Professions & businesses in the years ahead.


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    Hi everyone,

    Having a portable profession or business may be suitable for some people in the coming years or decades ahead. What I mean by a portable profession is a job that can be done almost anywhere in the world. An example would be web developers because they need mainly a computer and an internet connection to do their job/business. However, being a web developer would probably be a tough job/business to have in a deflationary economic environment.

    What would you consider to be a portable profession or business that would be viable in a deflationary economy?

    What profession or business would you pursue right now if you’re starting out or starting over?


    Hi Evan,

    A similar thing was asked by Oilobserver a while back. Its a difficult subject to broach because it very much depends upon the person asking the question. However there are some generalities that stick out a mile and so are worth extrapolating.

    My advice? Get into everything that might be useful in an energy and resource constrained world:

    How to grow stuff organically, for instance you can find out how by Wwoofing..

    How to treat the sick and injured without recourse to expensive big pharma or high tech hospital gadgets. the Cuban medical system is now one of the most effective in the world, and sends its many doctors to medical crisis all over the world.

    Learn how to fix stuff, anything. This is surprisingly easy to do if you have an aptitude for DIY. This is where a course in applied physics would possibly be one of the more useful courses still on offer. But you could probably learn just as much from a local electronics or mechanics group.

    Generally things are going to get a lot more constrained with regards to our current (western)energy profligacy. Thus anything to do with energy efficiency and energy conservation is going to be key. Forget about generating more energy, especially with so called renewables; check out Stoneleigh’s Renewable Energy: The Vision and a Dose of Reality and
    India Power Outage: The Shape of Things to Come
    . Things like supplemental systems such as battery backups and small scale local wind/hydro/solar (with battery backups!) will be the biggest growth areas. You need to be like Kelvin Doe, the African teenager who builds power generation plant out of scrap or Malwian William Kamkwamba who educated himself in his local library to build a wind generator.

    Its going to be this sort of artisan hands on deep knowledge approach as opposed to the current ‘accreditation’ system, which basically certifies that you have done a course at an [strike]education[/strike] dumbing down facility and little else. I am serious here, I personally have spent three stints in supposedly higher ‘education’ two of them at post grad level, and I have noticed the level of so called ‘degree’ inflation, where the quality and depth of study has diminished as the class sizes and fees have risen. Its now been turned into an industry like any other producing disposable goods that have to be upgraded every few years. A true educational experience should have the opposite effect. And that is the key here; to recognise the true meaning of an education. Education as in Educe: 1, bring out or develop from latent or potential existence; elicit. 2 infer; elicit a princliple, number, etc, from data.Origins from middle English from Latin educere educt- ‘lead out’. (from Oxfrod concise dictionary) As in to lead out of darkness.

    If your still set on being an entrepreneur, you might want to read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenace by Robert M. Pirsig. Its more relevant than ever to everything.

    On the lines of spirituality, learn to cultivate the higher faculties, especially that of an enquiring mind and the critical thought process. Getting caught up in a cult, religious or otherwise, like most ponzi schemes involves a deadening of the critical thought process. Try to find an exercise to build awareness, whether through yoga or mediation or through a more active ‘art’ such as a traditional kung fu system. That will keep you fit as well. Something like that will also help you learn to get along with others, a skill that will be invaluable especially when dealing with ‘difficult’ people and situations.

    Why is this sort of self improvement valuable? Because IMHO ‘work’ (that has any real value or satisfaction) in the future it is going to be about flexibility and adaptability, pretty much as it has always , really. The modern hyper-division and specialisation of labour is going to be one of obstacles going forwards. In fact it already is an obstacle as people made redundant these days often have to retrain to get any other work, so narrowly focused have their abilities become. Rather than focus on a job or a career, focus instead on why you might be here in the first place. Why were you born? What are you really here for? Is it just to collect as many toys and as much money as possible?

    Also money will (in all probability) not be all its cracked up to be; we will live much more in a Gift Economy. Thisvideo of Charles Eisenstein says it all really.

    So as for a portable profession or business, make yourself as ‘portable’ as possible, then wherever you end up you will be useful.

    “We do need a return to individual integrity, self-reliance and old-fashioned gumption. We really do.”

    Robert M. Pirsig



    Thanks for bringing this up.

    If I were young and ready to find a career or 2 or 3, I think I would go into survival First Aid, along with Urban Farming. The third career would be to join or organize a spiritual group with little dogma, like a pagan type of group with a focus on helping the community.

    The Lifeboat/Community section here has an thought provoking article on the subject of Community.

    One of Stoneleigh’s points has been about making community. I believe that one of the main strengths of humanity has been our ability to form sharing groups. Our current US atomization of nuclear families is really contrary to the village forming ability probably coded into our DNA; our current capitalist system needs to have a mobile ‘surplus army’ of workers to relocate and re-educate themselves as necessary.

    The article in the Lifeboat section looks at various ways people have survived with a cohesive group life style and thoughts. Preeminent are the Jews who survive by their self recognition and traditions of hospitality. He notes the Amish and also Quakers for more worldly cohesion along with their trad of hospitality.

    < Quakers have traditionally valued group self-sufficiency, but not valued individual self-sufficiency except in spiritual matters and then only to a moderate degree.>

    Another model he goes into is the Open Source movement in the IT world.

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