My White Picket Fence

The American dream as it was sold to us involved a big cubic structure largely composed of wood with a white picket fence for a perimeter indicator. Inside of these cubic habitation modules, reaffirmation in success required a large metal vehicle reliant on fossil fuels for propulsion. If you had those things and perhaps a few more, then you had reached the American dream and you could be happy. And indeed, it seems that such a lifestyle was in the past not only normal, but also seemingly moral. 

However, if the 21st century has shown us anything, it is that a fossil fuel-reliant, resource-gobbling economic model is ultimately unsustainable. To survive in the 21st century, America needs to move to a new economic model, one where the country's mass appetite for fossil fuels is tempered with self-sustaining homes, renewable energy, and electric-hybrid vehicles that will allow the global economy to disassociate from tyrannical regimes currently in control of dwindling energy resources. Those resources will continue to dwindle, as the world imitates the Western model.

The world wants to emulate Americans, but we are only 5% of the population yet 25% of the energy consumers. The problem with everyone wanting a white picket fence in the suburbs is that the Chinese and Indians also want the same. The Chinese middle-class alone is larger than the population of the United States. It is only natural for people to want what makes them and their families comfortable, even if to the detriment of the common good.

Detriment to the common good is the result of blindness, and it is leading the world to an ecological apocalypse at the hands of a massive resource war. The answer to our current economic problems is not a patching of the current economy, but rather a rebooting of our entire economic model. There are more slaves alive today than were alive during the American civil war, and they make many of the products that are produced in the blind corners of the world. There will eventually be a war over slavery; it is inevitable. It will not be between countrymen, however, but rather the developing signatories of free trade agreements. The world cannot survive half slave, half consumer. 

It remains to be seen whether the developed economies of the world will eventually become energy independent and largely import independent due to 3-D printing technology, but these are the two technological developments that can most prevent massive resource wars in the 21st century. Even vast, renewable energy levels and on-demand printing of objects will not be enough to temper the appetite for precious metals and the invisible elements that drive our high-tech consumer goods. The war for precious metals promises to wreak havoc in Africa as China and America tear it apart in their quest to establish spheres of influence. I can't foresee a replacement for metals, so swords and bullets will be made for many more decades to come.