As we watch the stock market gyrate up and down (mostly down) over the past several weeks, its easy to understand why more and more people are becoming anxious about the economy. In fact, the last 4 years have been difficult for many. At a recent meeting discussing Resilience Circles, we discussed how we've all either personally experienced an economic downturn, or have close friends and relatives who are struggling.
Transition co-founder Naresh Giangrande has asked the question, "How do we make sure that we find good ways to talk about this topic, especially as it is so timely and important, so that it becomes part of the Transition message?" In his post, Communicating the Financial Crisis in 7 Easy Steps, he offers an outline of how to engage people in this topic without losing sight of underlying resource issues that still lie at the heart of the Transition message. Put another way: "how to include financial crisis along side the environmental issues in a way that makes sense, appeals to us a Transition folks, and speaks to people in our communities who maybe are not yet fully with us."
Chris Martensen (of the excellent Crash Course series) has a good interview this week with Charles Hugh Smith, discussing Why Local Enterprise is the Solution. The interview is available as an audio stream or a printed transcript. Smith says "We have to solve our own problems. The savior state and these institutions are not going to reform themselves and they are not reformable in any way that is meaningful. And so, I think what we’re talking about is taking your capital, which is your human capital, your skills and your experience; your social capital, the people you know and trust that you’ve created in life; and your financial capital and investing them in local solutions. Things that people need, like energy and food and shelter and a low energy lifestyle."
Along similar lines, Dave Pollard has a post on "Making A Living For Ourselves." He writes, "the skills and capacities that are needed to create successful Natural Enterprises are the very skills and capacities needed to adapt to and build resilience to face the terrible energy, ecological and economic crises I foresee for the decades ahead. And the citizens of the much smaller and simpler community-based society that emerges after civilization’s collapse will need to relearn how to make a living for themselves in any case. It’s not too early to start."
Shifting gears a bit, I want to highlight John Michael Greer's recent post on The Twilight of Meaning. He writes about the loss of cultural meaning in the U.S., stating "Without a sense of the past and its meaning, without narratives that weave the events of our daily lives into patterns that touch the principles that matter, we lack the essential raw materials of thought, and so our collective reasoning processes, such as they are, spit out the same rehashed nonsolutions over and over again."
The solution? Two easy steps, which are as follows:
"1. Pull the plug on current popular culture in your own life. Cutting back a little doesn’t count, and no, you don’t get any points for feeling guilty about wallowing in the muck. Face it, your television will do you more good at the bottom of a dumpster than it will sitting in your living room, and the latest pirate zombie romantic mystery, with or without Jane Austen, is better off gathering cobwebs in a warehouse; you don’t need any of it, and it may well be wrecking your capacity to think clearly.
2. Replace it with something worth reading, watching, hearing, or doing. You may well have your own ideas about what goes in this category, but in case you don’t, I have a suggetion: go looking among things that are older than you are."
Quote of note from Greer: "[We live] at a time when the liberals have forgotten how to liberate and the conservatives have never learned how to conserve."
Finally, I can't remember if I've already recommended the excellent YouTube video from Richard Heinberg on Who Killed Economic Growth? "Economists insist that recovery is at hand, yet unemployment remains high, real estate values continue to sink, and governments stagger under record deficits. Richard Heinberg propose a startling diagnosis: humanity has reached a fundamental turning point in its economic history. The expansionary trajectory of industrial civilization is colliding with non-negotiable natural limits."