Critics in the media quickly jumped on Maura’s comment yesterday about us not coming out of an economic depression after the transition. They argued mostly that the economy would have no significant annual growth or loss after 2040 in the best case, and the worst case would be a “trivial case” accompanied by rapid economic gain and then extinction. They did acknowledge her main point, that what will suffices for an economy after the transition will likely be very different from what most people recognize now.
Maura’s father Andy, himself a student of history and a veteran of war in primitive environments, shared his opinion of what to expect during a visit last night. “I’ll be very surprised if the Great Plains have more than a few thousand people by the end of the transition. The water’s drying up fast, the temperature’s going to be unbearable, and without cheap energy there won’t be any way to compensate for either. Not to mention extreme and unpredictable weather, wildfires, and lack of an economy to move food from where it can be grown to where it’s needed.”
“Where do you think people will go, Andy?” Maura’s mother Ally asked.
He gave her a look that revealed this conversation wasn’t a new one. “The best way to head is north.” Turning to Maura and me, he continued, “I suggest you go to Montana as soon as your business at the university is done, Canada if you can manage it. This country’s got too much of an independent streak to survive what’s coming, despite the lofty rhetoric and signs of compliance with the strategy. At the first sign of major trouble, and the system’s too complex to avoid it, we’ll see the individualists start taking what they want, and most of us will be pushed into that collapse phase that WICO’s warning us about.”
“Really, Dad?” Maura challenged him. “I think people deserve a lot more credit than that.”
“I know you do,” he said, as if he was reciting the time of day, “but you saw what that reverend’s people tried to do to you. People like that are everywhere, biding their time until they can force people to let them live the way they want.”
“The evidence is too compelling to ignore, Andy,” I said. “I’ve seen people eager to learn and do what’s right with what they discover.”
“You mean with PFR?” he guessed correctly. “Possibilities from Responsibilities is doing an admirable job channeling that independent spirit into something positive. That was a great insight you had, son. But I promise you: it’s only temporary.”
When they had gone home, I asked Maura if any of her “sisters” agreed with Andy’s point. “None of my friends here do, as you might expect,” she said, referring to her childhood friends who live in communes, “but the others would be totally on his side, seeing what’s happening here as a major aberration.”
“It better not be,” I said, suddenly unsure of everything else.
I expect that Andy being right is more likely than not. Will’s final comment is based on my own reaction to the thought experiment on display in this post.