by Tom Chatham, Alt Market:
The west line theory states that the shipping center of the world moves in a westward direction slowly over the centuries. It started in the mid east and has moved west through the Mediterranean, Europe, North America and now sits over Asia. A shipping center usually implies a production center as well giving that area great wealth. The U.S. was the previous shipping and production center in the world. We now find ourselves on the back end of prosperity and all that it entails.
We are not the first nation to find ourselves in this position. Those nations that came before us had to deal with a slower, smaller economy following the westward shift of the line. We must now do so as well. Understanding this phenomenon allows people to adjust their lifestyles to maintain a good standard of living. To ignore this natural process is to invite much suffering and chaos into your life as everything changes around you while you remain static expecting things to continue as usual.
For those that are waiting for prosperity to return to the U.S. as it once was, you will not see it unless you are still here several centuries from now. You can not turn back the clock and reverse a process such as this. You must learn to understand it and adjust to it. Having a slower, smaller economy is far from a death sentence. Americans are accustomed to a great deal of abundance that is now seeping away until equilibrium is achieved. By understanding what is happening we can equalize the process at a level we find comfortable.
A good standard of living can be had by most Americans in the future if we adjust our thinking and return to a more sustainable level of living that we can maintain without excessive money printing. As I have stated before, a person can live comfortably on about $10,000 a year and have a standard of living equal to someone making $40,000 a year living an excessive lifestyle. That may sound crazy to many people but it is true. How you live and spend your money has a lot to do with your standard of living but that fact is lost on most people.
For those that have an open mind and want to understand this, it falls upon you to look ahead and plan for the leaner economic times ahead. Those that do will have a much easier time living a normal life. Those that do not make the difficult decisions now will likely find a tent city in their future as many people now deal with in many once prosperous cities.
There are many things you can do to prepare for this leaner economic future. For one thing housing is too big and expensive today for most to afford. Having a small plot of land and a small home on it makes good economic sense. Building a 16’ x 32’ home with a basement and second story will provide you with a home over 1,500 sq. ft. but is cheaper to build due to the smaller foot print. It is cheaper to build up than out. Providing your own power with solar or wind makes good economic sense today as electricity rates continue to rise and solar and wind equipment continues to fall in price. Growing at least some of your own food makes sense as well as inflation begins to climb and transportation costs increase.
Having an older paid for vehicle is cheaper in many cases. An older paid for vehicle requires less expensive insurance and eliminates a monthly car payment not to mention cheaper property taxes. Depending on how much you drive and how much of a do it yourself person you are you might even be able to produce most of your own fuel. There are average people today that use wood gas for their pickup truck or bio diesel for their car made from used vegetable oil they process themselves.