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Is Economic Collapse Encouraging Reform Or Blocking It?

An article on how to adapt to the crisis in the economy and the environment I happened upon this morning caught my attention with its advice on how to live in the soon-to-come post-corporate reality. Among their tips:

- Forget about the concept of a job.
– Tell the truth, because you have nothing to lose
– Fast, to “detoxify” yourself
– Don’t rely on the government, because it’s just controlled by nasty men in business suits

This last item woke me up to what the article was actually saying. It was giving the same kind of advice that the author would have given people about how to live five years ago. People like this have always preached the idea of detoxification – though they’ve never specified exactly what toxins we have that we need to worry about. Brutal truth telling is an old idea, and the rejection of the idea of a job is a meme from the 1990s. But, it’s the dismissal of the government that really tickles me – if we’re moving toward a post-corporate reality, how come the guys in suits will still be in charge?

I don’t think I’ll take any of the advice in that article to heart, but it does get me thinking about the way that people are reacting to problems in the economy and the environment: They’re not changing. In fact, I see people getting more rigid in their old ways of doing things. People aren’t deciding to reject the idea of jobs, just because jobs are disappearing. People who still have jobs are clinging to them, and people who have lost jobs are seeking them with a desperate hunger.

I saw a lot more real change in the 1990s, when money flowed freely, and people had the ability to make choices without fear. The lesson I see is that we can’t expect a crisis to change what people want. A crisis may change things, through necessity after big social institutions we’ve relied upon have been destroyed, but aspiration to beautiful new modes of being isn’t what’s on people’s minds right now. Folks are hunkering down, and moving to protect what they can of what they’ve already got.

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