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2010-09-27

The Post-Economic Environment

I am an optimist.  I don't intend to be that way, that's just how it turns out.  I am intelligent and I think a lot about things and optimism just makes sense to me.  I could enslave myself within a life that does not support, enrich or excite me, that would surely defeat my optimism, but I'm not interested.  Instead I live the life that offers me the most value, the most beautiful present and the most exciting future. 

I am dismayed sometimes by abstract institutions like economy, but any brief analysis of the economy clearly highlights its perilous position.  This is why I am an optimist.  It is obvious that the economy will collapse.  This is inevitable.  The economy is only programmed for one thing: growth at the expense of all else; it is willing to take out anything for this purpose, including itself.  It has collapsed before, under its own weight and too many layers of abstraction; only last year in fact it was artificially supported by large influxes of money from the governments.  It will happen again and it will happen worse and maybe this time the governments won't have enough money to pump into it to stop the middle sinking in like a disturbed cake that will never rise again. 

I know this all sounds very optimistic; the economy will survive, you say, it will come back and be strong again.  Whether I have explained my reasons well or not I think that it won't.  I think that very soon we will enter a Post-Economic Environment in which different lifestyles will predominate.  The rich will realise suddenly that they no longer have any power whatsoever and that in fact all along they have been completely dependent because now they have no idea how to look after themselves.  Like only the infants in the animal kingdom they have no idea how to feed themselves.  However, the poor who live off the earth, who eat from the soil and from the trees and from the ocean, will have the power over their own lives that the rich have lost.  As Jesus and Bob Dylan said, "Many who are first will be last, and the last will be first." 

I guess the times are changing and in this post-economic environment we will take the emphasis off the abstraction of money and place importance on resources.  How could greed exist in this environment?  There is of course never enough money, but in the post-economic environment we realise that the reality of our resources is abundance.  One family with one tree are abundant in apples.  One man with one fishing rod who loves to fish all day is abundant in fish.  Anybody with a house is abundant in shelter and rather than protect her house from the others, who need to steal to get more money, she is able to share her space with anyone who offers consideration and friendship in return.  This is a gift economy where generosity is the normal reaction, rather than greed, because there is too much.  The only indication of wealth is of course how much you have to give away.  And the result is not anxiety at the possibility of loss, but the comfort of friendship and the knowledge that even if you lose everything there will be someone nearby to offer you a meal and a warm bed; and maybe even some love. 

As an optimist, I don't see this as a future possibility, I see this as a present reality.  And it seems to be growing exponentially, as is the economy, but one sustains life and one restricts life, one is sustainable and one is unsustainable.  Only time and your actions will tell which is which.

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