To be honest I feel more than a little ill-prepared, and not quite sure what to do.
I know it sounds mad to a lot of people, but I worry what it would be like if for example unemployment went up locally a lot.
1. What can you do for yourself to prepare to bad times.
2. What changes can be made to the way we as a society are organised so that things can keep running.
I've always thought living in one part of the country and working in another was madness. Maybe that will be one ting to change.
Would tele-working become not just acceptable, but actively encouraged, to minimise energy usage for transport ?
I've discovered, in the most part, that I've been doing the right things all along... though I've spent a year racked with doubt. I was un-nerved because the world I saw around me was not affirming what I thought should be the case... and it undermined my confidence (which usually borders on arrogance and is sometimes mistaken for the same) that I could make the right decisions. I've done a lot of thinking, a lot of reading and a fair bit of writing over the past 12 months... day by-day progressing that which I feel I can trust - in a philosophical sense. It has been quite an emotional experience... if that doesn't sound too soppy. I've felt everything from the wildest irrational fear and distrust to elation at finally grasping the meaning of things my grandparents told me as a child that I never previously understood - and had filed mentally under 'utterly bizarre'. I'm not sure I could better explain than my grandparents did - and am aware that others will likely file this as 'utterly bizarre' - it is a bit like grasping for the first time the most important human trait... where every description of it you'll have heard before and will argue is "obvious" but is rote-learned - rather than understood. If I visualise people who've grasped this as having a light-bulb above their head, I wonder who I know who also "knows" - and I suspect not many. I'm sure my grandparents at least knew that there was something 'important' - and suspect they'd "got it" - but can't ask today. I'm entirely unconvinced that my parents have (my Dad keeps saying he "understands" - but, judging by other things he says, he understands something else) and I'm sure my peers have not. Bizarrely, I can't just tell them - since it is not a new fact, but a connection between all facts - and it defies explicit description in natural language. Perhaps, like with science, the best that can be achieved is to refute false claims and to let others make the discovery for themselves.
Unemployment is a worry, but it isn't a catastrophe. We managed in the 1970s with 3/4 day weeks, and - aside from the aesthetic nightmare "punk"; embarrassing nylon shirts and flared trousers... we survived fine. I'm not worried especially about unemployment - in fact, I think it desperately overdue. I'm reminded of the Orange advert
which features a man walking through New York after the lights went out (screened after the Enron scam gave California rolling blackouts) with the tag line that went something like "When the lights went out, we could finally see" - or something like that. Unemployment is important. Unemployment allows people to decide what they want to do next. If we never find opportunity to choose, we'll never be free.
I think, this time, the economic fallout will be spectacular in scale... but, as I tried to explain to my parents... who (worryingly) didn't seem to follow (which I found very stressful) big changes are not necessarily bad changes. In fact, you should only fear change if you believe that you've been exploitative... for everyone else, change represents opportunity... and that's what makes life worth living. I've been obsessive about researching finance/economics as now, I realise, I must judge opportunities as they arise... from, as Soros would put it, a perspective of significant disequilibrium. Absolutely key, I feel, has been the challenge of deciding how I'll judge what is 'fair' - and, in so doing, take maximum advantages (I do not mean exploitative advantages!) of opportunities as they arise. I'm now looking forward to both the economic and social opportunities I expect will unfold in the coming months/years... and I take with myself my new-found technical interest in the fascinating world of history, economics and finance.
To prepare for "bad times", I've checked that my debts are cleared wherever possible - and that I've savings to fund my lifestyle. I've talked to friends (and family - but they hate listening) and I've remembered those who helped me when I was "in the shit" - I've looked for where I can help them.
The positive change to the way we, as a society, can organise ourselves is obvious. We should demand transparency and we should reject opaque and misleading contracts and propaganda. These adversely affect us even when they are contracts that do not involve us personally. Now is the time to consider a universal contractual review.
Yes, living a long way from work is madness - unless, of course, you enjoy commuting. No, telecommuting will never take off in a big way... people need to interact in order to be successful.