Remember that lifestyle that we all enjoyed back in the year 2000. Remember it with fondness because it's gone and it's not coming back. Welcome to a new, "normalized" lifestyle that will be yours into the foreseeable future. This society, long caught up in the grip of hyper-materialism, went too far, too fast and now that bubble has burst. Dramatic changes to our lifestyles are coming and, like it or not, we will just have to learn how to live much simpler lives, doing more with less.
Economists say that America is experiencing a "new normal" but what exactly does that mean? Well, this new normal can be defined in this way: in a typical business cycle we periodically encounter a recession, or a contraction of the economy, that normally lasts 12 to 18 months. After that things return to normal as we get back on the same economic level.
But this current recession that was brought on by the unexpected economic shock of 2008 is not at all normal; in fact, the majority of economists and analysts indicate that this economy will not return to previous levels because of serious underlying factors that compound our problems. They say that this era of a new normal will bring great change to our lives; that it will call for more personal austerity, lowered incomes and a new appreciation of our most basic needs: our families, homes and health.
As we enter this new era there are three contributing issues that will have a significant and lasting impact on this society and our lifestyles: 1. America's addiction to imported oil. 2. The collapse of our manufacturing sector. 3. This government's agenda of perpetual war.
America 's addiction to imported oil: In the very near future this issue will greatly affect our lives in significant ways. You will hear more and more about the subject of Peak Oil; in its simplest terms Peak Oil represents that point in time when the world's total demand for oil will surpass the production capabilities of oil producing nations. Many experts indicate that we have already reached that point.
While the world is not going to run out of oil for a very long time here is the dilemma we face. The demand for oil in China, India and many other nations with growing economies is rapidly rising. At the same time, the world's oil reserves have been shrinking and major new oil fields have not been discovered. Oil is becoming more difficult and expensive to pump from deeper wells. This means that in the coming years the cost per barrel of oil will steadily increase and affect every element of our lives.
With the Middle East in the midst of a people's revolution, we are seeing gasoline nearing $4.00 gallon, with $5.00 gallon right around the corner. This is an ominous sign of things to come. Americans are going to pay a very high price for the failure of our leaders to institute ambitious, comprehensive government/business programs to develop new sources of energy.