the way things are going

Someone asked me the other night how long I thought it would be until Things Fell Apart. I replied something like “It is really hard to judge since the situation and system is one of massive interdependence and complexity. Who knows what will turn out to be the crucial link to fail that causes something else to fail that leads to chaos.”

This article – US retailers to close hundreds of stores – is to me a major sign on the way things are going.

HIGH AND RISING world oil and food prices, the implosion of the US housing bubble and the ensuing consumer credit vapour lock have cash-strapped US consumers staying out of retail stores in droves, and this is forcing dozens of US retailers to close hundreds of stores.

Information technology related companies that are closing stores include CompUSA going out of business, Sprint Nextel closing 125 locations, Movie Gallery closing 560 movie rental outlets, and bankrupt Sharper Image shutting down 90 to 180 stores.

Other retailers shutting down shops are: Ann Taylor, 117 stores; Eddie Bauer, 29 stores; Cache, 20 to 23 stores; Lane Bryant, 150 stores; Talbots, 100 stores; Gap, 85 stores; Foot Locker, 140 stores; Wickes going out of business; Levitz going out of business; Zales, 105 stores; Disney, 98 stores; Home Depot, 15 stores; Macy’s, 9 stores; Pep Boys, 33 stores; Ethan Allen, 12 stores; Wilsons, 158 stores; Pacific Sunwear, 228 stores; Bombay Company, 384 stores; KB Toys, 356 stores; and Dillards, six stores. Sheesh kebab!

America is the centre of the global economy. Most of the crap the world makes goes to America to buy. And Americans are stopping buying, and Americans are losing their jobs, so they won’t have any money to buy. This spiral goes down. The rollercoaster is feeling gravity’s pull. Hold on to your hats. Think hard about what you are doing. Make changes.

As we head to global economic chaos, it is worth noting that world conditions in the Great Depression of the 30’s were very different. Then we had massive reserves of cheap energy – now we don’t (or at least, don’t have the infrastructure to use the renewable energies available to us) – with which to rebuild. Then they had a stable climate – now we face the reality of massive disturbances to crops, weather, and sea level. Then they had two billion people. Now we are closing on seven billion. That’s a lot more people to keep provisioned with life sustaining stuff.

I remain optimistic – in the most general sense, we currently have enough resources to make the planet rock for everyone, if only we did things really differently, starting right now – however some days do seem darker than others. And the fact of a fundamentally broken economic system based on illusion, a fundamentally unsustainable approach to resource use and the planet, and an incompetent corporate owned media that will have to face its total failure as a means to inform people in democracy – that these things will collapse in on themselves, while causing a mess, provides us with the opportunity to replace them with better systems. And we are free to do this. In crisis lies opportunity. This is the source of my optimism. For the unfolding crisis is upon us.

3 Responses to “the way things are going”

  1.   tatjna
    June 27th, 2008 | 4:06 pm

    Today, I think you are going to have to be optimistic for both of us.

  2.   Administrator
    June 28th, 2008 | 3:25 pm

    Today, I can do that.

  3. December 23rd, 2009 | 1:03 pm

    […] Hmm. Looking through the archives, I find this: I remain optimistic – in the most general sense, we currently have enough resources to make the planet rock for everyone, if only we did things really differently, starting right now – however some days do seem darker than others. And the fact of a fundamentally broken economic system based on illusion, a fundamentally unsustainable approach to resource use and the planet, and an incompetent corporate owned media that will have to face its total failure as a means to inform people in democracy – that these things will collapse in on themselves, while causing a mess, provides us with the opportunity to replace them with better systems. And we are free to do this. In crisis lies opportunity. This is the source of my optimism. For the unfolding crisis is upon us. […]