Apart from flying cars and to beaming to points exotic in the universe, what does the future hold?

Assuming we lack the fortitude to make the difficult choices and take the unpleasant steps to correct the current imbalances in our economy and our social values, the situation will resolve itself. Whether by transition or through disintegration as prophesied by Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged,” penned in the ‘50s, I foresee a return to the microeconomies of an earlier time. If the world loses faith in the federal currency, bartering and local currencies will have to spring up to take their place. It might even spur a return to the extended family. Unfortunately, the upheaval is more likely to arise from chaos than a peaceful transformation, echoing Rand’s dire predictions.

If the latter scenario plays out, you can forget your cache of gold. The only material items of value will be land, guns, ammunition, canned goods, gasoline and a crew of brave, hardy souls. Yes, I know I’m beginning to sound like a wacko, end-of-the world survivalist type. The scary thing is that, for the first time in my life, I believe this is not beyond the realm of the possible. Until I see a serious reaction to the looming threat, I won’t be convinced that we have what it takes to relegate this dire possibility back to the pages of the screenplay, where it belongs. Because it is so extreme, the tendency is to deny, and this denial ups the odds of such a cataclysm coming to pass.

I’m not a formal Tea Party member, but it is fear of economic collapse that triggered the growth of the movement, and I share many of the group’s concerns. A signal of the strong denial seen in at least a quarter of the country is the attempt to characterize these concerned citizens as extremist, even racist, and another quarter appears to be disengaged. With each uptick in the stock market many are lulled into a sense of relief, fueled by this denial. The argument goes: In the past we’ve always recovered; it took years, but things turned around. This is easier than examining the poor fundamentals. We’ve never had this much debt, these many jobs shipped overseas to places able to do the work more cheaply, and such a large part of our domestic economy in the public sector, shielded from market forces it is attempting ineffectually to manipulate. And we’ve never had such a large segment of the people accustomed to entitlements.

Until I see a concrete movement away from denial towards sanity, I’ll keep eyeing the classifieds for a few items of real worth: land, guns, ammo ….

Next: A return to health care


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2 Responses to “THE WORLD OF THE FUTURE”

  1. theseep Says:

    It’s interesting how little difference there is between a Right-wing survivalist and an off-the-grid hippie! You’re right though, our fossil-fuel powered globalism is entirely unsustainable and as we feel Peak Oil hit (some say we’re already there), prices will skyrocket, and the price of all other commodities will go up as well. Since we’ve based most of our agriculture on fossil fuel powered machines and petroleum derived fertilizers, major famines will likely result when prices rise. The answer to this is, as you call them, “microeconomies”, similar to the Transition Movement that we talked about, basically localizing food, energy, and essentials production to make communities more resilient in the looming crises before us. Transition towns are concepts that both Tea Party folk (I still prefer the term “teabaggers”), climate deniers, environmentalists, liberals, etc, should be able to agree on, since there’s really no down side – the local economy is supported, there is food and energy security, and the local government is empowered and the community is less reliant on global supply chains.

    • Says:

      I’m less certain that oil will be the trigger; it depends on how quickly and sharply prices rise, and there is still some resilience in the supply and demand equation that blunts excessive price rises. In addition, alternate energy supplies become more viable as oil prices rise. Nevertheless, it is a valid variable that I neglected to address.

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