That, of course, never happened.
I remember talking to this flatmate, let's call him Oz, over a cold beer on a hot afternoon, and being awed by his world-weary wisdom. He mused that it would not be nuclear war that would bring an end to the granduer of the 20th Century, but that the demise of Western Civilisation, not just in the moral sense that the conservative right have been lamenting for sixty years now, would come about when the whole grand illusion of the world economy caved in on itself. America, he predicted, would bring about its own undoing when all the false realities of its financial system were laid bare, and everything would fall from there.
I'm sure that I don't need to summarise for anyone reading this just what has happened to the world markets in recent weeks and months. But here are a few things to consider, thinking about what Oz said to me that day 9 years ago:
- Last week, Wall St crashed further than it did in 1987, despite an injection by the US Govt of about 1 trillion dollars, suggesting that, like most things that are fundamntally flawed, simply throwing more money at the problem will not fix it.
- Iceland is bankrupt. This is a country we're talking about. An entire country. Bankrupt.
- Inflation in Zimbabwe is running at 1,000,000% per day. When faced with numbers like that, how can money mean anything at all?
- The Large Hadron Collider cost around 5 billion pounds over the past ten or so years, making it the most expensive science project ever. Yet the US Govt spends 1 billion dollars a day on its military activities in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world. After 7 years of this, how many worthwhile science projects that might have helped avert the global climate and food crises we're facing now might have been funded instead?
I would hazard a guess that the answer is that they always knew, but because the illusion is so deeply entrenched in the financial practices and the psyches of pretty much everyone on the planet (apart from those lucky subsistence hunters of the deep Amazon or nomadic herders of Inner Mongolia or Patagonia), there really was nothing they could do but wait for the dream to shatter. To try to fix it would have been to perpetuate the very fallout that we are now witnessing, and no-one wants to be remembered for unleashing such a thing on the world.
As someone said, to believe in the American Dream, it's best if you're asleep.
For another very lucid opinion on what has transpired and what is yet to come, check out this interview with Charles Hugh Smith.
And to bring it back down to earth, for those of us who can never pull the great puppet strings that rule the world, it's just another reminder that every day we should be striving for self-reliance, instead of depending on the world out there to provide for us. If you were in Iceland right now, you'd be wishing you didn't have to wait for the next boat to come in bringing your winter food supplies, because that boat isn't coming. And that is a very harsh reality to be facing, when it is not your doing that has brought this about.
I'm constantly inspired by the people I see making inroads into self-sustainability. Apart from the obvious examples like the Dervaes and Gallimaufree, Patrice Farmer is a single mother who is managing to raise not only her daughter but also several chickens and a garden that puts mine to shame, all the while doing so with a crippling bone disorder (arthritis I think - correct me if I'm wrong, Patrice). As I read her blog, I'm reminded that I have no excuse not to do more to break away from the grand illusion before my family and I become victims of its collapse.