Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Coming to Poverty Late in Life

The eXiled is a raunchy, if often incisive, radicalish web tabloid that I came to via The War Nerd and their "correspondent" in Mexico who has been covering the rise of the narcotraficantes over the years through a haze of pot smoke.

One of the editors, John Dolan, has entered into a gray and ugly land that many older members of the professional class may be force-marched into in the coming year or two - the land of absolute poverty.

The whiny academic envy-speak aside, here is a man who is a creature of the education establishment, has all sorts of credentials, taught in established colleges and now, late in life, finds himself utterly unprepared for the brutal hell of poverty.

Living With Cons and Paupers in Canada’s Arctic Waters
By John Dolan
I came to extreme poverty late in life, and did very badly at it. I should have done some kind of crime. But what kind? That’s what I couldn’t figure out. What kind of crime can you actually do, if you aren’t a lawyer and don’t understand computers?

There were certainly plenty of people who could have offered me some advice on the matter. We were living on a boat, moored in a skuzzy little harbor full of small-time criminals. The one guy who went off to a job every day was a figure of awe and mockery, a freak. Everybody else scavenged or stole to buy their booze and weed...

Now, this guy is an extreme, almost a caricature of the wacked-out liberal arts academic whose worldview is informed solely through the lens of class envy, race-gender-oppression studies, a myopic focus on academic work with little to no hard skills to fall back on and who, apparently, likes to dull his senses via drugs and booze. Not a good combination for someone thrust into a survival situation.

That said, how different is he than 10 or 20 million office drones out there in America? Sure, he is an extreme, but the difference in only one of degrees.

  • How many middle managers or younger folks in the work force have a strong Ambien or Prozac habit? What happens when that supply is cut off, cold turkey?
  • How many people have lived their ENTIRE work lives doing jobs totally intermediated by computers? Not just machinery, but computers and/or stacks of paper?
  • Speaking of machinery, how many have never even banged a knuckle on oily equipment or found a work-around for a leaky pipe or fouled valve?
  • How many will do just what this guy did - sit around and bitterly wait for someone to save them, dreaming of committing petty crimes? How many of these amateurs will actually give crime a chance?

The Great Collapse is upon us (in my strong opinion) and is possibly even weeks to a few months away at most.

A lockup of the financial system, heading into harvest (yes, all those veggies and grains have to be harvested from the field and a functioning credit system is absolutely necessary for the functioning of the modern crop delivery system for those of you in the urban cores) and then into winter will leave millions of office professionals without a job, without cash flow, without access to the mood-altering drugs that kept them going and without anything to fall back on.

What do you do with all of them? What happens to them when the Piggly Wiggly doesn't get fully restocked for a week or two at a time? Where do they go?

My only advice: don't be one of them.

Avoid the "refugee" camps that will almost certainly spring up if you possibly can. We have a population who will not able to handle the first few months of this Primary Wave 3. Clarity will come, for most, but the horrible purging and hangover between here and there will leave its scars.

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