If Ben Bernanke and the fools at the Fed actually thought the industrial economy was recovering, they’d jack up interest rates. When the prime rate is up around 5%, you’ll know the industrial economy is back on track. Alternatively, you can monitor the extinction rate of non-human species.
I was among the final baby boomers born in the United States. Along with my entire generation, I owe the world an apology. My generation abandoned a worthy dream, and it will cost all of us, but nobody more than civilized members of industrial society.
Occasionally when people talk to me about my new life in and around the mud hut, their conclusions include one of the following statements: (1) You’re selfishly wasting your talent as an excellent and inspiring teacher. You should be teaching at the university, saving students, instead of preparing for economic collapse. (2) Don’t be silly. The United States cannot suffer economic collapse.
My responses go something like this:
The twin sides of our fossil-fuel addiction — energy decline and global climate change — are the most important topics we can address as a species. The national conversation ignores or marginalizes these critical topics. On the rare occasion they inadvertently come up, we act like a roomful of eight-year-olds with plates full of peas and mashed potatoes, pushing the main course around without actually ingesting it, wishing for the distraction of dessert.
Shortly after Cain murdered Abel and then founded the first city, more cities began to dot the Mesopotamian landscape. The rewards of civilization allowed relatively few people to feed the majority, with the biggest rewards going to a select, powerful minority. From those days forward, cities have allowed, in Stanley Diamond’s words, “conquest abroad and repression at home.”