29 September 2008
A little close for comfort
At the risk of sounding a complete crank and darnit, being wrong about what's going on in the world, I'm going to come out of the doom closet. Oh, you already knew I was a doomer? Well, this is going to be easy then. It's the end of the world as we know it. Let me rephrase that: it's the end of the world as we've known it for the past fifty or sixty years. My generation has up til now, only experienced relative prosperity and security, but my grandparents lived through world wars, financial collapse, pre-antibiotic healthcare, and life without a government safety net. I think we're headed in the same direction, but without the benefit of generally low expectations. Perhaps the current financial crisis will forestall the coming climate, population and energy crises for a time, but that will be small consolation for those of us young enough and lucky enough to have avoided the insecurity that has been the fate of most of humanity for most of history. And a woefully unprepared bunch we are.
I went to school when home economics was being phased out of the curriculum. Those of us headed for higher education wouldn't have considered taking it even if it had been offered. Traditional women's work was of such low value you didn't need to learn it in school. Besides, with our careers we'd have money, so we didn't need to worry about preparing food or mending clothes or cleaning our houses. Luckily, globalization came along, and with all our stuff now made by underpaid children in developing countries, we could be thrifty by buying stuff. Conservation would help the environment and our wallets. We could buy a Prius and a programmable thermostat and save the world. Most of us run our lives and families and homes with steady injections of cash not skills.
It is unfashionable, unless you're a Mormon or a survivalist, to prepare for the worst. Culturally, we are chronically optimistic that, as in the adage you don't need to outrun the bear, you only need to outrun your buddy, nothing too terrible could happen to me and mine because we're not at the bottom. The blog world is becoming populated with people who reject this idea of immunity and are starting to prepare for the worst. And some of them are not cranks. From what I can tell, most of them are American, and the kind of American who does not believe in any kind of divine American superiority. In other words, the kind of American we Canadians aren't afraid of.
What I'm leading up to is that I think we all need to prepare for hard times. Mentally as well as physically. Check out this: Casaubon's Book and this: Justice Desserts for examples of what other people are doing. I'm just starting to come around to this idea myself and I'll post more on the topic as time goes on.
Ok, my rant is over.