The Recession and Depression of Plenty
Have you noticed how even homeless people have cell phones?
The peak oil community, for the longest time, has been freaked out about running out of resources. There have been all sorts of efforts to help people prepare for a society fighting over the remaining resources. The problem with our society and economic system, however, is the opposite of the normal peak oil argument – we actually have too much stuff, not the other way around. Granted – there are people that go without things like ipods – but they make due.
In general, we have created an over abundance of cars, toasters, programmers, and advertising sales people. The problem isn’t ‘stuff’ depletion as much as money depletion. We have plenty of stuff. Which is why with food available, people aren’t trying to learn how to garden – they are just trying to land another job to pay their bills.
The fight is really between human laws and mother nature’s laws. We are at the peak of everything, but the cash is scarce – having been sucked into corporate officers’ pockets. Right now, CEOs and lawyers are still fat and happy, while your average worker is getting laid off due to their redundancy. The system hasn’t collapsed – it has retracted. Without any money in savings, the ability for people to live at the same level of comfort is what is threatened, not the monetary construct. We haven’t created a new economic system to replace the old one, so suffering is occurring as the old system ceases like an engine without oil.
If we all defaulted on our debts to banks – could the banks kick everyone out of their homes at once? We aren’t there yet, we are still in the peak oil ‘collections period’.
This means while jobs and money become more scarce, we are back to people trying to sell off their goods and services to make ends meet – creating a surplus of Nintendo Wii consoles on Craigslist. All the people with money have to do is wait longer, and the prices will come down even further. Yes, the general population has been fattened for the slaughter, and the feasting has begun.
So, what to do?
Well, I created a sharing system for friends and neighbors (or anyone in a geographic region or community for that matter) to share resources. If groups of people would inventory their stuff, they could share things. But sharing stuff only helps save money – it doesn’t generate it, unless you rent out your stuff when you let someone borrow it.
For instance – many people have tools. The stores have plenty of tools, too. So when someone needs a drill, they can either borrow one or they can buy one. But lots of people already have drills – and the folks at the drill factory are being laid off as the realization that we have materialized enough stuff for everyone kicks into our consciousness.
And when there is no more market demand for cars, toasters, or whatever has been produced enough – people get laid off. Those workers still need to make payments for bills and debts, however. So they ask for assistance from the government – racking up more claims and causing a drain on government resources.
How long can the government hand out food stamps and heating assistance before it is overwhelmed and more people are taking than adding to it? We are seeing it happen in front of our eyes.
So as this recession continues, it is the quest for continued sources of money – not the quest for ‘stuff’ that is the way the average person is experiencing peak oil. I think we will continue to see more people living together rather than having their own private nests.
At least we have lots of Nintendos to play.
Entry filed under: Community Building, Consumerism, Corporations, Economic Collapse, Gardening, Materialism, Peak Oil, Profits, Solutions, Technology, Trends. Tags: Bright Neighbor, depression of plenty, overabundance of labor, recession of plenty.