or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Frugality & Finances › The Long Emergency
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

The Long Emergency - Page 5

post #81 of 260
We have decided to sell our home with a large corner lot near the city center because after heloc'ing, we now have a burdensome debt. We do have a good 50k equity in the house though. I am paying a heloc taken out by my dad (dh has a green card and no credit history so it was the only way) at 7% for the balance of the house. The plan? Take our 50k, plus keep out 50k from the heloc we need to pay my father back for, move overseas and buy a small but nice house outright. Doing this would reduce our current payments from 1000.00 a month to about $250.00 a month. I feel that is a lot more doable in a situation where jobs might be hard to come by.

As for college for my kids, I am not planning for it. I am way turned off by the costs these days. Dh and I both have BAs and we can impart a lot of knowledge to our children and I envision having book clubs and stuff like that if my adopted community is game for it, not to mention a lot of hands-on learning experiences. I owe 14k in student loan debt for an Writing degree that hasn't helped me career-wise at all. I imagine the world in 20 years will be full of foreign graduates eager to work for far less than Americans and in all fields. I just don't know that a degree will have the same value it has now, and right now I feel it has lost so much value in the real world. Education in and of itself is great though. I just can't help but think that by then a lot of kids will be living at home permanently, which I don't think is a bad thing! Dh and I think we'll want our girls to stay with us as long as possible. They may not have a choice.

Am I the only one who feels that it might be best to advise our children not to get married and have kids? I know it sounds so gloomy, but I do believe we are in for major transformations that will make our kids' lives much harder than ours were economically speaking, and their best chance at a decent life may be to not have children. It pains me to feel this way but I already worry about the grandchildren I don't have! Dh lost a really crappy job and begged for it back out of desperation and they never called him back. I must have applied at 30 places and never got one call for an interview. Can things get better in an increasingly globalized world with drastic power shifts occurring? It is hard to imagine it.
post #82 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by OceansEve View Post
I asked my gmother today if she has ever seen the economy looking worse than now and her response spoke mounds to me - She told me what she remembers of the depression as a child. This may all be fun theoretics to some, but to others it is a frightening horizon that is very, very visable.
I think this depends on the person, though. Both of my parents were born before the depression and have memories of it. I grew-up with depression-era stories and frugal parents. My mother is relentlessly optimistic about the future. But then she was never one to denigrate the younger generation. My father isn't that introspective but I like to tell him that he was the original reduce-reuse man.

I agree with you about the huge split between the have and the have-nots and the disappearing middle class. And I see an economic crisis - but not "devolution" - and dissolving of society like Jared Diamond describes in Collapse. I think it will be more like the Great Depression.

As far as things being set in motion-
And people thought the nuclear bomb issue was already set in motion, too. I think apparently since the Soviet Union dissolved there are a lot of unaccounted for nukes out there. What if Bin Laden got ahold of one? But see, these are the fears I grew up with. This is what my generation fears.
post #83 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by henhao View Post


I probably won't read that book anytime soon, because I am still freaked out about having read Cormac McCarthy's The Road. Talk about depressed. I was depressed for months. Like you, I feel that I am doing what I can -- living close to public transport, starting a garden and learning to grow food, using and reusing as much as possible, etc.

Yeah, and when you combine The Long Emergency AND The Road............you get seriously depressed!!!!!!!! (I do, anyway.)
post #84 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by wednesday View Post
The acreage vs. proximity question does pose quite a dilemma,
Yes and No. Kunsler's point is that subdivisions have neither the benefits of the rural areas NOR the benefits of the city. So, "suburbia" is the WORST of both worlds. I think Kunsler actually leans toward rural living.......where supposedly less violence will take place because you'll have fewer people.
post #85 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by A&A View Post
I think Kunsler actually leans toward rural living.......where supposedly less violence will take place because you'll have fewer people.
He is relying on the theory of scalar stress - the less interactions there are between indiviuals in a day = less violence, the same with the opposite. I can understand that in theory, but don't totally agree either.

Ellien - a bomb is still intangible (sp?). I do not see it, I don't know who has one, or where it might be. (haha the scene from robin williams live just popped in my head... I wonder if anyone will get that) An empty wallet and bank account are a little more threatening. Everyday that I work I hear of someone else being laid off (my job gets me a lot of interaction with different people each week). There are very few families that are not being affected, nearly everyone I talk to, mostly all middle class, have a family member that is jobless. A woman I know just had both her adult daughters (along with their children) move back in with her because they both got laid off.
post #86 of 260
I didn't make it through the whole thread, but I've been thinking about this a lot. I'd be interested in what other "how to" or green/sustainable books you all found helpful. We are thinking of building a home sometime in the next 2 years, and want it to be sustainable amap.
post #87 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by avendesora View Post
...Late 1700's: Slavery was the norm, and it really didn't occur to anyone (with just a handful of exceptions) that it might be terribly immoral. Analogy to: Many American's driving gas-guzzling SUV's without a CLUE that it might be harmful to the environment.
...
*jaw drops*


Quote:
Originally Posted by yukookoo View Post
well we are at war you know. We have been for years now. Even though its not in our back yards. People ibn this country seriously think we can be at war with big power countries or groups and not feel any economic decline? They hit our financial heart and brought it down in flames! This wasnt supposed to effect our economy?
...
If by "they", you mean Bush and cronies, I agree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by monkey's mom View Post
...
And we've really lived (collectively) above our means via credit cards.

We've really had quite the extravagant time of it for the past couple decades. And now the pendulum has to swing back a little. ...
Bread and circus. Time-honored political strategy. The difference this time is that the politicos convinced the serfs to pay for their own circus, directly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by savithny View Post
...Alternatively, the entire United States forest stock of hardwoods contains 364 billion cubic feet of wood, or 2.84 billion cords which would throw off 24,024 Trillion BTUs (note, this is only 24% of the total annual energy usage of the country). ....
Isn't your math backwards? 1/4 of our annual energy requirement means the entire forest would suffice for about 3 months.
post #88 of 260
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by A&A View Post
Yeah, and when you combine The Long Emergency AND The Road............you get seriously depressed!!!!!!!! (I do, anyway.)
Okay, so I read the synopsis of The Road on wikipedia after it was mentioned upthread, and yes, it's extremely grim. However, it's *general* post-apocalypse fiction, right? It doesn't really have anything to do with peak oil? And cannibalization took place and became organized because there was NO other animal life? That's science fiction.

If you want your post-apocalypse fiction to be a little more uplifting, try Alas, Babylon. It's a post nuclear holocaust story set in, I think, the 50s. Good people come together as a community to form self-sufficient households, and bad people are driven off or reach their just desserts through their own actions.
post #89 of 260
really fascinating topic! I read all 5 pages with great interest. And since everyone has been posting their opinions (no one here a futurist right?), thought I would add my $.02.

Firstly it may be worth remembering that until recently, life for most humans was a miserable and mean existence. You start working very young, you do alot of work while there is light, then you go to bed when dark and repeat when the sun again rises. You do this 7 days a week (weekends being a recent phenomenon) and die sometime in your 30's-40's. Food and shelter were the main goals and hunger was a common feeling.

(shifting gears...) The people who survive and prosper, will be similar to those in the past who succeeded ... by having a desired commodity --> whether it is land, power, food or water sources, or knowledge. Or money to lend, you name it. And here I would argue and disagree with the education naysayers and say that education, i.e. knowledge, may be one's most valuable asset. Especially starting off in adult life.

Anyone, yes anyone, with at least average intelligence can learn to be self sufficient. And those are useful, and probably one day mandatory survival skills. But that will at most probably earn you only a subsistence living. I believe you must have something that others do not have, but need or want, in order to dictate the standard of living that you want. And not be at the mercy of whatever circumstances are.

If you own lots of prime real estate, or arable land, or rights to waterway access, then great, you may be set. Otherwise, I think this means careful deliberation of what type of knowledge to accumulate/ learn. You love art? Fabulous. But if you choose to study or major in it, know that the vast majority who do so earn a poor living from it. Come from a privileged background, with connections, and savy in the lifestyle of the moneyed? Then art may be a reasonable choice, b/c one will be familiar with the nuances of a class that actually buys art. Being practical will help one make wiser choices. If your art degree is from some non-desirable school and you grew up poor, it's unlikely one will land a job at Sotheby's.

I think the comfortable middle class is morphing into the lower upper class and the upper lower class, the latter who are struggling to maintain a semblence of middle class life and comprise the bulk of the prior middle class. The rich are definitely getting richer, and by a dispproportionate amount to what American history has seen for the past 100 years.
post #90 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by WNB View Post
Bread and circus. Time-honored political strategy. The difference this time is that the politicos convinced the serfs to pay for their own circus, directly.
Intersting discussion of this by David Cay Johnston in Free Lunch.
http://www.amazon.com/Free-Lunch-Wea...2062754&sr=8-1
post #91 of 260
Quote:
If you want your post-apocalypse fiction to be a little more uplifting, try Alas, Babylon
Or The Gate to Women's Country or Fifth Sacred Thing.

The first deals with a limited nuclear strike scenario in which population size/resources are significantly limited. The "solutions" offered in that one involve very careful social organizations built on gender segregation, feast/famine behaviors, and agriculture/skill based education with an emphasis on history. The second book is more "modern" with biological warfare and militaristic religious groups. "Our heros" demonstrate how an urban center (San Francisco) can be retro-fitted to survive in a "limited resources/no fossil fuel" scenario.

As such, it may be a sort of uplifting follow up to The Long Emergency... it doesn't have the "how to" element, but it does provide ideas (food, social organization, government, community, medicine) for living in a population center following a techno-collapse.
post #92 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by p.s View Post
Firstly it may be worth remembering that until recently, life for most humans was a miserable and mean existence. You start working very young, you do alot of work while there is light, then you go to bed when dark and repeat when the sun again rises. You do this 7 days a week (weekends being a recent phenomenon) and die sometime in your 30's-40's. Food and shelter were the main goals and hunger was a common feeling.
p.s., I totally agree with most of your post except the above-quoted. There's actually a lot of good archaeological evidence that that wasn't the case at all -- except for much of Western Europe. Have you read 1491 by Charles C. Mann? (A really fascinating read if you're interested in societal collapse, and in possibilities for how societies could work!) Many pre-Columbian societies in the Americans lived very comfortable lives, in a huge array of ways. There's also some statistic that I haven't got time to track down right now, about the amount of leisure time experienced in hunter-gatherer societies vs. agricultural societies (they had a LOT more).

Yes, most societies historically haven't had a long, workless childhood period, nor weekends, but it hasn't been constant backbreaking labor either. A lot of work was done communally and was as much a social activity/normal fabric of the day as it was "work," you know?

I just think for us (as a culture) to get anywhere (as the oil goes away/fertilizer supply shrinks/etc), we have to drop this idea that it's SUVs or 12 hours of rock-breaking a day, you know? It's not as though life sucked globally until about 1895. (Not saying that's what you're saying, but it's an argument I've heard elsewhere.)
post #93 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by leerypolyp View Post
p.s., I totally agree with most of your post except the above-quoted. There's actually a lot of good archaeological evidence that that wasn't the case at all -- except for much of Western Europe. Have you read 1491 by Charles C. Mann? (A really fascinating read if you're interested in societal collapse, and in possibilities for how societies could work!) Many pre-Columbian societies in the Americans lived very comfortable lives, in a huge array of ways. There's also some statistic that I haven't got time to track down right now, about the amount of leisure time experienced in hunter-gatherer societies vs. agricultural societies (they had a LOT more).

It's not as though life sucked globally until about 1895. (Not saying that's what you're saying, but it's an argument I've heard elsewhere.)
I haven't read Mann's work, but I would guess that except for the Americas, life was very hard, i.e. sucked. The histories of most known cultures (Asian, Indian, Russian, African, Scandinavian, etc) was, and sometimes still is very hard. The Americas are unique in being very rich in natural resources and plenty of arable land.
post #94 of 260
Haven't read the book. We though feel the same way about how the country is turning. My Grandmother actually was always thinking this would happen but she thought it was biblical. She didnt get the whole picture.

What scares me is my parents live out in the country. Family farms grow corn or soy beans for the industrial market. There are little in the way of farms that grow food for eating. Or for their own families. The neighbors of theirs are in their 90's the farm is paid for and has been for sometime. They aren't worried about drought or floods ( well not anymore so then before) its the chemicals they use to grow the corn etc that they cant afford...the problem is they don't know "HOW" to farm. The know how to spray chemicals and plow...This year is probably the last year they will farm..they ( their kids...the owners are in their 90's ) almost didn't this year because of the gas they need to farm, the extra grants from the government went to the chemical company and not them this year. If they cant afford to farm think how most other farms that aren't paid for are doing.

I think our lifestyle is a large part to blame.

We just sold our house and are moving near my parents on 3 acres.
post #95 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by wednesday View Post
Okay, so I read the synopsis of The Road on wikipedia after it was mentioned upthread, and yes, it's extremely grim. However, it's *general* post-apocalypse fiction, right? It doesn't really have anything to do with peak oil? And cannibalization took place and became organized because there was NO other animal life? That's science fiction.

If you want your post-apocalypse fiction to be a little more uplifting, try Alas, Babylon. It's a post nuclear holocaust story set in, I think, the 50s. Good people come together as a community to form self-sufficient households, and bad people are driven off or reach their just desserts through their own actions.

I've read Alas, Babylon. It is a good book. But you can't comment on The Road just by reading a synopsis of it!!!! That's not what great literature is for--watering it down into a few paragraphs!!! The Road just won the Pulitzer; it's beautiful writing about a terribly depressing scenario. You love it and hate it at the same time.
post #96 of 260
I always wonder about the suburban thing. I mean, how can it be better to be rural if you are many, many miles away from town? Many suburban lots are large and sunny enough to accomadate some serious food production (vegetables and small farm animals) and the houses are close enough together to function like a traditional small town. The houses are large enough to house two or even three families easily. The garages are large enough to be converted to general stores and shops so regular deliveries can get made to small economies and be distributed throughout the neighborhood. And the houses are often good candidates for solar power (even community solar) and a community windmill. When I look at suburban lots I see lots of potential for a new model of small town living. I mean, why not? Just change the *&^%& zoning laws!
post #97 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by p.s View Post
I haven't read Mann's work, but I would guess that except for the Americas, life was very hard, i.e. sucked. The histories of most known cultures (Asian, Indian, Russian, African, Scandinavian, etc) was, and sometimes still is very hard. The Americas are unique in being very rich in natural resources and plenty of arable land.
I don't think this is true at all... I mean, there's the whole "fertile crescent" to start with.

All my books are packed away now 'cause we're moving, but I read an anthropological study of (I think) the !Kung San in southern Africa, done maybe 50 years ago, that found that everyone got more than enough to eat (including enough protein, fat, etc), people under about 18 and over 60 or so didn't really work at all, and the typical adult worked an average of about 18 hours a week. By "work" he meant food gathering, hunting, food preparation. This isn't true of the !Kung San any more, but it was then.

I read recently that the average new single-family house built during the fifties was around 900 square feet, and now it's closer to 2000. Our ideas about what we "need" are very different now...

dar
post #98 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by WNB View Post

Isn't your math backwards? 1/4 of our annual energy requirement means the entire forest would suffice for about 3 months.

Not my math, that's a quote from the linked page, but IIRC, he's just doing the calculations on heating, not taking into account the need to fuel power plants. I'd have to reread the whole thing.

Still makes the point that wood /= long term solution.
post #99 of 260
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dar View Post
I don't think this is true at all... I mean, there's the whole "fertile crescent" to start with.

All my books are packed away now 'cause we're moving, but I read an anthropological study of (I think) the !Kung San in southern Africa, done maybe 50 years ago, that found that everyone got more than enough to eat (including enough protein, fat, etc), people under about 18 and over 60 or so didn't really work at all, and the typical adult worked an average of about 18 hours a week. By "work" he meant food gathering, hunting, food preparation. This isn't true of the !Kung San any more, but it was then.
The ferile crescent is a narrow swath of land that is mostly in the Middle East (which I did not name) and encompasses just a bit of Africa. regarding Africa, there is now debate re: how much of the slave trade 1500-1900's was done via kidnapping vs. tribal leaders or relatives selling people into slavery. I can't believe times were good if it was more expeditious to sell one of your own rather than feed/ house them.
I'll have to read about the !Kung San.
post #100 of 260
The Middle East is part of Asia, which you did name.

If you're talking about the 1500s to 1900s, you're talking about the period when the Europeans came into Africa and messed everything up, to put it mildly. Whether the Europeans were directly kidnapping people or running things behind the scenes by pitting different ethnic groups against each other, the result was the same. Colonialism totally messed things up in Africa, and the whole continent is still suffering the effects.

The !Kung San, however, were a nomadic hunting and gathering society, and the slave trade really didn't have much to do with them. The west african coastal areas were the places most targeted by slavers.

dar
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Frugality & Finances
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Frugality & Finances › The Long Emergency