The Time is Coming


The time is coming when we will have to live within our means.  In addition, our means will be shrinking.  I am using the pronoun “we” to mean all of us, especially in the U.S., including our government and corporations.

Our problem is a case of interacting, compounding concerns.  Our debts have increased while productivity has slowed down.  We have increased our debts and expectations based on assumptions that growth will continue and that we will be able to pay off the debts in the future.  Unfortunately, growth cannot continue indefinitely within a closed system.  We are approaching the limits in affordable natural resources such as oil and many mineral resources.  We are reaching the limits in finding/exploiting resources around the globe.  The best approach for the future is reuse of materials, increased conservation, greater efficiency, and sustainable living.

At the same time that we are reaching limits, we are facing increased demands and costs.  For example … the wild fires out west.  Fighting them is expensive and we are facing limits on our ability to fight them.  At the same time we might be faced with increased costs of an unnecessary war in the mid-east.  And don’t forget that we haven’t recovered from the financial devastation caused by Sandy in the north-east.  What if we now have another major storm hit the country?  What about the other costs coming caused by global climate change?  Where will we find the funds and other resources to restore the areas destroyed?  Going into greater debt based on future growth is unrealistic.

Our financial system is another factor.  It is only as strong as we are confident, confident in our ability to pay off our debts through future growth.  When that confidence erodes, interest rates will rise on borrowed funds and we won’t be able to afford to borrow.  We might not even be able to pay-off past debts.

There have always been those who have preached on the corners that the world is coming to an end.  Rightfully so, we didn’t pay them much attention; but I’m now thinking that the future definitely isn’t going to be like the past.  I see no way that recent standards of living can be maintained, at least those dependent upon commercially acquired material goods.

The time is coming, has arrived, for major changes.  I am sorry if you don’t see it, don’t understand it, or don’t believe it; but, I am not a street corner prophet.  I try not to be an alarmist.  I am confident that when we take all the factors into consideration that my beliefs are rational and warranted. It is time to change our perspective about the future and make changes.