I had an excellent conversation with a dear friend yesterday and it brought up a number of things for me. There has been a lot of news lately about the education bubble. The job market for freshly minted college graduates sucks right now. Unemployment in that demographic is around 50% and underemployment around 60%. I know I personally have a grocery bagger with a BA and my friends son has an MA in mechanical engineering and no job prospects.
I have a number of friends, all about 10-20 years older than me, so in their mid-40’s to mid-50’s who are either out of work or in danger of being so. They are having extreme trouble finding a job. There are plenty of folks my age who will work for less or work on contract instead of on salary with benefits.
Combine this with the growing resource scarcity that I see coming, felt first in the agricultural sector, and our unpayable debt and it is a recipe for a second Great Depression. Unlike the first, though, 60% of the population does not live on a farm, or have any real way to feed themselves if they cannot work in a service economy. News flash: Lack of income, high commodity prices and general frustration lead to violence. And it won’t just be in the low income areas.
How do we, as a society, remodel ourselves so that we can keep the advances we have made, while shoring up our underlying shaky foundations? Simply, individual resiliency. We have to become net producers instead of consumers. We talked some last night about our shared desire to live in a permaculture based community. One thing I realized was, while it takes many square miles to sustain a hunter-gatherer society in a natural setting, in a food forest, you can feed yourself for much less effort on a much smaller plot. Look at what guys like Sepp Holtzer or Masanobu Fukuoka have been able to do.
If we can educate enough people to have living examples in and around most areas of the country, we can turn our nation into a nation of producers, where people eat from the, relatively easy, labor of their own hands and work as they please to provide for their desires. This kind of resiliency, in even 10-20% of the population, would allow us enough flexibility to survive most catastrophes. So, what are you waiting on? Get out there and garden!