Pixie Dust Economy

Tue, 07/01/2008 – 10:16

James Howard Kunstler | June 30, 2008
This isn’t so funny anymore. Intimations of a July banking collapse rumbled though the Internet this weekend while mainstream news orgs like The New York Times and CNN pulled their puds over swift boats and Amy Winehouse’s performance technique. Something is happening, and you don’t know what it is, do you Mr. Jones…? to quote the master.

What’s happening is that American society is sliding into a greater depression than the one Grandma lived through. On the technical side, there has been unending controversy as to whether we’re gripped by inflation or deflation. It’s certainly deceptive. Food and gasoline prices are rising faster than the rivers of Iowa. But the prices of assets, like houses, stocks, jet-skis, GMC Yukons and pre-owned Hummel figurines are cratering as America turns into Yard Sale Nation.

We’re a very different country than we were in 1932. In that earlier crisis of capital, few people had any money but our society still possessed fantastic resources. We had plenty of everything that our land could provide: a treasure trove of mineral ores and the equipment to refine it all, a wealth of oil and gas still in the ground, and all the rigs needed to get at it, manpower galore (and of a highly disciplined, regimented kind), with fine-tuned factories waiting for orders. We had a railroad system that was the envy of the world and millions of family farms (even despite the dust bowl) owned by people who retained age-old skills not yet degraded by agribusiness. We had fully-functional cities with operating waterfronts and ten thousand small towns with local economies, local newspapers, and local culture.

We had a crisis of capital in the 1930s for reasons that are still debated today. My own guess is a combination of a bad debt workout that sucked “money” into a black hole (since money is loaned into existence, but vanishes if the loans are not systematically paid back) plus a gross saturation of markets, meaning that every American who had wanted to buy a car or an electric toaster had done so and there was no one left to sell to. (The first round of globalism — 1870 – 1914 — had shut down after the fiasco of World War One.)

Our debt problems today are of a magnitude so extreme that astronomers would be hard pressed to calculate them. By any rational measure our society is comprehensively bankrupt. From the federal treasury down to the suburban cul-de-sacs so much loaned money is either not being paid back, or is at risk of never being paid back, that the suckage of presumed wealth has passed through an event horizon out of the known universe into some other realm of space-time, never to be seen again in this realm. This would seem to be the very essence of monetary deflation — money defaulted out-of-existence.

This condition is partly disguised by both the loss of credibility of US currency and real-world scarcities of oil and food, but the upshot will be something at least twice as bad as the Great Depression of the 1930s: people with no money in a land with no resources (with manpower that has no discipline), hardly any family farms left, cities that are basket-cases of bottomless need, comatose small towns stripped of their assets and social capital, an aviation industry on the verge of death, and a railroad system that is the laughingstock of the world. Not to mention the mind-boggling liabilities of suburbia and the motoring infrastructure that services it.

The banks have been doing their death dance for an entire year now, pretending that their problems are those of mere “liquidity” (i.e. cash-on-hand) rather than insolvency (no cash either on hand or in the vault and nothing else to sell to raise cash except worthless “creative” securities that nobody would ever buy). But the destruction of money (resulting from loans not paid back) is now so intense that the game of pretend has reached its terminal point. The question for the moment is exactly who and what will be crushed as these institutions roll over and die.

Complicating matters is a global oil predicament that is really not hard to understand, but which the organs of news and opinion have obdurately failed to explicate for an anxious public. Call it Peak Oil. There are only a few elements of it you need to know. 1.) that demand has now permanently outstripped supply; 2.) that new discoveries are too meager to offset consumption; 3.) That under under the circumstances, the systems we rely on for daily life are crumbling. I’ve called this situation The Long Emergency.

Our chances of mitigating this, and of continuing our current way-of-life is about zero. I’ve tried to promote the idea that rather than waste remaining resources in the futile attempt to sustain the unsustainable (i.e. come up with “solutions” to keep suburbia running), that we should begin immediately making other arrangements for daily life — mainly by downscaling and re-scaling everything from farming to commerce to the way we inhabit the landscape — but my suggestions have proven unpopular even among the “environmental” elites, who are too busy being entranced by new-and-groovy ways to keep all the cars running.

So where we are at now is the equivalent of standing in the slop by the ocean shore under a gathering hundred-foot-high wave that is about to come crashing down on our heads. Since I sure don’t know everything, I can’t say how this will all play out in the months ahead, especially with the presidential election coming at the exact moment that voters will be turning on their furnaces for the cold and dark winter beyond. I would venture to say that so far our society as a whole has done a piss-poor job of comprehending the situation. But there is still the possibility, with four months of politicking left, that the nature of our predicament can be articulated in a way that few can fail to understand, the way Mr, Lincoln articulated the terms of the Civil War on the eve of its fateful outbreak.
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James Kunstler has worked as a reporter and feature writer for a number of newspapers, and finally as a staff writer for Rolling Stone Magazine. In 1975, he dropped out to write books on a full-time basis.

His latest nonfiction book, The Long Emergency describes the changes that American society faces in the 21st century. Discerning an imminent future of protracted socioeconomic crisis, Kunstler foresees the progressive dilapidation of subdivisions and strip malls, the depopulation of the American Southwest, and, amid a world at war over oil, military invasions of the West Coast; when the convulsion subsides, Americans will live in smaller places and eat locally grown food.

His latest book is a work of fiction titled, World Made by Hand, which is set in the world after the Long Emergency.
Visit Jim at his website www.kunstler.com

World Community Grid Proposal

(The World Community Grid is an organization formed to explore alternative energy ideas. Harvard and UC Berkeley are two universities involved in the project. Using IBM software, they want people to volunteer use of their computers in crunching data for the project.)

You’re currently using computer systems and technical skill to explore alternative energy possibilities but, how are you using your intuitive skills and abilities? For years I’ve toyed with the idea of starting a workshop that used intuitive skills to achieve breakthroughs in technology and human understanding. As you know many scientific breakthroughs are achieved indirectly, through dreams and distracted moments on the hopper or in the shower.

I’ve used intuitive skills to gain new understanding about who we are, what reality is and what the purpose of life is. I call the format I use, Ask Value Questions and Listen for Intuitive Answers. You can view this process at:  https://diaryofamystic.com/2007/09/25/ask-value-questions/. Russell Targ developed a similar style of asking questions that accomplished the same thing for Remote Viewing.

I propose assembling a team of technical experts, going through a discussion process to remove intellectual bias, formulating questions to focus our attention on the results we want and then, letting our imaginations do the rest. For example, clearly picture Oprah Winfrey in your mind. With your full attention, ask her, What does the world looks like through your eyes? With practice, your imagination will actually put you in a creative simulation of her body and her life. You will know what it feels like to be her. You will imaginatively experience her reality and be able to think like her.

See: https://diaryofamystic.com/2007/09/28/inside-ivy-2/. In this experience, I made direct contact with the consciousness of a house plant. I entered its field of awareness and experienced reality from its viewpoint. As Pierre Teilhard de Chardin writes, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” When you take this idea seriously, life takes on a whole new meaning!

Built in to who we are are capabilities that far exceed any machine we’ve ever built. If any of the folks in your project want to pursue this avenue of exploration, let me know. I’ll be happy to participate.

Roger “Pete” Peterson 

http://diaryofamystic.com

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

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Letter to Traci Fenton, CEO of WorldBlu.Inc.

10/30/08

Hi Traci,

I’ve added a link to your website from my blog. I find your world view exciting and compatible with my own.

Instead of asking ourselves, what’s going to work best for me, the Law of the Jungle – based on a belief in separation, scarcity and competition; we need to ask ourselves, what’s going to work best for ALL of us, in personal terms, and in terms of business, education, the environment and peace? This question is based  on the Law of the Body or a belief in oneness, cooperation and sharing. By highlighting businesses that operate democratically, WorldBlu is showing us the light and the way.

How we define ourselves and the world around us forms our intent, which in turn, forms our reality. There are many models (ideals) in the world, and beyond,  to pattern our behavior after. In an enlightened world, there is no right or wrong, good or bad, there just IS. There’s what works for us and what works against us. Once we move away from the Law of the Jungle as the primary model for business behavior and life in general, our definition of success will change. Instead of measuring success by the amount of money, power and privilege we possess (an objectified, material-based definition), success will be measured by how close we are to being who we love to be, doing what we love to do (a subjective or personal, emotion-based definition).

success

This definition takes advantage of natural passion. When we strive to be who we love to be and do what we love to do, we empower ourselves. We become self-directing, self-motivating, creative, loving AND cooperative. We acknowledge both our oneness AND individuality. What can be more exciting, or worth doing, than changing ourselves and the world for the better?

You’re welcome to submit an article that describes the mission of WorldBlu. It will be published under Business. When my main website, http://www.realtalkworld.com is finished, people will be able to upload their own material in a “MySpace” like environment. The theme for Real Talk World is: Changing Ourselves and the World for the Better with Real talk!

Happy Trails,

Pete

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Open Letter of Concern to T. Boone Pickens

(Knowing that T. Boone Pickens is the Texas oil billionaire who funded the Swift Boaters against John Kerry in 2004, I find myself questioning his motives in settling on wind, sun and natural gas as the only alternative energy sources to oil. Wind and solar power are renewable energy sources but natural gas is not. I’m not an expert in any of these areas but it does concern me that Mr. Pickens’ plan depends on private and government land leases and tax subsidies for the development of his energy plan. He will need land use rights and new transmission lines to install wind power generators from the Dakotas to the Texas Panhandle and solar power sites from Texas to California, all of which will be owned by whom? T. Boone Pickens?

There are a number of alternative energy forms being developed. To get some idea, take a look at a list of the top 100 technologies now in development: http://peswiki.com/energy/Congress:Top_100_Technologies_–_RD. – Pete)

Dear Mr. Pickens,

What’s going to work best for ALL of us? You say your plan will reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil and most Americans agree that will be a good thing. You say yourself, “Building wind facilities in the corridor that stretches from the Texas panhandle to North Dakota could produce 20% of the electricity for the United States at a cost of $1 trillion. It would take another $200 billion to build the capacity to transmit that energy to cities and towns.” Who would pay for it?

In your plan at, http://www.pickensplan.com/theplan/, you don’t mention anything about the cost of building solar energy plants from the Texas Panhandle to California and the transmission lines to distribute that energy to businesses and homes in America.  If we’re all going to participate in the creation and deployment of this new energy infrastructure, who’s going to own it, price it and control it, you? How does that serve America’s best interest? You have a good idea but we must all be included in the discussion to determine what’s going to work best for ALL of us. Until we include ‘ALL’ of us in our calculations, we’ll continue to go in different directions, canceling each other’s energy (no pun intended) out, with rare exception.

Keep an open mind:

Also, there are many new and promising technologies in the process of development. Too often, the money, power and privilege junkies among us, slam the door on anything that doesn’t profit them directly. I pray you are beyond this short-sighted mindset and encourage the people around you to keep an open mind as we seek to save ourselves from ourselves. After all, what better legacy can we leave behind than a positive and loving memory of the lessons we learned and the person we became in life.

Pete

“We have met the enemy and he is us.” – Pogo

What would the world be like if, instead of competing for money, power and privilege, we cared more about becoming better people and changing the world for the better?

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Visit The LifeSong Store where the world comes to shop for inspirational and life-changing ideas on T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, hoodies and more. Change the world for the better with POTS! (Philosophy On T-Shirts)

Changing Ourselves and the World for the Better

Life is a creative journey from beginning to end. We can choose to sit behind the steering wheel and consciously direct our own journey or sit in the passenger seat, leaving fate in control.

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