Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Depression

I got a great email the other day why a good friend of mine thinks that this depression we are going into is going to be very different than the last one, regardless of all the doom and gloom. He said he didn't need to be credited by name and didn't mind my sharing, but I just want to assure you this isn't my own work. I'm not that economically savvy! However I thought his thoughts on our current situation and his prognosis was worth sharing.

As we discussed, we are already having a depression.

But this depression cannot play out like the last one for the following

- We do not currently have a drought causing dust bowl conditions and a
mass migration of agrarian workers ("Okees").

- The proportion of our economy dependent on an agrarian work force has
been vastly reduced.

- The national highway system did not exist then.

- The rural electrification program hadn't happened yet.

- We did not have our modern transportation systems.

- We did not have our modern communication systems.

- We did not have the Internet.

- We did not have such an interconnected global economy (it existed but
nothing like today).

- We did not have the general level of affluence that most people can
take for granted today (hot and cold running water for everyone, flush
toilets, a highly efficient food production system).

- None of those things are going to break down to any significant degree
under current economic conditions, no matter how bad things get.

- It would take a war of some kind to produce the type of conditions we
had to endure then.

- Remember, Europe was bombed to rubble, and recovered within 20 years
(really less) and is on par with the U.S. today in terms of general

- By the way, the "Marshall Plan" to reinvigorate the European economy
after WWII cost about 1/4th of what we are spending today, in today's
dollars, for us to bail out our financial institutions, car company's
etc. AND the new economic stimulus package that has just been passed.

- Sadly, the Bush administration has already spent as much on the war in
Iraq, as we are now spending on the above two packages (over 2 Trillion
dollars, more or less).

- Currently Japan has a larger national debt with respect to their GNP
than we do.

- Currently England's financial crisis and bank failures is even worse
than ours.

- The whole world is in this together, so whatever happens, we'll have
to do it as a world.

- The biggest question is... how bad are governments going to fuck up
what needs to be done?

NOBODY knows the answer to that.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Sky is Falling

I believe that even people that believe in global warming don’t believe it.

I believe the world is in deep environmental doodoo up to our haunches and yet here I am sitting around drinking a cup of fair-trade organic joe while blogging away. If I really truly believed in the imminent demise of the world I should be running around like Chicken Little screaming “the sky is falling” because it, very probably, is. I am surrounded by many people just like myself: liberal, believers in sustainability, local, fair trade, and organic and not only are they not running around tearing their hair out or huddling under the darkening skies like the poor hapless citizens of Pompeii as they saw their world ripped apart in fire and ash, but they are debating FDA organic food standards, whether they should buy tropical fruit in winter, or unbleached diapers for their infants. Some of them are swelled with pregnancy.

If there is one thing that all humans share in common, from hippy organic farmer to greedy corporate CEO (stereotypes are like keyboard shortcuts), is the love of their kids. We want the best for our children. We want them to live long lives and give us grandkids. There is no better proof that even some of the most hardcore far to the left liberals don’t actually believe in climate change than the fact that they are breeding like mad.

I think it’s akin to the belief in death. We all know about death, we all know it will happen to us one day, and we’ve seen it happen to the people around us, but no matter how true we know it to be, we spend the greater portion of our life believing it will somehow skip us. Seriously I think more people well and truly believed in the Y2K bug and the idea that the world would collapse in the ensuing chaos than believe in global warming today. Billions was spent to upgrade computers. People stocked up on food and water.

Instead of acting like Chicken Little we’re all acting a little like the proverbial ostrich over climate change, sticking our heads in the sand, hoping it will go away. Of course a lot of that might be due to the immensity of the problem, but I do believe, considering how people are still bitching about the price of gas while popping out more kids that we, collectively and worldwide, simply do not believe in climate change.