Who will the rebuilders be?greenspun.com : LUSENET : HumptyDumptyY2K : One Thread
I believe we will have serious economic problems even if Y2K turns out to be a 2,3, or 4. WHat will it take to get our economy rolling again? And more importantly what can we do to be prepared to help jump start this economy?
-- Sam Hayes (gatheredAR@eritter.net), August 31, 1999
The rebuilders will be the ones with resources--you know, the "hoarders" our government is so worried about. These are the ones who will get things going again.
-- cody varian (email@example.com), August 31, 1999.
Obviously any answer to your question is based upon the anticipated impact of Y2K. Let me state upfront that my perspective is based on "carrying capacity" as presented by Infomagic. I see very clearly that in our relentless pursuit of efficiency we have also perfected vulnerability. I anticipate an 8-9.
In my perspective I see things being reduced to a very local level. With each failure of the infrastructure comes a greater degree of isolation for communities and individuals. Communication, mobility and resource distribution rapidly come to a point of constriction as a result of the multitude of interdependencies.
As stated by Infomagic, our system can only support billions of people by having billions of people to support the system. We have created our own carrying capacity. I believe this system is about to crumble, however I also believe that the degree to which we crumble will depend on the mindset and knowlege resources of the rebuilders in each community. By mindset I don't mean warm and fuzzy, but rather approaching the situation with an attitude of adaptation to what is and not holding to the expectation of what was. Our goal should be to first build a "Third World" community in our own home town.
The blueprint and knowlege base for this is availible in an excellent "Appropriate Technology" library (I have no connection to them)availible at www.villageearth.org/ATlibrary/index.html . This library is intended for use by missionaries, Peace Corp workers and others that work with villiages in the third world nations. Through Appropriate Technology, remote villages can develope crop irrigation systems without the benifit of electricity, set up a basic facility for the production of soap, cooking oil or charcoal. How would you build a simple silo for the rodent free storage of your grain? Medical, agricultural, manufacturing ect are all part of this set. This library consists of approximately 1100 books on either CD (printable) or on microfiche. Yes, I realize that a small amount of electricty is required, I don't see this as an unsurmountable problem. Either we have access to the type of knowledge which can provide a safety net in our time of descent or we continue to descend further and pay the heavy price of reinventing what we now consider to be very basic technology.
Those individuals and then communities which first develope the ability to feed themselves(local production of fuel will directly effect the rate of this progression)will then be able to go on to produce surplus or products for others. I beleive that we can restart the engine of infant commerce in this way.
This library will be a legacy to my children and part of my contribution to my community on the other side. Care to join me or perhaps there's a better suggestion.
-- Cary Cound (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 01, 1999.
Cary is right that in a scenario 8 - 9, local groups which have access to information which helps them build local solutions for farming, heating, hygene, etc. may have more of a chance. These communities may be an important place for people to collect and survive.
On the other hand, it is important to consider that it is a major structural undertaking to build anything new. There will be a lot of things which are built and in place. For example, even if the electricity is out in my town, even if it is out for a year or two, the lines are mostly still there. The "rebuilders" do not have to cut down trees, put up poles, fabricate and mount wiring, etc. They just have to figure out which parts are broken. Roads may weather a bit over a few years, and may not be plowed in winter, but they will not need to be completely rebuilt.
There will be billions of people, whos existence will be based on how fast we can bootstrap ourselves back to about where we are today (for the basics - not Club Med vacations).
-- Thom Gilligan (email@example.com), September 01, 1999.
Accompanying this wonderful gift of resurrection could be an inversion of current hierarchy of value where demand for essentials far exceeds supply.
Do you think that those who have the knowledge and skill to actually do something constructive and practical in making the wheels go round again will willingly do so if it means they would sink, once again, into low wage oblivion? Do you think the "lower class," the "blue collar worker" will be itching to fix everything so the rich CEO, ivory tower academician and other elites can reassume their proper and comfortable stations at the top of the heap?
If I were in possession of such skills, I sure would try to exploit the position I found myself in. Why should craftsmen be in such a rush to restore a system that grossly undervalues their contribution? Or farmers - why should they rush to produce a product to be sold at price levels that, in some cases, are not even at break-even point?
Is it immoral to exploit this leverage point of opportunity? Not if the "system" was built on your back to serve some elite, wealthy class.
Payback may be a bitch....
-- marsh (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 02, 1999.
A re-assesment of "who is worth what" is long overdue. No may to it-Paybacks WILL be a bitch.
-- Sam (Gunmkr52@aol.com), September 02, 1999.
For the most part, I believe that it will be individuals, companies, and the odd government organization that recognize that there is an immediate problem and DO something about it. At the beginning of the Great Depression, many in government (and industry for that matter), expected it to merely be a bump in the road (sound familiar?). So they didn't act to mitigate the damage. Others did what needed to be done in trying to jump start the economy. If/when we see a major collapse, those groups who put forth the effort and capital to establish the institutions of the future will form their ideals (or at least whatever they CAN form).
Do you have a plan for a post Y2K company/business opportunity in a 7-9 scenario? Once basic immediate needs (food, fuel) are met, we need to take a look at the long term. Some ideas are basic commodities (food, fuel, clothing, shelter), energy-efficient transportation (building or operating), entertainment, banking, education, private library, low cost vacation opportunity, plant breeding (if more people have gardens, new varieties will be valuable), web designer, etc. I have a couple of ideas, and am developing how to fund the acquisition of the minimum equipment...
-- Mad Monk (email@example.com), September 02, 1999.
> Do you have a plan for a post Y2K company/business opportunity > in a 7-9 scenario?
(sorry for the anonimity here...but it seems prudent; many will probably recognize my style from numerous posts over the years).
I'm not sure that I'd necessarily call it a "business" per say. One way of looking at a "business" is as a means of generating income to meet various needs; food, shelter, clothing, etc. In my case part of what I do now and will do at least thru mid-year 2000 is bartering service/labor in lieu of rent and other things living on a friend's property in a rural area. I make a decent wage doing something in a work at home field which is I believe of a counter recessionary nature so I don't expect that income to go totally away. But about the "service"...
Besides lending a hand with common chores around the ranch and contributing technical expertise in a several fields I am, to put it mildly, a "hired gun". This isn't to say I'm an expert (my training and field experience many years in the past). I'm not particularly fond of guns and weapons, don't like camo clothing, or picture myself as a post-apocalyptic Rambo. I'm far from a babe in the woods though. Basically my friend lives in a rural spot, has a wife (who abhors firearms and vows she'll never handle them) and a couple kids (young) and feels like he just might need a little "back-up" and someone else to share sentry duty if things do get hairy. We're working on various perimeter/area security issues, establishing good communications links with nieghboring residents (homes around here about a mile apart), identifying area resources that can be shared bartered (including skills), etc. We are working at organizing in the area so no one has to go it alone and we'll all pull through by supporting one another. Hopefully these preps will all work out and in doing so eliminate the need for myself, my friend or neighbors ever having to pull that trigger. That's what I'd call success in this venture. I guess I could glamorize this and call myself a "security consultant" or somesuch but guess it's better to call a spade a spade...
Security...likely a good business to be in come next year....
-- NotMy Name (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 03, 1999.
Thom is correct in saying that in even a 9-10 situation the structure (roads, electrical lines, water pipes ect.) will still be in place in a post 01/01/00 community. What may be absent is the service that they deliver. A state of the art farm without electricity for it's irrigation system is a drought. Acreage without the fuel to power the plows is quickly reduced to overgrown flatland.
My thoughts with the AT library is not so much to rebuild but rather have the alternative technology to "bootstap" as he says, the existing resources back into some level of service. Without electricity how would we get water to that farm if it existed at a higher elevation than the river running beside it? If we now need to grow grain in our area because of a breakdown in distribution, how do I store it without exploding the rodent population? We presently grow alot of pears and apples in our area, but in post Y2K we may need to transform them into locally produced fuel for our gasoline equipment. Do I have the technology to transform todays power driven resources into a form usable to fulfill tomorrows power starved needs? You either use your head (technology) or your destined to use your back. I suppose I'm spoiled, I'll opt for fuel over sweat in most situations.
In regards to the inversion of the do'ers over the do'er drivers, it's an interesting point. In order to pay for my families preparations, I have educated myself enough about diesel generators to provide a service to acquaintances who are making preparations. All are highly educated professional people who are accustomed to having others service their needs. Sadly, they don't know that they don't know. "Sell my diesel generator, I don't want to disturb the neighbor with the noise". The next sound is my jaw hitting the pavement. My thought, you think you get it but you don't. Learning to turn a bolt or use a pipe wrench is all too often left outside the realm of preparation. Leaving our comfort zones to learn what is outside our specialization may well determine whether we become tomorrows do'ers or die'ers.
In speaking to various groups on Y2K, I open with the little joke that goes: What is a specialist? It is someone who knows more and more about less and less until ultimately they know everything about nothing. Today we live in a society of specialists. We now have only a few short months to become generalists. We need to know at least a little about a lot. Where we know nothing, willingness to learn and adapt will literally prove to be a lifesaver.
-- Cary Cound (email@example.com), September 03, 1999.
From: Y2K, ` la Carte by Dancr near Monterey, California
The rebuilders will be those who are the first to get over themselves. Too many of us are oh so proud. We're too good to do manual labor. We're proud that we don't know how to fix a car or anything, for that matter. I remember, in fourth grade, about 35 years ago, learning about how the Peace Corps was helping the "backwards" countries. We were told that these people needed to be taught how to raise crops and animals. Come to find out they actually knew what they were doing better than we who were teaching them. Third world methods are lots more energy efficient.
-- Dancr (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 06, 1999.
The "re-builders," at least on the community level, will likely those who have already formed a longstanding working relationship with eachother for other purposes.
In my experience in helping to establish a consensus-based community (environmental) working group. It took at least a year and a half to two years to work out some of the posturing and interject orderly processes to modify behaviors that would allow for expression and, yet, remain focussed on tasks.
Then it took several years to cross-educate specialists in eachother's discipline - vocabulary, assumptions, tools, etc. This way we all were on the same page and not arguing about something we actually agreed upon.
With y2k, communities will not have the time to establish a new working group. Whatever is in place right now will have to be drafted. This will most likely include governmental (planning board,) service district (fire) and private organizations (Red Cross, churches.) Re-building will most likely be driven by these decision-making boards already in place.
We have a saying in my field of activism: "Decisions are made by those who show up."
-- marsh (email@example.com), September 06, 1999.
Rebuilders. You speak of different types of rebuilding. I'm not convinced that the "economic" state of the world will be the same in anything over a Y2K-4 (on a 1-10)...but then I have not been convinced that the world could sustain the bigger and bigger that it has embraced for so long. I think decentralization was coming with Y2K or not....(read Toffler and other futurists for further on this).
All I'm really concerned about is the local level,(cities, towns, neighborhoods)....cos I has a mind-set that says "that's all that counts anyway." At the local level the rebuilders will be anyone who can do things....with their hands, with organization, with creative problem solving.
Hang onto your hats,...we're in for a hell of a ride.
--She in her sheet, ranting upon the hill.
-- Donna (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 07, 1999.