Monday, January 18, 2010


In the Future We Will All Be Hatians

The devastating earthquake in Haiti has administered the coup de grâce to what was already known as an economic basket case (for the reasons why, read this, but that is not the direction I am going this with post). The country’s whole social fabric is crumbling, and chaos reigns. Something many of us take for granted — gasoline — is scarce and expensive.

The second link above does us the greatest service by showing how even those of us living comfortably in developed countries can become Hatians in an instant. And it’s not far-fetched at all. In fact, a number of developed countries are already economic basket cases. The US, UK, Ireland, Greece, and Japan come instantly to mind. Burdened with crushing debt and no real prospects for sustained economic growth, they are headed into a slow-motion crash. And the occurrence of a disaster — natural or otherwise — could easily trigger a rapid collapse.

But I want to caution everyone not to try and go it alone. The shake-out is going to be a very rough ride. Building communities of people having various talents and assets to share will give us a much better chance of weathering the coming storm. Some of us won’t make it. Some will make it, but barely. And others will come out smelling like roses, not only surviving but also thriving. Community-building is of the utmost importance, and the more people you bring into your community, the greater your chances of surviving and thriving. People without community, left to fend for themselves in a chaotic, free-for-all environment, will resort to the most desperate acts, so it’s important to involve everyone we can so as to reduce the population of lone wolves.

We all need good luck, but that’s only a minor part of the equation. What’s most important is how we make the most of our environments, both social and natural, and whatever assets and talents are at hand.

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