Our response to the recent spike in energy prices has me chuckling at the irony of it all. What a bunch of morons our population is when it comes to facing the reality they should have known was coming 40 years ago. Everyone is in a panic to find a way out of a future that seems inevitable. As is our tendency, once again we seem to only look to short term solutions rather than taking the time to think long term. I don't deny that quick fix alternatives and answers are needed, but more planning and thought needs to be done for the long haul. It always is needed but rarely do we show that kind of wisdom.
Regardless, recent events and future ones will force Americans to change their lifestyles. Our conspicuous consumption will be replaced by a more conservation minded mentality. As the price of energy skyrockets, so will the price of even the cheap crap we love to buy. I have seen it in the bike business already. Anyone who buys metal of any kind knows what I am talking about. These higher prices affect everyone, even the manufacturers of cheap junk in Asia.
I predict Americans will begin to spend less on impulse items and be more discerning about what they do buy. Pricing will still remain competitive, but quality will begin to make a comeback. The days of the throwaway lawn mower are numbered. Once we have dropped our consuming for consuming sake lifestyle, the effect on the World economy will be dramatic. The economic spike in China will cool somewhat and everyone will back it off a notch. The World cannot continue to consume on such huge scales. Or we can, and our descendants will be cursing us 100 years from now.
I will admit that it is hard to get fired up about what might be 100 years from now. My future plans get real fuzzy beyond the immediate future of my daughter and what she might have to deal with. But the future is a chain reaction. What we do today has a direct relation to what happens every day beyond this one. Instead of playing lip service to the future we hope for our children, we should put words to action now to ensure it.