Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Diversify or die

In today’s news there’s another stark reminder of the need for a Social Monetary Fund, which would push the economy in general and bailout recipients in particular toward a new, social kind of diversification. The worse the economy gets, the more people hold onto their old cars, and the more people hold onto their old cars, the more we need to convert some of that capital that’s frozen up now in making cars that people aren’t buying into some more useful purpose (more useful to us chickens, that is).

I heard someone on the radio the other day mention Zipcars, and the speaker raised the following I think very timely question: Will the business of Ford, Toyota, whoever, be selling more cars to people [whether they need them or not – ed.] or will it be providing the means for people to get from one place to another?

But the stimulus money being released now, though it may have been necessary to get the ball rolling in the very shortest of runs, is not what we’re looking for. Building more roads and bridges, willy-nilly, is ultimately self-defeating. It’s not “sustainable(as we say these days), laying more pavement and concrete we can’t afford to maintain for cars people are driving less and less to jobs they are losing more and more.

How much money do we have to spend to create every 60 jobs? That’s a drop in the unemployment bucket – especially since the workers who need these jobs the most aren’t getting them.

Clearly there are some profound needs that are being addressed by the stimulus discussion. But there are also colossal needs being missed, some that have been metastasizing for more than a generation, screwing up the federal poverty numbers, etc. The point is, there is a much better way.

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