Seems a life in the ivory tower is damned poor preparation for post-carbon living. But I’ve largely survived the blister phase, and calluses are forming on my soft, pink hands as I return to a life of labor at the mud hut. My fingers try to wrap around a shovel handle, even when there’s no shovel in sight.
The rewards are not evident yet, but I can feel them coming closer with each new dawn. Fortunately, I’m no longer addicted to academic success, as I once was, because I know there are greater rewards than meaningless paper in the bank and meaningless plaques on the wall.
The crisis has arrived for my generation, apparently just in time to save our species from itself. The world financial system was nearly vaporized last year at least four times, if we are to believe U.S. Congressional Representative Paul Kanjorski, Time magazine, or the U.S. Secretary of Treasury. Secretary Geithner correctly points out that the stimulus package is expensive, and will remain so for a long time (he didn’t mention forever, but we all know that’s what he means), but it is necessary if we are to delay (he said “prevent,” but at least he and I know he’s lying) an immediate economic collapse. Yes, he said economic collapse. And he was right: Without massive and frequent intervention, the industrial economy would have collapsed already, and it becomes increasingly likely to collapse with each passing day. It is becoming increasingly obvious, even to the typically oblivious, that another superpower can implode essentially overnight, less than 20 years after it happened the first time.
We’ve known this was coming for a long time. Every empire is built on a foundation of
sand debt. The Ponzi scheme works for a while but, at some point, the debt we’ve passed along to future generations must be paid. The alternative is default, which can happen with extreme rapidity. The latter option is increasingly attractive because the current U.S. debt of $10.5 trillion far exceeds the value of all the currency in the world combined with all the gold ever mined from planet Earth. This seems like a problem to me.
Some people are screaming for the whole truth from President Obama. I don’t think we’ll get it, mostly because we don’t really want to know the suffering caused by the industrial economy to other species and cultures. In fact, I don’t think we can even comprehend the level of suffering we are causing. And then there’s the other side of the coin: This nation of overfed clowns, to steal a memorable and oft-repeated line from James Howard Kunstler, simply can’t handle the truth.
Here’s my question for you, dear reader: What happens when we push the “reset” button on the world’s economic system? What happens to you, your family, your friends, the town you occupy, the state you live in, and the indulgences we’ve all come to expect?