What we’re now witnessing in America is the inevitable collapse of the consumption-based economy. In a world of finite material resources (food, water and land), an expanding population can’t be sustained indefinitely. Or maybe I should say it can’t be sustained indefinitely at a level to which everyone would like to become accustomed.
If the current financial crisis has done nothing else, it’s served to remind us that money and other artificial assets are pretty much worthless and that the only tangible things that really matter are steady, sufficient supplies of safe food, safe water, clean air and shelter — basic clothing and housing. Anything above and beyond this is a luxury.
So where are we headed as we continue to watch the wheels fall off the wagon? I suspect that we’ll eventually end up with a subsistence economy where natural resources are highly valued, conservation is encouraged and the simple life is celebrated. Yes, it’ll probably include features of socialism and perhaps even communism. But hey, dog-eat-dog capitalism could only go on for so long before it came up short. These days, mere survival is the name of the game.