Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Well, I don’t think I’ve mentioned it, but the US economy is self-destructing. Considering it was a house of cards built on shifting sands, is it any wonder? I’m just waiting for the full-scale panic to hit. Yesterday the market dropped 700 points, which is the largest drop since the depression. It only takes a very few people to start a panicked, snowballing run to pull their money out. Then look out--things are going to get crazy. Life as we know it will be drastically changed.

The best thing I can be doing is what I’ve been doing--becoming more and more self-sufficient. Next year I’ll grow a bigger garden and maybe get some laying chickens if the landlord allows. My worry is surviving this winter if it all goes to pot. I really need to get a pressure canner and a lot more jars. I don’t have a whole lot from the garden I can can, but I could do a lot of jars of beans and soups. I should be able to root cellar the butternut squash and also makes soup from it. I still need to make some pickled beets and pickled zucchini.

I’ve never had any money in the market, and frankly I don’t believe in it. I know I sound like a crusty, out-of-touch old timer. But at least I’m not stuffing wads of cash under my mattress. For one thing, most publicly-traded companies do not operate ethically--so why would I loan money to fund something I find morally objectionable? The fact that I might eventually profit from their actions would make me just as culpable. Even the so-called “socially responsible” companies are problematic because a lot of what they produce just isn’t necessary and their existence inevitably takes a toll on the environment. Patagonia, the yuppie outdoor gear and clothing company, is just one example.

I don’t believe in retirement accounts. The only retirement account I fund is my health and adaptability. If I maintain my health and I have skills in all areas of self-sufficiency, what more would I possibly need in my retirement years? The only things I need to fund between now and then would be a piece of land, a small shelter and whatever tools and supplies would be necessary to be self-sufficient. None of that requires vast savings or bank financing. As much as possible I want to limit my involvement in national and global economies. A homestead economy is the level of magnitude I’m comfortable with, with some excursions into the local economy.

As far as health goes, I intend to maintain it as best as possible through diet, exercise, fresh air, sunshine, herbal remedies and alternative treatment. As much as possible I will stay away from the medical establishment, since it isn’t concerned with healing anymore, rather it’s only concern is profit.

I read recently that the average 18-65 year old takes eleven different prescription drugs per year, and people over 65 take twenty-eight different prescriptions! Doctors have mainly turned into drug pushers. You would think there might somewhere be a spark of the desire to heal, hiding inside of these so-called physicians, but it must be hidden deeply. Shoving chemical after chemical into a body is not healing! Meanwhile the pharmaceutical companies reap obscene profits while making people sicker, and slickly convincing them they need even more drugs! And in a number of cases the parent company of the pharmaceutical companies also owns agrochemical and industrial chemical companies. So they poison the food, the land and the air and then when we sicken from it all they further poison our bodies with their drugs, all the while reaping unimaginable profits.

I read an article the other day that said that organic food will soon be less expensive than conventionally grown food. With fuel prices only going up and the dollar weakening, plus yields going down in the abused conventional fields--yeah, the day is surely coming. In so many ways we’re reaching our day of reckoning. We will have to make things right again, or we’re just not going to survive.

This massive government bailout worries me because it’s all a sham. It will look like something’s been done, but the same debt exists. We’re not choosing a new paradigm. We’re not examining the whole pretense of financing with money you don’t have. An economy that runs on wishes is a farce. They want to push this bailout so that lenders will loosen their guidelines for loans and credit lines for the little guy, so the economy can keep humming along. In other words letting people buy with only a wish. That’s what caused the problem in first place. People wishing their way into gargantuan palaces. Instead of wishing their way into palaces, they should’ve bought their way into humble shacks.

But let’s pass this measure so we can loosen credit again and let the people make more irresponsible decisions. They want to pass it to regain a sense of normalcy, but that old normalcy was totally dysfunctional and untenable in the first place. They want to protect their political careers and this move will allow the façade of normalcy to reappear hopefully long enough to get them reelected. But it will be temporary. We can put off the day of reckoning, but not for long. Our economy is a total farce. We require a new paradigm.

I hear all of these people worrying that they might lose their entire life savings. And I think, this could be a good thing. It’s only money! So you lose something that was never real in the first place. Once you get over that, you might finally see that human capital and environmental capital are the only real kinds of capital anyway--and if we are good stewards of that capital it’s all any of us need. At least the possibility is here for people to break out of this misbegotten paradigm. The surest way would be to let consequences unfold naturally with the inevitable greater depression that would follow. Am I heartless for wishing a depression on us? What would a depression be but a true reckoning of our wealth? A true reckoning is what we need. The GDP is not the measure of our wealth. It’s not what we’re producing. The measure of our wealth has got to be any profits left after all costs of production have been accounted for. Including environmental costs.

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