If you aren’t comfortably with the current standards of living on average, I’d consider shoring up your resources now. As our planetary resource situation doesn’t appear to be getting better.
As more first world countries come to terms with slowing growth (perhaps even degrowth), resource scarcity is going to affect daily life in uncomfortable and visible ways we can’t smooth over with shrinkflation. If you aren’t prepared to live life on a harder setting, you should begin as soon as you are able to prepare for that reality.
I’d like to think about this problem with a bit of distance. What if we have a coercive state and social consensus for something you’d consider a personal preference or choice, but civil society views as as deviant? You will need to find ways to look like you are conforming even if in private, you are not. So how do you do so?
You may find it helpful to not stick out. In that situation there are two ways to survive an attack. Being protected and in the middle of the herd. Or be as far away from the herd as you can be.
Anyone on the edges of the herd of social consensus, but still within the second or third standard deviation from the norm may get hurt. Forced metaphor of the brutal blue curve but you get what I mean. Better to be a true outlier, as the secondary standard deviation will be forced by a brutal bell curve to fit in better.
If we add in artificial intelligence to the equation, we’ve got even more effective tools for monitoring and surveillance of out-group behavior and even easier mechanisms to deploy social shaming force at scale to insure social adherence. The panopticon is us. An army of Karens armed with the probability you will deviate waiting to pounce.
See for instance a social shaming quote tweet campaign. Now imagine it’s state sponsored propaganda but organized, through the seemingly spontaneous egregores of populism, add a dash of rule by authoritarianism and you’ve got yourself quite a problem. The wisdom of crowds can look like mania.
I got a small taste of being shamed yesterday by my neighbors in a Frankfurt Airbnb. Air conditioning use is frowned on in Germany now for both social reasons and also failing energy policy. Shutting down the nuclear power was a bad idea.
I’ve been suffering from an autoimmune issue, exacerbated by allergies and pollen, so I’ve used the air conditioning on 80 degree days. This was enough to get my neighbors to complain to me twice. I attempted to comply by going to a hotel but quickly found that no hotel would let me turn the thermostat below 72 degrees.
I decided to brave the noisy neighbors and run the air conditioning at the Airbnb in the end, but I didn’t appreciate having to lay our personal health problems to justify a private decision. Now extrapolate this out to genuinely serious situations. The disability issues are often an early lens into wider social attitudes on freedom, choice, value and worth.
You have to decide now if you want to hide in the middle of the herd. Can you pass? Are you able to fit in or do you have some deviance in your life? If you aren’t sure you can pull off average, you must ride the edges. Be as far outside the herd as you can. Maybe on the edge you can find a pack that will defend you.