March 2, 2020

COVID 19 Throws Wrench Into The Consumer Machine

Wouldn't the world would be better off if people stayed home more often? A person's home is one of the largest expenses they will ever have. Why not enjoy it more often? 

The economy, that's why.

We have been trained to dislike staying home after being raised on the story that all the fun and worthy stuff takes place out there in the market place, not at home. That is because you don't spend much money at home, and spending money is what it is all about.

One thing our fragile economy can not handle is if people stay home. That is all that has to happen to create an immediate economic crisis, regardless of why. 

In our consumer economy everyone must keep using things up at a rapid rate. Perpetual purchasing by consumers is the only thing that will grease the wheels of this machine and stave off economic meltdown.

Enter the wrench known as COVID 19. We can not underestimate the possibility of disruption as this new virus spreads. Already one can hear the global gears slowly grinding to a glimmer of their former speed. 

Since there is no vaccine, the best way to deal with the virus is to isolate yourself until the epidemic burns itself out. The economy won't escape as easily.

It is a worst case scenario for commerce when staying home could save your life. People don't buy as much when they are at home preoccupied with more important things, like staying alive. 

If this continues, watch for conditions to continue to erode as far flung, just-on-time supply chains are pinched. The ripple effects are already rippling rapidly, and are likely to land on our shores in a big way.

Who knows what kind of disruptions we will experience, or whether the global economy can even recover from such a shock. Best to prepare for a worst case scenario, as Linda and I have been for about a decade now. 

Over the past few weeks we have been stocking our pantry anyway after giving up our motor vehicle. Yesterday I picked up a healthy measure of dried beans, rice, and lentils. Also sugar (mostly for the hummingbirds that will be back soon) salt, cooking oil, flour, and a few other essentials. 

You may want to stock up. But that is always good advice, emergency or not. The best time to prepare a stockpile to see you through a several month disruption is before an emergency hits, and right now, time may be running out.

If it did come to sheltering in place, conditions for Linda and I wouldn't change all that much. Our life over the past decade has been home based already. We enjoy our micro-local life.

But it would be a big change for a lot of people. Who knows, they might like it, and decide to do it more often. Oh no! The economy won't like that, because we work for the economy rather than the economy working for us. 

This economy mostly works for the virus known as billionaires.

Speaking of parasitic organisms, it is good to practice healthful habits that help avoid contracting nasty germs. Not buying anything keeps the billionaire virus away, but keeping the corona virus at bay is a different story.

Linda and I take a holistic approach to health, which promotes a strong immune system response. 

Getting sick sucks, especially for me since Linda depends on me being healthy enough to assist her in her activities of daily living. If I get sick we are both in trouble.

Here is how we stay healthy on an on-going basis: 

1. Wash with warm water and soap, and dry hands regularly.

2. Cover sneezes and coughs.

3. Keep hands away from face.

4. Move. Exercise.

5. Eat wholesome food.

6. Don’t smoke.

7. No alcohol, drink lots of water.

8. Keep it low stress. Engage in pleasurable activities. We find relaxation practices like meditation and yoga to be particularly helpful. 

9. Get adequate sleep.

10. Be extra diligent about reducing the spread of germs. Keep house clean and sanitized. Avoid germed up places... like anywhere in public.

11. Laugh, be happy. A positive mental attitude is the best prophylactic.

Staying home more often can be great for any reason. If you try it, you might find you like it. As an added bonus, you will be throwing another wrench into the wheezing wobbly consumer machine. 

Note: You can find a suggested 3 month food storage plan here.


  1. Anonymous3/03/2020

    It's a crazy time here in western Oregon. Two cases for sure, a third in eastern Oregon. We went shopping Saturday afternoon for some essentials and the store was much busier than normal. I chatted with the person stocking the pasta shelves (which were 70% empty) and he said those shelves had been full that morning. People are in a panic and are stocking up. Must admit it is a bit scary for me too. We are not isolating ourselves as such, but we are spending more time at home and if we go out it's to take a walk at a park or little as is necessary and keeping clean and as relaxed as we can (we = my boyfriend and I). Take care everyone out in the world -- Mary

    1. More and more cases are being discovered. We are moving into scarier times. If it goes pandemic it will be the first one since the Spanish Flu.

      Hope you and your boyfriend (and everyone out there) stay healthy and relaxed.


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