|Will 2012 be a good year to grab bags of beans and rice and head for the hills?|
What we will probably see is a continuation of events triggered by the failure of the capitalist Utopian dream starting in 2008.
What does that mean? Governments at all levels will be cutting services while charging more in taxes and fees. The average person will have less disposable income to... well, throw away.
For example, I just learned that the new year will see my province's health care premiums rise, in addition to increases in the carbon tax on gasoline, the cost of electricity, ferry charges, car insurance, and payroll deductions, if your job hasn't been cut yet.
In some US cash-strapped cities, public works departments are cutting off the lights at night, and although that may make star-gazing more enjoyable, decisions such as these are likely to have other unintended consequences. Some of them, like seeing the glory of the night sky, will be good. Others, not so much.
Things aren't going so well in the Eurozone, either. One of my favourite blogs is talking about the EU drastically changing its configuration in 2012 as banks, and the economies that depend on them, become increasingly wobbly.
Wobbly enough, actually, that forward thinking people are considering the possibility of bank runs (which would trigger bank holidays, rendering your money inaccessible), closed borders, and travel restrictions, while the EU and/or Eurozone collapse.
Did I mention that anti-depressant use is up 25% in the UK since the 2008 global economic meltdown began? The past three years have been a real bummer for millions, and financial uncertainty is believed to be the main cause of the increase in clinically sad people.
Regardless of what the new year brings, it will not be all sad - it never is. There will be many opportunities for change in 2012, and it will be up to us to decide how these changes will impact our lives.
If electricity is more expensive, for example, people will be motivated not to use it wastefully. As for the changes that are less attractive, we can be prepared before hand to help mitigate their impact.
We can be ready for whatever next year brings by doing a few things now. Many of the actions we can take are similar to basic emergency preparedness that we should maintain at all times anyway.
Here are a few that I am working on, and can recommend to you:
- Simplify, simplify, simplify. The more simple your life, the more able you will be to absorb, and react to, the changes that are coming.
- Have some cash at home (in a safe place, obviously) - enough to pay all your expenses for at least a month or two.
- Keep a well-stocked pantry with enough food and water to keep you and your family healthy for up to a week, or more (a minimum of 72 hours).
- Pay off debt. Getting rid of debt is like cutting a dragging anchor. We may need to be mobile and free.
- Enjoy every day as if it were your last, for things are getting strange, and you never know what kind of outrageous shit tomorrow will bring.
In answer the question posed in the caption on the image at the top - Yes, 2012 is looking like a good year to grab bags of beans and rice, head for the hills, and start a new, simple life. But, the simple life is something that can be achieved wherever you are.
All of us at the NBA Blog wish you a simple, free, and happy 2012! May you have plenty of opportunities for positive, sustainable change in the new year.