inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #151 of 195: Jef Poskanzer (jef) Tue 20 Sep 11 01:19
    
My fridge spent most of last year slowly failing, towards the
end it was basically just a well-insulated cupboard that made
too much noise.  You know what?  It's not essential.
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #152 of 195: John Robb (johnmrobb) Tue 20 Sep 11 08:32
    
Wow, this is still going.  Trying to work on the book.  Will get some
thinking up later today.
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #153 of 195: Christian De Leon-Horton (echodog) Tue 20 Sep 11 12:17
    
Not that I doubt you <jef>, but I'd appreciate some pointers on how
you got by without a refrigerator. I'd also like to know how you got by
without a freezer, which constitutes a major part of my food storage
strategy. 
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #154 of 195: Gail Williams (gail) Tue 20 Sep 11 12:30
    
Wow, I used to live in the mountains without a fridge for 3 months
each summer.  (Eat fresh things soon, don't pick more greens or fruit
than you can eat in a day or two  (or else have time to sun-dry, pickle
or can), learn to make good food from canned and dry ingredients, cut
back on or totally eliminate milk and fresh meats.  
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #155 of 195: Gary Greenberg (gberg) Tue 20 Sep 11 14:14
    
Yeah, the freezer. Especially this time of the year, when harvested
veggies have just been put in. We had an eight-day outage earlier this
month, thanks to Irene. Since we have a generator, we had two
neighbors' fruits and vegetables and meat in our freezer along with our
own. You can live without a fridge for awhile, with a lot of
inconvenience. (I did it for three years.) but if you've counted on
your freezer for your food supply, you better have some backup. (Or a
nice neighbor.)
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #156 of 195: Brian Slesinsky (bslesins) Wed 21 Sep 11 21:40
    
re: #146, so what sort of scenarios are we talking about where the Fed
can't or doesn't want to send Social Security checks? I'm doubting
even the Tea Party wingnuts really want to go that far.
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #157 of 195: Gary Greenberg (gberg) Thu 22 Sep 11 07:49
    
I don't know. They just voted against funding disaster relief. of
course, so did the democrats, but on the grounds that it wasn't enough
and shouldn't be paid for by starving out a green technology
initiative, rather than on general principles. And you heard them cheer
the idea at the debate that a sick person without health insurance
ought to be left to die. So it's hard to say how far they won't go.
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #158 of 195: Michael Zentner (mz) Thu 22 Sep 11 13:46
    
Nancy Pelosi was all over this today about not paying for the Bush tax
cuts, or two wars, and now we have to for disaster relief?
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #159 of 195: Mark McDonough (mcdee) Thu 22 Sep 11 17:13
    
How about a surtax on everyone until the debt from the wars is
retired?  Harumph!
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #160 of 195: Christian De Leon-Horton (echodog) Sat 24 Sep 11 03:49
    
The point is, the problems we are facing are complex to the point
where even a dedicated, truly bi-partisan consensus in the government
would have a hard time dealing with them. In the current political
climate, actual progress on most of these issues is damn near
impossible. Even systems which we expect to continue simply by
institutional momentum (such as social security checks) may not make
it.

What has to happen for social security money to keep flowing? First,
this has to be money for the government to spend. If there's another
international financial collapse, that isn't assured. Second, there has
to be a record of who is supposed to receive the money. That data
exists in several repositories, many of them electronic, but a major
natural disaster (or even more than one) can interrupt access to that
data. Third, there has to be a way of transmitting that money. If the
communications lines are down, it's not going to get to your bank. If
there is enough social or natural upheaval, there are not going to be
postal employees carrying mail anywhere. If the power remains off for a
significant amount of time, the bank can't cash your check anyway.

This may seem like an unlikely scenario to some. But consider how long
it took to put New Orleans back into a basic functioning state. Many
people would argue that it still isn't. And yet, that was one city
after one single natural disaster.

Throw in a series of such disasters, on top of a collapsing economic
system, on top of a military/police apparatus that is already stressed
by multiple wars and expanding criminal activity, and social security
checks fall right off the map of priorities. 
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #161 of 195: Mark McDonough (mcdee) Sat 24 Sep 11 06:46
    
Given the conflict and paralysis afflicting our government and
governments in Europe, I am rather worried about a further financial
collapse on the scale of the 30s depression.  If something really
difficult and decisive needs to be done, I don't think we'll see it
done.

I long ago noted one difference between 1930s and today.  Back then,
most people had relatives on a farm, or grew some portion of their own
food.  Now days, nobody can move in with grandma on the farm because
farms are industrial operations, many of them controlled by giant
corporations.  Most major cities produce almost no food at all, while
back in the 30s, cities were ringed with dairy farms, pig farms, etc. 
My own office is on the site of a dairy farm.  
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #162 of 195: Jack King (gjk) Sat 24 Sep 11 09:49
    
I don't know anyone who gets a social security "check" anymore.  It's
almost all direct deposit.  So if there are interruptions in the power
grid, even locally, electronic transactions (deposits and withdrawals)
can't be processed.  I can see folks who rely on social security,
living "check-to-check" going hungry because they just can't access the
government's money.
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #163 of 195: Christian De Leon-Horton (echodog) Sat 24 Sep 11 13:12
    
Exactly. Hence the need to figure out how to do it on smaller scales
within our own neighborhoods. 
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #164 of 195: Jack King (gjk) Sat 24 Sep 11 20:03
    
I don't know how we'll help them when the power goes down. Some folks
are going to get really hungry. 

Looking forward, though, I think I have enough post-apocalypse kind of
liquid assets to set up a pirate FM station, the kind that the
militias in Sierra Leone and Liberia had in the 1990s.  Got the
wherewithal for a big truck and a transmitter, just need an engineer
and a tower guy.

Music and news for the people.  Trust me, I'm an ex-journalist.
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #165 of 195: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sun 25 Sep 11 05:23
    
Difficult to see this impacting the US for another 15 years or so,
unless there is something apocalyptic...not to say it isn't going to
reach here or start having ripple effects right now.
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #166 of 195: Jack King (gjk) Sun 25 Sep 11 07:26
    
Grid failures happen.  
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #167 of 195: Christian De Leon-Horton (echodog) Sun 25 Sep 11 14:49
    
Especially with the crappy, ill-maintained infrastructure we've got. 
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #168 of 195: Mark McDonough (mcdee) Sun 25 Sep 11 15:38
    
It's the best infrastructure the free market can produce!
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #169 of 195: Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Sun 25 Sep 11 16:11
    
Last weekend I visited Silver City, an Idaho mining ghost town that
was actually populated year-round until just a few decades ago. Now
people are all living in the 100-year-old houses in the summer with
solar panels, propane fridges and stoves, etc. Amazing. You drive 20
miles down a dirt road in the middle of nowhere, it opens up, and it's
like you stepped back in time a hundred years.
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #170 of 195: Jack King (gjk) Sun 25 Sep 11 18:28
    
There's a Silver City in Idaho too?  Wow.
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #171 of 195: Mark McDonough (mcdee) Sun 25 Sep 11 18:54
    
Yeah, and in Colorado, and in...

I've never made it to the one in Idaho, although I know of it.  Ghost
towns and the history of mining in the West was an obsession of mine as
a kid.
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #172 of 195: Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Sun 25 Sep 11 19:33
    
http://www.ghosttowns.com/states/id/silvercity.html
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #173 of 195: Michael Zentner (mz) Mon 26 Sep 11 10:02
    
>>> like you stepped back in time a hundred years.

Well, except for the solar powered refrigerators.

I've found that outlying communities have been in the forefront of
alternative energy usage simply by necessity.
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #174 of 195: Christian De Leon-Horton (echodog) Mon 26 Sep 11 12:13
    
Yeah, it would make sense to take a long look at how they do things.
The developing world, too. 
  
inkwell.vue.417 : John Robb on War, Peace, and Resilient Communities
permalink #175 of 195: Brian Slesinsky (bslesins) Tue 27 Sep 11 09:56
    
It's a mistake to assume that the political situation will remain
unchanged in response to a real crisis. Voters are discouraged and
apathetic so politicians currently have the luxury of playing chicken.
But if social security actually stopped for a month and people
seriously believed that might continue, I expect that would result in
drastic changes in the political situation, much in the way that 9/11
changed things, but more so. It's hard to say what those changes would
be, but I expect it would mean the end of the post-9/11 phase of
American politics and a drastic scaling back of foreign adventures.

I think the country has some significant political resources that
haven't really been called on yet. We aren't going to simply drift into
political collapse.
  

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