The Economist finally showed up for the party, admitting late last week “the worst economic performance in 26 years could still be described as better than expected.” Yep, the vaunted hyper-conservative journal of record for the hyper-conservative financial sector finally conceded the economy’s in the tank and, calling it a recession, “this one is getting worse.”
I’d have never seen that one coming. Oh, wait. I guess I did, along with a whole lot of other people, virtually none of them economists. One of the people who saw this coming long before me was Matthew Stein, who presented an incredibly optimistic view of human response to the ongoing economic collapse in an interview with AlterNet the same day the Economist sounded the belated alarm.
How to deal with the impending failure of technology? I recommend a long look at Matthew Stein’s comprehensive handbook, When Technology Fails. I picked up a copy of this book a few years ago, and I suspect I’ll be referring to it often at the mud hut.
In the short term, I’m fortunate to live in a major metropolitan area while developing infrastructure at the very rural mud hut. Such an arrangement allows me to scoop up discarded, but perfectly useful, stuff from the alleys in my neighborhood. For example, I recently put free double-paned windows into the straw-bale fowl house. We’ll likely have the happiest ducks and chickens in the country. In the long run, — by which, in this case, I mean a year — the city is the worst possible place to be. On the other hand, as the economist John Maynard Keynes pointed out, “in the long run we are all dead.”
And while I’m on the topic of dumpster-diving as a means of inexpensive acquisition, one of my undergraduate advisees is working on her senior capstone course. The title: scavenging the detritus of empire as a basis for post-carbon living.
Don’t you love the optimism of youth?