Monday, July 13, 2009

Not Growth But Transformation

Okay, I'm back. Time to get on the stick here and do some serious posting.

Here's a paragraph or two from Jim Kunstler that I think is right on target, though it's unlikely to be implemented, since the American people are not in any mood to hear the truth.

What the nation -- including President Obama -- can't seem to
get through its head is that the USA has entered a period of epochal economic
contraction. Instead of growth, as measured in conventional econometrics,
we can only expect (in the best case) transformation to a different economy
within the limits of real contraction. The president has got to stop promising
renewed growth. While this would affect the perceived "standard-of-living"
as measured in things like shopping mall sales and vehicle miles driven, it
would not necessarily mean diminished "quality-of-life." It would mean
different ways-of-life for a lot of people -- for instance, young adults who had
expected lifetime employment as corporate executives but who, instead, find
themselves ten years from now working at farming. We have an awful lot to get
real about.

In circles that pass for "progressive" these days, the natives are getting
restless. Their agitation seems pretty inchoate for the moment -- still resting
on vague, poorly-defined wishes for "change." These vague promptings need
to be focused on specific action that is realistic within the context of
comprehensive contraction and transformation. A big piece of this would be
the recognition that our suburban sprawl economy is dying, and that we now have
to bend our efforts to reorganizing American life on the most fundamental
physical terms. We have to inhabit the landscape differently, move around
it differently, generate food out of it differently, and make things on it
again. Whatever remaining real capital there is in the system can't be
squandered on cash bonuses for Wall Street employees.

No comments:

Post a Comment