Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Sustainable Future?!?!

The entire world – at least those of us who make less than a few million a year – is teetering on the brink of economic disaster.

Housing costs are out of control and at the same time home prices are falling so that in many countries – most notably ours – those who already own a home are pinched by the fact that their investment is now worth up to 25% less than it was when they bought it. It’s a buyer’s market, but only the rich can afford to buy.

The price of gasoline has risen so high that mass transit use has risen dramatically, SUVs and pickups are flooding the car lots, and shipping costs for all kinds of goods are putting them beyond the reach of us average Joes. Every day more reports come in from around the world of masses of people who cannot afford to buy food.

To me the most amazing thing about all this is the reaction of our economists. They all point to the high cost of crude oil as a base cause, but ignore the long existent elephant in the room.

For centuries a system based on unbridled use of resources has been the driving force of the world economy. Those with the most power took raw resources from the powerless, forged them into products using labor purchased as cheaply as possible then sold them back to the powerless at great profit. As a basis for sustainability, that model leaks like a sieve, and it has been modified by the U.S. into an even more lethal combination by the introduction of genetically modified and patented grains and other artificially “enhanced” means of production that ultimately limit the ability of people living off the earth to continue living on it.

We humans have been exploiting this little globe so systematically for so long that we have nearly depleted its useful resources. We have also sought so strenuously to separate ourselves from nature through technology that many of us in the developed countries have forgotten that we have any connection with it.

For our economic system to be viable for the long term, it is essential that we structure it not only to take our connection to nature into account, but to build in methods of rebuilding soils and other natural resources we have unnecessarily but almost totally depleted. It is also essential that the “upper echelons” of the system (i.e. the upper 1% of earners) recognize that their excess income is too big a drain on their fellow citizens. (Isn’t that a likely one?!?!) At the same time and in the same way, it will be essential for world “powers” like the U.S., Great Britain, Russia and China to recognize that their role as citizens of the planet cannot continue to be as exploiters, but rather must cohabit rather than exploit; must replenish rather than destroy; must recognize each other’s similarities rather than declare war over perceived differences.

Of course we all know these things aren’t going to happen, so we obviously need alternatives. The great American solution is to develop ways for human kind (i.e. wealthy human kind) to escape the globe and learn to live on some other planet. This plan seems as likely to me as the possibility that some big guy with a long white beard is keeping accounts on everybody so he can decide whether or not they can come to live with him when he finally decides to destroy the earth.

We humans are truly amazing creatures, aren’t we?! To paraphrase Mark Twain, man is the only animal that can rationalize – or needs to.

We have two cars in the garage, a good roof, an insurance policy, a television set and a refrigerator full of beer, so all is well --- NOT!

Maybe the time is fast approaching when we each should have a plan for survival and to hell with the rest of them, or maybe . . . Oh hell, just pass the arsenic, will you?!

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -- M. K. Gandhi

Individually we have little voice. Collectively we cannot be ignored.
But in silence we surrender our power. Yours in Peace -- BR

The reason for going was to keep the crude flowing and raise a false flag abroad. – from a poem by Jack Evans titled 3500 Souls -

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