Monday, November 22, 2010

The fallacy of modern self sufficiency

The notion of self sufficiency is a fairly charming one.  Unfortunately, it seems to be a little unrealistic amid the systems that we've created to live within today.

Sure, we can produce our own electricity and then call ourselves "off the grid".  

But what about plumbing?  And sewerage?  And cable TV?  And the phone?  And the road you drive on to get the food that you shove into your eat hole?

Yea, modern self-sufficiency is a tough nut to crack.  Eventually you're going to have to wander out of your compound and collect something--unless your compound is sufficiently large enough to house you and your resources.  The problem is that a compound that is that large tends to be remarkably inefficient for a single family to live within.

So, to increase efficiency, we reduce self sufficiency and increase collectivism.

The trick is finding that balance between self sufficiency and collectivism, while ensuring that those allowed into the collective act in a responsible manner to the collective.

The ironic thing today is that people who crow about self sufficiency really live within a rather large collective.  They fully rely on Krogers, or HEB, or some other faceless partner to feed them their entire diet of food.  They fully rely on the local utility to provide power.  They fully rely on the local cable company (or some modern version) to provide entertainment.  They fully rely on the local telecommunications company to provide communication with the outside world.  They fully rely on the government to ensure the quality (and existence) of their drinking water.  And each one of these partners in the collective are not even PEOPLE.  Some of the pieces of this puzzle may be provided at home, by people.  But, for the most part, a 3 or 4 person family cannot, and does not, provide for themselves.  They go to work--for someone else--and make money that they use to pay someone else to provide basic services.  

That's not a model of self sufficiency.

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