I am worried about Jim.
Jim is in an outer loop of the economy, a very precarious place to be. But first let me explain the ‘loops’.
Primary Producers are at the centre where all loops begin. They grow and raise food so they are not working in an expendable industry. My maternal grandfather was a farmer who used horses for everything from hauling logs to powering the sulky that took him and Grandma to town. But that all changed when he bought a tractor. Tractors do not eat grass and do not self propagate, so his purchase started a second line of loops that include tractor manufacturers, whose demand for materials created the next level of loops of miners, oil drillers, refiners, service mechanics, you get the picture.
More tractor manufacturers joined in so dealerships sprang up and new loops were formed that managed sales for manufacturing, a services not directly producing food or an object we can see and feel. But soon the dealer no longer had time to sweep out his showroom so he hired a cleaner and yet another loop was created.
Then the cleaner became so busy he hired Jim’s Pooch Grooming Service and now, every Thursday morning, Deefer gets a wash and a brush, her claws trimmed and anal glands expressed and yet another class of loops was added. We need these loops to create employment as productivity increases and industry continues to automate but we now have more people in outer loops than inner loops and it is these outer loops that are first to go when money gets tight.
Outer Loop jobs depend on our discretionary dollar. They include restaurant staff, tour operators and Jim’s Mowing, the specialist BBQ cleaner and I must not leave out the busty blonde who bursts into the blue-collar work place in her van offering espresso coffee and hot pies to blokes who gather around to admire her legs and torso while spending twenty times the cost of a cut lunch and thermos of coffee.
When the Great Depression peaked in the late 30’s, over half the population here worked on the land so when sons and daughters lost their town jobs they came home where there was a cow to milk, some chooks for eggs, a few fruit trees and a veggie patch so they did not starve and were hale and healthy when the economy recovered..
Now, Agriculture here in Oz employs less than one in forty so where do our sons and daughters go if unemployment hits 30% or worse?
We are facing fundamental and worldwide shifts in energy, environment, population and wealth distribution. We need a survival plan and leaders to explain it and guide us through it.
It seems they are here, but their voices are being drowned out by populists of the Right, who insist the Market will sort out all those loops we created while we were running up our credit cards and the Left which seems more interested in same sex marriage. Both are aided and abetted by media continuing to direct our attention to which celeb is cheating on whom, obscuring the fact we are in crisis and desperately in need of a global plan and a social contract to deliver it.
That mix of undermined respect for leaders, voyeurism, platitudes, scandal and lies leaves us confused. Confusion leads to anger and so we get Greece. There, rioting is threatening the fabric of their society and it is spreading. So what are our politicians doing as they jostle for power? They are talking war. Should we be surprised? Of course not.
That will get our attention away from their appalling economic management and the diminishing habitat of the brown breasted miniature whistling duck! To fight each other is in our genes so war it will be and our last chance to address the issues of environment, energy and population will be abandoned. Are we really that stupid?
Note: No disrespect is intended towards the many good people who work in service industries, including Jim's franchises.
I am really concerned for their futures, as I am for Humanity as a whole.