DrumBeat: November 29, 2008

OPEC freezes crude output quota

CAIRO (AFP) – OPEC decided on Saturday to leave its oil output quota unchanged and vowed to take any action necessary to balance the market next month, the cartel's president said after a consultative meet in Cairo.

"Ministers agreed to take any additional action on December 17th (in Oran, Algeria) to balance oil supply and demand and achieve market stability," said Chakib Khelil, who is also Algeria's energy minister.

The widely expected decision comes as oil prices are trading at lows not seen in nearly four years, sparking alarm among the cartel's members about plunging revenues.

OPEC warns stocks could hit 59 days without action

CAIRO (Reuters) - Commercial oil inventories held among industrialised nations of the OECD could hit 59 days by the end of 2009 if OPEC doesn't take further action on supply, OPEC President Chakib Khelil said on Saturday.

Days of forward OECD inventory cover is a key measure for OPEC in assessing the oil market's supply and demand balance.

Steve LeVine: The Return of High Oil

So, with prices having gone strongly down, as Morse forecast, I made a phone call to the report’s lead author – Jan-Hein Jesse, whom I met last year at an OPEC meeting in Vienna – and asked whether he thinks his thesis still holds. I.E., is another price spike coming down the road?

The answer, Jesse replied, is probably yes. The ‘probably’ covers the event that we are headed into a long, deep depression, in which case all such previously composed economic analyses are off the table, and one must reassess the facts afresh.

But if in the next two or three years we come out of recession in fair economic shape, look for another steep rise in oil and gasoline prices.

Qatar says oil price too low for investments (AFP)

CAIRO - Qatar Energy Minister Abdullah al-Attiyah said on Saturday that current crude prices were too low to sustain investments in the oil industry to meet a future rise in demand.

“We can all live with 70 dollars,” Attiyah said. “With this price, we can invest in upstream projects, but below that it will be very difficult” to boost output capacity.

“Projects could be postponed and maybe we will see a shortage in production” when demand picks up, he added ahead of a meeting of OPEC ministers in Cairo on Saturday to review a sharp drop in the price of oil.

Minister: Iran proposes gas transfer to Kuwait

TEHRAN (Xinhua) -- Iran's Oil Minister Gholam-Hossein Nozari said his country had proposed to transfer 500,000 cubic feet of gas per day to Kuwait, the semi-official Fars news agency reported Saturday.

Survivalism: For peak oilers and ecotopians too?

As a peak oiler myself since 2002, I have often wondered why most of the prominent peak oil authors and activists dismiss the survivalist movement.

It seems that many of the peak oil heavyweights, including Richard Heinberg and Dmitry Orlov, in particular, despite their own ingenious contributions to analyzing our current predicament, seem to blithely dismiss survivalism. They apparently do not understand the basic technical constructs of survivalism, such as the military skill sets, weapons, and organization that go into survivalism. They also do not seem to understand the technical aspects of long-term food storage (i.e. oxygen absorbers, desiccants, dry ice, etc.), or the emphasis that survivalism also places on organic gardening and food preservation.

ZIMBABWE: Soldiers riot over cash shortage

HARARE (IRIN) - Uniformed Zimbabwean soldiers raided one of the capital's money-changing haunts after becoming frustrated with queuing to withdraw cash at a Harare bank, according to an IRIN correspondent who witnessed the event.

The soldiers descended on foreign currency dealers in "Roadport" in central Harare on 27 November, where they assaulted money dealers and robbed them, an indication of the low morale among Zimbabwe's rank and file soldiers.

...The cash shortages join other shortages such as food - the UN estimates that in the first quarter of 2009 nearly half the 12 million population will require food aid - medicines, electricity, fuel, potable water and agricultural implements.

A World of a Different Color

Once upon a time, America derived most of its power from a natural, renewable resource that was roughly as efficient as an automobile engine but did not pollute the air with nitrogen dioxide or suspended particulate matter or carcinogenic hydrocarbons. This power source was versatile. Hooked up to the right devices, it could thresh wheat or saw wood. It was also highly portable — in fact, it propelled itself — and could move either along railroad tracks or independently of them. Each unit came with a useful, nonthreatening amount of programmable memory preinstalled, including software that prompted forgetful users once it had learned a routine, and each possessed a character so distinctive that most users gave theirs a name. As a bonus feature, the power source neighed.

Bear Grylls: How are we going to face up to energy crisis?

Beneath the surface of world instability bubbles a much more fundamental issue. How are we going to face up to the earth's energy crisis? And at what cost do we ignore that question?

When we are fighting for basic economic survival it is hard to look beyond our front door, but we must. If we are to have a world worth handing on to our children, we must have the courage to look beyond oil and conventional fossil fuelled power solutions. We must also fight against the cynicism that questions global warming and we must fight against a lethargy that says it is too late or that isn't our problem. It is not someone else's problem.

Iran again warns of Persian Gulf blockade if attacked

Tehran - Iran has once again warned that it would blockade the oil export route in the Persian Gulf if its nuclear sites were attacked, Iranian media reported Saturday.

'We are capable of blockading the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf and whoever does not believe this should ... see what happens in reality,' Navy Commander Admiral Habibollah Sayari told IRNA news agency.

U.S. infrastructure shaky, official says

If you thought the $700 billion bailout of banks and financial institutions was big, you haven't looked at the bill for repairing the country's aging infrastructure.

To repair and then increase the capacity of the country's infrastructure would cost from $87 billion to $225 billion more a year than we are spending for decades to come, said Jack Schenendorf, vice chairman of the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission.

Cameco to suspend Port Hope UF6 output

TORONTO (Reuters) - Cameco Corp said on Friday it will suspend production of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) at its Port Hope plant in Ontario due to a contract dispute with its supplier of hydrofluoric acid.

Output of UF6 will be halted until the second half of 2009, by which time Cameco expects to either resolve the dispute or secure acid from other sources. Because of the dispute, the company, the world's largest uranium producer, has been buying acid on the spot market at a much higher cost.

Oil Prices as a Force Majeure?

It might be possible to fashion new language for the typical force majeure clause that could cover high fuel prices as a new kind of force majeure event. For example, you could add as a force majeure event a phrase such as "fuel shortages or a 50 percent or more increase in the price of oil, gasoline, or standard airfare during the period from the execution of the contract to the date of the event." Of course, the trick would be selling such a clause to the hotel's conference manager. At the current time with demand for hotel space still fairly robust, it might be a hard sell. But if oil prices resume their climb and groups begin to drastically reduce the number of their meetings, it may very well be possible to sell such a clause to a hotel, especially if the alternative to rejecting the clause is that you refuse to book any conference at all, and the hotel ends up empty-handed.

Oil demand falls first time in a generation

LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global oil demand is expected to decline slightly in 2008 and 2009, the first drop in a generation, as the most severe economic crisis since the 1930s slashes consumption across the developed world.

Worldwide demand will decline by 20,000 barrels per day (bpd) in both 2008 and 2009 to 86.03 and 86.01 million bpd respectively, according to a Reuters poll of 11 analysts, banks and industry groups.

The slight fall is a large shift from a Reuters poll of experts in August, which forecast demand would increase by nearly 1 million bpd next year. Demand has not declined since the early 1980s, following the 1979 oil crisis and a severe recession in the United States.

"Global GDP growth is the main driver of oil demand, and with the economic slowdown we see global GDP rising by just 1.2 percent next year," Michael Lewis, head of commodities research at Deutsche Bank, said.

Oil firms set to keep pumping, but not investing

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil prices have a long way to fall before producers start to lose money and shut in fields but even prices around $50 can choke investment and lead to a supply crunch before the global economy recovers from recession.

Arab oil exporters approve Egypt's anti-crisis proposals

CAIRO (RIA Novosti) - The Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries approved ahead of an OPEC emergency session on Saturday Egypt's proposal to outline a set of measures to overcome the consequences of the global financial crisis.

Oil ministers of the regional organization's member countries convened in Cairo on Saturday to deal with a plunge in prices caused by falling crude demand amid the global economic meltdown.

Saudi Arabia wants oil price at $75 a barrel

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) -- Saudi Arabia said Saturday that it hoped to raise oil prices to $75 a barrel, but indicated that no measures would probably be taken until an OPEC meeting next month in Algeria.

Saudi Oil Minister Ali Naimi said that OPEC will "do what needs to be done" to shore up falling oil prices when the cartel meets next month in Algeria, even as his king told a Kuwaiti newspaper that $75 a barrel was a fair price for oil.

Protesters in Guiana block roads over fuel prices

CAYENNE, French Guiana, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Protesters calling for lower fuel prices have blocked roads for a fifth day in French Guiana where shops and petrol stations remained shut despite moves by France to cut fuel costs by 30 centimes.

Consumer groups and truckers have since Monday erected blockades across the overseas departement which belongs to France, paralysing many roads.

U.S. Moves Ahead on Oil, Gas Leases on Public Land: Decision Could Pose Problem for Obama

A decision by federal officials this week to press ahead with a controversial sale of oil and gas leases in eastern Utah is stoking the debate over how to balance the nation's needs for fossil fuels against concerns over the environmental impact on iconic national parks and other sensitive areas.

Farmer Focus: Andrew Charlton is looking beyond peak oil flow

The completion of winter ploughing gives me a brief chance to lift my head from the grindstone and look at what is going on in the wider world. I've become involved, albeit on the fringes, of the local Transition Town Group for Downham Market.

The Transition movement is simple to understand if you accept that the world has probably already passed the point of peak oil flow. By 2050 we're all going to have to accept great changes to our lifestyles.

Poverty spreading in suburbs: study

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Poverty in the United States is spreading from rural and inner-city areas to the suburbs, according to a study, a situation that can worsen as the economy confronts what may be a protracted recession.

..."Poverty is spreading and may be re-clustering in suburbs, where a majority of America's metropolitan poor now live."

Do the Math

Sterilizing women is the key to depopulation, and that may mean it is the key to humanity's harmonious survival. Incentives to depopulate in the form of cash, education, jobs, tax relief, free tubal ligation, and easy adoption should be targeted at women. Casting women who sacrifice having their own children in a heroic light should be an essential of advertising world over. Sex education must provide free contraception and impress the importance of women waiting to have children and having only one child and no more than two if they are determined to have their own. Incentives can be scaled to decrease with one and two children, with tax social penalties for women that have three or more. Social services must reward depopulation and cease to support overpopulation.

Pickens: Renewable energy sources a must for US

OKLAHOMA CITY — As he prepares to address a wind-power conference in Oklahoma, billionaire energy magnate T. Boone Pickens said it shouldn't seem strange that he is interested in wind and other alternative energy sources.

"It's not totally unrelated to the oil business," Pickens told The Associated Press. "It's an energy business. It's easy for me to make the transition to wind. If we hadn't had such a tough year in the market, we were looking seriously at a couple of solar ideas."

EU near green energy deal despite biofuel deadlock

BRUSSELS, Nov 28 (Reuters) - The European Union has agreed rough deals on promoting renewable energy, but talks remain deadlocked over the controversial issue of biofuels, the European Parliament's lead negotiator said.

"Nearly 100 pages of the report are done and three pages are not done, but those three pages are the most politically difficult," Luxembourg Green group member Claude Turmes told Reuters late on Thursday.

Brazil Amazon destruction rises after 3-year fall

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Destruction of the Amazon forest in Brazil accelerated for the first time in four years, the government said on Friday, as high commodity prices tempted farmers and ranchers to slash more trees.

Satellite images showed nearly 4,633 square miles (12,000 sq km), or an area nearly the size of the U.S. state of Connecticut, were chopped down in the 12 months through July, the National Institute for Space Studies said.

Turn veggie to save planet, says Sir Paul

Sir Paul McCartney has teamed up with a Nobel Prize-winning scientist to urge people to become vegetarian to save the planet from the greenhouse gases created by rearing livestock.

U.N. urges climate cash boost for poorest

LONDON (Reuters) - The United Nations and aid groups are pushing for an urgent increase in international funding to help the world's poorest countries cope with climate change, even as the global credit crunch strains rich nations' budgets.

Aid experts say tens of billions of dollars are needed to prepare for more extreme weather and other effects of global warming like rising seas. The issue will be on the agenda at 190-nation climate talks starting on Monday in Poznan, Poland.

Global Warming Is Changing Organic Matter In Soil: Atmosphere Could Change As A Result

ScienceDaily — New research shows that we should be looking to the ground, not the sky, to see where climate change could have its most perilous impact on life on Earth.

Scientists at the University of Toronto Scarborough have published research findings in the journal Nature Geoscience that show global warming actually changes the molecular structure of organic matter in soil.

New rifts form on Antarctic ice shelf

(CNN) -- Scientists have identified new rifts on an Antarctic ice shelf that could lead to it breaking away from the Antarctic Peninsula, the European Space Agency said.

The Wilkins Ice Shelf, a large sheet of floating ice south of South America, is connected to two Antarctic islands by a strip of ice. That ice "bridge" has lost around 2,000 square kilometers (about 772 square miles) so far this year, the ESA said.

A satellite image captured November 26 shows new rifts on the ice shelf that make it dangerously close to breaking away from the strip of ice -- and the islands to which it's connected, the ESA said.

Peace Through Oil Imports

This is a truly bizarre article in today's WSJ that takes the cornucopian argument to new heights of fancy. Howard argues that consumers have the power, and that basically that the US can, whenever we choose, begin a seamless transition from oil to other energy sources. Therefore, the oil exporters are dependent on the consumers. He talks about oil prices "crashing" to around $50, without any historical reference to the fact that oil prices, at $50, have risen at about 13%/year for the past 10 years.

In Howard's world, it would appear that depletion doesn't exist. If the oil exporters push the price of the oil up too much, the US will simply transition away from oil, so that we can, in effect, continue out auto centric suburban way of life, using alternative energy sources.

WSJ Guest Column: An Ode to Oil
America's oil dependency has some benefits. Author Roger Howard on how the diminishing resource acts as a source of stability, and forces countries to work together.

In general, oil is such a vital commodity, for consumers, producers and intermediaries alike, that it represents a meeting point for all manner of different interests. Sometimes it offers an opportunity for competitors and rivals to resolve differences, as in March 1995, when Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani tried to break deadlock with Washington by offering a technically very demanding oil contract to Conoco. Today, the symbiotic energy requirements of Europe and Russia allows scope to improve mutual relations, not least if European governments act in unison to impose the rules of the European Union's energy charter on Moscow. Oil also gives consumers a chance to penalize, or tempt, international miscreants, just as U.S. sanctions are forcing the Tehran regime to reassess its cost-benefit analysis of building the bomb.

What cannot go unchallenged is a facile equation between oil on the one hand, and war, bloodshed and, in America's particular case, strategic vulnerability on the other. For oil, fortunately, can often be our guardian.

BTW, didn't Japan's attack on the US in 1941 have something to do with oil?

Hi Westexas,

I guess Howard is not aware of what has been written at the WSJ:

Environmental Capital (blog) http://blogs.wsj.com/environmentalcapital/2007/03/29/prepare-for-peak-oi...

March 29, 2007, 2:33 pm
Prepare for Peak Oil, GAO Warns
Posted by WSJ.com Staff

The Energy Department and other federal agencies need to develop a strategy to mitigate the effects of a peak in oil production, which most studies show will occur between now and 2040, the Government Accountability Office said today, in a study requested by members of the House Committee on Science and Technology.

The other really off-kilter notion of his is that the only salvation for producing nations is to give Western majors a warm embrace. Yeah, Pemex inviting Fluor and company to build that N2 plant has really worked out well for them. Apparently he hasn't read about TNK-BP either, or gotten an invite to the parties the RIK department of the MMS threw. Political will, eh?


Bizarre is the mot juste.

In fact, Howard sounds like a highly informed analyst who has one major conceptual problem: he can't interpret his own data correctly.

Extracts from his article:

Although oil has been the primary source of [Syria’s] national income for more than 40 years, production has recently waned dramatically: Output is now nearly half of the peak it reached in the mid-1990s …
Many wells are aging rapidly and the Iranians cannot improve recovery rates …
But in the past year Russian oil production has started to wane. … national output had peaked and was unlikely to return to 2007 levels ..

Like individual countries are post peak but the whole world isn't really post peak and the less there is the cheaper it gets because a miracle will happen.

Or something like that.

So, this turns dependence on its head. Dependence is a good thing. Independence is a bad thing. Well, we're doing a damn good job of becoming dependent. Russia has the power to pretty much shut down Europe. Saudi Arabia has the power to deliver a major body blow to the U.S. Yeh, great. Let's continue to slurp up that oil. Also, I guess the mantra "drill, baby drill" is no longer operative.

Immediately above WT's comment is more bad news regarding global warming. Enough already with the fossil fuels, whether it's oil,natural gas, or coal.

It would appear, according to the author, that getting off oil is easy. Well,let's get crackin'.

So, this turns dependence on its head. Dependence is a good thing. Independence is a bad thing.

Independence is a faustian bargain. There's nothing really magical about country borders; you could strive for independence from the rest of your country, or from the rest of your state, or from the rest of your local community or even from anyone outside your family.

Independence is synonomous with poverty; particularly if you take it to extremes. The more diverse the set of people, expertize and resources you can pull toghether to cooperate the more efficiently you can create utillity; the most striking example is any form of entertainment media, software or electronic hardware(to design and start manufacturing high-end processors it takes billions of dollars, a vast body of knowledge and skill from tens of thousands of people working in academia, industry, software and hardware algorithms, litography, marketing, power conditioning and UPS, air quality control, stress testing and statistical analysis of failure rates etc.) where the initial cost is high but the cost of each additional copy is low.

The new issue of Distributed Energy is out, and as always is full of fascinating distributed power and CHP projects from all over the nation, from solar installations to a magnificant cogen installation at the Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, NY.

Many of these installations are large, and once installed, they will create a "lagecy" drop in energy consumption that will last some three decades or more as the sunk costs in the projects will insure that they will be used. The unsung heros of this revolution are the technicians and tradespeople who are out in the field installing these high tech advanced systems.

If you want to see a few of them, Distributed Energy has full back issues available at their website, and you can get a subscription to the very high quality magazine free of charge simply by registering:



From the link above "Survialism: For peak oilers and ecotopians too?"

Looks like some in the community are finally waking up to human nature and the fact that its not going to be pretty on the way down. Bout time.

Fast crash=Somalia
Slow crash=Argentina

Got bullets?

The bottom line here is this: The Peak Oil movement has got to acknowledge that people under the circumstances of a fast crash are not necessarily going to be nice. Personally, I have met many other professional people around the country, who flatly admit, “I’m not worried about anything. Besides, if anything happens I’ve got a gun, so I’ll have food”. In addition, based on the message traffic on the internet previously mentioned, there are already people with their own plans to ‘go shopping,’ so to speak, at the expense of pre-announced, unarmed ecotopian communities, as one discussion board post has already stated. As someone who was forced to live in California’s foster care system during a previous period of fossil fuel scarcity (late 1970s), I am reminded that people will resort to whatever means to economically (or physically) survive, especially if that means exploiting the weaker members in that society.

Being unarmed, and simply trusting everyone around you, when they happen to be struggling with their own survival, is not necessarily a good idea. Even in a slow crash, we will experience more crime in the form of break-ins, robberies, assaults, murders, etc. As Dmitry Orlov himself has stated in one interview conducted earlier this year, there were many people who simply disappeared during the societal decline following the collapse of the Soviet Union, who were likely murdered. These deaths were “hardly ever investigated, much less solved” (Orlov).

This is part of the madness of crowds as exemplified by the trampling to death of the Wal Mart employee yesterday. No doubt he was wearing a happy face. And they were just intent on getting a good deal on an HDTV. Imagine if they had been starving and there wasn't enough food on the shelves to go around.

On the other hand, arming oneself is no solution either. Once the shit hits the fan, we're all screwed regardless of whether or not we're armed. That just means you get to engage in a gun fight before dying.

"This is part of the madness of crowds as exemplified by the trampling to death of the Wal Mart employee yesterday."

This poor man should become the poster boy for Peak Everything. Perhaps someone could establish a Peak-related award in his name.

In pleasant ole South Florida over the last week there have been two violent late night armed robberies of customers and staff at Dunkin' Donuts.


An 84-year-old World War II veteran lost his teeth and most of his jaw because one of the robbers in the Delray Beach incident fired a shotgun into his face even though he had complied with demands.

A 56-year-old Vietnamese immigrant who was shot in the back at the Tamarac shop may never walk again.

An unsuspecting motorist in Delray Beach flashed his headlights at the robbers as they ran in the street. In return, one fired a bullet into the car windshield, wounding the driver in the face.

Tomorrow I get "fitted" for a pocket carry 9mm pistol (maybe 45ACP) - yes I am a CCW. Good to go with the home defense weaponry. I wish it was not so...


and for the house get a 12 guage pump action shot gun.

?? card carrying wacko ??

On the other hand, arming oneself is no solution either. Once the shit hits the fan, we're all screwed regardless of whether or not we're armed. That just means you get to engage in a gun fight before dying.

I'm not going to give up my life that easy, but if you do...well its your choice. Being armed isn't intended to be a long term solution to anything, it may only would keep you alive another day. However, you can thank alot of men with guns for your freedom to post here. There is no solution, everything ends eventually..ask the Romans.

Being personally armed may only assure that I "get to engage in a gunfight before dying", but if it keeps me and my wife from being tortured and raped before execution, then I'll take dying in a gunfight any day. If its a fast collapse, anyone who actually got to practice with their arms won't be an easy target and the "neighborhood watch" will shoot on site. Those who "spray and pray"at 200 yards will be easy money for the average hunting rifle.

Face it, we're all going to die no matter what, but would you rather do it on your "boots on" or begging for mercy on your knees?

The entire 'survivalist' take on peak oil is just another consumer fad. Run out and buy ... guns, ammo, water purification, etc. etc. etc.

Happy Holiday shopping!

First of all, the central government of the United States will never willingly cede authority in any part of the country to anyone, particularly home- grown militants. Authority and police power are the last things that any government loses, even after everthing else is gone. Currently, you can look at Zimbabwe and Haiti as examples. The people have nothing ... but the governments have thugs.

Countries that have had recent economic collapses are many; Mexico, Russia/USSR, Thailand, Indonesia, Peru, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Cuba ... these place and Europe too have crime and many have crime gangs and drug gangs but there is civil society even if there is a shortage of consumer goods and other niceties. The police have machine guns. There are soldiers in the streets. But then ... this is also true in Italy.

Second, even if all imports of petroleum are cut off, the US produces both vast amounts of native power (gas, crude, hydro, nuclear, ethanol, coal as well as alternatives) and food. The problems are shifting the management of demand from serving the consumer paradise to other priorities. This might have to be done very quickly. Nevertheless, it is a long distance between distribution problems and a complete social breakdown.

Getting autos off the roads and eliminating industrial livestock and 'convenience processing' from the food chain - which consumes great amounts of both food and energy - would have the US swimming in foodstuffs and would free up enough power to keep lights on and communications intact. Distribution would likely have snags, but the National Guard, state and local police departments and other agencies would certainly be pressed into service to insure that all places in the country had food available. Providing services is the main task of government; FEMA failed after Katrina, this does not mean that the government lacked resources or will fail in all subsequent emergencies. FEMA had the resources to cope with the Katrina aftermath but that agency was mismanaged. The US still (and will have) great resources and somebody in Washington will figure out how to direct them properly, even if the current (and incoming) cast of clowns cannot.

Third, it is unlikely the US political system would break down. This country's political traditions are strong; America one of the longest continuously- running governments on Earth. It has endured wars, depressions, storms, earthquakes as well as incompetents and ruinous political managers. This does not mean that a particular administration within that system would not be replaced after a 'great emergency', but that a new government would arise and it would have the same sort of form as our current government. One thing that would likely happen is more intense public participation.

The 'Million Angry Instantly Poor Man' March. Mebbe two million ...

Finally, the big issue ... as I see it ... the transcending peak oil issue is a matter of buying time. The easiest way to buy time is to get rid of the automobiles and the hamburgers. I know, I know ... 'I love my car' ... 'I love my Big Macs'. I have an answer for that; two stiff middle fingers directed toward the fools who refuse to make any sacrifices for the world and the country that they live in! Walk/bus/train to work with a sleeping bag and sleep at the jobsite or office or store or factory and reverse the process back home on weekends. Become a vegetarian. I know this program works because I've done it and continue to do it!

If everyone does these things the country buys a hundred years to get the technology/ecology/population/economic issues straightened out. Or not ... at least there would be this chance.

I can see where you're coming from. But...

The entire 'survivalist' take on peak oil is just another consumer fad.

It very well may be the last consumer fad. The days of dirt cheap weaponry, tools, and outdoors gear are almost over. Soon these things will be outside the reach of most Americans - probably permanently. In other words, buy now, or forever hold your peace.

Countries that have had recent economic collapses are many; Mexico, Russia/USSR, Thailand, Indonesia, Peru, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Cuba ... these place and Europe too have crime and many have crime gangs and drug gangs but there is civil society even if there is a shortage of consumer goods and other niceties.

The crucial difference this time around is that the collapse will be global.

In your examples, there were rich, industrialized Western nations to either (a) arm the military to keep order; (b) invest in the collapsed economy and provide a source of revenue for the government; (c) a combination of of a and b. In any case, intentions were the same: keep the collapsing country from descending into complete chaos so as to continue pillaging and exploiting their resources.

In a global collapse, there is nobody to turn to.Some governments will be able to keep their head above water for a while, but eventually, supplies, resources, and capital will simply run out.

Providing services is the main task of government; FEMA failed after Katrina, this does not mean that the government lacked resources or will fail in all subsequent emergencies...and somebody in Washington will figure out how to direct them properly, even if the current (and incoming) cast of clowns cannot.

Here we will have to agree to disagree. I cannot fathom how a person could so flippantly place the health and well-being of their family in the hands of a government - a government that has repeatedly shown utter disdain for its populace. The trillion dollar banking bailouts, while our health care system lies in shambles, only being the most recent example.

Third, it is unlikely the US political system would break down. This country's political traditions are strong; America one of the longest continuously- running governments on Earth.

America's indigenous population was nearly wiped off the face of the planet. Therefore, for the past 300 years, the nation has had virtually unlimited access to natural resources. The economy also got a great kickstart through the kidnapping and enslavement of millions of Africans.

The bottom line is that America's economic pie has been steadily growing from the get-go. So it's not surprising that the government has survived. But it suddenly becomes an altogether different story when the economic pie starts to shrink.

Also, America's root aren't as deep you make them out to be. The average life span of civilization is 421 years. The United States has only been around for 229 years, and is about to slam into the perfect storm: arguably the most formidable confluence of challenges in human history.

If everyone does these things the country buys a hundred years to get the technology/ecology/population/economic issues straightened out.


Take a look at newspaper. Do you see ANY sign whatsoever that this nation is getting serious about addressing our energy problem in a realistic manner? I sure don't.

In a global collapse, there is nobody to turn to.Some governments will be able to keep their head above water for a while, but eventually, supplies, resources, and capital will simply run out.

The problems (and this has to do with post- WWII economies failing) have tended to arise not from outside influences ENTERING into a country like Peru or Argentina, but rather outside capital LEAVING from the country in question. What happens next was that the government is discredited and the ruling party either stripped from office or forced out of the country, as was the case with Peru.

I don't know what's going to happen. I can see Obama and the 'Obama Collection of Powerful White Men' getting on a plane for a long vacation in Aruba while seething multitudes march on the Capital and the White House banging on pots and pans! I can also see the soldiers and police standing around on the sidewalk and watching ... or charging the crowds with tear gas and other weapons.

In this world, civilization is always an inch away from chaos.

The experience of European powers and their colonies was such that maintaining them was far more costly than letting them go. Even without warfare, the distance management and monetary friction effects along with corruption problems made colonies (or former colonies such as Indonesia) extraordinarily expensive. Social stability in a place like Indonesia after the currency crash and panic in 1998 came not from outside developed countries generally, but from within.

Sources of social stability are regional and local governments, culture, customs, family structures, religion, local trade patterns and influence of authority figures such as teachers, police officers and other 'services' providers. These people and institutions won't disappear, even if there is no money.

At the local level, arming oneself won't be that costly, even far into the future ... unless you want to use armored vehicles or helicopters. Firearms will wind up being 'just one more trade good' in the flea- market economy!

Violence as a whole may not increase as the peak oil situation progresses. Mobility will be way down and isn't mobility itself, as provided by the use of an automobile, one of the key ingredients of crimes? Without mobility most opportunities to commit a crime are really not available.

Furthermore, why would anyone use violence as opposed to flattery, bartering, etc. to get what they want when violence takes more work and is personally risky and gives one a bad conscience to boot? Many many people all over the world are very good people who will face their own starvation rather than lower their moral standards.

Without really good access to health care, committing violence (and facing the risk of injury) will be like committing suicide. Even a small cut could become infected and without a doctor nearby, this could be fatal.

Mobility, is why they will steal your car first.

There are fewer bad people in the world than good people. But they are more numerous than you can imagine. The jails and prisons are full, there are many felons on probation, there are more criminals who have not been arrested yet than all the prisoners and probationers combined. When times get tough will we be able to maintain our prisons? We certainly won't be able to build more unless we go back to the type used in World War II.

The largest percentage of felons are convicted of drug crimes. Drugs work for them as long as they have a place to spend the money they make from drugs. When there are few places to spend money, they will switch from drugs to theft. That theft will focus on goods they can barter, just like the pawnshop system.

Criminals run in families. Ask anyone involved in the prison system. They will tell you is not uncommon to have two or even three generations incarcerated at the same time or in the same year. Crime, like prostitution will never go away. It is a defect of the human species.

The good people will be heros. The bad people will take advantage of them.

When the system breaks down drugs aren't given up - they are used more from Argentina to Afghanistan, and result in some of the cruellest crimes.

Gotta say that this claim:

However, you can thank alot of men with guns for your freedom to post here.

is utterly ridiculous. The only threat to my freedom to post here has been the various activities of TPTB--the Bush administration in particular--to shut down free speech in this country.

Maybe you're referring to the American revolution. Perhaps I could grant you that, if the same guns weren't used to commit genocide upon the indigenous people who lived here prior to the "revolution."

Agreed. Most of the US population finally got their freedom from someone who was willing to go to jail for it. Women especially ought not thank a soldier for your freedom, thank a protestor instead.

Who does the "protestor" thank?

Him/Herself, or the person/event that inspired them to act.

Had we more activists whose patriotism was based in the ideas enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, we may not have gotten into this mess.


A soldier who kept the forces at bay who would have just shot the protester. Notice how the Chinese deal with the Tibetans. BANG, BOOM...repeat as necessary.

Not to forget Burma/ Myanmar, the Darfur region of Sudan or the killing fields of Congo?

You really think you wouldn't be speaking German, Japanese or Russian?

Wow talk about a self deception. Good luck when reality finally hits you in the behind.

I think you have to separate the Nation State's political independence from the individual's civil liberties. Soldiers are useful for the former but often harmful to the latter. Civil liberties are protected when used and defended...mostly by lawyers and preachers and ordinary folks.

What you see as self-deception and naivete, may just be a different perspective.

Umm, Can't remember the last German, Japanese, or Russian invasions of the US.

Except maybePearl Harbor, and even then, it seems difficult to imagine a tiny island nation subduing the US to the point where we would be speaking Japanese. Hell, the French beat the English, lived right next door, and still couldn't completely impose their language on the British. Ridiculous.

Now Chinese, that may be different.

The point of having a gun is for self abuse when the going get's too tough to get going.

Agreed. There is only one way to fight this, and that is politically. There has to be a movement that brings pressure on the existing parties, and that fights for realistic actions, and that above all fights against violence and all who would employ it or incite it. There needs to be plenty of arguing and discussion, maybe even some yelling, but no name-calling, no scapegoating, and above all no violence.

Parts of the survivalist movement have someting, even a lot, to contribute in terms of learning what's possible in the way of cheap living, living off the land, and so forth. But none of this works easily without a friendly gov't, or at least there are limits.

More than anything else, what's needed is to assure everyone of basic survival, food, housing, basic healthcare, a job. Desperation is what is so dangerous. It's not going to be a McMansion, no more SUVs or even a car, it's not going to be web design or marketing job. It may involve manual labor in a small town, learning agriculture, learning how to recycle junk from the industrial era, etc.

Once people know the direcion we must go, once the idea takes hold that we are each other's keeper, that we have to get through to a new post-industrial (ok, sort of) age together, then we'll be headed in the right direction. TPTB will in the meantime encourage us to think about shooting each other, hating each other. But once we go down that road, we are toast, and it will be long detour before getting on the track to a sane, rational, collective retrenchment.

It's ingrained in us Americans to be individualists. It worked, sort of, in our early history. No more. There is no more certain path to doom.

The trouble with collapse is that governments lose control and become desperate. And, as history shows, we have far more to fear from the Nation State than anyone else. I believe that the "survivalists" may well have underestimated future events and instead of a rag-tag undisciplined band of scavenging desperado's, they're more likely to see well disciplined troops sent to remove any threat to state power.

Politics will become the domain of desperate groups vying for the power of the State to secure their own survival. Don't look to the State or Politics for survival, in a case of life and death between the State and its citizens... the citizens will have to be the ones to perish. Better to just keep on the right side of the State, regardless of who controls it, and make our own arrangements for survival in a way that presents no threat.

I agree that the Nation State is the greatest threat to your liberty and life at present, but I think the Nation State will be under substantial pressure; hollow states, primary loyalties, bazaar of violence and all that.

Now your local warlord or hopped-up mayor...that might be a problem.

Once people know the direcion we must go, once the idea takes hold that we are each other's keeper...

, (emphasis added)


Sorry but I have to disagree. I guess I'm too much into the Atlas Shrugged school of helping and I have no interest in being the "keeper" of every non-productive bum around. I'm also not interested in helping idiots who posit junk reality. I'm also not interested in helping people who will not take responsibility for their own survival.

The vast majority of the people in my boondocks area get it and we will, indeed, help each other. In fact, we have a somewhat formal plan. But, it is more like Jeff Vail's Rhizome community where the intent is for individual families to be self-reliant (I hate the word self-sufficient) while having the option of help from everyone else when necessary.

As far as society as a whole goes, I simply don't see "keeping" as realistic because of significant differences between individuals and groups.


I guess I'm too much into the Atlas Shrugged school of helping and I have no interest in being the "keeper" of every non-productive bum around. I'm also not interested in helping idiots who posit junk reality. I'm also not interested in helping people who will not take responsibility for their own survival.

+1, well put.

Much like BushII, Obama OR Biden is the last person I would trust my safety too.

If you aren't the "keeper" of the bums, that is, if you don't support them and their lazy lifestyles, then you must instead support:
1. The police, lawyers, civil servants, and prisons who clean up their crime
2. The taxes that pay for public welfare
3. The doctors who cure diseases which spread from unhygienic environments
4. The undertakers who dispose of their bodies
5. The lifestyles they engender with their children

And so on.

Any single human, on his or her own, is virtually useless. It is only when we work with each other that we accomplish things for mutual benefit.

For every "bum" out there, there's a person who was once just as lucky as we are, who fell on bad times and couldn't pull themselves up on their own.

Very soon, most people here are going to be bums. And the remaining lucky few with resources and opportunity will look down on these new bums, as the old lucky used to look down on the old bums.

It has a fractal self-similarity to it.


You have a number of straw men, you conflate several things and, finally, you didn't really read what I said. Being one's brother's keeper is not the same thing as "working together."

Yes, a lot more people may turn into the bums category through no fault of their own. But, a lot are currently bums and have no intention of doing anything different. I'm perfectly willing to let them crash and burn. However, the new bums will have had an opportunity to prepare for their own survival. This could have been as simple as finding like-minded people and purchasing a retreat or learning how to grow their own food. Perhaps, they believed the MSM BS. I have no sympathy for this.


An example of a strawman, please.

What is needed is cultural change away from unsustainability.
Survivalists are maybe the least likely group to bring about this change.

You obviously don't know too many in the various communities, most of us have gardens and are well aware of the world situation with regard to resources. In addition, we actually live with mother nature up close and personal.

Most of the farmers in Iowa could fall under your crazy "survialist" label. Got extra food? Got guns? Got bullets? Afraid of economic meltdown? Willing to take personal responsibility for your own welfare Check on all five.

If you aren't willing to protect your loved ones with your life, why should anyone else be willing to?

If you aren't willing to protect your loved ones with your life

It's there that I suspect the difference lies between your viewpoint and those who are very skeptical of survivalism. Firstly, if you put your hand on your heart can you honestly say you don't mean "If you aren't willing to protect your loved ones by taking the lives of others who you believe to deserve it"? (I don't doubt that you sincerely believe you'll only take the lives of those who in your opinion do deserve it, and indeed that's what you'll do. The point is the "in your opinion".) The only situation in which you lose your life is if you fail.

I'm mildly against large numbers of armed individuals who aren't part of, eg, a police force, and hence constantly monitored for erratic behaviour is because I have a very, very low opinion of human nature. Not that people are stupid, but they are emotional and excellent "self-justification machines" (ie, they have something they want to do and come up with clever reasons why it's the right thing to do). Having seen gun enthusiasts, eg, saying they'd like to take up a sniper position outside their marina and pick off anyone who they don't think meets their personal standards for owning a boat, I tend to think that the question is "is the half-life of a human being deciding they're gonna deal directly with people they disagree with long enough for the positive to outweigh the negative?" I haven't seen anything recently to persuade me, even in my own behaviour, that it is.

(The "mildly against" is that I suspect that, even in the UK, the boat has already sailed on the issue and too many people fondly fantasise about themselves as their local sheriff. I try and avoid getting into discussions about guns because I'd much rather be involved in more productive discussion. But the self-deception, IMO, in the quote above just annoyed me.)


My apologies for not responding sooner, been a little busy today. I hope this gets to you since its late.

I'm not sure if you are in the UK but from your opinion it sounds like it. Large semi-military police forces are more dangerous to a free society than any criminal in my mind. Eventually, the police BECOME the criminals, just look at the advanced state of corruption in Mexico. Recently in Juarez, they confiscated the arms of the police department and the murder rate went DOWN. Apparently, there is more than a little moonlighting going on. Every society has their lunatic fringe, but if you are unarmed there is absolutely nothing you can do about it when it meets you head on. Do you really want to get into a fist fight with someone on crack? You could break every bone in their body and they'd still kill you. I consider the idea of constant monitoring to be police state tactic. OK for the CIA types maybe, but definitely not for anyone else.

I have a very low opinion of human nature as well, as you said we are the ultimate in self justifying machines. That being said, one of the major problems with modern society is that we delegate everything that was part of daily life for our ancestors. Someone else grows our food, butchers our meat, heats our houses (NG), feeds our horses (oil) and provides for our well being ie security. If relocalization happens dramatically, and my guess is that it will, you are going to be responsible for yourself. If you want a hamburger, then you are going to help butcher the cow or no hamburger. Want a nice secure place to sleep at night, then you are going to pull guard duty and maybe shoot someone to keep your village secure. Everyone else isn't going to have time to worry about you. During Katrina the cops abandoned their posts to get their families out, which is fully understandable given the mess things were down there. Others joined the looters which gives you an idea of who might be "protecting" you.

In my mind, survialism gets a bad rap, its just the old boy scouts motto..."Be Prepared". Having arms and knowing how to use them is a matter of not being willing to outsource one of the most important things, your personal safety, to anyone else. Our ancestor's weren't willing to, so why should we be any different. Human nature hasn't changed one bit. I'd be lying if I said I've never heard things said or done by gun owners that made me uncomfortable, but I understand their rights are the same as mine. If they hurt someone or do something stupid, then they'll have plenty of time to think about it in jail. Otherwise they're just a harmless moron, like your boat club. They'll always be there, even in an ecovillage. Beware of what they can do with a kitchen knife or fertilizer, ok?

As one who has a concealed carry permit, in my mind, using a gun in self defense is the absolute last resort. Threaten me verbally and I will laugh at you. Show up with friends or pull a knife/gun then you'll be saying hello to the reaper with no regrets on my part. No self deception, I'm a veteran as well so I made this decision a long time ago. My getting a CCW permit was the result of watching "Gangland" on the History Channel one night. Now just imagine the cops going home to protect their families at night and these animals free to roam without fear. Yep, I'll be clinging to Big Ugly if things get really bad. Otherwise, Lil Ugly stays hidden under my shirt. You'll never know either :D If you live in the states, odds are that you are surrounded by people carrying guns and benefit indirectly by the crooks not knowing who is armed or not unless you live in Chicago or Detroit.

My guess is that the reason some of the activists disparage survialists is more cultural ie left/right thing. Biggest group of "survialists" is the Mormon church (stockpile) and of course the Boy Scouts(skills). Neither of these groups is in very good standing with the American Left. But the transition is going to be rough for all of us and if you take responsibility for yourself by in-sourcing as much as you can..... you'll be surprised where it leads you. Of course, thats a survialist tactic.

jrc, I expect you couldn't get much more "left" than I am,hell I'm so left I'm about to fall off the scale, and I am about as well set as you are, I see your preps as spot on. The "left" is not the gang that couldn't shoot straight. Hell, I might just be the guy next to you feeding you shells on the barricade. Grin.

Don in Maine

I second what Don in Maine said. I am so far left I couldn't even find anyone to vote for in Europe. But I believe in being as prepared as I can. I have a modest collection of firearms and I practice/use them regularly.

In the U.S., the public image of the left is mostly caricature...straw men built by the far right. Mostly left and right are irrelevancies foisted off on folks to keep them from seeing the real divisions: up and down. If you don't know which you are, you're down.

Don, it doesn't surpise me given that you're a Mainer. I grew up in Alfred (York County) and still have tons of friends in Wells. Of course, living up there you have to be independant by nature. I left at 17 when my recruiter lied enough to get me to sign.

Its sad that the 2nd amendment has become such a right and left issue, to me its always been about civil rights. People forget that Heston marched with MLK before he was president of the NRA and gun control was originally a political tactic of the KKK after the civil war. Isn't much fun to show up for a lynching and get shot. There is alot I can agree with the left on such as legalizing drugs, simply because I don't agree with the paramilitary tactics being used even though I have no desire to use any of them. There are alot of worthwhile causes from the environment to social justice. That being said, I have no faith in a politician who doesn't trust me, its a sign of bad intentions.

Lets just hope that we have a barricade to crouch behind! I'll feed you shells as well...:-D

Yep JRC,

The Argentine economic crisis provides a look into the future for all of us, even those who live in now safe neighborhoods.

"Lessons from Argentina's Economic Collapes"


I live in an area with little crime in small town Mexico, where you can walk the streets anytime safely.

We know that things will change when the economic crisis hits here.

My wife and live on a road that is 8 kilometers long with only one entrance/exit. The Mexicans and gringos on the road are planning: a 24/7 guarded gate, means of communication/alarms between houses, cooperation with the police, training of our dogs to avoid rat poisoning, and means of self/mutual defense.

Cliff Wirth

My wife is from Mexico City and her family is from the Hills of Hidalgo. If it gets too bad in the states, we're planning on heading to Hidalgo with everything we can carry once the storm dies down. I love Mexico, great people but what a corrupt government. Too bad revolutions usually eat their children.

Given the corruption of the police down there, if the ballon goes up you might forget to call them. Reading the "Surviving in Argentina" blog has been very information on the slow collapse scenario, which really doesn't get enough credibility in the states. I guess they gave up on calling the police there.

I figure the first 6 months to a year will be the worst in any scenario, after that people begin to adapt or starve. Bad manners or an entitlement mentality will probably get you killed, as it has been throughout history. Might be a good thing given the behavior at Walmart in NY.

My wife is from Mexico City too, and I am trying to get her family out, as it will be a disaster. Hidalgo may not be too sustainable, see on http://globalis.gvu.unu.edu/

Thanks CJ, I'll look into this a bit later tonight, I have house duties to do.

Went to the local gunshow today, it was about like that Wal Mart in NY, the line to get in was 20 people deep all day. Usually they are borderline empty considering the size of the halls.

Hey JRC,

Get in touch, I'm sure we and our wives have much in common.


You got it. I'll drop you a line.

That was a pretty intense article. I've lived in a developing country for most of my life but that Argentina article was still intense. I've lived through political violence but not economic collapse. I can imagine surviving without water and power but not for that long. Atleast after the argentinian collapse they had access to cheap chinese made stuff and petrol for their generators. What's a post peak world going to be like 40 years from now? When international trade will have slowed to a crawl. Reading articles from dieoff by jay hanson, it paints a pretty bleak picture of the future. Nuclear war seems inevitable to him and I have to admit his logic is hard to beat. Just hope that the logic which does beat it is John Michael Greer's version of the long descent.

Norman, Peter Goodchild, and others (not Orlov) argue for a rapid crash:



Me too, it goes like this:

Alternatives will not even begin to fill the gap of declining oil supplies. And most alternatives yield electric power, but we need liquid fuels for tractors/combines, 18 wheel trucks, trains, ships, and mining equipment. The Energy Watch Group (funded by the German Parliament) concludes in a current report titled: “Peak Oil Could Trigger Meltdown of Society:”

"By 2020, and even more by 2030, global oil supply will be dramatically lower. This will create a supply gap which can hardly be closed by growing contributions from other fossil, nuclear or alternative energy sources in this time frame."


We are facing the collapse of the highways that depend on diesel trucks for maintenance of bridges, cleaning culverts to avoid road washouts, snow plowing, roadbed and surface repair. When the highways fail, so will the power grid, as highways carry the parts, transformers, steel for pylons, and high tension cables, all from far away. With the highways out, there will be no food coming in from "outside," and without the power grid virtually nothing works, including home heating, pumping of gasoline and diesel, airports, communications, and automated systems.

Cliff Wirth

Yes, in a fast crash with lost incomes and no power and no local services, we will all have to learn how to camp out and raise food at home. [Assuming the banks/landlord companies hadn't already kicked everyone out of those homes.]

When police are no longer paid to protect the public or are overwhelmed and cannot respond, individuals will need to be armed again. But strength in numbers will win out over rugged individualism in a fast crash, so survivalists had better learn to share with whomever else is around...share survival skills, food, security duty, etc. Otherwise good luck when roaming paramilitary warlords finally arrive to loot and pillage your well-stocked homestead.

So what can a person do to prepare for peak oil when you're not allowed to own guns? such as here in Australia? Am I supposed to start living on a farm?

there are some powerful CO2 and air cylinder pellet rifles (not pistols) and deadly cross bows.

+1 on the crossbow and air rifles. The new air rifles are capable of outstanding accuracy and are at 1000fps (300mps). Skill with a normal bow is one I plan on aquiring in the next few months.....the ability to be silent is not to be underestimated. Besides, you can reuse your "hunting ammo", pretty sustainable in my book. Decent knife and a machete will work as well, atleast it does in Latin America. Good heavy wooden walking might work pretty well.

The only thing a gun buys you is distance from any attacker ie makes a 5ft woman equal to a 6'6" man in a fight at 10 paces.

Hey JRC,

Yep, and you can "reload" a normal bow pretty fast.

I got an Eagle 180 lb crossbow, simple, inexpensive, and prolly easy to copy/manufacture where I am.

Got any recommendations on air rifles?

Not a clue on specific models although I've seen some nice ones in various places. The good ones seem to start at $150 and have a single pump to fire. A guy at a local range recently had a $2000 on that supposedly would shoot 1in at 50 yards. I have a very long barreled 22 for this purpose if I need it, its alot cheaper...LOL.

Might want to check out the reviews at Cabelas (www.cabelas.com) before deciding on a model. Alot of guys I know, myself included, buy from online stores because the selection locally is pretty limited. Midway {www.midwayusa.com) is pretty good too.

When things get really bad, the key to survival is hidden storage. It does no good to accumulate food, water, medicine, weapons, ammunition etc., if one criminal can carry it all out in his truck.

Hidden storage requires a substantial investment. You need a lot of cubic feet and it can't be in your house. The best container for hidden storage is a steel storage container.


If you can't afford a new one, there are some used ones around that often only cost hundreds of dollars.

It must be waterproofed and buried below ground. A hatch should be installed in the roof on the container. This hatch must be incredibly well hidden. You will have to get creative if you expect it not to be discovered. You should only access the container to add or remove items during the night when the moon is covered by clouds. The darker the better. You also don't want others who you might team up with to know about your container. That could be a real problem later on.

Even though I said earlier you should not store supplies in your house, there is a need for a small storage container inside. This inside storage container should be well hidden and contain a modest amount of supplies. That and your kitchen shelves and closets will consist of your working stock. The hidden cache in your house is your decoy. It is obvious to a thief if you are living in some sort of self-sufficient environment that you must have a cache somewhere. A thief will not simply walk away. They will force you to give up what they believe you must have. Better to sacrifice 5% of your supplies than 100%.

A huge advantage to a large steel underground storage container, besides the ability to store an immense amount of personal supplies, is the ability to buy in bulk items that can be used to barter. However, no matter what else you do, you should give outsiders the appearance that you are barely getting by. For example, if you do have weapons that you carry or keep in your house, they should look like crap. The outward appearance does not affect the weapon's ability to work properly. It does indicate that you probably don't have more.

Bottom line, you have to think like a criminal in order to survive.

Hey PriorityX,

If no one knows, the stuff hidden in your house is ok, as no one knows to come knocking, and if they do, you can be ready.

The key is what to do after the collapse, that is how to survive.

There are lots of --- surviving peak oil --- websites

I shoot an old 1985 Feinwerkbau 124 match air rifle with a peep-sight. Very accurate out to about 50 meters. Most of my shots are between 20-30 meters and it is "bang, headshot" deadly at that range. Mostly for rabbits, squirrel, and pigeon, although we used it to euthanize a raccoon we trapped (ironically enough, in a Have-a-Heart trap).

Move to the US where you can be "safe" surrounded by like-minded well armed citizens. Make sure not to get too friendly with any neighbors as most homicides are committed by know associates.

Also make sure you don't shoot your kids sneaking into the home late at night. Also don't let your wife know where you keep those guns in case she thinks you have been unfaithful.

Neil, i'm just 22, not married yet and no kids. Just trying to figure out what lies in the future. I got family in the States so could move in with em.

Get an Education/learn a skill, get a job, find a nice girl, get married, raise a family, enjoy your life. These people are, mostly, er . . . extreme.

You hope.

VK, words from an old guy, disregard at will.(Gawd I'd love to be 22 again) Cultivate a sense of curiosity, and a sense of wonder. It will serve you well. No one here can really predict what the future brings, in many ways it brings something different to us all. We will all see what happens differently. I do firmly think we have a hand in how our future works out, where you live, what you do, how you think, are all factors that send you down one path or another. Perhaps the most important thing is to take personal responsibility for those choices, all of them. Walk lightly in the world. The old backpacker creed, let no one know you passed by here. That may be the greatest legacy.

Learn to use your hands, back, and mind. From this long time in this world, I'd say one of the most important things is to be open and ready and even willing for change. That's what you have to deal with, change you see and change you can't even imagine now but will have to face. Don't worry about it, deal with it as it comes and even try to use it to your advantage. It will happen, you can not stop it.

Understand you will make bad choices, horrible mistakes, we all have and will. Don't beat yourself up over them, learn from them, pick yourself up and go on. No matter what kind of constraints we see from outside influences, your future is always up to you and you alone. It is, after all, your life. Yours to use and live as you see fit.

I made the choice to go back to the woods, never looked back. No matter what happens, I have the wind in the trees and the stars at night. I like that. It fills me up. On the long end of it, it was very good for me, it may not be for others, but we each have to find our own answers.

As I've said here in the past, somedays the most important thing I do is pet the kitten.


Don in Maine

Excellent advice. Life is also pretty damn good when you can fall asleep with your arms wrapped around the one you love.

Peace be with you too, Don.

Many thanks for your kind words Don and I am indeed curious about many things, hence my reading addiction you could say :-) Sounds like you've lived quite an interesting life, out in the woods, under the stars.

I don't think anyone ever thought different. I suspect that it never enters the heads of the people equating guns with power that the in between the US armed forces, the militias, MS-13, crips et. al., the lone gunman is going to be just as much toast as the ecotopians. Probably more so because the ecotopians can buy off the gunslingers with the promise of future crops and productivity.

On a slightly more stable level, that was what happened in WWII in the UK. Unproductive farms were nationalised and the Ministry of Food ran them. Productive farms got a complement of conscientious objectors and Land Girls to replace conscripted personnel. Those with land may wish to have a quiet work with the G-2 on the nearest military facility about coming to arrangements regarding supplies and guards.

because the ecotopians can buy off the gunslingers with the promise of future crops and productivity

So you are willing to be a slave then? Good luck with that.

Yup. I'm too weak and too slow to slug it out with teenagers using machetes and half-bricks, can't do CQB gun stuff, but I can cook, clean, and help people feel good about themselves. In the absence of ready meals, deodorant and TV, I expect to be of some value, and therefore worth protecting.

i never really made the fast crash look nice. i have been trying to point out that a fast crash would be better because it would leave the world more intact resulting in after all the chaos a slightly better way of life for the survivors.

Roger Howard's comment "Today, the symbiotic energy requirements of Europe and Russia allows scope to improve mutual relations, not least if European governments act in unison to impose the rules of the European Union's energy charter on Moscow. Oil also gives consumers a chance to penalize, or tempt, international miscreants, just as U.S. sanctions are forcing the Tehran regime to reassess its ."

"impose the rules of the European Union's energy charter on Moscow"??? Yes, the insecure and paranoid Russians will see the light if the Europeans all clap hands and wish upon a star. I wonder if this article has been translated into Ukrainian? They would get a bitter laugh out of it, thinking about their dispute over natural gas.

"cost-benefit analysis of building the bomb" There is no favourable cost-benefit for anyone to build an atomic bomb. Any use of it today invites retaliation. Iran's clerics are incompetent at running their country's petroleum industry, and are doing more damage to their economy than any CIA scheme ever could.

My niece is studying economics at university and the professors are still teaching her that oil is just a matter of supply, just as more gold can always be found somewhere in the Canadian Shield. They still have no understanding of the difference betwen reserves and production of anything (not just oil). I think the problem is that they are big-picture men, and the actual mechanics of production are just messy little details, in the same way that landscape architects never think how someone is going to have to mow those steep slopes in a park.

I find the greatest difficulty in explaining Peak Oil to a mundane citizen, more than any other factor, is trying to make them understand why massive reserves should not mean $10 oil.

Have you ever wondered how we are doing compared to the Great Depression? Me too...

Four bears

Thanks for the nightmare fodder!

Is it me, or does that look eerily similar to graphs of crude production following discoveries?

Fed loans to banks increase in latest week

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Federal Reserve boosted its lending to commercial banks and investment firms over the past week, indicating that a severe credit crisis was still squeezing the financial system.

I was reading through an IT article, and who's name should make an appearance...

So that's what he's been doing.

Botnets on the Internet, as if there isn't enough to worry about. Wonderful.

I hope he posts again here soon, though. I really miss his stuff.

It is tough to work out technical stuff which is what Stuart excels at, especially if you have to deal with what sounds like a high-tech startup. Which one of these activities classifies as spare time?

So Sarkozy is the only G8 leader to attend this year;

"UN: Doha summit off to weak start"


and he has this to say to BRIC countries that did attend;

"The G8 has become "obsolete" as emerging economies change the global economic order, Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, has said."


Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, president of the UN General Assembly had some thoughtful words;

"It is not a question of regulation or deregulation. There are alternatives ... we have become a moral basket case. We know what needs to be done but we don't seem to be able to come up with the energy to do it.

"Why is that? Because we have become contaminated by the logic of the predominant culture that puts profit at the centre of the development process instead of human beings."

I recommend "Do The Math" linked above for a sane, logical and humane approach to the overpopulation problem. Then read the comment section to get a feel for why the human brain is not designed to solve this problem humanely. We are not logical. We are political, social animals whose brains evolved to serve inclusive fitness.

True. There seems to be no solution, we are wired to go forth and multiply. We are already in overshoot, the WWF had an extensive report on this. We have already surpassed the global carrying capacity it seems, overshoot followed by collapse seems the likely outcome. :-(

I would like to see how the decisions are made about who gets sterilized...the UN? If that doesn't start a true world war, then world peace is at hand. I doubt it. Better to let those four guys on horses handle it.....

If you read the article, you'd see that what he's proposing is strictly voluntary. Making birth control available, offering incentives like jobs and cash, educating women, etc.

Unless there's a plot to release bio-toxins into the environment that sterilize indiscriminately. That was in one of the articles on dieoff or elsewhere. It might be the most neutral method for the problem. (just feels wrong when I write stuff like this)

It is not wrong. Massive dieoff is the alternative. We already have mass dieoff for non human species. But seems ok with most people. What is wrong is pronatalist policies.

Why does it "feel wrong" to you? What's wrong is allowing everyone to breed as much as they want because it's leading to a Malthusian catastrophe of epic proportions. But why does allowing breeding at will "feel right" but involuntary sterilization "feel wrong"? Think about it. Maybe it has to do with our biology.

This is why Jay Hanson has been arguing for years that we can't solve this problem humanely unless we all look in the mirror.

Well said, it's just a sort of gut level reaction. It's probably genetic, you're absolutely correct that it just feels right to breed and wrong to sterilize, it causes this cringe in me. I'd love to have see an interview face off between John M Greer and Jay Hanson.

Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course. Human activities inflict harsh and often irreversible damage on the environment and on critical resources. If not checked, many of our current practices put at serious risk the future that we wish for human society and the plant and animal kingdoms, and may so alter the living world that it will be unable to sustain life
in the manner that we know. Fundamental changes are urgent if we are to avoid the collision our present course will bring about.

World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity signed by more than 1,600 scientists, including 102 Nobel laureates, from 70 countries, 1992.

decisions are made about who gets sterilized...the UN

Your post is not up to your usual standards. You forgot to mention the left, liberals, adjenda 21, The Kennedy law from 63 that proclaimed world peace, REXX83 and how secret Muslin's will be in the white house. (Darn that high thread count in the people's house.)

If fossil fuels become less available, one alternative is using animal power. It seems to me that using animal power is a lot more sustainable than most of our current "sustainable" energy, but the catch is, it still leads to overpopulation on the planet. Leanan posted an interesting review of a book about the big role horses played until 1872 (when a flu killed many of them).

I don't know how we can get around the problem. It may be that we need to cut way back on animals for food, and raise more horses instead. Horses beyond their work life could be used for food, if people didn't object too much.

Gail, you can get about 40 times more work done per acre by producing biofuels than you can by feeding horses.

Them danged animals are slow, inefficient, back-breaking to work with, And "Eat" a Ton!

Them danged animals are slow, inefficient, back-breaking to work with

As opposed to humans?

As opposed to humans?

We got a lot in common. :)

How many acres does it take to grow a tractor?

I used to breed foals that grew into large horses (900kg) by crossing a draft horse stallion with thoroughbred mares. That breed was popular at the time (eg with hunt clubs) but is in less demand today. For most biozones horses will not pay their way for either transport or farm work. Meat animals are best eaten in their prime, not after they are decrepit.

Our expectations of electric appliances, varied diet and fast personal mobility means a return to the 'old days' is impossible for most people. Coal not horses will make the big comeback.

all of the horses and cattle will be killed and eaten soon after the last power black out

An historical example of temperate farming might help provide a handle on farming with less oil(or without so much exogenous NPK!).
Britain by 1850, was still about 85-90% self-reliant in food for a population of around 20M, after a nearly x3 increase in population over preceding 100 years.

Though first half of 19thC in Britain was often hideously managed ( not always fun, cholera outbreaks in our local town in 1830s, and living conditions for exploited urban poor were more like a modern Zimbabwe in the cold), Britain continued, just, to feed itself. By 1840-50 though farming had reached the limit of available technology, and food security was getting desperate.

The agricultural worker productivity increase evident from the smaller proportion of workforce in farming by 1850, appears somewhat mysterious but was in part enabled by mechanization using horses. Horses do provide a 'high gain' on the farm if linked to 'black-smithed' local machinery production, given supplies of metal etc. Yields had been maintained during an intensification of agriculture, by adopting bio-N fixation from clover swards, and 'churning' the soil nutrients using fodder crops fed to in situ animals. Farms generated enough surplus, for a while, to keep up with fast growing urban population. We could probably improve on the technology these days.
According to Prof Mark Overton http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/empire_seapower/agricultural_revolu...

"By 1850 only 22 per cent of the British workforce was in agriculture; the smallest proportion for any country in the world [at that time]".

Solardude, you write:

I recommend "Do The Math" linked above for a sane, logical and humane approach to the overpopulation problem. Then read the comment section to get a feel for why the human brain is not designed to solve this problem humanely...

Thanks -- I took your advice and read the comment section. Some excerpts:

What disgusting, sexist, evil, psychopathic rubbish …. the vomit from Sankara ... Such thinking belongs in the annals of Worst Patriarchal Ideas ever offered … Sterilization of women is an absurd, perverse idea that has only been applied on a wide scale in nazi Germany …

The argumentum ad Hitlerum, as I expected, eventually raised its hysterical head.

Reminding me, once again, why I am a futilitarian.

Why not just snip all the guys instead. It's cheaper; less invasive surgically therefore less likelt to result in medical complications; and does less damage to the subject's hormonal and physical health. To do otherwise is not only sexist but misogynistic.

The excertpted comment makes a valid protest: yes fascist germany was patriarchal and psychopathological enough to involuntarily sterilize women and, as we all know, even worse. In this case comparisons to that mentality are valid, not hysterical.

Why not just snip all the guys instead. It's cheaper; less invasive surgically therefore less likelt to result in medical complications; and does less damage to the subject's hormonal and physical health. To do otherwise is not only sexist but misogynistic.

I did not read the article, but if you think about it, sterilizing men is pretty useless if you are trying to reduce population growth. Sure, if everyone was purely and faithfully monogamous, but realistically...no; better sterilize the women.

I had a driller years ago, who summed up the situation in a colorful and plain-spoken way: "If you've gotta son, you've gotta worry about what one d*ck is doing, but if you have a daughter, you have to worry about every d*ck in the neighborhood".

Reminding me, once again, why I am a futilitarian.

I read that and LOL. Thank you.

BTW, are you "Charles, the little known" or a small gold coin?

Thank you, Bryant.

I am "Charles, the little known" -- well, I once did make it to the Financial Times' gossip column:


276 words, or 1374 characters (without spaces).

Sacrebleu! You're not only famous, you're brilliant!

After all, as he says, citing the Stuckist anti-art artist Charles Thomson: "A single woman is never more than six inches away from the nearest rat."

I am a better man for having exchanged posts with you.

Thanks! I needed to update my label

does anyone here know something about this EV?

Here is a great link to a website devoted to EVs. It includes a podcast interview with Barry Bernsten, the man behind BG Electric cars. The current car has a top speed of 25 mph. They have a ways to go:)


In relation to "Poverty spreading in suburbs: study" above, and also in response to DaveMart and the idea of excess winter deaths in Britain (in the 20 to 30000 range, believe it or not!), I have now read a few articles and stand convinced that there is a connection between cold indoor (and outdoor) air and excess winter deaths from cardiovascular diseases. For one thing, it turns out blood pressure is higher at colder temperatures, and that could do it right there.

So DaveMart was asking for low-tech mitigation strategies for this upcoming winter. I think focusing on heating and insulating a single room will be somewhat helpful, but cold bedrooms will continue to be a problem. My best idea so far would be to teach people how to dress warmly: for example, no cotton up next to the skin, only wool, silk or synthetic fabrics. Then dress in layers on top of that, perhaps even with a windproof layer over it all, which may keep warmth in better than a breathable outer layer. Also, many people may not think they need to wear hats and mittens indoor, but they should, as well as drink hot liquids (water, if they must) at regular intervals. Excess deaths have been linked with people wearing fewer clothes!! Sleeping bags in bed, or even something as simple as a "sleep sack", made of synthetic fabric or wool would help with night time. Finally, cold outdoor temperatures are a risk for the elderly. They could be warned to wait until the next day when the temperature is expected to improve, for example. Free grocery services using healthy volunteers could be desirable.

I can't think of anything purely medical. One could tighten blood pressure control with medications, or use fairly inexpensive anti-anginal medications where appropriate. Regular (indoor) exercise to help with fitness is good, but in the high-risk elderly it may need to be supervised by physical therapists.

I am happy to problem-solve some more with Dave and other British folks. You can leave a comment on www.ecoyear.net or email me at myrtoashe at yahoodotcom.

Keeping warm is an old problem and humans have found many ways to do so successfully. For flexibility of use, clothing is the place to start, especially thermal underwear (long-john's, tights, etc).

For the unheated bedroom, layers of blankets, hot water bottles, pyjama's, night caps, socks, slippers, dressing gowns, etc. Also, a modern insulated version of the four poster bed (to reduce the volume of cold air around the sleeper) and electric blankets. In the olden days they used bricks heated on the fire and wrapped in newspaper to pre-heat the beds.

I think the important thing is to have at least one room heated to a comfortable temperature and access to sufficient hot water for washing etc. The rest can be dealt with by using common sense. In extreme cases, the sleeping arrangements can be made in the heated room. In the olden days they used to put a tin bath in front of the fire for bathing in.

I'm sure all these things can be reintroduced, but with modern design twist, to make them more acceptable to modern tastes. In the end, doing the right thing is the key to survival.

In June I took a trip to Albany to talk to 3 audiences on Peak Oil impacts. In the group that invited me, the Capital Regional Energy Forum CREF), is a physicist who teaches renewable energy at a major university, and who had served in the Peace Corps.
He has solar powered just about everything, including a solar powered canoe which we went for long ride in on a lake in the Adirondacks, and a PV solar powered house and pump for his well. He repairs about everything on his house himself and he heats much with passive solar. So the guy knows his stuff. He is no ivory tower academic.
We talked for hours about survival in the northeast after the last power blackout.
It looks tough.
Eventually batteries and even the solar panels deteriorate. He thinks that he could store dry batteries and separately store the liquid (that goes to the batteries) in glass jars to later get "new batteries" after the old ones die. But eventually the batteries and solar panels give out.
Cutting and moving wood without trucks, horses, and wagons will be "challenging." There are not many horses around and it will take decades to breed enough horses to go around. Horses require food, care, vets, and medicine. No one is making wagons these days locally.
Wood stoves break, just like everything else. You could keep one or 2 extras, but eventually you have none and can't get more, because there is no transportation on the highways.
Asphalt roof shingles need to be replaced, and houses need to be painted and maintained.
Food must be grown with a short growing season, and all of the farm stuff that used to be in a 1890 Sears catalog is no longer available. Last summer I took a tour of a farm and saw how dependent farming is on oil -- transportation and manufacture of plastic feeding bowls, containers to store grains/feeds, straw, roofs for animals and storage areas, wire, rope, wood boards, cement, fencing, antibiotics for animals, asphalt shingles etc. Seed and hardware used to be available at the local hardware store, no more.
Then there is clothing which is manufactured and transported from afar. Making cloth is a major operation from growing cotton to making cloth. I have studied the textile mills of Lowell National Historical Park in Lowell, MA for years, as I used it as an example of the confluence of capital, technology, and labor for a course I taught on Global Urban Politics at the University of New Hampshire. I know that the parts in those factories were manufactured in many places with a vast transportation network. Those factories will not be built again after the last power blackout. And there are not many sheep around for making wool, nor animals for making leather clothes. Eventually down coats and comforters wear out, as do blankets. It sounds like just keeping warm will be a major problem.
Potable water is another problem, and sanitation.
And there will be no modern pharmacies.

"And there are not many sheep around for making wool, nor animals for making leather clothes."
Australia has 100million sheep, I think we could spare a few million to an friendly neighbor. We even have sheep transport ships that are used to send live sheep to Middle East.
Are you saying its not possible to farm without oil? How was the world farmed pre- 1869.

Your argument seems to be that every post 1869 technology will suddenly stop one day( soon?) and nothing will work because everything has stopped! Its a little circular.

Hey Neil1947,

Unfortunately, most all of those sheep will be eaten in the Greater Depression and global collapse.

Norman, Peter Goodchild, and others (not Orlov) argue for a return to the stone age, not the 1860s. Unfortunately, I must agree with them:



But people could take much modern technology with them for after the collapse, IF people prepared for Peak Oil impacts.

Cliff Wirth, 1947 too!

Hi, I put some replies in yesterday's drumbeat, and mailed you.
Apparently in Britain's damp climate bronchitis is a major killer.

I suspect a lot of older people are coming in with damp clothes after waiting at bus stops and getting chilled, and perhaps don't summon the energy to rapidly change them.

Of the place is not well-heated, drying the clothes can also be an issue - using clothes lines not only exposes people once more to the cold and damp, but for the old can take considerable energy.

Many of the problems may also be related to condensation and mould.
most of the dehumidifiers I am aware of rely on electricity - I will have to look into the possibility of using desiccants.

Quote of the year ?


They have been given orders to shoot on sight in an effort to quell the bloodshed, some of the most serious in Nigeria in recent years.

Hello TODers,

As detailed in an earlier weblink to a POT clickable I-NPK & agro-global graphic:

Russian exports: N = 4.65, P = 2.28, and K = 5.72 [each millions of tons, source FAO, IFA, 2005].

Using a generous agro-ERoEI of 20:1: 5 million tons of N input can grow 100 million tons of grain. Further:

A dry bushel of corn weighs 56 pounds. Therefore a ton of Corn will be just over 35.7 bushels. (2000 pounds/56 pounds= 35.714286)
Thus, a very rough approximation is 3,570,000,000 bushels or 3.57 billion bushels is attributable to Russian I-NPK global exports.

Cornucopian argument [with BIG IFs]:

IF Russia could double I-NPK exports and IF Africa could afford to buy it all, then this would be good for all concerned. Recall that Africa on avg. uses 1/6th to 1/10th of I-NPK/acre compared to US farmers, so they could easily utilize any increase in Russian exports.

In actuality, or the Reality/Doomer argument:

Russians play down crisis as economy falters

..Russia's economy is spiraling downhill much faster than many expected just a few weeks ago. Companies have slashed up to a fifth of their staff, economists have drastically cut their growth forecasts, there are concerns of a steep currency devaluation and oil prices are in the doldrums — no good thing for an economy based on energy exports.

.."If money does not get out of the banks into the economy, we are looking at a very destructive period," said Chris Weafer, chief strategist at Moscow-based Uralsib bank. "Not only will we have major negative growth, but we will also have shortages and a higher rate of unemployment, and more companies mothballing their activity."

Russia is, of course, not the only to be hurt by the global financial crisis. But it has been particularly hard hit because of its dependence on commodity prices, while the markets crisis has exposed the weaknesses of its financial system.

..And if oil remains at $50, Goldman Sachs says Russia could see zero growth next year.
Thus, as global pop. continues to grow, it seems much more likely that the Malthusian Constraints will predominate as we go postPeak. If Russia in now in a downward trend on FFs [will their pop. decline continue, too?], does it automatically follow that I-NPK exports should 'double whammy' decline also as the ELM kicks into high gear?

Last time I checked: I-NPK at the multi-million ton scale needs huge gobs of energy; the Russians are not using millions of workers with pickaxes and shovels to mine P & K, then millions more pushing wheelbarrows to move the finished products to the seaports. Not just Yet, anyway. Have you hugged your bag of NPK today?

A future popular song? "All I want for Christmas is a compost pit, a compost pit, a compost pit..."

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

One advantage of slowing economies in major oil exporting countries, it seems to me, is that it might significantly slow down westexas and khebab various "net export crisis" scenarios for a while.

So are there any solutions? What if everyone was forced to convert into vegetarians? That would take huge pressure of the land maybe.

Hello PhilRelig & VK,

Thxs for responding. Just as FF-depletion waits for no-one, the same goes for I-NPK depletion if we cannot find sufficient energy to support these huge global supply JIT chain flowrates:

Soil phosphate warning as levels reach an all-time low

So humans are not smarter than yeast, collectively. Or maybe its just not in our genetic code. I have no idea where to even begin on peak oil preparation. I have more time now that I've finished my degree (just last week). There's a lot of stuff now in the media, government reports etc. But nothing is really being done. It's like with climate change, the warning signs have been there since decades. Limits to growth was published in 1972, before I was even born and in all this time NOTHING's been done. It's almost like we're hardwired to overshoot and collapse.

I've finished my degree (just last week). ... 1972, before I was even born


As a baby-boomer, I'm real curious about how a Peak-Oil aware, Generation-Y person views the current education system.

What did "they" (TPTB) teach your generation about what to expect of your future?

To start the ball rolling, let me give you a quick synopsis of what Generation-Baby Boomers were taught to expect:

1. End of Wars: World War II had been a big thing of course, but the feeling was that it had been the true war to end all wars. The United Nations would be a new kind of organization where countries would discuss things civilly rather than through violence. A new Pax-America had arisen and it would last 100 years if not 1000.

2. The 1964 World's Fair and our GE bright beautiful tomorrowland. If there was one thing emblematic of our expectations, it was that the George Jetson world was just around the bend. We had entered an era of continuous "progress" and prosperity. We had already soared into space and soon we would land on the Moon. After that, why anything would be possible.

3. Nuclear power and fusion energy too cheap to meter. Our scientists had already kicked Mother Nature's behind by forcing her to spill the secrets of her atom and in a few more years we'd have fusion power so cheap it wouldn't be worth metering.

4. Progress would be forever and speeding ever faster toward the singularity. There was a book called "Future Shock" which taught us to expect great new things coming our way at a dizzying pace.

5. Those who learn "History" will never repeat past mistakes. While a Great Depression and world wars had happened to "them" (our moronic ancestors), "we" were much smarter, more educated, part of the Camelot future that JFK had initiated. Our markets were well regulated and nothing bad would happen again. Economics is a well understood science, trust us. Everything is under control and the government is here to help us from cradle to grave. Malthus was a fool. Ha ha ha.

This is a tough question and after reading the above, of all of the 5 only number four really stands out. There is this huge belief that technology will keep getting better and better. I grew up while the tech boom was taking off and it was hard to find someone older who wasn't getting into computing.

When I was deciding on University choices and courses, the whole idea amongst my friend circle was to get a finance degree, join an Investment Bank and make millions. lol, it sounds crazy today but three years ago it was a fact of life that Investment Bankers were masters of the universe. Hence I ended up studying Actuarial Studies.

About war and the UN, the illusion that it was really useful was put to rest during the build up to the Iraq Conflict. There was a lot of emphasis on the environment though I doubt much really stuck in my head until I started reading about it from outside sources.

In University we learned about free markets and derivatives and all that fancy jazz. In doing economics we did learn about fractional reserve banking and all that but it was presented in a very slick way. It didn't create any shock until again I turned to outside the system.
Honestly University education in Australia ,the UK and according to the one friend I have in an LA University is to simply regurgitate information on the exam paper that you have crammed before hand. Most of my friends/ cousins went to and still go to decent/ top universities and it's simply the same everywhere. You just study to pass and forget what you learned in a few months I reckon.

I still reckon that Malthus is considered a fool! And the new nuclear power is considered to be solar and wind, thats the panacea according to my friends that will save us. I still have to think quite a bit, I've probably left quite a lot out.

to get a finance degree, join an Investment Bank and make millions


Thanks for answering.
A finance degree, huh?
I guess that sort of makes sense. Everyone looks around just like Willy Sutton did in his day and wonders where the money is. It's in the banks. It's in the financial world. It sure isn't in ditch digging, a mass production factory line or a coal mine (or an engineering degree).

What I left out in my rant was October 1957. That's when the USSR launched Sputnik. It changed everything in the USA. Suddenly everyone was focusing on education in math and science.

I suspect that you are one of the very few 22 year olds on TOD. I have kids your age. They all think dad is a kook with his Peak Oil beliefs. Who are they going to believe, dad or their lying eyes? Prices on gasoline stations (here in California USA) are all tumbling down. Everyone is driving an SUV. The supermarkets are filled with fruit, vegetables and meats. All is good with the world. The Apple iPhone validates the notion that technology marches forward. They too learned about supply, demand and all the fancy other economic theories. It all seems to be working just fine. They've never seen hard times. They weren't alive for the 1970 oil shock.

University education in Australia ,the UK and according to the one friend I have in an LA University is to simply regurgitate information on the exam paper that you have crammed before hand. ... You just study to pass and forget what you learned in a few months I reckon.

During Thanksgiving, we had a lot of young folk over for dinner. The subject of reading books came up. They all looked up in shock and asked with unambiguity, Who reads books anymore? If it ain't in a snappy fast-action movie, I will never know about it.

I hadn't heard before this admission about cram n' forget. Not sure that it applies to all majors. For example, in science and engineering, the laws of thermodynamics, Maxwell's equations, etc., aren't going to be going away. Then again, it's all done by computers (simulation) now a days. But for a degree in some liberal art, cram n' forget makes sense. Why memorizes for the long term, stuff that will be of no use in your expected future life?

And the strawmen were about to put up such an argument.

Hello TODers,

Question: What is the opposite of O-NPK recycling by composting?

Answer: Cholera, Death by Diarrhea, and other water & sewage related effects. Parasitic bacterias & viruses are the most powerful lifeforms on the planet--we should never forget this fact.

Hundreds die in Zimbabwe cholera outbreak

The UN earlier put the number of fatalities at 412 and warned that the outbreak was spreading to Botswana and South Africa.

"The rapid deterioration of the health service delivery system in Zimbabwe, lack of adequate water supply and inability to dispose of solid waste and repair sewage blockages in most areas will continue to contribute to the escalation and spread of the outbreak," said UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs.
Once this really gets postPeak spreading throughout Africa and elsewhere: I dead-reckon that there will be lots of dead-weight tons of P & K dead-heading back to the UK again to help solve the phosphate shortage of my posting above.

Speaking of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwean Central Bank just released a statement congratulating the UK and US Central Banks on how they're dealing with the crisis just as Zimbabwe did! Just read it on nakedcapitalism,

From the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe

As Monetary Authorities, we have been humbled and have taken heart in the realization that some leading Central Banks, including those in the USA and the UK, are now not just talking of, but also actually implementing flexible and pragmatic central bank support programmes where these are deemed necessary in their National interests.

That is precisely the path that we began over 4 years ago in pursuit of our own national interest and we have not wavered on that critical path despite the untold misunderstanding, vilification and demonization we have endured from across the political divide.

They go on, anyone thinking of TARP below?

Here in Zimbabwe we had our near-bank failures a few years ago and we responded by providing the affected Banks with the Troubled Bank Fund (TBF) for which we were heavily criticized even by some multi-lateral institutions who today are silent when the Central Banks of UK and USA are going the same way and doing the same thing under very similar circumstances thereby continuing the unfortunate hypocrisy that what’s good for goose is not good for the gander....

As Monetary Authorities, we commend those of our peers, the world over, who have now seen the light on the need for the adoption of flexible and practical interventions and support to key sectors of the economy when faced with unusual circumstances.

Hello Vk,

Terrific find--the sad, tragic irony is not lost on me. :(

Hello TODers,

This article from Reuters/India doesn't sound very optimistic:

India, Pakistan simmer over Mumbai attacks

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India said on Sunday it had proof of a Pakistani link to the Mumbai attacks that killed nearly 200 people, while Islamabad said it would move troops to the Indian border if tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals spilled over...

From the Times

Many British commentators have asked in surprise why India is being targeted. There is no confusion among Indians themselves. When the terrorists say on their websites that they seek to break up India and reclaim it for Islam, they speak a language many Hindu Indians understand. And India has proved to be the softest of soft targets.

More than 4,000 Indians have died in terrorist attacks — the country is the second biggest victim of terror after Iraq and virtually every one of its big cities has faced a terrorist attack. Yet the government has no centralised terrorist database, its intelligence is abysmal and there is little evidence that the state knows who it is fighting.