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Sunday, August 14, 2011

American Debt Chrisis

All over the world, with  impending economic and ecological crises rolling down the turnpike toward us, people are withdrawing from dependence on outside support systems and trying to localize as much as possible.  This is seen in farmers markets, in more and more people putting in vegetable gardens and in groups of people working to revive some of the skills of our grandparents in preparation for what seems inevitable.

All over the world, people are revolting against dictators who have been controlling their lives for generations.  Often these dictators have been supported by western powers who used the bribed dictators of these countries to keep their own people under control#. It is an old system used for Milena by empires and perfected by the British.  The Americans are now the main proponents of the system with China on a rapid learning curve.  If you note which countries are been controlled this way, first are countries with oil resources and then countries with any other resource that the west covets.

#Read John Perkins books Hoodwinked, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man or History of the American Empire.

A new wind is blowing through the world and some form of democracy is in the offing for countries which can throw off their dictators.  Already  South of the border,  leaders are coming to power that are not in the pocket of the USA.  Castro was the first and look how pissed of this made America but more and more are following.  The Arab world is rapidly following suit.  The West must be dreading the result.  It is much easier to threaten and bribe a single dictator who then passes some of the largess to concentric circles of sycopanths around him.  These henchmen realize that their bread and butter depends on the well being of the central dictator and so support him in suppressing their own people.  Democracies, on the other hand, are very unpredictable and result in many more eyes looking at the scams that are underway.  They also change their government on a regular basis and the new guys in power can simply change policy.  Look how the USA itself behaves.  Any agreement made with them is only good as long as the party that made it is in power and sometimes not even then.

Throughout this period of exploitation, the West has got used to an artificially puffed up life style.  If any western country only used the resources within their national boundaries, they never would be able to afford to live the way they do.  Take just oil in America as an example.  Peak oil in America occurred in 1970 Imagine America with access to only a fraction of the oil they use at present.  In fact they would only have a very very small fraction of the oil they use today.  America made a conscious decision to import oil from overseas to preserve her own stocks.  Without overseas supplies, by now she would have sucked her own fields dry.  Europe is nearly as bad and of course did the same thing before America took over.  You could say that America was the winner of the second world war, England the looser.

In addition, as resources have become scarce, and hence more expensive, the West has borrowed copiously to support the life style to which they had become accustom.  Not for most westerners, living within their means.  Usually they  borrowed from the very countries that they buy their oil from resulting in these countries now owning America.  Now they are deep in debt doodoo and the whole edifice is crumbling.

Add to this the intensifying competition for the resources of the world as China, India and a whole host of South American and Asian countries start to develop.  Not only do they not part with their own resources so easily any more but they are competing with the west for the resources of the diminishing number of corrupt dictatorships.

The result of all these converging factors is that more and more, countries, especially ones which have become used to exploiting cheap resources from other countries, are going to have to withdraw within their own borders and find the resources they need at home.  And............  the greater their excesses, the further they have to fall. (guess who)

Arguably, energy is the most vitally needed resource and you would think that the solution to this problem would be relatively straight forward.  This is especially so for countries with huge solar, wind and hydro resources.  The USA should have no problem in replacing fossil fuels with wind, hydro and solar generated electrical energy. If she change over to electric cars and electrified public transport, the major part of America's oil use would be eliminated.  America's main problem is the strength, sense of entitlement and sheer corruption of her vested interests.  The sense of entitlement of individual Americans  rivals that of her bankers.  Remember the bankers.  They are the lovely people who brought us 2008 and then when our money bailed them out,  awarded themselves bonuses only slightly less than in 2007.  The corporatocracy and the banks show precious little loyalty to the country that spawned them and which provided the infrastructure in which they operate; infrastructure derived from the taxes of mom and pop worker.  Have a look at this link.  It details just how uneven the distribution of wealth is in America.

Behind all this and underlying it is a big elephant in the room.  Throughout the recent economic crisis, many intelligent commentators have stated again and again that the only truly worthwhile way to get us out of our problems is to grow the economy.  I'm sorry guys but at some point you have to wake up.  As a first approximation, when  the GDP of a country increases, the use of resources increases in lock step.  In fact, with many of the developing countries, the use of resources, such as water increase faster than the increase in GDP.  I'm sure you are way ahead of me by now.  Almost every country in the world is running out of water (and other resources) and besides, the more we use, the more we deny this water to the very ecological web of life that supports our life on earth.  Eventually, and hopefully before we are forced to,  we have to shift over to a sustainable way of life.  Many people use this word but ignore that the synonym for "sustainable" is "not growing".

Not a lot of hope for us, is there, without a cataclysm first.  Such a pity that our long term self interest doesn't trump our short term self interest.  As a group, we are grasshoppers, not ants. 

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