A serious EOY note

David Parkinson posted another or his thoughtful pieces on slowcoast.ca, and suddenly some of my thoughts over this past week, traveling to and being in Nicaragua, coalesced.

David’s article is way out in front of what the vast majority of people, certainly in cities, are thinking. Nevertheless, we must think even further ahead, starting right now.

The signs of imminent monetary collapse in the US are here. It will happen shortly, hopefully not before I get out of Nicaragua (which is highly dollarised and would be a disastrous place to be stuck unless one wants to be here permanently).

The question I kept pestering economics-type people with, four to seven years ago, the period when I saw the writing on the wall and got the hell out of the US, was, "What happens to Canadian money when the US buck implodes?" Nobody could tell me. To my knowledge no one has yet opined on what kind of suffering will be laid on Canuck shoulders when–not if–"it" happens.

But we’ve seen stuff happen since, with nasty effects on Canada, and it’s clear we won’t escape the consequences–the US is our biggest customer and will do everything in its power–as it has been doing, in my view, for at least ten years–to rip us off for badly needed natural resources without paying us properly or at all for them. The true nature of NAFTA and CAFTA will become glaringly apparent–oh, yeah, and so will the agenda of that "Prosperity and Security" agreement, which basically means we become their bitch, borrow the picturesque ‘Murrican slang.

As little regard as I have for the Conservatives and much as it galls me to see our elected turkeys selling our birthright for a mess of Chinese and Asian pottage, it is one possible stopgap to the tsunami of misery about to overcome the US economy flowing across the 49th parallel–the question being, will we ever get our natural resources back?

Let’s discuss that another day. We have urgent problems to fix before monetary collapse happens. What to do about a falling Canuckbuck will doubtless be one of them; how to get basic food supplies here another. How to keep our social systems going without money is a question that is going to occupy all of us a lot for 2011. This is one year when wishing someone Happy New Year takes on a whole new meaning.

There’s very little time. Kill your US accounts, if you have them. Get out of the US dollar, ’cause it’s going to get out of you PDQ. Get your mortgage approval RIGHT NOW before people go snaky. You’ll bless yourself 40 times over when you’re paying it off in 2011 pre-crash dollars. Invest everything you can in stuff that matters, like land, fuel, and food that will keep. Give beans for Christmas–you think I’m kidding? Fine, drop off a case of lentils at my house.

But, beyond these survivalist techniques and planning on turning more lawn into potato patch in the spring, shouldn’t we start getting serious about a local currency that won’t be subject to the vagaries of world finance? About supporting public transport initiatives that don’t require ferries and gasoline (hear that whinny? horses pawing the ground to get back into business!) ? About trading with some other community for grain? About really using our fruit to feed this community and perhaps beyond? About becoming solar- and wind-energy geniuses? About sustainable logging and new crops for paper and textiles? About taking our land back to sustain us instead of sending raw logs halfway across the earth?

PR individuals have done a lot–radio, publishing, beer, independent media, farming. If any community in BC can survive what’s coming, surely it’s PR. Pretty soon, though, we’ll all be very clear about one thing: it’s not enough.

I’m going to suck the tropical juice out of this holiday for all it’s worth. It hurts to think of how much more the suffering of people here will increase when the dollar collapses. There’s an underlying sadness and resignation among ex-pats I’ve met here: they have given up on saving or rectifying the situation–the garbage-strewn beaches, the junk food, the illiteracy, the rampant domestic violence. Would you believe Nicaraguan Christmas trees here are made of empty plastic bottles? You don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

I drink the last of the great Chilean wine that cost $7.50 a bottle here, reflect sadly that quite possibly there won’t be more chances for me to see the rest of this fascinating, beautiful planet, and count myself one of the luckiest humans on earth–I belong to Powell River, a community that has a real shot at survival.

Wolffy