In this third and final article in this series, we will discuss seven new ways of living which we can adopt as economic growth fails. They are not revolutionary (revolutions never achieve their utopian visions because of something called "human nature"). Rather, they may allow us to "muddle through" the best we can right now with what we already know how to do.
1. Debt for Investment, Not Consumption. Like a cook who has dreadfully botched a recipe by adding a cup of salt where a teaspoon was called for, we have overused debt and are now suffering the consequences.
2. Location, Location, Location. While we have for the last century used cheap oil powering our transportation systems to make distances virtually irrelevant, as oil prices rise it is going to matter a great deal where one is located.
3. Collaborate and Conquer. As the U.S. military Empire begins to shrink back, the self-appointed role of the U.S. as the world's free-of-charge military security service must end.
4. Go With the Flow. A standard admonishment to the younger generation in families of wealth has always been: Never Spend Your Capital. It's ok to spend the annual Income, but never touch the Capital or you will destroy the family wealth.
5. Patient, Heal Thyself! Rather than heed the sign at the door to the nation's health care system -- "Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here!" --
we must address our health, as this beast is already sucking 17% of our GDP and scheduled to go higher. It's as big as our waistlines and growing just as fast.
6. Connect the Dots. It is always good to pay attention to broad-based grassroots movements. A "Common Wisdom" -- such as the current idea that it might be better to tax consumption rather than earned income -- may actually be a good idea, even though it flies in the face of "Conventional Wisdom".
7. Become Producers Again. Americans should recoil from the label we have so blithely accepted for ourselves: "Consumers". This is not the label of a proud and free people, but a nation of sheep. We are a nation of borrowing consumers, gobbling up about 25% of the world's resources as we consume "bread and circuses". It is a measure of shame and ruin that 70% of our economy is devoted to consumer consumption.