I love people who stick their necks out and propose radical solutions to radical problems. One who is never afraid to do this is George Monbiot. And in a recent article in the Guardian he considers if it is time to welcome global recession as the only way to stop this idiotic juggernaut hilariously known as “progress”.
Look around you, all you people who have the time, the hardware and the inclination to read this blog. We all live comfortably, to a ridiculous extent. Only 10 years ago my father worked 12 hours a day, every day, to keep a family going. The only time he had a day off was when he went to hospital.
And now I work 32 hours a week and get paid much more than my father ever did for simply sitting down, farting about with code and wasting my time on the Internet. I get 5 weeks paid holiday per year; I can go anywhere in the world if the fancy strikes me; and I can buy any food I want, in any season, by simply taking a 50-metre walk and sliding a plastic card through a slot.
Does this seem wrong to anybody else? How can my life be so easy when I actually produce so little? Well, it is because I am one of billions of tiny ticks sucking up the irreplaceable substance of the world. My life is simply a machine for turning fossil fuel into energy and food and waste and emissions.
And lets not kid ourselves that we can ever replace our energy thirst with solar or wind or nuclear when the free energy runs out– because even if we did, how would we grow food when all our fertilizer comes from fossil fuels too? We are as dependent on fossil fuels as our cars and our power stations, and our rate of consumption will just keep on increasing.
People seem to forget what “unsustainable” really means: that one day, with 100% certainty, the system will collapse.
So Monbiot has a solution – we ease down the global economy, remove the idea of consumption as a source of happiness, stop treating the world as a business in liquidation, force ourselves to think about resources and use them wisely, and not live beyond our means.
Today we are virtually forced to live beyond our means, encouraged constantly by our banks, our governments and our noise-making media. We borrow money to fund lifestyles and houses and cars and holidays in the belief that the current system will prevail forever. Well it won’t – infinite growth in a closed system is unsustainable, and one day it will all come crashing down around our ears.
For suggesting recession as a solution in the Guardian, Monbiot received a severe flaming from both the “left” and the “right”. Well I look at this way – when you can get every part of the political spectrum to disagree with you, then you know you are onto something good.
Let’s slow down, stop this cancerous “growth” and start preparing for the hard times ahead. Because, like it or not people, the storm clouds are gathering.
/ paddy (your friendly prophet of doom)