I just caught up on a few of my favorite econ blogs. And of course we had the recent midterm elections. I am disturbed by the number of people who think that there is a way to avoid a drastic change of our current quality of life.
We are thermodynamic thieves living wholly unsustainable lifestyles. With the magic of easy oil (and the remarkable generosity of outside entities lending us money to fuel astounding social programs) we have built a wonderland of greater and greater complexity. It has been stable for so long that it appears that many have mistaken it for nature; the natural order of things.
I fear that one of the two major political parties believes that we can stop some of this debt (more likely just redirect it) by ending social problems and "nature" will hold. Heck, they believe our lifestyles will actually improve. A wealthy theocracy will ensue!
I fear that the other major political party believes that we can continue things exactly like they are. Heck, maybe we could even have more social programs and "nature" will hold. None will suffer the consequences of their actions!
There seems to be a growing third party that believes that the system will collapse, but their personal lifestyles can continue because they were bright enough to buy metals with strange properties. I got mine, Jack!
But all seem to be denying the interrelated matrix of factors that have provided our fantastic lifestyles. I recently at the grocery store looking for my favorite organic cheese flavored (but no MSG) corn chip indulgence. An entire aisle devoted to brightly colored bags of chips and I was getting surly because I couldn't locate the ones with my very specific qualifications. How lucky! When the poor are rioting and farmer's don't have oil for tractors I suspect my choices in caloric intake will have to be modified.
Perhaps I should start the "Soft Landing" political party. We will seek the smoothest transition into national sustainability. Our motto will be "Clearly It Is Going To Suck, But Let's Try To Be Rational About It".
Total USA Debt
8 months ago