atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#4767: Weather, gadzooks, WTF, part 2

Around 7:55 they blew the tornado sirens, so Mrs. Fungus and I went to the basement.

The wind didn't even blow here; the tornado in question was in Peotone heading towards Beecher, all of which is no less than eight or ten miles south of the Fungal Vale. Still, "better safe than sorry".

"Tomorrow is forecast to be MUCH COOLER than today," goes the forecast. That would be nice, because tomorrow I intend to start work on reassembling the Fiero.

* * *

More doom and gloom about the economy. I don't know if the depression is really going to include serious social upheaval the likes of which we haven't seen since the Civil War or WW II, as the writer attests, but I do know that it's going to suck to be an average Joe for quite a while.

A deflationary depression seems inevitable, just because there's no such thing as an unlimited exponential expansion outside of mathematics classes. The economy cannot grow 10% every year ad infinitum even if the people in charge do everything correctly, because there is a practical upper limit to the economic output of a given system. (Fred Pohl's Midas World notwithstanding.)

Eventually there isn't enough money to pay for the continued expansion. Taking the US off the gold standard worked for a little while, and it made it possible to spend in deficit for another thirty-odd years before the end of that expansion came abruptly. If it hadn't been Lehman Brothers, it would have been someone else.

Note please that the deflationary depression doesn't represent a destruction of wealth so much as a reassessment of what wealth is. Before the Great Depression a telephone was considered a luxury, and rural houses were often without electricty and indoor plumbing. After WW2, however, all that changed, and rather precipitously, such that by the 1970s you had to go far into the backwoods to find houses without electrical service or indoor plumbing. Post-war America saw a serious increase in its standard of living. (Partly due to being the only undamaged industrial economy in the world, it must be said.)

The knowledge that life will cost less to live is faint consolation, though, for all the malaise and misery we have to suffer through to get to that point. And as the writer points out, war is almost always a feature of this kind of period, so we're going to be living in interesting times.

It sucks, of course, but there's not a lot we can do about it.

It's like commenter Thick Willy says:
The lessons learned from serious financial hardship can last a life time, not just a few years. Look at the people who came out of the Great Depression, they were "extremely frugal" until their last days. These elites have never had to worry about where their next meal was going to come from. They never looked at their last $10 bill and had to decide whether it was going to put gas in their tank or food in their belly. They can't understand how much of a shock it is when a person's very existence is threatened due to lack of resources.

That's really all it comes down to. The economists and the journalists come from upper-middle to upper class families and they have never experienced anything remotely resembling hardship so they simply do not comprehend its impact on people. Maybe they can dig up some psychological studies on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Frankly most of the people at the top would have turned to crime long before they found themselves in such dire financial straights. In fact, crime is their way of life. They don't understand that normal moral people can end up destitute and not turn to crime. This is another thing that baffles them. When poor people become criminals it makes the elite happy because it reinforces their belief that having money makes one morally superior. They always tell you that poverty drives people to crime, which is quite insulting if you think about it, because it shows that they believe money is a prerequisite for moral existence.
...and people who live upper middle class lives simply don't understand it when you tell them you don't have the money to pay for X or Y. They accuse you of poor planning and laziness.

Well, there's nothing we can do about that, either.

* * *

Not really sure what else to write about that will make up for how depressing the middle part of this post is. Sorry about that.

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