Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Why it's best that people lose their jobs in this unsustainable economy

People need to lose their jobs. It sounds crazy, but what if it's true?

In this time of mounting tensions and rude awakenings, it is fortunate we can stress compassion and positive ideas. Yet, foremost we must be warned about our present course as an unsustainable society. Sudden, disruptive change is generally good to avoid, but sometimes we need to make an abrupt and wrenching move to save ourselves.

Not being able to eat money is perhaps the best reason to prepare for the future hardening of economic and ecological reality. Whether we call our fate petrocollapse or financial collapse, we are about to find out that a closer relationship to our land and our neighbors is all that matters. Looking at what a typical job today really does for us or our community -- besides generating cash for others to profit off of -- helps open the mind to an alternative way of living without spinning our wheels.

If we cannot head off the worst of a crisis with intelligent action, at least we can anticipate changes openly among ourselves. In so doing we counter the prevailing stupidity which is where the big money is. Bailing out the automobile industry is the next waste of money on a colossal scale. Recessions and depressions are just part of the economy's old-school "business cycle" as well as common sense: what goes up must come down. It is prudent to say it is better to deal with reality sooner rather than put it off.

In today's world, what really has to change is our lifestyle. But as long as people can cling to a paycheck (or stock dividend), change is retarded and the lethal system of waste and exploitation lumbers on until it takes us down over the cliff. A slightly milder way of introducing the need to give up suicide and ecocide is to suggest exploring, "Why losing your job can be a good thing today." If we consider essential needs being met, most jobs are seldom directly applicable anymore to community resiliency. So, whether it is through employment or unemployment, we need to resurrect techniques of self-sufficiency.

[ ... ]

On the same island as the UN headquarters is a player that's like a wolf in sheep's clothing. We are reminded of corporate news media's real allegiances when we see an outrageous column in the New York Times on trying to preserve inappropriate, doomed car manufacturing jobs. Published Saturday, the column "'Drop Dead' Is Not an Option" tries to justify corporate socialism by saying auto manufacturer bailouts are just as right to do as it was to rescue insolvent New York City in 1975. To make the argument sound progressive and liberal, the "free market" ideology was attacked by the columnist. I for one was not fooled, and jumped on it with my letter below:

Dear Editor,

Bob Herbert's column in support of bailing out General Motors shows he knows nothing about and cares little for ecological health. There are no jobs on a dead planet. And, any jobs based on unsustainable depletion of resources are soon going to be lost. Oil has reached its global peak of extraction.

While the automobile companies are still intact they should be forced to retool their factories to make bicycles. Losing our car fleet (imports too) will save 100,000 people a year in this country from crash deaths and fatal diseases from exhaust fumes. Approximately one million animals are killed by vehicles daily on U.S. roads. Millions of acres of good farmland are destroyed by car-oriented urban sprawl. But those facts are not news or the basis of advertising revenue for corporations. A free press supports life and justice instead of ecocide, mayhem on the roads and dead-end jobs.

Jan Lundberg
Oil-industry analyst
founder, Culture Change
www.culturechange.org

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