This is a personal essay describing what will probably happen if a economy crisis happen during the next years, due to oil prices (very probable!), and what we could do. Feel free to add comments.
How society and its economy are structured
Society is organized around cities, countryside and surrounding nature, from which we should, in a sustainable way, took.
The basic structure of our society and jobs (and that affects where money goes and where people get located) is structured the following way:
We need food, shelter, water, energy, transportation, fun and some other minor things
Therefore we have, as a parallel, agriculture and a food industry (growing fields, milk industry, fishermen and fish industry, trucks that transport these, food processing industry, small markets, shops and supermarkets), a water industry for drinking and for providing distribution and waste treatment, energy produced with fuels, river dams, wind and energy centrals, industry for producing clothes and things, for distributing these, for acquiring basic materials such as wood, paper, plastic and computers, economists, lawyers, politics, administrators in between, scientists working for math, computers, ecology, waste treatment, forests, plant resources, pharmaceutics, with hospitals, nurses, dentists and medical centres, educations and schools shops selling fun services such as theatre, cinema, arts, drinking and shops, car assembly industry and public transportation, and industry providing their materials and distribution, city halls and probably the most stupid thing of all, stock markets.
This is, in general, a input (take from nature), process, distribute, sell and recycle or waste treatment line or circle. We choose our jobs accordingly to this overall structure and our talents and aspirations, where everyone seeks to service itself, others or the common good (preferably the last two). A social crisis comes when something does not work well or is unsustainable, as now with market speculation, oil depletion, resources depletion, unemployment and climate change. It means the structure, that should be a intelligent-designed network is not working properly.
If a economy crisis comes in next decades what will look like?
In a coming crisis, basic needs are going to be our foremost priority, particularly concerning food, distribution and transportation (of both people and goods), medical care, and maybe education care and fun will still made its way on. Energy will be a key issue followed by job sustainability and resources. The economy depression will probably set abruptly, as we are now seeing, and then slowly deepen, caused by the crash of oil industry, credit bubbles, market panic and unemployment or strike crazes. I can only guess that the unrest will kick in during 2009, aggravating in two years and a long recession proceeds through the following decade, until new energies and new ways of making economy and social structures, work out.
Politics will become harder as economy depresses, resources distributions slows down or depletes, unemployment and social unrest mounts and climate change may set in. During the former economy depressions, states became more authoritarian and trade become local instead of global, production and transportation dramatically slows down, and unemployment rises as people consume less and cannot work without fuels.
People in their young ages will find it difficult, in universities scholarships may continue, as funds reduce, the priorities will be agriculture, resources, energy, green building, despite the fact that the medical field and computers will still fare well.
Agriculture workers, fishermen and sail distributors may find it harder. Banks may collapse gradually. It may become expensive to drive a cars and public transportation will be a better choice. People will move from suburbs to inner city, to avoid transport costs. Getting a job will be more valued as private business and selling will become more difficult, but researching and working to solve resources (food, energy, materials) to keep the society work, will be more valued (except house building which will dramatically slow down, particularly in suburbs). In small cities and villages, people will not prefer live of agriculture and much less than services and will therefore migrate to bigger cities, looking for remaining jobs. Cleverly working with food needs and distributing them will be a smart choice. Policemen and medical care will be essential. Living from self-grown food or a water spring will be a very good step. The same goes for investing in renewable energies. Private investment will fare bad (this is well described during depressions), except in renewable energies, self-sufficient living, agriculture and resources, security-keeping, and eventually in food chains and social enterprises to keep people happy). When one is poor, and many become poor, most money will go to food, and then house and transport. The rich, in risk of becoming bankrupt due to economy crash, will invest in alternative ways of energy, agriculture an housing, or other important social services (this is a theory, but eventually the state will strongly support this). The mid class will barely manage to sustain the economy, making the money flow into the former mentioned fields and jobs (keeping a important and needed job or service will be essential; changing jobs will be very risky). The government, a main source of jobs in next years, will invest in these same areas. Working in city halls, public services, in the all areas described in former essay (of most basic needs) will fare very good. In summary, move for governmental jobs concerning important services and needs, and later invest in private basic needs enterprises
I am still looking forward for a more practical view of which jibs and careers may be best in following years. Which ones may become more of service to others, in a enjoyable and useful way.
Click in the video to the the insightful and cleverly-designed "story of the stuff", takes about 25min.