Nicole Foss is an author whose focus is the crossroads of peak oil, real politik and global finance; her question is ultimately about sustainability. Writing under the pseudonym “Stoneleigh” she is the Senior Editor at the Automatic Earth [].

She travelled through Maine recently and I helped organize a presentation in Portland.  With less than two weeks notice, we were able to get seventy people to attend on a Monday night.  The discussion lasted four hours.

Nicole’s thesis is that the bursting credit bubble will result in a severe retraction of the money supply.  By reducing or even eliminating credit, only cash will remain and become extremely scarce, thus reducing the velocity of money; the pendulum will swing away from “the orgy of consumption” toward “austerity on a scale we cannot yet imagine.  …As a much larger percentage of the much smaller money supply begins to chase essentials, those [essentials]…will be the least affordable of all.”

This scenario is not, she says, just financial, but compounded by decreasing supplies of oil, with increasing costs of production. “The future is at our doorstep,” she writes, “and it does not look like the past as we have known it.”

No one can know for certain whether Nicole’s scenario will play out.  But that provocative message caused us to wonder about what, as a parent, we need to do to prepare our little one for a future so uncertain.

Our response:

Embrace practical skills – planting a garden, baking bread, fixing a flat tire, living within a budget, to name but a few – because they are fundamentally necessary while also teaching self-reliance and help maintain freedom of action.

Live as close to the earth as practical and possible, and build social capital in our community.  Personal integrity is the most enduring asset.

Play is essential.  Especially in dark times, we need to create joy in our home.  Art-making can fit within that, while also teaching resourcefulness and creative problem solving. That is what our art farm is really about.

Everything has its counterbalance.  Even amidst dark and dire times, there is hope and light.  That is not a pollyanna notion, but something essential; as a balance sheet must have assets to the liabilities, as yin has its yang.

A New England saying is “a rising tide lifts all boats.” But any Yankee fisherman also knows the tide always goes out.  The real and natural cycle has both ebb and flow.

Therein lies the balance.

One Comment on “Balance”

  1. auntie baPs says:

    wow, this is chilling. i love the light and hope, though, the balance sheet. it is chilling in a good way, in stopping me in my tracks, and making me take notice. sounds like a fascinating night, and i love that you brought the message home and laid out your own family translation.

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