DIY





Self-Sufficiency Past the Good Times

As the world struggles with a growing population and limited resources, living a self-sufficient life becomes increasingly important.

| January/February 1976

Once again, we must take strong exception to all the Washington politicians and economists who are trying to bring back the economic "good times" of the 1950s and 1960s with mirrors, hot air, and wishful thinking.

In the first place, those "good times" — with their suddenly intensified use of strip mining, clear-cutting, and other "more efficient" methods of exploiting the earth — were not at all good times for the planet. More species of plants, birds, and animals were hounded into extinction, more square miles of irreplaceable ecosystems were paved over or plowed under, more new forms of pollution (and substantially more tons of most old pollutants) were spewed into the air, dumped into the water, and spread across the land by man during the 1950s and 60s than during any earlier 20-year period of Homo sapiens' short reign upon (and misuse of) this beautiful Big Blue Marble we ride through space. (Of course, we're doing our damndest to break that pollution record right now.)

In the second place, those "good times" of the 50s and 60s weren't really so good at all for exceptionally large chunks of the world's people: Hundreds of millions of blacks, browns, reds, yellows, and whites continued — en masse — to be forced to work as slaves, tortured, persecuted, raped, displaced, dispossessed, disinherited, and, murdered. Whole countries disappeared and entire nations lost control of their destinies during those "good" twenty years.

And, in the third place, many — if not most — of the individuals living even in the Western countries that did boom throughout much of the 50s and 60s (the U.S., Canada, western Europe, etc.) also failed to share in the real wealth of that boom. Sure, we've all had more plastic geegaws to buy and the paper dollars to buy them with.



But how many more of us now own land that a bureaucrat can't arbitrarily take away? How many more of us now own our own businesses? How many more now walk the streets of our "great" cities in safety? How many more actually feel that our lives are deeply satisfying? How many more think their savings will really be worth something when they retire? How many more of us now even feel secure in our own homes with all the doors double-latched, a pistol in the bureau drawer, and a German shepherd curled up on the floor?

And that's the Good News.






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