Economic Meltdown – How Far and What to Do?

Economic Meltdown – How Far and What to Do?

January 19th, 2008 | Posted in Art & Society, Business & Economy

Last September (2007) I had occasion to keynote the annual Housing Conference in Washington State. In that speech I suggested to a skeptical audience of housing, building, and real estate officials that the debt problem then appearing was deeper and more structural than currently accepted. The economic indicators, stock market performance, and general near panic in official circles in the past week suggest that my analysis, not unique but unusual at the time, was correct.

This past week we heard the first proposals to shore up the general economy from Democrats and the President. The problem, however, is deep and structural and even cultural. It has to do with energy, with lifestyle, with the shape and form of what we build, and with global politics, and more.

One of most provocative and controversial observers of this scene is James Kunstler. His observations will usually take you over the edge where you peer into a true crisis. But, if you ignore this view you may miss the starker challenges that we face. His most recent blog entry, “Disarray,” is one of his best, because it summarizes the data has he sees it, then goes beyond that to list steps that he believes must be taken, soon. These include, stop highway building and instead start building rail, end subsidies to big ag and instead direct dollars to small local farmers, begin planning and construction of harbor and river shipping facilities (less energy intensive shipping), re-direct new development, decide about nuclear power, prepare for the end of current global commerce as currently conducted, prepare psychologically to downscale, take a time out from immigration, prepare for a lot of paper “wealth” to disappear, prepare for a psychology of resentment.

Some of Jim’s solutions here are perhaps cases of constant solutions in search of problems to attach themselves to (i.e., his preferred future vision), but this is a useful list of thinking to be considering as the economy plays out in the next months and years.

For a similar analysis of the current economic situation, and another constantly excellent source on economic trends, see the Bondadd Blog. Also available frequently at the Daily Kos.

Glen Hiemstra is a futurist speaker, consultant, blogger, internet TV show host and founder of To arrange for a speech contact

Glen Hiemstra

About Glen Hiemstra

Glen Hiemstra is the founder and owner of An internationally respected expert on future trends, long-range planning and creating the preferred future, Glen has advised professional, business, and governmental organizations for two decades.


  1. tomori omoniyi   |   Nov 20, 2009

    it will takes developing countries like Nigeria to over come this economic melt down because of corruption and insincerety of our leaders.

  2. Chibuzor Atughonu   |   Jul 17, 2009

    The economic meltdown which has brought so many expertise theories almost to mockery should be seen as a define issue.People now should know that their own wisdom can equally fail them in the long run.The solution to it is people should have love for one another and not to believe in so much acquiring wealth they should believe in supreme wisdom,have positive thought shun away corruption greedness and more importantly turn to God because the scripture says if we can confess our sins and turn away from evil deeds and call upon the name of the Lord he will hear us and heal our land.

  3. Glen Hiemstra   |   Jul 10, 2009

    Kalyan, it looks more and more like you are correct. Thanks for commenting.

  4. Kalyan Dutta   |   Jul 9, 2009

    The economic meltdown will be last until first quarter of necxt year.
    The impact of stimulus packages of different nations will boost up the
    economic condition of respective countries.By this way we can able to
    came out from the grasp of economic meltdown.

  5. Samuel Ajayi   |   Apr 20, 2009

    One important solution to the present economic meltdown is for developing Countries to diversify thier economy,wage a serious battle against all forms of corruption and promote all those positive values that support development.Leaders should rule with the fear of God and the followers must not only believe in themselves but be positively committed to the tasks of nation building.

  6. Kareem R. Isaac   |   Mar 2, 2009

    On this global phernomenor, it has become the world plague and i think every body is consign about it. My litthle advise is that let the strong nation nation empower the weak one and the output of those weak one after empowerment, will boost the world output. and in random the act of independents will surfice

  7. Glen Hiemstra   |   Jan 25, 2009

    Agree that middle class is most likely to pay the price, both in personal financial situations and in taxes. Interesting take on illegals – your math is probably OK, but the assumptions would need some actual data. Still, solving the immigration problem has to be high on the list. Most problematic of your suggestions is off-shore drilling; the actual recoverable reserves versus estimated are not that great, say experts, but bigger problems are the time it will take, i.e., many years to decades, and the fact that ultimately we still need to shift to renewables. Better to invest in that now, in my opinion, can get the dollars flowing sooner, and it is sustainable. Thanks for commenting.

  8. wb   |   Jan 25, 2009

    notice how no one is talking about two surefire fixes that can be made to the economy? drill for oil off our own coasts, and deport all illegal aliens. hey people, illegals take up almost 20 million jobs here in the united states. for those of you who flunked high school math take 9.00 per hour(standard avg for someone with 2 years workforce exp, multiply by 30 hours, then multiply by 10,000,000(assuming working family with kids). now figure that at least 20 per cent of that money is sent back to native country for support. now add up total public expenditures such as food stamps, college subsidy, health care, etc. that is enough money to balance out california budget in 6 months. drilling for oil in proven reserves is not the same thing as looking for oil. america has millions of gallons already mapped out just waiting for the installation of oil rigs. ten complete oil rigs lie off the california coast ready just to be turned on. the rigs were shut down by the epa before they were even allowed to pump. if just these two items were taken seriously by washington we could be well on our way to solving this mess within 12-18 months. fat chance though as the middle class just got saddled with the biggets boondoggle in history. it won’t be the ulta-rich who pay for this and it sure as hell won’t be the poor. it will however, be mr and mrs middle class america.

  9. Richard Warden   |   Oct 23, 2008

    I believe it’s wise to plan for the worst case banking scenario. World Socialism has been the main agenda for quite some time. But the fact is, this has been coming all behind the scenes. Most people have never heard of Maurice strong, for example, but more than anyone perhaps he has helped to bring world powers together to the Socialist/Ecological/Economic pot luck supper. Kindly see article “Barreling Towards Babylon” at my blog.

  10. Dr. Tirath Garg   |   Oct 16, 2008

    Very well illustrated. Had the implications of debt trap identified and cure in time. To know more about my views kindly read