We need to prepare young people for a future of relocalization -- where globalization has unwound. Image by Spring Dew via Flickr
Now think about how well your local educational institutions are preparing young people for the future they are likely to face.
Most of our oil based enterprises will cease to exist in the near future. If you hope to put food on the table, you need to reassess your career plans. Several weeks ago a particularly astute young reader of my letters asked, “What business opportunities do you see going forward?” Following is my current list of potential viable business opportunities. The ideas are not ranked by importance.
1. Maintenance of existing essential equipment – mechanical, electrical, electronic
2. Maintenance of existing housing stock and modification to accommodate multiplefamily occupants.
3. Medical services, midwifery, and emergency medical service with out medical clinic or hospital backup.
4. Local manufacture of essential equipment. For example wood cook stoves and wood heaters.
5. Fabrication/rebuild of repair parts for existing essential equipment
6. Commercial distribution of essential equipment and supplies- Wholesale/retail (We will go back to the mom/pop kinds of business. The Wal-Mart/ Home Depot business model will not survive. Even those such as Weyerhaeuser will have difficulty surviving because their structure has become too rigid. (The ‘gypo’ logger and small local saw mill will replace them. )
7. Elder care. Short term for those who have money but no family or no responsible family. Long term people will by necessity take care of their own or let them depend on the charity of the community which will be in short supply. You fifty year olds and younger need to make sure that your children and grandchildren love you and are trained to assume responsibility for your care in your old age. You can forget about Social Security, Medicare, savings and private pensions. Most are insolvent even now. My generation has already ‘eaten your lunch, breakfast and dinner’.
8. Farmer market type food production and commercial distribution
9. Local food processing – canning, freezing, etc.
10. Training/retraining for all of the above. A Boeing machinist would be lost initially in the new environment. Many will not be able to make the transition even with retraining. The new environment will require much less specialization, more flexibility, and far more personal initiative because the current support systems will not be affordable.
11. Managing the acquisition and distribution of minimal food, clothing, and shelter for large masses of unemployed people. This will be a welfare program on an unimaginable scale.
12. Private security forces.
I do not consider the above to be negative, pessimistic, or defeatist. Rather it is a realistic and desperate call for you to get serious about planning and preparing for coping with the unfolding chaos.