The Future Arrived Yesterday
Actually it was 1973 when this article concerning the arrival of the future appeared in the Maine Times, republished in Mother Earth News.
I was in my twenties back then. I was aware of the Maine Times and Mother Earth News and Country Journal. I never took the time nor challenged my intellect to comprehend this talk of a post industrial age having arrived in Maine. It was a new concept and seemed based on selected and somewhat editorialized facts (see the list of "items" in this article). But Maine has since developed somewhat of a split personality relating to this post industrial notion.
Clearly the largest industries of Maine have all gone the way of Detroit automobile manufacturing. The textile industries have struggled and died for many decades now. Shoe manufacturing was a large component in Maine's economy, now almost completely gone. And Maine's paper industry has been on the decline for a decade or more, although it was still going strong in 1973 when this article was published in the Maine Times.
But industry didn't follow the dire warnings of this article. A new kind of industrialization found strength in Maine and the state is now dotted with hundreds, even thousands of small industrial producers. Maine's economic future rests in part on the success of these new small industries. Not only that, but a remnant of traditional large industry remains strong in Maine. And as if to thumb its nose at this article, Maine has continued to develop recreation and tourism based on high energy consumption and inexpensive gasoline. It is a bit difficult to embrace the idea of post industrial enterprise while industry remains this strong. Until very recently, it looked as though the post industrial age would never arrive.
But starting about the time of this Maine Times article there developed a counterculture in Maine, a new side of Maine's personality that is clearly described presciently in this 1973 article. Maine has developed and is continuing to grow a strong sustainable living culture based on organic farming and gardening, renewable energy and energy conservation, healthy living, and progressive politics. Nowhere is this trend more apparent than in the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, MOFGA, and its annual autumn country fair, the Common Ground Fair.
This whole progressive movement was in its infancy here in Maine in 1973. Thank God someone had the foresight to welcome these new people and their new ideas to Maine back then. Much of the pioneering work for the nation's post industrial transition is already being done here in Maine. Perhaps now with the collapse of America's industrial strength and the realization that we are fighting wars now to secure our future oil demands, our whole nation will begin to see the sense in post industrial living.