This post continues the idea that our expectations and understanding of our culture face dramatic change. The mariner owes at least a speculative image of how change will occur.
We shall start with what we know. It isn’t pretty but it makes the case that a lot of our societal beliefs are no longer true. To shorten the post, here’s a list of broken images:
The most damaging and most urgent change is that since 1985, the United States has moved inexorably from a democracy run by the people to a corporate plutocracy run by the wealthy. This phenomenon is nearing the tipping point. It may take 12 to 24 years before the underpinnings begin to collapse. This will happen at the speed at which voters want it to change.
An added partner in forcing this change will be the cities, who will fail unless wealth is redistributed through new investment models not driven by national interests. Many cities already have coalitions of entrepreneurs, banks, industry, public citizens and city officials who are redrawing the economic model of their city. The most common examples are modernizing infrastructure, redefining public schools from Head Start through community college, and gentrification not only of homes but commercial, retail and service solutions that will support the new city-based culture. In toto, this will allow for new business opportunities and new jobs influenced by the cities rather than the plutocratic Federal Government. States will be partners with the cities only insofar as the state is helpful to the city. Right now, many Governors and state legislators have dreams of promotion to the Federal level. Their future view must shift back into the state and its economic growth.
Another broken image is the world of Norman Rockwell. Let it go; it no longer exists in any form. It has been replaced at unbelievable speed by technology, medicine, science and the way daily life already has changed because of these advances.
Older folk speak of how life speeded up when the automobile replaced the horse. The iphone leaves that change in the dust. The definition and location of jobs is changing even now. Both the mariner’s children are fine examples of a new worldview not too dependent on institutional safety nets. Sadly, the comfort of Norman Rockwell’s world will fade into history much like the world of Okefenokee Swamp and all its Pogo characters. Even Opus has been retired to Good Night Moon. How can the comics poke fun at a changing target?
A serious failure today is the tangle of politics, fossil fuel industries, international priorities and citizen torpor concerning Planet Earth. We cannot move to another planet – at least not yet. The next 100 years will tell if we can stay. Climate change is documented; ocean currents are slowing down; the atmosphere is changing to an unhealthy state – both for humans and for the planet. Sea levels are destined to rise too many feet for virtually all ocean front cities. Harbors will be overrun and commerce will come to a standstill. This is an issue that, given the international tangle and flaccid citizenry, has no solution.
All these issues are expensive to correct. We have yet to feel the full force of economic hardship as the paradigm morphs to a new model. To put it in terms of family pocketbooks, get rid of credit card debt fast. Use as much cash for daily expenses as you can; pay cash for gasoline; pay cash for groceries; pay cash at supermarkets, Walmart, Target, and Farm and Home. In other words, live well within your means and do not use the Wall Street banks in lieu of any other option. And save, save, save. The taxes to pay for change are coming.
Have a good day.