Thinking about the future

When thinking about the future, the following facts have to be taken into account:

  • The climate is changing and will continue to do so.
  • Fossil fuels and derivatives will become increasingly expensive and unaffordable.
  • The UK economy is shrinking and will continue to do so indefinitely.

As a result:

  • Prosperity is declining.
  • Discretionary spending and markets are declining.
  • Essential spending is becoming unaffordable for an increasing number of people.
  • Public sector discretionary and essential services are being reduced.

Changes we now must watch out for, in no particular order, will include:

  • The variety of foods in supermarkets will decrease.
  • Unemployment and poverty will increase.
  • Homelessness will increase as a result of which the number of people seeking temporary accommodation will increase. Temporary accommodation will include caravans and tents.
  • People with relatives who cannot care for themselves will be expected to care for them.
  • Shops and other venues selling discretionary goods and services will close.
  • All kinds of discretionary travel will be reduced. Car ownership and use will become unaffordable and will decline.
  • Domestic fruit and vegetable gardening will increase.
  • The number of TV and telecom services will reduce.
  • Law and order will deteriorate.
  • Road surfaces will deteriorate, and little-used lanes, especially unclassified ones, will revert to tracks.
  • The condition of all kinds of buildings will deteriorate.
  • Families will have to share homes.
  • Mains electricity will be rationed.
  • Mains water will be disrupted due to pump failures and leakages.

One way to think about the future is to imagine what will happen when the economy gets smaller. Those who lived through WW2 and the 20 or so years after, when the economy was much smaller, will understand. Much of what happens now is in addition to how things were then. It is discretionary, enabled by the growing economy and borrowing, which increased prosperity and affordability. These happenings are now in decline and will eventually disappear, which is part of the shrinking economy.

The UK GDP has grown from roughly £5 million in the 1950s to £674 million in 2023, which is hard to believe!

In 1968, a new house on an estate in the county of Hampshire cost £4,950. The same house was for sale for £389,000 in 2023.

Figures which include inflation and borrowing to enable growth in spending.  But not in value.

Think about backpedalling to discover what might happen when the economy shrinks. Assuming deflation and some debt repayment, the value of property and other physical assets, including farmland, will decline.

The rate of shrinkage is unknown.

Localism is a natural process of transition to new ways.  It is already happening but has not yet been seen as such.

As the economy shrinks, production processes will simplify. Eliminating layers of management will be part of the shrinkage, which, in some cases, could lead to reductions in end-user prices. The transition from industrially grown, processed, distributed, and retailed food to home-grown, processed, and consumed food is an obvious example.

How shrinkage develops will depend on deflation and quantitative easing.

Things which some see as the products of greedy consumerism will “disappear” if they can’t be made domestically.  These will account for a surprisingly large part of the shrinkage.  As much as 50%.

Perhaps the most contentious transition will be the natural migration from high-density urban living to lower-density lifestyles with gardens.

Homelessness may lead to tented villages on rented land, with the potential for development into villages of smallholders.

Individual hovels may be a feature of the future in poor areas.   Hovels are typically tiny, poorly constructed, and often cramped dwellings, usually of a very modest standard.  They are generally associated with poverty or fundamental living conditions.  The term “hovel” frequently carries connotations of squalor and lack of basic amenities.  Depending on the region and historical context, hovels can vary widely in appearance and construction materials.

In rural areas, hovels might be constructed from readily available materials like mud, straw, or salvaged wood.  These structures may lack proper insulation, ventilation, or plumbing and are considered uncomfortable and unhealthy living places.  In urban settings, hovels might be makeshift shelters erected by homeless individuals or families in abandoned buildings or makeshift encampments.

Historically, hovels have been a common form of housing for the poorest members of society, particularly in times of economic hardship or social upheaval.  However, efforts by governments, non-profit organisations, and other groups have often aimed to improve housing conditions and provide alternatives to hovels for those in need.

In contemporary usage, “hovel” is sometimes used metaphorically to describe any dilapidated or unpleasant living space, regardless of size or actual conditions.  Some may see this as no more than untidiness.

I remember a roadside hedge in Warwickshire in the 1950s that was always “smoking.” More recently, on Sark, an elderly man occupied a barn each summer, a kind of independence and freedom that some prefer to modern workhouses.

How people and communities react to the changes will depend on local leadership and vested interests.

Neither County/Unitary nor Parish Councils are legally responsible for dealing with the changes.  They could ease the transition by removing and relaxing regulations and enforcement relating to public transport licensing, food preparation and land use development control.

All of which is neither good nor bad.  Shrinking occurs when individuals and organisations cease to exist legally, leaving behind no debts.  A natural process of reduction in the assets which make up the economy. is a collection of posts that seem relevant to the future. Gathering these snippets has helped me develop a mental image of the current collapse and disorganisation of the UK State and the transition to localism—what is happening and what this is leading to.

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