I look to the great depression as a model for the next ten, twenty years. Gardening and sewing will be helpful, both of which I like to do, although I'm sloppy at both.
But there are big differences between the 30s and now. Back then we were self sufficient in energy, capital, and manufacturing. That was then. Now we have nothing. Except massive liabilities. It is not gloomy to say it, these are facts. Now I'll move on to some doom and gloom.
A friend said she'd lost the sense of impending doom that she had last summer. Sure. Energy and food are both cheap right now. Adjusted for the CPI, gasoline is close to its historical mean, and far cheaper than it was in the 1980s. As soon as prices go up, which is about as inevitable as anything, then a general sense of crisis will come back. I did appreciate Bush mentioning energy in his speech, economics of ethanol notwithstanding. Just because energy prices are at a temporary lull doesn't mean we should be complacent. And food! People have no idea. Corn is $2.30 for a 45 pound bushel! Just think about it, that is crazy. When corn goes to $6, and then $10, then see how many people are talking about ethanol and bio diesel. Hyperbolic rises in cotton, sugar, and wheat are also on their way. Food prices will hurt even more than energy prices, especially for low income people.
When gloomy, my friend considers moving to Idaho. I'm not convinced Idaho is a better place to be than Seattle. No way. Living around all those red-state wing nuts? Yelling "FAG" at me from their pickups?
Of course, if the gulf stream breaks up, at the same time that oil peaks and the dollar collapses (note that these things will exacerbate each other) it may just be game over. But lets not get ourselves down about this. Hey what's fate is fate. Oh, I forgot: pandemic bird flu might be another factor that could wipe us out..