Day 1302 – Roger & Me
Anybody remember that movie? Anybody remember the scene where the woman, living in the city of Flint, clubs the rabbit and skins it? I remember it quite well. I remember thinking incredulously “this is going on in an american city that was supposed to be the city of the future? Something has gone horribly wrong.”
City of the Future, indeed.
I’m older now, i own a house, i’m “on the grid” as it were and i’m a bit player in the financial shell game of wall street. So i look to the future with a mixture of concern and amusement, not with the rather mindless terror so many seem to be exhibiting of late.
But i can’t help thinking about what i would do if both annette and i lose our jobs. Employment in this valley is already sketchy and state government, the largest employer, is girding for across the board cuts. My job is entirely expendable. However i cost virtually nothing and provide a useful service to my employer. Certainly others can do what i do, but i can do it faster, better and with more value-add. Right… i’m making the “quality” argument. We all know that quality is first thing to be eliminated by government in a down cycle. Still, i cost very little and i produce. I’ll cling to that notion for a while.
But i keep coming back to the question: what would we do? The concern is part and parcel to the question “where is it better to live during a down cycle?” Is it better to live in NYC or Boise. If employment is the litmus test for a place then there’s no arguing for Boise. NYC has and will always harbor more employment opportunities than all of the intermountain west. But what about everything else? Precious little food is grown in the five boroughs of New York. Everything in Manhattan arrives by fossil fuel powered vehicles. But if the price of oil continues to drop the cost of trucking in supplies will remain under control and thus the cost of living in NYC probably shouldn’t escalate beyond its already steep price.
What about everything other than employment and food? What is better? To work 12-14 hour days at a job taken largely out of necessity in order to afford the food and shelter needed to survive, or live out in the banana belt of Idaho buying food from local producers, or, and this is the kicker, producing a percentage of your food yourself. In Idaho the option to join forces with neighbors and share the various burdens of a down cycle economy is more realistic than in the canyons of New York.
My neighbors and I are thinking of goats and chickens. I’d like to come up with a way to keep ducks, but their need for water is problematic out here in the desert. Many people hunt so buying meat is only a matter of who you know. Many small farms only a short distance from where i’m typing this will become far more economically viable in a global recession. Maybe a reboot of the economy combined with a serious re-thinking of what exactly we are all living for might be the transformative events of this new century.