What would happen if we were beset by increasingly violent storms, we ran out of both natural and government resources, municipalities and states went bankrupt. . .wait a second, I read those things in the newspaper!

 

The Stanton Peele Addiction Website, December 27, 2010. This blog post also appeared on Stanton's Addiction in Society blog at PsychologyToday.com.

I Had a Nightmare - It Was the Future of America!

I dreamed that storms of increasing intensity assailed the United States - but with fewer resources to combat them, the country was overwhelmed by the dire consequences of the storms - until life as we know it deteriorated and American streets presented nonstop chaotic, violent physical and social disintegration - thank God I awoke! It was like "A Christmas Carol."

Except, then I read some articles from the NY Times over the last two days:

Coney Island Avenue

This photo of a frozen-in-motion Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn made the rounds today (Dec. 27). It sums things up pretty nicely.

(Dec. 25, 2010) Bundle Up, It's Global Warming . . . . The snow and record cold have invaded the Eastern United States, with more bad weather predicted. All of this cold was met with perfect comic timing by the release of a World Meteorological Organization report showing that 2010 will probably be among the three warmest years on record, and 2001 through 2010 the warmest decade on record. . . . As global temperatures have warmed and as Arctic sea ice has melted over the past two and a half decades, more moisture has become available to fall as snow over the continents.

(Dec. 25, 2010) The Looming Crisis in the States . For most of this year, the state of Illinois has lacked the money to pay its bills. . . . these kinds of shaky deals are likely to become increasingly common as the states try to cope with the greatest fiscal drought since the Great Depression. Starved for revenue and accustomed to decades of overspending, many states have been overwhelmed. They are facing shortfalls of $140 billion next year. Even before the downturn, states jeopardized their futures by accumulating trillions in debt that they swept into some far-off future.

(Dec. 26, 2010) Transportation in Disarray After Blizzard Tapers Off . . . . High winds damaged switches for train lines, knocked down power lines, drifted snow perilously deep on tracks and even caused plow trucks to get stuck. City buses stalled on hills and cars abandoned on side streets complicated snow removal as New York struggled mightily to recover before the evening commute began. . . .For much of Monday, New York's Penn Station was filled with bedraggled passengers, some of whom slept overnight in the waiting room and even on a couple of trains. Two L.I.R.R. trains on tracks 18 and 19 turned into a makeshift hotel (minus the pillows).

(Dec. 26, 2010) The Finite World (Paul Krugman). Oil is back above $90 a barrel. Copper and cotton have hit record highs. Wheat and corn prices are way up. Over all, world commodity prices have risen by a quarter in the past six months.

What the commodity markets are telling us is that we're living in a finite world, in which the rapid growth of emerging economies is placing pressure on limited supplies of raw materials, pushing up their prices. And America is, for the most part, just a bystander in this story. . . . As more and more people in formerly poor nations are entering the global middle class, they're beginning to drive cars and eat meat, placing growing pressure on world oil and food supplies. And those supplies aren't keeping pace. . . . Also, over the past year, extreme weather - especially severe heat and drought in some important agricultural regions - played an important role in driving up food prices. . . .[all of which requires that we] change the way we live, adapting our economy and our lifestyles to the reality of more expensive resources.

(Dec. 27, 2010) Leaders of Hamtramck, a working-class city on the edge of Detroit, keep looking for something to cut from a budget that's already been cut, over and over. . . . "We can make it until March 1 - maybe," Mr. Cooper said of Hamtramck's ability to pay its bills. Beyond that? The political leaders of this old working-class city beside Detroit are pleading with the state to let them declare bankruptcy - a desperate move the state is not even willing to admit as an option under the current circumstances. "The state is concerned that if they say yes to one, if that door is opened, they'll have 30 more cities right behind us," Mr. Cooper said, as flurries fell outside his City Hall window. . . . "All our communities have done is cut, cut, cut. They're down to four-day workweeks and the elimination of parks, senior centers, all of that. So if there's anything else that happens, they will be over the edge." . . . "I'm not going to wait for two hours for a cop to show up," said Shannon Lowell, the co-owner of a coffee shop. "We've trimmed every bit of fat. What else are we going to do?"

Wait a second - did I have that nightmare before or after reading the newspapers?