The economy of ruralism

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The economy of ruralism

Postby Stephen Morgan » Fri Jan 28, 2011 11:25 am

I was formed by poverty. Whenever the phone rings, whenever there's a knock on the door, my first instinct is to run and hide. When I was young any knock at the door could be, probably would be, a bailiff or copper, or some other repressive agent of the moneyed elites. There was never any money so anything to be bought had to be got on tick. I never developed any of the popular delusions about rights and private property, it was made clear to me from my birth that there's always someone more powerful than you, someone with more money than you, who can come and take what's yours, can burglarise your house while the police stand outside to hold their coats.

Water rates, electricity prices, all those things which were once the property of the people of the country and are now owned by vested interests. The greed which drove the privatisation siphons off a disproportionate part of the income of the poor. The situation has reverted to that which Orwell decried, that of those better off complaining, outraged, that the poor and unemployed get on with their lives in the state in which they're kept, rather than attempting to struggle out at every hour of the day.

One of the worst things about poverty is the insecurity. As the saying goes, one must speculate to accumulate. It's impossible to make such a gamble if you're in the position people like myself perenially are. That's why the Government's glib reassurances that students won't be put off by being forced into debt to attain an education. They won't have to pay it back until they're making a certain amount of money, they say. Of course, the Old Etonians who run the government couldn't spend all of their money if they took to heating their houses with bonfires of twenty pound notes. They neither know nor care about the plight of the poor. The idiots in the media seem surprised that the economy has started to shrink as a result of HMG's policies, although anyone with the slightest knowledge of economics could have predicted it (with the obvious exception of professional economists). In fact, it seems likely this deflationary trend was an intentional policy, as it has been so often in the past. They will never know the experience of having debt hanging over ones head like a sword of Damocles, snowballing with interest regardless of whether it has to be paid immediately or not. It also means those being educated in, say, nursing rather than business or banking will be in debt eternally and will go to their deaths as someone else's feudatory.

Not only in that way have we arrived, once more, at the situation which Orwell found in his day. Humanity declines. Fort thought diseases had a natural life expectancy, a sort of bell curve in which they came into being, reached the height of their potency, then declined and expired to the cheers of priests, Shamen and medicine men claiming credit for the victory over disease. Perhaps mankind does the same, if not the race then the civilisation which it currently supports, and which supports it.

I can see how it might be appealing to try to abandon this civilisation, the somewhat irresponsible impulse of the rat on the now infamous sinking ship. In reality, of course, should civilisation fall there will be no earthly refuge, other than a mercifully quick death, and no amount of wilderness training and ammo will help. Even less likely to help would be "self-sufficiency". I don't mean the traditional psychological state, which may help to inure one against the psychological trauma likely to be caused by, for example, recourse to cannibalism during times or famine. I mean the idea that one man can be an island and set himself up on a bit of dirt and survive the Fall, supping on his peapod wine as the end comes.

It could be that I'm just jealous, but nonetheless I'm rational. I'm especially annoyed by the Idler. Advocating, as he does, various criminal offences along the lines of driving without insurance and possession of a television without a licence. Just today I got a threatening letter from the TV licence people, even though I do have a licence and don't have a TV. But he commits these crimes with impunity, seemingly unworried by the fines and bailiffs that effect the rest of us.

It is not, in fact, possible to set up in a "self-sufficient", if I may use the inherently misleading term, manner without a large investment of cash at the beginning. Nor is it likely to be a remunerative use of your time or energy to do so. And if things really go bad all you've done is paint a target on yourself in your effort to abandon the rest of mankind to their fate.

Good luck in hell!
Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible. -- Lawrence of Arabia
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Stephen Morgan
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