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On the brink

August 10, 2007

I was planning to write a post about dropping out but geopolitical events of the last two weeks have rather distracted me. It really feels like the financial system is on the verge of a serious collapse. A few weeks ago there was a collapse of a couple of hedge funds in the US and this week there have been problems with funds in Europe as well and now the European Central Bank has released a truckload of credit into the system to make up for a lack of ‘liquidity’.
Basically no one is buying anymore.

Oh yeah, and China is threatening to withdraw it’s support of the US economy.

All this is kind of independent of the peak oil issue and It’s been a long time coming but I’m starting to feel like there’s not going to be much left to drop out of fairly soon. It’s not a good feeling.

I’m supposed to be working on getting prepared to ride out the crash but it’s so easy to get distracted by normal every day stuff – especially when you have children. I have to admit that when I wander round town with everyone going about their usual business it’s hard to hold the idea in my head that it’s all going to end – or at least change a hell of a lot. And when we were travelling in the bus, totally immersed in our immediate life experience it was nearly impossible to hang onto the idea.

It does feel more real this week though, especially as a friend told me ont he phone today that at a spiritual level he feels like a massive paradigm shift will happen in the next couple of days. I don’t yet know what he bases that on but it just adds to a growing sense of unease that I have – and it’s not helping me make decisions. I may actually just have to makes some guesses on a few things – which I don’t normally like to do.

However, in the event of life continuing in a kind of normal way for some time yet, which is just as likely, here’s some thoughts on dropping out;

I was looking in the Cryptogon archives the other day for an old posting and discovered this instead, it’s from the comments as opposed to an actual posting but here’s what Kevin had to say about dropping out.

… I formally studied insurgency and counter insurgency in college. I have a pretty good grasp of how low intensity warfare works, theoretically. I thought long and hard about how I could strike the most damaging blow possible to this diabolical system. Drop out.

Dropping out to the extent possible is the best choice. Doing that hurts this system in a serious way.
And, nope, it’s not easy out here on the Farmlet. But nobody said it was going to be easy! If I ever start to feel as though it’s too rough, all I have to do is think about that corporate prison camp reality I left behind. Fixes me right up.

What interests me about this is that someone like Ran agrees with him. The two guys are operating in entirely different head spaces, one a philospher, the other a techie but they’ve arrived at the same place on this issue.

The only thing I would add to that is that the simplest way of dropping out is to become debt free, or at least less in-debted. I’d estimate that roughly half of economic activity is devoted to generating income to pay back loans, meaing that half of economic activity is dedicated to gifting money to the people who own our banks, bless their flinty little souls.

Put aside things like leaving our high paying jobs and living lightly, the one, most signficant thing we can do is to focus on getting out of debt. We got our of debt in about 6 years, which means we have deprived the banking system of 19 years of interest payments. The other benefit of course, is that we have a lot more freedom because of it, which was thereal motivating factor at the time – not striking a blow to the heart of capitalism :-) Although the two issues are intimately tied together.

Basically our entire society has evolved as a mechanism for creating wealth for banks, it’s why we must have growth for the economy to function successfully. It’s so that us serfs pay our dues to our masters, except now they’ve realised there is a limit to growth and are in the process of engineering a fun new system for us.

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