"In the long run, we're all dead." -John Maynard Keynes The current credit crisis gives me pause, as it should anyone. I know most people won't learn any lesson from all this, instead complaning about the inconvenience of the crisis and waiting impatiently for things to return to "normal." And what is normal? Buying junk, apparently. Something went very wrong with our society, and I'm not quite sure where it was. Maybe it's the level of comfort we Americans (and other first-world countries) are afforded because we don't have to live day-to-day worrying survival. In America, children throw temper tantrums when they don't get the toy they want. In other parts of the world, some kids have to worry about when they local militia decides to practice a little genocide. What happened? When did we become this society obsessed with instant gratification? When did convenience become a natural right? When did inconvenience become a sin? Look, I'm not ragging on my country just to be mean. I love it and I don't like what I see happening to it. We're going to have cold, sad wake-up call on the day that someone calls in the national debt. When that comes, the government will only be able to afford to keep the most basic of programs. Public services like law enforcement and firefighting may become privately-run programs, like something out of the movie "Robocop." Police protection? Sure, if you pay your bills. Things are going to have to change. Seriously, a country with 300 million people can not continue to live by putting everything on the credit card, expecting the government to cough up money every time things turn bad, and thinking that we need to have the latest techno-junk right now. –Stephen Payne, Editor, Oil and Gas Investor This Week; www.OilandGasInvestor.com; spayne@hartenergy.com