Thursday, March 17, 2011

The State of the World

I know that I haven't posted in a while, and I apologize. There has been so much going on around here that I just haven't had time to sit and collect my thoughts.

There are a lot of things going on in the world these says that are very worrisome. Civil wars in the Middle East, the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster in Japan, the instability in the global economies. All of these things will affect us in the months and years to come. It is rather frightening just how little most of us understand how all of these things together will affect our way of life.

Fuel costs are going up, with no end in sight. This will effect the price of everything we purchase. It will cost more to produce goods, from agricultural products to clothing and everything in between. It will cost more to get to work every day as we fill up our SUV's with gas. It will cost more to heat and cool our houses. Businesses will have to cut costs, either by cutting salaries or cutting jobs. Rising costs of production will be passed on to consumers who are already cash-strapped. Your dollar will not buy as much as inflation takes off. And that is just from fuel prices.

The disaster in Japan will have a whole different effect on us in the United States. Japan is the 3rd largest economy in the world, but at the moment, their economy is shut down. Their factories are not producing, their already produced goods are very limited and possibly contaminated. The population will soon be having food and water shortages as they deal not only with earthquake and tsunami damage, but rolling blackouts and contamination from the nuclear disaster. The Bank of Tokyo has been pumping trillions into the Japanese stock markets to keep it from completely collapsing, but there simply isn't enough yen available to maintain this.

And since every nation's economies are tied globally, it will affect every nation on Earth.

Food costs are going to be the biggest problem in my opinion. People will stop buying luxury food items, like steak, in favor of cheaper cuts and ground meats. We will stop eating out so much in favor of eating at home. Generic canned goods will become more popular choices causing a drop in sales for the name brands. Big producers will have to lay off, causing more economic problems for the US as a whole. And with the legislation being pushed through Congress that favors Big Agri, the small farmers and small producers will have no choice but to go out of business causing even more food issues.

And that is supposing that there will even be enough food to feed the country. If there appear to be shortages, a lot of people will begin hoarding food, causing even more shortages on the store shelves. Depending on just how bad it gets, there could be food riots. Yes, this is a worst case scenario, but it isn't outside the realm of possibility.

And then there is the fact that the radioactive plume being produced by the Fukushima Power Plant will reach the West Coast of the United States tomorrow. No one is really sure just how that will affect us. There is so much dis-information being thrown out on the airways it is difficult to know just what is true and what is executives playing CYA.

Are we prepared for this sort of situation? The answer for most of us is NO. As Americans, we have gotten complacent in our land of plenty. We have come to believe it is our God Given Right to have a Starbucks just around the corner and strip malls full clothing and food and closets full of shoes.

We should all be asking ourselves What If?

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