had been an increase since birth.

    Population out of control; one child per couple – population down by 1/2 in one generation. Population in balance; two children … if one is a burden have another. Again no law – natural shame.

    Are we all corrupted by wealth and power?
    There only need be one basic expandable law; the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – that means no infringing on another.

    No more corrupting the letter of the law; live by its intent.

    No more short term profit at the expense of long term survival.

    No more attorneys in congress; how about engineers, sociologists,

    This is a little dumb and dreamy; I know the worst hell is utopia. I do believe we could find struggle.
    I used to believe the only relevant nontransient truth were all paths leading to physical survival; now I understand creativity exist in an attempt to understand ourselves – if we do not learn our natural nature and path, the difference between the nature of psychopathy and humanity – the necessity of empathy and conscience (self control) – we will not survive.

    Social predator mammalian behavior, a social conscience, and order honest consciousness makes social groups stronger and more efficient than only the sum of its individuals. I believe it is an evolutionary leap for a species to be forced to design their future from the path of historical to present events.

    i have no way of knowing if humanity could have thrived without those lacking in an inherent moral code.
    I only know they cannot survive without us, turning our creativity to a commodity; but we may have thrived without them.

    Then of course none of this might have unfolded if not for the fluke of our grasping hands evolved for climbing as asocial prey; giving us the huge advantage in the ability to manipulate nature. But was that true progress?
    Too quick a lineage.

    I look to dolphins for an answer; they have a much, much, longer lineage – evolved from water, land as herd and hooved asocial prey, then back in the water. Now their brains are showing an incredible evolution of intelligence; a third lobe between their two independent brains of which one always must remain conscious (or they stop breathing).
    Although they are second in brain to body ration their brains have more complex folding.
    They appear to be able to communicate using all their physical senses simultaneously using sonar. Imagine sharing an experience with all the smells, taste, sight, and sound. It would be a honest communication.

    This third lobe is believed to be a part of a rapidly evolving intelligence in the area of communication. The roots of this new lobe comes from the limbic or empathy area of their brain.

    i had a thought that the purpose of advanced complex intelligent conscious creatures is surviving their host planet and going interstellar.

    From the little I know of physics; the incredible distance and the inability to survive on another living world (we are 60% (to human cells at 40%) symbiotic microorganisms; we could not survive without suits on a living world evolved without us.
    Physical travel interstellar may not be possible.
    Perhaps an organism must evolve the technology. The ability to manipulate nature; progression understood by us to be physical creation is limited.
    I do not believe we have any net progress or net worthiness of technology – profit over humanity has destroyed that trajectory – but perhaps the fluke I spoke of putting the cart before the horse, the technology of agriculture turning dark so quick to ownership … that fluke may be our fatal flaw. Sociopathy may be a fluke, a throwback to asocial groups who grouped only to mate and feed; scattering upon an approaching predator – not working together. Selfish and centered looking to take only from the group; as a parasite.
    There may be more than just the lack of the human attributes which led to our survival that makes up the leaders of mankind (who still cannot survive without us)
    >300K years migrating out of Africa in social groups (as three species anatomically identical to modern man) – many earlier less developed species surely acting as social groups as a necessity to survive those migrations in unknown lands.
    Cro-magnon or modern man migrating out 100K years ago. Some interbreeding.
    All along there must have been those (possible) throwbacks to asocial predator mammals with their entirely different nature.

    What of their survival trek? To survive in our social groups and share in the advantages the successful must have been forced to act against their nature.
    Only the most deceptive; mimicking our emotions – being a cunning parasite of those social groups – for (at the least) 100K years with only the most deceptive surviving – again as the same parasites they are today.
    Maybe they have an inherent grudge? LOL
    Wondering if other complex social mammals have psychopaths, lacking in some degree of inherent “moral” code – a reciprocal necessity for the individual and the group.
    Example: in a pride of lions if one lacking in this code killed and ate a cub he would surely be purged from the group.

    I wish I could learn is psychopath is unique to humanity. Are the a necessary evil… no I am not a creationist.
    Have they been a byproduct of our species since the beginning or are they only a result of the fine weather and overpopulation?

    Preferring to look at life objectively outside of humanity; some complex species somewhere must have survived their host planet and spread and gained knowledge by some form of interstellar travel.

    Now this is out there: From early Greek philosophers to today’s theoretical evolutionary biologists there has been speculation that the end stage of intelligence would be a form(s) of psychokinesis.

    Dolphins; after a lull and no way to manipulate nature are evolving increasing intelligence – pronounced in advanced understanding and rooted from their brains existing area of empathy.

    Perhaps a very complex advanced form of this type species; an intelligent social conscious predator lacking in the distractive ability to manipulate nature – rather than creating in an attempt to survive by a necessity of self-understanding (or understanding our distinction from our parasitic twin)…

    finished side thought … back here.
    Maybe those species in the universe who survive their host planet and travel interstellar, lacking the distraction and possible sure self extinction from the rare stage of physical technology, due to the lack of appendages, evolves the ability to travel in a highly developed brains. Using perhaps something like psychokinesis, collective consciousness and honest understanding among each other (dolphin like advanced) – honest understanding/communication would be an incredible advantage of which we seem unable.
    In a million years of progressive ordered evolution these ancestors of dolphins are sharing 5 senses thoughts with photographic memory – natural lack of deception – begin a journey of intense observation.

    Without physical technology and using the power of self-understanding through greatly enhanced empathy, some form of advanced mathematics, collective generational memory, concepts of repeating patterns working backwards from biological life to the singularity, a developed understanding of their existing universe being the one of a near infinite failures; this rare example past all the barriers, made the necessary leaps, at all odds and increasing ordered complexity without failures from increased fragility, each successive mutation from those random quarks, subatomic particles, undeveloped forces, …. , somehow avoided early entropy – stellar evolution, ordered creation of elements, biological evolution, avoiding physical technology.
    This universe, perhaps born from a black hole of a universe whose increasing complexity only reached the collapse of blue giants.
    These singularities gave birth to a trillion years of more universes all carrying the “genetic” code of the previous.
    One makes it a little farther in their increase in ordered complexity.

    Generational universe evolution; always keeping the past in the same pattern as biological evolution and passing on the advanced codes of the previous..

    Anyway – survival by a species by interstellar advancement EVOLVES in a species and by the advanced intellectual evolution of a species avoiding the rapid entropy following physical technology they escape their host planet by never leaving – biologically safe at home with minds, thoughts, and communication, instantly travelling by quantum entanglement.

    In line with thoughts of the future; what follows mammals – what follows life?.

    >> side thought: while many or most people believe it is “we” who are destroying our species and we all carry the traits which can be corrupted and allow the taking advantage by lack of increasing moral restraints for short term profit – we can all become sick with pathological greed lust … I don’t think so by my own observation.
    I used to be a multi-millionaire; built a pallet and cardboard recycling business from the single proverbial pickup truck.
    I was nearly 30 when I started. At 4 or 5, thinking about what I would do when I grew up and thinking about what I understood to be zero-sum competition as and employee. Then trying to think of a business I could create and grow – when might I meet a point where I was hurting others without intention?

    In particular I was thinking about my love of my grandfather’s ” farm”; 20 acres remaining from a Pres. Buchanan land grant of 160 acres in NW Arkansas.
    After being raped at three by my paternal grandfather following my parent’s divorce. My maternal grandparents took me in giving me great relief at 4. I was taught to read, mathematics, by my grandmother – nature, plant identification, and simple survival skills by my grandfather.
    I loved this place. There was a pasture, creek, mature woods, and not another house in sight. My greatest fear was a subdivision being built next door.

    I had thought I would like to build houses as a career; when I thought about wanting to become more and more successful I imagined then building subdivisions and encroaching on someone like myself.

    I was 4 or 5; I did not take a job until I was 28. I did work but only for myself; buying, fixing, and reselling cars, selling joints, and protecting a couple of prostitutes who lived with me in the apartment I managed in KCMO.
    I have never taken advantage of another person’s trust but I did always seem to be in trouble; dwi’s, traffic tickets unpaid, missed court, and a pretty bad drug and alcohol problem.

    This is going somewhere that has convinced me of either an infinite number of universes, a determined universe to the last detail, or both.

    I have had several precognitive experience which I would explain a memories of the future. i would drift off (once at 8 – 9 somewhere. In this true example it was the backseat of my friend’s mom’s car while she was in a school out of our district I had never seen. She and her son were in the school.
    I drifted off, looked up and noticed the name of the school. I immediately recognized a precognitive day dream. I just knew I would go to this school someday. i then rationalized if I went to this school I would live in this area.
    I looked out the back window and the only street sign I could see, 66th, only went west off Sante Fe (the street the school was on).
    Even though I could not see the house I just knew I would live 3 houses down on the south side.
    I was amazed at this all day. It is a unique feeling and I had no doubt it was true. My mother had this happen all the time when I was a kid. She said she would have dreams when under stress like the divorce and know every single action, even her own words, would be the next day.
    Like me there is a period of forgetfulness and then the realization the moment it happens (to yourself). Other people she would just already know what they would say and how the day would go to the moment.

    In this episode the precognition going from day dream to conscious question and answer had me fascinated. For several days I wanted to tell my mom because she would understand but for some reason it just did not happen. I was alone three days later and wrote 66th and Sante Fe and Arrowhead Grade School on the inside of the lid of a Monopoly box.

    From what I recalled later sitting in the bathroom of that house, the entire memory rushing back, I had completely forgotten for two years. I was fucking amazed. I stared in the mirror and thought about all that happened and the implications; had I blanked it out for most of the two years because if I had told my mom she might have not bought the house … stopping some paradox.
    I starred into the mirror for a long time and understood if something this detailed could be determined two years in advance then every single detail of all lives must be determined.
    One tiny change along the way, more the earlier, could have changed everything and I would not live there – I would not be here.

    I checked the box and there it was on the lid; the street address and the school name.

    OK; now the story will come together.
    I was in so much trouble in 82 – 83 living in KC I decided to just leave. I sold everything collecting about 300.00. I junked a couple of ’63 Buick Rivieras I was working on and took the parts car; a ’63 Buick Wildcat and set off for Portland Or. with one hooker friend.

    I ran out of fuel at the SLC exit and coasted down to a filling station. We bought 5 bucks of gas and drove to a pawnshop and sold her rabbit coat and some tools. I bought a hot plate. We got a burger at Burger King and I picked up a classified section of a newspaper.
    Only a block away there was an apartment manager job available. The job was gone but I got a room for 15/week.

    A year later, clean from drugs, I got a job digging ditches for a TV cable company. My boss was a sub-contractor. I knew how to run the cable plow so I got a job as a crew leader. Everyone got paid minimum wage but the leader got .15/ft extra.
    I learned to be super efficient and how to motivate men. Instead of running the plow like the other crew leaders I put the weakest guy on it.
    I would get there early and walk the backyards of the whole block. I would paint on the ground where we had to hand dig, go under a fence, cross over to the backyard on the next street over, etc.
    I was good; soon I was making what the other 4 leaders were combined. I started getting jobs all over the area; way up in the mountains at some places
    where there were no houses. I made a killing.

    I did not know until they sold the company that the industry was under rapid consolidation. Due to my effort they were able to sell the area they had installed for much more than imagined.

    My boss was thrilled.
    I moved but ran in to him 6 months later. He was putting together his own company, planned to sell it, and then create more. He wanted me to be his 50/50 partner and run all the crews teaching them how to do it; to oversee it.
    It would be in Las Vegas. I would get paid so much per ever crews footage installed and then split the profit from the sale.

    I was excited and looking forward. He would he would call in 2 – 3 months.

    Early that year my grandfather died. My grandmother had died 10 years earlier. I called my mother to tell her about the new job in Vegas. I got around to asking about the farm and what her and her sisters were going to do with it.

    She said no one lived within 200 miles of NWA, they did not want to rent it to a stranger, and they were afraid of the liability – so they though they would sell it.
    This saddened me but I had a great future planned and that area was dead; no jobs and knew no one.

    That night I had the most vivid dream of my life; it was very clear and I remembered all of it which is odd because most my dreams are very chaotic, full of unknown metaphors and impossible to remember.

    In the dream it was spring and I could smell the air; there were occasional bursts of cold wind but the sun was warm and the grass was getting green; the daffodils were coming up; a couple were in bloom.

    I started at the bottom of the drive. There was a long hill, just like reality, and the old house was at the top.
    I was very elated.
    At the top it was flat. The old house was to my left and the old barn was in front. Past the barn to the right was a very old forest. Straight ahead there was a 10 acre clearing after walking down a long slope, Most the clearing was flat but to the far left it sloped off to the creek. There was a lone flat acre on the other side.

    As I got near the clearing the grass became more and more green.
    Suddenly I was on that lone acre across the creek.
    This is where it got really vivid and to me very important.
    At that time there was no entrance to the lone acre from the road; yet I was on a dirt road waking toward the creek looking at the other side.
    The sun was warm. It was early spring and there were occasional wisps of cools wind on my face.
    As I reached the creek I walked across the water. It did not seem strange at all. I was just suddenly on the other side looking up at the 10 cleared acres. I walked up the slope towards the main clearing.
    I was very excited for some reason. i was on a road that never had existed. As I reached the road coming down from the house and barn I faintly recalled that road did not exist either.

    The point where the two met is where it was all flat for the rest of the clearing.

    The grass was glowing green. As I stepped forward my heart was pounding; the grass was becoming fluorescent green and glowing.

    All the colors were bright. I was filled with wonder.

    I turned to the left (where I would build my first dock 5 years later) and the grass exploded in green to white and I woke up with my heart pounding.

    There was the first snow of the year on the ground; 36 inch of snow.
    I could remember every bit of the dream; it had been so vivid like no other – it seemed profound.

    I thought about it all day.
    That night I called my mom to tell her about the snows in SLC.
    I was not even thinking about the dream or the farm but I suddenly ventured; do you guys think you might rent me the farm if I was interested?

    She told me if I was serious she would ask her sisters.

    I hung up wondering why I had asked. I drifted back to that damned dream. Over the next week it came to mind a couple of times. I had forgot I had asked my mom to see if her and her sisters would rent if I was interested.

    There was a loud “clunk” in the mailbox; I had a dispute with the company that bought the company I had worked with the subcontractor who worked for them.

    They put me on poles hooking up those those old Hbo conveters. I was only being paid minimum wage with no incentive. That was 4/5th’s of my checks at the old company. So I quit and filed for employment insurance. I was denied. I appealed. It had been 20 weeks later and now there were 16 employment checks in the mailbox.

    I bought a ’57 one ton IHC flatbed truck for moving to Las Vegas. It had been two months and he was getting close to due to call for me to work.

    The phone rang and it was my mom. She said they felt uncomfortable but they would rent to me. I had forgot all about it. I remembered the dream and heard myself saying I would rent it; paying 6 months in advance.

    It felt right; I had no idea of what I would do there. The whole time I was packing the truck it was like I was in auto-mode. Just as I was walking out the door the last time to leave on a 1200 mile trip to god know’s where the phone rang. It was the new job. I heard myself saying I had to go to Arkansas on an emergency.

    I quit smoking on the way there. The first year I lived off my employment checks. I tried getting a job putting in cable but the near by town was dead.

    I felt like I was renting a big lawn mowing job. Part of the deal was i had to mow a 2 acre yard with a push mower.

    I had picked up old pallets that some companies throw out in KC to sell at pallet recycling companies. I took about 80 on my truck to a place in the nearest town.
    The guy said I get all the free pallets I want from Wal-mart and Tyson.
    I asked him about a huge number of pallets behind his place. He said those are broke. I pick out the good ones and sell them. I asked if I could have a job repairing them. He said he burned them once a year.

    I asked how many he had back there. He said 4500 or so; take one – take them all. I would here this every day for the next couple of years.

    I hauled them 90 at a time to another company in another town. He paid me 2.00/each.
    I started dropping the ones that could be repaired to #1 grade; they would bring 5.50/each from a company that shipped on them. I sold the rest for 2.00.

    Within a month of that wind fall I was learning my way from town to town. Unlike KC where everyone was collecting pallets and selling them to pallet yards there was no one doing it here. There were thousands and thousands of pallets piling up everywhere.

    Soon there were thousands in my yard and I was making 3 – 4 trips a day picking up 90 each time 7 days a week.

    I sold a few here and there but could only haul 90 at a time… and I had no time to repair them all.
    I called several old friends in KC. They moved in with me and repaird the pallets. I paid a buck each.
    One day at a underground freezer warehouse picking up broke pallets a manager aked me if I sold them. I told him 3.50 fir #2’s and 5.50 for #1’s. He said we owe Beatrice 50,000 #2 pallets and Cargill we owe nearly 100,000 @1 pallets. CAn you handle that?
    Yep… 90 at a time until I get a bigger truck.

    That was 1984. By the year 2000 I had 150 refugees from El Salvador and Guatemala working for me. The industry standard to process a pallet; unload, sort, repair if needed, and load, was about a buck.

    I had taught these guys the whole business from unloading,sorting, using hydraulic equipment that took the odd sized pallets apart for repair boards, repairing, and loading the trailers … for that I paid turnkey .75/ pallet.

    These guys sho had been earning minimum wage at my competitor were earning 1500.00/ week with me.
    I paid everyone piecework

    That year I had 10 million in pallet sales. A million in colored mulch sales from a grinder that made mulch, a half million in baled cardboard I used 100 containers we were paid 50/mo to drop, and 9 million in trucking.

    I bought 23 new long nose Peterbilts truck tractors that year to make a total of 54 or so.
    I had nearly 300 dry van semi-trailers we dropped at industries that previously had been having them hauled to the landfill.
    I must have picked up 10,000 pallets at .25/ea at the landfill the first time I found it.

    It had dawned on me what that dream meant 3 years in when I sold my first million dollars of pallets.

    All the metaphors that made no sense then now made sense.

    I was 29; the spring of my life – the cold bursts of wind was it was getting late for a career even if I was young.

    The green; the main element of the dream – recycling and money.

    The roads all appeared (built by me with no dream in mind) The entrance, where I entered on foot in the dream that had no entrance now was my main entrance with 30-40 trips of pallets a day gong in and out.

    Where I walked across the water i had built a bridge.

    It is so odd that those metaphors were only earned years later.

    I would have never moved to Arkansas if not for that dream. I trusted my unconscious without question.
    It was truly a precognitive dream. If it had not been so clear and vivid unlike my normal dreams I would never even known where I was. I would have been like all my other dreams; some abstract miss mash – so disconnected it could not be recalled.

    I have never had another dream like it.

    Oh well; this probably will not post; too long – it is fucking 3:00+ am!

    I guess i will copy, paste, and save with some 5000 essays I have wrote this year.

Leave a Reply to Gary Youree Cancel reply

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