social economics & a return to smaller communities

Although I haven’t finished All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai, there was a poignant passage in there that got my gears turning.

“When you invent the car, you also invent the car accident. When you invent the plane, you also invent the plane crash.”

Elan Mastai, All Our Wrong Todays

The concept of it was, whenever something is created or invented, the consequence or effects of it is also created.

So, what a quintessential human conundrum, to have the inherent and undeniable desire to create (whether conscious or unconscious of the potential consequences). It is impossible to stop creation…then you verge on the edge of depression, feeling as if you have no control of or anything to add to life. That you create with the hope and faith that the joys of what you create will outweigh any effects it has and to do it anyways.

Moving through the doubt and fear, molding those beliefs to see it through. Knowing that the vision you have is bigger than any of those feelings. That, if there are any cosmic scales, you’re tipping heavier on the side that’s positive.

And yet, what is the best way to create with the smallest mitigable consequence.

This thought morphed until it arrived at the observation of society. As educated young adults moved away from small towns and suburbs to larger cities, favoring convenience, a better job market and social life, are we entering another cyclical trend?

Historically, there has been this ebb and flow between small towns and big cities. Seeking more space, a quieter place to raise a family, coupled young adults move towards the suburbs. Maybe those seeking retirement. I foresee a lot of homesteading and farming coming back into play, as society seeks a more holistic approach to life. While technology and modern conveniences has helped us greatly, the constant connection and fast paced world of the interweb feels like it causes us to lose a sense of presence when we’re plugged in.

Perhaps there is this nostalgia for communing with nature, working with our hands something, tenderly cultivating and connecting with the food that we nourish ourselves with. It’s not sustainable for the entire population to rely on industrial farmers and the supply chain that gets food from them to the storefronts, as the demand is too great. So, in a way, to mitigate these burdens, if we are able to supplement the labor by doing it ourselves, is this a better way of having work/life balance?

Most of the friends that I speak to don’t want to work anymore. I notice that humans have this deep desire to be human. To exist. Spending 40 hours a week sitting in front of a desk, having 2 weeks out of the 52 of the year to rest and reset just isn’t enough. And maybe it’s because we’re not doing soul fulfilling things. We’re just paying bills for things that we barely have the time to enjoy.

What are we working towards anyways?

And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, if it’s something you enjoy. But having been in that place, it just wasn’t for me. I guess part of this journey that I’m on is seeking an alternative path. A different way of doing things. This drifting from bigger cities where isolation and loneliness seem prevalent despite the larger population and moving towards places where intimacy and communities organically grow.

And then some late night Wikipedia rabbit holing got me researching Lizzie Magie, the original creator of the Landlord’s Game (which Monopoly most likely ripped off) and ended up learning about Georgism, a political economic theory that believes in a single tax movement where people should 100% own the value they produce and then economic rent from the land, resources, commons, urban locations should belong to all of society. This shifts the tax burden from people and towards landowners. That high land value tax discourages speculators from holding valuable natural opportunities, unused or partially used. Kinda like in a recession, which is most likely manufactured, to get whales (an economic sales term for a prospect that is many times larger than your average prospect/client) to liquidate, freeing up assets in the market.

So is the answer to a more sustainable economy to shift back towards smaller businesses in smaller communities? Like a modern day version of tribal trade. Because, in small towns, you are able to see the direct influences of your actions on a more intimate scale. You notice businesses thriving or failing. You’re able to see if your neighbor is struggling to pay the bills. Having a large corporation come in and utilize undercutting tactics to wean out the competition and swallow up the jobs is intense. But with the prevalence of online businesses, as well, the traditional method of going out on a walk to have human interaction is not needed either.

I’ve found that my interest in economics is growing again. I guess I can attribute this to my dad listen to Bloomberg radio all the time on our daily drives to school.

Anyways, potential read: Progress & Poverty by Henry George.

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