Economic Outlook From 1976

A description of the economic outlook in 1976 regarding inflation, and the desire to avoid it's effects by becoming food and energy self-sufficient.
By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors
September/October 1976
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Growing your own food is one possible step towards food self-sufficiency, it also allows you to distance yourself from inflation.
Photo By Fotolia/beerfan


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A Small Word About Inflation

There's a lot of political and economic talk making the rounds these days about how we've "whipped" inflation. Don't you believe it. According to International Reports, Inc., the current annual rate of inflation in the United States is running at 6.2 percent.

This means that if you hide a dollar in the cookie jar today — and then dig it out just five years from now — that dollar will buy less than three-quarters (only 72.4 percent) of what it can purchase right now. Or, to turn it around the other way, you'll have to invest that dollar in something which— after taxesand handling fees — will guarantee you 6.2 percent interest (compounded annually) just to keep its purchasing power from shrinking.

Inflation, in short, is a long way from being "whipped", and it is a mark of extreme economic naivete (on both his part and on ours) when a major U.S. presidential candidate—Jimmy Carter—can say without challenge that he intends to concentrate on jobs and "let inflation take care of itself". Gerald Ford may bump his head a lot (and we'd certainly never endorse him, or anyone else, for President), but he at least has sense enough to leave his administration's economic policy in the hands of men (Burns, Simon, Greenspan) who understand that inflation is, indeed, Economic Public Enemy Number One to any stable society.

So what are we gonna do? If the guys already in office know how to hold the line but can't ... and the guys trying to get in office don't even know how to hold the line ... what are we gonna do?

Stop expecting politicians to come up with magic answers. That's one thing we can do. After all, you wouldn't set a fox to guard your chickens, would you? Then why let the guys who got us into all this economic trouble have chance after chance after chance at getting us out (especially when they just keep on making everything worse)?

Quit playing by "their" rules. Cut your dependence on what "they" think is a fair rate of inflation ... a fair return on your investment ... a fair rate of payment (minimum wage) for your work ... a fair rate of taxation.

No, you won't be able to sever all your economic ties to The System overnight ... or, probably, ever. But you can certainly take a lot more of your life into your own hands during the next few months (no matter what your current economic status might be) than most folks ever do these days.

Buy a farm. And if you can't do that, build a greenhouse onto your home. And if you live in an apartment, install a "grow box" in a window. Learn to sprout seeds and use them in tasty recipes. Put a henhouse in the backyard. Nail together some rabbit pens in the garage. One way or another, make yourself more food self-sufficient.

Put up a windplant. Install a solar heater. Learn to use a fireless cooker. Insulate your house better. Drive less. Use a car pool. Take a bath with a friend. One way or another, make yourself more energy self-sufficient.

And, the more food and energy self-sufficient you become, the less inflation will touch you. You can put that in the bank no matter who wins the coming election.


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