Saturday, May 22, 2010

From the ground up

The days of the top down solution are over. When the USSR collapsed, those in the west hailed it as the death of the government controlled economy. The power of the free market will be set free and everything will be just peachy. How did that work out again?

They were there first, but the US is right behind. Our economy is almost as far from pure Capitalism as Communism is. Don't think so? How about too big to fail banks, Government Motors, AIG, and all the rest? The stock market? Does the plunge protection team sound like a free market mechanism or does it sound like top down control?

Economies don't run well from the top down. Anyone who's been paying attention can see that. However, why stop there? How successful is the government's handling of the oil disaster in the Gulf? Haiti is right next door, yet relief efforts too forever to accomplish anything at all. How well is the government handling environmental issues? Education? Health Care? Border Security? War? Heck, just pick something that government is doing and ask how well it's going.

Is the European Union doing any better? Seems to be on the verge of breaking up if you ask me.

The days of top down solutions are over. They don't work very well any more. There are a number of reasons for that. One is the law of diminishing returns from complexity. Another big problem is energy. There's less and less of it, and what's left comes at a high price. Energy is power: physical and political. It's also tied up with the value of money. It's not secret that during these times of energy scarcity that we also have political and economic impotence.

You can stop looking for the Federal Government to solve your problems.

Energy crisis? People do everything from install woodstoves to build solar thermal panels. Solar electric systems and wind generators work great on a small scale. When you make electric power right next to were you are going to use it -a house or a neighborhood, transmission losses are minimal.

Transportation issues? Bike, walk, alternative fuels, car pool, move closer to work, work from home . . . give up on traditional work completely.

The national economy bad? Develop the local economy of your house, neighborhood and town. Barter goods and skills.

Food expensive? Permaculture, Backyard gardens, front yard gardens, wild foods, chickens, bees, rabbits, throw in goats and other animals if you want to. While you're at it, how about some small scale aquaculture?

There are solutions to our problems, but don't expect them to come out of Washington D. C.. See a problem? Build the solution yourself from the bottom up. Solve problems at the lowest levels with the least number of people. People on the ground can actually see what the problems are and judge the effectiveness of the solutions. If they aren't working, it's much easier to change things on the individual and local level. Getting the Federal Government to change a policy is like trying to turn a super tanker with a canoe paddle.

One good thing about the ineffectiveness of government, it's ability to cause harm is lessened every day. Sure, they can pass all the silly laws they want, but if they lack the ability to enforce them, then it's easy to ignore the laws. They wanted to put tracker chips in all livestock down to chickens. Tell you what Mr. Government, chipped chickens hatch out unchipped chickens. Laws against saving seeds are hard to enforce on the local level. Seed swapping happens all the time among individuals. That isn't going to stop just because someone in the government is in Monsanto's pocket.

Change works from the bottom up. All the Federal Government can do is step aside . . . or get pushed out of the way.



  1. Sorry Bro,like Michael and others you are to smart for Government work.You would apply common sense and that just doesn't work with big Gov.


  2. There are plenty of smart, competent hard working people in the government.

    The problem is the process, and the amount of red tape, special interest and compromise everything has to go through to get done.

    It's a classic case of too many cooks.

    As a wise man described endless meetings "None of us is as dumb as all of us."

  3. If the problem is systemic, don't expect the system to fix it.