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December 17, 2008

Questions for a Species on the Brink

As the grim financial news worsens, there still seems little awareness of the problems awaiting our urbanized, technology-dependent species in the near future. Taking just the latest disaster as an example, the discovery that hedge fund operator Bernard Madoff may have made fifty billion dollars disappear, is really just another regulatory failure analogous to the sub-prime mortgage crisis which has already siphoned away billions of tax dollars, allegedly to rescue (some) Wall Street firms in a bail out we'd been warned against in April. That same treasury secretary was later forced to admit (confess?) that bailing out “Main Street” was more complicated than he'd thought; so he had simply punted.

As for the American auto industry; we’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, there is still no definitive answer to the nagging question of global warming and whether we have the means, as a species, to keep the lights on and the engines of commerce running while we scramble to find (and deploy) the alternative sources of energy that many who are either scientifically skeptical or ignorant (take your pick) insist we don’t need at all.

Against that troubling backdrop, I have a few questions: where will the millions of homeowners who can no longer pay their mortgages live after the banks that won’t be able to sell or maintain the houses they are being evicted from do force them out on the street? Who will do the evictions? And who will protect those houses against occupancy by squatters when the cities where they are located can no longer afford to pay their police after their tax base disappears?

As the grim financial future that may be awaiting us draws ever closer, I will have other disturbing questions to ask; right now I’m simply waiting to see when/if they will finally occur to others.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at December 17, 2008 04:26 PM