'The greatest financial crisis since the great depression' we were told. But if you haven’t lived through poverty, experienced war or famine, then it may be very difficult to even begin to gauge what that means exactly. so, imagine a world with no money, no electricity, no fuel, limited transport, no internet, no phone, no 'jobs', limited clean water, no waste management, none of the comforts we’ve become so accustomed to, what would that feel like, what would it look like?
Not sure the common man or woman totally understood the magnitude at the time, we were close, we were very very close, close to a total financial collapse. The banks that hold your money, were more or less wiped out, the insurance companies which insured your money in the banks, were more or less wiped out, if they went, all your savings went with them, the fragility of the whole system was exposed for perhaps the first time in our life time. The only reason the system survived was through some forms of artificial resuscitation, it's still barely holding on.
What we sometimes forget to realise, is that before the industrial revolution, we had no electricity, no phones, no internet. Life may not have been as ‘comfortable’ as might be today, but people still lived, they managed, they did what they had to do. They got by on what they needed to survive, food, water, shelter, fire, community – if they hadn’t, you wouldn’t be here.
The 'Global Financial Crisis' (GFC) made us begin to really understand the distinction between needs and wants, it showed us that resources are finite, it reminded us that in order to survive, in order to thrive, we can’t rely on banks, politicians or having bosses – it showed us that the real value is in land and water, in people, in having skills, in the ability to grow your own food, manage your own resources, to be part of a community, to work with others and to share.
If there is a ‘grand design’ then we can be assured that everything we could ever need to survive and thrive has been provided for us. But we’ve lost our individual ability to harvest, to appreciate the abundance the world has to offer – we exploit resources to fulfil wants, feeding our egos, instead of our souls - but at what expense is the question?
If anything, the GFC spawned a great awakening; the people are starting to 'get it', even if our ‘leaders’ don’t. The age of measuring success by how much money you have is ending, success itself is being redefined. Yes, you’ll continue to see the rise in organic living, in permaculture, urban gardening, urban and community farming. The re-alignment of priorities is already beginning to take shape.
These are strange and uncertain times we live in, but if anything, should another, bigger financial crisis hit, then perhaps this time, we may be a little more prepared.