Sunday, December 21, 2008

Econolypse Now!

Here's some interesting reading from Robert Paterson, the organizer of the Boyd 2008 session in Prince Edward Island. It details just how bad the ''econolypse'' is going to get. Short answer: ''We are not in a recession. We are not even in a depression. We are at the end of an era.'' It's pretty amazing stuff, to say the least.

Here's the rub:
''What got us to this place?

''The Dark Side of a Mindset. The Machine/Institutional/Newtonian/Engineering Mindset that created most of the wealth of the 19th and 20th century tipped over into the dark side. Where not only did we give up all our power to institutions but gave the few that ran them the license to use these institutions for their own benefit.

''So we spend nearly a trillion on defense but not on what the troops really need. We spend billions of health and America is on a par with Cuba. We spend billions on education and more than 50% of Americans are functionally illiterate. We spend billions on food and we eat crap. We see that the leadership of these institutions live in a bubble. The gap between the rich and poor has never been greater. The middle class is being squeezed. We don't make anything anymore. We make no progress toward energy independence.

''Nearly every citizen now lives in dread. Will I keep my house, my job, my pension? Do you feel safe? Everything that people have worked for and hoped for now is at risk.''

Merry Christmas!
The only answer Paterson gives for all these problems might be considered ''radical'', although its not historically so- namely, he suggests returning to almost completely self-sufficient tiny communities, not just in terms of food and energy, but also in terms of credit and security. In other words, we need to start dismantling the state, and a number of other huge global institutions while we're at it. Or, really just replacing them and allowing them to wither away. Somebody fetch me my axe.

And what's crazy about all of this- aside from hearing economists talking like anarchists- is that it might actually be impossible to go back to the old way of doing things, even if we want to. It's already occurred to me that the people who are talking about how we have to get back to the ''normal'' economic world we had back in 2006 are fucking insane. The world we live in today might already be extinct.

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