Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Wisdom of the Masses

Nearly 40% of Americans believe that the American economy is in permanent decline.

That's only because the other 60% is still employed an unaware of America's energy predicament.  And there is no macro solution (IMHO). I have been writing this blog for 5 years or so, and have been noodling this since 2000, and no matter how I move the parts around I don't see any outcome where significant parts of systems that many, many people rely on for their physical and mental well being will not fail.

The pension system? Kaput. Banking? Sunk. Budgets for social services? Glug glug glug... as the water rises around them. Infrastructure? Ka-BOOM! Recreational doomers will take no solace in this, it could take a decade or 2...

I don't know the rate of change... for the people whose financial lives have already collapsed, I don't think it matters a wit - and there are millions of them.

And I don't blame our political leaders... they were set up in all of this by phenomenon beyond their control and blown this way and that by the Zeitgeist. The myriad unintended consequences of the explosion in energy use, ingenuity, population growth and innovation were just too difficult to see past. Assumptions were made, and then those that espoused the assumptions received "qualifications" from our establishment institutions further reinforcing these assumptions... and now we know, or suspect, that those assumptions are all wrong... but too late. We are here. And does not matter if "Peak Oil" is here for the world or if its 10 years away... Peak Oil is here for the U.S... and its not the "end of the world" but it does make operating within the financial economy very difficult for a large portion of the population.

How that is addressed is anybody's guess...


This is a must read from Stuart Staniford.



Donal said...

The Stuart Staniford article is interesting, but it seems to me that these technological 'breakthroughs' will relate to a smaller and smaller percentage of the population, especially as the middle classes continue to decline in the West.

As for the rest, you are right, it isn't an even picture. If you're in work and getting paid, low interest rates mean you're wealthier than ever. If you're out of work then there is no way but down. Retired on fixed savings? You're SO stuffed!

There's never been such a black and white, to have or have not, shift in society, not just in the West but even (at different starting levels) in Africa. But there it means 'to starve or eat'.

Anonymous said...

It seems that a general decline in the middle class cannot help but hurt the elite, though they may not see it that way. Of what value are the productive assets that they own if no one can afford the products?


Coal Guy

Anonymous said...

It's a big ole misery party and everyone is invited. Since we can't opt out and send our regrets, the prudent thing to do is try to be fassionably late.


dennis the menance said...

From the way things look how can anyone expect the people of america to feel anything but negative about the prospects for the country.