We voted and got 'Change.'
How much change are we going to get?
I've been thinking about this a lot lately. It seems some other people have been getting upset about it too. I'm not talking about the typical pundit on talk-news channels (this blog) bitching about Sarah Palin or what Obama is -or isn't- doing.
I'm thinking bigger right now.
I'm wondering are we at the tipping point - the point where some fundamental changes in the way we conduct our little lives is about to take place? Something radical?
Or not? I've come across about three schools of thought on the issue.
The first is the Apocalyptic - Road Warrior - Hurricane Katrina on a national scale - no gas, roving gangs, total breakdown of society. The scenario that says "you had better learn to grow your own food and defend it with guns." I call this one 'the collapse.'
Let's pretend that the economy doesn't rebound. Those comfy corporate jobs in air conditioned towers all go away. The only one hiring is the government, and they're paying in IOU's. The power is on - but no one can afford it. And there's gas - but no one has it. Worse, food becomes harder and harder to afford and come by. Food riots. Dogs and Cats living together, all that.
The collapse is also propagated by the folks who can't wait for the Swine flu to become an airborne killer and wipe out their competition two cubes over. Collapse is becoming so popular in the zeitgeist of "The Road" and "Children of Men" that the Discovery Channel is cashing in with a show called, "the Colony." I look forward to watching that show... not living it.
Milk & Honey, We're Back!
The more optimistic future takes us right back to the days of Milk and Honey. We go right back to pointless consumerism with personal and governmental debt way out of control after this quick 'correctional' pause. Everyone gets two Hummers in their remortgaged McMansion, buying big screens on CircutCity.com. Money flows based on bad credit and worse mortgages, again. It's all based on a new bubble created by Goldman Saks and the Fed manipulating the markets, again.
Never mind all those wars to keep the oil flowing. As long as the gas stays cheap, food is cheap and Americans are fat and happy once more. American Idol pays Simon 140 million to come on the show next year - and Americans are placated back into the fatass fog once more.
Until the bail out bubble bursts. But we'll try to ignore that until it happens.
We're all forced into the life of green, lean, paired down, and a tiny machines. Your new car is a Vespa with two doors on it, in your garage charging off the windmill in your lawn. You compost... all your waste. Frugality is the norm. Costco and Target become punchlines in the new paired down world of no excess. The Joneses are competing with their neighbors to see how small their carbon foot print is. Smoking, drinking, fast food and gasoline have been taxed out of existence - in America anyway. The Chinese Century begins.
I suspect that the green scenario would be more akin to the frontier days, but with warrantless wire taps and pay-per-view Internet. The corporations still own everything, but no one works for them anymore.
To the Rush Limbaugh/Sarah Palin crowd, the 'green' scenario is 100 x worse than a nuclear Apocalypse scenario... why? What is frightening to those folks is the Government. It would be assumed that if the government controls what you can buy, puts controls on prices and the market is forced to put all those taxes and pollution control measures into the price of their products. But who cares, no one can afford to buy anything anyway because over 60% of their income is going straight to the government to pay for all these services that no one can figure out how to access anyway.
I can see why they are concerned... Congress has verbiage in the Cap and Trade bill that explains that you can't even sell your house without an environmental inspection... the bill doesn't even address carbon emissions! It only opens a new source of revenue for the Chicago Board of Trade. The government is dictating what types of cars will be built by the remaining elements of Detroit... and if you want a gas guzzler, I guess you'll still be 'allowed' to buy it, but I would expect that you'll have to buy carbon offsets everytime you go to the gas pump just to fill it up?
The best part about the green world is that no one will know how un-fun it is because the stigma of 'excess' will be so appalling. High salaries and aspiring to do better will be shunned. The last thirty years (1980-2008) will be shunned as the Terrible Time of Overabundance.
Those are the three I keep coming across. Please, feel free to discuss and share your vision of the future.