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28 June 2008

Comments

Gema Gray

Great post Katz - and how awful to lose evertyhing like that.

My husband and I were talking about all of this the other day and he stunned me with the apocalyptic "It's he end of the world as we know it." This is a very sanguine man so I asked for clarification...

He predicts that transportation costs will have us all going back to eating locally grown produce, with only the ultra-rich being able to afford items brought from another region or around the world. We will buy more of our food fresh and unprepared because plastic packaging is made from oil (hence the price hike that your butcher quoted).

Already this week I have read two articles online about farmers in Vermont and Maine switching their land use to grow crops normally associated with the midwest, in order to capitalize on the shortage of grains and meet local demand.

People will begin to migrate back towards the cities to use public transportation (such as it is!) and avoid the car commute. Young people will live with their parents longer (already happening) and go to local colleges and universities, rather than explore new places.

We will, in his estimation, go back to a "simpler" way of life, driven by the rhythms of local climate and extended family needs - not far removed from the lives our parents and grandparents lived as they raised us, but cushioned by modern conveniences and techologies.

Now, that doesn't sound so bad, does it? Maybe we have overstretched the rubber band of human existence to the point where it is ready to snap, and so a contraction is necessary to avoid catastrophe. The resources available to us from the planet are insufficient to meet our greedy needs. We have tipped the balance too far in the name of progress.

Maybe, this Next Great Depression, as you call it, will be a readjustment of society that will place us back in balance and allow us to continue our evolution in a less destructive direction. Maybe our sons and daughters and their children and grandchildren will have a better understanding and will forge humanity's path forward with a restraint and forethought that has been lacking in recent generations.

The readjustment will be painful for sure, but perhaps - just perhaps - humanity will learn from it and we will move on without the hubris and recklessness we have so far displayed.

I choose to be hopeful...

Sue Katz

Well, that's putting a positive spin on things indeed, Gema. But ultimately, poverty is never pretty or positive or welcome. You gotta have an income to buy that local produce. Certain people make big bucks when everyone else is being impoverished: and I think the combo of the gazillionaires being made in the almost private-market conduct of this war in Iraq and the oil companies are doing the rest of us in.

Lynda

If I could believe we were just going back to simpler times as Gema is hopeful for I could live with that. Unfortunately I haven't her hopefulness. The whole thing is just too depressing to even contemplate. Where I see us going is NOT a pretty picture at all.

And people wonder why I have NO desire to live to be 100.......LOL

Sue Katz

Yes, Lynda, I agree. The thing is that as I looked through images of the last great depression, I could find no evidence of "simpler times" - just worst times.

Lynda

Sue,

Simpler times would be going back to the 50's. Unfortunately, I see us going back to medieval times and THAT scares me the most.

The latest "witch hunts" (smokers, obese people, drinkers, etc) seem to be escalating rather than dying out.

The tactics being used today in the name of "public health" are the same tactics Hitler used in trying to create his "pure" race. That no one makes the connection shows how little history people remember or even know.

And THAT is that scariest thing of all.

Gema Gray

In taking the "big picture", long-term view, I did not intend to dismiss the effect of poverty and hardship that, I agree with you Ladies, is almost inevitable. It will be incumbent on those with the means (government, the rich) and compassion (all of us) to attempt to ease the burden on those suffering the brunt of the readjustment.

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore

Thanks for this great analysis, Sue. There's another great post, on a similar topic here:

http://www.beyondchron.org/news/index.php?itemid=5698

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