Not as such.
I really am not sure how things will play out in 2010.
I've some concerns, shall we say. No idea if it'll play out in 2010, 2-11, 2012, or whenever. Plenty of other intelligent and informed people make prognostications. Just like a shotgun blast is likely to hit something, some of these predictions will be spot on.
Instead of making predictions, let's just peek into my nightmare box and see what lurks there.
Don't believe the happy talk about the recovery. A student of history could point to times in the middle of the great depression when similar happy talk took place. The housing bubble has yet to work its way though the system. Commercial real estate has just begun to collapse. The bankster class has been rewarded for bad behavior, so we can expect more nastiness from them. The insurance industry is sweeping problems under the rug as fast a possible. People are starting to notice the lumps under the carpet. Official unemployment statistics are a joke. Looks a lot different out here in the real world. The stock market is a highly manipulated sucker's game only marginally connected to anything physical.
Expect politics to descend deeper into ideology and less and less about actually governing. What else can we expect from a professional criminal class?
Peak oil is real -or at least real enough. It only makes sense that oil is a finite resource and eventually we'll have to make do with less of it. Some claim new oil is produced in the ground through no biological processes, something called abiotic oil. Doesn't matter one way or the other; new oil isn't being produced fast enough.
The ecological disaster caused by oil extraction in the tar sands of Alberta demonstrate how we are willing to destroy the environment to squeeze the last bit of energy out of the earth. Corn to fuel ethanol production demonstrates our willingness to feed machines instead of people.
We are in the biggest species die off in history. Something is seriously wrong with the planet. I'm unsure about the whole human caused global warming issue. However, I'm sure of a couple of things. It's not a good idea to mess around with the natural processes, so releasing huge amounts of CO2 from fossil fuels can't be a good thing. The second thing I'm sure of is that the whole Copenhagen summit fiasco was more about creating a financial market in carbon credits than actually helping the environment.
As resources get squeezed, governments have turned more totalitarian. The US of A is quickly tearing up what's left of the Constitution. We have become what we feared from the Soviet Union.
The US medical care system is under severe stress. It's the best in the world -if you are rich. For many in the US it's a disaster. Nothing in the health care bill gives me much hope. Looks more like an insurance company giveaway. Other countries' medical systems are also under stress.
Then there's always the black swan events -things that you can't see coming from current events. Tsunamis, earthquakes, tornados, floods, natural disasters in general, all can come out of the blue and upset the apple cart. It could be a local or regional event, or something that affects the whole world. Humans behaving badly could do the same. For example, some miscalculation could plug the world into war. Then there is the possiblity of totally weird stuff that we don't even have the language for yet.
On my bad days, I feel a bit melancholy.
There are encouraging possibilities out there.
While the greater economy is in trouble, it doesn't mean your personal life has to be awful. Scaling back, reducing debt, and being more self reliant doesn't have to feel like suffering. Nothing brings families together like sharing the same roof to save money. It can work. I've done it. It can even be fun.
There's a huge underground economy and it's getting bigger. That's a good thing. When people barter their skills or goods, the only party that doesn't make out is the government. Ha ha!
Resources are dwindling, but there's so much waste in the system that we can do a lot with a lot less. Most households can use a lot less energy and still live fine. There's a lot of stuff out there that can be salvaged and reused. Alternative energy systems are coming down in price and are more widely available. It's a good feeling to be able to make some of your own power.
There's a push to grow more food locally. Makes sense. Saves energy. Produces better food and may even provide some jobs. Anything that reduces our reliance on industrial agriculture is a good thing. Organic gardens and permaculture could feed us all.
People have noticed freedom is in jeopardy and are doing things about it. Thanks to the Internet, ideas are spread faster and further. We can do an end run around corporate media. People who know what's happening are much tougher to control. Also, there's a reason ammo sales have skyrocketed. Hey governments, why do you fear an armed populace? If you are doing nothing wrong you have nothing to fear.
So there you have have it, some concerns and even a few encouraging words. How they will play out in 2010 is anyone's guess. Just keep in mind, whatever happens to most people doesn't necessarily have to happen to you.
Optical Illusions For Sunday...
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