Jobs and labels
These labels no longer have any relevance and need to be replaced with new ideas.
Left/right has largely been addressed for the time being. The correct paradigm is authoritarian/anti-authoritarian. Capitalist/communist is a lot tougher, and doesn’t offer any easy choices.
On the former, common sense is prevailing. The latter requires realizations that won’t penetrate until the millennials comprise the majority of the workforce and genx is rendered unemployable.
Real unemployment is at 16.5%; in Greece, it’s 70%. It’s not just that we’ve mistakenly bought into a pyramid scheme of unsustainable, perpetual growth, it’s that we haven’t figured out it’s about legitimacy. In the end, it’s that there’s a whole lot of dying to be done in the next hundred years, and the authoritarian side is leaning towards accomplishing this end by doing itself some killing. Given that this is also what’s propping up international banking right now, it’s reasonable to expect that this world view will drop off as we approach 2050 and the 9 billion population mark.
Peak oil/collapse. Just as we’ve had to learn to get over the notion that the Earth needs saving (we can’t destroy it, just ourselves), we need to get over the idea that we’re going to wipe ourselves out completely. So far this year, we’re setting records for “displaced” people; 43 million so far. This is the face of the future. A more people are going to die in refugee camps and a lot of “wars” won’t involve UAVs and cruise missiles, but cutting off access to food and water.
We hit seven billion next year, we add another three billion in the next thirty nine.
I recommend emptying your barbecue onto the lawn and urinating outdoors to pump up what phosphorous is available in the dirt around your house.
But sooner or later, we’re going to have to deal with the fact that we both need to create jobs, which will mean having the government do it, and expanding the welfare state. Both of these things are already happening on a very limited scale. But this is going to have to do with buffering the impact of the collapse and keeping our heads above water for as long as possible.
It’s perfectly reasonable to take a very nihilistic view of the issue and not actually look to survive in any particular; it’s equally unacceptable to feel that this somehow entitles anyone to continue the same habits that got us into this mess.
The short version is simply that we rely on oil to feed ourselves, and we don’t have that oil anymore. We also don’t have an adequate replacement; forget the move from factory farms and shipping food all over the globe to locally produced food, peak dirt and peak water are equally problematic in this regard.
It was much simpler for the boomers to accept that their genx children would not share their standard of living; genx will have to live with its millennial children starving, being poisoned and possibly drafted if we ever muster an interest in fighting wars over resources.
The issue is not that we aren’t smart enough or moral enough to get through the next century, though there are those who would make it unnecessarily difficult to accomplish. It’s that the best of our abilities are insufficient to deal with the challenges we’ve created for ourselves.
What most people don’t understand, yet, is that this IS the optimistic view; the belief that, if we just ignore the problems, solutions will eventually arise because they are somehow inevitable both ignores the history and real scope of our best achievements. We’ll get through it, but the fact of the matter is that this is not an all-inclusive “we”.
We can no longer afford to be ignorant, and we can no longer afford to allow those around us to be ignorant, either. That’s just how it is.