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what the voices in my head tell me to write

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

the big problem with globalization 

Is that there are simply not enough resources to give every goat herder in something-stan the lifestyle of a Southern Californian, even some cheap white trash redneck or minor drug dealer in South Central LA. Once you have seen a couple of tv shows with people driving around in flash cars, drinking and eating all they want with guns, girls and blah blah blah.

The reverse is true. Very few people in the first world will willingly give up all the trappings of modern life. Many of us fantasize about giving it all up and living the good life off grid on a small holding surrounded by our animals and knitting our own yogurt. The nearest we get is buying some organic fruit and veg once in a while in a huge supermarket.

So what is to be done? There are the techno utopians who say that fusion power, renewables, new technology X will come along and save us all. Others believe in things like transition towns where we will all become middle class liberals living in quaint rural market towns working from home as middle managers or doing small cottage industries like picture framing or making little doodads from recycled bits of stuff and taking the bus everywhere.

Then there are of course the cynics who say its all gone to hell already and we are all doomed. Better watch a few Mad Max videos for handy tips and head for the hills with a few of your good buddies and lots of guns and wait for the hordes of starving refugees to turn up.

A great illustration of this was Bruce Parry's new show. It contrasted two First Nations tribes in Canada. The first lived in a very remote part of the Yukon. They still live a lifestyle thats very much in touch with nature, hunting caribou, duck and other game for their main source of food and living in small communities. The other tribe live in the middle of the Athabasca Tar Sands region and have made a small fortune for themselves with a plant hire and contracting buisness. Their chief is now the CEO of a multimillion dollar industry and can pay every man, woman and child in the tribe 10,000 dollars per year as a dividend. They now want to cut out the middleman entirely and go into the oil extraction business themselves.

Who can blame them for doing that. I am sure if the elders of the first tribe were told they were, literally, sitting on a gold mine things would change in short order.

The problem is there are not enough gold mines to go around...

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