Our friends over at CultureChange.org just posted a great article from Chuck Burr titled, “Steady-State Economy: Light at the End of the Tunnel.” Burr makes a great argument for the fact that life on this planet is changing, whether we want it to or not. Local, low-energy, economies are the only way forward—and we can either steer ourselves there thoughtfully, or be taken there by the forces of collapse.
Here is an excerpt:
The world economy is essentially broke. U.S. daily bankruptcy filings have risen from about 1,300 in January 2006 to about 5,000 in September 2008.
Here is how big the problem really is. First, the value of all the money in the world until recently was three times greater than the value of all physical goods and services. In other words, our “money” is actually worth 30 cents on the dollar. And considering, physical assets such as real estate have been over valued, your pixel money is actually “worth-less.”
Second, the U.S. government’s $9.7 trillion commitment to solving the financial crisis amounts to almost two-thirds of the value of everything produced in the U.S. last year. The promises are composed of about $1 trillion in stimulus packages, around $3 trillion in lending and spending and $5.7 trillion in agreements to provide aid.
Third, until recently our growing economy has been able to cover our debts and deficits, but now the blue-light-special lifestyle is over. Everyone, from the public to governments is now under water. America has built up a staggering amount of debt. At the time of the 1929 stock market crash, total U.S. debt was 176 percent of GDP. Before the current financial crisis began, total debt stood at a whopping 304 percent of GDP. Today it is far worse; we are well beyond our means.
When all of the cards are done falling, local powered-down steady- state economies will be the only replacement for our infinite growth global consumer economy. To live within our means for perpetuity means living within the earth’s carrying capacity which we have vastly reduced especially over the last 100 years.