As I have pondered, the word, “scale,” keeps coming to mind.
Things as they have been are too big… too stretched. Along the whole range of life, things as a whole are scaled too wide and too high and too long. Supply chains are ridiculously long and hold too much inherent risk (as we’ve seen). But I don’t want to state the obvious, here, I want to understand what happens when those flaws are manifest and it breaks.
I think of an Army company on the front lines with a supply chain that can no longer offer support. That company has no choice but to retreat or dig in. Both ways require a smaller profile with their fire-power and communications concentrated. They will have to ditch expensive, unwieldy equipment and rely on their own skills using simpler tools. Agility, practical skill sets and quick communication will be all-important.
Calm, sensible, and truly caring leadership locally will be more important and life sustaining than any glad-handing suit in an ivory tower – whether waving free checks or not. It won’t be about maintaining old ways, but frontier-like forging of alternate ways. It will be about real relationships that actually build things together and not based on branding.
Yet, going from what was to what now is, will hurt. Leadership, as described above, will need to have a relational strategy in place now – a way to start getting folks to take small steps and forays into something that they can see themselves doing. Small steps – Kaizen as some may know it as – will be the way forward.
The goal is a human-scaled community. A “bicycle ride distance” sized economy even with the use of cars and trucks. Local. Relationship developing. Not cumbaya-type stuff, but real and gracious connections. No branding that makes a commodity out of personality and skills, but true, one-on-one, having to get along with grace and mercy kind of living.
Not utopian. Not dystopian. Simply life at a scale we can work together on.
But let me be perfectly clear… I am not advocating “communitarianism.” Individual rights are the foundation of a free and just society. I’m talking about individuals mutually working together for the benefit of themselves without harm to their neighbors. You don’t need a government to do that, by the way.