|First edition (pic source)|
Like Charles Hugh Smith, he envisages a return to a simpler life, where we ourselves make more of what we consume, and trade surpluses. To be more precise, not a simpler life - peasants have to be multiskilled and crafty to survive - but a simpler form of social organisation. Like Smith, Greer sees education as pricing itself out of the market, and in any case it's becoming irrelevant to the skills we will need in the future.
He also touches on what he calls the fashion of despair among those who simply refuse to begin adapting. If we see the present state of affairs as the Golden Age, then of course change means decline and loss.
But there's another way to see it. The model Greer is proposing is like that of Pa Larkin in H E Bates' life-affirming books. Pa doesn't believe in bothering the taxman and when the Inland Revenue sends a young, pasty-faced investigator to see how he can do so well on apparently no income, Pa marries him to one of his daughters and sets him to work. Bates' theme is love - not just of women, but of life. It's interesting to read the four Larkin sequels and see how in different ways they restate and defend the original, glowing vision of how we could be happy.
And like Pa, some of Greer's acquaintances are operating in the "black economy", because doing things the conventional way is a recipe for victimhood.
Some years ago, we met a man in South Wales whose neighbour hasn't worked for years. The latter said he hated both work (in its modern guise) and shopping, and decided to spend the rest of his life doing neither. He'd made enough in his previous career to buy a house before the mad price explosion, and eats well from what he catches in the fields and garners from hedgerows.
We don't all have to do exactly that. Pa Larkin manages on a mixed strategy of cash dealing (turning over money in any venture that is "wurf while"), subsistence farming (no fresher eggs or more organic chicken than from your own back yard) and piling the family into the van for seasonal crop-picking (he lives in Kent, which used to be known as "the garden of England").
Don't forget to love.
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