Pluto In Capricorn: Watching Business Die

I’m sorry to be morose but this blog has always been about what I see and experience on a daily basis. At the moment I watching my city die.  Not a week goes by that I don’t find myself confronted with yet another, “going out of business sale”.

Now you’d think I was crazy if I told you I could see the writing on the wall about 6 years ago when I told Vid’s dad, “All these businesses are going to be close.  I started reporting signs of the death spiral to poor satori (I actually call people and discuss this stuff) about 8 months ago when I started noticing something I don’t think many would pay mind.  What I saw was sell-outs occurring in various places you’d not expect to see them.

Having been in wholesale I know it is very costly to have empty shelf space in a store. You lose sales like crazy so this is to be avoided at all costs and what I started to see was it was not being avoided.

I thought it might be a fluke but as I continued to monitor I could see it was no fluke. I simultaneously saw the quality of produce plummet and I figured it was a logistics problem. Fuel was really high at the time and basically they are not going to move that truck until it is cost efficient to do so among other things.

Gas prices came down but I have continued to see empty shelves in a variety of businesses and I am talking about innocuous things. Things like Orbit Spearmint Gum the the soldier likes. Where the hell is the gum?

I had the idea, best get used to this. It’s as if the days of heading to the store and having what you want be there (reliably) are over.

Today I needed dark brown upholstery thread and a needle. I went to Wal-mart and could not find the needles. I asked the gal and she said, “That’s because we’re out of them.”

She walked to the peg board and showed me where they should be. There were 5 empty pegs and 1 full peg – a needle that would suffice. I took it from the hook and asked for thread. Guess what? No dark brown thread. I can have beige but not dark brown.::sighs::

Oddly, I was just in another department to shop one of those “seal-a-meal” things. The soldier thinks it might work for his truck. You know him, he is looking for MRE’s. 😉

They did carry the gizmo, however guess what? They were out of the bags that go with the thing. ::shakes head::

I bought the needle, I really needed that thread. Because I know how things work I did not try another Wal-Mart but headed to Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft store. When I walked it looked like a third world country and you got it. They’re going out of business.

What this means is I will have to wait for Walmart to get some thread in or drive – I don’t know where to get the damned thread. I stopped at Micheal’s on the way home and they don’t carry heavy thread. I think this is depressing.

What do I do? Go to Walmart every couple days and see if they have shipped some thread? Based on my experience and observations there may be no thread for weeks. Do I call them every day to have my call routed around the store so I can ask about the $2.65 cent spool of thread? How much is my time worth?

In whatever case my town continues to die. Restaurants boarded up… or about to be. It looks more like a third world country. I am sorry but that is what we are turning in to, it’s happening right before my eyes.

As I drove home I saw people selling Tootsie roll pops are the entrances to the highway. Wonder who they were. They weren’t there a year ago, I’ll tell you that.

As I mentioned on the Astrology Blogging As A Business, watching this go down around me has led me to speculate which businesses will survive. I do see some strong models out there and as I went on and on in the comments on the blogging piece, I hope to be one of them.

I see this blog becoming more and more valuable to people as time passes. I am hoping that as people witness some (or more) of what I see everywhere they will realize the necessity to support the things like this that they value. Because a store like Jo-Ann’s is not going to open to replace the one we lost. Sportsman’s Warehouse, same thing.

You get the idea. These days when something dies something else is not going to spring up in it’s place. Nope… there is going to be a void period and I suspect it is going to be much deeper and darker and longer than most realize.

I’m pretty scrappy and I think I can sustain things however not without help.

What do you make of this?

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Pluto In Capricorn: Watching Business Die — 64 Comments

  1. Makes me darn sad. When I arrived in Germany in 1996, I swear people were so pushy, fearful, agressive and unpleasant in stores. This country had collapsed 50 years previous and you could still feel it. If I were going for a roll of paper towels, an elderly woman would often weirdly lunge at the paper towels before I would get them.

    What would happen if Elsa goes back to Wal.Mart, they have one spool of the dark brown and another person wants it too. This makes the collective aggresseive, fighting for themselves and their families, but not their neighbors.

    I hope this doesnt happen to the U.S. Having a Pluto Return is not a Venus Return; it will change The System deeply to the core. Elsa, maybe you can pick up an old spinning wheel, some raw cotton and some dark brown dye instead.

  2. With the government’s seemingly increasing involvement in the private sector and the resulting teaparties(which I think was a good way of turning fear action), there is a revolutionary feeling around. I don’t think we’ve seen the worst of it and really I think most people are still stunned, but I do think this country knows what independence feels like and we’re fighters and hopefully will take right action. I think the American people, if given the opportunity, will overcome.

    I think Freud said “Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.”

  3. I don’t find these posts morose as they keep me focused, as I am trying to be “on it”, too. I hope I make the right judgments, though! It takes a lot of thought and I really appreciate these posts (as I think I’ve said before.) Thank you for bringing this up, again.

  4. I agree with you Crackers. I think the more you talk about it and realize that others feel similarly, the more the fear will dissipate and the easier it will be to find solutions.

  5. On a positive note, I’ve lived in some very large cities but currently live in a very small, rural area (1 stop light in the whole county:)) and living in a place like this provides no distractions and you must pare down and simplify, kind of boring…no malls etc…but the blessing is that you can focus on what TRULY matters, family, friends, even yourself. So maybe in the long run this sort of reprioritizing will be good for our country.

  6. Crackers – thanks. Opting to write this stuff is a difficult decision for me. It’s incredibly personal for one thing though I realize that why is not obvious.

    I wish I could see things like everyone else, however I don’t. I lost my chance at that a long time ago and can’t get it back.

    This is for good/ill I guess.

  7. I want to send you some thread! I know this isn’t what you’re asking for, but seriously…just email me. Maybe this is what people’ll need to do…screw waiting for a supplier to ship to where we are, ask around, pool resources…I mean what’s buying a $3 spool of thread and popping it in the mail to send it to you considering how much you provide on this blog to feed other people?

    I firmly believe that people who are of a sound and caring mind will be ahead of the game because sharing our practical concerns will help us distribute our resources. I once gave an old bike frame to a bike shop, who sold it for cheap to a guy without much money, and I just found out that that same bike is now in a museum exhibition about cycling in my city!
    I was sooooo happy to hear that my little bicycle is now in a museum! lol
    Here again one of the many benefits of sharing what you’ve got.

  8. “and living in a place like this provides no distractions and you must pare down and simplify, kind of boring…no malls etc…but the blessing is that you can focus on what TRULY matters, family, friends, even yourself. So maybe in the long run this sort of reprioritizing will be good for our country.”

    I agree kvk. In a country where everything is so disposable and shopping has become a hobby, I don’t think that this all is such a bad thing. We will all just have to learn to make do with what we have.

  9. Thanks, kash. I sewed the couch with black thread this afternoon, it’ll just have to do. But yeah, people will do that, at least people like you.

    I am silly typing on your old keyboard – I love this thing!! 🙂

  10. It’s like you Elsa…you came up with this site out of neccessity. Your daughter was sick and you wanted to be home with her but you needed to work, to make money…so you came up with this site. I’m sure you, at the time, would’ve rather things were different but with your ingenuity and creativity you came up with a solution that not only helps and entertains others but honors your priority to your family. I’ve talked with a lot of people who are thinking of creative and different ways to solve these things for themselves and their families…solutions they never would have thought of if the state of the economy wasn’t what it is and they hadn’t needed to.

  11. kash, this is my favorite keyboard of my life and totally unexpected. I thought you were sort of crazy when you said you were going to send it but hey! It’s keeping it’s letters and it reminds me of an old fashioned saddle shoe, LOL.

  12. ha ha! another thing…people have commented to me, through out my life, about things I have received for free, “you’re so lucky etc etc” but the truth is I realized very young that if you keep giving you will keep receiving. an old fashioned truth…i think the in-vogue expression is “paying it forward” but i don’t like it. My personal bias is with the word “paying.” my Jupiter/Venus doesn’t like that.
    i wonder if we all come up with our own lexicon for giving?

    i wonder about this especially with jupiter/neptune/chiron in aquarius. an especially poignant time during which people can discover the gifts of sharing what they’ve got?

  13. kash, I think greedy people are bereft and I mean that across the board.

    The way I put it, some years ago – People who give always seem to have something to give and people who don’t… don’t.

  14. That’s what I see happening kashmiri. But I see the have’s seperating from the have not’s (that includes money, power etc) and the have not’s seem to empathize with each other and pull together. I really think the majority of people have had tough times and will pull for each other. When you look back at the great depression, the people of this country did not turn on each other because they knew their neighbor was in the same boat. I think it makes a difference that we in this country know what freedom, independence and thriving is and that gives us a bit of a different mentality than anywhere else in the world.

  15. Over the past few months I have had a few “aha” moments, that tell me what’s required of me is to just show up—and I hope I can explain. I think sometimes due Saturn in Capricorn 4th house I lack exuberant generosity with things material. I’ve had so many low moments recently, but keep showing up, and giving all I’ve got despite it, and am sometimes so surprised by the gratitude shown me just for being around and being me. Things don’t seem as abundant—but they have nothing to do with my smile, strong shoulders, sense of humor, innate compassion. It’s just never been more clear to me that there are people all over my little corner of the universe who need and value these things. Every time I want to run and hide or pull the cover over my head (and that happens more often than I would like to admit) I remember. For me, it’s hard, but the solution seems so simple.

  16. i hear what you are saying, kvk…but part of the reason why people did not turn on each other was because their needs were different. most people didn’t drive to work, or own televisions, or worry too much about constantly updating their wardrobes.
    i live in canada. amongst the social programs that exist now, that didn’t exist in the Depression: the canada pension plan, unemployment insurance, national social assistance, or family allowances.

    basically, you’d have to be a total jerk/destitute and some people were. i’ve got the family stories to prove it unfortunately. our family suffered terribly during a time when many people were not generous at all. they were starving.
    i believe much of what you are saying…but i don’t know how helpful it is to look to the distant past when things were so incredibly different. the 20th century is a weird and wild one.

  17. But those things you mention are not needs they are wants and we have gotten to the point where we confuse the two. And those programs would never have come about had the depression not happened. I have personally been through some desperate and devastastating financial times and quite honestly, when a person can overcome these things through their own action and perserverence it gives them strength. And really I just feel that when anyone has gone through anything devastating and comes through it…on the other side they are better for it…kind of like steel must be forged in a fire I suppose.

  18. “we have gotten to the point where we confuse the two”

    I agree. Yet there are people living in small towns in the middle of nowhere of both Canada and the US who must drive to buy basic supplies. Their car isn’t a want. Life is different, is all I’m saying. The Depression is often evoked, but I’m not sure why. I also live in a city with somewhat decent infrastructure and can live car free. My sister, up in the north in a town that is dying doesn’t have the same life as I do.
    Weirdly similar to Elsa’s thread dilemma: she went to her local Fabricland recently to find it closed down and subsequently couldn’t find thread anywhere else.

  19. Kashmiri’s spontaneous solution makes it clear that the future might well sprout with more online boards/communities where friends and like minded people get on to swap ‘stuff’. I’ll come here first! ;P Reminds me of the Ithica Hours ( check out ithica hours . com) and otherwise differently-organized communities taking more visible form.

    I might get a bit off tracks here… Years ago a friend recounted to me about volonteering to house and care for a women from the former USSR. The next day after she landed, they went for groceries. As they walked into the cereal aisle, she kept on going from lined up boxes of one brand to another, and right there and then, she broke down, shaking in tears, howling, he said. At first I really did not get it, that it would be such a shock to be surrounded by a state of ‘plenty’, so many choices it would dizzying– then I thought about having had no other experience ever then lining up sometimes for hours in bitter cold to purchase whatever foods the store has available. I hope it never gets to that point here.

  20. “Kashmiri’s spontaneous solution makes it clear that the future might well sprout with more online boards/communities where friends and like minded people get on to swap ’stuff’.”

    I am on several Freecycle (www.freecycle.org) mailing lists and they are really thriving! People go on to give away things they no longer need (everything from furniture, clothing, tools, food, etc etc etc) and people post things they need, as well. The whole RRFM movement as well where people set up outdoor swapmeets where everything is free is pretty awesome, too (and it instills a great connection/sense of community, as well.)

    Our whole way of life here in the United States is based on making money in order to consume… and in the past 50 or so years the money has become so plentiful that we consume for consumption’s sake and that’s where things have gotten all fucked up. How many of the things that we buy are complete trash with no real purpose?? But, it’s a vicious cycle and the only way to sustain it is by consuming more and more… See, this is where I see that a change needs to occur and, of course, it will be painful. It is very necessary though for our wellbeing as human beings.

  21. monica (and grrr!)i think this stuff is RAD. In my city we are famous for our free boxes and our habit of leaving things on the sidewalks/alley ways for people to take. A few of the more posh suburbs have a designated “dump day”. That’s the day where people put anything they don’t want out to the curb…at the end of the day the city collects it for the dump. Before that is a total free for all….bikes, furniture, you name it.
    Today I went for a long walk, and picked up a great book about a gal who moved to Thailand. Amongst the other things I saw: more books, new hiking boots, a “free sale” (a yard lined up with nice things), baskets, plants, 6 elton john records, terra cotta planters, a set of plates…and I’m wearing clothes I found on the street (makes up for the expensive shoe habit).

  22. Powerful post here and the ideas coming forth are really good ones. Anyone familiar with the quilters of Gees Bends? This was isolated African American community in Alabama who survived the hardest of times. They scrapped together quilts from worn out trousers and old thing they could find. I’m thinking about how theraputic and healing sewing and patching things up can be…and how essential thread is. Here in Beirut, in a city ravaged by 20 year civil war…you can find threads, fabrics, tailors and the sewing machines buzzing on almost every city block in my neighborhood. Actually this is true in a lot of poorer 3rd world countries as well. I think if Elsa had gone looking for something else and not found it, it might not have had quite the same impact..even though it was only the missing item pointing to the larger picture, the shut-down of business. Thread – essential in keeping our lives stitched together. No way are you going to be without it Elsa!

  23. Waking up today and seeing this “thread” thread makes me happy. This is why I want to come back to America, Pluto return and all! There is an arrogance and cynacism in Europe where you just keep thread-giving hush hush in the family and you act kind of smug when people come over and say “Oh, nice black thread sewn on your sofa… um WHERE DID YOU GET IT?” but then go back to being cool again “No-no we have our OWN thread, um personally I would have used a dark brown” and then you find out the snob is missing the black in his sewing kit. It’s screwed up!

    I know we WONT talk about politics on this blog, but I will talk about DIRT instead and my idea is that dirt itself has a personality, but even this topic can get muddy. But what I hypothesized when I went to Israel when I was 22 is there could be ions in soils which can emit general major unrest in humans or a general major relaxedness like say when 50 people are standing in line for something.I just remember standing in line at the movies in Haifa and people were kind of pushing with major aggressive passive aggressive energy I was like is this where the lines forms to start a war or what? In my impression, Europe does not have relaxed dirt ions either.

    Kashmiri when you offered Elsa the thread I was like: Thats IT! THAT IS SO IT!!!!! Thanks!!! And Lindsey, love those Gees Bends. I have never heard of them, but I smell a revival.

  24. Well I had this very heavy gauge black thread, I figured the brown won’t be showing up in Walmart any time soon and I don’t like to go there anyway so I am surely not going to haunt the place but here’s the kicker:

    I have that thread because Henry had they thread and I have his sewing box. Henry has been dead since 1983!! Thanks Henry!

    the place where I sewed the couch is bunched up anyway. It’s not the noticeable and if anyone is going to have a conniption about, well let them.

  25. I also saved my mothers sewing box – the thing is huge, and chock full of god knows what. That’s also where I got my own heavy black thread (I think it says fabric thread on it).

    I was wondering what other people think about Pluto in Capricorn as far as distribution of power – right now it seems like same old to me, as far as the little people being screwed, and the banks being handed (literally, handed!) billions of dollars, while they still screw all of us. It seems like those that have the power still have the power – no hand-outs for the rest of us.

  26. Well, they are keeping all the bailout money, not spreading it around like they were supposed to – not giving out more loans, raised credit-card fees to the point where people can’t even pay the minimum, just keep getting more powerful, in my opinion. They got their money back from their “bad loans” – like I said, no bail-outs for the rest of us.

  27. Dorothy – they were forced to make the bad loans. What banker is going to loan money to someone who can’t pay it back?

    And if you don’t like credit card fees, don’t pay them. No one forces a person to use a credit card.

  28. Well, I fail to see how they were forced – it was all about greed, and now all of these “bad loans” have crashed, and so has the economy. It was all just one big ponzi scheme, and every day we hear about someone else who was running their own ponzi-scheme. Sensing some hostility here, and I am looking forward to having a nice day, so I guess I will end my part of this conversation here. This is just my opinion about all this, that’s all. Hope everyone enjoys their Sunday……

  29. I’m glad you write these “morose” entries. I sometimes think I’m going crazy, because I see this going on in my town too but no one seems to notice.

    My husband and I have been successful small business owners for 20 years (him, before I came into the picture). We opened a new business in November and expected to struggle for a couple of years at least, until the business settled into itself. We aren’t just struggling, we’re fighting for our lives.

    We are situated in a redevelopment zone in a University town, and two years ago it seemed like the mom and pop businesses in this town would be saved because of this. Instead, they are closing down.

    We shop at Sam’s club for much of our supplies. Things we’ve come to depend upon are suddenly missing from the shelves… and so far have not returned. Little things like fresh celery hearts or ice cream cones.

    I appreciate your writing so bluntly and truthfully about your town there… it helps me realize that I’m not nuts and this is really happening, everywhere. So, thanks Elsa.
    xoxo

  30. Congress set the rules for the loans the banks made. i.e. they told the banks basically “you must loan to people without proof of income, you must loan to people whom you normally would not approve because of income or credit issues”. the banks had no choice but to make a certain number of these high risk loans.

  31. kvk101 – right. And so the sense of entitlement. You are entitled to a loan even though you’ve no credit history, blah blah blah.

    I remember when I was 17, I was trying to establish credit. I was told this was the thing to do – get yourself a credit card, so I went to the bank and said, “Hey! Give me a credit card.”

    The bank said, fuck you. Who are you? Why should we extend you credit?

    I said, “Okay, what do I need to do to get the fuckin’ credit card, which is probably exactly how I said it back then, being from the desert and all.

    “Do this, this, this and this…”

    Six months later I went back to the bank with what was required, including my savings account passbook which I opened when I was 15 1/2 and diligently deposited $3 and $4 at a time.

    “Now can I have a credit card?

    “Yes.”

    I have used credit since and have never paid a fee of one cent of interest – EVER on any credit card. I have free (short term) loans throughout my life – for decades.

    In turn the credit card company has got a percentage of all my purchases and I fail to see the greed here.

    The system works if it is not interfered with.

  32. believe it or not, gee’s bend turned out to be one big fat legal mess. don’t remember every detail, but in essence, the quilt work was ‘discovered’ and the quilters became a world-wide sensation (there’s still an exhibit that travels to art museums ). the quilts are very valuable and according to whomever you believe, uh, financial shenanagans occurred, mainly about selling rights to the the images. (think there were reproduction quilts being sold in sears or some such place…)

  33. lindsey- loved your analysis…really beautiful

    Deirdre-‘There is an arrogance and cynacism in Europe ‘
    well, thats a bunch of shit! we are all people, Europeans, Americans, Japanese, whomever… and the more people ‘like you’ start to differentiate the more divide you create. Every people suffer, give, are generous, and bind together in times of trouble- not just because you happen to be born American and carry an American passport makes you superior. remember that. and take a look in the mirror and at the people you hang around with- instead of generalizing. it is so ignorant, and offensive.

    getting back to the trend: yes, over here it is slowly happening. capricorn is slow and careful. i live in northeast of italy- the manufacturing engine for the country. and slowly by slowly factories are closing down. my best friend’s husband -italian -will have to go work in romania during the week- and drive home on the weekends- his company said, it is this- or no job. many young families are losing their father figure, as he must go elsewhere to find work. An african gentleman that i do volenteer work with, has decided that he cannot afford to bring his 5 yr. old over to italy- he just can’t afford it on 400euro a month salary. there is a feeling of being on the brink…but that is capricorn too.

  34. “my best friend’s husband -italian -will have to go work in romania during the week- and drive home on the weekends- his company said, it is this- or no job. many young families are losing their father figure, as he must go elsewhere to find work.”

    This is what happened to us too. The soldier was forced back on the road because manufacturing has collapsed and we can see it won’t be coming back up.

  35. Exactly Elsa. A system that worked brilliantly for years and years was messed with…you no longer had to work for the credit which I think played right into the lack of personal responsibility. I mean when you get offered a deal that sounds too good to be true, well, you read the deal…you ask around and 99.99999% of the time…it is too good to be true and if you take it there would only be trouble ahead…so there’s definitely some accountability on the consumer’s end as well.

    And speaking of personal responsibility, I think the timing of Pluto from Sag into Capricorn and the current events is pretty amazing.

  36. You no longer have to work for your self esteem either.

    I think comparisons to the depression era are erroneous though because people and their qualities have changed. I was raised by the depression era (Henry) and they just had a different mindset then people do today. No one felt entitled to anything.

    As an example, I left home when I was 15 – I just walked out to the highway in my sundress with my rubber thongs. I didn’t have a DIME. I didn’t have a purse to put a dime in for that matter and my entire intention was to make it in the world on my own.

    There were no homeless shelters or food banks or any other damned thing and by God, 2 years later I got my credit card and when I was 24 I bought myself a house (after first getting my mother a house).

    Now, at not one step in that process did I have any help nor did I expect to have any help. Who was going to help me, hmm? You have to EARN everything. You had to prove your character and credit-worthiness and when we lower this standard, well what the hell?

    Everyone laments the “sense of entitlement” but goes right on feeling entitled and I think it is because they just don’t know any different. It’s been this way their whole life.

    The depression era people (Henry’s generation) put money in the bank, for themselves and for future generations. If you can’t see a fundamental change is the current day… well I don’t know what to say.

    But to think today’s breed is going to all the sudden start acting like Henry’s breed is (probably) wishful thinking.

  37. I absolutely agree(and LOVE your story by the way), I don’t think today’s breed is going to start acting like Henry’s breed or yours for that matter. But what I think will happen is that those people like you will stay strong in that ‘making it on your own builds self esteem’ way of living and teach that in turn to their children. That a sense of entitlement does nothing but destroy a sense of pride and self worth and I do think the sense of entitlement pervades society right now.

    I think there has been this silent majority of people who have been quietly living the way you do and simply watching what has been going on without judgment or comment(because that’s what these kind of people do, they just do what they know to be right without forcing it on others)and these people will take the lead now. So Capricorn!!:)

  38. I do think we’re headed for some scary times as I know gun sales are way up, so people are afraid. But I suppose I’m thinking that the people who didn’t bite the hook of entitlement and just maintained their integrity will take the lead because they’ve already been to hell and back a thousand times and although they may not want to go there again they’re not afraid to go there again(they did it before and they’re still here) and will lead the way out.

  39. Thanks for posting on this topic, Elsa. And keep reminding everyone of the best of Capricorn! 🙂

    Growing up with little to no extras, I learned very early not to spend money I didn’t have – which is what credit cards allow us to do. Like you, it took me a loooong time to get a credit card and then it was through a credit union with a $500 limit. But once I had that card it was easy as pie to get others even though I was not making any more $$ than before. Crazy.

    Saturn all over my chart helping me toe the line . . . 🙂

  40. I really like your post #40 Elsa 🙂

    Back when this really began to collapse, I read that 20 million Chinese lost their jobs. That 70% of the world’s most polluting plants closed down, most of them in China. I thought to myself that we would not see the effects of this until the warehouses emptied their inventory. I think that’s what’s showing up on the shelves now. And it will continue.

    It makes me angry because I know there are enough resources and intelligence to allow everyone in the world some peace and prosperity. And yet somehow we destroy instead of build. 🙁

  41. Lindsay your post I have heard of the Quilters of Gee Bend Alabama. I’m not sure about the “legal mess” but my final design project for college this year was a quilt and I was definitely channeling those quilters. The work is amazing. Amazing art gets copied everywhere…just ask Matisse, lol.

    Elsa I just love that Henry story. I was thinking about him when I was thinking about him.

  42. I mean, I was thinking about Henry when I was writing about people who are interested in sharing with other people. I need a coffee, I think.

    “silent majority of people who have been quietly living the way you do and simply watching what has been going on without judgment or comment”…and then you have my parents who are well into their senior years who are like WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE??? 😉

    Along with manufacturing plants in China, many of their recycling plants are closing as well and what will this mean for us? It means we’re going to have to store our own shit, that’s what. Many countries send their recyclables to China because we don’t have plants of our own. Cheaper to ship it to a developing country. Well sooner or later these countries are going to say “Um, we don’t want your garbage thank you.”
    I suspect this is going to be an astounding wake up call for some people.

    It’s amazing how much has changed in the 20th century and in terms of basic living there will be a lot of things I won’t sad to see go. Coffee cups are one of them. Restaurants who only serve their food on plastic or paper plates are another.

  43. Basicly, I’m 32, living in an industrialized country, and now living through my second economic crisis.

    It’s a little known fact, maybe, but the Nordic Countries took a major economic dive caused by a credit crunch in the early 1990’s. My country, Finland, was the one that suffered the worst, also due to the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the bilater trade. (And yes, this was a capitalist free trade country, even though we shared 1000 miles of boarder with the Soviets, some just a little over 100 miles from then Leningrad, because we were much more useful to them producing goods they couldn’t come up with). We had our GNP drop by 13 % and disoccupation rates skyrocket from little over 3 % to almost 19 %.

    Yet, I don’t remember being particularly distressed by this all as a teenager. Of course, my father had his steady teaching job, and we had always been quite cautious economically (living in a house my grandfather built and having just one, always used, car). My father-in-law, however, was forced out of the business, and had to sell the house they lived in. He never game back fully economically, but thanks to the help from the Nordic Wellfare State, my sister-in-law has an MBA (although she prefers to work in a non-managerial job that permits her to be a mother as well) and my fiancé is a lawyer.

    We did come back, thanks to the export markets especially in the high-tech, but it really took a lmost a decade for certain fields. The situation is difficult here again, since we’re a small economy very dependent of the export of our products. But at least none of our banks and very few businesses have taken the kind of risks they did in the 80’s. I also think that we still do, as a community, have the capacity of surviving even some very rough times. So, I’d that the next few years won’t be easy on anyone, we probably have to rethink our place in this World globally, but that there really could be amazing things coming out of this all, especially in the ecology.

  44. JennnyG – Sorry, I just found your comment in the spam filter – thank you. I do feel compelled to write what I see even though I wonder if it’s foolish.

    Hi Candela – Welcome.

  45. aml – sorry I offended you. Please write to me personally any time to talk about this. I think about cultural differences about 24 hours a day and would welcome the chance to talk to you.

  46. There are small business owners in my town who have excellent track records, been around the block for years, and some are going out of business now because: their business model was based on using credit to restock inventory/i.e. car dealerships restock fleets using bank loans…or to meet payroll/i.e. many restaurants do this. And I won’t even mentioned the huge number of home foreclures (plenty of these homes in middle-class, higher end neighborhoods). But the banks simply have stopped lending, and this has not changed despite the stimulus funding for the banks. Meantime, we keep hearing about the outrageous sums paid to the highest tier of bank executives. Many people want someone to blame. Some blame the lower income folks who dared to bite the carrot from subprime lenders who offered too good to be true mortgage loans. Others blame lenders and high priced executives who run these companies. There is so much blame to go around it’s nauseating. And all the anger misdirected into violence? Have you noticed the stories around the country lately in which men kill their families? That’s what threatens to defeat my spirit.

  47. people will flock to the internet to find more specialty stuff.
    like that upholstery thread.
    that was hard to find three years ago, so i guess it wasn’t common enough a need to stock reliably then, and now…

    i’m hoping a new appreciation for quality may arise. handmade stuff. farmer’s markets- buy quality stuff directly from the producer for way less than you’d pay retail…
    i think we’re losing our need for a retail storefront for a lot of things.

    uhm. and people drive up from mexico here to sell stuff by the freeway. wouldn’t be surprised if that’s some of what you’re seeing…

  48. this is how i understand the mortgage mess:

    the banks weren’t forced to make to loans to non cerditworthy people. the law just prohibited them from considering certain factors such as race, gender, family status, or the type of (reliable) income people were receiving in order to qualify for a mortgage.
    )

    i think the bigger issue was allowed non regulated non banks to make these loans. with no accountability or transparency. and then banks bought them up as securities.

  49. But it all circles right back around to the Government control issue. I found this on Wiki…

    “In 1982, Congress passed the Alternative Mortgage Transactions Parity Act (AMTPA), which allowed non-federally chartered housing creditors to write adjustable-rate mortgages. Among the new mortgage loan types created and gaining in popularity in the early 1980s were adjustable-rate, option adjustable-rate, balloon-payment and interest-only mortgages. These new loan types are credited with replacing the long standing practice of banks making conventional fixed-rate, amortizing mortgages. Among the criticisms of banking industry deregulation that contributed to the savings and loan crisis was that Congress failed to enact regulations that would have prevented exploitations by these loan types. Subsequent widespread abuses of predatory lending occurred with the use of adjustable-rate mortgages.[108][109][110] Approximately 80% of subprime mortgages are adjustable-rate mortgages.[111]

    In 1995, the GSE’s like Fannie Mae began receiving government tax incentives for purchasing mortgage backed securities which included loans to low income borrowers. Thus began the involvement of the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with the subprime market.[112] In 1996, HUD set a goal for Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac that at least 42% of the mortgages they purchase be issued to borrowers whose household income was below the median in their area. This target was increased to 50% in 2000 and 52% in 2005.[113] From 2002 to 2006, as the U.S. subprime market grew 292% over previous years, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac combined purchases of subprime securities rose from $38 billion to around $175 billion per year before dropping to $90 billion per year, which included $350 billion of Alt-A securities. Fanny Mae had stopped buying Alt-A products in the early 1990’s because of the high risk of default. By 2008, the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac owned, either directly or through mortgage pools they sponsored, $5.1 trillion in residential mortgages, about half the total U.S. mortgage market.[114]”

  50. I dunno if you have Bi-mart in your area, but they carry a generic brand of the seal-a-meal bags cheaper and work great.

  51. Amethyst – is the seal waterproof? This is our big question. We don’t have that store but if you know the name of the generic I can probably find online?

    Also what kind of bags do you use?

  52. I don’t know yet first-hand. But a couple I know swears by them. They have a huge deep freeze and tell me that they freeze anything and everything in those generic seal-a-meal bags successfully including fresh produce from the farmer’s market.

    I’m so jealous. I want a deep freeze so bad. lol Some women fantasize about diamonds. I want a yard to garden in and a deep freeze!

  53. Me too, Amethyst! Though I just got a fridge without a freezer I have to de-frost so I guess I’ll be grateful for what I’ve got for the time being…ha ha…de-frosting is a pain in the ass.

  54. I was listening to a show last night and the person pointed out something else that scarily adds to all of the crap going on. Companies are designing and making things on purpose to not last. In the old days, things were made to stand the test of time, but now, you buy something and it tears up too fast. The person explained that it makes more money for the corporations if a person has to keep buying said product.

    Depressing.

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