Greece and Us
Greece's woes will become ours
I read a compelling blog post last week that explains how the situation in Greece, along with Peak Oil will potentially be the cause of an imminent societal breakdown. Greece, as part of the European Union, is using a shared currency that we all know as the Euro, and as such, is tied very closely to the union. The country has insufficient funds to be able to pay the government employees - from the highest ministers to the lowest civil worker - beyond the next couple of weeks. To remain solvent Greece will have to borrow from other countries. Those countries that have lent in the past and may be in a position to lend again have put conditions on these loans with respect to austerity measures that have made the Greek people rebel and strike. Obviously the citizens of Greece are not welcoming these austerity measures which leaves the government stuck between that deadly rock and the hard place.
The blog post goes on to say that in past currency break-ups, things wound themselves down in mostly an uncivilized manner. Riots, breakdown of law, mob rule and so on could set in with only authoritarian power being able to wrest control in a manner that ensures stability. This is the situation in Europe - the member countries want to keep Greece in the union to avoid civil unrest and in the meantime Greece is struggling desperately to stay afloat.
How would this affect us here in North America? I believe the first signs are already present with stock market volatility that appears to have no end. What comes next is likely continued contraction in stock value, employment count and increases in foreclosure and bankruptcy. As more people lose their jobs and more people lose their homes they will no longer be spending as the good consumers our governments would like us to be. This lack of spending will put more people out of jobs and more businesses will close, creating a positive feedback cycle that so far, only Quantitave Easing has been able to quell. Enormous dumps of money created out of nothing will not and can not go on forever, eventually things will have to change.
Rising unemployment and rising debt will bring economies in North America along the same path that Greece is on presently. There will come a time when government payroll will become problematic, there will be a time when civil unrest will start due to austerity measures. In the European Union some of the richer countries have helped to bail out Greece up until now, who will bail us out here?
What are we to do? Dmitry Orlov has written a lot and explains a key solution that I believe we should all be working towards. He describes an iron triangle as home-car-job. If you can find a way to live outside the need of these things, you will be protected from any of the contractions that we are facing. Getting rid of the car and the job is easy, learning how to live without a home is the tricky part.
I'll be getting his book, Reinventing Collapse, and once I've read it, if the question about living without a home is not answered, he'll be hearing from me and I'll be publishing another hub with his answer.