I've been as busy as the bees captured above; hence the dearth of posting. It's not just the usual vagaries of life, diapers and baths, and paying bills, and all of that, I have been immersed in other studies (besides real estate) as well.
I'm a political junkie, and have been for many years (thanks, Grandma!). I have belonged to no party, and never will, and can swing either way, though as I get older, I tend to "dress to the left" more and more. I guess that I just am becoming mellow with age. Anyhow, there is an interesting situation coming to a head in our own Canadian politics, and I have been plunged into that (from a reading/time perspective).
I have been unsettled for quite some time (years), but now, am more so. I'm not going to turn this into a political blog (just yet), but it is the big picture that I look at, and it seems more tenuous daily. I feel that real estate is going to be one of our biggest problems, while at the same time, the least of our worries in the next few years. I fear that it is going to get much more basic than stainless steel and granite, and flippers and pre-sales.
My fascination with politics tends more to our own, but I also keep an eye towards global politics. I've had much less of an understanding of global affairs (generally hindsight), but feel that it is important to keep an eye on them. The US situation will always affect us here - and no wonder, it affects the whole world - but it is truly fascinating these days. I don't root for anyone, so much as revile the worst of two evils, but this coming election in the US in November is one of those cross roads of history, I believe, and not because Obama is a "black man", though that aspect is pivotal on the long run. I don't delve too deep, but I see little difference between the policies of the two front runners. What would thrill me, is if the likes of Ron Paul or Ralph Nader won. In the state that the US is in (serendipitous pun welcomed), either would be better for the country, and the world. I worry about what mischief Bush will get up too before January 2009.
I started reading Linda McQuaig's book The Cult of Impotence, and, whoa. It makes Dark Age Ahead look like The Sound of Music. I have not got that far into it yet, but it rather starkly confirms a lot of my weary (and wearying) rants about serfdom, etc. This excerpt greeted me in the first few pages :
AN EXPERT...on CBC Radio's "Sunday Morning"...Dr. Ian Angell, professor...at the London School of Economics, is explaining how most of the working population will soon be redundant.There is much more, I have just started reading, but pulling back, and applying these words to our life today, it makes one see how we got to where we are, with the mindlessness of people chasing clouds and faeries today (the book was first published in 1998). All the power of the media has been focused on people's abnegation of common sense and personal determination. "We must buy a POS before we are priced out forever", etc.
"Isn't there an economic cost to writing off the world's workers?" asks host Ian Brown.
The question suggests that Brown has bought the basic parameters of the debate: that we discuss only economic cost. Brown is asking:
How does the unemployment of most of the world's population fit society's basic business plan? No one mentions human cost. Still, the question doesn't suit Dr. Angell. Impatience is detectable in his voice. "This requires a total rethinking of the institutions of the industrial age. You must throw them away;' says Dr. Angell..."All your thinking has to be different'
As the interview progresses, Brown becomes increasingly sceptical... His questions reveal that he's struggling to see how all this unemployment helps ordinary people.
Answer: it doesn't,
But that's not the issue...
An emboldened Ian Brown asks something about how people are to survive. Dr. Angell is getting a touch irritated with these repetitive questions about human needs. Brown just doesn't seem to get it, The point is that we're in a brand-new age, the information age. Technology and globalisation have made all these questions about human needs irrelevant. That's part of yesterday's menu. Today, simply watch as the technological juggernaut rolls on, squashing our needs.
"Is this a world you look forward to?" asks Brown, trying to make some sense of it all.
"That's neither here nor there;' responds Dr. Angell.
"Is there some way we can stop this?" Brown asks anxiously. Is there nothing we can do to avoid this dark future?"
That's when Dr. Angell snaps. "That question reflects the thinking of the machine age" he says curtly.
Hold it. Let's play that again slowly. This line is more subversive than it first appears. It is perhaps as subversive a thought as it is possible to have. Dr. Angell is saying it's just that we can't change things, but we can't even think about the possibility of changing things; to do so is to engage in old-style thinking.
So, it's not just that we're powerless to stop being pushed over the edge of the cliff in the new global world order. But to even try to prevent ourselves from being pushed over the cliff is a sign of regressive thinking.
The new way of thinking, as outlined by Dr. Angell, requires acceptance of powerlessness, resignation to a world without solutions - a world of inaction and helplessness. That democratic impulse to assert one's rights must be contained, thwarted, rendered mute and inoperative. Never mind the democratic impulse. It's actually the human impulse that's at stake here. The human impulse to act, to build, to create, to improve, to shape our lives, to use our brains to do better. It's called being alive.
It's just got to go.
There are 117 banks in danger of collapsing in the US at present, with more to come. Trillions in debt needing servicing, and the money is becoming ever scarcer. This is what McQuaig's book is really about (as far as I can discern so far), the power of money, and the powerlessness of governments to make sure their citizens lead a decent life, let alone on an individual level.
It has been a tough week, and I have been doing some tough reading, thus my somewhat dejected outlook right now. I'm finding it hard to be passionate, or even interested in RE these days. Hopefully, the weekend will refresh me.