Lot’s of news and happenings. I’ve got almost no Internet today so am struggling with a nearly non-working dialup.
Here’s a couple of “dots” sent in:
The world has faced periodic bouts when it looked as if population growth would outstrip the food supply. Each time, food production has grown to meet demand. This time it might not be so easy. Priced Out Of The Market
Economic meltdown is going to be as bad or worse then the Great Depression (youtube).
And here is another perspective from Tom that I’d like to share, he’s now living offshore:
No answers from Asia in your list [recent blog question entry] so I thought I would send a note. About myself: I worked on Wall Street in 2001, read the writing on the wall and decided to do something about it.
First, I did everything in the States that I wanted to do before the system fell apart. I wanted to get as much education out of the dying beast as I could so I went to Law School.
Second, I started buying gold/silver and stored food.
Third, once I had a stockpile, I realized that it was pointless if America was really beyond saving, that no planning or organization could help. I hit that point in early 2006, I just couldn’t hold out any hope for reasons that you are surely aware of. So what to do? If I stay in NY, then I will be overwhelmed by the chaos, even with gold and beans in the closet, same for back home with my family which seems more reliant on gas and interstate commerce than the cities are as one cannot even walk from place to place. This said, I decided to leave. So I sent my resume to firms in Japan and here I am. I came here in July.
What is going in is mostly a US problem. Yes, there are after effects in other countries and nobody will escape unscathed. But once I left America a great sense of relief swept over me. I guess it is because while the whole world is facing the same basic set of issues, they seem better equipped to deal with those issues than the US. Trains work, people have savings etc. Most importantly, as the answers in your blog show, people have a sense of history, community and a general knowledge of how life is lived in other nations. This gives them a sense of continuity with the past and the future, helps them actually care about those around them as well as providing a sense that problems can be overcome as well as modern models to compare and contrast and learn from.
There are millions of simple solutions to the problems of the US that are just not being implemented, but again, you know that, but what I fail to perceive in your blog is the knowledge is that there are places in the world where people face and solve similar issues right now. (e.g. functioning public transport and low-cost health care as a start to a livable society) It’s just that no one cares about the community or the future and can’t believe there was a ever a time when such solutions actually were implemented or that such a place might exist right now.
I don’t know if Japan will be the best safe haven but I prefer my chances here (or several other countries I’ve been to or lived in) than in New York, where I could feel the slippage back to the feudalism of the middle ages, not the 1980 recession or the 1930 depression. My advice, get the hell out and start somewhere else as far from America as possible. In five-ten years, we can go back and start to rebuild once the insanity has passed.
Tom brings up some good points, which I don’t want to discount. Our lack of acknowledgement to the seriousness of the problem, and our unwillingness to change and implement the solutions are contributing to our decline. We lack a cultural connection to the land in many parts of America, for too many of us, it’s a ‘problem’ that should be paved over and built up to generate revenue and income streams.
It’s ironic that some of our best farmland is actually sitting under pavement and suburban tract homes.
Of course, this is absolutely stupid beyond belief, but that is our ‘tactical response’ in America. Our idiotic biofuel program has created very serious conditions for much of the world which depended upon our food crops. Yet we are still stupidly building new highways and planting more gas-tank crops then ever before. This is just plain dumb.
Tom brings up good points, but here’s my take on it. I do not personally believe we (or they or anyone) will rebuild or should rebuild — nor do I believe that this alleged ‘downturn’ as it is being euphemistically called by the lying media, will stop in 5 or 10 years. I do not see how any of this is going to be possible post-crash.
I also don’t think that this is only a U.S. problem either, although the cultural points are probably quite valid. Other nations are already suffering from resource shortages and climate change effects, that’s an issue that will only worsen since we are least 15 – 20 years “out” from even feeling the really bad effects. By then, the global ice will be gone, the coastlines will be inundated, the refugee problem will be extreme to say the least (think billions), starvation will be rampant over much of the Earth and whatever resources that are left will have been nationalized and fought over tooth and nail — and you will be a slave to some militant group somewhere. Can you say World War and global destruction? I can, because that is exactly how it’s going to play out.
Rebuilding will only come after a massive population reduction (die-off) as a result of all these events. This is a cause-and-effect that cannot be avoided by any country on Earth. No country on Earth should continue to follow its present economic model, they all needed to change yesteryear to sustainable sources. But even James Lovelock does not believe that the sustainability movement stands a prayer of working. He believes, strangely so, that we need to look to technology yet again to fix our problem.
I personally find this perspective quite perplexing, because on one hand, he believes the world will lose over 6 billion people in the next century or less (and this is not death by natural causes). He also believes that survivors will live in the Far North. Yet the other day, he was reported to saying that he believes technology is the only ‘solution’ that there might be.
My problem with this is technology has never ‘cured’ anything, it only permits the excesses to continue. Since the present paradigm is at fault, including technology, capitalism and the quest to own and control all planetary resources (including humans), why should we turn to technology again to fix it? Aren’t we just going to make the problem worse? I think so.
The promise of technology in reality, never delivers. It alleges what it cannot offer and that is at it’s very core, human freedom. Freedom from work, freedom from suffering, freedom from cold, freedom from hunger, freedom from pollution, freedom from pain and freedom from problems. But with every invention, every implementation, technology has created more problems then it proposed to solve.
The steam engine for example, was considered one of the greatest inventions on Earth. Yet following it’s development and implementation, came many, many other inventions that built upon all those principles including modern agriculture. Yet agriculture and the steam engine are now recognized as being very damaging to the planetary health. Many other inventions, if not most, fall into this category.
Prior to all these technological marvels and their myriad of offspring, humans existed on this planet for tens of thousands of years. But not without pain or suffering or hunger or cold. But even technology does not offer this without a price being paid somewhere. We’ve actually got more life-threatening diseases now then before for example. Our diets are disgusting and contribute to our failing health. We live longer, probably because we’re being preserved on the inside and on the outside by all the junk we put into and on our bodies.
While that may be entirely untrue, it is true that technology is as much a part of the problem as is any other issue on the planet. Do we really need to fly from New York to London in 3 hours? Why don’t we address this alleged need first, instead of burning up hundreds of thousands of gallons of jet fuel first (and all the industries that support it)?
For every need we perceive, we are very apt to throw technology at as the ‘solution’ which very often proves to be false because technology and all of the industries, economies and consumption that this creates, causes more problems then they have fixed.
There is a root reason that this so-called need exists. Our unwillingness to discuss these needs and what their best solution might be is very apparent in todays world. Everything has been reduced to an economic unit, including you and me. We must produce, consume, buy, sell and trade if we are to simply exist into today’s world. Those that do not do this (and they are very, very few) are considered ‘savages’ when it is we that have savaged the entire planet. Now THAT is ridiculous.
In exchange for all of this alleged ‘need’, we trashed off our health, our environment, our culture, our history, our ancestry and most important of all — our future. Every generation to come depends on us making the right choices, but it is now very clear, we did not. We have in fact, jeopardized the entire human race towards extinction. Now THAT is just plain stupid.
This is indeed where I depart from Lovelock’s view of technology. We do not need more technology — we need less. A lot less. I’m no Luddite and I like it when the lights go on, but I don’t need but a fraction of the things I have today. I’d like to see a world that realizes that and stops destroying this place we call home. And I believe that this is the only path to true freedom, because dangerous technologies like we have today are one of the reasons (but not the only one) that humans will never be free again. We’ve become enslaved to these toys and tools, believing in them we will found our freedom, but what we really found was our own slavery and dependency, leading to our own destruction.
This is a simple saying that says so much — what hurts the planet, hurts us. We cannot escape this fact no more then we can escape gravity. Unless we are willing to be a part of healing the planet by leaving it alone, we will continue to be the disease that sickened this planet. The planetary illness of humankind is now plainly evident, but it is just as evident that this planet is quite capable of curing it’s own disease. We ought to never forget this fact, since it is us that needs a healthy planet, and not the other way around.
In truth, the planet can easily sustain a healthy (wise) human population that conscientiously uses its resources, but not an unhealthy (stupid and greedy) human population that cares not for this place we call our only home. It will be rid of us if we do not change our ways.