Americans don't travel much outside of the US these days, and with other currencies approaching record highs, they are even more unlikely to do so. I suppose some politicians think this is a good thing, and some even see travel to the US being down 40+ percent these past couple years, as also a good thing. Far less information gets through the fences that way. And hey, a collapse of the housing market by 25% more or so
would also be a good thing for those priced out of the market and still renting, right?
I'm a contrarian. In this economy, I want to travel, desperately, and try to find a country with sane policies that I'd like to live in, and contribute to. That place sure isn't America, at the moment... in years past, I'd merely migrate to another US state, but they all have begun to look the same to me. Chris Walen writes
How do we get America focused again on being a productive economy, and focus less on the manic, speculative economy?
I don't know. I'm a member of the productive economy and I'm tired of propping up the speculative one.
In the US, exports are up, but real disposable incomes are down nearly a percentage point
I am thinking Australia is nicely situated, but - like many other countries - they are not exploiting their uranium reserve, they are burning coal like crazy, and they are encouraging Mercury filled lamps
, which I think is fundamentally a bad idea.
But, although I'm thinking about the environment, I'm also thinking about how the labor market interacts with me... but bear with me for a tortured analogy. One justification for using mercury filled lamps is that they use so much less energy that they actually save on the mercury created by burning coal for that energy. (See above article)
Now - there are two major flaws with that argument. 1) The mercury contained in the coal is in ONE place, where it can be contained and scrubbed. The lamps are distributed nationwide - well, I've seen what happens to the used lamps - they are broken in the home, and/or dumped indiscriminately, which leads to more mercury in the environment that is harder to control.
2) Coal is not the only answer to the energy problem.
And 3) I hate the light produced by florescent bulbs. It's green and flickery.
A far, far, far better answer is to go gung ho on LED based lighting, and stick with incandescents for when heating is helpful, and go nuclear/wind/solar as fast as possible.
I have seen a lot of people conflating of the localness of the use regarding a technology vs the benefit. For example, it makes sense to locate a coal fired plant in a place without an inversion layer in the atmosphere, and to drive an electric car where there is an inversion layer. Similarly - it makes sense to build nuclear power plants where there are no fault lines, and solar/wind ones where there is solar and wind.
Other examples - It makes sense to be in an export business when your currency is poorly valued, and in an import business, when the currency is highly valued. For a while.
It makes sense to work overseas when you can earn more real money overseas, and makes sense to stay at home when you can earn more real money at home. It makes sense to travel, however, when your money is strong overseas, and to stay at home when it isn't.
These latter two statements are in conflict for me. I'm just one person. I don't move products around, just my labor, although I can do work anywhere there is decent internet infrastructure, and labor anywhere that pays, but first I have to get the deal setup. I can't really afford to travel right now, I need to be working...
I think, however, I'd rather be living in a net exporting country than a net importing one, which is why Australia is looking better and better all the time. Or maybe hong kong. Suggestions?
I'll miss America.
Labels: environment, Ron Paul, travel