This is a truly chilling report. As someone alone here in Japan I worry what will happen if things get really bad. How will I survive without close family and friends to protect me and me help to protect them? I’m terrified of things getting so bad that I can’t buy or obtain insulin to keep me alive…
I’d like to make a proposal:
If this recession turns into a worldwide depression the only way most of us will survive will be to band together and help each other out. Trying to go this alone is folly. Since we are already aware that something is afoot and have this internet connection (for now… it, too, may not survive the onslaught) to organize something, would it make sense to start gathering groups of trusted people now to prepare for the worst? Perhaps put together a homepage for local groups to gather and organize into different local communities where they can share information and plans? Even if just a false alarm, having the plans in place could make all the difference.
I’d also like to propose groups of people organizing in-group financial survival insurance or some such (I don’t know the jargon at all) to help each other get through the worst.
When I was young I often listened to my German grandparents and great aunt talk of the great depression and Second World War and how they managed to get through the hard times. Almost always it revolved around families and friends banding together, eschewing traditional nuclear family setups in favor of everyone helping out according each individual’s best abilities. Down in the basement of the apartment they hoarded mountains of canned food and coal so that they could survive months without worry of starving or freezing during the hard winters. Strangers were often welcomed into homes for shelter and once my grandparents harbored a family of Jews all of whom except one, unfortunately, were discovered by the Gestapo and sent, never to return, to Bergen Belsen, the concentration camp just north of my hometown Hannover.
I’ve always strongly felt that this money-focused world economy we have is the worst possible pragmatic model for a society. It inherently teeters on chance, in much the same way a gambler hopes that his luck will hold out. Most people would not hesitate to discount a gambler’s claim that gambling is sound way to make a living, and yet we accept without much question a worldwide economy that basically is a huge franchise of chance games. Cooperation and a focus on community effort truly is the only way a society can hope to sustain itself socially, economically, environmentally, even spiritually. Much as Marx is criticized, he really made some very good points. And those nations which adopted his philosophy never truly carried it out; they twisted it into something draconian and frightful… not at all what Marx envisioned. If anything Marx’s vision very closely resembles the teachings of Christ: Do unto others… Help thy neighbor…
Anyway, here we are staring at this monster of a problem. Is there a way we can all join hands and face it together?