Wednesday, November 9, 2011

No Country for Old Men

This is a really, really good post from Bill Hicks about the challenges and perils facing the elderly in the oncoming collapse.  As grim as the future may look for the rest of us, it is really going to bite hard for old people.  At least most of us have the physical wherewithal and mental well-being to possibly adapt to these changing events, as challenging as that process will undoubtedly be.  Plus, we have the advantage of not living our entire lives in a BAU paradigm.  Many of our elderly, unless they were born before or around the Great Depression, have lived their lives in relative luxury, expect to retire comfortably (provided they aren't already) and have a mindset in which economic and social collapse are the furthest thing from many of their minds.  Bill provides many great reasons for why our elderly are in for a rude awakening.  In addition to the reasons you'd expect (insolvency of our few safety nets, especially SS and Medicare), he also points out our decaying transit infrastructure, piss-poor public transit (if it exists at all, and in many parts of the country, it does not), and the atomization of our society (people constantly moving around, and away from their parents). 

Another aspect I'd like to add, although it can be strictly abstract, is the potential for intergenerational warfare.  I think, as resource constraints really clamp down on us, be it within the next year or two, the next decade, or later, younger generations are going to be really fucking pissed off at the generations before them.  We were able to grasp the fruits of these great, energy-rich resources, and pissed them away on structures and activities that had a limited shelf-life, leaving next-to-nothing for the children of tomorrow to hang on to.  In turn, currently, there are a lot of old people who simply cannot relate to the struggles that the present-day young are facing.  They look at our problems in finding gainful employment, and think "what the fuck is our problem?"  This was symbolized perfectly by the presidential candidate Herman Cain, when he was addressing the matter of the Occupy Wall Street movement and remarked that it was "their own fault" that they were not able to succeed.  Many of the Baby Boomers aren't able to grasp that their relative success in life wasn't so much a result of their hard work and efforts, but that they lived in a time of massive abundance, and in which there was plenty for everybody.  As the pie is shrinking, those at the top are still taking their big slice, but this time, there isn't enough for everybody.  And there are a lot more people now than there were then.

So there is a huge potential for this facet of collapse to play out, IMO.  The question is whether it'll be limited to cold stares and a few harsh words amongst the generations, or if it'll escalate in a few cases.

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