Broken Goods

Michael Nabert
6 min readJun 24, 2022

Normalizing crap is much easier than producing lasting quality.

Photo by Daniel Tafjord on Unsplash

It infuriates me that news media are still talking about today’s record inflation as if it’s somehow a transient anomaly that might be readily corrected before it becomes a full fledged recession. A distressing amount of evidence suggests it’s barely the beginning of our top heavy economy finally toppling. Telling us not to worry, however, is par for the course.

Different physical regions are more prone to different kinds of natural disasters, so your odds of being at ground zero of a brutal drought or flood or firenado largely depend on where you live. The unnatural disaster of what’s happening to our economy will land hard everywhere. There’s no escaping it. It won’t hit uniformly. You don’t need me to tell you that the ultra wealthy will be minorly inconvenienced while others start dying in earnest, because of course they will, but it will catch up to them, too.

The way we tend to measure normal is the lifestyle to which we have become accustomed. We get infuriated and unpleasant when our our access to the stuff we are used to having is no longer stable. That’s becoming inescapable.

It starts with diminished or interrupted production. Some physical inputs are simply becoming less available. Warming reduces global crop production so scarcity drives up food prices. The heat wave that hit Russia in 2010 reduced wheat yields by about 40 million tons, turning them into a grain importer rather than an exporter for that year. Extreme weather wiped out 90% of Syria’s agriculture, and you may have noticed that it didn’t do any favours to that nation’s stability, either. Some of the things we want that grow simply aren’t going to be as available any more. Today it’s a Sriracha shortage because California isn’t producing enough of the peppers they use. Tomorrow it’s coffee, and chocolate, and wine, on top of staples like wheat.

Russia combined with Ukraine represent roughly 30% of global wheat production, and Putin is weaponizing his level of control over that vital global resource today to the best of his ability. Which certainly should be considered a crime against humanity. It should also be considered a crime against humanity that Wall Street commodities traders have profited by manipulating food…

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Michael Nabert

Researching a road map from our imperilled world into one with a livable future with as much good humour as I can muster along the way.