Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Experiencing collapse

To many people, the idea of a societal collapse is a foreign concept. (It only happens to people in foreign countries.) They don't believe it could happen in the USA.

For me, it's something I've experienced my whole life. When you grow up in a dying industrial mill town, collapse is real.

I've heard all the arguments. Prosperity is just around the corner. They could never shut down the ****** (insert industry here -I've seen a number of them go.) The industrial economy will be replaced by a tourist economy, or an information economy, or a prison economy. (and maybe we'll all become millionaires by doing each other's laundry.)

It's one thing to hear that sort of thing on a small scale. It's another to hear those same arguments on a national scale -or even a world scale. Frankly, it sends shivers down my spine to hear the same words and to know what they led to in my own town.

It doesn't happen all at once. Oh, there are shocks, recoveries, downturns, success stories: ups and downs. However, after 50 years, the town is half the size it used to be. I've got no problem imagining the world taking the same sort of trip.

Now my friends from more prosperous places tell me my experiences have colored my thinking. No doubt is has. They've experienced growth and sky rocking property values. No doubt that's colored their thinking. Still, I know what collapse looks like.

That's no to say your personal life has to be bad. It might involve less money or different living arrangements than once imagined, but it can still be a good life.

There's a reason I'm still living in the same county where I grew up. I like it here. My quality of life is good. If know you are going to fall, you can at least pick a softer place to land.


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