Economic Solutions at the Local Level

Charles Hugh Smith at the Of Two Minds blog sees economic disaster from over-borrowing and over-spending. In the excerpt below, he describes some solutions that will work without a federal bailout.

Link: oftwominds

So here is a short, semi-random list of solutions which don't depend on Federal borrowing and largesse:

1. Every small business owner who vacates a tiny $3,000/month storefront and hastens the bankruptcy of the commercial landlord who "needs $3K" from the space to pay an inflated mortgage is part of the solution. When the building is sold later for a modest sum, spaces can be rented for what a struggling business might actually afford, i.e. $300/month.

Please note:

Nobody needs to start or operate a small business. You cannot coerce anyone to take the risks of entrepreneurship, hire workers, rent space and pay taxes. Every entrepreneur can opt out at any time when the risk-return ratio turns negative. High rents, high taxes and lower revenues have turned the ratio extremely negative.

2. Every parent/guardian who teaches a child (by their own example) to unplug electronics which are not in use and all those energy-hogging inverters/rechargers is part of the solution.

Q.: What percentage of household electricity in the U.S. is lost to appliances that are turned off?

Saturday Quiz: Energy Lost on Electronics Standby (May 24, 2008)

According to The U.S. Department of Energy, there are 2,776 electrical generation plants in the U.S. That means 140 power plants do nothing but generate the electricity wasted by DVD players, TVs, answering machines, stereo systems, xBoxes and computers plugged into wall sockets while not in use. One easy solution: put as many of these devices as is practical on power strips which can be turned off with one switch.

Although I'm a bit rushed right now and can't look up the statistic, I think 140 power plants burn over a million tons of coal a year. That's a lot of coal to keep your TV and computer speakers on standby.

3. Everyone who focuses not on losing weight but on becoming fit and feeling better via refusing to consume junk food and garbage fast food is part of the solution. Changing the goal from weight loss to well-being is a solution for the individual and for our society as a whole.

4. Everyone who consciously chooses to prepare a home-cooked meal rather than buy a toxic-waste fast food meal is part of the solution–and a revolutionary to boot: "A healthy homecooked family meal and a home garden are revolutionary acts."

Please don't email me that "real food" is unaffordable; beans and rice and vegetables from the Asian or Hispanic or Halal markets are much cheaper than fast food. Please click on the "What's for Dinner?" tab at the top of the page for an analysis which proves this. When it comes to fast food, what we have can be boiled down to one word: excuses.

5. Everyone who forms or helps sustain a community garden is part of the solution: "Food is wealth, health is wealth, energy is wealth; all else is illusion." (For more aphorisms, please scroll down this page.)

6. Everyone who starts bicycling, insulates their water heater, or installs solar panels, etc. is part of the solution. The cheapest energy "source" is conservation. Installing solar panels isn't just a metric of which energy source costs "less"–as measured by what? What if the energy is priced in gold, or oil, or air quality?

There are dozens of other solutions which we control and which don't require unsustainable Federal borrowing and largesse.