Seeing how the collapse of economies is turning into a bit more than just a fad, where viable and applicable, teaching ourselves out of our jobs and professions before they're pulled out from under us might come in rather handy.
The success of Uber gives truth to the fact that post-Great Recession, people are increasingly unable to afford the amenities they've come to expect and so are seeing their expectations triaged and downsized to ever-cheaper goods and services.
It's said that money makes the world go round. But since money is a proxy for energy, it would be closer to say that energy makes the world go round. But they're both wrong. Truth is, shit makes the world go round.
Last week I had the fortunate opportunity to attend a fruit tree pruning workshop held at a nearby community garden. I say "fortunate" since I've only had one day of pruning experience, and because growing fruit trees is something I'd like to take on in the future for preservation purposes and, amongst other things, for fermentation purposes.
That one day of pruning experience I've had came about 10 years ago, which also occurred here in New Zealand while on my one-year WWOOFing venture. To say it was horrid would be a severe understatement, partly due to it being during one of my short (non-WWOOFing) work stints that inevitably occurred on one of those wretched monoculture farms.
If you'd like, I'm what you'd call an ex-(aspiring)filmmaker, an early vanguard of what promises to be, in one way or another, an eventual mass exodus from the film and television industries. I won't go into my reasoning behind film and television's future demise here, but suffice to say, if left to its own devices, the future of film and television is in the hands of peak oil and the collapse of industrial civilization.
The reasons for why I quit the industry are wide and varied, ranging from a strong dislike of narcissism, an aversion to big business (which makes all the necessary high-tech equipment), an abhorence of the massive amounts of trash one sees resulting from a film production, a concern about the ridiculous amounts of energy (read: fossil fuels) that goes into making a film, and much else. It's the last one that I want to touch upon here, film and television in the age of fossil fuels and the climate change dilemma.
According to the mostly ignored and hardly covered piece of news from a couple of weeks ago, it turns out that 11 of the 28 European Union countries have been scolded by the European Commission for failing to implement a new set of rules intended to prop up failed banks. Known as the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD), the stated purpose of the newly required rules is to purportedly protect taxpayers from having to cover the losses of any possible future bank failures, similar to the failures that occurred back in 2008. Taking the place of the more conventional taxpayer-funded "bail-outs," banks would see their losses recapitalized with the newly-minted practice of the "bail-in."
A bail-in, in case you aren't familiar with it, is the emerging alternative to the well-known bail-out. Back in 2008 when a slew of "too big to fail" (TBTF) banks crumbled due to $147 barrels of oil and the bursting of the housing bubble, the entire financial system was put at risk and was deemed to be in need of a rescue. What occurred was an influx of money from outside sources to cover the bank losses, one example being the $700 billion life-line from the US government (which essentially means from the US taxpayer). This is known as a bail-out.
This differs from what occurred with the Cypriot banking system back in 2013, of which has since come to be known as a bail-in. In short, due to Cyprus' insolvent banking system, all banks in the country were shut down under the "bank holiday" rubric, to go along with withdrawals being limited, if not completely cut off. Upon cessation of the bank holiday measures, it was announced by officials that all bank accounts in excess of €100,000 would have their balances reduced by 47.5% (also known as a "haircut"). As the practice now goes, confiscated bail-in funds are used to recapitalize failed banks, and the depositors who had their balances reduced essentially become owners of a bank that no one has much of an interest in owning.
If you're a bit more up with the times that I am then you're probably aware of Uber, the new taxi service that's apparently been gaining an increasing foothold in major cities around the world. But predominantly being a user of my feet, bicycles and public transit, and not even having a smartphone until recently (and without a SIM card to boot), it wasn't until news of a few protests going on in my former homecity of Toronto a few weeks ago that I became familiar with the nascent taxi operation.
Uber, as you may or may not know, is an intermediary that allows for people with the Uber app installed on their smartphone to connect with people who have signed up to be drivers for the service – pseudo taxi drivers if you will. With the service and its drivers skirting many regulatory hurdles, this has meant that the "cabbies" can drive with less overhead costs than regulated cab drivers, while clients are sometimes able to secure cheaper cab fares than normal (although "surge pricing"/"gouging" does happen).
While it would be nice to think that in times before the industrial era that farming was a wholly benevolent practice, the truth of the matter is that similar to today, agriculture actually began with annual monocultures.
Nonetheless, there did emerge over the millennia various farming methods and practices of which were adapted to the unique and sometimes changing conditions of their particular places. Likewise, many different practices have been employed by many different cultures in order to maintain fertility of the land.
when I asked my interpreter if it was not the custom of the city during the winter months to discharge its night soil into the sea, as a quicker and cheaper mode of disposal, his reply came quick and sharp, "No, that would be waste. We throw nothing away. It is worth too much money." In such public places as railway stations provision is made for saving, not for wasting, and even along the country roads screens invite the traveler to stop, primarily for profit to the owner, more than for personal convenience.
Similar-minded practices include growing certain crops with the specific intent of plowing them back into the ground to reinvigorate the land with organic materials, while others, to varying degrees, have drawn upon outside sources to supplement fertility.
The most enormous and ancient of these off-farm additions has been the annual flooding of the Nile River, carrying along with it nutrients emanating from far-off mountains and the Blue Nile in Ethiopia. These nutrients ended up adding to flood plains that farmers planted into as far away as Egypt, until, that is, the Aswan Dam came along and ruined that "free lunch."