Mexico: A Nation-State Dissolves?

(Repromoted due to today's explosions in Pemex's pipelines and JHK's story and link to us today...originally posted 7/12/07)

In my annual new years predictions, I said that the most significant, and surprising, development of 2007 would be the collapse of both Mexico’s economy and its very existence as a viable Nation-State. While there hasn’t been a spectacular, single event confirming my prediction, there has been a steady erosion on all fronts—with five months left in the year, I’m not yet willing to push back my prediction of Mexico’s “collapse” to 2008. The decline of the Mexican Nation-State is a bellwether for the massively complex network of geopolitical influences sometimes termed above ground factors. It provides some insight into how symptoms of oil scarcity already being felt in poorer parts of the world will increasingly spill over into our own back yard…

UPDATE: After I wrote this story (July 7th), things took a serious turn for the worse with a series of rebel attacks on Mexican oil infrastructure: Bloomberg, Forbes (research credit: Dantes Peak).

Before I highlight the specific events that are undermining the Mexican Nation-State, let me talk first for a moment about what it means for a Nation-State to collapse, an important topic as it’s an experience that will become increasingly common over the next decade. When a Nation-State collapses, the cities don’t all catch on fire simultaneously whilst roving hoards pillage the countryside and the population starves. Nation-State collapse is not the apocalypse—it is exactly what it suggests to be: the collapse of the notional union of Nation and State under one central, viable government. Nation-State collapse also doesn’t suggest that there will no longer be Nation-States. It is my prediction that there will be a Mexico, an Iraq, etc. for quite a long time. What collapse does mean is that the importance of Nation-States will decline sharply, as they become increasingly ineffectual both domestically and internationally. Nor does the decline of the Nation-State mean the decline of Nationalism and similar identifying sentiments. Quite the opposite: as States increasingly fail to care for their constituent Nations, those Nations will become increasingly susceptible to the black shirts and brown shirts of history, but these movements will be increasingly dissociated from States, more similar in organizational model to al-Qa’ida than to Nazi Germany. (See The New Map, a paper that I presented at the 2006 Yale International Law Conference, for an overview of this notion of the end of the Nation-State)

Mexico’s Oil Production is Collapsing

Production from Mexico’s Cantarell field is collapsing, and production from new fields are not making up the difference. It appears very likely that Mexico has permanently passed its peak oil production. On top of that, domestic consumption is rising, creating the classic Export Land effect: declining production and rising domestic consumption equal accelerated declines in exports. Taxes from these export revenues generate the largest share of revenue for the federal government. Recent reductions in the tax rate that the government applies to PEMEX, the state oil company, shows that this key source of revenue is failing. The collapse of Mexican oil production has been extensively discussed elsewhere—here it is only my aim to highlight this as a component in the collapse of the Mexican Nation-State, and the positive feedback loops between the two events.

Mexico’s National and State Boundaries are Separating

The core proposition of a Nation-State is that the boundaries of the Nation and the State will coincide, allowing the State to effectively provide for the security and welfare of the Nation, and leading in return to the Nation giving their allegiance to the State (See Philip Bobbitt's "Shield of Achilles," the seminal work on the Nation-State construct). While no Nation-State is a perfect example of this ideal, Mexico’s proximity to enticing US labor markets, and the resulting massive emigration of Mexicans, is increasingly distorting this overlap. While “Mexico” remains a powerful cultural concept, that concept is increasingly dissociated with the geographic borders of the Mexican state. People can be wholly “Mexican” in Los Angeles, or, increasingly, Alabama.

The State of Mexico is Failing to Provide for its Nation

While the dissociation of the boundaries of a Nation with the borders of a State makes it more difficult for a notional Nation-State to provide for that part of its Nation outside its State borders, Mexico is also failing to provide for its nationals inside its borders. Recent protests over tortilla prices are just one example of the extreme poverty suffered by much of the nation (and, not entirely coincidentally, largely the result of scarcity in global oil markets driving demand for corn-ethanol). Similarly, while the average Mexican’s wealth is increasing, there are shadow factors at work—people like the Mexican businessman Carlos Slim, now the richest man in the world at $68 Billion net worth, are skewing the statistics. Without remittance payments from emigrants, Mexico's poverty situation would be far worse. When a State can no longer provide for its Nation, there is no longer any incentive for that Nation to voluntarily give allegiance and support to their State. The only remaining tool to exert control is coercion through a State’s theoretical monopoly on violence, and in Mexico even that is breaking down.

Mexico’s Monopoly on Violence is Collapsing

Not that Mexico was ever a poster-child for civic safety and effective policing, but the situation has grown considerably worse in the past year. There are mass desertions among the federal police. Outright infantry battles between crime organizations and the government are becoming a common occurrence. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of police, judges, government officials, and reporters have been assassinated over the past few years. What control the federal government continues to exercise in states such as Sonora, Sinaloa, and Nuevo Leon is mainly due to the fact that crime organizations don’t want to actually take over the territory—they already experience the benefits of acting as a sovereign government without the burdens, and they’re happy to leave those burdens to the “official” government.

Can Mexico Protect Its Oil Infrastructure?

Mexico's increasing inability to deal with drug violence within its own borders begs the question: can Mexico protect its oil infrastructure? A string of attacks on Mexican gas pipelines this week suggest that they are ill-prepared for this threat.

Photo: Flames from the attack on a gas pipeline in Queretaro, Mexico illuminate a passing army truck. (AP)

The same profit motivation that increasingly drives attacks on oil infrastructure in Nigeria and Iraq is tailor-made for the combination of disaffected rebels and powerful criminal organizations that already exist in Mexico. The chief source of revenue from oil attacks in Nigeria is the ransoming of foreign contractors working in the oil sector. The more that Mexico succeeds in modifying its constitution to bring foreign service workers and foreign concession-holders into its oil and gas industry, this same problem could spring up with a fury in Mexico. Similarly, the high return on investment for attacks on Mexico's oil industry make this the most promising target for politically motivated groups. Finally, while "illegal bunkering"--poor consumers stealing various hydrocarbons direct from production pipelines--is not yet a common occurrence in Mexico, "Export-Land" effects will likely make domestic consumers, especially rural and poor consumers, feel a financial crunch that will drive bunkering.

Mexico's military and police forces have, to put it mildly, not demonstrated much competence over the past decades. The same corruption, desertion, and competing interests that are causing the Mexican state to lose its monopoly over violence will prevent Mexico from effectively protecting its oil infrastructure. The simultaneous (and partially resulting) financial crunch will further degrade their ability to respond. How long until we hear that "oil rose in New York today on news of continued attacks on oil facilities in Mexico"??

Collapse is a Positive Feedback Loop

Every one of these factors, individually and in combination, act as positive feedback loops. Collapsing oil production decreases available revenues to reinvest in exploration and delays bringing new fields to production. The comparative success of Mexicans outside of Mexico drives further emigration. Failure of the Mexican government to provide for its people drives more economic activity to the black market, erodes the tax base, and makes taxes more difficult to justify at election time. And failure of the government to provide for fundamental security compels the population to turn to primary loyalties for protection—corrupt local governments, criminal organizations, etc. These factors in combination erode the foundation of the rule of law and the viability of Mexico’s infrastructure network, which in turn puts the brake on foreign investment, tourism, and the ability of legitimate businesses to produce and export goods and services from within Mexico. To the extent that Mexico uses central banking to prop up the peso, it drives a wedge between actual, local economic production and the monetized economy.

Is Mexico a unique case or a bellwether?

In my paper The New Map, I argue that these same factors are eroding the viability of the Nation-State everywhere. The situation in Mexico is exacerbated by reliance on declining oil revenues and proximity to the US. However, the Mexican Nation-State enjoys many advantages: with significant exceptions, indigenous populations are well integrated into Mexican culture; a strong, shared Catholic identity; a rich history as an independent nation; a relatively long period of independence since the end of colonial control. Nigeria, Iraq, and other fragmenting Nation-States would be lucky to have even one of those advantages. Every Nation-State is the product of unique circumstances, but the broader forces undermining the Mexican Nation-State are shared around the world. The decline of the Mexican Nation-State is most visible because of the impact of symptoms of this decline on the US, and the resulting media coverage of these symptoms: America’s “broken borders,” the “war on drugs,” the “outsourcing of America,” and virtually anything else that comes out of Lou Dobbs’ mouth (a “rise” in leprosy due to Mexican immigrants—look out!).

The collapse of the Mexican Nation-State will have serious, negative impacts on global oil markets, on the US economy, and on xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment in the US, not to mention its impacts inside Mexico. It might not happen in 2007—and it certainly won’t occur in one sudden “bang” that can be easily marked on a date in history—but the process is already well under way. On a broader trend, the decline of the Nation-State as a mode of social organization will have profound effects in a post-peak world. In one sense it will cement the inability of Nation-State governments, and international coalitions of governments, to act effectively to address Peak Oil. In another sense, it may facilitate exactly the kind of localization that will be necessary in a low-energy world. Of course, this isn’t a suggestion that the transition will be peaceful, enjoyable, or brief.

Thanks Jeff. An excellent and timely article on the geopolitical and social effects of oil and scarcity. Anecdotally, my wife and I were in Merida, Yucatan for nearly two weeks last year. While there we heard often stories of Mexicans who had moved and were moving from Mexico City to Merida, especially wealthier Mexicans, to get away from the violence and the threat of kidnappings etc. They found Merida to be one of the safest areas in the country. I am sure the overall situation has gotten worse since then


Let's see Mexico's GNP development (from

Compare it to US oil dollar price (inflation adjusted):

What about Mexico's oil exports (in volume, not in price)?

As long as oil exports from Mexico have remained relatively steady, their GNP average has adjusted roughly as a function of oil price.

As as side note, the income distribution has clearly narrowed as you can see from the income distribution chart:

What happens, when their oil exports start to go down AND oil price keeps going up?

For how long (and by how much) can the rising oil price lessen the effect of diminishing export volumes?

How much of an impact (how fast) does that have on the economy at whole?

Currently oil exports are roughly 11% of Mexico's exports. Exports are 32% of total GDP (source: Economist, 2006).

At what point do they have to cut into to domestic consumption of oil and risk losing economic growth in other sectors?

After facing the reality of ELM, aren't these some of the next question they are asking themselves?

BTW, Mexico has been for some time already trying to encourage growth in exports that are non-oil related. Considering oil was over 70% of their exports at the beginning of 80's, I think they have made nice progress in lessening the impact of oil exports on their economy.

How do you handle the tight coupling with the US ?
Most of the growth can be attributed to moving manufacturing from the US to Mexico. It interesting that even as this happened income became increasingly concentrated. I'm not sure you can easily consider the Mexican economy decoupled from the US. Now assuming a tight coupling and also expecting the US to enter at least a mild recession soon one would expect this coupling to not help.

So even though it exists and is a big complication for considering Mexico as and independent Oil Exporter we expect it to turn down at the same time so maybe it can be dismissed since at best it will be and additional negative factor.

Canada is in the same economic boat in a lot of ways as Mexico so I don't see this tight economic coupling as a positive as the US economy itself stumbles.

As long as the US economy was booming however it did hide or delay the effects of ELM. In any case ELM is not exactly correct for tightly coupled economies but unless you can show the other economy will remain robust it seems to me that at best it delays ELM's economic effects.

I just realized that the obvious pumping of the housing bubble by the US well beyond reason is probably the only thing that kept the effects of ELM on Mexico from becoming obvious. So I wonder how much keeping Mexico afloat played into supporting the housing bubble? Mexico was a huge beneficiary of the bubble probably the largest. If you look at the numbers the US housing bubble is responsible for keeping the Mexican economy going over the last few years.


You talk about Wealthy Mexicans moving away to avoid violence. Just the point missed by Jeff. There is a Class War, a Civil War, taking place in Mexico as we speak; sparked by pre-national election violence, election fraud, and now violent oppression of the working class and unions by an illegitimate government installed by the powers that be, against the will(and vote) of the Mexican people. The people of Mexico are now fighting against that usurpation of power, including the bombing of pipelines. This is not being done by a small group of terrorists as they would like you to believe. This is a national uprising that will have long term consequences for the United States, where there appears to be a conspiracy of silence among the media.

Another truth respecting the vigilance with which a free people should guard their liberty, that deserves to be carefully observed, is this--that a real tyranny may prevail in a state, while the forms of a free constitution remain.


Excellent analysis of the forces at work in the
contemporary international system. I'm assuming this
is part of a larger, to-be-published work. I'll look
forward to reading it and I'll have to pick up your
book too.

One question - what's your take on the increasing use
of contractor/mercenary forces by all the Western
states, but especially the US? Looking at Iraq it
it seems to me that the proportion of contractor to
citizen soldiers hasn't been this high in a western
army for quite some time. You probably have to go
back to pre-Napoleonic times to come up with numbers
that approach the size of the contractor contingent
in Iraq today. This, I think, is exactly the kind of
breakdown between nations and states that you talk
about, correct?

Good point--I read recently that the number of contractors in Iraq now exceeds the number of uniformed (foreign)military personnel by a slight margin. Most of the contractors are preforming non-combat roles, but there are exceptions to this (PDF warning).

The contractor phenomenon--use by Nation-States, as well as use by multinationals for private security and *other* tasks--certainly supports the dissolution of the Nation-State. The classic Nation-State military mobilization, for example among the great powers during WWI and WWII, left little or no room for their own citizens to be a contract army. Today, by contrast, monetary motivation and "career concerns" are a major reason why many (admittedly not all) of our uniformed personnel enlist (free college was my overriding motivation to go to the Air Force Academy), so there is also the fact that our Nation-State's military is increasingly mercenary in character. Just look at the signing bonuses given to new recruits--if it was all patriotism, that wouldn't happen, just as it didn't happen in WWII. Ultimately, if you subscribe to Philip Bobbitt's distopian vision of the "Market-State" rapidly replacing the outdated "Nation-State," then the market will increasingly provide for traditional Nation-State functions like security, even if veiled in an "official" uniform.

I've been thumbing through Bobbitt's 'Shield of Achilles' off an on now for a few months (been too busy finishing up the ye olde dissertation for fun stuff) but I've found his basic argument interesting and largely parallels the work done by many in the field of historical sociology. Charles Tilley's 'Coercion, Capital, and European States' comes to mind, as does a lot of work in the field on institutional economics that looks at the states as basically a 'protection provision' firm - the subject of my own dissertation by the way.

What fascinates and disturbs me is the way in which many of the 'older' political-economy scholars predicted something like this happening but are now totally ignored by the mainstream in the academy today. I don't consider myself a Marxist pe se, but it's hard to look at globalization and the cultural identity destroying forces wrought by it and not see that as something Marx predicted regardless of one's opinion of whether this is ultimately a good or bad thing. Similarly, Polyani's 'Great Transformation' and his discussion of the evolution, resistance to, and ultimate collapse of the self-regulating market prior to World War II was really a precursor to the debate over 'globalization and its discontents' today.

To me, it seems the academic social sciences are missing something big and we're groping towards some new way to interpret the world. Hell, even in economics there's a growing movement that's beginning to question the orthodoxy surrounding the assumptions of the neo-classical model. See:

I'm worried because it's obvious to anybody who looks that something is seriously out of kilter in terms of the balance of social forces working in the world today. The dominance of the unfettered market and the elevation of finance in our economies is causing dislocations, problems, and resistance that looks eerily similar to the period before the First World War. Combine that with ecological damage and resources sustainability...and, well...the future scares me. That many academics, who are supposed to be looking at the world as it is and as opposed to how their theories say it should be, don't see this speaks to the level of corruption caused by these forces in all our major institutions.

PS, I agree with your point about imbalance--academia has a hard time with paradigm shifts. We are always slow. That's why this site and sites like it are so important.

I think--and I am not an IR scholar (but Jeff is, so he might be able to get at this better) is that this is the conflict between the neoliberal paradigm and the realist/neorealist paradigm in a time a resource scarcity. Noeliberalism argues for interconnected networks of interdependence--scarce resources break those down. Neorealism argues for power to shift to those with the resources, with the caveats of neoliberalism.

In other words, it's a clusterfuck.

A new paradigm is developing. I guess this is just what it feels like.

As for your dissertation, remember this: treat yourself well or you will never get your dissertation done. That means reading for pleasure as well. :)

I'm an IR guy too - :-) oil geopolitics must draw a lot of us types here.

I got my BA in IR. I also find oil geopolitics fascinating, especially what is happening in East and Central Asia--hell, for that matter, all over the globe.

A new paradigm is developing.

Translation from academicese to english = "the shit is hitting the fan."

I guess this is just what it feels like.

Translation = "I'm soiling my skivies thinking about the implications of this."

An astute, if not humorous, translation.

"ovis suburbanus" (which translate to "suburban sheep") has got to be one of the best screen names in the PO sphere I've seen yet.

I thought about posting as "Ignoramus North Americanus" once.

There are a couple other good ones here too. I saw "Sonic The Hedge Fund" on this thread.

Indeed, Matt. Indeed. :)

In other words we have a neofuckup?

Academia doesn't want to call it what is.

Incompetent illiterate people that can produce nothing of value and/or don't even have the skills to feed themselves are breeding like rabbits and are allowed to invade our societies.

Hi mus,

Could you please explain this a little further? What are you talking about? Are you talking about illegal/or legal immigration to the US, the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the general state of primary education in the US - or what?

Mostly that in first world societies the people that bring something to the table have basically zero population growth, while arrivals from the third and fourth world multiply like rabbits.

No one can afford to pay for this any longer.

Not much one can do about the ones here legally, but the law can be changed so births receive the citizenship of the mother and draconian fines and criminal penalties can be imposed on anyone hiring or doing any type of business with illegal aliens and generally enforcing existing law.

How do you deport 20+ million illegal aliens? You force them to deport themselves.

If it takes heavy armor on the border, so be it.
I most certainly didn't put 20+ years in to have these pieces of shit in DC selling the country down the river and have my neighborhood invaded by foreigners.

Hi Mus,

This discussion may well be over by now!

Just wanted to ask a few questions.

I thought there are some advantages to immigration.

For example, having a higher population of younger workers, to add to Soc. Sec, taxes...and do work. (?) With an aging population, at ZPG - doesn't this also cause problems?

I've also wondered about the following:

What if Mexico kept both its oil and its citizens at home? Then what?

What is the intersection between economics and population in terms of the manufacturing base? If X % (what is it, anyway) of manufactured goods sold in the US are made in China, is this kind of like having "de facto" immigrants from China?

I don't just seems like the meaning of citizenship, in terms of "function" would be an interesting discussion. In the sense of economics.

Or have UPS find them.


invade our societies.

Come again? Within its own borders, the US has plenty of 'Incompetent illiterate people' who were born here.

Just watch broadcast TV for any length of time.

Even the families of 'old money' have such a 'design feature'.

I agree--
Marx may be solid proof of time travel--
No one could predict the things he did 150 yours out--
While wrong about human nature (too positive), if you need analysis on capitalism, Marx nailed it.
If you want someone who predicted the failings of Marx, read Bakunin--
As astute as Marx, only on communism.
Disclaimer: Not a Marxist, but historically appreciate his great insight

T. Christian Miller puts the number of contractors in Iraq at over 180,000:,0,5808...
That includes some Iraqis too, of course, but the overwhelming majority are foreigners. As far as calling many of them noncombatants, the same could be said of many of the 140,000 GI's, who drive trucks, shuffle papers, and cook.

That includes some Iraqis too, of course, but the overwhelming majority are foreigners.

Your own link says precisely the opposite:

"The numbers include at least 21,000 Americans, 43,000 foreign contractors and about 118,000 Iraqis"

The contractor phenomenon--use by Nation-States, as well as use by multinationals for private security and *other* tasks--certainly supports the dissolution of the Nation-State. The classic Nation-State military mobilization, for example among the great powers during WWI and WWII, left little or no room for their own citizens to be a contract army.

We have private armies being paid huge amounts of money compared to the 'public' army counterparts. In a way it is a reversion to an earlier paradigm in which the conquering army gets to plunder and loot and go home with the spoils. The loot comes to the private armies mostly indirectly through taxes on the weakening nation state that is employing the army or sometimes directly. I would not be surprised to see, as the nation state weakens, that the loot for the private armies will come more directly from the 'conquered' lands.

Also, you can get the book free on my site, though if you want to pay for a hardcopy I'm not going to stop you :)

Thanks, that's very generous of you.

Can I skip buying the hardcopy and just mail you 15 cents?

I get a buck fifty, believe it or not, which is still pretty miserable. Generally, if people ask, I suggest that they download the book free, and if they think it's worth it, they buy a hardcopy to give to a friend...

1.50 sounds pretty good.

Back in the day when I was in University a prof used his own text in his class. On the first day he went around the room and set 15 cents (OK, I forget the exact amount, but a much less than a buck) on each student's desk. He then announced that was the profit he received from each sale of his text, so he doesn't want to hear any complaining about him using the text just to make money off the students.

Mind you this was a very small class, I don't think he could have done that for a lecture.

Jeff, thanks for all your hard work! One thing about illegal immigration that people fail to note is that Mexican emmigrants are a relief valve on the political situation in Mexico. The immigrants to the US are seeking work, but if they are forced to stay home they would act to change the Reublic. The hardest working, most productive and most ambitious Mexicans come to the US, leaving behind the more timid people.
They've become a huge factor in the United States. In the Houston area the proportion of Mexicans has grown from about 5% in 1970, to nearly 40% today-larger than any other ethnic group. If their is a revolution in progress, these individuals will provide the troops, just as they did from the San Antonio area in the 1910-1930 revolution when Madero, Huerta and Orozco all plotted from SA and raised troops and funds there. Lou Dobbs racism and nativism might be the blockage in the relief valve that makes the whole thing explode.
Bob Ebersole


I think this is a classic example of a positive feedback loop: the more the Mexican state fails to provide for their nation, the more that Mexicans will look for opportunity in the US, and the more that Xenophobia will take reactionary steps, catalyzing a true failure of the Mexican state, and making the immigration problem that much worse!

Interesting thoughts on US-based Mexicans leading a revolution in Mexico. It certainly makes sense--my only note of caution was that much of the Mexican nationalism in the early 20th Century was to gain control of their oil resources. They accomplished that, but now that this production is failing, is there sufficient motivation to return?

There wasn't much fighting centered around Vera Cruz or Tabasco, in spite of or because of the USMC being sent in to protect the Golden Lane oil fields. That makes me question oil as being the source of much old time Mexican nationalism . But if a revolution should break out today, I'm sure it would be a big deal-its the biggest source of revenue in the Mexican government.
Mexico is hugely underexplored compared to the US. Damn few wildcats in Chihuahua, not much off Baja California, not much in shallow coastal waters in the Gulf north of Vera Cruz. There may actually be some supergiants there. If the federal government breaks down, like Columbia, I'd expect local governments to make some deals.
The Mexican government allows its emmigrants to vote, so they have remained in the political process. That's why I think they will have a significant influence on the future. And, don't forget all those guys sending the moneygrams to Mexico-they're involved with wives and mothers and children still in Mexico.
Bob Ebersole

The hardest working, most productive and most ambitious Mexicans come to the US, leaving behind the more timid people.

Well that might work out well for those timid souls if it included the jokers running the shop.

End up with something like Cuba with everyone left getting fed?

I don't remember seeing Cuba in that otherwise fine article By Nate Hagins that dealt with wealth increase versus satisfaction, but Mexico was nearly as highly rated as The US and Canada. I wonder at the joy that would ensue (in Mexico) if all the ambitious strivers particularly the elite variety left Mexico for the US?

This reminds me of Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy and the spaceship that went ahead programed to crash with all the dental hygienists and telephone sanitizers, I think that was the B ship, I am not sure but did Douglas Adams write in a C ship too.#:)

Bob -- Good points!

Demographics should also be noted: rouhgly 50% of the people in Mexico are 25 or younger. Barring a depression in the US, I fully expect the relief valve you mention to be wide open for many years to come.

Illegal immigration by Americans into Mexico helped cause a war that resulted in Texas becoming independent. I wonder how the current wave northward from Mexico will turn out? The 3 NAFTA countries are appearing to become one giant country. National borders are becoming increasingly "blurry" post NAFTA.

Sonic: As we speak, the move toward integration of Mexico and the USA is proceeding. Mexican problems are American problems. Mexico, as a society and an economy that protects and promotes the interests of the moneyed elite (net worth >100 mill), is extremely attractive to the USA.

Most of the pre-1836 immigration to Texas was legal, under the Empresario system. I'm a landman in Texas, if you'd like me to elaborate, I will.
Your point about the demographics is interesting. There are 35-40 million Mexican nationals in America. Although some of them are children, most are working age adults. I have no idea how that changes the Republics demographics, but in a country of 110,000,000 people it must.
The pressure will continue to build, but the increased border patrol and the Haliburton camps make me wonder if a bunch of it is now being pent up. Bob Ebersole

Bob -- I also live in Texas, though I am not yet a landman. I have numerous relatives on both sides of the border. Reagarding the future of the Republic, while I am very concened about rewarding 10+ million illegals with voting level citizenship, my main long-term concern is on overcoming the Spanish-English language barrier.

My Mexican relatives who can speak English well are as "American" as any native Texan: they are American educated and would blend in just about anywhere in the US. Moreover, the choice of living location is largely uncorrelatted with their citizenship status: some relatives who are American citizens live in Mexico and vice-versa. They live where they can get the best job & work-family tradeoff. The family lives as if we are in the North American Union (NAU) that GreyZone mentions. Yep, the NAU is already far along and no, none of us got to vote on it.

The relatives who have failed to learn English well have doomed themselves to permanent 2nd class citizen status in both Mexico and the US. If this group of Mexican immigrants in the US becomes large, then I think we'll have a serious long-term problem.

Go Google "North American Union" and read what follows. Then go visit and prepare to have your eyes opened. It's already happening, without your input, vote, or consent.

Ghawar Is Dying
The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. - Dr. Albert Bartlett

Yes, it is happening. --The blurring and gradual disappearance of functional national borders, that is. But all that would be happening anyhow, even with input & votes against it and the lack of consent.

Borders & frontiers all over the planet are becoming more & more porous because they've outlived their usefulness. The concept of the nation-state as it has been known is what is withering away. And the same situation that is the root cause of peak oil (too many people using too much of a non-expandable resource base) is what is bringing it about.
As noted up-thread, efforts to thwart what is already a fait accompli will just make things that much worse and speed the process along.

Anybody ever stop to think that the Haliburton camps might be there for round-ups of the self-appointed homeland defenders once they start getting in the way?

"Anybody ever stop to think that the Haliburton camps might be there for round-ups of the self-appointed homeland defenders once they start getting in the way?"

Uhh... (forgive me...) DUUH!

"Lou Dobbs racism and nativism... "

Everyone is aware that Lou Dobbs is married to a Latino right? I don't think he is a racist. More accurately, ILLEGAL immigration, SPP, NAFTA are the things that tick him off I think.

I have a bad feeling that the "Immigrants" are gonna bear the brunt of Joe 6pack's rage of losing everything.

Watch the activity of guys with "EasyRider rifle racks" in their pickups.

Again, "You ain't from around here" is going to be a scary question to be asked of some people.

Not my feelings, I just know the feelings of the people who will ask that question.

Strom Thurmond had a black daughter, too. Anybody who encourages the Minutemen is a racist.

Bob Ebersole

Why? The Minutemen are not racists.

Only if you consider latinos to be white. They consider themselves "la raza".
The vast majority of people that the Minutemen are trying to intimidate have brown skin, brown eyes, black hair and up to 100% indian blood. I see it as racism and xenophobia at its worst, like the fugitive slave catchers that invaded the yankee states before the civil war.
If they're not racist, then why aren't they parading with guns in Boston trying to intimidate the illegal Irish and Canadians? I rest my case.
Bob Ebersole

If they're not racist, then why aren't they parading with guns in Boston trying to intimidate the illegal Irish and Canadians?

Minutemen are unarmed. Anyone found to be packing heat is kicked out.

There are Minutemen who operate along the Canadian border, too.

Minutemen are unarmed. Anyone found to be packing heat is kicked out.

These stories say otherwise.

There are Minutemen who operate along the Canadian border, too.

A few of them, for a month in 2005, yes.

Mind you, literally hundreds of times as many people illegally cross the US's southern border as its northern border, so it's silly to expect similar effort to be expended on each.

The guy who does those interviews with Lou Dobbs says they're not armed. Apparently, there are a lot of different groups now calling themselves Minutemen, some of which are not on speaking terms with others.

Find more on the MinuteMen at Orcinus

cfm in Gray, ME

The ones on the Texas and Arizona carry arms. I've seen 'em in Hudspeth County, they are a bunch of middle aged thugs playing vigilante.

I think its dispicable, and shows our government is insane. My ancestors all got to the USA before the American revolution, but they came for the same reasons that Mexicans come-economic opportunity. How can I blame them ?

The owning class is using this as a wedge to separate people with similar class interests, and anyone who lets them do this is a fool. If they actually wanted to stop illegal immigration, the government would enforce the laws and prosecute the employers. As long as we allow companies like BP to hire subcontractors to do the dirty, carcenogenic work in their refineries its going to happen. As long as we allow restaurants to hire illegals, deduct social security and withholding and steal the money, its going to happen. As long as we allow construction contractors to not pay withholding and workmans comp insurance on illegals, its going to happen.

We are turning the US back into a slave holding country with the exploitation of illegals, and the Minutemen are the dupes who are making it happen. They terrify defenseless women and men, make it where women will sell themselves to coyotes who enslave them as whores in cantinas so they can cross without being shot.

Bob Ebersole

I think its dispicable, and shows our government is insane.

I think it's the wave of the future. The federal government is not doing what the people want, so the people are taking matters into their own hands.

It's not just the Minutemen. It's people in Vermont, talking secession. It's state governments passing global warming legislation that the President and Congress won't. It's states trying to keep the feds from sending their National Guard troops to Iraq.

As post carbon age winds along, I think we'll see more communities trying to pull away, for the reasons Tainter describes.

We are turning the US back into a slave holding country with the exploitation of illegals, and the Minutemen are the dupes who are making it happen.

And I say it's precisely the opposite. It's the owning class that's in favor of illegal immigration, because that gives them the slaves. Legal immigrants have the power to demand fair wages, health insurance, fair treatment. Illegals will work for lower salaries and no benefits. If they get injured on the job, there's no OSHA investigation or bump in insurance premiums. You just dump them off at the emergency room of the nearest hospital.

And if you don't want to pay them, you don't have to. What are they going to do, call the police?


“And I say it's precisely the opposite. It's the owning class that's in favor of illegal immigration, because that gives them the slaves. Legal immigrants have the power to demand fair wages, health insurance, fair treatment. Illegals will work for lower salaries and no benefits. If they get injured on the job, there's no OSHA investigation or bump in insurance premiums. You just dump them off at the emergency room of the nearest hospital. And if you don't want to pay them, you don't have to. What are they going to do, call the police?”

Does this quote go along with this mindset?

"'Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed?' said Dr. Ferris. 'We want them broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against - then you'll know that this is not the age for beautiful gestures. We're after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you'd better get wise to it.

There's no way to rule innocent men.

The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted - and you create a nation of law-breakers - and then you cash in on guilt. Now, that's the system, Mr. Rearden, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with.'"

Ayn Rand

Think of the 55 speed limit. On the interstate I have traveled in a pack of cars with a cop at 70mph.
When everyone is speeding, You can pull over anyone.

Let me see, The Patriot Act was already back from the Printers when 911 happened and sent out the next week or so.

A few years ago I was convicted of the misdemeanor of not painting my house and making other repairs I couldn't afford to the satisfaction of local realtors who complained to the local housing inspector. In order to get off probation I had to stop making mortgage payments in order to pay for the repairs. The mortgage company foreclosed and I lost the my home of 18 years.

Sorry to hear that Thomas. That really sucks. And point well taken...

"You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created."
Albert Einstein

Your house is never really yours in a capitalist society. Even if you had paid off the house, try not paying property taxes, and have fun with the city taking your house. Even if you do not want hookups for the road, sewage, water, or power.

Vermont does not want secession, they're just ready to kick the rest of us out if we don't straighten up our collective act. Seems fair enough to me ...

I find it very odd that a goverment that would have 80 year old women pratically stripped searched, X-rayed, have her 6oz shampoo bottle taken away and then arrested for making ANY humorous remark about security at an airport,

Is the same Gov has no problem with millions crossing at will.

I would like to see our laws working like Mexico's does for immigrants INTO Mexico.

Under Mexican law, illegal immigration is a felony. The General Law on Population says:

_ "A penalty of up to two years in prison and a fine of 300 to 5,000 pesos will be imposed on the foreigner who enters the country illegally." (Article 123)

_ Foreigners with immigration problems may be deported, rather than imprisoned. (Article 125)

_ Foreigners who "(make attempts) against national sovereignty or security" will be deported. (Article 126)

Mexico Encourages poor people to leave to the US,
But has a different standard for inbound immigrants.

Doesn't that seem a little hypocritical?

There's some irony! Some of the first Minutemen were the RCMP which were established to keep the pesky Americans in check in the Western territories. Manifest Destiny and all.

I assume you want the migrants from mexico as elsewhere to abandon the concept of "race" as well? Your incesant chest beating about "racism" per lib standards (double standards) never seems to ask the pertinent question what do the migrants think of America and its present citizens. On a lighter note do these new citizens believe in Darwin's theory of Evolution, if not maybe Karl Rove was right and they are natural GOPers?

The issue I hear most is they are "illegal". Underlying that is of course the issue of skin color, and the origin of the southwest states.

I don't work with or know, anyone who's ancestors came to the US under the quta and visa system, except myself. The presumption seems to be that the Mexicans should apply for a visa and then wait patiently for ever until they number comes up, to fill jobs and support their families. Patience won't be there when the accepted wisdom is that the gringos and their businesses ruined the economy in Mexico.

If NAFTA is really bilateral why not issue instant IDs at the border? Only Mexicans need apply. Do Saudis still get express visas?

As for "you aint from around here" have heard that years ago in Okie land. But it can and will get worse. If you look anglo don't open your mouth to dis-illusion the natives, who are proud to advertise that their ancestors are Sooners.

The analogy I use for the Mexican immigration situation is the levees breached by Katrina in New Orleans. Even a fence built by the US govt would probably compare with levees built by the Army Corpse of Engineering.

I always bothers me to see racism surfacing on this list in the form of the typical statement 'they breed like rabbits' thus relegating the 'other' people to less than human status. Makes it easier to become a Minuteman/Vigilante and start etching little dead immigrant symbols onto the side of your well armed SUV.

The typical Mexican family has 2.4 children compared to the typical American family which has 2.1 children. Hardly 'breeding like rabbits.' And Mexico's birthrate has been falling rapidly since the 1960's.

.... If anyone is still on the thread....
and before being accused of playing the 'race' card....

The vast majority of us look helplessly on the immigration problem (and yes, it is a problem) as we look helplessly on the vast pollution and global warming problems. Unfortunately, even well meaning and rational attempts to deal with the immigration problem fall afoul the many-headed hydra that is the US government. In part this causes reactions like the vigilante approach, which is understandable but, in its extreme forms, I find loathsome. So call me a bleeding-heart liberal, I don't care. After all is said and done on this immigration issue, things will almost certainly be worse in the future in this issue as well as many other issues in spite of the best efforts of well-meaning people. In the final analysis, for me, the most immediate issue becomes how we treat our fellow human beings and I still believe in placing a priority on compassion and understanding, something that I actually have some measure of control over.

Lou Dobbs is not a racist. He is in favor of legal immigration. He just think the U.S. needs to control its own borders, for security as well as economic reasons.

I am more inclined to discourage immigration of all kinds (with certain exceptions). Not because I'm xenophobic, but because I think that's the only politically acceptable way to reduce our population growth. But aside from that, I'm a big Dobbs supporter. Illegal immigration is allowing Mexico to not fix their problems. And it allows U.S. employers to foist the cost of labor onto taxpayers. It's an outrage.

Unfortunately, Lou Dobbs seems willing to skew statistics and exploit the fear of leprosy to make his case. That doesn't speak well for him.

Actually infectious disease is on the rise in a number of categories and illegal immigration has been pointed to as the vector for these diseases' re-introduction into our nation. Leprosy has shown up in areas not exepcted by the CDC, along with higher rates of TB, influenza, and various diseases which are normally vaccinated against in this country.

Racism quite frankly is a cop out for the pro-illegal immigration lobby fronts such as "la raza"(ironic given their own racist name and message).

Personally I AM against illegal immigration and it has nothing to do with Race whatsoever. I'm also suspect of the current quotas to maintain the economic activity in this country. Personally what I would like to see is an enforcement of the illegal immigration laws in place already (remember that whole concept of Rule of Law?), and then a Change in Law to streamline LEGAL immigration process (because currently that process is absolutely obscene), and a review of the quotas of Legal Immigrants we permit in this country.

I really don't have a problem with 10, 20, or 30 million Mexicans, Chinese, Irish, Nigerian, or Iraqi workers coming over and filling jobs, so long as its done LEGALLY, and if that means we need to adjust our quotas, then we need to CHANGE the law, not simply ignore it like we've been doing.

The moment we start praising our officials for ignoring laws is the moment we just endorsed Government Corruption. Chew on that, pro-illegal immgrant backers.

If we don't like the law, then work to change it and keep our government honest (a tough task I admit).

Lou Dobbs is a lying sack of shit. We've always had leprosy in the southern part of the U.S.. One of my father's best friends, now deceased, was a dermatologist whose primary specialty was leprosy and who practiced in Houston. There is a leper colony in south Louisiana over 100 years old.
Bob Ebersole

While hysteria over possible increases in leprosy is not warranted, it is true that there is somewhat of a resurgence of some diseases resulting from massive levels of unchecked immigration.

For example, last year my husband diagnosed the first confirmed case of pertussis (whooping cough) in OR since it was last reported many years prior. At one point it was thought to have been virtually eradicated. The epidemiologist from the health department said the disease was apparently spread primarily by illegal immigrants working in large meat production facilities.

Given that most Americans are not living health lifestyles, it may not be fair to put so much emphasis on illnesses related to immigrant populations. Nevertheless, the combination of a horribly dysfunctional health care system and the introduction of new variants of diseases that are difficult to control or treat is a frightening thought.

I have to add that the constant racism charge against people who support immigration restriction/reform only stifles real debate. It is absolutely absurd to use such tactics when a very large percentage of Americans affected by the associated wage depression happen to be minorities. Cesar Chavez was a racist? African American Congresswoman Barbara Jordan was a racist? I am definitely not racist. I am a minority and having come from a working poor family I had to struggle financially to get my education. I have experienced hunger, malnutrition, cold in the winter, and a few times was unable to afford health care or antibiotics for an acute infection. I truly understand how easy it is for citizens living in the richest country on earth to lose their footing and remain impoverished and under the radar their entire lives.

The heart of the debate has nothing to do with melanin and everything to do with balancing quality of life issues with pragmatism and compassion.

The racism charge is the standard left wing canard when they have no facts to support their position but want to curry favor with some minority group. It stifles genuine debate about actual issues such as border security and how to properly create a guest worker program that actually serves both the people of the United States and the people of Mexico. In fact, the racism charge is just what the corporate movers and shakers love because it keeps the focus off the real issues and keeps the populace divided. It's just like the standard right wing garbage of trying to tie "liberal" to "communist". Neither is valid or useful and anyone who resorts to the "race card" is demonstrating either their gross ignorance of the actual situation around illegal immigration or their willingness to be a real tool.

Ghawar Is Dying
The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. - Dr. Albert Bartlett

racist = someone winning an argument with a liberal

Excellent post.

I don't agree with those downthread who think "libruls" use the charge of racism to stifle debate. I think Americans are genuinely uneasy with the implied xenophobia that immigration restrictions bring to mind. And for good reason. It can very easily cross over into really icky Nazi stuff.

Nevertheless, it's something we have to deal with. Peak oil means a lot of paradigms will be shifting, and immigration will be one of them.

Leanan, it seems to me that stopping Mexican immigration would be morally justified IF it was combined with serious efforts to help the average Mexican, so that he or she didn't need to come to the US.

We should be working in Mexico to improve education, reform land ownership, reduce bureaucratic obstacles to entrepeneurship, reform the tax system, and reduce public corruption. Do we seriously believe we are powerless to reduce the corruption and paralysis of the Mexican government if we seriously tried?

Of course, as a country we've been unable to reduce public corruption, so I'm not too hopeful, but these are the kinds of policy proposals I would expect to hear from someone who wasn't just trying to "pull up the ladder".

Quite frankly, I am trying to pull up the ladder.

And I think every country probably should be. I don't know which, if any, of the lifeboats will survive, but I know those that allow everyone to climb in will not.

Amen. I'm not the least bit ashamed of my xenophobia, because I think history teaches that being afraid of other people is often a very good idea when you have something and they don't.

"Let us wrestle with the ineffable and see if we may not, in fact, eff it after all."
-Dirk Gently, character of the late great Douglas Adams.

Hi Leanan,

Interesting discussion.

Here's my Q:

So, is it all right for Mexico to stop selling oil to the US?

It's our country, so it's their oil. We can turn our corn into ethanol, or sell it to them in exchange for oil, they can sell their oil to Australia in return for wheat if they choose. Our choice, and theirs. Mexico is just as sovereign as America.

There is some biblical literalist angle on the whole leprosy thing - the disease was mentioned so often in the bible and calling attention to it is another one of those "end times" signs.

I'm with Leanan. Having said that, I don't follow what Lou Dobbs says so this is not an endorsement of him.

Still, our non-negotiable way of way is unsustainable PERIOD. Most of us know this.

Allowing for or tolerating illegal immigration is not helping us nor those who come here solve what needs solving, either here or there.

Secure borders is common sense, even if it doesn't solve everything else, but it's one step of many others in one right direction.

Dealing with immigration/population control and what constitutes a sustainable quality vs. quantity of life within our specific place based capacity to do so is controversial enough; but instead of addressing it thoughtfully seeing it sidetracked into a racism-my ancestors-economic opportunity diatribe is futile.

Nature will (along with PO, CC, geo-political above ground factors, etc.) settle this issue for us, but not in a non-controversial way. As happens to any species which overshoots its ecological carrying capacity it will be brutal and horribly so for us.


they may be hard working, ambitious, and most productive, but have you looked at the quality of their homebuilding skills? talk about the house that Jack built! I lived in the woodlands for 10 years. just sold my house. These homes are as crooked as a politician. I agree with what you said, but I noticed their quality of craftmanship is seriously lacking.

By the way, I enjoy Lou Dobbs. So I disagree with your opinion of him.

Frank Gehry has the right idea - no one can tell if his stuff is crooked.

I wouldn't blame immigrants - the quality of construction in America now simply doesn't compare to what was done fifty years ago. Perhaps Pirsig had the right idea, turn off the iPods, turn off Rush, turn off Howard and think about what you are doing.

This isn't for Bob in particular, but is rather aimed at the whole thread.

We sit here and easily discuss the collapse of Mexico, the count of Mexican immigrants here, and how it will affect our state.

What if our state collapses, too?

This particular meme is often missing from our discussions. People write as if they're going to be warm, dry, fed, and sitting behind a computer monitor as this happens. Without Mexican oil things are bad, and if we screw up the goodwill of the Mexican workers, be they legal or illegal, that trouble will easily wash as far north as Oregon/Colorado and as far west as the Mississippi.

Our society, as it is, will disintegrate as energy, economy, and ecosystem close in on the metastable state in which it evolved. The result could be peaceful acceptance of life's changing fortunes, but politicians (polite way of saying warlords) prefer the "cats in a sack" scenario.

"What if our state collapses, too? "

OR, what happens WHEN our state collapses? The US is probably among the most vulnerable in many ways. I also find humorous the complacency of the "people who write as if they going to be warm, dry, fed and sitting behind their computer."

I think you are right that we will see serial "cats in a sack" scenerios repeatedly here in the US (especially as the mega-metros succumb).

Right now we can still afford our ethics, morals and civil behavior. But when people are constantly hungry and cold, all three will be quickly abandoned.

I wonder which US city will resemble Mogadishu, Somalia first? Maybe we should take a poll?

I wonder which US city will resemble Mogadishu, Somalia first? Maybe we should take a poll?

Not necessarily an idle question. Regional disputes over resources seem very likely to me. If the Gulf Coast turns off the natural gas pipelines and the Canadians pull the hydro plug, NYC and surroundings collapse very quickly. What are the characteristics that might allow a region to maintain a more efficient version of the developed world life style? I would argue that several things are necessary:

  • Regional renewable energy resources for the long term,
  • Regional fossil fuel resources while the transition occurs,
  • Adequate water and cropland,
  • Sufficiently large core city to support a technology base, but not too big, and,
  • Sufficient isolation from the areas of collapse.

Twenty years back I would have suggested Denver. Population along the Front Range may be getting too big these days. And before everyone screams about the water, Denver has adequate snowmelt and reservoir capacity to support the necessary irrigation, once they stop using it for bluegrass and corn. Portland, with existing hydro taking the place of the fossil fuels?

Old Ed Abby had the right idea. Stop every illegal immigrant at the border. Issue him a bolt action 30/06 and 1000 rounds of ammunition and point him south. He will know what to do with them and will change Mexico. This is what upset Pancho Villa. He paid for rifles and ammunition and the US Gov would not deliver. So he extracted his payment from Columbus NM

If the Mexico nation-state implodes into pervasive civil violence/war what will be the impacts to illegal immigration from Mexico to the United States?

Curious how seemingly disconnected phenomenon in the realm of humans are in fact deeply connected.

These connections in effect exist in any complex system. You can think of them as a dormant network. If you want view it as a bunch of neurons all interconnected but only certain pathways seeing normal traffic. As the system gets stressed seldom used pathways suddenly start carrying traffic and to us it looks like a new network.

On a national scale the forces that can destroy a nation exist all the time even in the US for example we have our own internal terrorists,crime, corruption etc etc. The problem is the nations have never been able to actually remove this network all they can seem to do is dampen it. In effect that have solved our real problems all they have managed to do is hide them. In general the trick is to set up a ponzi scheme that allows enough people to climb up the pyramid so people focus on this and not their problems.

Even communist nations use the communist party to create a similar model. Its one reason why people that make it up the ladder have to flaunt their success to keep people focused on the ladder. The last thing rich people want to see is wealthy people living normal lives. Without the flaunting of wealth the whole scheme collapses. The reality of course for many is that being wealthy brings isolation and dementia and often death. Being a multi-millionaire can be as dangerous as joining a street gang esp in poorer countries.


Very good work.

You might consider doing the same kind of analysis on Russia, which, IMO, will show a very sharp decline in production, with the same Export Land effect on net exports.

Basically, IMO Mexico is to the US as Russia is to the EU, in terms of importance as a nearby source of crude oil and future political instability. Of course, one "small" difference is that the Russians have nukes.

Nukes... details, details :)

This is a good point on Russia--I think it supports the argument that Mexico is a bellwether of a global trend, not an isolated case...

Your article is amazing - I'd boil it down to dramatic wealth inequality+ lots of young people- a believable government = trouble.

Russia, on the other hand has 1. not so many young people (demographics) and 2. a very scary goverment. Ergo, (IMHO) Russia is not Mexico.


IMO, the problem facing Russia is this huge overall economic boom going on now, based on the assumption of large remaining oil reserves, while the reality, IMO, is that Russia is at a very advanced stage of depletion (much more depleted than Mexico).

Russia still has lots of NG to fall back on...and virtually all of EU except Norway are looking to import more. That should give Russia an export cushion as its oil exports decline.

And Norway is not even part of the EU, so you could even cross out the word "virtually"...

Yes, and i wonder what will happen with EU. 25 disparate states. My guess is that EU and the EURO won´t hold any long time past PO. It could get nasty. We have a not so distant history with wars after wars for centuries. Most recently the breakdown of former Yugoslavia comes to mind.

I hope it won´t go so bad, but we sure are in uncharted waters regarding the future for Europe/Russia.

IMO Yugoslavia never was a nation-state. It was created in "The Peace to End All Peace". It never had any significant resources for export so little attention was payed to its sorry state.

Reading the New Map got me to thinking more about the connection between Zapatistas, Hamas, Hizbollah and our rabid Buy Local network. Where the state doesn't provide, it loses legitimacy and people have to reorganize. If a community has to stop Nestles' from taking its water, it won't be able to do that with the American political system - which is designed to ensure the continuity of the "better" class - but only by organizing around it. As TSHTF, that conflict will provoke more and more radical actions because the corporate market-state hierarchy won't go away empty-handed.

cfm in Gray, ME

Anyone have any information on new Mexican oil production scheduled to come online later this year? Anything to offset the Cantarell declines?

Mexico hopes to increase production from an onshore field named Chicontepec. This is a large field that has been known for some time, but it is fragmented, with small pockets of oil tucked away in fractured rock. Pemex may not be able to get a high production rate from this field. I don't know when they expect to bring much of it online.

In May 2006 Mexican oil production was 3.329 million barrels per day, and in May 2007 it had dropped to 3.110, a decline rate of 6.6%.

Just in the last week or so Pemex announced awarding a multi-billion dollar contract to Schlumberger to puncture 5000 holes in Chicontepec over the next four years. Wonder how many troops the Mexican army will have to billet at each of those wellheads...

Whoops!...just noticed an extra zero there. That should be 500, not 5000.

Jeff we like to focus on the effects of collapsing Oil producing state on oil consumers but I think once one collapses the bigger effect might be on other Oil producing nations. What I think it will do is cause them to go to extremes and begin to act.

Nigeria watching the rebels take over Mexican oil facilities might wage all out war to rid itself of its own rebels.

I don't want to speculate to much but the real impact might be the collective responses of other producing nations as they watch similar countries crash.

Your thoughts ?

Next thanks for the post since it illustrates the real effect of export land its not the rosy view of 10% of oil production going to exports in 10 years its 0% oil exports in 2-3 years at best and export land ignites the collapse of the state. These countries are as addicted to outrageous profit margins as we are to cheap oil. Its obvious that the market price is not compensating for the twin burdens of increasing costs and decreasing production and Mexico at least looks like it will fall off the treadmill. With the real problem not decline but skyrocketing costs. This means the decline rates will be much much steeper than we have seen in the US/North Sea until they collapse.

A simple projection of the expense of trying to do a massive drilling campaign coupled with the need to keep government revenues up and internal demand points to the price of oil needing to be 2-3 times higher than it is today for these countries to keep their current structure.

The collapse of the Texas oil region is blamed on cheap oil I think they are mistaken it collapsed because we spent a huge amount of money and did not find any oil. The North Sea and Alaska was far more expensive to develop and they had no problems making a profit at the lower price points. If you believe this and then apply the concept to National oil companies then rapid collapse is certain. In my opinion the reason why Texas collapsed is one of the biggest and most dangerous misconceptions of the 20th century and the real reason is going to be repeated globally.

Again your thoughts ?

I agree that there is a very important "tipping point" in psychological expectations involved here. At some point, people in general will 1) understand the threat posed by geologically peaking oil production, 2) will understand the "export-land" dynamic, and 3) will watch how these and other "above ground factors" combine to collapse oil-exporting states. When this realization dawns, and it is my opinion that this will happen in a very rapid "tipping," we will begin to see states begin to take drastic measures to attempt to prevent this from happening to them. I'd argue that we are already seeing this in the latest OPEC pronouncements, they are just carefully obscuring their actual concerns. I think that the results will include a push towards further nationalization, an increase in xenophobia, and a decline in the already poor human rights records of oil exporters.

On your second point, I think this illustrates a broader theme: "above ground factors" are inextricably linked to geologically-driven declines, and will act to accellerate the actual decline in production beyond the geologically-driven decline. UNLIKE geologically driven declines, which accellerate initially, then decellerate as production continues ad infinitum at a very low level, geopolitical influence will only accellerate. I am not articulating this point particularly well in this comment, but I cannot stress how important I think this is: geopolitical declines will not follow the long tail of the logistics curve, but will force actual production to drop off a cliff at some point--the only question in my mind is whether that cliff happens when oil production is still a highly significant energy source (e.g. the next 15 years), or when it has already declined due to geology into relative unimportance (e.g. 15+ years from now).

The economics of bubbles point to exponential effects once your down only about 5%. Bubbles are a good example of a stressed system.

This is in my opinion a great paper on the situation.

Using the cleaner examples of bubbles and crashes as a model for the behavior of complex systems repeatedly shows they fail fast.

Nation state dynamics are in my opinion exactly the same just a lot messier. Look at the dynamics of WWI and WWII the nations involved certainly the rise and fall of Nations is complex and messy but the underlying driving force seems to be the same 5% change of some major factor leading to exponential changes.

You don't need a lot of divergence before the system moves into unstable exponential feedback mode. The underlying problem is of course that real wealth and happiness is rare thus the line between grumbling and dissatisfaction and action is thin. Look at the witch hunt of refineries in the supposedly advance US from an increase in gasoline prices.

Our complex society is not stable but business as usual allows dampening of the feed back loops and prevents correlations that cause collapse it does not remove the cause. It probably better to consider our societies like a patient with a incurable disease that is generally treatable but any lapse leads to a flare up and potentially death.
The disease is of course greed.

Below I give updated charts using the last available numbers from PEMEX. Unfortunately, it looks like the low logsitic forecast I proposed last time ( is an accurate model so far:

Consumption is still growing according to the IEA forecast despite gasoline prices increasing almost at an exponential rate:

Note that the oil rig count has significantly increased the last 6 months. Exports to the Americas is also slowly sliding.

I tend to live in the world of inherently fuzzy and subjective historical analysis. When my macro-conclusions and an objective graph such as this coincide, I start to get very concerned...

Same here...and no shit. Absolutely terrifying.

I'm not terrified and I have children. I'm not in the least happy about whats happening but I hope to live through it. I came upon peak oil late but its not hard to create a reasonable survival plan. A cheap doublewide trailer on a few acres is possible for most Americans or becoming a farm labor. So anyone that learns of peakoil should be able to position themselves to survive if they are willing to sacrifice.

Whats going on from the very big picture is we have finally saturated the planet we now have to learn how to live on this planet in a stable manner. Humanity as a race is moving from childhood to its teenage years thence to adulthood. Earth will never again offer vast untapped wealth like it has for our entire history. It now has to become a managed planet which means we have to for the first time in history manage and come to grips with our own natural drives.

Outlets such as space help but this does not change the situation on earth. I think humanity always needs accessible frontiers to remain healthy but on the same hand we have to learn to also maintain the "old world".

So overall its not a bad thing we are going through but the teenage years are tough ones esp for our parent poor old earth.

I see no reason to be terrified instead once we are through this I'm excited for my children future since you can be certain it will be a lot saner than this screwed up society we have now centered on exploitation. I live a lot of my life focused on greed and now realized how much I actually lost I think my children will enjoy a far richer more meaningful life than I've lived as long as they don't get caught in to poverty or war. A lot won't make it but farther out I believe we will be a better stronger and most important wiser species. In the interim all we can do is live through it and work to make sure we don't fall into the old pattern of slavery common with past renewable based societies. That's the real challenge we face.

Memmel- I am with you on that (kids, concern, knowledge, hope and determination).

It now has to become a managed planet which means we have to for the first time in history manage and come to grips with our own natural drives.

I doubt we will succeed, the naked chimp has been tailored to conquer not to manage.
Only a very fast evolutionary selective pressure which would weed out the most greedy and agressive would do.
War will not do because it kills more civilians than military and governmental tape-worms.

Being able to "manage the planet" implies close to perfect knowledge and foresight. I'd call it the ultimate tech fix and am certain it would fail miserably and rapidly. A command-and-control economy with global corpos at the controls even more than they are now. The more we grow (population, footprint, resource use, whatever) the more the perfect knowledge is needed. But we will never have it.

The size of our man-made economy is large compared to the biosphere. Too large. Sinks and resources get expensive; they cannot be ignored.

cfm in Gray, ME

I actually agree. I think attempts to create a stable fixed agricultural society are doomed to failure. However I do think hard about this and I think I see a solution.

If you have a migrant population that moves periodically over a large area leaving the land 100% vacant of humans for a long period then I think you can get sustainability without futile attempts at techno managing. Right now the idea is people only enter a region every 100 years then leave in effect you have a continuous migration to regions that have not had any human in 100 years. If you think back to the dawn of our existence we actually lived the bulk of the history of mankind doing exactly that moving continuously to new regions. Population was low enough that waves of settlers where able to enter lands that were effectively vacant.

As long as the timing is done correctly and population is controlled I see no reason we can live sustainably forever
with this approach. We may have wiped out a few mammoths last time we lived this way but I'd argue we are slightly better educated now.

The migration concepts seems critical for true long term sustainability. The concept of owning land is one that needs to die and is a big part of our current problems.

I'm looking to buy land now but thats because I have to continue to play by todays rules but I really think the concept of ownership of land/buildings has to be removed before we have a chance at true sustainable living. Instead people should have temporary migration permits.

Traditional agriculture can be replaced with enhancing and fostering native plants in a given region but still requiring them to be able to survive without human intervention. Trade can still occur with say a tribe now fishing the salmon runs trading for semi-wild Oranges from Mexico via sailing ship or airship.

The key is for people to move and leave the land vacant for a very long time on the order of 100 or more years then only
marginally harvesting.

Not sure what kind of population the above entail for earth obviously the regions with extreme climates would effectively be left untouched you need only use the absolute best areas with this approach since your in control. I suspect its pretty low less than 1 billion.

World population was approx. 1 billion at start of 19th century. Then the vast majority of humans were *not* nomadic. Nomadic population is like pre-roman europe, or indians in the north america, north of inca land. Even in pre-roman times most humans lived in cities or in the near environs of a city, and did not move about. There will be several generations of vary serious turmoil if we are to reach such a state.

Dryki, I'm reminded of a quote by Goethe (IIRC) to the effect of "If you wish to clean the planet, sweep your own porch." The disaster of attempting perfect management without perfect knowledge is, in my mind, closely correlated with the human tendency to want to tell the neighbors how to sweep their porches instead of taking care of the one we know best. None of us is as dumb as all of us, hopefully, so if we can adopt multiple, locally effective solutions rather than try to agree / impose a single master plan on everywhere, I think we might do better than we have so far. In any case, we will have to adopt local solutions as we simple won't have the ability to enforce non-local ones, so I have to hope local ones are better. :)

Memmel, IANAA (I Am Not An Anthropologist), but my understanding is that fixed agriculture is the fundamental engine behind most technology, in that it enables the creation of stuff too heavy to be carried by nomad / pack animal / cart. Your community's blacksmith is in for a VERY hard life lugging his anvil, forge, and bellows all over creation :) I would like to hope that we can slide back to preindustrial agriculture circa 1800 and sustain that. But key to fixed agriculture is the concept of land ownership, so I don't think that can go by the wayside unless we truly do go back to only technologies that can be carried.
A final thought: who will enforce the temporary migration permits and how? Wouldn't the enforcers / monitors by definition have to be settled in the area they issue permits for?

"Let us wrestle with the ineffable and see if we may not, in fact, eff it after all."
-Dirk Gently, character of the late great Douglas Adams.

Well first we will have nanotech their are no real barriers to developing it so lugging and anvil around is not needed. A lot of the things we use metals for today can readily be made with nano tubes, synthetic diamond or other readily available elements. A virtually untapped field of complex composites like bone exists. Also I would consider moving the heavy stuff using airships or boats. The population I'm proposing is small enough you don't really need to leave the navigable rivers if you do solar powered airships should be able to carry the comforts of home if needed. The airships and boats could easily double as homes for extend stays.

Next advanced industries could be moved into space. If you want to live on earth your role is as a semi-nomadic gardener probably using bio-tech to help replenish a planet devastated by global warming.

Given the above technical abilities a few cities could exist at the end and along a few space elevators. These mega tower could primarily be provisioned from space based agriculture or fusion lit growing rooms at levels on the tower.

Outside of the foot print of the base of these towers which would be say several square kilometers and some local parkland they need not interact with earths biosphere at all.

Most of these concepts are not beyond today's technology or are close at hand. But this expansion into space is not all that tied to what we do with the earth.

Even the space elevator which at first glance requires exotic material may be possible with known materials.

In some designs the high tensile strength which requires exotic materials is not present. And of course other approaches to accessing space cheaply are possible.

The main point is we can redirect most of our drive and ambition outward and make earth a sort of preserve. The safety valve of space must exist the exact numbers that even move into space initially are far less important.

Now back to the numbers on earth even 1 billion is to many it seems since the population for this sort of light impact approach is less than that. But if your controlling the population levels why stop at a billion why not go lower and why not go into space to handle or quest for adventure and growth ?

The key point is if we are going to get sensible and control the population we have no reason to stop at some higher number we can take it down to a fairly low level we need only be a bit prudent and maintain enough population to act as a sort of safety net in the case of a disaster. Other than that their is no real reason to not reduce it down much lower than whats been suggested so far. By going all the way back to a level that migratory living pattern is possible leaves the lightest impact on the earth. And remember for hundreds of thousands of years we lived pretty well without agriculture if the population is as low as I'm suggesting gathering natural occurring foods with a bit of help planting is enough. I'm sure that long before full scale agriculture developed people routinely enhanced the availability of food bearing plant through light weight gardening. Today we have the technical knowledge to create food bearing plants that are also hardy and don't need full blown agriculture.

The point is once we have burned all the oil we are actually free to pick our own destiny for the first time in thousands of years we can and must choose how we want to live it will be up to us are can be if we want it. I think the oil age has shackled our ability to actually think and dream far more than most people realize. As I begin to really think and dream about what we can and should do post peak I realize how brainwashed todays society is.

In the interim we do have the problem of billions of people dependent on oil if we adopt a long term plan as a species early we can humanely deal with decreasing our population. If not then we need to deal with the population levels at whatever point we decided to take control of our lives.
If it takes a thousand years to reach our goal so what ?

Well first we will have nanotech their are no real barriers to developing it

Astounding nonsense!

So you are a Singularitarian?
May be you can explain to me why I have been banned from Anissimov's blog for raising doubts about the occurence of the Singularity?
Is the "faith" so brittle a not to stand plain denial?

It seems the only recourse for them is to censor critiscism.
Attacking their position with their very own arguments about rationality was not too well received (you will note that the sentence is quoted from a comment of mine which conveniently disappeared!).

Any opinion about this?

The materials science isn't there for any sort of "space pier" construction - we have a hundred months and we need a hundred years. Even if we do build it those sorts of structures can't survive in anything less than a perfectly peaceful, disciplined environment. The recent Chinese antisatellite test that basically took a functionally permanent king sized poo all over a big slice of desirable orbital space shows that.

Sorry a short response as far as enforcing the living patterns on earth thats easy. We already have bracelets for criminals a satellite based monitoring system is trivial. I'm proposing a fairly minimal set of rules required for sustainable living breaking these rules would not go unpunished.

Even our current society is ultimately controlled by the threat of death no matter how civilized we act I don't see this going away for a long time. In reducing the rules to a minimum its makes to make breaking them harsh.

Read my longer response think outside the box we can choose any lifestyle and any population level we want post peak we won't be constrained by oil. It took me a lot of thought to realize that oil has enslaved us for a hundred years but that's the truth. You see it once you break out of the thinking patterns that oil based society has created.

Once you see your in a prison you can see the door to freedom. Ghandi opened his eyes and was able to see his peoples prison and the door to freedom. Can we ?

I've seen estimates of the population of the Americas up to 50 million, precontact. The indigenos had extensive traditional forestry and wildlife management programs, varying in nature depending on terrain and climate. That situation would probably have been sustainable pretty much forever, or up to the next Ice Age. Don't know how that population density would scale world-wide - 200 million or so?

Space as an outlet? You must have fell and hit your head.

Space exploration has been a ginormous welfare effort for a handful of contractors who keep building the same thing they built in the 1960s and charging more for it. Scaled Composites has smashed this paradigm, but I believe they're too late. Even if we had easy surface to orbit rides and we'd developed the nuclear powered ships needed to reach Mars its unlikely we'd colonize due to the lack of a magnetosphere there. Sure, its got water, but we'd be dispatching crews that would have to get there, then get underground and stay there due to the surface radiation. Space exploration for the human body is like peak oil for our industrial society - dangers from every direction and no way to escape them.

We can dispatch probes from the bottom of this gravity well but little more than that will happen unless we have some amazing power/weight ratio advance, like antimatter powered ships which could tote the shielding needed for long term human survival in space.

I'd love for us to boldly go where no one has gone before, but I just don't think its going to happen.

Scaled Composites is exactly the type of organization that could provide reasonable access to space.

Also you have laser boosting.

As you say most of the work is a repeat of the 1960's.
And with MEMS and Nanotech and maybe even simply using advanced computing we have now you can build miniature satellites.

And as I said its not the number of people that go into space from earth that important whats important for people is that we are doing it. The space race of the 1960's and going to the moon etc seemed to have a profound impact on people. Saving your money to go into space instead of building that McMansion is a great way to redirect humanities thirst or drive to a cause that won't negatively impact earth. I think humans need a frontier thats reasonably accessible. I know if I could have gone to space I would not have raised a family hear on Earth but would have eaten Ramen noodles till I had my chance.

The key is recognizing that we have to have a safety valve without it I don't think we can create a stable society on earth. Instead we will go back to conquering each other but remember we have nuclear weapons so you may not like the outcome. The outcome of a bunch of city-states armed with nuclear weapons esp neutron bombs and don't forget biological warfare is not good.

We know way to much to set around and play organic farmer.
Their is nothing wrong with living using renewable resources but your and utter fool if you think you have solved our problems with that approach nuclear weapons are not going away because we don't like them. Nuclear reactors are also not hard to build.

Despite the dreams of a lot people on this board we simply know to much now to go back to a simpler time. I'm all for sustainable living but I recognize that electric trains and organic farming etc but understand its is not a solution.

One thing that will get our population down to a sustainable level is sustained conventional nuclear and biological warfare with our current path thats the world we look forward too genocide on a scale never seen before.

I first looked at the Space elevator method 30 years ago. It is still a long way off from being technically workable. One major problem itself, is that every piece of space stuff and debris that has been put up into any orbit below geosynchronous orbit, is at risk of hitting the cable.

It is hard to understand that we will most likely lose any possibility of going to space, after peak oil. What I would really hope for, is that civilization can hold together after the fossil fuels are mostly used up, and that the whole knowledge base of mankind can be preserved and expanded.
A lot of this knowledge base is now on computers, and little hard copy is as accessible.




Regarding recent comments:

We may climb out of the gravity well occasionally but we don't do well without a magnetosphere. The engineering required to have viable human populations anywhere other than earth would seem to have an antimatter based energy system as a prerequisite, based on the needed energy density. We're going nowhere fast without a hollowed out asteroid as a vehicle.

The space elevator thing is a rockin' idea ... except for the Chinese anti satellite test recently that doubled the number of fragments orbiting the earth. We hit critical mass a while back - there is enough junk up there now that the random bits colliding will actually cause the total number to increase through time. OK, you can work around it with dual column construction but the materials science just isn't there yet - we can build such a think in 0.10 G, but we're not ready to do it here. There are some interesting fullerene based research projects aiming at this problem, but they're just research at this point.

I agree, things do not look too good, 2008 will be a definitively an interesting year!

Westexas Export Land Model:


WT can you add Mexican export revenue assuming a few scenarios for prices say a steady 5% increase for example.

The effect of Export Land is not independent of two other factors Government spending and price increases causing increased revenue. Technically Mexico has already crossed over this 5% trigger threshold for collapse.

I think the gap widens considerably by 2008 as Government spending increases and world oil price fails to increase at a rate that can cover increased spending and depletion much less increased costs for production.

So my prediction is real and obvious collapse of the state of Mexico first quarter 2008.

The only caveat is understanding the rate of increase in Mexican government spending. Not although its not discussed on the financial side the Peso will probably undergo hyperinflation so what we are after is when the peso undergoes hyperinflation and collapses.

I think you can easily tie in macro economic hyperinflation
as the monetary driver for collapse.

I think these numbers are bogus.

And if your right we will see hyperinflation in Mexico and it should already be starting.

This is showing a strong increase in M3 in 2006.

Can someone provide a link to M1/M2/M3 for Mexico that goes into this year we should see exponential growth in M3.

In any case if export land is correct then Mexico must be already entering a hyperinflationary state.

I'm not finding the info I want. But we should be seeing M3 expanding at a good clip and the Peso devaluing right now. And the trend should be in place back in 2006. You know the first thing countries will try from a export land squeeze is monetary inflation to buy time. So look for the Peso to tank over the next 6-8 months.

Okay found it.

The expect economic effects of the export land model seem to be happening although weaker then I'd expect. Note I've read
in other places that Mexico has adopted the same games for measuring macro economic signals as the US.
I think this explains the big changes across 2005-2006.
The trend supporting export land seems to be real IMHO despite what looks like obvious games.

You will need to ask Khebab about different parameters. Both graphs are his usual superlative work.

So we are living the mexican worst case scenario?

Gas UP
Exports DOWN
Consumption UP in Mexico, UP in USA
Production DOWN

and it seems likely that we will go below the worst case scenario as mexico will lose its semi-stable government position to drug lords created by the USA foriegn policy!

Now when does Mexico become unimportant to the USA? (ie unimportant with regards to 'we wont piss mexico off, because they can ship oil to another country' such that 'shoot illegals on sight' isn't out of the question?)

I would place it at 4 years +/- 6 months.

Yesterday, I pointed out the anomaly of higher crude oil prices in Asia, versus the US, while Saudi Arabia and Iraq are cutting crude oil exports to Asia.

Makes you wonder if American military forces in the Persian Gulf are having an effect on allocating declining world oil exports.

Makes you wonder if American military forces in the Persian Gulf are having an effect on allocating declining world oil exports.

Say, thatz a nice country ya gotz there...terrible if anythingz waz to happen to it...

See 'Pirates and Emperors':

Khebab, thanks for the charts! You're my hero.

Mexico is way under-explored compared to the US. I'd sure like to see where their wildcats are located.
Bob Ebersole

Khebab, It looks to me like a linear regression of consumption data just for the last 24 months would be a flat line.

I'm struck by the declining rig count until just 6 months ago. That suggests declining investment as a partial explanation for declining production.

Consumption is still growing according to the IEA forecast despite gasoline prices increasing almost at an exponential rate (my emphasis)

Sigh. Not up to your usual standard, Khebab. I'm going to assume that you were tired or pressed for time. What does almost exponential mean, exactly? It does have a quantitative meaning in the context of oilfield decline analysis, but I'd like to hear your own definition, if you have one.

Well, if you look at the green curve below (green curve), there are two price jumps, it's not a clean exponential growth.

hmmm. Gas prices have only increased by about 22% over the last 3 years? Boy, that's a big subsidy of gasoline.

Again, it looks to me like consumption from the beginning of 2005 is flat.

Agreed. Consumption is border line flat.

Fit a curve to the consumption data. I bet it looks a lot like the IEA demand curve - not flat at all but not rising too rapidly either.

Ghawar Is Dying
The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. - Dr. Albert Bartlett

Well, I took quarterly data for Mexican oil consumption (all products) from here: page 3 and here's the data:
1Q05 2.04
2Q05 2.11
3Q05 2.06
4Q05 2.10
1Q06 2.08
2Q06 2.02
3Q06 1.99
4Q06 2.03
1Q07 2.08
2Q07 2.05

and did a linear regression. The result: a decline of 4,000 barrels per quarter, with an r squared of .104 (which is pretty low).

So, basically, it's flat.

Thanks! Now that is interesting.

Ghawar Is Dying
The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function. - Dr. Albert Bartlett

OK, I did a linear regression on the 2005 thru 2007 May data. The result: an increase of 20,000 barrels per year, with an r squared of .07 (which is very low).

So, yes, per this data consumption is border line flat.

I wonder what the difference is between the IEA data, and PEMEX's. I certainly don't give IEA projections any credibility, but their historical data is usually ok.

Khebab, I wrote the following down-thread, but I thought you might want to see it, but miss it because it wasn't a direct reply to your post:

I took quarterly data for Mexican oil consumption (all products) from here: page 3 and here's the data:
1Q05 2.04
2Q05 2.11
3Q05 2.06
4Q05 2.10
1Q06 2.08
2Q06 2.02
3Q06 1.99
4Q06 2.03
1Q07 2.08
2Q07 2.05

and did a linear regression. The result: a decline of 4,000 barrels per quarter, with an r squared of .104 (which is pretty low).

So, yeah, basically, pretty flat.


Very nice article. Thank you for your efforts. Do you have any insight into the possible impact of the SPP (Security and Prosperity Program), the alleged effort to unify Mexico, the USA and Canada into a North American Union? Could this in part be to fill a power vacuum by the North to prevent total chaos in Mexico from dragging down or spilling over into the rest of North America?


Estamos: The SPP is not "alleged". In fact,government officials in all three countries involved have never denied the program.In fact, they are being more open about discussing it publicly every month. As an example, a few months ago the head of the Bank of Canada promoted the desirability of the free flow of labour between the three countries, along with the inevitability of the adoption of a common currency (the Amero).

The SPP seems to be a fairly brazen effort to pursue a Market-State reality while attempting to maintain the cover of a Nation-State paradigm (hence the words "security" and "prosperity," which are of inherent appeal to "nations"). I don't think that the SPP has any intent of helping the Mexican people, but rahter intends to help the business interests of the authors of the plan--any help to the Mexican people is either 1) coinciedence, or 2) a necessary buy-off to make the plan politically realistic in a world still partially driven by democratic sentiment.

"Security and Prosperity Program" is creepily reminiscent of Animal Farm.

So far every one seems to think Canadians are on board with the SPP. I doubt it very much. Once they realize they can be sucked down in the vortex of the sinking US economy while their's still has a chance of survival, they will try to cut the lines. They also don't like supplying the fix to the oil addicted junkie that is willing to destroy instead of create.

There is a reason they said "no thanks" to the Iraq coalition invite. We've been sideline observers of the great American propaganda machine for quite a while and "We don't get fooled again".

BTW, I am an ex-pat living in the US soon to return to Canada. When I get back I am going to lobby very hard to distance the Canadian economy from the US because it's like the neighbor with the nicely kept yard living next to the neighbor with a yard full of weeds. i.e., Canada has budget surpluses (with universal health care, imagine that), and paying down national debt; the US expanding national debt like a credit card limit. Canada Pension Plan has $100 billion surplus for some 33 million; the US Social Security has a $63 billion surplus for 300 million. When TSHTF they can't grow their way out of that one.

So if you are wondering where some people are relocating to in preparation for leaner times, you get some idea. Still like you guys on TOD though, don't take it personally!

That'd be one reason I wouldn't be looking to relocate to Canada, although I admire the country very much in contrast to the US...too close ties at this time, and getting closer.

ALL "market-state" plans are plans designed to help the authors and no one else, and the closer they get to passage and implementation the less they have to keep the wool pulled over our eyes. In fact I'm surprised they haven't become more brazen about it.

It is inevitable, if not necessary, but it will be slow I would think. Multiculturalism takes time to take hold, eh?

Likely, it will go a lot like the EU did. Economic relations (ultra NAFTA) then open borders, etc., etc. For labor, for trade,'s the only way the US can survive--but it will be very different.

I would also guess that this will be an opportunity for the US to rewrite its pesky Constitution.

I think the opposite will happen. The United States will become the Untied States.

Centralized control requires a lot of resources and energy, and we're running out of those.

I didn't say that it would be done well or efficiently. :) I just said I think that's where TPTB would like it to go.

I agree with you there. I fear a lot of what Tainter has to say applies. The tendency is to stronger centralized control, loss of freedom, etc.

But the smarter way is to simplify, and that includes politically.

Unite the 3 countries (Canada, USA, and Mexico) and nationalize their petroleum supplies....this is the future some are trying to achieve (my opinion).

How about this version:

A fiat dollar is only worth its base of support. Taxable workers, taxable assets.

The Amero (search about for the 'united America's currency for the plan that would have all of South America under the plan) would mean its backed by the labor and materials of ALL of North America, not just one place.

Thus would be a stronger fiat currency

I always wondered about fiat money. Is it somewhat better than yugo money but not quite as good as pugeot money?

But seriously, it depends on how much of it they print (or issue with treasury computers). It's not rocket science...

The problem will solve itself.
But not in a nice way.

It's going to be a lot like Iraq. Three main groups there, three here.

What makes people think that three separate zones are ultimately, after TSHTF works itself out, only a solution for Iraq?

What it really is, is an attempt of the corporate elite to retain the market of the few wealthy mexicans while saddling the people of the US with the social cost of the ones too dumb to even wash a car properly.

It's a substitute for the wealth transfer scheme illegal immigration is now that it has temporarily failed.

What a coincidence that the KBR workcamps are going to be ready just as this kicks into high gear.

Mexico Chincontepec Oil Frontier

One of the areas Mexico was developing was Chicontepec. It is a heavy oil field with billions of barrels of oil in place. Production rates of 450 barrels per day from Chicontepec wells were reported. According to one source peak production might reach one million barrels per day.

Mexico reported finding 100's of millions of barrels in 2006, but not enough to replace production.

Chicontepec drilling contract

. . . but not enough to replace production

It's called Peak Oil.

Mathematically (HL), Mexico (and the world) are now where the Lower 48 and the North Sea were at when they both started declining. And then we have the ELM. See Khebab's stuff up the thread.

BTW, the HL model suggests that we will see a crash in Russian oil production.

Alan Drake for President!

It is a heavy oil field with billions of barrels of oil in place. Production rates of 450 barrels per day from Chicontepec wells were reported. According to one source peak production might reach one million barrels per day.

Production rates of 450 barrels per day and hoping for one million? Wow! They do have a ways to go.

If this oil is from only one well, then at that rate it would take 2,222 wells to get to one million barrels per day. But oilmen usually look at the "flowrate" of the original well to gauge how much oil they can produce. I would think they should be pretty pessimistic if they could only get 450 barrels per day out of it. Some of the wells in Saudi Arabia are producing over 10,000 barrels per day.

ron Patterson

Chicontepec production is a lot less than that. Flush production is 450 bbls a day, declining over a year or two to 50 bbls. a day. Its more like the production profile of the Giddings Austin Chalk field in Texas, which was drilled up in the late 1970's-early 1980's and has produced 500 million barrels.
Bob Ebersole

There are a few hundred wells already in part of Chicontepec. The Mexicans pretty much know what to expect and as Bob says, it isn't going to be alot. Pemex's longer range plans call for over 11,000 wells there. If they can ever get that many going they'll hit their million barrels per day, but so what?

Also notice in articles about the contract awarded to Schlumberger that Pemex comes right out and says that they only expect to be able to get out 6% to 8% of the oil in place. Look up desperation in the dictionary and there's a picture of a Schlumberger crew drilling in Chico.

Thanks Jeff. I've been interested in Mexico for some time. It's not long that M. had the second largest oil field (2001, when they started nitrogene injection into Cantarell) and your post has put many pieces together for me.

Like other posters, I want to thank Jeff for his interesting analysis.

One thing that occurs to me as that - as we watch the slow-motioning train wreck unfolding in Mexico - we are also watching America's future as well. Many of the factors that are undermining Mexico are also present in the USA.

In America, we now have a government that is as corrupt and incompetent as some of the worst in the Third World. Ballot-box stuffing - which probably altered Mexico's last presidential election - has become a common feature in US elections since year 2000. Skyrocketing budget and trade deficits, plus heavy borrowing from overseas - again so common in the Third World - are now the norm in America. And then there is skyrocketing consumer debt, unaffordable health care, the subprime mortgage ticking time bomb, and a new bankruptcy law that will help transform many consumers into indentured servants, not to mention outsourcing many good-paying jobs. All of these are factors that are slowly wiping out America's middle class, and thus the consumer-based economy, and will turn the USA into a true Third World nation of mostly poor citizens governed by a wealthy ruling elite.

And I haven't even mentioned peak oil yet.

But the USA has something that Mexico lacks - nuclear weapons. For some reason, that doesn't give me a warm and cuddly feeling.

Sorry, guess I'm not feeling terribly optimistic today.

Ozone; OTOH, approx 50% of the voting public endorsed this agenda, TWICE, and at least 35% still endorses it. No one held a gun to the American public's head-they chose this path.

I disagree. I don't think the public endorsed this agenda.

A large segment of the voting public was voting in response to fear mongering and the God, Guns and Gays agenda peddled by disingenuous, Machiavellian politicians. If the system were functioning, i.e. the media were discussing real issues, if the media were not misinforming the public with propaganda, if truth behind power in Washington was a subject for honest debate, if Big Money didn't corrupt political discourse, if voter lists weren't purged (along with other vote suppression tricks) and if the votes cast were properly counted, then we wouldn't be living this nightmare right now.

This agenda has occurred because the life-support systems of a valid, functioning democracy no longer work in America. IMHO, these support systems need to be fixed first if any real progress is going to be made in the future...

Steve: You make very good points, but you can't let the electorate totally off the hook. Stupidity isn't preordained, more often than not it is a choice. Yes, MSM lies a lot, but they are not really very skilled at it. IMHO, if one wants to take a few moments to see beyond the lie it is acheivable for anyone of average intelligence.

I think you missed the main reason he was elected... pro life, anti gay, strongest/safest against terrorism etc, rhetoric for the great unwashed....but the promise to cut taxes for the middle class enabled by the elite is why he was in your pocket, it talks...

As a nation Americans are not stupid people, no more or less than anyone else, a little less worldly perhaps...but promise less taxation and the are prostrate at your feet...

I agree. Us Amerikuns got what we wanted... and what we deserved. When folks project all their hatred and angst upon Bush & Co. as if they were in on a grand conspiracy, I remind them they aren't that smart.

If leadership looks ridiculous and out of touch with reality it's because they are pretty accurately reflecting the nation. Our country's lowest common denominator is pretty ugly, and that is what tends to get elected into power.

We have suppressed issues with sexuality and religion... we elect Clinton. We feel self righteous and better than others, we get on out high-horse and proclaim we're a G-d fearing nation, and damn we elect George W... TWO times! Most people were glad that Bush was in power when 9-11 happened. (not most readers here I suspect) But at the time our fickle public opinion and MSM spin LOVED Bush. That's why the vastly over-reaching Patriot Act passed and WE gave him a blank check to kick ass militarily and to torture those sub-human terrorists. Rank and file Amerikuns were pissed off and wanted to smack someone. WE wanted revenge. Maybe you and me thought this "war on terror" was misguided, but at least 51% of America thought it was justified back then. Our anger might not have been directed at the right culprit but OF COURSE we were in no way responsible for anyone being mad or jealous of the USA...

Read this one by Joe Bageant, This guy is a GREAT writer, give him a listen to...

The Ants of Gaia

It's only the end of the world, so quit bitching


Empire and its inevitable permanent state of warfare flourishes not because evil men are at the helm, but because the men at the helm are even weaker and more in denial than we are. (Look at Dick Cheney. The guy is a nervous wreck wrapped in arrogance and denial.) And so their uninformed and crude confidence is assuring to both them and us.

We elect the worst among ourselves in increasing avoidance of ourselves and they are validated by our endorsement.

Evil men seeking empire did not make us or the world this way. We made their existence possible through our denial, love of ease and non accountability.


I caught the tail end of Dubya's news conference and saw a very nervous man trying to say things he knew wasn't true. Again and again he had the same facial expression Clinton had when he said he didn't have sex with that women.

Any analysis of the future of the nation-state should take into account the effect of the military irrelevance of the mass of the population. In the 19th and much of the 20th Centuries ruling groups sought the active loyalty of their citizens in order to recruit and maintain mass armies that would actually fight. Even autocratic regimes had to make concessions to their peoples in the form of land reform and welfare policies if not political participation. Now that mass armies are obsolete, the military strength of nations depends on technology and economics. Manpower, even in a country like the U.S., is not the rate limiting quantity. The military revolution of the last thirty years or so accounts for much of the worldwide decline in effective democracy and also the rise of terrorism—if ordinary human beings don't have much positive value from the point of view of the state, they'll demonstrate their negative value by blowing things up.

This is an excellent point--the tactical demand for a massive conscript army drove the merger of State and Nation beginning with Wallenstein and the 30 Years War. Today, while it is becoming increasingly apparent in Iraq that massive infantry forces are still required to clear and hold hostile population centers, those features are NOT determinative in a force-on-force engagement. The rich and powerful are increasingly isolating themselves in "islands" of stability--as long as those islands aren't located in a major population center, the level of chaos and violence in the places where the masses are is minimally relevant. The rise of this phenomenon is driving everything from Warren Buffett's interest in Net-Jets (private time-share airlines) and gated residence communities in exurbia (and in locations like the Carribean). This will be an increasingly important factor in the lives of the rich and powerful in the future: living within a network of locations for work and play that have minimal interaction with the network of locations where the masses live and work. As long as these can be effectively defended by private security, they will prosper...

This trend is easily tracked by watching Helicopter sales.

The rich have flying cars.

Hello Memmel,

Let's not forget the Prince & Gates Four Seasons hotel chain. Recall my earlier posts on high-security Eco-Tech Luxo-bunkers with highly skilled mercs for protection. Kidnapping is already a Mexican problem, and drug cartel assassins are another concern.

Zimbabwe-->South Africa as is Mexico-->USA: I expect a Mexican brain drain and wealth drain to start soon. Archdruid on EB had an excellent recent writeup on emigration trends.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

"Archdruid on EB had an excellent recent writeup on emigration trends." If any TODers are unaware, the weekly articles by John Michael Greer (forget all that white gown stuff, this guy is really sharp), are compulsive reading. Usually out on Thursday at:

There's also a newer peak oil fiction serial at:

which seems to be set in the not too distant future (maybe middle of next decade), also out on Thursdays. Episode 3 is just up.

I've mentioned a couple of times that I know a foreign diplomat, stationed in an African country. Because of constant electrical blackouts, it was a real chore going up and down six flights of stairs, especially with a baby and groceries.

So, they moved to a private residential compound, where every house has its own gasoline or diesel generator, which kicks in when the grid goes down. We see this same pattern in many commercial areas in developing countries.

In any case, this fits your "islands of stability" model, and I would expect to see a similar pattern in the US if (probably when) the US grid becomes unreliable. If power can't be supplied to everyone, the wealthier members of society will arrange for their own reliable power.

I wonder when we will begin to see tax revolts in the US, regarding both federal taxes and local property taxes. On the federal level, there is going to be enormous resentment against people on welfare.

Perhaps we all need to be thinking of our own "islands of stability," AKA "lifeboats."

Perhaps we all need to be thinking of our own "islands of stability," AKA "lifeboats."

Not in the "nutty way" I hope ;-)

The US has to gut Welfare to ensure enough people are to poor to buy gasoline so the rest can continue to drive their SUV's.

One of my main predictions is that that the issue of illegal immigrants on welfare will be used to eliminate the welfare safety net. The vast majority of Americans are for gutting welfare not realizing that they will shortly be facing extreme poverty themselves. The US has to eliminate welfare before the next crash so we should see welfare dismantled any day now.

I'm a bit surprised its not already gutted I'm not sure what the hold up is. But if we are going to continue forward with our solution to peak oil which is to simply eliminate consumption of oil products by forcing more people into poverty the powers that be have to take out welfare asap.

Illegal immigrants can't receive welfare (Medicaid or TANF -which replaced AFDC, or Food Stamps). That being said, their American born children can receive these services but, conventional wisdom aside, a child's welfare grant is not enough to support a family.

The medical costs for illegal immigrants comes from provision of emergency services which remains legal. The idea that illegals would game the system, thereby increasing their chances of deportation makes about as much sense (and has as much factual basis) as the claim that tens of thousands of illegal immigrants are voting.

As a Green Card Holder, I should also point out that "legal" immigrants are also barred from welfare as part of 1997 legislation.

You are assuming objective fact will be allowed a decisive influence in the coming debate, aren't you?

If the change is needed it will happen.

A "democrat" president will be required for this and other needed changes. In the unlikely event that fails, the 'benefits' will be left in place and the currency will be inflated. After a while it won't pay to stand in line for it and functionaries will shrug and announce that no one is interested in the programs anymore.

I'll bet it worked the same way where you came from.

Actually it has begun here in New Hampshire "Ed Brown and his wife" have holed up in a house that fits the "island of stability" description (Solar powered, private well, bullet resistant).

"I wonder when we will begin to see tax revolts in the US, regarding both federal taxes and local property taxes."

WT, It's already happening.

Homeowners Demand Re-Assessments Because of Ice Cold Housing Market and Save a Bundle on Taxes

During the housing boom, homeowners saw property values and property taxes rise. Now that the market has cooled a grassroots rebellion is spreading across the country. Homeowners are demanding and receiving much needed re-assessments on their property. Read on to find out how much they are saving and to learn how you can lower your own taxes.

According to National Taxpayer Union estimates, between 30 and 60 percent of homes are overassessed, leaving homeowners paying much more than they should in property taxes.

'This is an excellent point--the tactical demand for a massive conscript army drove the merger of State and Nation beginning with Wallenstein and the 30 Years War.'

Excellent article btw.

Perhaps if the intended path of the North American continent is some form of Merger to a Greater United States, then The demographics of Mexico suggest a potentially ready - made and very large conscript army of available under-25s.

What better way to ensure full citizenship than to prove yourself by fighting for your new country. It worked in Greece, Rome and for Imperial France. It was a selling point of the French Foreign Legion and the Waffen SS. It could work for the US if,If, large conscript armies are required to put boots on the ground. Auxilliaries (Mexico), Legions (The US Army and Marines), Praetorians (Blackwater).

That may explain Bush's desire to legalise Immigrants and the push for continental integration.

Just remember that the integration of a cheap source of non-citizens can sometimes backfire.

Look to the story of Hermann and the battle of Teutobergerwald.

Oh, btw, apologies if I was cranky two weeks back. (To all, even Eric Blair).

No excuses really, I had just read Fatih Birol's earth shaking account.

I was going through a crisis of Fatih...:-)

(strange that nobody picked up on that pun - perhaps dyslexia hleps)

The demographics of Mexico suggest a potentially ready - made and very large conscript army of available under-25s.

That's even more reasons to be worried, see Mesquida ratio.

The use of Mexican or rather troops from the former country of Mexico for future oil wars has discussed. I'm sure they would be happy to take over Venezuela. I actually think thats why the US is letting Venezuela play games since the plan is to use former Mexican nationals to secure resources in Central and South America.

'That's even more reasons to be worried, see Mesquida ratio'.

Plausible. Before the Great War population estimates put the m/f ratio at 51/49

Skirt height and female fashion going to 'military' styles also has an effect (apparently). (Are we nothing more than hormones?)

And if so, Europe will struggle with the young male North African and Middle Eastern cohort, which is growing, compared with the indigenous young male cohort. - As was pointed out in a piece a couple of years back in Newsweek at the height of the Paris riots. The Immigrant African , Mid East cohort in France could outman Native French in the 18-29 cohort range within a decade.

That would explain why Multiculturalism is now a dead duck political concept in almost all countries in Europe these last two years.

Might also explain why the UK extended no-visa immigration to the new EC states from Eastern Europe...

It would appear that the pieces on the board are moving again.

I dont get why it is desirable to fight for access to more resources in a post peak oil world when you have the required knowledge and industrial resources to make your country more efficent and invest in non fossil fuel energy resources. Why is dreaming of a million marching soldier boots better then dreaming of yet another relocation and reoptimnization of peoples lives within the free market?

Why do a lot of people here find mass death by bullets more likely then mass bankruptcy and restart with new priorities?

Why do a lot of people here find mass death by bullets more likely then mass bankruptcy and restart with new priorities?


"Why is dreaming of a million marching soldier boots better?"

Why does a person with Magnus in their userID need to ask? :) Surely you, a proper Roman, hear the call of the purple, to victory and eternal glory?

I swear, if only we'd never found that damnable sea snail.

"Let us wrestle with the ineffable and see if we may not, in fact, eff it after all."
-Dirk Gently, character of the late great Douglas Adams.

The problem will solve itself.
But not in a nice way.

Buffet is not particularly inaccessible - his house just sits on a corner and I drive by it regularly. He could afford the gated community here, which is named Tomlinson Woods, but he lives in the same house he always has.

I think his NetJets interest has to do with wanting to not be groped by TSA perverts and delayed ... I've actually been on his quarter time GulfStream here ...

The military revolution of the last thirty years or so accounts for much of the worldwide decline in effective democracy and also the rise of terrorism...

I would say that perceived rise in the need to secure scarce resourses (oil) tends to increase the influence of the military in a democratic society and also increases the overall perception that force is required to secure those resources. This, in turn, undermines overall democratic society and tends toward authoritarianism. I think we have seen this in the US generally since the end of WWII and even moreso over the past 6 years.

This is perfectly illustrated by Bush's argument that War policy is now, essentially, within the sole discretion of the Generals. In a democracy, war policy should be within the discretion of elected officials - the actual strategic and tactical decisions can be left to the military, but again with the approval of the people through their representatives.

You are behind the eight ball.

Manpower in the military, at least as far as quality, is again coming to the forefront with 4th generation warfare.

Ask the Americans in Iraq or the Israelis in Lebanon. Why do you think that all of a sudden units of elite contractors came into play?

The average soldier uses something like 16 gallons of fuel per day (vs typical American at 3 gallons per day). The typical aircraft burns in one hour what a family car uses in a year. That Army of One is going to need retooling. Unless we issue pikes to our legions, it cannot be so easily expanded.

cfm in Gray, ME

I would love to agree with you that military strength is about technology, being as how I work in military R&D, but true military strength is about motivated infantry. Has been since Sargon the Great and always will be. Technology and economics can at best improve your efficiency at using your infantry, but big numbers of semi-trained, semi-equipped pure infantry just last year decisively defeated what is arguably the best technologically equipped army in the world. Because they were willing to kill and die in large numbers for their cause and their opponents were not. The next few years will see a completely untrained militia decisively defeat the world's single superpower for similar reasons. The active loyalty of citizens will become critically more important for nation states as they lose their ability to command it and pass into irrelevance because they can do so no longer. The masss of the population is the opposite of irrelevant, it is the schwerpunkt of 21st century war.

"Let us wrestle with the ineffable and see if we may not, in fact, eff it after all."
-Dirk Gently, character of the late great Douglas Adams.

'Now that mass armies are obsolete, the military strength of nations depends on technology and economics.'

Another comment from the discredited Rumsfeldian School. Rummy fired Gen Shenseki for advising that it would take a half million men in Iraq to maintain security after the invasion. Rummy fired Shenseki. Didnt that work out well?

Technology has had ample opportunity to prove its worth in Viet Nam and now Iraq. It has failed badly against intelligent 3rd and 4th generation open source insurgencies. Without the proper number of boots on the ground the US resorts to air bombardment, killing/wounding many civilians and causing their friends and relatives to join or support the insurgency, which compounds the problem. The only benefit of our high tech military offers is to the military hardware providers. The US military, and many others, are geared to fight conventional wars but there are no conventional enemies. The pentagon is reluctant to change becuase the biz in high tech weapons is too lucrative for too many.

'If ordinary human beings dont have much positive value from the point of view of the state, they'll demonstrate their negative value by blowing things up.'

Actually, your arguement is bass ackwards. If the state fails to provide for the welfare and safety of its peoples then it has lost its legitimacy to govern...Then the people will react by taking actions to bring down an illigitimate government.

The trend towards smaller armies has nothing much to do with Rumsfeld. It's been going on for many years in many countries. Thing is, the cost of training and equipping a modern infantry soldier is so high that a country runs out of money before it runs out of cannon fodder. That doesn't mean that mass armies can't be raised and used if there is enough ideological or nationalist fervor to sustain huge casualties, but that hasn't happened very often in recent years—the Iraq/Iran war is the example that comes to mind.

In my original comment, I probably should have given a credit to the Shield of Achilles and several other books that look at the history of the nation state from a long-term perspective. The notion that military necessities explain a lot about the nature of states is certainly not some idea I came up with.

Technology has had ample opportunity to prove its worth in Viet Nam and now Iraq. It has failed badly against intelligent 3rd and 4th generation open source insurgencies. Without the proper number of boots on the ground the US resorts to air bombardment, killing/wounding many civilians and causing their friends and relatives to join or support the insurgency, which compounds the problem. The only benefit of our high tech military offers is to the military hardware providers. The US military, and many others, are geared to fight conventional wars but there are no conventional enemies. The pentagon is reluctant to change becuase the biz in high tech weapons is too lucrative for too many.

The problem here is that you are assuming that the State with the technology is actually trying to WIN the war, rather than spend military money and increase cashflows to various entities.
When you look at the capabilities of the individual systems, the effectiveness of the weapons, etc., then you start to see that they are not being utilized to their full capabilities, and are, in all probability, being used for the sake of demonstrating that they need to be 'better, faster, more costly'.
As an example: the most effective aircraft in Viet Nam were propeller driven (OV, Spads, etc) in the ground support roles, but we ended up with jets and helicopters which cost billions more and kill fewer enemy troops.
If we truly wanted Democracy in Iraq, we wouldn't be setting up contracts that are unfavorable to their economy and favorable to foreigners.
If we really wanted the war to end, we would be bringing the troops back and melting down the sand-corroded, worn-out equipment to build windmills and solar panels.

THEY don't WANT to WIN, they want to spend money; money that is already being drawn from 4 generations in the future.

"If you want Change, keep it in your pocket. Your money is your only real vote. If you want to save the soil, you have to be a rhizome."

Hello Jeff,

Thxs for the great keypost! I have logged many postings here on Mexico's problems. The Overshoot component should not be overlooked by any means, but must also be considered in combo with rapidly declining FF-energy.

Many of my postings detailed the high degree of desertification, deforestation, and widespread aquifer depletion. The ecologic levels of pollution, crumbling infrastructure, and with most cities not have extensive and intensive recycling and landfill programs is mind boggling. Yet, Mexico is still building corn to ethanol plants and tourist/native-elite golf courses that will stress the water/food supplies even more. Recall our last discussion on the Colorado River problems: how this is stressing those Mexicans in the delta on the northern gulf.

IMO, Mexican leaders should be going to maximum Peakoil Outreach to their citizens and encourage sequential building of biosolar habitats with all that it entails. This is key to dampening blowback effects that tend to escalate violence and de-optimize cooperation for habitat protection for the Mexican bottleneck squeeze. My feeble two cents.

The drought picture does not add to my ease in falling asleep:

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

This one is the final straw for me.

I discovered this site via the work of Jerome a Paris on DailyKos and I've been a daily reader for the last month or so. I can't open this page without finding a dozen reasons to crawl under the bed and hide ...

My mother, age 72, has been talking about leaving her farm on the Iowa/Minnesota border. Business is slow for me this month so the timing was right - a 4'x7' trailer I purchased this morning is sitting outside and I'm going back to do my consulting business from a 3.25 acre hobby farm on the edge of a town with a population of 800.

Hopefully whatever is coming will land lightly in a place with good water, a climate that can dry significantly and still produce crops, and an ethnically homogenous population not given to getting too excited about happenings in the outside world.

Someone asked me the other day what to do, in the context of ELP, if you are currently making a good salary in an industry that you know is doomed.

Probably the best answer is to ruthlessly (very small one bedroom rented apartment?) implement E & L, while continuing to work at your current job, but while also training to be a producer of essential goods and/or services in a post-peak world.

A very good idea is probably to get a small group together to buy some farmland, preferably not too far from a mass transit line. In the short run, if nothing else, you could lease it out to an organic farmer. The key point is to try to lock in access to a food supply. Remember the billionaire who is expanding his ability to grow his own food?

If you don't have the money yourself to buy the farmland, I would suggest trying to option a tract of land, and then get three partners, with each of them paying one-third of the acquisition cost, with the ownership split four ways. You get carried for 25% in exchange for putting the deal together.

I think we've got a few good years left and with what I do I can end up with a paid off farm set up with solar power to drive ground loop cooling at the end of the run. Land will get quite reasonable when there is no diesel to work it ...

I think right now is an especially good time to buy farm land near metropolitan areas. Why? Because up until recently the price of this land was grossly overinflated by farmers trying to cash in on the housing-development craze. Now that finished units sit unsold by the tens and hundreds of thousands, you don't find much bidding for farm land from developers.

On the other hand, rising prices for corn and other crops makes an acre of land more valuable than it would otherwise be--but in my opinion this factor is swamped by the exit of developers from the land-buying market.

Within easy bicycling distance of where I live (small town, north Twin Cities, Minnesota area) there are at least a dozen tracts of land for sale, mostly now in corn, some in hay. Some of these tracts are big (more than 640 acres, which is a square mile) but others are smaller, down to a few acres in some cases. One good thing about this location is that we get plenty of rain, so that irrigation is not needed. Also our electrical grid is robust and sells coal-fired electricity at relatively low cost.

Let me once again put in a plug for the classic by Kains, "Five Acres and Independence."

I wish there was just a bit more ground, but I suspect when the poo hits that rotating widget we'll see edge lands within walking distance broken out into parcels. The thing I like is that this *isn't* close to a metro area - its a ninety mile drive if you want a city with 10,000 people and that means social chaos will be at a minimum. And please, god, may the methamphetamine precursors dry up along with the oil ...

I used to live in an isolated small town in northern Minnesota, and one thing that struck me was the relatively low level of law enforcement, despite cabin breakins, thefts of stacked firewood, daylight home break ins, even thefts of produce from gardens. Based on past history from the decline of the Western Roman Empire to current chaos in various countries today, people in cities may do somewhat better than people in remote rural areas. Partly this is a matter of economics: Rural areas support a sparsely manned sheriff's department--just barely. Disorder in a city brings out the National Guard, the Highway Patrol, plus much overtime for the relatively large city police force.

In rural Minnesota most everyone has large dogs and guns in the house (usually rifles and shotguns, but also handguns) to deter crime. The big and noisy dogs are especially good at discouraging burglars and vandals--and they are kept for home protection rather than primarily for hunting or merely as pets.

'Based on past history from the decline of the Western Roman Empire to current chaos in various countries today, people in cities may do somewhat better than people in remote rural areas. '

For a while.

Large capital cities in the collapsing Roman Empire became targets for enemies without.

Smaller, provincial cities 'hung on'. They retained Procurators, Magistrates, Quaestors, Lictors and all other functionaries of Civil life. Agriculture, viticulture and other trades hung on too. To local markets. It seemed to work for a while.

In Provence, there is an Aqueduct feeding water to a prosperous provincial town.(long gone). It is exceptional in two ways:

1. It shows off the engineering skills of Rome at its height.

2. The accumulation of calcium carbonate and ultimately, organic rich limestone accretions act as a log of a failing society.

As the society collapsed, more and more peasants dug into the Aqueduct channels to gain water for their own farms. As this increased, the water flow lessened, the Aqueduct had less flow, Minerals exsolved and, in the layering that occured, organic matter was trapped in increasing levels.

Ultimately, the Free-flowing water of the Aqueduct was diverted by farmers and choked off to the town, becoming a trickle.

What happened to the townsfolk is anyones guess. The town is a ruin.

It is fair to say that the decendants of the newly water-rich peasants who stole the water are still making fine wines and food stuffs in Provence today.

1600 years later.

In our own times, things may be slightly different: Procurators, Magistrates, Queastors and Lictors may disappear in cities. Replaced by gangs and urban tribes. At least for a while.(Collegia or Mafia)

Mass migrations from cities are, IMO, unlikely. Most will sit tight, waiting for Government. A lot will die : The usual victims - Old, Young, the vulnerable. Formal, civilsed, control will pass to thugs. These thugs will fight each other for control. Again, many would die.

Some time later, the surviving distillation of thugs may seek resources outwith the city paradigm. These will be dangerous: They will be Darwinian in tooth and claw. They will represent the surviving thugs of the thugs.

But will these super thugs make more than 15 miles a day? In what direction? And for what concrete end? And how long before the depradations of route-marching put them at a calorific dissadvantage?


Small towns, with a highly motivated citizen militia is the best bet.

But It will only work if each rifleman has an equal risk and an equal stake and the same objectives, desires, fears and stake in the outcome.

Once upon a time, the Eorls could persuade the Huiscarls to get the Yongemen to press the Fyrd.

But that was before the Enlightenment, Tom Paine and the demise of the Church.

Now, its equal stakes or fight your own wars...

But will these super thugs make more than 15 miles a day? In what direction?

I do not know whether this is good or bad news, but if a road is still in reasonable shape, a person on a bicycle, in good health can do 100 miles in about 6 hours.



"Small towns, with a highly motivated citizen militia is the best bet."

A pentagon gives the most enclosed area per point of any polygon (5 + a center point). What does that have to do with anything? Station a minimal tactical unit of two men at each point (one to run towards any attack, one to cover his advance / maintain the watch, plus a team of two at the center as reserves). Put them on 6 hours guard duty and 3 hours training, seven days a week, and you need four such shifts for 24-7 defense, totaling 48 men. Source escapes me, but at least one military historian (endorsed by Keegan) has claimed that 1 professional soldier in 10 adults is the maximum fraction economically sustainable. Give the other 9 crossbows as part of that citizen militia, and you get a minimum group size of 480, or ~530 if you want some allowance for sickness and days off. IMHO, that's the smallest group that can effectively defend a fortified place and its immediate area within bowshot / muzzleloader range 24-7.

So, unless your solar powered bunker has room, water, and farmland for ~550, odds are sooner or later those Darwinian thugs are going to be the ones inhabiting what's left of your bunker. Small towns are the way to go if it really comes to Dark Ages Redux (Sorry, couldn't resist that pun).

"Let us wrestle with the ineffable and see if we may not, in fact, eff it after all."
-Dirk Gently, character of the late great Douglas Adams.

My offspring are both a fairly good shot and they're seven and ten. We're limited to .22 right now but a 5.56x45mm is going to join my collection soon.

Thuggery in rural Iowa is likely to be resolved with a blow to the head and a toss to the hogs. Urban breakdown will favor thugs, but if the sheriff were no longer hauling wrongdoers to the magistrate I rather expect citizens vigilance committees would develop quick solutions to the various problems which might arise.

This Roman aqueduct at Ansignan was still operating when I visited it some 30 years ago.
I expect 30 more years have not made any difference, it seems it has always been used for irrigation.

However I doubt any recent constructions can withstand lack of maintenance over a few dozen years.

There is a new biker gang forming in my area, 'The Hungry Huns.' Rumor has it that they are a real fun loving bunch. I do know a few of the members...Snake Shoe Pete, Bogus John, and Half Deaf Jack. I will post more info as it becomes available.

I have been looking into this very idea, but I am going to finance the acquisition through my IRA to avoid the Tax implications. I can buy land and lease too an organic farmer. I have contacted several, but I need some help setting up the right legal paperwork so I can ensure I do not get called out by the IRS. I think this type of rollover transactions could be marketed on a much broader scale and would appreciate any guidance on the financial side of the house.

Jay Hanson said "renters will be owners" once tshtf.

If you don't have the money yourself to buy the farmland, I would suggest trying to option a tract of land, and then get three partners, with each of them paying one-third of the acquisition cost, with the ownership split four ways. You get carried for 25% in exchange for putting the deal together.

This is an excellent idea.

It's been a way to structure oil deals since practically the dawn of the oil age.

It's really a win/win/win deal.

The guy that gets the deal done gets an equity interest.

The guys with more money than time get a piece of farmland.

And we increase the food growing capacity on the periphery of cities (and create job opportunities for the hordes of Formerly Well Off types).

As I noted over on Drumbeats, I also recommend that extended families start developing contingency plans for consolidating in one location. Think of "The Waltons"

I just resigned from my six-figure management job to focus upon family and getting down to a good ELP level. My wife will still be the wage earner and we'll downsize expenses. She thinks I am raving nuts about P.O. but after 20 years of marriage she has started to trust me on these things.

I having a lot of success with gardening in an urban environment, and annually fill my freezer with our game meat needs. I need to work on some backup electricity but with food, water, and shelter I feel better off than most.

Berkeley: Urban farmers produce nearly all their food with a sustainable garden in their backyard

Hi Jeff,

Thank you for sharing this.

Just a quick q:

re: "Similarly, the high return on investment for attacks on Mexico's oil industry make this the most promising target for politically motivated groups."

How do you see the return, exactly? Going by the preceding couple of sentences, I take it that you mean to introduce an additional factor - other than money from hostage-taking - as a return. Could you possibly elaborate?

I think the folks in the Mexican hinterlands are just tired of being shat upon by the PTB in Mexico City. The return is not immediately obvious, but would be similar to the return on violence in the Middle East.

That's quite a doomeresque "sticking your head above the parapet" prediction.

The Nigerian parallel is disturbing


I'm very unpersuaded by the evidence presented that the Mexican state is now collapsing (I don't dispute that Cantarell's oil production is going down rapidly). The evidence used consists entirely of links to news stories about particular incidents, and it's impossible to assess the trend. Mexico has been a fairly corrupt place with a lot of drug-related violence for decades. Maybe it is getting worse, but to establish that, we'd need some actual evidence about the trend. Is the number of violent incidents much more than a decade ago? And does this really have anything to do with Cantarell? If the government's revenues are now lower, has it reduced spending, and if so on what? Or is it currently taking up the slack by borrowing more?

I agree that your on the right track. Export land should show in the economic data fairly quickly. But understand that we are at the start of this situation. The trend with the information I could find supports the position of this post.

I think given the model we need only wait a few quarters. I can't imagine how they can avoid falling into hyperinflation and it should come on fairly quickly. The other choice is a deflationary depression either way the economic news out of Mexico should sour quickly according to export land.

What I could find of first quarter 2007 did not look good.

I could not find any info on Mexican M3 for 2007 thats what I want to see. I think in Mexico we are seeing the same as the US monetary events are lagging well behind the real economy. For example in the housing bubble it was over a year between the point that stagnating prices made subprime lending a bad bet and a real financial response. Lately any tie between money and reality for any country seems to be tenuous at best. And Mexico seems to be borrowing tricks from the US for fudging numbers.

Institution can indeed be tenacious. At a point in history the king of France was called "le roi de Bourges", because that was all that was left of his territory at that time. Still he and his descendants kept gaining power, while the only advantage they had over their territorial contenders was legitimacy.
Likewise the institutional heirs of the governments of nation-states will retain their claim on legitimacy, especially when they can trace it back to the last golden age. When violence erupts, people will only become more sensitive to that argument.

Hello TODers,

More fuel for the Mexico debate fire:
Is Mexico paying for U.S. housing downturn?

[From the third page--BS]

Deutsche Bank's Hooper disagrees. He argues that the data did show a discrepancy during the boom times too. While residential construction rose more than 40 percent from 2001 through 2005, payroll employment showed a smaller gain.

"The cost of the decline in U.S. home construction is being deflected abroad to a significant extent via reductions in remittances of income earned in the U.S. to Latin American countries," he said.

"The buffer provided by undocumented workers helps to explain why the spillover from the housing recession to the rest of the [US] economy has thus far been so mild."
Recall that Mexican remittances are estimated to be the 2nd largest GDP component after Pemex taxes.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than YEast?

You can't ignore the tight coupling with the US of course. Thus what I consider a late start to the economic effects of export land can readily be explained by the recent US housing boom. Note its not just workers but also manufactured goods. This won't be a factor in 2008 if anything it makes matters worse than proposed in this post.

Is Mexico paying for U.S. housing downturn?

The premise needs to be reformulated. Sure the remittances are way down. But the meaning is that Mexico is profiting much less from criminal activity in this sector.

Cocaine purchases will take a hit once the HELOC money runs out.

But in all seriousness they illegal drug trade is primarily possible because of the US welfare system when it collapses I think you will see the price of illegal drugs collapse. Also as we have no choice but to tighten our borders we will accidentally catch some drug smugglers in the net plus it will become more lucrative to smuggle people.

If their is one business that will find hard times post peak it will be the recreational drug trade. One thing I noticed when I lived in Vietnam was despite cheaply available drugs you did not have a lot of drug problems outside of the criminal/prostitution areas. I never saw any indication of drug use amongst the normal poor they where way to busy scratching a living. At best they probably used some marijuana along with alcohol but in general drug addiction meant either prostitution or joining the criminal underground to maintain your habit. And before anyone starts about how strict their laws are they are only enforced for trafficking drugs across the border the governments their are pretty serious about keeping control of the drug trade and frown on independent smuggling without the proper bribes.

Memmel, I dont think you are qualified to comment on the drug biz in the US. You are not alone. Lots of people think they know something because they watch serialized tv shows that purport to portray drug dealers, DEA Agents, mafia, FBI, etc., but these shows are total bs. Prior to the US Gov appointing a 'Drug Czar' the price of a K of coke in Miami was between $18-21K, it quickly dropped to $3-5K after the Drug Czar got his operation going. The wealthy in the US are always going to buy coke and I suspect the price will increase slightly once the Drug Czar is gone. BTW, have you noticed how the term Drug Czar has almost vanished from the MSM since the 'war on terror' began?

And then there are the hordes addicted to Big Pharma products.

Hello TODers,

Just updated US drought monitor [it appears worse to my eyeballs]:

I hope they update the Mexico Drought map soon, my guess is it is just as bad as the US Southwest. Mexico could really use some rainfall from some hopefully weak hurricanes coming ashore.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

I have an animated GIF of the whole record of UNL drought maps, but I'm not sure how to convert it to something I can load to YouTube. I could make the GIF available but its very large ...

Hello Iowa Boy,

Don't bother--it is already done. At the bottom of my provided link there are clickable 6 & 12 week animations.

Unless you are talking about creating years' worth of maps for viewing.

I have everything from 1999 to a few months ago ...

When I click on your link--it only shows 3 weeks from october '99.

patience, grasshopper - that is a 23 meg file ... did you get it all or just the first few frames?

I think your .gif is broken. I downloaded the entire file but when I view it in a web browser, I only get the first three weeks.

Can Mexico Protect Its Oil Infrastructure?

Some aspects of this make me wonder: First: can the U.S. protect Texas/New Orleans/the Gulf oil infrastructure from violence out of Mexico?
Second: how soon can we get the idiots talking about the North America Free Trade Corridor to pack their bags?
Third: Can we defend the Southern border of Mexico from other countries after the (planned?) annexation?
Fourth: How much is the annexation going to cost us?
Fifth: How long before we admit to Empire and keep going to Canada, Latin America, Columbia, etc.?

"The first and most well known is, 'Never get involved in a land war in Asia'." - Vasilli, "The Princess Bride"

Hello TODers,,0,59503...
Mexico sends 5,000 troops to guard energy facilities

President Calderon dispatches an elite unit in response to guerrilla attacks on oil and natural gas pipelines.

Fuel shortages have forced thousands of businesses to close.

That's too bad: thousands of young and vigorous men standing around watching their guns rust. It would be much better if they were building community solar-heated shower and laundry facilities across the country instead. Strange how we prefer blowback to mitigation. Oh, well.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

I love your signature - I've long said that while we may display individual brilliance we're collectively no wiser than cyanobacteria.

At least cyanobacteria understand the benefit of solar energy :^)

The problem will solve itself.
But not in a nice way.

Jeff, I just read your article about rhizomes linked to the beginning of the thread, and it has an intuitive feel of rightness. Yeah, I know, not very scientific, but it also fits in with John Micheal Greers ramblings on the archdruid report blog, and my personal observations. I'd like a little discussion of a few particulars:

Maybe its just because I live in Texas, but we have two competing Mexican drug gangs in the state, their prison names are the Texas Syndicate and the Texas Mafia. The Texas Mafia seems to be the Chihuahua crowd, while the Texas Syndicate is the Tamalipas-Nuevo Leon crowd. They compete in few areas, mostly seem to have it worked out where they operate. They're well financed, and smuggle guns and ammo to Mexico, and all kinds of dope to the U.S.
The Chihuahua crowd has been battling it out with the state government of Chihuahua in Juarez, and seems to have the support of certain army elements. It seems more of a cooperative thing with the southern gangs and the state governments. I assume this is an example of what you meant about the fragmentation of the nation state.
Its tacitly recognized by the Texas Department of Corrections, they keep the prison gangs isolated from each other in separate tanks, and I understand the same happens in California. Are there other prison gangs in different parts of the country? Does anyone know how they hook up with different regions of Latin America?
Likewise in southern Mexico in Chiapas and the Yucatan, the Mayas have their own organization. Is this hooking up with the gangs in Guatemala and the Mayan revolutionaries there and in El Salvadore? this strikes me as another rhizome like you've been talking about. Bob Ebersole

If you nose around Omaha a bit you'll find lots of graffiti with "MS13" or "X3" in it - the Los Angeles 13th Street set of Mara Salvatrucha. There isn't too much mischief for them to get up to in a city of 500k without the police landing on them hard, but the roots of this thing are definitely clear back in El Salvador. Marvelous, isn't it, this transnational actors stuff?

Bob, there are lots of gangs and many that have connections to drug smuggling but some are so low profile that they are seldom heard of. One very powerful and ruthless group is centered in Alans area, 'The Sons Of Silence.' Very dangerous bunch but almost unknown. They dont wear patches, form chapters, etc.

The Sons of Silence are a white biker gang and I believe the "HQ" is in the Denver area. They do wear patches and they do form chapters ... what does this have to do with the transnational concerns stated earlier? The ones I know can locate Sturgis, South Dakota, and Milwaukie, Wisconsin on a map, but they'd be hard pressed to identify anything south of Mexico if presented with a globe ...

Maybe they wear patches in Denver but the members that I know personally do not wear patches. Since I ride a lot I have come into contact with many of these gangs.

The gangs know where Brownsville is, that is all they have to know to pick up a load of whatever they are marketing.

I think the analysis misses out on a major issue. Obrador Lopez "lost" the election to to Calderon, just as Gore and Kerry "lost" to Bush. I seriously doubt that it was simply a coincidence. The US has a long history of intervention in Latin America. The Mexican gov't is quite alieneated from its own people. There is resistance. And there will be resistance, just as there is in Latin America. Venezuela is not collapsing, Bolivia is not collapsing, Ecuador is not collapsing, etc.

The "failed state" label is often the prelude and pretext to intervention of an even more egregious nature than which facilitated the instability in the first place. This article, while not directly advocating that, borders on enabling it. There is a state directly north of Mexico that is failing, and because of its residual power, has been able to export its problems to other countries. That's what is coming to end. There will come a point at which we will have to address our own failings rather than exporting chaos and mayhem -- currently our principal export.

Jeff Vail, I`m not sure if I am too late to the conversation or this is the right place to comment (I am a first time commenter here), but I thought I might make a comment about your paper "The New Map". It certainly is nice to read something about the decline of the nation-state that is not riddled with conservative snideness, such as, say, William Lind - gives more of a sense of balance to the conclusions. I just wanted to mention though that your presentation of the Cronulla riots in Australia is very wrong - it wasn`t a riot by an ethnic minority, but by the white majority - about 500 or 1000 onto 20, as I recall, widely televised and quite nasty. Convictions were obtained in respect of that. There was a follow-up riot by maybe 20-100 angry members of the particular minority.

Further, I think your presentation of this riot as a novel experience of "multicultural" Australia is a little awry. We (i.e. the white majority) have been going on regular riots against our new racial minorities ever since we arrived - we did it against the Chinese and the Irish, for example. The era of multiculturalism in Australia is recent (since 1972, I think) and remarkable in its lack of rioting despite a large influx of migrants and a variety of other major changes in our society (the end of tariffs, the end of White Australia, and the integration of about a million southern europeans, for example).

The reason I think that this is important is that I think your conclusions about multiculturalism are very American-centric and ignore the possibility that multiculturalism might actually be a flexible tool for the nation state to redefine itself within its borders, and adapt to globalisation. For a conservative view of this which I think presents the case mildly well, you might like to try looking at the works of Gerard Henderson of the Sydney Institute, for example. His idea is that by encouraging the continued maintenance of minority ethnic identities within a framework of the rule of law, a state which explicitly views itself as multicultural can manage large migrant populations and "integrate" them without undermining its fundamental authority. Obviously part of Australia`s success in doing this has been the economic reforms of the last 20 years, which have enabled it to continue providing improved standards of living in an era of high competition. I think Canada might have a similar success.

The problem as I see it with your kinds of conclusions about multiculturalism is that they see it as a kind of natural phenomenon -i.e. another way of saying "migration" - rather than what it is in Canada and the antipodes - an actual, explicit policy for managing racial tension, and a fundamental plank of the modern nation-state in those places.

Sorry for ranting on a first post. As an Australian this issue is quite dear to me and I believe often misunderstood by foreigners.

On Cronulla: I agree with this comment - there seems to be a lot of misconceptions about this event - every comment I've ever received on this subject from North America has been totally out of step with reality.

BTW - Nice post Jeff.

Welcome to The Oil Drum! I think its very important to see perspectives from other parts of the world, we Americans receive very little from our mainstream media.
Bob Ebersole

Not to deny the usefulness of multiculturalism, but a multicultural state cannot be a nation. The rational basis of the state still remains, but you have to appeal emotionally to the people too. Before nationalism, empires were bound together by personal loyalty to the ruling general/king/family/clergy. That only disappeared when a substitute - the nation - could be associated with the state. Before that, nationality was only one of many loyalties one kept.

I tend to think of this in terms of cultural absorption capacity.

My feeling is that a nation can culturally absorb a certain number of immigrants each year, with the lag time and total number dependent on the strength/attractiveness of the local culture and the same factors for the immigrants original culture. Multiculturalism can work as long as you don't exceed the absorption capacity (ie. you don't keep on increasing the unassimilated immigrant population, you keep the immigration flow in balance).

I think in the past most western countries have managed to keep the balance right - but in the last decade or so that hasn't been true - too much immigration coupled with (in some cases) a hostile or unattractive national culture that doesn't try to integrate new arrivals but demonises them instead.

There's only one way to fix this if you want to keep the nation state (disregarding various misanthropic options) - reduce the immigration rate and/or increase your absorption rate by making your national culture more attractive...

Big Gav, I agree, and I think multiculturalism is a deliberate response by the Canadian and Australian governments to the hostile national culture they had. By adopting a concept of multiculturalism as a national property, our societies have improved their absorption capacity.

I think we are already seeing this in the United States. California is issuing the first rumblings of a secessionist mindset--much more organic and dangerous than those guys in Vermont, in my opinion. They think of themselves as separate and special (so it seems to a non-Californian) and others see them as almost belonging to a different world already. Maybe they'll be the first to dissociate themselves from an ailing, failing United States.

We in California produce 25% of all agriculture, dominate technology, biotech, entertainment, and depending on what day of the week it is, 6th or 7th largest economy on Earth.
We are taxed at a greater rate by the Fed's than we get back (typical of a Blue State, as Red States get the most Funding from the Fed's).
There are vast cultural differences from the North to the South, and from East to West--
It might be best to break up into several entities, compatible with philosophy and bioregion.
I think Southern California is not even close to being survivable, culturally or environmentally (and I was born in LA), and places like Orange County are some of the most surreal and detached from reality of any place on Earth I have visited-
If you contrast that to the North Coast, with small population, progressive, intact eco systems, community organized and putting survival strategies in place now, the two places could not be more different.


Good point on the "multiculturalism" as a management tool rathern than a natural phenomenon. I'm pretty sure that my impressions of Cronulla are mostly the result of reports in the US media, so, as with many things, they're probably well off the mark. The tough part, from an American perspective, is that even when one realizes how inaccurate our own news media is at times, we're left with few RELIABLY correct alternatives--plenty of "alt-news" outlets, but few that are right more than they're wildly wrong. The discussion features on global sites such as this are perhaps most valuable because they act as a kind of global, grass-roots peer-review mechanism. So certainly don't feel badly about ranting on your first post--well reasoned criticism is always welcome, at least by most of us.

Hello TODers,
"Iron river of guns" flows from U.S. to Mexico

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) estimates that gunrunners haul thousands of weapons a week over the border to Mexico, and they say demand is voracious.

"They are in the market for machine guns, hand grenades, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles ... It's like they are outfitting an army," he added.
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

That's an interesting problem there, Bob. None of those items are legally for sale in the US to US citizens so you cannot blame lack of gun control for those 4 classes of items because they are already banned.

To get such items you have to either buy them directly from a military supplier or steal them from some location such as a National Guard or Reserve armory or a local police armory. Since I really doubt that thousands of such weapons are stolen every week from such sources, this means that the military industrial complex is selling them directly to these gun runners. And if they are doing this they are either (a) in violation of the law or (b) doing what the executive branch told them to do.

Ghawar Is Dying as we slide Into the Grey Zone
"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.

Like they say on Slashdot, RTFA. The gangs are in the market for the military grade stuff, but what they are purchasing in the US is .38 Smith and Wessons (status symbol, sort of an officer's sidearm) and semi-auto AR-15s and AK's. Which they then upgrade to full auto in a local machine shop. The conversion is illegal, but so long as it's kept semi-auto, it's perfectly legal to buy a military grade rifle. Hell, the civilian marksmanship program will even sell you an M1 Garand rifle direct from the government if you're lucky.
Now as to whether it should be legal, I'm conflicted, as I think it's appropriate that citizens be sufficiently armed to pose a threat to an abusive government or anyone else if a legitimate government fails to protect them. On the other hand, absent civil war / anarchy, what can you possibly need that kind of firepower for?

"Let us wrestle with the ineffable and see if we may not, in fact, eff it after all."
-Dirk Gently, character of the late great Douglas Adams.

New reddit submission as of 9/10, if you are so inclined:

"The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated." -Mexico Twain


Thanks for reposting that analysis. I see that the sabotage story has been steadiily climbing in Google News all day today.

The problem will solve itself.
But not in a nice way.

Question: How many divisions US have?

I think is not enough for occupy Iraq, Afganistan and Mexico....