Survival of the Poorest

April 20, 2008 at 6:04 pm (Comics, Economics, Education, Environment, History, Horror, Wine)

I was thinking today about what would happen to our society if we ran out of oil, and therefore could not afford to transport food between cities, states and nations the way that we currently do, and it occurred to me that the wealthiest people in the world, those inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere who have embraced the economic promise of cities and the specialization of labor, will be the group most affected, and hardest hit, by said (still hopefully hypothetical) collapse. After all, the bulk of the world’s population is much closer to the land than your average Angelino, and is either capable of, or knows people who are capable of, large-scale agriculture, animal husbandry, and other activities associated with pre-industrial human life. It’s only us city-slickers, who are used to our frozen pizzas and two-dollar lattes, who will find ourselves suddenly without food when the crash comes. Although that’s kind of terrifying, since I am one of those city-slickers, it’s also kind of heartening, since it means that, whatever happens to the population of North America, humanity will almost certainly survive and prosper somewhere else, whether it be Africa, Asia, Australia or elsewhere.

With that in mind, however, please allow me to direct my two dear readers to this blog about survival in a post-oil world. It’s actually a variation on a topic that is near to my own heart, or at least imagination, that of “how do you survive if you get stranded on a tropical island, a la Swiss Family Robinson?” Frankly, I’d love the opportunity to spend a few years learning about agriculture, meat-drying and cheese raising, but I doubt that I’ll ever get the opportunity: I’m too invested in the afore-mentioned urban lifestyle, with its correspondingly higher wages, to break away right now. But this blog, and other resources like it, are both entertaining and handy. And maybe, if I play my cards right, I’ll be able to swing a job in a primarily agricultural part of this fair state, say, the Napa or Santa Ynez regions, and find there the opportunity to explore this part of the human life-cycle.

You know, in case I’m ever lost on a desert isle. Or in case of a zombie outbreak, and I have to lead a commune of survivors as we rebuild society. Don’t look at me like that. It could happen.

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