Let’s pause for a moment and think about the consequences of resource depletion for the future organization of society, caused by a blogpost titled “Why We Need a Planned Economy”.We are not convinced that will be unavoidable. The basic question is not how to save the market economy, let alone how to erect a socialist planned economy, but how we can save civilization under the new reality of resource depletion. The big contours of this new reality can already be discerned:
– Reverse globalism in favour of local production and trade. Protectionism is no longer a dirty word.
– Energy saving on all domains of private and public life.
– Stimulated if not obligatory investment in local energy production, that is wind, solar, bio, hydro and geothermal. Tell communities they have to bevome energy independent in a timeframe of say 10-15 years.
– Prioritize application of remaining fossil fuels: agriculture comes first, car production and aviation comes last.
– Replace wellfare partly with a kolchoze idea: you can get food in return for work at a community farm. No more free handouts.
– Increase retirement age. Flexible arrangements enabling to work longer but ever less hours.
– The internet is going to be the backbone of economic life and will play an ever greater role in information exchange, work organization, education, transactions, buying and selling, auctions, etc. Consider for example a typical day in the office, regardless whether in LA, New York, London, Amsterdam, Berlin or Moscow:
– Drive to your work.
– Fetch your badge to enter building, greet security.
– Take the elevator to the correct floor.
– Sit behind your desk and switch on computer.
– Walk to coffee machine and get your first cappuchino of the day (with many to follow).
– Daily meeting with collegues; tell how the work is getting on, what you intend to do today.
– Sit behind the computer for the rest of the morning, fetch 2-3 more capuchinos and go to the toilet at ca. 11:00.
– Lunch break, discuss soccer game of last weekend, avoid politics.
– Back to the computer, fight sleep caused by too heavy lunch. Two more coffee.
– 15:00 collegue has cake because of his birthday. 15 people standing around the table next to the coffee machine, thinking of what to say next.
– 17:15 switch off computer, time to go home.
– Greet security again, use your badge to open the door and drive home.
This is the office reality of (out of the top of my head) 60% of the total workforce of a modern economy.
Observation: nothing in this setup is essential to actually be in the centralized office, certainly not with modern means of communications like broadband telephones, internet, webcams, headsets, conferencing software, cloud. The work can be done from home as well or if necessary from a local office at walking distance from the workers home, harbouring people of different organisations, who have nothing to do with each other apart from sharing a toilet and offering each other cake celebrating a birthday.
Big advantage: the car is no longer necessary for office workers. Realizing that a car is mainly used for commuting, this means a big relief for the family budget in a declining economy.