Richard Metzger: When I was reading The Fourth Turning -- a book I know that you are a fan of, too -- I felt like the authors were building up to a moment in history that is pretty much nigh upon us, a period of intense change and perhaps chaotic transformation, but one they seemed determined not to describe or speculate about in their book with any detail. When the tectonic plates move between generations, much changes. Putting on your long-range prophecy goggles, and assuming that we're coming out the other side of this mess ten years from now, what kind of a world will we have in 2018? (I cling to the hope that things will be as different in 2018 from today as the change was from 1960 to 1970).
Charles Hugh Smith: While many predict doomsday scenarios, and those are certainly possible if we go into complete denial for another decade, I suspect painful adaptations will have been made by 2018. We will have learned to get by with much less energy consumption per person and how to create distributed networks of alternative energies. The Federal government and all state governments will be essentially bankrupt and the entire culture of entitlement will have been upended by this inability to pay everyone’s medical care and pension. Self-reliance and community will replace dependence on central government. The dollar may well be replaced with a “new dollar” or superceded by a global currency based on gold or a basket of commodities of enduring value. Hopefully we will have avoided “resource wars” but if we haven’t weaned ourselves from petroleum then we may well still be engaged in a “long war” over oil resources, perhaps even involving China or Russia. If we refuse to become energy-self-sufficient then a major global conflict is not impossible in the 2017-2021 timeframe.
Richard Metzger: How will you personally live and protect yourself during the hard times?
Charles Hugh Smith: In June 2008 I wrote an essay called Art of Survival, Taoism and the Warring States which a lot of people seemed to like. Basically I plan to rely on living simply and reciprocity/generosity with my circle of friends, family and neighbors. My beliefs are counter to killing and I will depend on community for defense rather than stockpile weaponry and ammo. Many survivalists wrote me positive comments about this essay so that gives me hope that we will collectively recognize that pulling together is the best way to “take care of Number One.”
Friday, October 17, 2008
Charles Hugh Smith seems to be an interesting thinker. With no apologies whatsoever for failing to do any, even cursory, checks into who this guy is and what credibility he has (because, you know, I'm a complete professional with a wide audience), I repost here some thoughts he's had in an interview above the global economic crisis and what the world may be as a result in the next decade.