Trudging around snowy London, it was impossible to escape another thought: Surely what's true of the weather is true of other kinds of unexpected change, too. People who no longer remember slow economic growth, for example, might not be able to cope with negative growth, let alone a severe recession. In London, it hasn't snowed much for 18 years, so no one owns a snow shovel -- and if they do, they don't know how to use it. In the United States, the economy hasn't really collapsed since 1929, so no one knows how to save string and tinfoil -- and if they did, they wouldn't know what to do with them. A whole set of skills, from cooking with leftovers to recycling bottles (not because it's green, but because it's thrifty) has been lost during two generations of prosperity, in much the same way the British have forgotten how to drive their cars through slush. The last time I went to have some shoes resoled in Washington, the cobbler told me he wasn't going to be in business much longer, so low had the demand for his services sunk. Does anyone know how to repair toasters anymore? What about television sets?I SEE; now it's the public's fault that mega-capitalism has been able to lobby, or "lobby", its way into an economy and a government designed to protect stock prices rather than labor? Like the producers of consumer electronics, clothing, and "convenience" items are unaware they benefit from premature obsolescence? They don't know the relative profit margins of shoddy vs. well-made products, nor the precise point where the Returns begin Diminishing? They haven't been manipulating this sort of thing for decades, and as much by political as economic means? I grant you it's The Public that voted for Empty Promises and Rising Tides time and again, but the public can't be expected to know better without the repeated application of Hard Lessons. People toss out junk and buy new because it's cheaper to do so; it's cheaper because that benefits Big Business. Lady, Thomas Edison's light bulbs still work.
And I'm told tin foil makes lovely--and durable--protective headcoverings, though that depends to some extent on what's about to fall on you.