Friday 17 February 2012

In the Loop.

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.


  1. Dear Stafford,
    Your post is downright frightening, and I hope not prophetic. How did we lose our 'common' sense? Where will we go, what will we do in the case of war? Tell folktales and legends in the middle of the night?

    Everytime a big war breaks out, I plant tapioca in my backyard. It was what my grandma did during WWII. She planted pineapples and bananas too.

    I have pineapple, pomegranates and wild cherries fruiting now in my garden, and I sigh. It is not enough - the problem with humanity was that it was NEVER enough.

  2. You have expressed the basic situation worldwide. Outer loops always appear to pay more for less effort, so people strive to get into them, not realizing the farther out they get, the more at risk they are. By focusing attention o some "crisis" those in power can manipulate the mob to ignore their pushing them farther out in the loops.

  3. As always .. great food for thought. Way too many of us 'look the other way.' It's so much easier. I'm hoping this was published in a place where thousands and thousands have the opportunity to read it.

  4. This is an amazing piece... oh, what are we do to? Are we being out-smarted or out-dumbed?

  5. Thanks for commenting everyone. You all really got it!!
    Yes Ninotaziz, this piece might be prophetic, but the pattern is so clear that I claim no special insights and Annell, yes, it is hard to know what to do, being informed is hard work and having an opinion opens us to possible ridicule.
    But we can look for the truth, listen to scientists as we would listen to our own doctor, not to politicians who denigrate those whose job it is to investigate and inform. Scientists are the doctors of the planet who investigate and recommend treatments.
    They are not always right, but the Scientific Method at least keeps them honest and that is all we can ask of anyone.
    Question those who say we should 'have faith' that we are being watched over. Ask for evidence and look for it yourself in the detail of the big picture.
    Working against us now are the very instincts of flight or fight that allowed us to survive in this world where all life is lived as part of a food chain. We naturally fight as our genes dictate, but in some ways those genes are now our enemy. We now have the means to render our environment untenable by continued destruction by logging, mining, fishing, pollution etc or by atomic war.
    If you think atomic war is insane you are right, but if you think our current leaders would not use atomic weapons when there is no other way of winning, you are wrong. In every conflict there is a potential loser.
    Compare our impact on our environment with that of a hundred years ago and realise there is only one word that describes what must be our goal: Sustainability.
    That must be applied to everything we do if we are to avoid extinction. We have driven the planet past its limits with population, pollution and destruction of natural systems.
    We must also think about what Democracy means and how we live in it.
    To me, Democracy means we all vote for policies we prefer then the majority governs for all while the minority supports the majority government with respect until the next election.
    Democracy depends on a free and independent media so when we vote we do so based on reliable information.
    Unfortunately, we are governed by parties with vested interests and our opinions are manipulated by vested interests, so we are badly informed at best and lied to constantly.
    Just think back to when we were being told by vested interests threatened with regulation; 'smoking is not a health hazard', 'cars cannot run on unleaded fuel', 'brake linings must have asbestos', 'refrigeration must have CFC's',
    Remember where these lies originated, then ponder on the current lies, 'the planet is not warming', 'we are in a natural cycle', 'CO2 is a natural gas (at any concentration)', ‘Obama is a Communist’.
    Those lies were perpetrated by corporations threatened by change. Corporations do not have a conscience, nor do they demand anything from their employees except they generate profit.
    We also need to question the ‘Economic Growth is Vital’ myth. Clearly EG is unsustainable and only ‘vital’ for the maintenance of a rising stock market. Who has the most interest in maintaining a rising stock values? Dfish is right to point out that some in the outer loops , and that could include players of the market, can reap the biggest gains, but only in a rising market. Enough said!
    War has always been used by desperate leaders as a diversion and that has not changed.
    For the very first time in my life I will march and wave a banner when this country's leaders next decide to follow the US Commander-in-Chief into his next 'diversion war' on ............. fill in your choice from the following:
    Regime Change (This is about as arrogant as it gets).
    Add your own.
    And of course I will vote.

  6. Just think back to when we were being told by vested interests threatened with regulation; 'smoking is not a health hazard', 'cars cannot run on unleaded fuel', 'brake linings must have asbestos', 'refrigeration must have CFC's',

    'Remember where these lies originated, then ponder on the current lies, 'the planet is not warming', 'we are in a natural cycle', 'CO2 is a natural gas (at any concentration)', ‘Obama is a Communist’.

    Those lies were perpetrated by corporations threatened by change. Corporations do not have a conscience, nor do they demand anything from their employees except they generate profit.

    I just watched Michael Moore's Capitalist : The Love Story.

    How right you are.

    Take a break, come read some poetry, my dear friend. I wrote one entitled Illusion this week at

  7. Dear Stafford,

    Would you mind if I repost your 'In The Loop' article on my main blog (which is separate from my poetry blog), with credits of course? I feel people from everywhere should read this.

  8. ninotaziz, we really need a new paradigm to guide us through this crisis, free of dogma and jingoism. Of course I am delighted at your offer and hope we can attract readers and comment. I always hope to be convinced I am wrong. That would make the future so much easier!

  9. We have a plan, its just being rejected or not understood by the media and government.
    Friedich Hayak in A Free-Market Monentary System and the Pretense of Knowledge. In the latter of the two essays he argues that no one can know enough to lead such an economic plan you seek. It must be either free market or voluntary. Wikipedia came out of a discussion of this booklet by Hayek by Jimmy Wales and others.
    The financial problems we see today are a product of governments rejecting the first essay on money in his Hayek's little book. The problem of bureaucracy comes from their rejection of the second essay in that book.
    Read Abundance by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kolter. They outline what the mainstream media has not yet grasped. A new paradigm is here but its not political or bureaucratic its driven by donations.
    The Key is here on wikipedia.
    These can do what you want done in the free market. They're in Diamandis book. Their funding thousands of projects. They're behind the crowd sourcing boom,
    Their not building bridges, fixing potholes or funding aged care yet but they can and will. This one is
    Its new in Australia but we will do it.
    Hayek's book is available as a free download.

  10. Check out my blog for more mate:

    I'm just down in Canberra.

    1. Thanks Wesley, had a look at the blog and was very interested in what I found there. Did quick diversion to Wiki and will read more. As I said, there must be a new paradigm. Maybe this is it.

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