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Old 12-23-2008, 02:56 AM   #1
Baggywrinkle
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Default Disposable to craftsmen

disposable to craftsmen
DISPOSABLE TO CRAFTSMEN
We live in a disposable society. Almost every tool we use. Our homes. Our transportation. Our farm land. Our relationships. Our jobs. This has mainly been the result of the Oil Age. Incredibly cheap energy made almost everything else too cheap to repair. Just a few short decades ago this wasn't the case. But as Asia embraced the Oil Age, she took all of our factories, replaced the middle class tradesmen and craftsmen with legions of disposable laborers and priced us out of the market ( with the active encouragement of our corporate class ). Alvin Toffler got rich pushing the line that it was all okay, all is well, do not panic. We can all shuffle paperwork instead. To see how well that all worked out, refer to exhibit A- our financial and real estate implosion. If we still had oodles of oil still in the ground ready to be pumped out at almost no cost, it wouldn't matter. The US hasn't really had a true manufacturing economy for fifty years, we just lived off of our seed corn. It worked good for about two decades until our oil production peaked. The general trend since then has been down, masked by our Empire Legacy which allowed past accomplishments to pay the dividends that gave the illusion of prosperity. In effect, we've been drawing down on our principle to live well. But now, there are only a few withdrawals left before the checking account is empty and we start seeing bouncing checks.
*
Now, the problem with our disposable society is not that we fill up our landfills and pollute the sky. That is bad enough, but there are more troublesome aspects. Our entire economy, our entire outlook, our means of production, all are based on disposable mentalities. In some ways that is good. It would not do to invest too much mental attachment to a home that is turning into a ghetto or soon to be twenty feet on the wrong side of high tide. The mental gymnastics necessary to uproot and move can save your sorry butt. It is seen as normal to be such gypsies, to be able to start over again. This has been the case as long as we've filled up the continent. But it really isn't normal. Normal is setting down roots and fighting for your family and friends and community. Putting effort into improving the home and neighborhood. In other ways this is bad. Disposable relationships ( and I'm guiltier than most ) mean no stable families for children growing up. And don't play the feminist card. I'll wager for every abusive husband divorce allowed a women to escape from, there are ten or more ill adjusted children not helped by the need of Mom to escape a "mentally abusive" relationship.
*
Rigid societies, where change was never embraced and any that did occur was over lifetimes rather than years, allowed stability and security. No, members never advanced or made things easier for themselves. But at the same time they didn't take unnecessary risks that could have endangered their survival. It might be hard to remember that this used to be the norm, before cheap energy transformed our lives. Not that energy alone was responsible. Gunpowder itself changed most of the globe radically. But big picture, one can safely measure social change to carbon fuel use. As cheap abundant energy runs out, depopulation and a devolution back towards rigid social structures is sure to follow. If you are caught in this transformation, you are going to have to realize this sea change. You can't fight it, but you can roll with the punches.
*
One example of a useless fight is your home. We are still at the beginning stages of collapse. Your house is still seen as disposable. Local government won't care how much of your life blood you've put into making a safe and comfortable home. They will still steal it from you and give the land to a corporation or developer if they so desire. I'm not saying you won't lose your home to theft at other times in history. What I'm saying is that no one has a sense of permanency. Progress is still seen as a need. The whole mentality is disposable. Don't put too much effort or treasure into your home. Look at it as a rental, and be flexible enough to move if needed. You can't fight eminent domain, the rust-belting of a region, the approach of a ghetto, insane local property taxes, etc.
*
On the other side of this coin, you need to start looking at how you are going to survive once the disposable economy is washed away. You need a craft. Not car repair, or electronics repair. An old school craft such as leather worker, barrel maker, making shoes. Weapons inventor ( not just a reloader or parts replacer but a blackpowder manufacturer or some such ). Pre-carbon fuel crafts. For a time, organic gardening will serve you well. Just keep in mind that in time farmers will go from teacher-saviors to serfs. The most vital and skilled usually end up at the lowest ladder rung after the evil buttholes are finished fighting for power. Sorry, fact of life. You might be one of the few that can craft shoes from scratch, one of the few with tools. But you might still end up as a slave. A valuable one, but still vulnerable to anothers whims. I think this is one of the few flaws about Kurt Saxon's world view of the Apocalypse. He envisioned a nineteenth century economy. I'd say it is going to be more like pre-coal, pre-oil, pre-Civil War ( as far as slavery ). A lot from the sixteenth century with a few odd anachronisms thrown in from the pre-collapse times ( that will slowly fall apart and not be replaced, to include modern guns ).
*
Be prepared to discard your worldview as needed.
END
http://bisonsurvivalblog.blogspot.com/
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Old 12-23-2008, 03:19 AM   #2
henners
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Default Re: Disposable to craftsmen

Great post mate. I was once (not that long ago) a metal worker. Making steel structures, small bridges, etc I even did some structural steel for the Sydney Harbour Bridge, but a few years ago, people were more interested in the cost of things than the quality. So i pulled the plug on my business, a family business that had been around for 32 years.

Now i hear people whining about the lack of quality of everyday products, the disposable society, etc. They whine about how their kids cannot get an apprenticeship because there are no more manufacturers around. Well guess what, we did it to ourselves. In the VERY NEAR future, we are going to need all of these tradesmen that gave up their skills in order to rebuild our society. No matter how old, they will all have something to contribute. And i will be ready along side all those plumbers, electricians, welders etc.

Just letting off steam
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Old 12-23-2008, 03:23 AM   #3
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And painters!
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Old 12-23-2008, 03:31 AM   #4
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Default Re: Disposable to craftsmen

One of my colleagues comes from a long line of tool and
die makers. He has talked about the tools his grandfather
gave him and how no one in America does this anymore.

It was from this discussion that my interest in the trade of
the blacksmith arose. Did you know that the original clamping pliers, the Vise Grip, was invented by a blacksmith who wanted a better grip on his hot iron?

Another trade that I greatly admire and tried to follow which {sigh} is a closed chapter in my life
was the boatwright. I came to Seattle to learn to bend wood and pour bronze. You did bridge building
and likely know what a clench ring is, or it's little brother the rove. When I was actively boat building
I enjoyed going into a hardware store and innocently asking for these items causing them to flip madly
through their catalogs. A good rolling bevel is an art form in capable hands and the most
skilled artists could build a boat and never use a nail. This is what we've lost.

I work in a trade that has been bastardized and diluted
to the point that any idiot can do it. The skill is gone. The only thing that protects it from minimum wage is
the protection of the "professional license" by the state.
It is a tax on your ability to feed your family. But I digress..

But the best tradesmen, the people I look to in history to learn from was the traditional farmer. You talk about jack of all trades, they did it all.

Last edited by Baggywrinkle; 12-23-2008 at 04:03 AM.
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Old 12-23-2008, 03:43 AM   #5
henners
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Default Re: Disposable to craftsmen

I hear ya Don, when i had my business and something happened on a weekend say, no hardwares open, i would have to make my own repairs or build some fancy tool to get the job done. My staff used to call me "the McGyver" of metal fabrication. I'd always find a way to get the job complete.

Maybe these skills will be needed again.........................soon?
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Old 12-23-2008, 05:35 AM   #6
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Default Re: Disposable to craftsmen

I wonder if my beer-making ability will be worth anything?
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Old 12-23-2008, 01:56 PM   #7
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Default Re: Disposable to craftsmen

Quote:
Originally Posted by Humble Janitor View Post
I wonder if my beer-making ability will be worth anything?
Are you kidding? That has GOT to be in the top five percent! Man does not live by bread alone. Once the
telly has died, what else will there be to do except
sit around a fire and tell tall tales? That is very thirsty
work.
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Old 12-23-2008, 02:30 PM   #8
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Default Re: Disposable to craftsmen

Quote:
Originally Posted by Baggywrinkle View Post
Are you kidding? That has GOT to be in the top five percent! Man does not live by bread alone. Once the
telly has died, what else will there be to do except
sit around a fire and tell tall tales? That is very thirsty
work.
Then I'll be knitting or crocheting ...
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Old 12-24-2008, 11:26 AM   #9
Humble Janitor
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Default Re: Disposable to craftsmen

Quote:
Originally Posted by Baggywrinkle View Post
Are you kidding? That has GOT to be in the top five percent! Man does not live by bread alone. Once the
telly has died, what else will there be to do except
sit around a fire and tell tall tales? That is very thirsty
work.
All I'll need is access to grains and possibly even some exotic ingredients for making gruit when no hops are around. If hops, biscuit malt and rye are available, then I can make a killer rye pale ale.
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Old 12-24-2008, 01:17 PM   #10
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Default Re: Disposable to craftsmen

If you hadn't thrown in the bit about staying in an abusive relationship and insinuated that it was all the woman's fault and that she should accept whatever her husband did/said, then I would feel a lot more comfortable with the premise of your article. Ill-adjusted children come from homes where abuse is a "fact of life" - whether it's abuse of children or adults. Children learn it.

I got that far and didn't read the rest.
alys

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Old 12-24-2008, 03:36 PM   #11
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Default Re: Disposable to craftsmen

It's better to be from a broken home than to live in one.
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Old 12-26-2008, 12:17 PM   #12
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Default Re: Disposable to craftsmen

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Originally Posted by burgundia View Post
Then I'll be knitting or crocheting ...
Crocheting is brilliant. Learnt some of it from my aunt while living with my grandparents as a youngster for two years. For some years now I thought the skill would be fantastic for making fishing nets out of nylon thread and whatever the other stuff is they make nets out of. Sorry, suffering memory loss recently. Unlike knitting donít have to worry about dropping stitches and if is far more easy to mend things.

Good for making ropes. Saw a material called tomato twine the other day that would make for pretty good carrier bags and fishing nets, expensive but will last for ages regarding its resistance to salt water. Also bailing twine (which is very cheap and I often use as rope) but is incredibly strong and can be spliced for thinner thread. I am all for using these materials that take an age to break down until we are established some years down the tract with environmentally friendly stuff. Reality is it may take a few years before we can produce or get our hands on preferred materials.

Not sure how many varieties of twine there is out there, but there is a fair few both synthetic and natural. There is a natural twine I just can't think of its name presently.

Handy skill for everyone to learn.
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Old 12-27-2008, 02:58 AM   #13
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I've always heard nothing but good things about the durability of hemp.
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Old 12-27-2008, 01:10 PM   #14
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Default Re: Disposable to craftsmen

Hmm, definitely a renewable resource, if the govmt doesn't take your crop
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I've always heard nothing but good things about the durability of hemp.
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