Wednesday, December 27, 2006

What We Should Do

To those that have been following the travails of "Zebediah", the goals are pretty clear:
  1. Increase the personal savings rate
  2. Lower total debt as a percentage of GDP
  3. Re-create a vibrant middle class
  4. Replace fossil fuels as primary energy sources and become energy independ
I strongly believe that all of the above can be combined into a single, comprehensive package: the installation of a new domestic energy regime will create millions of new well-paid jobs, will allow for much lower defence spending and provide the means to consume out of income instead of debt.

Specifically, we should:
  • Sharply raise fossil fuel taxes
  • Raise corporate and personal income taxes - particularly for the top 10% of earners
  • Invest at least 5% of annual GDP into a new energy regime
  • Impose a national sales tax
  • Eventually reduce defence spending by 50%
  • Replace consumption with capital spending as a driver of GDP growth


  1. Hellasious,

    I know you are looking at this from the perspective of making shifts in society for "the people."

    I'm approaching it differently - primarily from the point of the individual. Both are important.

    So, from my vantage point I would rework your 4 points and morph towards:

    1. Eliminate credit card debt.

    2. Go through "withdrawal" from unnecessary frills which keep you on the wheel of buying.

    3. Dramatically increase your personal savings rate.

    4. Slow down - radically.

    5. Shift into a meaningful and pleasing lifestyle based on values, relationships and beauty.

    6. All of the above pursued one step after another step after another...


  2. Dear Tim,

    You are absolutely correct - though I'm afraid people just won't do what you propose without a carrot/stick approach. At least not on a massive enough scale and quickly enough to forestall the effects of Peak Debt and Peak Oil.


  3. Hellasious,

    How about I'll be the carrot and you be the carrot and the stick.

    I like how you put together peak oil and peak debt. It's a good juxtaposition, or as Kunstler would say, a confluence of emerging crises.

    Please continue on your mission. My concern, however, is that no matter what the government does or attempts to do it will create more of the same problems.

    That's why the change has, HAS, to come from within.

    On my blog I am thinking about putting up something one of these days on "waking up from the trance state."


    p.s. If you follow my line of reasoning, you have to let us know how Zeb is going to solve his dilemma, how he is going to wake up from his trance, how he fares when he does, and whether he will just get back onto a materialistic merry-go-round or (blush) listen to my proposal.