Friday, May 7, 2010

Rioting, For and Against Austerity

Pictures from the Greece riots this week. These riots grabbed my attention because they began as a reaction to austerity measures. It serves to remind me that even though myself and a small group of online friends may be rioting FOR austerity, the majority of Western Civilization is less than enthused by the prospect.

From my prospective, whether they're enthused or not, austerity is coming, and it's coming to a town near you. As usual, Greer has said it well, and I'll borrow his words.
... recent Greek governments, like many others, made the strategic mistake of using borrowed funds to provide a good deal of that unearned largesse, and the resulting debt load eventually collided head on with the ongoing deleveraging of the global economy in the wake of the latest round of bubble economics. The result was a fiscal death spiral, as doubts about Greece’s ability to pay its debts drove up the interest rates Greece had to pay to finance those debts, increasing the doubts further; rinse and repeat until something comes unglued. The much-ballyhooed announcement of an EU bailout package stabilized the situation for a few days, but that’s about all; the death spiral has already resumed, accompanied by bloody riots in the streets of Athens and comments by the usual highly placed sources that some kind of default is becoming inevitable.

Headlines for the last few days have warned of similar head-on collisions taking shape in Spain and Portugal. What very few people in the mainstream media are willing to mention is that the most spectacular examples of borrow-and-spend economics are not little countries on the economic margins of Europe, but Britain and the United States. It’s anyone’s guess when investors will begin to realize that neither country has any way of paying back the gargantuan sums both have borrowed of late to prop up their crippled economies; when it does become clear, the rush to the exits will likely be one for the record books. -JM Greer
I think investors are aware of it. Look at the skittishness on Wallstreet yesterday. Any spark at all, any sign of economic retreat is met with a frenzy of selling. Maybe they aren't saying it out load yet, but I think they know. Your average citizen knows it. Ask anyone, they'll tell you we owe too much, spend too much and have made systems so complex that those systems are unsustainable. It's the governments that can't seem to do anything other than be horses asses.

I say, let's not wait for the governments to figure out a solution. They never will. Let's find our own ways, local ways to weather the crisis and go ahead with those. That's where the Riot 4 Austerity group comes in. I can figure out how to lower my fossil fuel usage by 75%, with those solutions, I can teach my neighbors what I've learned, and it'll be applicable because they live in and deal with the same set of systems that I do. And the more we can disconnect from those complicated systems to meet our daily needs, the more those complicated systems become unnecessarily and can be done away with.

I'm working on getting base lines for our new house and I hope to have those up soon, along with goals and new plans. ;-) I know, you're all looking forward to it. :-)

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