Monday, November 8, 2010


A small country has fewer people.
Though there are machines that can work ten to a hundred times faster than man, they are not needed.
The people take death seriously and do not travel far.
Though they have boats and carriages, no one uses them.
Though they have armor and weapons, no one displays them.
Men return to the knotting of rope in place of writing.
Their food is plain and good, their clothes fine but simple, their homes secure;
They are happy in their ways.
Though they live within sight of their neighbors,
And crowing cocks and barking dogs are heard across the way,
Yet they leave each other in peace while they grow old and die.
Lao Tse
Tao Te King #80 

I would really like to head up my buddy Locutius' place this week for a well deserved break from squeezing all the blood out of the turnips.  But I have a feeling that the turnips have more for me to do.   In a way, I am a living example of the changes to lifestyle that most of us will have to bringing on line in the next little while.  The big dogs like Kunstler and Greer and other such folks speak glowingly of "localization", this is what that noble sounding little phase means.

Localization is what you do when you don't have access to the coin or the easy debt that allows to to take off whenever you wish to go somewhere.  Localization means spending a couple of hours weatherstripping and fixing the door seal on your beat up old refrigerator.  Localization means that you have to keep the old car running longer than its shelf life so money goes into tires and maintenance.  Localization means that since vegetables are getting ungodly expensive, you have to go out and dig in the compost and manure for next years planting.

You know, what localization really means is that you live within your means.  Now as usual in the world, the means for folks are different.  Five years ago, my means were a lot better, I wasn't as constrained as I am now.  There are a lot of folks out there who are still living that.  But more and more of us are moving a couple of rungs down the ladder.  That means that we are becoming more local.

I think that one of the reasons that I get so impatient with the folks who spout the benefits of "localization" is that these big boys really aren't "localized".  They jump on planes to go speak with folks at meetings (Most of these which draw attendants from all over the world who flew to the conference).

They preach the local thing, but their frequent flyer miles would tell another story.  In my less than charitable moments, I wonder if us "just folks" here in flyover territory who are being forced against our wills, into the dreams that they themselves are unwilling to live, are anything but picturesque stage props for their ascent into sage/philosopher status


russell1200 said...

"You know, what localization really means is that you live within your means".

I understand what you are getting at, but I think that living within your means through localism is unobtainable (by design) for many at the lower income levels.

Local is not necessarily inexpensive.

treesong said...

Localization, as I perceive it, cannot possibly happen because our communities would have to produce practically everything we need/use. The Amish & Mennonites and possibly those who truly live a minimalist lifestyle come closest to localism.

We currently live on our preps - other than the electric, propane and satellite/internet/phone service. We've had no need for a grocery store or hardware - yet. But the time will come and the needed part will likely come from China or Mexico.

As for living within our means, we accomplished that long ago. In January our mortgage will be paid.

What we concern ourselves with now is producing our food next growing season. No amount of canned/dried food will sustain forever.