Thursday, September 10, 2009

Every Rose Has It's Thorn

A recession was bound to happen.

Pretty much everything I've ever really needed to know I learned in elementary school. Everything else has simply contributed to my thinking too hard about what turn out to be really simple problems. In elementary school we learned about ecosystems. An ecosystem is basically all the stuff in an environment that functions together as a unit. All the individual living and non-living things in a habitat (the environment in which these living and non-living things exist) have relationships with one another to varying degrees. Those are the basics.

I hope I didn't insult anyone's intelligence with the elementary school science recap.

As part of the lesson on ecosystems, we learned about the deer example. There is a population of deer. The deer eat plants. The deer are eaten by predators. All these things keep each other in check. Now, say something happens to the predators. The deer will continue to multiply unchecked. Eventually there will be more deer than available plant food supply. The deer will eat all the plants, and, barring any intervention on the part of the predator, the deer will begin to die from starvation. Once starved down to a dwindling number, the plants will begin to repopulate the area. Once the food supply is back, the deer will begin to multiply once again. But this is why the predator is an integral part of the ecosystem. No one likes the idea of deer being eaten, but that's because humans are insanely silly creatures with no sense.

Better a few be eaten than a whole mess of them slowly starve to death.

I should probably state up front that I got a D in economics. But logic would dictate that, just as is the case with the deer, the economy is bound to go into recession from time to time. A lot of people honestly seem to believe that the economy should always be growing or, at the very least, stabilized in such a way that they can buy stuff and be comfortable. The minute there's trouble they think, "Hey, this must be somebody's fault! We have to get to the bottom of this and make that bastard pay! Also, someone should fix this situation! Why isn't anyone fixing this situation? Someone should come up with a plan, put the plan in place, and we'll all be back to stocking up on iPhones and new cars in no time! 6 months, tops!" This is because humans are insanely silly creatures with no sense.

I may have gotten a D in economics, but it was mostly from skipping class--not a lack of critical thinking skills.

In an effort to draw the connection between the deer population situation and the economics thing, I copied this from Wikipedia's page on economics:

Thomas Robert Malthus used the idea of diminishing returns to explain low living standards. Population, he argued, tended to increase geometrically, outstripping the production of food, which increased arithmetically. The force of a rapidly growing population against a limited amount of land meant diminishing returns to labor. The result, he claimed, was chronically low wages, which prevented the standard of living for most of the population from rising above the subsistence level.

So, basically, a recession is inevitable when the human population grows beyond available resources. Since we're largely unchecked by predators (whether the predator be a wild animal or common sense), we were bound to start starving to death eventually.

Since this whole thing is an analogy, I'll stop fucking up the lessons and just get to the point.

The point here is that people have funny ideas about what should happen in life. Oh, sure, everyone will say that they understand that life can't always be perfect. But if there's anything I know to be true, it's that people's behavior always tells you more than what they say about what they really think. And all these people who say they understand that life cannot be perfect all the time promptly start looking for somebody to hang as soon as the shit hits the fan. Instead of trying to figure out what they can do as individuals to try to make the situation better and/or survive it intact, most people just start acting as if this horrible situation was somehow a surprise and a crime.

They act like victims.

Whenever I start in on this argument, I'm told that it sounds like I think people shouldn't be held accountable for their actions. Nothing could be further from the truth. But before I hold anyone else accountable for his or her actions, I have to hold myself accountable for my own. People love to live high on the hog and then act shocked when the well runs dry. I know I'm mixing my metaphors there, but the fact remains that we don't get to just take and take from the ecosystem or the economy without putting anything back in.

And this brings me to the real point of this whole thing.

A recession was bound to happen. And I'm not talking about ecosystems or economics at all.

1 comment:

  1. Let me say this...I love the way you presented this piece. A breath of fresh air in this world of blogging. So intelligently put and TRUE!

    We are a country that runs on greed, thus your analogy of "a recession is inevitable when the human population grows beyond available resources" rings nothing but true. Common sense does not appear to be getting used on any level at this point and we are all suffering because of it. Yet, when the shit hit the fan, it was everyone's but no one's fault. WTF!

    Life cannot be perfect all the time; this is very true. But with a little bit of common sense it can go as smooth as possible.

    My personal opinion is that this recession is a perfect time to rid the corporations of all the dead ass weight that is making ill business decisions, but getting six-figure salaries to fuck up.

    Take care,