Up until the 1920s, most Americans were almost self-sufficient

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Up until around the 1920s, most Americans were almost self-sufficient, and if not self-sufficient then at least self-reliant.

singer-model-12k-hand-crank-sewing-machineThey made their own clothes, grew their own food and bought very little. They were producers and rather than consumers. And this is true also in other countries, such as Britain, Germany, Australia.

This, however, changed in the 1920s, when the growth of capitalism had created large corporations that could no longer prosper simply from World War I production, as the war was now over. They needed Americans, and all those others, to become consumers. And the rest, as they so often say, is history.

Advertising and marketing brainwashed the majority over time that they needed all those goods made by those corporations to be happy and contend and to live a real fulfilled life.

Before that there was also a totally different mindset, one of make do and mend and of making as much as possible for yourself.

It was also just after that time that big government began to enter the scene and people were brainwashed into demanding that government did this and that for them and, again, the corporations had their hands in the game here by lobbying and – more than likely – buying representative left right and center in the same way as they still do today.

People were thrifty back then and relied on themselves, and probably their neighbors, rather than on any government agency and life was still good back then, even though money was thin on the ground for many. In some places this life continued until about the advent of Second World War. After that nothing was the same again, not in the USA and neither in Europe.

And, talking about World War Two; that one started also, basically, because the corporations were looking for ever greater profit and knew that a war, especially a nice big global one, could guarantee them that for the stuff they could sell the people just did not generate enough profits for them.

And it was during and after the Second World War that the chemical industry went wild with all the fertilizers that were so good for us in that we could be producing so much more food and the mechanization of agriculture for the same reason.

No one, however, was looking at the fact that the use and the overuse of such chemicals destroys the soil structure and thus the fertility of the soil. While such fertilizers may be food for the plants they leach nutrients from the soil and more and more fertilizer is required to keep the results coming. More profits for the chemical corporations, obviously. And that is the very reason that they kept people in the dark and continued with the marketing ploys in the same way as genetically engineered foods are now being promoted. And that by the self-same companies, with Monsanto in the forefront.

They did the same with almost forcing us all to eat margarine, a chemical product, basically, that was originally, amongst other things, invented as (axle) grease for wagons and vehicles in World War One. The medical profession was convinced by the research that was, supposedly, backing up the claims of margarine (and its derivatives) being better for us than butter. Now we have come full circle back to the real stuff that is butter. And we now know how dangerous Saccharine and Aspartame are. But I digressed.

Before the 1920s and even the very early 1930s when most people in America and in other countries still were almost, if not entirely, self-sufficient the run on the resources did not exist and it would have never come to the state that we are in today had common sense prevailed and we continued to live in moderation, and that despite the fact that the world's population has risen.

People made their own clothes, as said, and other things and reused and repurposed everything until it not longer could be used and reused. No glass jar was thrown away and they were used for many different purposes and every scrap of paper was used. Food waste was almost unheard off and even that which was not fir for human consumption went to feed the animals and or the plants, later, when rotted down, by way of compost.

Everything was repairable and was fixed, often at home by means of DIY, because it could be done. In general things were only thrown into the trash when they no longer could be fixed or when there was absolutely no reuse possible for them. Today things get tossed after a very short time simply because a new version or whatever is about and the money is there also to buy new. And, if you are thrifty and don't throw away and mend and make do with what you have and reuse and upcycle, and don't spend money all the time you are, by the governments especially considered a domestic terrorist even as you are not helping the economy to grow.

Economic growth is not possible on a Planet whose non-renewable resources are finite and almost exhausted and we need to look at a new form of economy, one not based on constant growth.

The most important thing, for us and the Planet, is that we all learn (again) to live within our means and the means of Mother Earth and that means to go back to the ways of the old ones, before 1920, and live a life that is more self-reliant than today, by making things ourselves, growing our own food, and by living and working in a different way.

The good thing is that it can be done and that we all can be part of this and we can do things for ourselves. Each and everyone can do his or her little bit and the changes would be tremendous, regardless of whether we live in the city or the countryside.

First of all get rid of the brainwashing device called a television. Don't just unplug it and use it less; get rid off it. Turn on the good old radio, or wireless, as they call it in Britain, read a book, a real book.

If you really must keep up to date with TV then on the Internet you can watch television on demand and chose the channels and programs that you want to watch for their quality, as long as you have a fast enough connection. You also get less in the way of commercials that way and thus less brainwashing.

As nowadays in most cases there is no longer any analog television but only satellite and cable, which costs a good deal too, you will also save a great deal of money if you cut this umbilical cord. And you can use that saved money to either get a better Internet connection or use it for other things.

Use and reuse, upcycle, make things yourself as much as possible, live more locally, and that includes buying things from local sources.

Every little step helps to make our world better and will help us to preserve the Planet and also make our lives better by way of quality. Grown your own food and eat this and food from (other) local growers and let us slowly get back to the good life.

© 2013