Debts and a return to traditional agriculture?

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Author Message

Maxwell Baum

Hey Dimitri. I’ve been keeping up with your blog for a while now and I find it fairly entertaining given your style of wording, and yet grievant granted the news such words bring. Thank you for taking the time to answer questions, as I have had two that nobody’s been able to answer. I live on the Big Island of Hawaii. It’s a pretty nice place with room for just about every type of agriculture there is, yet due to the modern fashion of living, not everyone is accustomed, nor in a position to take part in any type of crop growing, lest you count closet weed farming. I myself live on a 4 acre plot that my folks are slowly, but surely turning into a sort of, maybe sustainable situation. However, given specific complications this land I speak of is heavily indebted. I’ve taken this as a sign to move on and find a plot to call my own personal paradise, but given the current situation one would have to be a millionaire to do so, of which I am not. Oddly enough my family would have to be equally rich to pay off the debts inflated by the poorly structured housing market. I’d like to think that society will continue as usual in its semi-peaceful standing that it holds today; that way there wouldn’t have to be an incredibly hurtful transition period for most, yet I also hope that it all comes down so that our species might reevaluate our strategy and find a better way to go about our advancement. Preferably a way that didn’t involve putting neighbors to the flame to meet our own ends. But it seems to establish such a way one would need to factor out some of human kinds most fundamental knacks; greed and fear. I can only assume that if a collapse does ensue, these knacks will indeed follow on an interesting level. But the story of Hawaii is an interesting one; I’ve been told by many a Kumu (Hawaiian teacher) that the Big Island had a population density similar to that of the present one prior to western influence, and that it was entirely sustainable. I don’t know if that’s true, but if a collapse takes what’s left of modern society with it, it’d be worth a shot trying to revert to such ways. This leads me to the two questions I wish to ask.

What will happen to past debts in the event of a collapse? Also, do you think it will be possible to calm people down enough to work together and find a solution (return to simpler methods) rather than tear each other apart?

Aloha Nui Loa

Friday 05 August 2011 01:19:40 pm

Maxwell Baum

Another question I have if you don't mind answering has to do with repairing the old things. I remember hearing you say in an interview that you bought an old bike because they're repairable, not just replacable. However so much of what we use today to fix things are factory made, and I doubt that the little things like nails, hose clamps, wrenches, etc. will be very available if industrial society fails. That being as it may, it seems to me that nothing short of stocking up on such things will allow people to repair what needs fixing. Any thoughts?

Friday 05 August 2011 11:08:25 pm

Dmitry Orlov

Land is one of the main tools that the propertied class in the English-speaking world uses to extract rents from the general population. They grab a large area of land, subdivide it, sell it off along with mortgages, wait for everyone to go brankrupt and default, foreclose, consolidate the holdings, and the cycle repeats. When this cycle ends is anyone's guess, but until it does there aren't too many opportunities for sustainability except in a boutique, privileged setting where middle-class people band together and create some little niche with its own subculture.

I think it will be possible to repair equipment and keep it running for quite along time, by cannibalizing some of the equipment to keep the rest running ("organ donor" is another word for it). As a result, there will be less and less operable equipment over time. If new equipment is built, it will be built to a different standard, requiring much simpler maintenance and a very long service life at the cost of efficiency, convenience and fashion.

Saturday 06 August 2011 01:07:23 pm