Tuesday, February 4, 2014
LIVING IN A SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY
I have a friend. His name is Tom. He has created an eco-home for survivability. He is well-armed. I'm not sure if I'm exaggerating his feelings, but I sense that he is driven by fears of a total stock market collapse and the disintegration of government as we know it. Picture a society with no police and the obsolescence of money. Compounding, or, perhaps catalyzing this dystopian world, would be the worst case scenario for Peak Oil. We would be in a Mad Max (the original in 1979, incidentally remains as the highest grossing Australian film) rubble, where survival becomes your highest priority.
On the other end of the spectrum we have the Federal point of view, the usual standard mush, such as the Partnership for Sustainable Communities of HUD, DOT and EPA. The site begins with a statement from President Barack Obama. Well meaning, of course, but I need not go further into the contents.
There is a plethora of books, from a scholarly $109 Sustainable Communities to a list of forty from Amazon.com, which includes such classics as Collapse, Silent Spring and Limits to Growth. Then too, there are various free blog sites providing info, such as Survival Acres, the Survival Podcast and SurvivalBlog.com.
So what do I think about the shape of the world and the need to resort to a sustainable community? While I did sell all my stocks a few weeks ago, partially in fear of a crash, I think the next fall will only be a mad bear market leading, maybe, to another recession, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average sinks from the record high of 16, 577 at the end of last year, down 30% to 11,604 by the end of next year. A bear market is supposedly a 20% fall, so 30% is significant. However, remember that we are still recovering from that then record high of 14165 on 5October2007 down to 6647 on 6March2009, a 53% dive in a 17 month period, and survived.
The recovery of 149% during the reign of President Barack Obama is rarely brought up. Forget Obamacare. This mad bull market could well be his legacy, especially if it continues for another couple of years.
I also keep a close watch on Japan, and as metastable as we are, I especially worry about that country. Today their Nikkei 225 fell 611 to 14,008. Their record high was 38,916 on 29December1989, sinking to 7055 on 10March2009, 82% below that peak. After a rise, the Fukushima disaster caused another bottoming out at 8160, but since Prime Minister Shinzo's Abe ascendance at the end of 2012, the Nikkei jumped to 15,942, an increase of 34%. But even at that lofty level, this is 41% below that max. Inflation adjusted, 38,916 is worth $72,100 today, so the Japanese market is only at 19% of its all time high, and looks to sink further. If the Dow Jones Industrial Average were at 19% of our peak, we would be down to 3150, so you can imagine the true current state of Japanese economics.
Thus, clearly, on the basis of my not too positive / not too negative viewpoint, government will continue with law and order maintained. I do worry about the long term effects of global warming, but any cataclysmically damaging effects will not affect me in my lifetime.
So what do I think about sustainable communities? I am joining one in a few weeks. I'm moving into 15 Craigside, my kind of sustainable community. While there are no armed guards, we are well-protected by uniformed security and have a full hospital floor with nurses. We don't grow our own food, but free enterprise will enable us to purchase what we need, and my biggest concern is to avoid weight gain, for every meal missed is $20 wasted. If higher temperatures do arrive prematurely, the whole place is air-conditioned.
There is Tai-Chi, a current course in oceanology, hulaerobics, yoga, excursions, Mah Jong, poker, University of Hawaii sport games on a 200 inch screen, strength training, a wide range of religious opportunities, gym machines, photography classes, art classes, a morning music club, regular lectures on health and nutrition, movies, karaoke, dance classes, investment talks, lectures on global warming, pool exercise, the Royal Hawaiian Band and hundreds of other activities. It's just like a resort hotel, with my room being regularly cleaned and bed changed with free towel/sheet service. Plus I have 250 friends.
The ultimate in stress reduction, of course, is death, so this anticipated lifestyle is getting too close for comfort. Further, it seems like I'm sadly sliding back to childhood where I had no responsibilities, got served regular meals and mostly played. On the other hand, I can live life my way, and this will certainly be a lot more enjoyable than being in a constant survival mode.