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John Moonstroller

TEDCRED 30+

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Will Consumer efficiency Breed Economic Downturn for the United States?

Lets supposes that for some insensible, social reason, 80 % of our society decided to become more individually self-reliant, more DIY (Do It Yourself).

Instead of buying processed food and eating out, creating your own food becomes a social trend. With knowledge of such things as swaddling a baby or repairing your own plumbing becoming available at the press of a button on individual Ipod devices, how will the economy alter and evolve to deal with ideas of consumer efficiency? Industry seeks automation and consumers seek efficiency.

In today's consumer world, keeping something back for hard times is becoming the norm. Budgeting, once the realm of the seriously employed, home owner is fast finding a niche in applications that can fit on anyone's hand held device and yield results with a few clicks. Can I afford those shoes, those shirts, that special toy? Click, Click, enter an amount and you have your answer. Impulsiveness in consumers is declining.

We see the stock market manipulating money, sometimes (or most times) artificially creating a sense of movement in the economy. After the dust settles, only a hint of real growth appears. Sometimes no growth at all, a negative. We rarely read news about the homeless anymore but a short trip around the internet reveals that they are still there, waiting for change that will put them out of the car into a job and into a real home. “The number of homeless children reached record highs in 2011,[26] 2012,[27] and 2013[28] at about three times their number in 1983”, according to information on Wikipedia.

How will our, more efficient, consumers affect our economy in the United States in the near future? Will we finally fall into the economic ditch that the European Union finds itself? Will the protests in Greece become an American phenomenon? Does efficiency within the consumer base breed economic downturn? Will we, in turn, become even more efficient and what implications does this pose for our economy as a whole?

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    Jun 10 2013: I don't think that there will be a time when everyone supplies and builds ALL of their own products, but it is possible that maybe an economy is forming that is independent of government structure.
    I really wonder what would happen if we just let the economy naturally form itself... Like true supply and demand.
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      Jun 10 2013: It could be. One problem with growing your own food is you grow way too much. I would think that people might start trading, with food, tomatoes for potatoes, etc.

      Have you ever seen the video "Hunger Games"?

      In my opinion, that is where we are headed as a nation. The wealthy will live in protected cities and the rest of us will make do. If we get our of hand, they will gas us every now and then.


      With automation and robotics, they really don't need the rest of us.

      Think about it. Why do they need us, other than to stock the military and protect their interests?
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        Jun 10 2013: Yeah, exactly. Trading and such. There is no reason to make everything for yourself.
        I hope that he world does not end up like that. I do hope and believe that people like us who like to think and learn will be able to avoid wrongful control inflicted by the wealthy, although at this moment in history it doesn't seem to be working out that way in most cases :(
        Good point about how robotics and automation is replacing the need for many working class jobs. But when talking about wealthy people you may ask the same question. What do we need them for anymore either? Is it not the people who use their brains to solve problems instead of their money that will actually have a lasting impact on the world? Yes, it is true that money can be used to have an impact on the world, but the real breakthroughs and discoveries in the history of our world are not necessarily expensive ones.
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          Jun 10 2013: Robots are not seeking low class jobs. They have a robot that does surgery. One day it will be able to operate without Doctor assistance.

          Engineers and scientists, and a few garage mechanics, are developing a 3d food printer that can make food from various simple biological nutrients and amino acids.

          We need wealthy people because we are indebted to them. We owe them money.

          No one spent a lot of money on Albert Einstein other than his parents when they sent him to school, but he invested a lot of his own money. Your point is well taken. He used his time and labor. I agree many discoveries were made in the garage, so to speak, but some required lots of financial support like the DNA data base for example.

          Ultimately, I think the goal is to create machines that make everything we could use or desire. What we will do and how we will socially interact when we reach that goal is anybodies guess. I've read some great SyFy novels about such a world.

          Right now I'm making homemade mayonnaise because I'm on a processed-sugar free diet.

          My favorite mayonnaise has 50 grams of processed sugar in it so I dumped it. I have to make many things because of this diet. Which explains why situations can create an environment where we need to make things ourselves. Processed sugar is in just about everything, like Chinese made products are in every store.

          I think you and I resonate about the world.....

          Good reply.

          Question, what if
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        Jun 11 2013: Very true about robots not only replacing working class jobs.
        Maybe I am just an optimist about the future of the world. Haha
        I have also read a few good sci if novels similar to that.
        If we could only make it so that the wealthy people were people who understood how important monetary investments are in technology and science. Not that there are not some that don't, but there are definitely some very rich people who do not have that in their top priorities.
        I never knew mayonnaise had so much sugar in it. I'm glad I don't even really like mayonnaise very much. I am sure that homemade mayonnaise is much better anyway. Good luck with making it. :)
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          Jun 11 2013: Yes Robots are the rage. The first commercial program I helped to write, took away the jobs of 14 people in the business where I worked.

          The next program I wrote for a small business (where I met my wife), replaced four women working as clerks in her office. She used to think she was going to be replaced and did not like me at all. that was in the 80's.

          The goal of software is to replace as much hardware as possible. So far it's working well. Most wealthy people are not even aware of how their money is being used.

          It would do no good to talk to them. Bill Gates doesn't have a clues what is going on at Microsoft these days. It makes you wonder just who is controlling everything?

          The Mayonnaise I made was good but I use Olive oil. It's heavier and has a distinct taste that not everyone likes. It was delicious and only cost me about 75 cents to make a quart.

          Good luck to you Rachel.
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        Jun 12 2013: Do you think that technology is taking away from the actual amount of jobs or do you think it is just adjusting the distribution of jobs into different fields and also creating new fields in place of obsolete ones?
        It would be nice if instead of trying to make the people who are already wealthy understand, the people who do understand would become wealthy because they understand. That would be quite an idealistic world though.
        I wish that I would have had more opportunities to be driven to learn to program. I am just recently realizing that it is an important skill, but at this point I feel like I might be getting into it too late.
        Sometimes I think that big companies and governments end up in a way where everybody thinks that someone else is in charge. I guess you could say that this is a good way to create teamwork, but I also think that it causes a lot of issues sometimes.
        I have had the store bought kind of olive oil mayonnaise in my mom's awesome egg salad before. I actually like it better than the regular mayonnaise, but I also like the taste of olive oil. 75 cents is cheap and olive oil is good for you, so it sounds like a success.
        Thanks :)
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          Jun 12 2013: I, personally think that if you take programing, starting with Python, at Udacity online college, it will not be too late. The surprising thing about programming is, once you get that feeling of power at the tips of your fingers, there is no going back. The whole world stops turning and doesn't start again until you hit the CR and make it go. It is pure power.

          You might be surprised. I've seen people learrn programming and realize it is the one thing they discover they can relate to. It all start with that one "Hello World" program. I've seen people start learning from scratch, discover they were born for this one thing. I see them again in a couple or three years and they have a plane ticket in their hand, going to some far off land on this planet to start their career. Usually, it is the company that is paying their fare, hotel, and expenses to get them working. As far as they are concerned, if you can understand and write the progams you study in class, you are the type of material they are looking for. They know they can put to work, under some of the greates computer minds on this planet and get up and running.

          I'd go for it if I were you. At least take one class and check it out. What you got to lose?

          When I was in that class, there were over 40,00 people enrolled, all over the world, in that one class. It was fun.

          In addition, another fact. Right now, Intelligent, free thinking computers are still far in the future. With the problems the world has now, they need programmers who can work with the smart computers to accomplish the world. This situation will exist for a long time to come.

          There is a story someplace, where two guys and a computer were able to direct most of the aid associated with the Haitian earthquake. It was phenomenal what they were able to accomplish. This is the situation with the world today, a couple of people and a computer.
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        Jun 12 2013: Thanks for the encouragement! I'm definitely going to check that out. I'm leaving for college in the fall and I have this summer to do whatever, so I'm going to give it a try. I'm majoring in mechanical engineering, but I like to know at least a little bit about a lot of things and I'm sure that programming will come in handy for me in engineering.
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          Jun 12 2013: Well, many of the cad programs today incorporate mod interfaces that are written in Python.
          You can download Draftsight, a 2-d cad program for free. Most of the functions are similar to AutoCad. It's Free. :) If your not already doing it you need to start using a cad program. Sorry for my writing. I'm weaning myself from Pain Meds and my writing is confused. Good Luck.
  • Jun 7 2013: I think that the US economy will take an upswing if people quit doing the rampant consumerism and moved back towards quality items that last a long time. The US has the capabilities to produce everything it needs itself, but in order to push prices down to feed consumerism it has outsourced jobs and reduced the price of materials (using cheaper stuff), so if demand for cheaply built products where to decline I think the jobs would come back stateside and actually improve the economic situation
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      Jun 7 2013: I certainly hope so Scott. It's a good idea. Instead of buying a whole living room suit at one time (cheap), buy some locally built furniture over the year, that is quality craftsman made. I sometimes show people how to make baby rocking chairs and sell them on the side of the road. :) They are quality chairs, made in the USA.

      Perhaps what is good for the USA is good for any country. Every country should take the time to search for locally built products.

      In the long run, all a person needs is Clothing, Food, Water, Air, and comfort. In a rural society you have to add to this list: transportation.

      It is interesting to note that in many villages around the world that don't bond too well with modern towns and cities, there is very little cheap and foreign made products in the village. Everything is made at home. In those villages that still survive, they don't have a real use for money.

      An interesting thing to do is try and model the economy on a spreadsheet. I've heard many people on TED talk about it but I've seen no one do that so perhaps I might give it a try.
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    Jun 6 2013: To reiterate I made a post to Jimmy below:

    At least you admit that the state uses force. So you are saying the degree that they use in Turkey is not ok. But it is ok in socialist countries for them to use force that enslaves the citizens up to 70% of their lives through taxes/force?

    To which his response was in video form here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=K8E_zMLCRNg

    When I indicated that although Turkey was using force, the socialist countries use force as well by enslaving their citizens through the use of high taxes. To which his response is a very loud reticence.

    This is the core of what I'm saying
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      Jun 6 2013: You missed my point Pat. Try posting my comment so I can follow along with you, please.

      My implication is that why should we be so concerned about Turkey and their social problems, when we have problems right here at home (The recent, NAACP protest in North Carolina)?

      The incident in Turkey was the result of excessive force used by the police in dealing with peaceful protesters.

      I believe that the people responsible for that unnecessary force have apologized to their citizens for that incident.

      I have a some Turkish friends who were born and raised in Turkey. They tell me, socially: it is comparable to other modern countries, with strong western and eastern cultural influences. A strong sense of Democratic rule applies there.

      Pat, sometimes it is necessary to use force when social civility is threatened. That is why we have police, Military, etc. I know of no modern country where such methods of force are not used and incorporated into the social structure.

      In a simple example, anyone can loose their emotional and rational restraint and indulge in destructive, physical activities, like a mother slapping her child in anger. A more intense example is: people making devices that cause whole sale destruction on large crowds of people and/or property.

      Socialist countries are no exception, I would imagine.
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        Jun 7 2013: My point is that socialist countries USE force by taxing people to the tune of 70% of their income, in other words they are enslaved 70% of their life. That sure as hell is force no different that what the Turkish police are doing to the protesters.
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    Jun 6 2013: I am not sure whether Impulsiveness of consumers has really declined .....if so e.g. why the next model mobile sells so much when old ones are still working well.....Do we all have been exhausted after using all features of our old set that for small new feature we are jumping to buy the new one...

    Hyper consumerism is rampant , which also is great threat to our environment itself. May be consumers are a bit less excited due to the economic downturn ....but that's not proof of being less impulsive while we are going for shopping.
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      Jun 6 2013: That is a good point Salim. The technology that we imagine in our devices does not really exist. Most of it is software controlled and gives the illusion that we have hand machines capable of doing amazing things. It's hard to carry a nice Desktop computer around when your on the go and comparable laptops are very expensive and cumbersome. Advertisement, build people up to think they are getting something very usable and unique when they are getting much of the same software in a prettier package with a bit more dazzle and buttons. Of course the latest development is the touch screen. I don't own a cell phone and many older people, like myself and 60 or so percent of the US population, can't see the screens very well. But the young who are easily distracted and given to trends, find them useful in their social world.

      I agree -by some standards- what you call hyper-consumerism can appear rampant as the pile of trash becomes more visible and larger in size. The -less impulsive- observation is base on my observations of local population -family, friends and neighbours. Due to the high cost of living these days, people are becoming more frugal. With practice, this makes people less impulsive.

      I'm sure the advertisement industry would love to squash such comments as mine but it is, I believe, a valid, observation of the people around me. In the tight networks where money still flows, it may appear as if nothing has changed at all, but, I believe that is the exception rather than the norm.

      You won't win very many ball games if your not praising and yelling to support your team to play harder. If, however, the team is not qualified for the big leagues, they won't preform very well no matter how much support you give them. The advertisement industry is all for consumerism and a nice environment where money changes hands and products fly off the shelf. I just don't see that happening these days. You can't eat a cell phone.
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        Jun 6 2013: Hi John
        Thanks for your elaborate reply....
        I am not denouncing your observation around yourself.....what I am telling is may be consumers became a bit cautious these days while facing economic downturn.... However there is a evolving group of concerned citizen though small in number who are controlling their impulsiveness.

        You are very right about the over commitment or even false commitment of advertisements with which people get easily trapped. My another hypothesis around hyper consumerism is also driven by the plastic cards (credit cards), which pushes us to buy something when I don't really have money in pocket.

        Think of the garage sales, heard many a times from that sales one can get things which were never unpacked after purchase.....!!!
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          Jun 6 2013: I think we agree on a general definition of impulsiveness as it relate to the consumer Mr. Solaiman. Yes, consumers are more cautious these days. Your projection of hyper-consumerism is: it is an internal force that can be produced by outside forces such as Advertisement which induces us to purchase products we can't afford or don't really need.

          If people curb this hyper-consumer influence, how might it affect the over all economy?

          Let's say a social trend is formed and 80% of the population in any given country decides to become frugal and hang tightly to their money, purchasing only products they need for everyday living expenses. How might this effect the growth figures of an economy?
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    Jun 6 2013: Jimmy

    "What is wrong with it?" - it's killing our planet (to be dramatic).
    Or you could just sat that it's ecologically unsound. Either way it's not doing us any favors in the long run.

    The invention of the car was a benefit to the environment otherwise we would have had huge piles of horse crap from the cities and the resulting gases would have been worse than we have from cars.

    The fine work of John Rockefeller saved the whales as kerosine replaced whale oil for lamps

    Cities cut down on the resources needed for transportation, communication, and exchange

    The internet greatly reduced the resources needed for communication and transportation.

    The technology of hybrids has greatly reduced the need for resources.

    And there are many more examples of technology and consumerism being more ecologically friendly.

    Is it perfect nope, but it is the only chance for a real solution. Regulations are not. Obviously you don't agree but that does not make it any less true.

    BTW that report is 5 years old. the last reports I saw about global warming indicated that the planet is cooling off.
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      Jun 6 2013: The last report you saw on global warming was a lie. CO2 levels have just risen above 400ppm, there's no denying what that will do, it's not that complicated physics.

      All of your arguments are those of technology, and there I fully agree. But I don't think that consumerism is needed for any of those inventions, frugality is just as good in justifying any of those things. Consumerism aims to supply us with things we don't need, things that don't really improve our lives. Like buying three new shirts for $1000 (people do that) that you don't need. That money could instead have been used to cure dozens of people from blindness or hunger in a third world country.
      And time is money and time spent making shirts with a slightly different pattern, or working (producing a toy that isn't scientifically good for kids, but had a great commercial) to obtain that shirt is time spent by so many people not focusing on what's really important here; Human life and well-being. We work to obtain things we don't really need or make us happy and then we complain about the scarce time we have with our friends and family.
      And we have to think about the big time frame, at least 100 years and see to it that we don't cause environmental damage to this world that will threaten that life and well being.
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        Jun 6 2013: You are not qualified to determine what is important to someone else.

        The better tool for such an effort is to sell someone on something that will be environmentally sound, as Toyota did with the Prius.

        If you use force as is always the case with goverment you are forcing people to do something that is not in their best interest, as no one can better decide what is best for them than them.
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          Jun 6 2013: This is true Pat. I am not qualified to determine the destiny or direction in life that others choose.

          But, from time to time I do find some good feelings in letting some people know the bridge is out. What they do with that knowledge is their business.

          No one should use force. Why should they have to?
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          Jun 6 2013: You often point out that I'm not qualified to make decisions for others but then you are deciding what I can and can't do. Do you see the paradox?

          The ultimate freedom thought is an illusion Pat, you are not free to murder or rape, you are not free to poison our water. Provided that you add the right rules to a society we SHOULD tell each other what to do, I should tell you and you should tell me. And if a thousand of us decide that we should do something that benefits us all and you are alone on your standpoint against, we should be allowed to do that even if you disagree and it affects you. And that's how it works.

          And you have a real problem with force being used against you from the state, I understand that and if you've read through some of my comments on threads concerning force and violence from the state you can see that I'm against it even more then you are (since you don't view using rubber bullets against civilians as tyranny).

          Oh and, "You are not qualified to determine" that building a Toyota Prius is the best option, there may be many better.
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        Jun 6 2013: Much of your complaint is caused by the FED using force on you through taxation jeopardizing your future through inflation.
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        Jun 6 2013: "You often point out that I'm not qualified to make decisions for others but then you are deciding what I can and can't do. Do you see the paradox?"

        I don't know about often, but the general context would be that decision making should be made by the individual not by someone who is the "expert". The reason is that they are not expert, nobody is more expert about what is valuable to them than the individual. Most individuals make what 50 purchases a day? there are 7 billion people on this planet that means 350 billion purchases a day. Who in their right mind would think they can effectively control that number of transactions? Central planners do always making the people stuck under their power suffer for their ignorance.

        "And if a thousand of us decide that we should do something that benefits us all and you are alone on your standpoint against, we should be allowed to do that even if you disagree and it affects you. And that's how it works."

        That is the tyranny of the majority. You say that patents should be greatly reduced in power? for the common good. The problem with this even in your shangri la is that there is no motivation to create something for the common good. And the reality is that more often than not the collective will attack new ideas out of ignorance, sloth, or know best. Yet this one single mechanism is what raises the standard of living. This also applies to the Prius.

        "And you have a real problem with force being used against you from the state, I understand that and if you've read through some of my comments on threads concerning force and violence from the state you can see that I'm against it even more then you are (since you don't view using rubber bullets against civilians as tyranny)."

        At least you admit that the state uses force. So you are saying the degree that they use in Turkey is not ok. But it is ok in socialist countries for them to use force that enslaves the citizens up to 70% of their lives through taxes/force?
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      Jun 6 2013: What's wrong with it Pat?

      It going to become too expensive in mine and your lifetime Pat and our kids will have to switch to another option that is not being planned for in this country. That is what is wrong with it. Forget the climate change stuff.
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        Jun 6 2013: I think you need to start looking at the positive side of consumerism or anything else for that matter.
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          Jun 6 2013: Do you benefit from consumerism Pat, financially I mean. Do you have a company or a workforce beneath you so that you actively profit from keeping the consumerist agenda living.
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    Jun 6 2013: It is a fallacy that demand already exists. Demand is created.

    Yup there will be protests

    Consumer efficiency has nothing to do with the downturn.

    Efficiency toward creating real value is a factor.
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      Jun 6 2013: Yes, I'm not attributing consumer efficiency to the downturn. Does it read that way?

      When I'm in the grocery store, I appears that everyone is slowing making their way through the super market, picking things up, putting them back, reading the labels, putting them back. The pace has slowed down considerably. Many DIY home supply stores are becoming ghost towns. Granted that all changes when you go to Atlanta Georgia but the total population there is many times that of where I live in Canton, Georgia.
      There is roughly 300 million people in the US. The top 50 cities have approximately 46 million people leaving 300 - 46 = 303 million distributed in various cities with populations under 100,000. I could have this wrong.

      This map on wikipedia shows the population numbers by Incorporation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_cities_by_population

      What is interesting to note is that the percent change (in green) is up, almost in every city in the United States, indicating a serious change from the rural to the Urban environment. What does this indicate to you Pat? Is the trend predicted by a collapsing economic system beginning to take place?

      And yes, there will protests and "... miles to go before we sleep...".
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        Jun 6 2013: I guess you equate efficiency as the velocity of money?

        Cities are the most efficient when it comes to economies because of less cost for transportation. Notice the cost of produce in the suburbs verses rural supermarkets. They are also more efficient when it comes to trade and comparative advantage. Cities are also stable in their characteristics over time. It is also where most of the jobs are. This is a great article about the subject

        http://www.city-journal.org/2013/23_1_urban-economics.html

        Another reason that may have something to do with it is that inflation is not uniform. Money given to the TBTF people gives them a big advantage as they receive money ahead of inflation, which gives them an investment advantage. For instance I think this is why there is a boom in high end retail. Inflation encourages people to buy goods that will retain value as with real estate and luxury goods.

        But the biggest factor by far is that Obama and his socialist agenda has created an environment that resembles a horror movie for investors. The fallacy is that the government can "help" TBTF business's, they may help the cronys' but they do not help the greatest number. What should happen is they should fail. The economy then grows in an organic manner which means that the ones that need to go away go away and new business' start up and grow through investment, but it is always new and different. I think of a forest after a fire the weaker pine beetle infested trees succumb the stronger ones survive and saplings can now grow because sun light and water is now available to them. But when the government meddles and does not allow the trees to be thinned there is overgrowth and water becomes scarce making the trees weak which allows the pine beetle to become an epidemic.

        Currently we have a phony recovery because Benny is printing so much money. But once he stops the "recovery" will end. Until it becomes safe for investment we will not have a recovery, if at all because of debt.
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          Jun 6 2013: Well, yes and no. The velocity of money changing hands in the general consumer village is slower than in the wealthy eliet crowd. The efficiency I'm speaking of is less spending due to making ends meet with less money through smarter buying practices.

          We never leave the house without checking the sales on the internet. Sometimes we put off buying stuff because it is simply too costly. We let is sit on the shelf and I see the prices fluctuate so other are doing this also. We educate our relatives and close family and friends to this practice. They are starting to incorporate it into their shopping habits. We probably purchase our stuff from, at least three or four different venues (just for food).

          If I purchase less, the government gets less revenue and the debt grows larger. Most of our revenue comes from national spending. To the best of my knowledge, we have ran a import to export negative practice for some time now. I do think the government gets money either way it moves otherwise we would be broke now. The big question is, how much does the government get via the export racket vs the import?

          If they are making more revenue via import, then why change the status quo? Why increase US based manufacturing? It is the wealthy who make this money (though increasingly small business is discovering outlets in China and other countries) and no body wants to pay taxes. How we going to pay the bills Pat? Who's going to pay my military retirement?

          Well Pat, you have Obama's Et all, (trickle up philosophy), socialist agenda vs the Conservative Authoritarian and wealth consolidation agenda, (needed to continue the trickle down philosophy).

          What are "We" (caught in the middle), gonna go? Really? It's in our hands to do what needs to be done. My agenda is more localized. Let's get messy.

          Yes, that debt figure does appear to jump around a bit doesn't it?
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        Jun 6 2013: The first 2 paragraphs are just inflation?

        Paragraph 3

        They don't get money directly as with tariffs. They realize more revenue from an bigger economy and the attendant taxes.

        Paragraph 4

        As I stated in the last post, which is the way the country has always done it. But if they don't get their meddling hands out it then it won't recover ever. An example of this is Argentina. It is hard to point this out to people, we have a 5 alarm fire and they are more concerned with civility.

        Paragraph 5

        You cannot have a small viewpoint on this stuff you have to belly up to a bigger viewpoint on the subject. Learn about economics. Learn about real value. Think with this stuff, when Krisztian makes a post really try and understand what he is talking about, it can be quite profound.

        To understand what that debt figure is going to do read up on Argentina.
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          Jun 6 2013: Pat we see thing from a different perspective. You see it from the high perch of money. I see it from the low foundation of energy. Point is: there is no energy we can put online fast enough, even if Methane stocks were put on a priority option. That could only happen if the Government took over the national lands where most of it is located.

          The problem is the oil lobby. Those made wealthy by oil don't want to be supplanted by the Methane owners. They don't want to go down without a fight.

          It is the wealthy, squabbling over who will remain while some go the way of the dinosaur that is going to split this country apart. Alternative energy will not fuel the type of recovery you are talking about. Methane is too far away and fossil fuel is running out, I give it 5-10 more years before the price become too exorbitant for many western nations to afford it. Many parts of Europe have alternative measures online and in the building process, China has Nuclear, Wind, Solar and some nice dams. they also have the luxury of being able to move vast populations around at a whim. Russia will do the same when the time comes, that is, when we are weak.

          Oil is money... right now.

          The rest of us -we are just spectators.

          I promise to read up on Krisztian and check in with you about it in the email.
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        Jun 6 2013: Peak oil is a moving target especially now that we have fracking. Then maybe fusion who knows but it will work out as long as we let individuals do what individuals do naturally.

        Or go hide under your bed...
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          Jun 6 2013: Funny. Now that we have fracking all the worlds problems are solved. We use such unorthodox, oil drilling methods because the easily obtainable oil no longer exists. Thanks for helping me make my point.

          Why would I want to hide under my bed?
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        Jun 6 2013: Have a nice day
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        Jun 6 2013: Thanks John
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      Jun 6 2013: Excellent comment LaMar.... :)


      Mel Brennan wrote the this question in 2011.
      http://www.ted.com/conversations/346/is_there_a_difference_between.html

      Author of THE APPRENTICE: TRAGICOMIC TIMES AMONG THE MEN RUNNING - AND RUINING - WORLD FOOTBALL wrote the above TED question and it only received 12 comments. For (Dr.) Debra Smith fans, you will see her her. as the first commenter. Brennan's question offers an insight into the workings of the Conservative Industrial mind and how they influence the way our children think, in school. Some might call it brainwashing.

      A quote from his question reads: “I was told by my son's teachers that his school couldn't emphasize the tools of a citizen life during the school day because rigorous national and state standards left little time for "extras." Then one day he came home with an extracurricular economics booklet that defined him, my wife and I, and his sister not as citizens, but as consumers...”

      It reminds me of the time former president Bush stated in a TV new article, not long after 9/11: “... Don't be afraid, continue to shop and spend your money...”
      That's all we are to the wealthy elite that run our country: “Consumers”. Without us, this country would fall to the ground and I'm inclined to believe that is what is happening today. As you point out LaMar:

      “I think we are already seeing that as the financial crisis forced many people away from consumerism and buying services to doing it for themselves and the result was many businesses were no longer needed and that probably has prolonged the unemployment and slowed growth...” ~ LaMar Alexander.

      We are keeping our money in our pocket. Since the last presidential election, I have manage to save most of my former mad money and it amounts to over a few thousand dollars. This is impressive for someone who makes under 4K a month. But, I have to ask myself, am I hurting the economic fabric of my country? If everyone behaves like this, what will happen in the United States
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        Jun 6 2013: Would you rather be called a consumer or a taxpayer?

        But then either is a tail wags the dog scenario. Why do we buy the premise?
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          Jun 6 2013: I think the point Mel Brennan was trying to get across is that we are a nation of consumers and that the idea of consumerism (spend, spend, spend) vs. say, something like the protestant work ethic (work hard,save your money) is being educated into us and starts in childhood.


          I think the term taxpayer goes hand in hand with the title consumer. :)

          A form of advertisement.
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          Jun 6 2013: I agree that economy will shrink after Fed stops the stimulus. How fast do you think this will happen? Given our current low inventory practice in business how long would it take to shrink inventories to an alarming point? This could have the impact of driving prices up and unemployment as well.

          This would have the opposite effect we would expect from a decrease in demand spending. With a lack of product wouldn't prices continue to rise or, at least, after the stimulus is stopped and after the initial drop in prices wouldn't they rocket suddenly?


          Currently in Georgia, there is much bickering about how much we are becoming dependent on Federal funds. We are constantly upgrading our roads and infrastructure (ours is really modest compared to most). the truth is we are running out of jobs and revenue.

          On the ground, I just don't see any real economic growth since 2009. I see wall street playing their games but that is all.
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          Jun 6 2013: "The biggest factor I think will be wages. We haven't had a wage increase since 2007 and who the heck is going to go back to work for $7.25 an hour when you can't survive on that."

          But, LaMar, you already have the answer to that question. People should follow in your path and scale their lives down, build smaller but affordable communities, incorporate sustainable living practices into their lives. Perhaps you should scale up your efforts so others can scale down their drain on our joint resources. There is no better place to raise a child than in a village.

          Mostly, I agree with your comments. The thorn in my side is the sky high rise in food commodities. It irks my in my crawl that the so called Wall street experts would plummet to such lows and seek refuge in food production. I guess they ran out of mental steam.

          Time for a little Turkish spirit here in America. It does appear the NAACP is cleaving a path in North Caroline. Perhaps some occupy efforts are needed there.
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        Jun 6 2013: Like it or not consumerism is one of Ferguson's 6 killer apps. What is wrong with it?

        It is so ubiquitous to the culture it may be something they espouse without realizing it. I don't have a problem with it.

        PS

        To post just below this one

        I live in LA and was here during the 92 riots. These things are always caused by perceived injustice.

        Your comparison is non sequitur

        Ferguson is fine, the hell with the Daily Kos

        Gees you are all over the place. Yup they kept Clinton in check and need to be more so with the current POTUS
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          Jun 6 2013: That 6 things urban economics thingy..

          I'm sure you remember the old "Urban white flight" that occurred in the 70's and 90's. If, people move back to the cities, will they be able to get along with one another? With a high level of social unrest, you can burn an entier city the size of Chicago down in one night. Make that every capital city in the US and you have a major economic and social problem on your hands. Europe and Turkey just think they can get mad. In the US, if we ever really explode, the repercussions will be felt all over the world. We need to remain calm. It's good for the planet.

          As to Ferguson, :)

          I think this:
          http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/05/04/1206944/-Niall-Ferguson-s-six-new-killer-apps
          about that. :)


          "It is so ubiquitous to the culture it may be something they espouse without realizing it. I don't have a problem with it."

          Pat with the conservatives in control of the House and, it appears, the economy, you shouldn't have any problems at all. :) Life should be just the way you like it.
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          Jun 6 2013: Pat,

          "What is wrong with it?" - it's killing our planet (to be dramatic).
          Or you could just sat that it's ecologically unsound. Either way it's not doing us any favors in the long run.
          http://www.thersa.org/fellowship/journal/archive/summer2-2008/features/so,-whats-wrong-with-consumerism
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          Jun 6 2013: "The side benefit is I am less of a burden to society and some young person needs that job more than I do."

          You are a man after my own heart LaMar.

          I like the idea of building some more communities like your homestead, and getting us old codgers into a nice village life, on the cheap. Imagine what we could do for our kids if our grand-kids were under our tutelage for the whole summer. Large groups of kids playing and having many parents watching over them? Let the young have it. I'm all for that, but I have aches and pains that need some help now and then and I hate mowing the lawn.

          Having many oldsters in one location would help to decrease the impact on Medicare. Having all those grand-kids in one location would also decrease crime and create more respectful, knowledgeable kids. Less expense on society.

          But.... if you solve one problem in our society you create another one. Decreased Medicare spending means more people out of a job. Scaling down the Government means putting people out of work. Can the private sector take up the slack? I guess this current scale down will be a test that offers us some answers.
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          Jun 6 2013: Don't forget that many adult people who aren't very old yet also wish to be more (or completely) sustainable, seems a bit weird if only old folks and kids lived in such locations, while the adults worked in the cities...

          I think you could increase the medicare efficiency hundred fold and there would still be jobs for the entire workforce, you speak as the total sum is carefully measured by government to fit then needs when it's much more dependent on how much you have in the wallet.

          Edit* By wallet I mean government budget.