Friday, December 31, 2010

Zone of Influence

2011 is approaching. It is natural to think about the upcoming year. The way I see our mid and long term future is as follows. Next on the horizon in time is another big financial crisis that will hit the US, and again it will be mortgage-based. As the US is so big and the dollar so influential this crisis will indirectly and slowly affect other nations, i.e. the EU and the rest of the world. Both the US and the EU will go through a period of recession of 1 to 3 decades. It will not happen instantaneously or especially in the EU, all changes will be slow and gradual. Example changes will be: salary 5% down, unemployment 5% up, food quality 5% down, etc. There won't be this cataclysmic big event, this big crisis is not about suddenly there will be no food or no petrol, instead the typical living standard will be gradually but consistently going qualitatively downhill in most nations. Civil rights will be reduced step by step. Governmental and corporate scams will become wilder and weirder. Our personal sanity and well being must come from the immediate environment around us: our family, friends and neighbors. Despite Tea Parties, Transition Movements and many more activist groups I see hardly any change around me as I walk through the city. Above all I see no change in how-we-do-business and in politics, no corporate ethical change, no politics for the masses. Since it is hard to find positive political change, there is a high level of doubt that in 10 years we have advanced politically into a more ethical, just and sustainable society. I sound pessimistic. Unfortunately. But it just means as a way of safety and a way of moving forward we must focus on our small and immediate surrounding where we do can make change: our homes, our gardens, our neighbors, a small community group in our village or city, etc.

At the national level, we are very reactive: only when the oil prices really hurt and the cars stand idle in the parking lots will be seriously think about other modes and technologies of transportation. We could be so pro-active as a society, but instead we are forced to behave in certain ways through laws and regulations which includes building codes, tax laws, governmental incentive schemes, and so on. Pro-active behavior currently only has room at a personal level, where an individual takes the burden upon himself. We must take this challenge and shoulder this burden for the sake of our morality, our kids and our long-term hope.

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