The Most Important Graph in the World

Monday, April 6, 2009

Warning: We will get the future we've prepared for

Rather than the one we simply hope for. Dmitry Orlov says it well:

It seems commonsense to accept this reversion to norm as natural, and to strive to have enough of whatever we are going to need, be it tools for working leather, a stock of paraffin, seeds, fishing tackle, and a myriad of other similar items that comprised the pre-industrial survival kit. The last thing we should want to do is to throw these things away at first sign of economic distress and for trivial reasons. And yet that seems to be the prevailing pattern. . . .

[I]n general, there is a lack of effort to save things. We are making an effort to save financial institutions, which are the ultimate ephemera of industrial civilization, and are absolutely guaranteed to have no reason to continue into a future in which debt, denominated in future earnings that will be meager at best, and money, which will only hold its value for as long as it guarantees access to sources of pure, concentrated energy, all steadily dwindle to nothing. It is as if the doctors decided to only try to save persistent vegetative quadriplegics with terminal cancer, or if the environmentalists decided that the endangered species list only has room for one animal: the vampire bat. It would make much more sense to try to save small businesses, such as family businesses that serve local communities, because there is a good chance that they will find a use in the future, or at least facilitate the transition. Instead, we are squandering the remaining resources on the various dinosaurs of the industrial age.

Excellent blog: The Infrastructurist

If you want to understand the (often self-inflicted) challenges Salem will face in the new reality of scarce energy and economic woe, there's a great blog for you: The Infrastructurist.

Here are two great sample items to start you off:

James Howard Kunstler: Investing in Infrastructure for An Age of Scarcity

Christopher Leinberger: How to Save the Suburbs: Solutions from the man who saw the whole thing coming

Great argument for killing your TV

The amazingly good Joe Bageant, author of "Deer Hunting with Jesus."

What's this got to do with Salem? Everything -- escaping the hive mind fashioned by corporate controlled TV (and don't kid yourself for a second that PBS is some big exception) is the first step to recognizing the importance of making your own place the place you truly inhabit, rather than merely occupy while you received coded messages about what to think from the corporate programmers.

Remember, why do you think they call it "programming"? Or, as Joe puts it,

Television is the software, the operating instructions for our society.