Living on $1 a day
I just watched an interesting documentary on Netflix that might be of some interest to other members called Living On One Dollar. Nothing new or ground breaking in it, but a good reminder of how incredibly well off we all are. A couple of college kids went to Guatemala and spent a summer living off one dollar a day in an incredibly poor community. Lots of interviews with local residents about how they manage their lives in such poverty. It was pretty humbling. I made a stew for dinner tonight and will eat left overs for a few days…..the cost of the ingredients would have been weeks of income for many of the families in the video. How would I survive if I really had to make due on less? How would most other americans who haven’t even considered that sort of future?
of the "poverty." It's lack of money PLUS being forced to participate in the money economy. Their indigenous ancestors 500 years ago lived on zero dollars a day. A shortage of money is a handicap because of forced taxation, destruction of the opportunity to be self-reliant (as natural wealth has been stolen and sold off to wealthy rent-seekers), and the like. In a different time, the ingredients for a meal would come from a few hours' (at most) work hunting/gathering/gardening, rather than requiring a job and money. Same with shelter, clothing, fuel.
I'd love to have at least the opportunity to "opt out" and live a moneyless existence–but that sort of lifestyle is not permitted in the "developed" world, and soon everywhere.
Beautifully put! I have been struggling with trying to put similar thoughts into coherent form since I watched the documentary. You summed it up perfectly.
I keep thinking, if only they had access to land they could provide a much higher livelihood for themselves than they are able to participating in the renters society. Driving home the other day I was looking around and wondering what that would look like and frankly I don't think it's possible to be self sufficient from the land in a society that advocates private land ownership. That is unless you have enough land to produce an export of some sort that is valuable enough to pay the mortgage or at least the taxes. Access to that kind of land is restricted to those who have access to money and/or credit. Even if the barriers were removed, there is likely not enough land with productive potential to split it up that way and the built infrastructure (at least in the US) will prevent people from re-imagining the landscape for generations to come.
It's an interesting problem because that seems to be exactly the challenge that we are facing over the next 1-2 generations. Incomes and services will dry up a long time before rents and taxes do in my estimation. Savings will only last so long and will likely be confiscated or re-denominated making them of little use. Money is only a reflection of real goods and services and when we enter that period of crisis money will be showing us that there are less goods and services to go around. Even if you have dollars (or gold) you may not be able to buy bread. For generations productive capacity has come as an outflow of petroleum, coal and natural gas. In some extreme cases we outright eat oil (look up some of the ingredients in processed food). When that system stops working or at least stops being efficient, the only way to make food and goods will be to rely on the land, sun and water again. Agrarian societies have always been tough, but this time we'll be entering into one with 8 times the historical average population, degraded and poisoned land, and a population not prepared to face reality that is three generations removed from the skills needed to thrive under such circumstances. We're going to be forced to come up with creative means of land distribution. I suspect over a long enough timeframe something like a feudal arrangement may emerge.
But we'll probably be fine….I hear Elon Musk is working on a hyperloop. http://www.nbcnews.com/tech/innovation/hyperloop-revealed-elon-musk-foresees-rapid-transit-tube-f6C10902051
Thanx for the tip regarding "Living On A Dollar A Day".
It really put's a lot into perspective. Reduces that perceived mountain down to the molehill it really is.
I also see a longer term decline, ala JMG, probably punctuated by accelerated downturns and periods of stabiliy or even localized improvement. This pattern will make it difficult for many people to even be certain it is a long-term decline. Hundreds of years hence, it may be obvious that the decline of western industrial society began in the 1970's; right now, living through it, it's not even clear it has really started.
But, regardless of how long things take to play out, government will retain as much control as possible. This means taxes, regulations, etc will persist. I am amazed at all the "doomers" who seem to genuinely believe that the whole system will fail due to financial collapse/pandemic/climate change. Foreclosures for failure to pay mortgages or taxes still happened in the Great Depression, Argentine crisis, breakup of USSR. Short of an asteroid or other life-ending catastrophe, I wouldn't count on avoiding these the next time around, either.
Get some kefir grains, and make your own kefir. Then the lactose becomes a non-issue. And you can make cheese too. And kefir grains are traditionally given away for free.
And your post was verrrry spammish.
Yes, and where would one "gather" if land is already owned?
It's one thing to be living the life of a hunter-gathered in a relatively abundant jungle or near verdant fishing grounds.
It's another thing when we are over 7 billion people, and most people can't just "gather" anymore because farmland is owned and industrialized farming is a requirement to keep people fed.
Well, if a person wants to, they still can. They can liquidate their possessions and buy a ticket to the Democratic Republic of the Congo or Brazil, take a canoe up the Congo River or Amazon, and then keep going deeper.
If a person lacks funds? Well, it's getting to be spring, and they could try to disappear into a National Park…
That said, I recently watched the documentary as well – a few weeks ago. Really incredible. Well worth watching.
I just watched an interesting documentary on Netflix that might be of some interest to other members called Living On One Dollar. Nothing new or ground breaking in it, but a good reminder of how incredibly well off we all are. A couple of college kids went to Guatemala and spent a summer living off one dollar a day in an incredibly poor community. Lots of interviews with local residents about how they manage their lives in such poverty. It was pretty humbling. I made a stew for dinner tonight and will eat left overs for a few days…..the cost of the ingredients would have been weeks of income for many of the families in the video. How would I survive if I really had to make due on less? How would most other americans who haven't even considered that sort of future?