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Morals erased through wanton pleasures are restored with pain. The world must experience the fruits of their collective poor choices. We’ve fallen far, and so much pain will be required for a lasting restoration of values to ensue.
Your answer is atonement. There is no short circuiting this process. Mankind must change. The pain will purge as fire. It won’t be comfortable, but it is necessary, right, and good.
I agree completely. My point was more about them making this transition than the wisdom of doing so.
I do not see the path to materialism as positive. I should feel much happier to see a moral and spiritual revival. An economic crash can direct people’s attention back to what really matters… family, friends, a connection with nature instead of a desire to conquer it. How satisfying it would be to see moral and ethical foundations thrive once again.
Many fear this deflationary conflagration; I see good in it. There is opportunity for localization to take place. Perhaps some will grow gardens on their soil instead of turf, and in turn will find joy in reconnecting with the land. People will learn they must depend on each other, resulting in local relationships where once the dollar was the impersonal binding force. Those who seek success sans relationships will fail; those who embrace others and enable their communities will thrive. People will have to do with much less, yes, materially. Balance will be found in all the immaterial that is restored to their lives.
This is the future I prepare for, one where we live in harmony with others and our environment. I believe it far better than the one we’ve been experiencing.
I have to wonder if China isn’t going about their problem all wrong. They are a command economy in which the multitude of people are focused on saving. The currency to labor exchange rate is so low that the people who have currency are more apt to send it home for essentials or to save this scarce currency than to use it as a consumable. In essence, they cannot shift their economy unless they make money more plentiful to the common people, for it is those people alone who can drive their consumption engine.
It stands to reason, that in a command economy, one means of increasing demand would be to offer credits to each household, such that they can use but not save them. Each individual might receive, as an example, the equivalence of $500 USD in credits. These credits could only be used to purchase China made goods, and this would result in the credits returning to the Chinese factories (government) where workers would again earn wages. This would stimulate demand. It would not burden the households they seek to make consumers of. In essence, it wouldn’t be all that different from trading real goods for the fictitious… sorry, fiat currencies of other nations. The Chinese government is already using their foreign currencies to prop up their market. This would be a means of increasing demand and stimulating local activity/spending more directly.
China has long had a trade surplus. They are trading real goods for promises that will be defaulted upon. This supports their industry but does nothing to make China sustainable in the long term. It would seem a shift in that paradigm might enrich their own society enough that the burden on people is lessened enough for them to start spending. Of course, the weight of retirement savings, and savings for personal calamities, must likewise be addressed. In China, those who don’t save for a future don’t have one. They need a system to secure people in their old age, or ill health, such that spending isn’t seen as the risk it is today.
I guess in short, what I’m saying is that they need a @#%@’n plan. It’s not enough to pressure citizens to spend, or to decide they are shifting towards a more service driven economy. They need the structure in place to make Chinese people certain of their personal futures. They need to remove the burden of risk. When you really look at it, this means they need to empower their people. And there’s a culture shift if I’ve ever seen one.
FWIW = For What Its Worth
I’m not sure the statement is heard. If anything, I suspect as Ilargi has suggested; TPTB use the protest to show there is public concern, but they don’t elaborate on what that concern is. The media can spin public involvement any way they like. They can find a moron in the crowd and suggest that individual is representative of the whole. They can plant someone to say what they want and suggest instead that the plant represents the group. In short, the message is unlikely to get to the masses.
The first step is affecting our own lives. Have each of us, as individuals, done what it is within our power to personally do? Do we repurpose instead of recycle, when possible? Do we dehydrate, freeze or can any excess from our refrigerators, or do we let it go to waste? Do we compost what we cannot save, or simply toss it into another bag destined to become landfill? Do we cut our thermostats a degree or a few, donning a sweater instead of burning up fuel we don’t need? There are so many changes we can make in our lifestyles, and these are things that DO make a difference. A group of excessoholics debating our energy consumption is absurd, I will agree. But we can’t change them before we change ourselves. And if we can change ourselves, and then influence others, we’ll have accomplished much more than attending Con21 could ever do.
I strongly agree with you John. There are better technologies than propane though, and I’d suggest people look into them. The oil drum reburner wood stove is an interesting one wherein the fire burns sideways and the smoke (unconverted energy) is released in the drum reburner. It’s rather easy to make and the exhaust is smoke free and nearly room temperature. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to grow propane where you are, but I’ll bet there’s some form of combustible fuel that you can access.
It seems prudent for individuals to get off the grid while we have a system supplying the desired technologies. One can be off-grid sans solar electric, but power is sure nice to have. The same can be said for LED lighting, cast iron cookware, dimensional lumber… all processed commodities. I’ve heard many suggesting this is a good time to save cash, but I prefer to have something tangible; prices and buying power don’t matter if you have what you need.
And FWIW, movement toward sustainable lifestyles can mean great improvements in our environmental footprints. That’s real progress people can make now. I think it makes more sense than protesting.August 16, 2015 at 6:47 pm in reply to: The Boundaries and Future of Solution Space – Part 2 #23224
Nicole, your article is even more exceptional than usual. This is another ‘must print.’ I eagerly await you next post.
Canada faired well in the 2008 crash due to our resource based economy. I don’t see that helping us so much this time. Perhaps it is time for old school Amish wisdom to make a comeback. Make what you use and consume what you make. Sell only the surplus and limit trade. The globalization that was to be our strength seems to give this pending deleveraging most of its punch. On a personal level, it seems we can right our own ships before the gail arrives.
A person focused on ‘me mine and my family’ does not invest in four years of blog posting to share knowledge and helping others. I don’t see any selfies at Dr. Nelson Lebo III’s site. I don’t see much in the way of ego either.
It would be helpful if critics would perhaps be less critical and judging, choosing instead to build off the gifts of others.November 12, 2014 at 4:01 am in reply to: And Then There’s The Things You Couldn’t Even Make Up #16505
Actually, it makes perfect sense from the perspective of peak oil. They want increased discovery and decreased consumption. In a world of scarce oil, that is a survival tactic.
“Just look at the United States: they’ve got more than 10,000 fracking wells opening up each year and their gas prices are three-and-a-half times lower than here.” – David Cameron in the above address
US fuel isn’t cheaper because of fracking; it’s cheaper because the US taxes it less.
From the above link:
Sixty per cent of the price of unleaded petrol and 58 per cent of the cost of diesel is made up of duties and VAT in Britain, the highest percentages in the European Union. […] The mid-January price for diesel in the UK was 141.3p a litre. But without tax and duties, it would be only 59.8p. Unleaded petrol cost 132.9p, although without tax and duties it would be a much more manageable 52.8p. […] VAT, is charged at the standard rate. So as the price of fuel rises, the amount of VAT charged also rises. […] ‘We pay tax on our earnings so that we can buy these vital commodities, and then we pay VAT on the fuel duty.’
Stoneleigh, I really do thank you for all your inspiring works, especially this one. When I seek a fresh perspective, The Automatic Earth always delivers.
Devolving into small units would be, in my perspective, a best case scenario. It is good to recognize that it’s not all doom and gloom… that perhaps we can help society shift into a decentralized and trust based ethical model. I certainly pray for that, but the devolution we see happening today seems more in line with authoritarianism.
Large systems can be stabilized by simplifying the elements within. At this time, people have much economic freedom, and with more paths and thus more more variability. It would seem to me that those of privilege intend to control the population through a combination of force and fear; this would remove the freedom and, if public lash-back can be quashed, help to stabilize the society. I look at how government operates today, in most western societies and especially the US and EU, and a migration towards authoritarian rule seems to be the modus operandi.
While rarely endeared by the peasantry, authoritarian societies such as monarchies have endured for centuries. The histories of Britain, France, and Spain serve as prime examples. The question about devolution from an authoritarian state becomes one of energy and force… for when the rulers are unable to exercise their control of a kingdom, they lose it. However the result is not the simple societies which you mention; another authoritarian ruler generally steps in to replace the fallen. There is the issue of EROEI in oil, but the technologies which supported monarchies and dictatorships in centuries past still exist today, along with a sporting new line of tools which can be added as additional control mechanisms (drones and mankind’s massively expanded artillery, for example). It would appear that if the ‘free’ society fails, enough control mechanisms exist for authoritarianism to endure for at least our natural lifetimes.
I would love to hear you chime in on the probability of trust based societies instead of authoritarian rule. I desperately want to see your scenario occur over the one I present, but the trajectory seems well established.
@chas – You missed no bull market. You missed a bull market fake-out. They are not the same thing. When this farce of a rise fails, the fireworks will be spectacular and your dry powder will buy plenty. The average economic participant has no resilience. You are in an enviable position.