A Thought for Today: "Losing Faith in Peak Oil's Transformative Power"

A post at peakoil.com by moderator Ibon that I thought TOD readers would like to discuss:

The power of peak oil as an external force, a geologically driven catalyst, to act as a wedge to force sustainability and conservation on a world hell bent on exponential growth and energy consumption is what caught my imagination and gave me a sense of hope several years ago when I first investigated this issue. Seeing how the ideologically driven environmental movement of the 70's and 80's fell to the wayside to be replaced by conspicuous consumption I even had illusions that peak oil was the beginning of what could break the status quo and eventually lead to a radical transformation of our cultural values and reign in an era of ecological sustainability imposed by the geologic reality of resource depletion.
(More under the fold.)
I have to confess that after years of at times obsessed immersion into this subject that lead me down investigative pathways of economics, geopolitics, religion, human group psychology etc. I have lost much of this initial hope that the transformative powers of peak oil, global warming or other environmental stresses are very likely to act on or threaten the status quo for a long time to come.

I have naively hoped that if the resource, energy, that drives the global culture of consumption starts depleting, then stresses will build up in the status quo to force political or economic change toward sustainability. I was looking for ruptures or the threat of collapse in our global infrastructure to force awareness and change. There have been so many threads on this website discussing the US dollar, our debt based economic system, the housing market, Katrina type climate events, political and religious conflicts in oil rich nations, population dynamics, geopolitical resource wars amongst world powers etc. We look for evidence in these topics that the status quo is under enough threat to allow policy makers and world leaders to question the underlying systemic causes in the hopes that there emerges the beginnings of intelligent ecological and sustainable responses.

There is the assumption that we have been going along mindless of the consequences of resource depletion and that we are collectively heading toward the cliff.

What I have underestimated is the resiliency and the level of cooperation that goes on at the highest levels of our global poltical and economic systems to maintain the status quo. Central Banks and governments are far more aware of threats to their survival caused by peak oil and resource depletion than I thought they were. And they cooperate far more with each other than I assumed. Religious, economic and political institutions all have an aversion to social and economic chaos that could threaten revolution as this would be the greatest threat to their institutional survival. Even though on the surface it may seem that there is resource competition that could lead toward chaos, if we take a closer look at some examples we can see that the elite are far more cooperative than presumed. I don't mean this in the sense of a conspiracy theory but rather the rational response that these institutions take for their survival. China and the USA would both lose if they started an all out resource war. Central banks in leading economic powers cooperate more than presumed in directing the US dollars evolution away from being the only global currency. Does anyone really think that in 2007 when adjustable mortgages (ARMS) increase their rates that this will lead to a major housing collapse? Won't banks and government come up with more creative financial instruments as solutions to prevent collapse. You can take any example you want.

Instead of chaos and transformation I see the global elite preserving the status quo at all costs to prevent revolution. The real geological consequences of peak oil and related resource depletion and environmental stresses will only result in an increase of a two tiered class culture where the elites and wealthy will preserve their status and wealth and a growing underclass will be socialized to accept their decline and serve the interest of the elites. This will all occur in a backdrop of increasing environmental degradation as consumption levels will stay at the maximum level the available resources will allow.

I don't see revolution anywhere near the horizon. I would welcome any arguments to counter this rather dreary and pessimistic assessment.

"I don't see revolution anywhere near the horizon."

I agree.  Our existing society is very flexible, and much more cooperative than it seems, sometimes.

Poverty will never bring spirituality.  I think Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a helpful guide here: satisfaction of security and basic material needs is needed before people can focus on self-actualization and spiritual growth, and anxiety about basic economic needs will never help that.

The '60's are a clear example of people starting to think about spiritual growth, at a time when economic needs seemed solved.

Those Americans who have more than enough economically haven't realized that there's more to life.  The culture doesn't have enough info for them, as organized religion has pretty much lost it's mystical, spiritual growth side.  Many people are reaching for more (in evangelical religion, new age ideas, etc), but don't know where to turn for something authentic and effective.

It's understandable that people would hope that shock therapy would wake people up, but it's wrong-headed.  People need good information, not fear or coercion.

People need good information, not fear or coercion.
There's plenty of good information available to anyone even mildly interested.  The fundamental issue is people's (and society in general) investment in the current paradigm and their unwillingness to confront anything threatening that paradigm - no matter how well the facts are presented to them.
"There's plenty of good information available to anyone even mildly interested. "

That's really not true.  There's lots of information, but almost all of it is very low quality.  Further, most people don't know what to look for: they don't know what they don't know.

"The fundamental issue is people's (and society in general) investment in the current paradigm..."

hmmm.  That's certainly a factor.  But a lot of people just don't have role models for anything diffeent from fulfillment through consumption, popularity, entertainment, etc.

And those who are strongly invested in authoritarian, inflexible ideas certainly aren't going to get reformed through adversity - they're likely to just get worse.

You're missing my point, which was not about the quantity of quality information available on the subjects of energy and the environment.  These topics have been well documented since the 1970s, with the science of ecology taking off in the 1980s, etc.  Today there is a veritable explosion of books and research on these and related topics.

No role models for anything different than consumption, popularity, entertainment?  You must be kidding.  Ever heard of Jesus Christ, Buddha, Ghandi, or Muhammed?  People don't pay attention to these role models because their personal energy is totally devoted to upholding the current paradigm.

I have news for you regarding authoritarians and dogmatists.  They are by definition not open to reform, and struggle, possibly force, is the only way to get rid of them.

"You're missing my point, which was not about the quantity of quality information available on the subjects of energy and the environment."

Well, I'm not sure now whether you were talking about spirituality or energy.  I was talking about spirituality.  There is an enormous quantity of info available, but most of it is misleading or low quality (see Carl Sagan's book The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark for his discussion of bad info).  

"Ever heard of Jesus Christ, Buddha, Ghandi, or Muhammed? "

I'm talking about role models in everyday life.  The ones you're talking about are very distant, and their messages have been caught in the maze of modern organized religion, which as I noted above has completely lost touch with the mystical, spiritual side of religious practice.

"I have news for you regarding authoritarians and dogmatists.  They are by definition not open to reform, and struggle, possibly force, is the only way to get rid of them. "

I'm talking about our friends and neighbors, who have been caught by authoritarian ways of thinking (I have to believe what I'm told by the Pastor, President, etc).  I think possibly what I'm talking about isn't intuitive to you, because you seem to believe that coercion is the only way to make change.

If you look closely at the role models you mention, all (with the possible exception of Muhammed - I know what the Pope is saying lately, but I'm not an expert on Islam) advocate peaceful change.

Jesus fed the 5,000 from only 1 loaf of bread and some fishes. That's some pretty amazing EROEI energy source he had access too. Doesn't seem to apply to us.

Dark energy + Dark Matter == how many do you want ?

Trust me.

Sorry to be opaque but consider this http://www.c3.lanl.gov/mega-math/workbk/map/mpbkgd.html The traditional four color problem but ask the question how many shades of grey are needed to color a map ? Is the answer still four ? If you choose the concept of color with a rational value does the four color problem even make sense ? If you can prove it does how does it relate to the integer problem. This is the problem faced by dark energy/dark matter Are you even asking the right hard questions. Sometimes you have to question the question. Btw it you can answer the above prove its not 42 :) Mike
All these role models have one thing in common...
..ambivalence in the face of adversity on the
basis of a variety of outcomes...all of which
deny the dialectical nature of reality...which
by its nature is a dispassionate confluence of

In other words, information and
synthesis equal state. Systemic change is a
natural event...its quality however is
determined by the underlying noise.

For our understanding could you translate this into English?

We actually agree on something. I was going to ask the same question.
Hello Nick,

I hope you have been reading my Zimbabwe posts.  I believe this can be illustrative of the likely path ahead.  Mugabe's people are starving, but he has now purchased $240 million worth of Chinese fighters to further consolidate his power, and Chinese military advisors are training the Zim military how to supress popular revolt.  Recall that Mao Zedong was very ruthless and successful with this strategy.

Most of the riots we see around the globe are by Peakoil ignorant masses-- they pillage when fuel prices or electricity prices are raised-- they riot for MPP.  Americans will do they same when blackouts occur, or no fuel is available for their SUVs.  People WILL NOT riot or protest for early paradigm shift whereby 60-75% of us and our children will abandon their vehicles, then spend their days in manual permaculture--But They Should Riot for this shift in lifestyle direction if everyone would accept detritus entropy.  We are headed for the full Thermo-Gene Collision, IMO.

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

Zimbabwe was on this path long before peak oil, and it's situation has very little to do with PO, though clearly PO has made it worse.

I agree that PO won't make people riot for a new paradigm of agricultural poverty.

I disagree that such a riot would be a good idea, or that agricultural poverty is dictated by PO: agriculture can run just fine with electric tractors (or possibly on E3 ethanol), and non-oil fertilizer combined with crops like soy that have low fertilizer needs.  

Right now agriculture is dependent on oil-based transportation and ferilizer, and sudden depletion would be a big problem, but that could be fixed in a 10-15 year transition.

Zimbabwe was on this path long before peak oil, and it's situation has very little to do with PO, though clearly PO has made it worse.

Totoneila's point is *not* that Zimbabwe's collaps is caused by peakoil. The way I see it Totoneila just points to Zimbabwe as an example of a collapsing society.

Some "peakoilers" (Whatever that may mean: It is not an ideology, nor a movement) point to Cuba as well, also not because Cuba's predicaments are caused by peakoil, but because it shows that a collapsing society can stop the collaps at certain level. And that does not mean those people advocate communist dictatorship.

As Matthew Simmons said: we are heading for unchartered territory. Therefore we have no ready examples in history. We have to do with these to give a tad of an idea what might happen.

Yes, I have and many thanks, though they sadden.

Just as sadly China is only doing what the USA has done, and UK before, with other countries' regimes as dire or worse than Mugabe's.

Somehow we have to get the awareness of peak oil, energy and resource depletion into the consciousness of enough people for rebellion to happen - the current model is broken, the current powers that be won't change enough or fast enough.

Perhaps the tactic of brief takeover of broadcast media is worth considering?

Perhaps someone has already stated this further down the thread. If not then I will here.

Religion and Sprituality are NOT THE SAME.

Religion is a business.

Spirituality can function without religion.

Religion uses 'supposed' spirituality to blind the congregations. Into giving money, their time and ego to the leader.

We have lots of religion. We have almost zero spirituality.

Yeah, as I said above, religion has pretty much lost it's spiritual side.  The closest thing most people get to real spiritual prayer seems to be asking for favors.
"In fact, amongst the chattering classes, spirituality is far more highly regarded than religion, because religion is entangled in the public realm of ritual and behaviour, of institutions and beliefs, a realm in which questions of truth and duty may be raised, whereas the 'spiritual' floats free from fact and calculation and responsibility, massaging in fantasies of feeling the bruised narcissism of well heeled individualists."

Nicholas Lash, in Holiness, Speech and Silence

That sounds good, but what does it really mean?

It sounds like a statement of authoritarian religion: "questions of truth and duty"?  Duty to what? Obey authority?  Obey conservative authority?

Any time someone uses a disrespectful term like "chattering classes", their burden of proof sharply rises.  It's perfectly clear they have a strong bias, so let's see proof.  Well researched statistics that people who talk about spirituality are in fact less responsible.

I have to suspect this writer just doesn't like intellectuals, or "liberals".  He clearly distrusts people who think for themselves, and who aren't content with a simple faith.

A search of his book makes clear that he has no understanding of meditation, or a mysticism in the Christian tradition.  He's a good example of what I was talking about.

The point he is making is that (to violently condense the argument) 'spirituality' (and 'religion') are post-Enlightenment inventions; that 'spirituality' abstracted from a specific religious tradition is not much more than a self-indulgence that meshes perfectly with contemporary capitalist structures; and that the different religious traditions are publicly accountable, not least to the notion of 'truth'.

There is, as you might imagine, rather a lot of argument lying behind that summary paragraph - and this isn't really the context for pursuing it further, although I do happen to believe that theology has an awful lot to say that is relevant to how we react to Peak Oil. Unfortunately most conversations - like this one - are vitiated by disagreements over the most basic terms. It's not an argument that we can just leap into, without a lot of preparatory work to clear the ground. Unfortunately.

By the way, Nicholas Lash is an intellectual himself (recently retired Cambridge Professor), and to claim that he doesn't understand 'mysticism in the Christian tradition' is a remarkably thorough demonstration that you don't know what you're talking about. If you'd like to learn more - in particular, to gain some insight into what Christian mysticism is and teaches - you should read his 'Easter in Ordinary'.

Fascinating.  Well, I would like to know a lot more about this.  I have to admit, he provoked me a bit with the disrespectful, apparently conservative tone of that paragraph, and I may have leapt to conclusions based on excerpts I read from that one book.

My basic feeling is that organized religion has lost the ability to use prayer and contemplation to make a real difference in one's life - to dissolve emotional problems, to become stronger emotionally so as to be both more compassionate for other and independent of arbitrary authority.

I see many individuals who seem to have inner strength who are active in religions, but I don't see a good indication that the religions actually foster that strength.  They don't teach techniques of prayer or meditation that really are effective (that's what I'm referring to when I talk about mystical traditions).

What do you think?

If you send me an e-mail I'll gladly pursue this off-list (the name at hotmail.com). But in a nutshell, I think your point is a good and fair one when applied to much US religion; it's less fair in other cultures and other contexts.
"Religion" and "spirituality" are the same thing in different guises.

I see religion as more of the "tell me what to do, I'm uncomfortable thinking for myself" ideology... Whereas "spirituality" always arises out of more occult and new-agey paganesque type of systems, usually people leaving the status quo cults. The ex-abrahamic cult followers who then turn to the nicer "spitiuality" and proceed to take yoga classes, etc.

Both are just systems of doctrine with different twists.

Maybe if you define "spirituality" with the "mysteriousness of science" then I'll be down with it. But it seems like you guys are going to route of incense candles and meditation? Who can win the semantic? No, no, my definition is right--each side implores.

As of now, the both of you seem arguing for your own splinter group definitions of that classic logic destroyer "faith", the the purveyors thereof.

Anyway, oil is hardly spiritual, or religious.

"to gain some insight into what Christian mysticism is and teaches"...... No thanks.

"Religion" and "spirituality" are the same thing in different guises.

Are you sure you know what you are talking about?
I am a strict atheist (no gods, no spirits having any kind of "will" or individuality, no supernatural superstitions, no Gaia, etc...), yet I do have spiritual practices without any doctrine.
May be it is just me who have a different definition of spirituality?

No, I'm not sure I know what I'm talking about.


That is precisely why I joined up in a conversation about "religion" and "spirituality".

Kevembuangga practices 'spirituality' without a 'spirit' by Kevembuangga's own words.  That's like practicing sexuality without having a sex, like an amoeba.  A strict atheist would avoid the word 'spirituality' like a chaste Christian avoids using the words 'cunt' or 'cock'.  Kevembuangga is unable to understand the last phrases Kevembuangga employed.  Kevembuangga's bwana taught Kevembuangga not to worship the phallic idols of Kevembuangga's tribe, but Kevembuangga did not listen.
The meanings of words "wobble" slightly around some common core there is NO incontrovertible definition, language is not mathematics.
Avoid Voodoo Linguistics.

Spirituality isn't a monopoly of religious nutcases, nor are they allowed to define the meaning of words according to their paranoid tales (BIG God is watching you).
They may not pretend to be "masters", THAT'S THE POINT!

See Humpty Dumpty :

`I don't know what you mean by "glory,"' Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. `Of course you don't -- till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"'

`But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument,"' Alice objected.

`When _I_ use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'

`The question is,' said Alice, `whether you CAN make words mean so many different things.'

`The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master - - that's all.'

The meanings of words "wobble" slightly around some common core there is NO incontrovertible definition, language is not mathematics.

`When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'

The first sentence here betrays Kevembuangga's poor, cavalier use of English.
It IS voodoo linguistics, with grammar so deficient that we could ask the questions, "Does Kevembuangga have a high school education?  Is Kevembuannga the product of the American Public Education Ebonics Program?".  Kevembuannga is a masterful butcher of the English tongue.  Kevembuangga is a literary hypocrite who misuses quotes to make Kevembuangga's linguistorelativistic rhetoric seem to be legitimate.  Kevembuangga is really identified here with the MASTER abuser of language, Humpty Dumpty, and not with the spiritual seeker of language clarity, Alice.
When I use the words 'spiritual practices', I know and understand what they mean.  When Kevembuangga uses such words, Kevembuangga can only infer that they mean 'just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less'.

The first sentence here betrays Kevembuangga's poor, cavalier use of English.

If you did understand the "first sentence" please rewrite it to your taste so I can learn from this.

As you claim to be a "genius" take one of the Uncommonly Difficult IQ Tests, say, the Titan Test and please reports the results on TOD, that will give you some "authority" that you seem to be looking for...

Year 1960; Stanford Binet = 140
Year 1978; Wechsler Adult = 139

 I am 52 years old and have had to live with myself since I was 6.
Now my wife and children have to live with me, too.

Yeah, I wouldn't worry about it. I'm pretty sure Kevem only scored about 500 on Space Invaders.
Of course you beg the question. What happened before you were 6?
Hi Dumbo (sorry, I still score higher than you on IQ tests, 30 or 40+ years on) I'm your age and have lived with myself 6 years longer than you seem to realise you have. Your wife and children do not have to live with you, they could choose otherwise, I'll refrain from further comment being ignorant of the particular circumstances.

What was the relevence of your self confessed inadequacy?

The word is spelled 'relevance', Agric.

When I was four and five years old, I spoke of a great many ideas that the others couldn't grok.  My parents sent me to a child psychiatrist for doing that.  The shrink told them that I was too smart for my own good and referred me to a psychologist, who gave me intelligence tests.  I was proclaimed the family genius and was made to pay for being such ever since.  They took me out of parochial school and sent me to a special school where there were 'others like yourself'.  I have since realized that parents need to make up excuses for all the good things they do to their own children, as I have bred two imperfectly adjusted yet perfectly beautiful kids of my own.  In any case, I sometimes wish that I was never gifted with the self-knowledge of my intellectual state.  In order to keep from repeating my successes as a geoscientist, for instance, I become forced by pride to outdo them.  Alas, this striving can make one weary.  As Ecclesiastes laments, "1:17 I applied my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also was a chasing after wind. 1:18 For in much wisdom is much grief; and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.".

It is, well spotted, I have occasional spelling blind spots, thanks.

Thanks, too, for not rising to my taunt, you have some wisdom too, that is good to know and sometimes hard to find in smart folks.

But you ain't that smart, one in a hundred, perhaps one in a couple of hundred, certainly no smarter than one in a thousand. Sad if your intelligence kind of blighted your youth, it sometimes happens.

Good luck with your children, all I can suggest is let them be and become themselves though that is always hard. Sad to hear you are not wise enough to not need pride.

I find little in the Christian and Muslim books to interest me, been thinking that monotheism is perhaps a fundamental (sic) problem. I'm more Pagan (though not really that) than Tao but I find this as enlightening as any:

been thinking that monotheism is perhaps a fundamental (sic) problem.

I'm a dumbo next to you genius guys --probably an 80 on the IQ scale.

But as to monotheism being the problem --Doh! It is the worship and cultivation of the reptilian brain. You genius guys should have figured that one out at age 5.3141 if not earlier. :-)

But as to monotheism being the problem --Doh! It is the worship and cultivation of the reptilian brain.

To emerge, the "father figure" needs the mammalian brain to unify the paranoid fears (reptilian) into a single omnipotent agency.

You speak blasphemy.

The Reptilian is Lord of all hosts.
Yee shall have no other before me.
Read your reptilian Ten Commandments.
In all reptilian religions the feminine/mammalian or limbic layer is subjegated to living under a burkah. It is not permissible but to hear one voice, one master. I am not only a paranoid and masculine master but also an angry and jealous one. The one is one. There is no other. There is no daughter. There is no holy spirit. Not three. Just the one. One supreme voice. One leader decider-man. Those who worship the three are an abomination. Those who acknowledge the many are followers of the pig and must face the sword. I am that I am.

Damn! That was good. I haven't heard anything like that since that Planet of the Apes movie where they were all worshipping the missiles.

...Oh...yeah...and Zardoz.

Two of my favorite movies also ... the old version of Apes, and also Omega Man
Religion...the opium haze of disappintment
assuaged......spirituality....the reverential
light of privilege enthralled.
The stratification of wealth you mention is an unavoidable consequence of resource depletion.

In fact the rich/poor gap has never been bigger than it is today.

That's manageable on a local or even national level... but when critical resource competition comes between nations... it means war.

I'm sure partnerships will be born and fall a thousand times before all is said & done. But as a favorite author wrote...

"When times are hard, table manors change."

Today's contract negotiation process to secure resources is a function of our relative prosperity as a species. Absent our mitigating wealth, a darker vision emerges.

If we could avoid fighting over shrinking energy resources, we might indeed reach your long plateau of sustainable living, without terrible loss.

If we can manage the hat trick here... it'll be the very first time for man however. We have an unbroken record of murdering one another in pursuit of our goals. My fellow countrymen are overseas right now, killing & getting killed in support of our governments goals.

So do I think that cooperation among the elite will stave off the consequences of depletion?


But I think war will...

That sounds about right.

Somewhat unsure about the 'cooperation amongst the elite(s)' - I think it is probably best the less this is, if the elites really cooperated then it would be more of the non-elites that they would choose to sacrifice.

Think. Elites A and B meet and realise there is a problem: resources for 100 million but a population of 200 million. Let's have a war that eliminates 100m. Best to keep any elites at odds, better still to kill them.

Best to keep any elites at odds, better still to kill them.

But if the total number of "elites" killed from A and B does not reach 100 million you still have "the problem".
What do you do then?

P.S. Beside, WHO is gonna kill the elites?

Hello TODers,

MPP is impossible? to overcome-- the short version of his text.  That is why I remain a fast-crash doomer, but certainly not advocating for it.  When the White House lawn is plowed up to grow organic vegetables-- then I might have some hope for some measure of mitigative detritus decline and biosolar Powerup.

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

Asset inertia - whereby businesses and politicians use every means at their disposal to protect and grow their resource/power investments - is also a key factor.  The energy sector alone has trillions in fossil fuel capital investment that they will never walk away from.

Kind of like a Ski Resort in Colorado in 2050 ?

I look at a lot of American assets now and try and decide if they will keep some/any of their value under peak oil and global warming. Its a intresting exercise. A lot of assets in America are iffy at best.

I, at last, an more enlighten constatation.

Inertia is something hard to fight against.  Different organisations (small, large, wide, local to world)just try to stay aflaot an healthy, each one of them.

No one wants to realy quit the actual paradigm.

No one wants to be the odd one, the one that wont march in the trail.  

People are good at seeing short range benefits and somewhat not good at all at evaluating long range implication of anything.

We dont have a part of the brain educated to take into account large and really awfull problems.  We even have an automatic shut off valve for stopping worry over these kinds of problem.  Even our local administrators and elected people, when informed, dont use too much of their time on these kinds of problems.

This is simply too hard to tackle for the common people. Change is better acheived when tackled slowly and with the implication of the persons affected.

Auto Industry know about this since a long time ago.  They know how to do little change each year so it doesnt look changed year on year but in the long run, it is really.

When are we, as a society, gonna change for good?

Not before change is really needed and evident for everyone.

Fair question and comment.

There are some here who have made real changes. I have and will, the last couple of years I have grown most (90%) of my vegetables, saved seed, relearnt some skills that were getting rusty.

We don't want to exit the paradigm because it is a comfortable one. Wet fish slap is in order.

Now I will be a nomad. I'll sell my house, live at various sustainable communities, teach my skills and knowledge, learn from others. If you live in UK you might be interested:

That crystalised my intent, then I stood the concept on its head: it will have a revolving population, I will revolve around different locations. Itinerent 'skillers' might become a popular role.

I know I'm a youngster at 52 but I hope I have the bredth of knowledge and practical skills to make a difference to most places I stop at.

We, as a society, are a collection of individuals. When society makes a change for the good is a function of sufficient "me's" making the change.

You are quite correct in stating that people who run the show have an extremely strong motivation to preserve the status quo. The groups of people who have a really good thing going will do literally anything, including murder and brutal oppression, not to lose their privileged position.

I too am gradually starting to think that the world's major rulers would rather beggar a major fraction of their own citizens and keep them under the thumb of a brutal police-state rather than risk an all-out resource war. I think the globalists, one-worlders, or whatever you want to call them, have concluded that there soon won't be enough goodies to go around for everybody, so we better start making plans to ensure that the 'right people' won't do without.

Of course, implementing such a radical redesign of the social order will require an omnipresent police state with arbitrary powers. And it is clear to me that the supposed democracies of the US and UK are progressing at full speed down the road toward  fascist police states.  Any vestige of liberty will be totally impossible if a small group sets itself aside as the Haves and consigns the rest of the rabble to be the Have Nots. Have Nots, especially recently created Have Nots, tend to get rather grumpy and are prone to cause trouble. Hence the absolute need for a powerful, totally ruthless police state. (The detention camps Halliburton is building for the US gov could serve as the basis of an American gulag.)

As the existing Have Nots can't get much lower, the only way for the Haves to keep getting the goodies in a  collapsing economy is to take them from the middle class. The middle class is already under assault in the US, and a current middle class family in the US can no longer assume that its children will grow up in middle class circumstances.

There may not be outright organized revolutions, but there is a good chance of increasingly violent and widespread social unrest as economic conditions get worse and worse. These things seldom develop  gradually or orderly, but rather seem to reach some unseen threshold of anger and frustration and then explode. A good example is the urban riots in the US during the 1960s.

Of course, all of the above does not preclude the possibilty of increasingly dangerous armed conflicts over oil and other resources. There could still be  all-out resource wars if things spin out of control (as they often do once a war gets started).  

Where I might depart a bit from your line of thinking is that wars have for centuries served the purpose of securing the power of the ruling class with their restive subjects. Thus, in times of ugly social upheaval, a nice little staged war (such as with Iran, for example) might be just the remedy to get the masses to forget their hardships and to get back into the right patriotic frame of mind.

I am not making predictions - just speculating on how things might go. However, I am quite certain that we are in for a greater level of instability and uncertainty.

Everything Joule said.

All you have to do is take existing conditions and trends and extrapolate along the curve we've seen over the past say 5 years, since 9-11.

That's all Peak Oil, the Olduvai Theory, etc are, just taking hard data like oil production and consumption, looking at societies' responses to decreasing energy flows, etc. It does not take a lot of imagination. No aliens have to hide behind a comet, Xenu doesn't have to bury us in a volcano, it doesn't require God and Satan and Asgard and a burnin' ring of fire. Just thinking as rationally as possible about data gathered as objectively as possible.

Everything Joule and fleam said.

Long after commercial air travel is closed to the proles, the elites will be shuttling around their archipelago of gated communities in their personal family HondaJets.

Anyone who doesn't like that and tries to create trouble will find themselves falsely arrested for drugs, terrorism, child porn, thoughtcrime, or just plain arrested without any pretense of charges.  The labor camps will always need fresh meat.  Ambitious proles who don't want to wind up in the camps can always dream of a secure job with the security services.

"The real geological consequences of peak oil and related resource depletion and environmental stresses will only result in an increase of a two tiered class culture where the elites and wealthy will preserve their status and wealth and a growing underclass will be socialized to accept their decline and serve the interest of the elites."

As I have repeatedly, redundantly and repetitiously said, "Cut thy spending and get thee to the non-discretionary side of the economy."   We are facing a massive and fundamental transformation--from an economy focused on meeting "wants" to an economy focused on meeting "needs."  

Trying to borrow your way into prosperity and/or borrowing to maintain one's "status" in this kind of environment is insane, IMO.   Unfortunately, the underlying message that Yergin, et al, are delivering is precisely that--go ahead and finance the large SUV to drive the long commute to and from the large suburban mortgage.

I have spent many yrs assisting people with making changes in their lives.  I've learned a couple of things.  One is that only a small number of people make changes by being given information.  Typically, information stays just that. It has to be connected to something occuring in their lives at the moment.  Information with a national agenda is a different matter.  And we're not going to get a national agenda for a whole lot of reasons.  Another is the vast majority of people only make changes when some level of pain is felt.  A national agenda would have to deliver pain to the middle class.  Few politicians are going to voluntarily give up their jobs.  Right now the national agenda is one of "keep em secure and happy". A piddling amount of speculative oil in the Gulf is made into salvation.  Another fact is there is a process to how change occurs.  We are slowly moving from "there isn't a problem" to "well maybe there is one".  The latter stage will involve endless discussions, arguments, etc, etc.  The next stage is "what do we do" and then comes some action.  None of this means present day discussions are not important, just that behavior change is a process.  Unfortunately, we may not (I suspect don't) have the time.  
I've always ascribed the masses adherence to the status quo as springing from a lack of  technological and historical literacy.  Whether it is the meat on their table, or the television in their den, they just don't know or care what was required to produce them.  Nor do they know what has happen to civilizations before them.

So completely isolated from the stark realities of life, they have convinced themselves those realities don't exist.  The vast majority of Americans are religiously dedicated to the concept of cornucopia. An messing with peoples religion will get you burned at the stake.

I remember the big 1950s nostalgia craze in the 1970s - people were really nostalgic for Studebakers and button-down conservatism, the 1950s were seen as a time of Security; this was a reaction to the beginning of the squeeze of the middle and working class in the US, and the recession that the US was undergoing at that time. So, Happy Days and shows like that were on TV, while as kids we often made do with that newfangled food for the near-starving, cup noodles. I like the shrimp flavor, and knew enough from my shell-collecting days to know the teeny shrimp in there were krill.

LIttle did people know that the trends starting in the 1970s would continue and are with us now, 30 years later. In a strange looping-back of logic, I expect to see our steepening of the fall in living standards started in the 1970s, to be more like the 1970s, maybe a huge nostalgia for the 1970s and its nostalgia for the 1950s?

One thing I have always wondered about Ramen and those cup o soups: just what the hell was Oriental flavor?
Propaganda can be shaped as entertainment. The TV show "24" presents an America experiencing terrorist events happening a thousand times more often than reality. The crime shows present an America with a hundred times the true rate of crime. Promotions of a new series called "Jericho" show mushroom clouds over a distant American city. The elites want us to be afraid of anything other than the elites themselves. The elites want us to believe they are protecting us from foreign terrorists and domestic criminals and that we need to surrender some of our civil liberties for the cause.

Hell now days you just have to burn a American flag in public.
I suppose it is no accident that Ibon's gloomy remarks come at a time when those representing the status quo, like ExxonMobil or Saudi Arabia, are making concerted efforts to beat back peak oil claims.

Even a casual glance at history shows that revolutions always meet great resistance. Those opposing the powers that be must also remain steadfast and tenacious. Discouragement followed by cynicism and withdrawal is the danger. Not a day passes in which I do not think that the whole enterprise is hopeless.

We are now reaching the point where events will dictate the world's course. Crises like the peak of world oil production or an abrupt change of climate will be tipping points--irreversible and dramatic. Only then will business as usual cease, out of necessity, not through any prescience we were able to bring to bear on the situation.

What will happen afterwards is of great concern. Ibon's view that the crises will

result in an increase of a two tiered class culture where the elites and wealthy will preserve their status and wealth and a growing underclass will be socialized to accept their decline and serve the interest of the elites
ignores the fact that the world is already mostly a two-tiered class culture like the one he describes. This has not stopped us now, nor will it will it prevent us from trying to preserve the best parts of civilization in the future.

No one said life is easy or if someone did, they forgot to tell me. Starry-eyed idealists will not survive the tough times ahead. Some practical thinking, a little love and a bit of luck may get you through. A sense of the absurd and a sense of humor will also help.

A man was driving along a freeway when he noticed a chicken running alongside his car. He was amazed to see the chicken keeping up with him, as he was doing 50 mph. He accelerated to 60, and the chicken stayed right next to him. He sped up to 75 mph, and the chicken passed him. The man noticed that the chicken had three legs. So he followed the chicken down a road and ended up at a farm. He got out of his car and saw that all the chickens had three legs. He asked the farmer, "What's up with these chickens?" The farmer said "Well, everybody likes chicken legs, so I bred a three-legged bird. I'm going to be a millionaire." The man asked him how they tasted. The farmer said, "Don't know, haven't caught one yet."

-- Dave

Oh my God, you mean there's NOT going to be "A Great Turning"!

I mean I figured all this war, defense spending, ecological devastation, increasing balkanization, etc. was a sign that we are about to become an "earth community." How could I have seen the evidence things are just going to keep getting worse, at least on a macro level, in such a false light?

OMG, it was because I had an agenda to promote, an agenda that developed at a time of great abundance, the 1960s.

There, there...it will be ok.  

Perhaps you won't walk hand-in-hand with your brothers into a peaceful and fulfilling future; instead carve a new place for yourself, (preferably out of your brother's tripes).

Yeah, Matt, if there's a great turning, it's probably going to be a Turning of the Screw. But more importantly, did you like the chicken joke?  


today is my first day w/o caffeine in 5 years. (Have had lots of aspirin to ward off the headaches) I'm not getting the joke but that may be because my brain is not-functioing well right now.

I went off coffee today also. Great minds etc. Am allergic to aspirin. Headaches are not too bad. Odd coincidence.
I tried going off w/o the aspirin but would get terrible headaches by noon and then use that as an excuse to dose up with the caffeine!

So I preemptively popped a couple asprin with breakfast and a couple more with lunch. Helped tremendously.

I am allowing myself to ingest caffeine today as I have a lot of work to do. My plan is to go off Tuesday and Thursday but have it Mon, Wed, Fri of this week at which time I will get done work that requires my brain to function properly. Tuesday and Thursday I will reserve for mindless work.

Then next weekend, I will take both days off. And that following week I should be able to cut my dosage in half and only only use it on M,W,F.

That will be a 75% cut in weekly caffiene consumption. I'm okay with msyelf using a little bit 3-4 times per week. I just hate being reliant on it all day every day as I have been since finals during my first year of law school. Heck I remember the first time I used it to get through a 24 hour take home final on immigration law. I figured at the time, "just this once . . . "  Famous last words.

The best way to cut caffeine is to taper off.  Cold turkey is not the way to go.  It really is a physical addiction.  

Cut back by one cup of coffee a day, until you're caffeine-free.  Or mix decaf and regular, upping the amount of decaf until it's 100%.  

Or substitute Coke or Pepsi, which have about 1/3 the caffeine of a cup of coffee, then gradually cut back on those.

Taper off gradually, and it's pretty painless.

Jared Diamond 'Collapse'

Tim Wright 'A Short History of Progress'

Stephen Tainter 'The Collapse of Complex Societies'

Each documents quite carefully how elites act to preserve themselves, and their way of life, even in the face of evidence that that is no longer sustainable.

It's happening in the US now (whether the Kennedys blocking the Cape Cod Wind Farm, or the oil and coal industry funded global warming denialists in the White House).  It's happening in other countries, too.

"Each documents quite carefully how elites act to preserve themselves, and their way of life, even in the face of evidence that that is no longer sustainable."

From CNN:

What war with Iran would look like
POSTED: 10:46 a.m. EDT, September 17, 2006

Editor's note: The following is a summary of this week's Time magazine cover story.

(Time.comexternal link) -- The first message was routine enough: a "Prepare to Deploy Order" sent through Naval communications channels to a submarine, an Aegis-class cruiser, two minesweepers and two minehunters.

The orders didn't actually command the ships out of port; they just said be ready to move by October 1.

A deployment of minesweepers to the east coast of Iran would seem to suggest that a much discussed, but until now largely theoretical, prospect has become real: that the U.S. may be preparing for war with Iran.

We had to destroy the village to save it

Where it says "village", read "world".

I typed "Iran deployment" into Google and -- ever helpful -- it asked me if I meant "Iraq deployment". No, we've already screwed that one up. We're now moving on to bigger and nastier things. Whatever disaster Bush & Company create, rest assured they will argue that they are the best ones to manage it after the fact.

I hope this is not one of those October Surprises that I anticipate.

This is the excerpt from the Time.com website:

The first message was routine enough: A "Prepare to Deploy" order sent through naval communications channels to a submarine, an Aegis-class cruiser, two minesweepers and two mine hunters. The orders didn't actually command the ships out of port; they just said to be ready to move by Oct. 1. But inside the Navy those messages generated more buzz than usual last week when a second request, from the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), asked for fresh eyes on long-standing U.S. plans to blockade two Iranian oil ports on the Persian Gulf. The CNO...
FYI--a blockade is generally considered to be an act of war, but Wikipedia has a description of a "Pacific Blockade."


Pacific blockade was a term invented by Hautefeuille, the French writer on international maritime law, to describe a blockade exercised by a great power for the purpose of bringing pressure to bear on a weaker state without actual war.
It may only be bluster, but Iran has made it clear that sanctions like a blockade will be regarded as an act of war.  
Well, new moon is Wednesday, so we better watch out.
Hello Valuethinker,

It is always good to remind us of these authors.  Some topdogs, such as Richard Rainwater, are taking the opposite track [good for him!].  Recall my postings for creating large biosolar habitats, and Richard R's consideration of creating large 'for profit' biosolar developments.  He understands that protecting other species' habitats is vital, and the larger the area--the better it is.  We need alot more of this desire to build large, contiguous habitats.  Cascadia, and other potentially viable areas should use this argument as the basis for legislative Secession.  From the Sixth Extinction :
The third, and by far the most important, mode of human-driven extinction is the destruction and fragmentation of habitat....A more recent satellite study reveals that even where forest is not clear-cut, it is often fragmented into small "islands" that are ecologically fragile... One of the expected observations is that species would become extinct more rapidly and more extensively in small patches than in larger ones. Some of the vulnerable species are those which require a large range, for various reasons....An unexpected finding from the experiment, however, is that even large forest patches are less sturdy than might be imagined. The reason is the so-called edge effect. Habitats deep in the forest enjoy a degree of protection from external perturbation, whereas those at the boundary between forest and grassland, for instance, are exposed to winds, dramatically varying microclimates over short distances, incursion by nonforest animals and human hunters, and other inimical circumstances. The result: species of animals and plants are vulnerable to extinction for as much as a half a mile into the forest. The edge effect is therefore important even for large tracts of forest.

Recall TODer Todd disclosing how wild animals are rampaging in his garden.  I posit that this is because they have no choice because their habitat is declining due to this edge effect and habitat fragmentation.  Todd would be better off convincing his region to protect the entire ecosystem so adequate territory exists so that these animals can find sufficient forage in the wild.  But easier said than done.

What would be interesting is if Bush & Cheney will seek to enlarge the habitats around their state-of-the-art Eco-Tech ranchettes.  If they understand the concepts in my above quote: they will either buy the surrounding land to drive the people off, then let the land and species recover, OR the Secret Service will be used to clear the people out by force for miles around.  Your taxdollars at work in a PostPeak Paradigm Shift to build large, contiguous habitats.  IMO, it is the least they can do for their daughters and future grandchildren.

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

"Recall TODer Todd disclosing how wild animals are rampaging in his garden.  I posit that this is because they have no choice because their habitat is declining due to this edge effect and habitat fragmentation.  Todd would be better off convincing his region to protect the entire ecosystem so adequate territory exists so that these animals can find sufficient forage in the wild.  But easier said than done."

  I sent this on to Todd. However, I'll point out that we have only have  about 8 people/square mile for the entire county. Leaves lots of room for animals, until the crunch hits, at which point, as Todd will tell you, they will be gone in less than 6 months.

Bob you make some good points.  To add:

There will never be a successful succession from the US of A.  Not while the US of A itself exists as a legislative and political entity with military power.  That point was resolved, decisively, in 1865.  Although the Reconstruction (when there was armed rebellion, successfully, against the duly elected governments of several states) shows that there can be political fragmentation.

Alberta and BC could go their own way from Canada, although this would most likely be a conservative 'the environment can go to hell' type republic, rather than some eco-dream.  The eco-dreamers and the 'an old growth forest is just waste wood' types are in about even balance in BC, and in Alberta the latter outnumber the former by 4:1.  People move to BC to cut down their 5 acres of forest and live in communion with their Jeep and their Honda generator.  You get pockets of ultra greenies in Vancouver, Victoria etc. but they are not the majority.

When you have some of the inhabited world's coldest winters, and you sit on the largest single reserve of oil (albeit in tar sands form) known, you can afford to have that disbelieving attitude to global climate change.

Contiguous ecological habitats are constantly getting carved up: a point Tim Flannery "The Weather Makers" makes very well.  Call it the suburbanisation of the North American continent in its final phase: when the exurbs put access roads everywhere.  In fact, his earlier book, about the natural history of North America, "The Eternal Frontier" is also very, very good.

Coming from Australia, he understands very well the 'frontier' mentality of North Americans, that makes nature a hostile force to be exploited, and prizes individual freedom of action above any societal or environmental requirement.

Places that might survive in a catastrophic global warming scenario are small societies with rich natural resources and long traditions of collective responsibility and action as well as geographic locations which are not particularly disfavoured by global warming.  To wit: Scandinavia.

In North America, you find reflections of those value systems in parts of Canada and the US (eg Vermont) but only parts.  Wisconsin and Minnesota, maybe.

Richard Rainwater reminds me of some of the characters in the Jerry Pournelle/ Steve Stirling 'The Mercenary' (Colonel John Christian Falkenberg) saga.  In particular, the Bronson family, which seeks to dominate US politics from the basis of huge feudal landholdings in the Midwestern United States.

Pournelle is something of a right wing lunatic but

  • he is smart, very smart
  • he knows his history, particularly his later Roman Republic and later Roman Empire
  • his vision of what can be done with technology is probably right (but only in the very long run)
  • his pessimism about human outcomes (back to the behaviour of elites) is well justified by historical experience
(see also David Drake)
As Rat says, there is lots of habitat.  What has occurred this year is that we didn't have late spring rains and zero summer rains.  Therefore, the pigs had little to eat.  They have always been around but had never attacked our garden in 25 years.

If this year portends the future, I'll be a lot more agressive right from the git-go in dealing with them, i.e, shooting and putting out poison bait (now that I figured out how to get them to take it - pour apple juice over the bait bars).

As far as bears go, we're on their summer migration route.  We always have bear damage to our orchard and grapes- it's just a matter of how bad it is.  We've only had to have a federal trapper (now called Animal Specialist) come in three or four times to set up culvert traps and foot snares.

One of my main concerns aside from orchard damage is that they will try to get in the house; and we have had bear footprints on a sliding glass door on a couple of occassions.

Deer are only a problem after a bear crushes the fence and they can get in.  But, it's a real pain after that.  FWIW, we have about 2 acres fenced with 6' high graduated fencing.

Todd; a Realist

Hello Todd and Valuethinker,

Thxs for your replies.

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

"Each documents quite carefully how elites act to preserve themselves, and their way of life ... "

Why the elite-bashing? All of us try to preserve ourselves --- it's just that the elites are better at doing so than most.

That's why they are elites, of course.

The point being that elites have the power to change the system in a society, to alter a society's course towards a more ecologically friendly outcome.  Diamond cites a number of examples where this was precisely the case (eg medieval Japan).

By contrast, the average person, throughout most of history, has had very little discretion on how society worked, how or where they lived, etc.

But, by and large, elites are more trapped in the system than anyone else, so they do not.

I see that here (in the UK): there are recurring evidences of global warming, yet 1 in 12 cars sold (and much more than that in affluent areas eg London) is an SUV-type vehicle.  After all, with an SUV, you can drive through deeper water when the roads flood.

Diamond is cautiously optimistic, in that we live in a world where information is more openly and freely dispersed than ever before.

Counter to that I would note that despite all the information out there, the man in the street either doesn't know what global warming is, thinks it has something to do with the ozone layer, or thinks that it has nothing to do with human activity.

elites have the power to change the system

There is a tendency here to think in one dimension.
Is society divided into a linear stacking of classes with "the elites" at the very top, controlling everything?

Or can the world be much more complex than that?

Is it possible that the elites are as much, preordained results or "victims" of the system as are those at the very bottom rungs of the hierarchical complex?

When an "elite" baby is born, he or she is predestined to go to Harvard or Yale and to be educated into thinking in a very particular way about how the world works.

As an elite child grows up, and enters a room, people instantly stand up for him (GW Bush) or her (Paris Hilton) and bow in reverance. Taxi cabs screech to a halt with the mere wave of a finger. Waiters drop everything to provide service beyond excellence. And quite naturally, the elititist growth spud comes to see the world as working in perfect harmony with his/her needs and best interests. The Market provides. "They" always come up with a solution to meet the demands of the golden child.

Of course the "They", the starving waiter who wants to be a movie star, the taxi cab driver who just wants to feed his family this one more week are just hoping for the lucky break, for that generous tip. If only the elite-person notices and drops a gracious smile as well as a hefty chunk of change in the tip jar. If only a little bit of the elite's piss water "trickles down" on the face of the desparate and down trodden.

So yes, you are right to observe:

by and large, elites are more trapped in the system than anyone else

No one person has the power to alone change the system.
But we can get a dialogue going.
We can try to send signals though the system, signals that say something is not quite right.
Maybe some of the enlightened elites will start to notice?

Maybe some will make a positional U-turn?

Ya Gotta EAT!
  The ELITE!

What I have underestimated is the resiliency and the level of cooperation that goes on at the highest levels of our global poltical and economic systems to maintain the status quo.

Masters of the system?

Instead of chaos and transformation I see the global elite preserving the status quo at all costs to prevent revolution. The real geological consequences of peak oil and related resource depletion and environmental stresses will only result in an increase of a two tiered class culture where the elites and wealthy will preserve their status and wealth and a growing underclass will be socialized to accept their decline and serve the interest of the elites.

The status quo being increased polarisation?

I've started to try to put together this demand destruction model for peak oil -inspired by Westexas and others - and what this says is that peak consumption will be reached in differnt countries at different times.  So for poor countries', peak may already be past - hard to see that in the data yet though.  But the logical conclusion of this is that the richest countries reach peak consumption last - resulting in ever increasing polarisation.  This leads to one set of problems for the world - a massive extension of some of the problems we already have.

The alternative model is to have huge tax increases on fuel - especially jet fuel, induce a massive global recession, ruin transportation industries etc, and this will create a whole different set of problems - but much closer to home.

I've clearly spent far too long looking out to sea this year.

One of the best (and only) economics book I've read is called "Our Brave New World" by GaveKal Research - well worth the read.  Note their exportation of volatility concept tied to platform companies.

Next on my list is spelling for 6 year olds - any chance of getting a spell checker on TOD?

The article confirms some of my suspicions. Several times I've thought the Howard government in Australia and the Bush administration have been passing each other notes under the table, for example on climate change denial. That means that the civil service is complicit in propaganda when they are surely meant to be impartial. In Australia there is a coalition of conservative parties which won't hear any criticism of the coal industry; I've taken to calling them the Coal-ition.

The problem with denying reality is that eventually you'll go down in a big way. I can't wait.

Logically it means that you play for a crash sooner rather than later.  You don't support measures like higher gas taxes, etc.  The longer you delay the day of reckoning the worse it will be for the peons, because the elites will use the time and resources to reinforce their position, with wars and police states.
It basically means Richard Abbey was right, start wreckin' stuff now.

I say the party's to start the minute the US starts a war with Iran.

I mean Edward Abbey
I'm almost certain that they do so-- collaborate, and not even under the table-- their trade officials to ours.

And now Canada has elected Tom Harper as PM, and lo and behold, the renewable energy and climate change sections of the Environment Canada website are down, and unavailable.

The 3 worst greenhouse gas polluters per capita in the world: Canada, Australia and the US, and they are all headed by leaders who deny that there is man made climate change.

I doubt new evidence will convince them to change their minds.

Judging from the quoted section, I'd say I've suffered from a milder form of this same cycle.

I did have hopes in more short-term transformative power for peak oil.  I'm not getting all I wanted.  On the other hand, I think it is wrong to characterize the current environment as static or to say we are in a fixed "status quo"

What the elites are really defending is a system in slow transition.  That includes transitions forced by environmental groups (CO2 restrictions in Europe or auto emissions in California).  In that sense the transition is going in some directions they don't like.

(I don't think Republican elites like the Ford/GM situation.)

Well, in terms of the U.S. changing, I gave up on that ca. 1985 or so.

The U.S. is not the world, regardless of how many Americans think it is.

That someone living in the U.S. despairs of American society changing is completely understandable to me.

But so what? What comes out of the pipeline defines peak oil, nothing more and nothing less.

That is why this idea of a movement is not really possible for me to understand. In a broad sense, peak oil is a technology question - it is neither a matter of faith nor a catalyst for change, apart from those tied to oil being less available. Those changes may be truly insurmountable, or a minor blip over the next decade.

But in the end, change happens by people changing. I was surprised at how essentially nothing had changed in 6 years in the U.S., except for the no longer so subtle use of IDs and databases to monitor travel and behavior. (EZPass, for example, tied to credit databases which tie into phone databases which tie into employment records which tie into health records, which tie into property/rental records which tie into ISP databases - and that is just a basic American framework, not a NSA puzzle palace one.)

EZ-Pass is scary.  We've already had cases where people were fired because of their EZ-Pass records (which showed them to be not where they were supposed to be).  They've also been used in divorce cases (proving adultery by tracking the straying spouse's movements).  And of course, they can tell when you're speeding.
No, no, EZ-Pass is convenient - I was told that by several people who were really happy to be able to have their auto travel monitored and their accounts automatically debited.

This is an interesting contrast to Germany, where many such conveniences are seen in an entirely different light. But Germany also has a national system in place for collecting tolls on trucks using the autobahn. But any discussion of expanding this system to include cars meets fierce opposition, and not only due to money issues. People here tend to be very aware how simple it is to abuse collected data.

On the other hand, most people have no idea how much data their cell phone provides, working as designed. And though we can talk about an Iron Triangle in terms of peak oil, the telecommunications industry is very good at making certain little information escapes about just what their systems are capable of.

There was a case here of a Mercedes test driver who seems to have driven at such extreme speed that it ended up causing a mother in a slower car to crash, killing her and her child. This happened near where I live, and as a result much of the news in the region was actually done in real time in terms of the court cases.

Part of that reporting on a local radio station included mention of the fact of the closed door testimony relating to his testimony as it compared to his cell phone records - his phone detailed his speed and various locations in a way which very obviously contradicted his story.

When the live report was rebroadcast in the hourly news segment, the part about the cell phone records was gone. Probably because it was an uninteresting detail in a story of massive national interest.

Interestingly, the driver's conviction was made without anyone actually being able to testify that he was the cause of the crash - and if he hadn't lied so obviously about his top speed and location, it is likely that the lawyers provided by Mercedes would have been able to avoid him spending time in jail - though the perjured testimony of several co-workers didn't help his case, either.

What that means is the people running the different societies on this planet don't see the magnitude of the crisis, yet.

We've just had one of the environmental groups cheer the cancellation of a wind power project, because the units would be visible from a Scottish National park.  The units which are outside the hills.  They lobbied very hard with the local council (Perthshire) to prevent it being built.

With environmental groups like these as friends, does the environment really need enemies?

I've long thought "catabolic collapse" was our most likely fate.  Even Easter Island - a much smaller and more limited system - did not collapse overnight.  It took about two generations.

The fact that they did not make major changes despite having 50 years from the time of recognizing the problem to collapse into warfare, starvation, and cannibalism does not mean they were stupid or primitive.  It just means they were human.  

Maybe they were doomers, and threw themselves into that fate.
Hello Odograph,

I disagree.  Recall my Shaw's Paradox:
Cornucopian Message helps bring the Peakdate sooner and a faster decline, Doomer Message delays the Peakdate later and helps mitigate decline.

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

Oops, forgot to include the following statement:

The Easter Island Doomers, who could recognize what was coming, paddled off in seaworthy canoes while they still had the chance.

Heh ...

I've actually thought of a good sailboat anchored in some deserted Alaskan cove. Just dine on salmon and wait for the worst to subside down south.

But ... I'll probably stick with my farm and help support my neighbors.

Have you considered breeding, breaking, and selling draft horses that are also broke for riding? Could be a rather lucrative avocation, and at the same time provide for your neighbors needs, provided you are not old and brittle as I am.
I've always thought there were more choices than just cornucopian and doomer.  If those were the only two messages though, people would be confused ...
"...they did not make major changes despite having 50 years from the time of recognizing the problem..."

You mean they actually recognized the problem? And if they really did, how do we know when they did?

Just trying to cause trouble....

There were changes in their technology, to deal with the decline in resources.  Also more centralization (before it all fell apart into internecine warfare, probably on the family level).
"...changes in their technology, to deal with the decline in resources.  Also more centralization..."

Sounds like what's happening just about everywhere now.

Anyway, those were just reactions. It doesn't mean they (or we) recognized cause-effect relationships. I haven't read "Collapse" yet though; maybe I'll see it differently once I have.

Revolution is a strong word, but a lot will be accomplished by the choices made by individuals.  I believe there will be a relatively peaceful transition to non-oil energy sources.  Alternatives, ranked by long-term potential usefulness to the most people are:
  1. Solar
  2. Nuclear(small-scale)
  3. Coal
  4. Biomass
  5. Wind
but ranked by political expediency and maintenance of the status-quo, they are more like:
  1. Coal
  2. Nuclear(big)
  3. Wind
  4. Biomass
  5. Solar
That is, the alternatives that require and reward large capital investments, engineering and bureaucratic approvals, or must be tied into a continental grid because they are unreliable(ie..wind) will be supported by the elites.  This requires, of course, that the public allows itself to be locked in to paying for it, and we can expect to see more PPP's and "mandatory" subscription to these new energy sources even though they may be economically and environmentally costly in the long term.

Solar and modular nuclear are inherently more distributed and "democratic", and don't support central control, so we shouldn't expect to see TV ads for these technologies anytime soon.  They will have to be driven by grass-roots support.  People can invest in solar startups, and tell their politicians that they are not really as scared of small nukes like This one as the MSM claims they are.

Where does Natural Gas fit in?  Or is that an oil energy source?  California has effectively banned coal from their energy mix for the time being.  So I guess the powers that be in California are somewhat different from TPTB elsewhere.
We've had some great examples just in the past week of TPTB broadcasting "Everything's fine".  Look at today's editorial by Tom Friedman.  All we have to do is follow Brazil's example, use cane to make alcohol and we will be fine. This on top of the miraculous discovery of oil in the GOM.  Now  Abdallah Jum'ah, president and CEO of Saudi Aramco said the world has the potential of 4.5 trillion barrels in reserves.  

I haven't been studying these things long enough to know if this is part of a larger pattern of deception or new to the peak oil issue but this drumbeat of mis-information certainly makes it difficult for society at large to believe anything needs to be done.

Can anyone post a link to Friedman's article? It's had a couple of references here, but is behind a subscription wall at NY Times.
It is not the size of an oil reserve that concerns the peak oil theory.  It is the extraction rate that concerns us. If that 4 trillion barrels are under 7,000 ft of water and 20,000 ft of rock then it won't be comming out of the ground quick enough to matter.
I personally have always thought that the elites will do everything in the power to avoid change until they see the peasants coming up the hill with pitchforks and torches.  I mean, they have decades of evidence that bad things happen only to others.  

And for sure, wealthy elites here would pay attention to wealthy elites in China and absolutely not to the proles.

Long time lurker, first time poster.

Thanks to all for sharing your thoughts, and information. I am forced to be here because I cannot discuss these kinds of issues with any person I know.

Like Prof Goose, I have spent the better part of two years researching the issues. It doesn't look good. I am a numbers guy, and the numbers look disturbing. The first number that grabs me is the 8 Trillion dollar US debt, with no end in sight. Thats easy. The second number is a bit more difficult, and thats oil production from the Arabian Pininsula. Is it in decline or not? And how is the potential decline offset with gains elsewhere?

But really, it does not matter... for the decline is inevitable. The decline is inevitable in any region that produces, its only a matter of when.

I would rather observe than participate. And my observations are that most U.S. citizens are totally oblivious to the challenges ahead. By the time most realize the truth, it will be simply to late to affect meaningful change.

I have read LATOC several times and researched all of the links. I have read the Oldvai Theory several times; read the Long Emergency and The Empire of Debt. The poignant observation is clear... the Doomers have all of the numbers and the Cornocopians don't.

There will never be a two tier system in this country. Once the middle class collapses, its every man for himself.


Then I suggest you quit reading about panceas(sp?) and start preparing.

There are some guidelines available. Find a good piece of land, start making lists, start purchasing, get some firearms, and then you can quit worrying for you are doing something positive instead of just reading about 'we might make a soft landing'...yada yadadoooooooo.....

I am pretty much there already. I think I can make it thru the dieoff if not too lengthy. Gives you a good feeling to look at what you have done, check your supplies, more lists, etc.

And if it doesn't come and TOD saves the day? You got lots of food and can take up target shooting and hunting as a hobby.

Here is a start for your list:
Salt(lots of it)
Dried staples(rice,beans,corn,etc)
2 double bit axes
one man crosscut saw
strong nubile female willing to go along(optional)
AR15 Tachtical Rifle
Lots of ammo and reloading supplies
and so on and so forth..........

I think I can make it thru the dieoff if not too lengthy.

Lengthy? Good question!
May be you are forgetting a few other good questions:

WHAT will magically end the die-off and bring back some form of social organisation?

Will YOU be much welcome by the "next" civilization when you will get out of woods where you were hiding?

This is just a sample...

Take this scenario. Bad comes. I live in rural outback of a totally farming county. I was born and raised here. I am related to many, friends to most, know almost everyone else.

You possibly and others live almost in a foreign country by comparison. When I lived in the burbs I knew by name but a handfull of my 'neighbors'.

Who will survive a 'social reorg'? Me. Trust is going to be a big big big item. Foreknowledge of other people near you.

The interlopers? What baggage do they bring but empty hands and hungry mouths?

We have man grain bins full of grain and meat on the hoof. That will all be very very well protected.

Let me put it this way. I know folks here about who have enough firearms socked away to protect what they have.

I would NOT want to be some elitist walking into the unknown country side in this situation.

No pitchforks or hoes. Just a lot of firepower and well used. We hunt a lot here. Its a bubba thing.

I know there is a lot of sassy hubris embedded above but I think its mostly true. You needn't be preaching to me about "no one is really prepared". Those who live in the flyover, be they stupid , rednecked or idiots, they will fight for survival and that doesn't mean getting ahold of the last few croissants and lattes at Starbucks, or getting one last hairdo.

What will end the die-off? I thought that was evident. Most of the conspicious consumers being dead. That includes likely most of the population. Government being non-existant. No standing army. No law enforcement.

Back to the pastoral life. Can it go any other way?

Back to the pastoral life. Can it go any other way?

I hope so!
You only answered half of the "obvious" question, the length of a die-off.
You feel you will survive until most others are dead and it won't take long.
That is pretty shortsighted.

How long would it take an outsider to be allowed in to a rural outback?  For example, if an outsider buys some land, leases it to a neighbor at a fair price to farm, allows some neighbors to hunt it, comes by with the family a few times a year to meet the neighbors, and carries their own weight if problems happen, would the locals let them stay?  

How long would it take to form trust like that?  Just curious.

How long you ask.

Well the way it tends to go around here is this way.

Interloper: Hey , whatcha boys doin?
Bubba: Nuttin,skinning a goat. Who are ya?
Interloper: Oh I brought that place up the road. Nice day!
Bubba: Who was you father, don't recall any AlMahhamad's in these parts.Where did you say you lived?
Interloper: Oh I live in NYC but I come here often,wanta hunt on my land?
Bubba: Already have,its not that good. Who was your mother?
Interloper: Well is that important?
Bubba: No kin here? From NYC? Where is that?

Joking aside. The only thing that matters is your past and history. If you have none or little then you are a nobody and will be treated politely but will never never hear what is really happening nor understand what is what nor be too well received. My wife never was accepted. She was from an adjoining state. She left here saying she would NEVER come back.

Thats the way it is and this is NOT the deep south. Southern cities...way different. Country folk? Just as I said IMO.

What you observe on the surface of country life is not the real life. Much is controlled , hidden and is family oriented.

Go read www.joebageant.com
Find the article on the left ,,about halfway down titled
"Howling in the belly of the Confederacy"

Get a job as a high school teacher and do a good job, care about the students.

You may not be from there, but after a few years you will have enough credits with the young adults to see you through.

In Georgetown, KY I am "John L's" grandson and kin to most everyone in northern Scott County (edge of bluegrass area).

For both Alan and Airdale, I'm curious about something different.  If things get particularly bad here, I've thought it might be worthwhile to have some land in the country around here to bug out to.  I'd be in Airdale's NYC guy's position, since I don't really want to live there, at least not any time soon.

What I'm curious about is if people from the city really did mob the country, would the people living in the country try to keep them out?  If they did, would they let someone who owned land there but didn't live there in?  Is there anything someone could do short of moving in for a few generations to be allowed in when other people are being kept out?  Or would the locals just keep you at arms-length; they won't force you to leave, but they won't do anything to help you no matter what you do.

My best advice for your situation.

Check out the ozarks in Missouri. Lots of state forests. Find a piece of land with some access to it yet abuts the national or state forest. Then you would have easy access to lots of timber, game , etc. and no game wardens once things get serious besides they don't watch it that close anyway.

You want some creek bottom land that has a spring feeding it. Also being near a cave is nice and there are a huge number of caves in the ozarks of Mo. for I have been to many of them. This gives you some nice 55 degree weather. A cave with a big overhang to keep out the weather would be better.

Lots of outback and the local populations have mostly moved away leaving just the ocassional groups near very small towns.

The people are closely tied I suppose , from the ones I knew but we ran thru a lot of woods and hills on dirt bikes and we also packed firearms. The locals never bothered us much. We were mostly on national or state forest land and it was not monitored at all. This was predominately near the area of Potosi and Ironton. Down along near the Black River. That area.

Creek bottom land because the hills are full or chert(rock) and all the good soil washes down to the bottoms that are flat.

I have camped and hunted there extensively. Some of that outback is rough. Many years ago I was offered 250 acres at $45/acre. Didn't take it but should have.

The weather is ok. Good water usually due to springs and not a lot(spell almost none) agriculture. No confinement feeding operations, no row crops.

Lots of people lived here way long ago. Its all deserted mostly now.

Go to St. Louis then south on Highway 21. Check the maps. Its very pretty in the fall. Stay away from Branson. Get off the beaten track.

I have a buddy who is mostly indian. He is way back up in the hills with his own little commune and he is the leader. I visited him last year and the area all looks the same as it did 30 yrs ago.

Sparsely populated in many areas. Might be a problem for you depending on what your goals are and so forth.

Land of copperheads,chiggers,some scorpions, and ticks. Yet never bothered us much. Oh yes,,we used to catch quite a few timber rattlers but they always warn you. Copperheads don't.

Yet I have never been bitten and used to sleep right on the ground a lot.

Welcome, hope you are getting good feedback to your post.  To jump right into it myself:

the Doomers have all of the numbers and the Cornucopians don't.

False dichotomy.  Both Doomers and Cornucopians have a fixed belief in an established world trajectory.  One thinks everything will work out, one thinks nothing will work out.

It seems to me on the other hand that there are very many interesting questions that do not, yet, have answers.  The most fundamental question for peak oil is, after the peak, how fast does production fall off?

Everything flows from there, but we don't know.  We don't know if it will be < 4%, say, or > 8%.  It makes a big difference to our preparation.

But to return to those cardboard cutout positions, do they care?  No.  Cornucopians can handle any rate of depletion, and for Doomers, any rate is too great.

"Elites"? "Proletariat's"? This is all Marxism carried through a warm kitchen. I didn't think anyone seriously believed this stuff anymore. Capitalism's ability to focus people on bottlenecks is the ultimate technology that will allow us to maneuver around the obstacle of depleting resources.  
Capitalism is predicated on growth. Constant growth reaches the constraints imposed by the realism of exponential mathematics.

How many items on the Periodic Chart can we manufacture or create?

Capitalism is predicated on growth but not necessarily on the manufacture of elements of the Periodic chart. The ultimate limitation is time, we only have so many hours in a day and days in a lifetime, yet capitalism gave rise to a healthy service sector that allows people to maximize the time doing what they like. If you don't like painting your house, pay someone, in turn you develop a website for someone that doesn't like doing that.

If capitalism can beat time, it can beat peak oil.

Keithster: Maybe you should turn your invisible hand loose on your sick nation of invalids.http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_39/b4002001.htm?chan=top+news_top+news+index_busines sweek+exclusives
I don't need to, it seems to already have happened. People used to die when they got old, now they boob jobs.
the dynosaurs were no doubt great capitalists
Sure, they made oil didn't they :)
the dynosaurs may be the source for some of the oil but algae is a more likely source of petroleum but dynosaurs or algae  both biota
Your faith in capitalism is charming, but it sounds to me as if you are one winners under this system.  Besides, Marxist dialectic never goes out of style.

The problem with capitalism is that it creates problems as much as it solves them.  Consider that capitalistic imperatives demanded $8.00/hour, unqualified security personel at airports prior to 9/11; it was simply not cost effective to hire competent, professional personel.  That that calculus is rendered stupid by tens of billions in losses doesn't matter.  Airport authorities and airlines were never required to pay for their stinting of security, in fact, they were bailed out by the Government with the people' money.  Typical of modern capitalism...profits are private but liabilities are public.  

Yes, I am a winner in this system, so far anyway, and despite a lot of success I can attest to the fact that liabilities are not always public.

The other beauty of this system is you can be a Marxist if you want to, whereas, I couldn't be a capitalist in a communist system. You can give your money away and live in a commune, but if I tried to be a capitalist in the communist societies that once existed, I would have been one of the 100 million that were executed, starved to death, or 'lost' in the prison system.  

My communist dialectic comment was supposed to be funny.  

As to your comment on the nature of capitalism vs. communism.  Do you really imagine that it is an either/or proposition?  Is communism the only thing that can replace capitalism?

You said:  

"the beauty of this system is you can be a Marxist if you want to, whereas, I couldn't be a capitalist in a communist system."

It is not capitalism that allows someone to a marxist in America, this freedom is allowed despite capitalism not because of it.  It is a dangerous habit to confuse democracy and the rule of law with capitalism.  Capitalists have worked hard to comingle free markets, democracy, and constitutional freedoms with capitalism but they are all separate things.  It is certainly possible to have a democracy with constitionally assured freedoms and a free market economy that is not capitalistic.

Keep knocking on doors, Keithster.  One day, one will open while your eyes are open and a whole new world of understanding will invite you in.

"If capitalism can beat time, it can beat peak oil."

Of course, there it is, an open door, but it seems, Keithster, you're so blinded by the fallacy of free choice, that you've missed the opportunity.

Capitalism can not beat time.  The idea that it can derives from the mechanistic paradigm that Newton offered the world.  Newton's conception is essentially without time.  But after Newton, our intellectual universe evolved with the discoveries of James Hutton (deep time) and his intellectual beneficiary Charles Darwin on one broad path, and on another, not unrelated, the coming into view of time's arrow, summed up in the entropy law.  

Yes, capitalism has deferred the day of reckoning, by borrowing time from the past, first bringing it up from the ground cartload by cartload, and then pumping it in ever increasing amounts. A million years of compressed time here, and a hundred million years there.  An elixer, whose quality only got better through a couple of short, brutal, centuries.

An elixer of illusion.  So much time, in such a small, concentrated form.  Surely, it can never run out.

An elixer of delusion.  We are so strong. Look, we can move mountains.  We are so smart.  Look, we have devised the perfect, perpetual, system. It is the end of history.  Let no other god stand before us.  

And all the other gods died laughing.  

Capitalism has always been expansionary.  So the first great capitalist nation grew its empire until it straddled the world. Empire building as a market making tool. Supply and demand, by our rules. Yet, alas poor Winston, the sun did finally set.  And then the second and even greater capitalist nation, the teapot dome, built a newer, smarter, even greater empire. No great white mother, no sterling silver, not even gold, needed, only paper. A righteous nation, a warrior nation, rule-maker, defender of the faith.  But alas, poor child, so old, so fast, tarred, and trapped.

The expansion is over. We await the inevitable retreat.

Capitalism has served elitism, but without growth, and new supply and new demand, capitalism not only fails to function, but fails to serve.

In time, elites will abandon capitalism, just as over time elites adopted it.  They will search for new ways to maintain privileged access to wealth and power.  It doesn't follow that they will inevitably succeed.  

Ibon is too impatient.  Things take time.  But in the time that has passed, not all has been wasted.  Capitalism has nurtured two ancient, revolutionary, ideas, not always with the honest cooperation of the principal beneficeries of the system.  Democracy is one of those ideas.  Reason is another.  

Peak oil/energy is not the end of civilisation, any more than capitalism, in any form, is the end of history.  Peak oil/energy marks the beginning of the end of capitalism.  It does not mark the end of democracy and reason.  Quite the contrary.  It is the opportunity to move on.

Capitalism has prepared its own departure. Take a long last look, Keithster, and then say good-bye.

Uh, yeah, I think you are reading too much into my statements, what I meant was capitalism enables everyone to do more of the things they enjoy with their time.  
Actually, I'm trying to help you read something into your statement.  You really give the impression of someone living in a mentally gated community.

By the way, the Leninist-Stalinist soviet system and the maoist system, were undoubtedly brutal failures (unless of course you're an investor in the new China taking advantage of all that cheap but educated labour).  But where did you come up with the 100 million dead number?  Can you name one credible source?  When you're counting the dead, you're hopefully not attributing the millions killed in world wars between rival capitalist empires to the Soviet and Maoist experiences.  Or are you?

I've competed against Commies. You know, the Commies were supposed to have these horrible systems and yes I've read all the complaints and am sure they have substance but, why did the Commies have sports clubs, writing clubs, all kinds of activities for people to do, when in the US the working class gets to drink, and that's about it? Why did the Commies have so many of the working class become doctors, engineers, all kinds of neat stuff, apparently based on aptitude, where in the US we all know it's highly restricted by race and class, especially when the ruling class can just import doctors and engineers from overseas? Dimitry Orlov (over on www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.com) talks about how in the Collapse of the USSR, it was not nearly as bad as the same conditions would be in the US, since, since no one owned their apartments and houses, there were no capitalists kicked them out of them - in the US we are sure to see tentvilles and shantytowns full of those evicted from the adjoining housing for lack of the *mort*gage or rent, starving and coughing and dying. Why the hell did the commies produce so damned much excellence in sports and science and every other area? Especially considering their much lower per-capita energy use and output?
Estimates vary from 85 million to 100 million. And it does not include wars of capitalist states with communist states.

The black book of communism

I was asking for a credible source.
I thought I'd check out what Norman Davies in his "Europe a History" - Pimlico had to say

Just for Soviet Russia /Soviet Union
Appendix 3 Table 5 Page 1329
"Categories of people killed in Soviet Russia and Soviet Union 1917 -1953 (excluding war losses 1939 -1945)
(after R.Medvedev and R Conquest) Numbers are millions
Civil War and Volga Famine 1918 -1922  3 to 5
Forced collectivization and "dekulakization" after 1929  10 to 14
Ukrainian Terror Famine 1932-3 6 to 7
Great Terror (1934 - 9) and purges 1
Deportations to the Gulag to 1937 10
Shootings and random executions 1937-9 1
Deportations from Eastern Poland , Baltic states and Romania 1939 -40 2
Foreign POWs: Poles, Finns,Germans,Japanese 1
Deportations to the Gulag 1939 -45 7
Deportations of nationalities :Volga Germans, Chechens, Ingush, Crimean Tartars 1
Post war screening of repatriates  and inhabitants of ex- occupied territory: 5 to 6

That's over 50 million


This is extremely well put. I have always suspected a huge weakness in capitalism. You have put it into words.

Hello Keithster100,

Please explain how the forces of capitalism will reverse global warming, ecosystem collapse, and species extinction.  Start with a simple example:  Which corporations can profit by saving polar bears from drowning?  Will Klondike Bars send a huge fleet a patrol boats to assist these magnificent animals? I suspect that they will just change their trademark design.

What will a corporation do for a Klondike Bar?

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

No problem.

Question: What do these species have in common?
Bald Eagle
American Bison
Great Lake Sturgeon
White Tailed Deer
(and many more...)

Answer: They were all decimated by people hunting them for food or killing them because they were competitors for food. These animals were doomed because they were 'owned' communally. No one was the sole owner so they took as much as they wanted. Capitalism, on the other hand, spawned the idea of ranching to make more meat available to maximize profits. Cows were the animal best suited for this, the above animals were off the hook and now the populations of all of them are rebounding from those years. Some other examples include Viagra preventing the poaching of Grizzly by the Chinese for their spleens, the discovery of oil to save the whales, and fish farming that will make factory fishing a waste of time.

I reread my post and realized I didn't really answer the point about the Polar Bears and carbon dioxide emissions (good tangent though, don't you think?). Capitalism by itself will not address carbon dioxide emissions. Government will have to cap them, and capitalism will develop the wind farms, geothermal power stations, ethanol plants etc. that will still enable people to pursue their dreams.  
Hello Keithster100,

Thxs for your reply.  The only way to possibly stop the Sixth Extinction is to save their habitats by a full-on stop of global warming and our population Overshoot.  If the ice cap regrows, then polar bears won't drown.  If the tropical rainforests around the globe regrow, then the species that live in them rebound... an so on, ad infinitum.

Disneyland should actually declare war on other corporations.  They will be among the first victims of decline when people cannot travel to see their parks.  Nobody will be interested in Mickey Mouse when we are eating rats.  If elephants are extinct--Dumbo will be a sick joke.  Consider all the other Disney animals at risk in real life.

Consider the Geico Ins. Co. "gecko"--wonder how many lizards are squished under the millions of cars insured by them.  Or the sleeping drug Lunesta's elegant butterfly.  Kind of hard to get a good night's rest if one considers that the bugs splattered on our chrome cargrills and windshields just might tip us into irreversible ecosystem collapse. Doesn't matter even if this vehicle is solar-powered.  We as a species must learn to tread very, very lightly on the planet.  I think even if 75% of us become permaculturists/bicyclists, that even this won't be enough to reverse what we have already kickstarted in our climate.  But I will leave that determination up to the scientists and biologists.  Time will tell.

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

 "Nobody will be interested in Mickey Mouse when we are eating rats"
Bring it on.


I'm with you on this one, Keithster.  The genius of the free market in both commerce and concepts is the ability to adjust to change.  No question in my mind that ten years after peak oil is recognized to be in effect cars will run 90% on electric power generated by nuclear, "clean coal" (regardless of CA) and probably giant solar installations with moveable panels concentrating sunlight onto far more efficient converters than exist today.   Add some wind also.  We'll use more rail, less trucking.  Discretionary travel will be hugely impacted at first but will come back as energy efficiency improves beyond what anyone thinks possible today.  All that will eliminate well over half the current demand for oil.  The non-transport uses will undergo similar efficiency improvements, although that could take longer.  

And yes, a lot of poor folks will be priced out of the oil market, reducing demand further.   But the US economy should be fine because all the changes needed to adjust to less oil availability will create huge numbers of new jobs.

I believe strongly in a near-term peaking of global oil flows and I don't believe for a second that the "doomers" scenarios have any credibility.

Now, global warming is a different issue.   Mother is going to have her way.  But again, we have very little basis to predict exactly what the those impacts will look like exactly.   For example, maybe sea levels, for some reason, don't rise catastrophically.   Nobody knows anything when it comes to global warming, except that it is going to happen.

On the other hand, the peaking and ultimate reduction in oil flows could have some mitigating impacts, depending a lot on how coal is used.


"And yes, a lot of poor folks will be priced out of the oil market, reducing demand further."

But, being with Keithster, you surely know that these folks will still enjoy the choice of doing what they want to do, given the magic of capitalism.

Actually we have some pretty good ideas what the world will look like as global warming progresses. The geologic record tells us much of what we need to know.

The Amazon was once a desert. The Sahara was once much larger.  World sea levels were once as much as 10 metres higher (30 metres in the extremis).  90% of the earth's life forms became extinct in a very short time span (due to a methane release mechanism we don't entirely understand).

There is uncertainty about how bad it will get, and how fast the climate will move to that state.  But the end is very much in sight.

Peak Oil is bad for global warming, btw.  Because more expensive oil makes coal more attractive as a fuel: coal to oil, coal for electricity and heating.

Hi Keithster

Moose and White Tailed Deer are very well present where I live.  Population growth is going well and no one realy owns them.

But getting specific about one kind of animal or plant species is not the point.  Actually, the humain population has just domesticated 30 species of animals.

Farming, viagra, fish farming are somewhat linked to oil consumption.  What will happen when we are not gona get enough of it?

Hi Wolfric,
Great points. There are plenty of wild animals where I live too, we even get Cougars in the neighborhoods. They used to be shot because they competed with hunters for wild game. Since people don't compete with them for food anymore, they aren't shot (as much) and they are breeding like crazy.

You are right, farming, viagra, fish farming and many other things are linked to oil consumption. People will find a way to use less oil when creating these things. My favorite example is the company that makes plastic out of corn rather than oil. We will see much more ingenuity like this in the years to come. What do you think?

It wasn't the free market that brought back eagles, bison, moose, and white tail deer. It was government restrictions on hunting and bans on certain chemicals.
Some of this is nonsense.

White tailed deer? Have to shot them out of my garden. They are reaching pest status.

I see bald eagles often during their nesting season.

Not on your list but two days ago I had to stop and wait for 80 turkeys to cross the blacktop. I have to try hard to keep from running over this years crop of young squirrels. There appeared to be a double crop of fawns this year.

Perhaps its just where I live. I don't think any of the above cohabit the burbs.

Most folks who mumble this mantra don't go into the woods.

Sorry bud but your wrong on a lot of this.

Yes there is deforestration and the animals suffer due to urban spraw. Each time I see a dead possum on the road it pisses me off.

However the gov is getting ready to trash all the CRP land and 'set asides' as well as other conservation practices in order to put more grain into production.

What are YOU going to do about it? Most here will do nothing except talk.

Forgive me but I am about to go back to lurk mode for good. I get tired of reading about 'soft landings' , alternatives and other nonsense.

The gov is your enemy. They will do nothing. Its up to us.
What will we do? Nothing. Ergo...chaos comes. Get ready, thats about all the individual can do, for himself and fact is thats about the way it will end. Each man will stand and fight or roll over. Most will do the latter.

All this urban community spirit and coming together? Sure!!!..It hasn't done anything except bloat and destroy this country. Why expect that to change?

Set Rant Mode = Off

Dead on  Airdale.

I'm with you.

No the problem is none of these resources was harvested in a sustainable manner. Moderation ...
That why peak oil is a problem if we actually practiced moderation it would be a non-event.

Any regular reader could come up with a number of ways to moderate the impact of peak oil the synthesis would be sensible and reasonable and require at worst a investment by the respective governments in the future. Worst case is the could eliminate taxes for say five years for anyone that proved they converted to as sustainable lifestyle. Hell you could give a 100% tax break for 3 years for anyone that eliminated owing any car and peak oil means nothing.

I know we talk about additional taxes often to handle peak but tax breaks for green tax payers are just as effective and far easier to accomplish.

Capitalism's ability to focus people on bottlenecks is the ultimate technology

Like Enron, investing in 'linux' via RedHat, VA Research, Global Crossing, Tyco, worldcom, and the delibvery of $8,821 LP gas to Iraq and costing $24 million dollars?


Nothings perfect. It beats the 100 million people killed by communism anyway.  

I was thinking about a general theory of resource attainment for societies, especially how it relates to liquid fuel aquisition. What does everyone think about this:

Hunting/Gathering----->In situ growing/raising/manufacturing

Gathering plants-->         Agriculture
Wild game-->             Cattle Ranching
Fishing-->                 Fish farming
Oil drilling-->             Ethanol and biodiesel

The list on the left is a great strategy when things are plentiful, but societies quickly transition to the things on the right as the things become harder to find. Is the transition from hunting for wild game to raising domesticated animals the same as a theoretical transition from oil to making ethanol? That would be an interesting book to write.

Maybe you are not quite yet aquainted with grade school mathematics and the exponential growth phenomenon.

Bartlett has a very cool way to explain it (I had many laugh watching it)

You will see that no kind of energy source can allow us to grow indefinetly.

I am not arguing that we will grow indefinitely.
What's it called when you know longer grow?
Let's play that favorite of the early 70s, Match Game:

____ dysfunction?  

Sorry, but I could not let this gross generalization pass.
"Capitalism, on the other hand, spawned the idea of ranching to make more meat available to maximize profits. Cows were the animal best suited for this, the above animals were off the hook and now the populations of all of them are rebounding from those years."
"Wild game-->             Cattle Ranching"

Cattle ranching has nothing to do with the disappearance/rebuild of wild game populations except maybe where ranchers kill off the wild animals that are either competition for or predators of their cattle. Domestication of cattle, pigs, chickens was probably a response to game scarcity in some other part of the world at a much earlier time (before capitalism) and came to America with the first white people who found abundant game here. The very rapid decline in the game populations after the arrival of white Europeans occurred DESPITE the fact that they brought their cattle with them. We won't go into why seas of buffalo were slaughtered for their hides and left to rot on the plains. But the recovery of the game populations in recent times is attributable to the government(state) assuming responsibility for the commons (i.e. forests, parks, wildernesses, etc.) and enforcing game regulations to maintain sustainable populations of game. Now this would probably be impossible to do were it not for the fact that most hunters now realize that these laws are necessary for the game populations to survive and most willingly comply with them. This has been a long slow education process over several generations of hunters. Something similar (attitude change) needs to occur with fossil energy and indeed all other extractable and finite resources.  This would probably cause all the 'Capitalism is the answer to everything" folks to go berserk!
<blockquote>The very rapid decline in the game populations after the arrival of white Europeans occurred DESPITE the fact that they brought their cattle with them.</blockquote>

I disagree. They brought cows with them but they hunted for food, cows were for milk. The ranching-mode of subsistance that saw cowboys drive cattle from Texas to the slaughter yards of Chicago didn't develop until much later than colonial times. Ranching developed because it was a much more efficient use of resources and wild game was scarce. The development of ranching allowed wild game to come back.

Still doesn't wash. I suspose they kept the pigs for milk too? And no one except western ranchers raised cattle for beef?
The truth is, when game is plentiful, it is much easier to hunt for meat than it is to raise it. Many of the locals in our area still provide meat for their families by hunting it despite the fact that they are raising beef cattle to sell. Favorite animal among those who hunt for meat? Why wild pigs of course! Game wardens don't care much about them; they are non-native, highly prolific, and very destructive.
In the west, the game that ate grass that was needed for cattle (i.e. buffalo) had to be cleared before ranching became economic. And the ranchers still continued to hunt game to eat. Plus they wiped out all the large predators which attacked the cattle. This was what allowed smaller game animals such as deer and rabbits to proliferate, not ranching. The people who are the meat provided by the ranchers lived much too far away to have ever had any impact on the game in cattle ranching areas.
Buffaloes were slaughtered to deny the Native Americans the ability to live independently. It starved and froze them into death and submission.
Agreed that that was public policy at the time; you know, the free hand of the market working to create a niche for Keithster so he could come along and exercise his free choice. But it wasn't the only reason to kill buffalo.  Leather from buffalo was used in industrial machinery (pulleys).

Keithster appears to have learned his history from Gunsmoke.  Raising cattle goes back a long, long time before capitalism.

Nothings perfect.

So that is your answer?   You throw out an argument, and when given a counter the reply is "Nothings perfect"?  

What does everyone think about this:

Why should anyone care about your 'simplistic models' when your counter-answer is "Nothings perfect." and then go "the other choice over here is as bad if not worse"

The end of cheap energy is not going to be simplistic fixes.  Your use of the word 'capitialism' as a fix is an attempt to appear like you have an answer, when the reality is you do not.
"Asking for an economic definition of capitalism is like inviting a liar to get in the mood for lying."
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&defl=en&q=define:Capitalism&sa=X&oi=gloss ary_definition&ct=title
"There is continuing debate over the definition, nature, and scope of this system."

On a regular basis here on TOD the edges of the problem of peak is glimpsed AND how humanity has gotten to where we are.   Running about chanting 'captialism' then handwaving away flaws in the suggested fix as "nothings perfect" isn't going to be an acceptible answer to the peak problem.

That would be an interesting book to write.
Get on that.   Let us know how that works out for ya.

It seems to me that there are going to be one or more great turning points, probably when people at high levels figure out peak oil is for real. This could be fairly early on.

One possible scenario would be a sudden decline in faith in the US dollar, once people realize that a dollar a year from now is likely to have less purchasing power than one now. Countries selling oil could start demanding payment in actual goods, delivered now, if we continue to want oil. Interest rates could rise to very high levels, because few would want to purchase US bonds.

Another similar scenario could occur if commercial banks and other lenders suddenly realize that their chance of getting paid back on loans due several years in the future is not very good, because of peak oil. Lenders may stop offering home mortgages, and loans for businesses may also dry up. Even auto loans may be difficult to obtain.

If these kinds of situations should occur, there would be huge disruptions to the monetary system and banking - leading to difficulty in simple transactions such as the purchase of food. If such disruptions occur, I can imagine civil unrest and riots breaking out.  


Actually, Paulson is currently attempting to pressure China to allow the yuan to float more freely (upward), thus devaluing the US dollar against the currency of its main economic competitor. Interestingly enough, this is never reported in the MSM as a "decline in the value of the dollar". China is obviously not too keen on taking a major haircut on their huge US dollar holdings, so they hem and haw.  
Good points, Gail the Actuary.

I think that "market failure" is possible on a massive scale because the "marketplace" is set up to screen out vital information and to rely on the use of propaganda and mis-information to manipulate outcomes desired by various players.

The premises of our so-called "free market capitalism" have gone unchallenged for too long as "free market capitalism" has devolved into "corrupt crony capitalism" and finally into corporatism, or fascism.

The fusing of powerful governments with powerful corporations to play out resource wars seems to be the end game of our particular perversions of capitalism and communism.  both have devolved into fascism, it seems to me.

The military-industrial complex has swallowed government and business and religion as well. Various corporatist centers of power have meta-narratives to justify a permanent war culture, and have fused government and business to shape economies to become permanent war economies.

Coupled with this is a very powerful movement toward a corporatist police-state in the USA.  I've read Margeret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" and also "Oryx and Crake."  I highly recommend them as a clear literary look at the near future.

A police state Beggar states.

IMO the reason this can't occur is because of the 2nd Ammendment. An armed and dangerous populace.

The Ammendment being designed so that a people can throw off its oppressors. Even and intended so , if it being their own government.

Many will submit. Many will not. Those who come to 'take away' may themselves be taken away.

I could be wrong. We have many who have soft hands and soft heads in this country. We might just submit.

Likely when it starts to degrade they will attempt to confiscate.

airdale--my cold dead hands..as Charleton Heston said once

But the best example of this was the Reconstruction, in South Carolina, Louisiana and a few other places.

Armed militias drove out democratically elected governments.  Overthrew them.  Washington, paralysed by sectarian politics, declined to intervene with the army.

They then passed laws denying the franchise to newly freed slaves.  This state of affairs survived until the 1960s, when again armed men opposed the due process of the Federal government, seeking to give the black man a vote and to end Segregation.

So the outcome of the people's armed militia was not more freedom, but less.

Arming a people doesn't make them just.

Capitalism has its boom and bust cycle. Capitalists take credit for the booms but blame the busts on government interference. Extreme economic systems will eventually fail. The fall of communism just came first. When a capitalist controlled government decides that social spending on education, health care, public infrastructure maintanence, food and shelter for the aged and disabled, all must be sacrificed on the altar of short term profit then the Great American Empire will soon after collapse.

Damm, there're not going to start the revolution without me!  In fact, there're not starting it AT ALL!! :-O

Well, let's see if we can examine the heartbreak of the apparent delay of the great class struggle, and the destruction of all we know in exchange for that hated state the revolutionaries always had to endure, "the status quo:....

"The power of peak oil as an external force, a geologically driven catalyst, to act as a wedge to force sustainability and conservation on a world hell bent on exponential growth and energy consumption is what caught my imagination and gave me a sense of hope..."

(too sad you could never prove to the masses that it WAS a geologically driven catalyst, but could have been a monetary catalyst, a logistical catalyst, a speculator catalyst, a fear based catalyst...you guess, because the masses of prols got tired of playing the game)

"...I even had illusions that peak oil was the beginning of what could break the status quo and eventually lead to a radical transformation of our cultural values and reign in an era of ecological sustainability imposed by the geologic reality of resource depletion.... I have lost much of this initial hope that the transformative powers of peak oil, global warming or other environmental stresses are very likely to act on or threaten the status quo for a long time to come."

(Most aging, simi-sickly and now somewhat comfortable prols and retired prols have NO interest in seeing the status quo changed, because for them, it means instant poverty and possibly death.  Can we change the status quo without cutting off my medication?  Because if we can't, I won't get to enjoy the change no matter how it turns out.  Will I ever get to see my children, or grandchildren 4 streets away?  Peak Oil, the first revolution that promised to destroy you...and folks didn't want to buy in?  Duh, how could they be so stupid!)

"I have underestimated the level of cooperation that goes on at the highest levels of our global poltical and economic systems to maintain the status quo.... Instead of chaos and transformation I see the global elite preserving the status quo..."

(In other words the "highest global and political systems" are doing their job! Duh!  "I see the global elite preserving the status quo...:, uh, well, again, that's what they are trained, groomed and hired/appointed/elected to do!
Let's try that again, THAT'S THEIR BLOODY JOB!!!)  Damm, the sorry basstards are trying to prevent blood and chaos in the streets!  How dare them!

"This will all occur in a backdrop of increasing environmental degradation as consumption levels will stay at the maximum level the available resources will allow.   I don't see revolution anywhere near the horizon. I would welcome any arguments to counter this rather dreary and pessimistic assessment."

(That's strictly a technical issue.  I don't think the "elites give a rat's azz whether the kilowatts are environmentally clean or dirty, just so they are produced in the volume needed to prevent collapse and chaos.  Why would they?)


The last sentence points up the EXACT reason for the collapse of the "transformative power" of peak oil.  

For most people, the loss of everything they believe in, own, love, care about, and will ever have (possibly including their life and the the lives of their family, if the widely spread scenarios we see are to be believed) is not a "good" thing.

But for what I have been calling the "deep peak" movement, " I don't see revolution anywhere near the horizon. I would welcome any arguments to counter this rather dreary and pessimistic assessment."

The catastrophic collapse of EVERYTHING, the loss of and the destruction of hundreds, even thousands possibly, of years of work, sacrifice, effort by generation following generation, scientists, researchers, technicians, workers, the destruction and deconstruction of a whole culture with the attendant possible horrible suffering of the masses of innocents, it is realized by a "deep peaker" many not happen!  This culture could actually survive!!
The hurt, the pain of that revealation, is seen as  "dreary and pessimistic."

That anyone can and would think this way explains in one sentence the reason that the "peak transformation" was turned away from by the masses who began to hear how that message was beginning to devour the "peak" aware community.

But, the hoped for "radical transformation" is well underway, that is assured.  It is not an easy road, and the money is hard to get, and the talant even harder to find....but they are VERY GOOD.  It does not involve blood and screaming in the streets, chaos and riots and refugees.

It involves hours, years, in the labs, the shops, the libraries, it will involve drawing, welding, machining.  It will involve trial and error again and again, testing thousands of combinations of layouts and constructions of battery cells, solar cells, auto and truck drivetrains, train layouts, electric drives, motors, and then testing, And more testing.  And then, back to the shops, to change the arrangement, change material, and then try it agian.  The people in the shops, the labs, the bankers willing to lay the money down....that is our  "revolutionary guard"  not redshirts or brownshirts in the street.

THAT IS what seperates our cultural system from many others.  Work, thought, artistic design, not slaughter, is where our revolution will be made.

It is a culture that is anything but "dreary and pessimistic", and one that most of us, and we feel very sad for those who do, but most of us, do not see the preservation of this American, modern, beautiful, varied culture  as "dreary and pessimistic".

If the "deep peak" movement gains much greater control of this issue, they and it will fade into the obscurity they so richly have brought to themselves through nihlism, and hatred of their own culture.  The event (geological) will at some point occur, if it has not already....but "peakers" will have been as useless to the cause as the "isolationists" were to useless to the discussion in 1941.  The war, and the solution of the war, as horrible as it was, happened without them, and the world and the culture proceeded from their  But the isolationists contributed nothing in the end.  Their voice was gone for the remainder of the century, for most of them, for the remainder of their life.  Old associations are not forgotten easily.

This is the fate that the "Peak Aware" must now struggle to avoid in their association with "deep peak".

 They must find some way to truly care for and love, and not despise their fellow humans and the culture these people have spent their history on, their study of, their lives on.....this is our home.  The mainstream of the "peak aware" must soon decide....are they educating on how to most humanely survive an "event", to see their culture survive...or are they wishing for a horrendous destruction of all we have built as a culture, all we really know?
It is an aesthetic and moral choice.  WE ALL MUST DECIDE if we are involved and aware of this issue.

The skyline of New York or Chicago would be worth saving if for no other reason than an artpiece.

Thank you so much, Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

I just love the way you continualy treat concerns about PO and GW as some sort of mental illness.  I see things very much the other way around.
Sunspot said,
"I just love the way you continualy treat concerns about PO and GW as some sort of mental illness.  I see things very much the other way around."

I absolutely do not believe that is the way what I was saying came across, and I know that is not what I intended.

Conerns about PO (although I am distancing from that label, as I feel it is becoming greatly tainted) and GW are part of my consciousness and thought.

I percieve both the oil depletion/global warming issues as essential to deal with if we hope to be assured of a secure and sustainable culture.  

I think we are definately entering a new era.  I think that change is coming and must come fast.  I think that we as a nation and the world at large is facing a great challenge, and that we will need all the talant, coordination, and cooperation the world can muster to rise to these challenges.

I think the clock is running and we as a species are already running behind.
However, I think the clock is invisable to us, so we do not know how long we have.
I think we have been remiss in creating the technical class, management class, political class, and intellectual class needed to face these great issues for at least the prior third of a century.  I think we must construct this message to the people of the nation and the world in  such a way that we can encourage real zeal for saving the best and most advanced elements of one of the world's great cultures, a transnational culture of science, reason and future possibilities that we are only now beginning to become aware.  I think our current technology is arcane, and must break forward, and fast, to avoid suffering and pain to the population of the world.  In other words, we must convince those who are willing and able to join us to salvage the efforts made over centuries.  We must live up to the standard of generations of enlightment and effort that came before us.

NOW.  Given the above mentioned "concern", I find I differ with many (seemingly more each day)  in this central point:  

I see the PO/GW issues as problems than can, potentially be overcome.
I DO NOT see them as "tools" to destroy the only culture I know.  I do not see them as great and glorious events that should be loved, embraced, and endorsed as "revolutionary" engines to dismantle a culture that, despite it's many faults, I find to be beautiful, artistic, and a great hope in propelling the population of the Earth into the future, and giving us a bridge to a potentially more humane and beautiful future.  I do not get disappointed if I think we can preserve the best elements of this culture, elements that generations have sacrificed for, and add to it even more efficient, clean, artistic, creative, and most of all, humane elements.

In short, I do not wish for, dream of, hope for or praise the destruction of a worldwide culture that has freed humankind from the long history of a short life of drudgery, sickness, servitude and lack of variety that the modern human could not tolerate for more than a very short time without descending into sickness and madness.  If I have ONE GREAT LAMENT, it is that we have been far too slow in expanding the highest of our own culture and ideas to any who would want them in the world  (if they do not, that is their full right, I have never forced an Amish person to drive my car!)

The FORK in the road is this:  There are those who see so called peak oil, or resource depletion and global warming and climate changes as problems, threats to a great culture, that must be solved and resolved as humanely and quickly as possible, to avoid the loss of a thousand years effort, maybe forever.

There are others who dream of the primitive world of destitution for all, the loss of reason and science, the collapse of the INDIVIDUAL hope of travel, opportunity, mental expansion, education, art, and comfortable living, as a great thing, a wonderful Utopia that Peak, far from being a problem, would be the great "transforming power" in creating.  These are the people, who for whatever reasons, enjoy the friuts of the sacrifice of the people of their heritage, and then renounce the culture built from it and wish it dead, with all the horrific suffering that will come with that.

Which fork will most aware people choose?  It is a moral and aesthetic choice, not a scientific one.  Each must decide.  If you take the path of attempting to salvage the best of what will be a changed culture, perhaps a much greater, stronger, cleaner, natural, artistic, sustainable and better culture, WE NEED YOU, and the talant you bring, and the talant of your young.

If your choice is the other fork, the fork backward into an age of suffering and pain that I do not even want to contemplate, and feel this is the world for your children on into the future,  we can only hope that you are, to the day of your death, happy with your choice.

 But, if you assume that those who are trying to save the culture they love will take counsel from those who dream of the destruction of that very culture, you are making a false assumption.  Should the culture survive, the voice of those who so hated will be as well as silent, no matter what they say.  And those who supported them will likewise be viewed dimly and mistrusted greatly should they try to return to the modern culture of light they so easily cursed, insulted, hated and scorned.

Thank you.  Roger Conner  known to you as ThatsItImout

Seems to me you are dividing folks into a class struggle.

You definition of doomers shows you have a great deal of angst against those who don't see it your way.

I honestly don't think most doomers(pragmatists) see it that way nor do they despise and hate their society. I do think we have been utterly stupid and mindless in our culture and now the reckoning of that attitude and lifestyle approaches.
But surely they love their children and parents and would hope for a huge 'wakeup' call to end this unbelievable stupidity.

Is modern life currently all that great of an attainment? Considering the loss of freedoms, drug use, police state approaching, idiotic wars, mindless consumerism,ignorant politicos,3rd world people dying like flies,an avowed terrorist death-threat to our country, the planet circling the drain,  and so forth and so on?

Seems we could have done a whole lot better given the resources we once had but squandered like pigs in a trough.

I prefer soft,,I can take hard. I have little choice. I speak out on the issues, I prepare,,thats about all I can do. I do participate here and applaud those who attempt to find truth.

The creator of this thread is unsure of PO being that wakeup call. I agree based on the responses of TPTB. Until and unless the PEOPLE speak agressively and openly and oppose the stupidity in DC nothing will change.  

Well put, Airdale.  Here's my basic position:  I just watch what is going on.  I don't want bad things to happen.  I like my life just the way it is.  If things can carry on for 20-30 more years I should be dead and then it's everybody else's problem.  Which doesn't mean I don't "care" about the future of the human race, I do, very much.  I just know there's not a damn thing I can do about it.
I appreciate your posts on this topic, Roger. I am sure that if we are seen to be using Peak Oil or Global Warming to advance some other agenda, we will be rejected. Then what? Sulk by the side of road, hoping for disaster to be visited on the rest of humanity? What a miserable existence.

 I, personally, read your posts as non-polarizing, as calling for constructive, humane responses to severe world problems. I see global warming as at least as urgent as Peak Oil, however, perhaps in disagreement with you. It's not just a matter of the death of polar bears, but drought and heat destroying agriculture, making weather more erratic and destructive (floods, wind damage), and contributing to the poisonous disintegration of our oceans with the toxic lower level life forms that are proliferating in recent years (red tide, etc).

It involves hours, years, in the labs, the shops, the libraries, it will involve drawing, welding, machining.  It will involve trial and error again and again, testing thousands of combinations of layouts and constructions of battery cells, solar cells, auto and truck drivetrains, train layouts, electric drives, motors, and then testing, And more testing.  And then, back to the shops, to change the arrangement, change material, and then try it agian.  The people in the shops, the labs, the bankers willing to lay the money down....that is our  "revolutionary guard"  not redshirts or brownshirts in the street."

And why would we want to work 60 or 70 or 80 hours a week? On short rations and idiotic Unverse-conquest dreams? Isn't the whole "purpose" of the collapse of the system to remove an abomination from the face of our fair Mother Earth? I think most of us would rather live the life of Ishi's folks if at all possible.


ahhh, the lure of the noble savage!  I would differ with your point that "most of us would rather live the life of Ishi's folks if at all possible.", however.  But as I said, that would be an aesthetic choice, and there is still great amounts of wilderness available in the world, and will be more if the "collapse comes".  For most Americans, relient on medical attention and at least by monthly visits to the pharmacy to survive, it would be a moot point anyway.  You see, we are an old people and the death of our culture means instant death for many of us.  I was on one board not long ago where a terrified older man was begging for some truth....he is on constant heart medicine, and cannot live long without medical infrastructure.  I recalled my late mother, being terrified by the rumors of Y2K.  She was on oxygen, and could not have went long without resupply.  I NEVER forgot the needless fear, and her realization that without her culture, she could not live for long.  Her will began to decline soon after that.

I am 48, and recently began to have blood pressure spikes so high that I had to go to the emergency room.  I am now on two pills daily, and if I miss one day, the blood pressure numbers begin to climb rapidly.  Without my culture to support me, peak oil would no longer be a concern to me in a short amount of time.  Likewise, my father, at least 2 of my aunts and an uncle.
So stocking up on dried beans and planting an organic garden is not really a doable "peak" plan for us, and for millions of Americans with hypertension, heart ailments, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses.  What we can do is make our situation worse with fear.  And THINK.

"Isn't the whole "purpose" of the collapse of the system to remove an abomination from the face of our fair Mother Earth?"
Of course, in the discusson to this point, I have already taken my stand on that point.

"And why would we want to work 60 or 70 or 80 hours a week? On short rations and idiotic Unverse-conquest dreams?"

Despite my not great health in certain fundamental areas (blood presssure, it is amazing how it only takes one well placed ailment to be life threatening without the healthcare assistance available!), I still work.  If all I wanted to do was get out of work, I don't need peak for that.  Back in the 1980's, I spent a few long spells unemployed.  I did not find it meaningful or helpful.  I now have the pride of my work, the satisfaction of learning, and am at my old high school weight (154) :-)

Each culture has come to this place in it's own way.  For Ishi's people, the idea of working in an office, reading, keyboarding....it would have been as alien as me doing a complete holy ceremony and understanding what it meant and why it kept the universe going to Ishi's people.  I do not take lightly the needs of other cultures, and the value they have brought to human lives who understood their ways.

Inversely, for many of us, we are not alive without our culture, it's poetry, it's magic....would Ishi understand the beauty of a brown Mercedes sedan sitting under the low yellow street lights at the Brown Hotel, while a couple waited in the lobby of the Center for the Arts beside the river in Louisville for an orchestral concert, she in white gown so lovely... enjoying drinks at the bar as the rain reflected off the street and peppered on the sheet of the glass quarter circle building...and the 70 mile per hour trip back down I-65 the next morning, back out into the country within an hour....past the carpets of airport lights, shopping malls where could be bought everything from suits and gowns to bedsheets and giant screen televisions....HATEFUL, isn't it?

But it is "US", our culture, our way knowing reality.  How many could give it up easily?  How many in the world are trying to get, as we speak, to where we are now?  

Yes.  It will HAVE TO CHANGE.  But, it will have to change in such a way that it does not mean death.  It will have to change in such a way that the best elements, communication, transportation, the art of it will survive.  Any other choice, the loss of the culture we know, will be as deadly to us as the loss of the culture that Ishi knew was to his people.  Most cultures, if they are a culture at all, do not willingly accept cultural extinction.  In the end, death will come anyway.  The question is, what do you want to do in the meantime?

That is what you should stand for.  I can fish.  Ishi would have understood that (although not my methods!) I can love.  Ishi would have understood that.  I can still drive on the Interstate, or fly to New York.  Ishi would not so easily have understood that, just as I would not have understood his rituals.

But Ishi would have tried to hold on to his rituals, as he did.  And at his death, he had achieved a unique kind of victory.  He had remained true to his culture to the finish.  Most of us will try to do the same.  We may have to give up some of them, most of them, but we will hold on, and use all the tools we can muster (and this is not just AMERICAN ritual, but all of us of the modern age, wherever in the world we are of whatever nationality)

Will we change?  Of course.  We always do.  We have to if we hope to last even a while.  Will we volutarily abandon our culture?  Some may.  It's an aesthetic choice.  Most of us won't.  And we will all pay, in one way or another, for whatever choice we made.

Roger Conner

Dear Roger,

You can perhaps understand my efforts to help New Orleans survive.

Home of the best food in the world (Paris #2, Roma #3)

Home of music unlike any other.  Jazz is built upon the interactions of musicans, one with the other.  Not following rules or a score, but a musical conversation.  One needs a special city to breed such music.  But zydeco, blues, Mardi Gras Indian chants, jazz funerals and so much more.

A city unique in a very special way.  There is no social pressure to conform.  One can talk for an hour at a party without asking "what do you do".  I am a nerdy white engineer, and that is fine. What is more important is that I have a reputation for being a "good guy".  This is entre into every other culture in the city; musicians, drag queens, blue bloods and more.

Architecture and "Old Urbanism".  The 5 miles of shops on Magazine Street.  80 year old streetcars operating 24 hours/day :-)  The Greatest Free Show on Earth :-),,

Knowing one's neighbors for blocks in each direction.  Saying "Hi" and "how much water did you get ?".

A rich and very full lifestyle, and one that is ideal for Post-Peak Oil.  Eating within 100 miles is the foundation of our cuisine :-)))

Alan said,
"You can perhaps understand my efforts to help New Orleans survive."

Not long after Katrina, there was a news report on and I was watching with some my Louisville friends and family (I actually live just down the highway to the South at this time, but my mother's family and a great numbers of my friends still live in the city), and some of them were giving the Folks of New Orleans the normal hard time for saying that no matter what, they were staying with the city...and then out of the blue, I caught them by surprise and asked, "If it were Louisville in the same fix, would you bail out and leave?"

They just smiled, and went on to another subject!  :-)

Yeah, it's easy to understand your efforts to help save New Orleans....

Roger Conner  known here as ThatsItImout

Sounds like someone got too deep in the subject, built it into a central defining belief in their life, expected a desired outcome that did not come to pass and is now frustrated.

It's called peak oil burnout and you can prevent it:

#1 Stay connected to a diversity of opinions, interests, people, and keep an open mind.

#2 Peak oil is a geological phenomenon not a belief - remember science requires evidence and facts while beliefs are something that you ignore evidence to the contrary...PO is science, not a belief.

#3 Be patient & adaptable - Many things will eventually come to pass, but may take longer or occur somewhat differently than you expected.  

#4 Periodically re-evaluate the facts to reset your expectations based on the current facts.

So please don't let yourself burn out on PO. Either PO will play out all at once or slowly over time. So either it hasn't happened yet or its moving to slow for you...


That does it, that's just way too much common sense and mainstream, I'm switching threads!  :-)

good show though....

RC  ThatsItImout

Peakguy, that is a great post, and this is the reason why I am here.

Exponential growth drawing on finite resources will certainly point to a dark path ahead. There is simply no other outcome. When this occurs is simply conjecture, a WAG, or hopefully a SWAG.

However, staying connected to real, unfiltered data gives me the ability to make real plans and choices with this information and hopefully keep me/us one step ahead.

Peakguy, thank you for the good strategies to avoid peak oilburnout.  I may need to post them near my computer.

Today I worked outside on the house, played with our young pup a little, listened to my son read out loud, chatted with my wife and daughter, and then did some drawing with my son this evening.

My family knows my perspective on peak oil, and at times I am overwhelmed with the probable scenarios my own version of "psychohistory" comes up with.

It is good to be aware that what we do not yet know may very well be as important as what we think we do know.

Surprises happen.  Best to stay open to new information and new possibilities.

I spent the weekend doing some serious Bird Watching (the feathered kind - and that joke is so old) with some friends and thought yet again, I am stupid for spending so much time worrying about what will happen with PO or trawling web sites like The Oil Drum.

There is nothing I can do about it and we really have no idea what will happen, only some vague guesses which will probably be wrong (after all no one had realised that we had a Pope who thought that he was Innocent III and wanted to restart the Crusades).

I saw some wild Emus, just minding their own business, lots of Kangaroos and am going Bird Watching again next week.

BTW. For what it's worth my tealeaves seem to point to a future that looks like a cross between Mad Max and a worldwide Darfur - with a possible sidetrack through 1984.

One of my favourite birds - an Apostlebird (not my photo but they were hopping all over a truck I was leaning on at one time).

I have a different take.

Predicting the timing and effects of Peak Oil is impossible to do with any precision.  TOO many variables, too many unknowns.  "Wrestling with jello" is my description.  Impossible to pin down.

OTOH, it is easy to figure out what will improve society "no matter what" scenario develops.  I found an overlooked part of the solution and work on that.

Someone else needs to work on the 1/3 of oil used for non-transprotation uses.

I have little sympathy for the lead quote.  He wants what he wants and the rest be damned !  Now he is frustrated.

Too bad.

May I suggest that he read the Declaration of Independence.  That part about men being willing to suffer under familar forms of governance.

Changes will, no doubt, be required in politics, society and economics as events unfold.  But I do not think any intellect can say with surety what changes are 1) best and 2) will actually happen.  I do say that #1 will not = #2.

So I return soon to my disaster zone, and the struggles there.  And continue my efforts on a national scale.

Best Hopes,


"Instead of chaos and transformation I see the global elite preserving the status quo at all costs to prevent revolution. The real geological consequences of peak oil and related resource depletion and environmental stresses will only result in an increase of a two tiered class culture where the elites..."

You can see the model already in Baghdad - the Green Zone.

The elite have the ability and money to setup green zones everywhere and control enough of the countries for their comfort.  The only thing that will transform this society is a catastrophe of such large proportions that nobody can ignore it.

The elite have the ability and money to setup green zones everywhere and control enough of the countries for their comfort.

Oh! Yeah?
What about the EROEI of the "green zones" ?  

I too am saddened by our collective inertia with regard to peak oil and global climate change, as well as population overshoot and related issues.

I think that others have pointed out in different words the problem of "intentional ingorance."

Intentional ignorance occurs when people do not know enough to care  and/or do not care enough to know.

Is information related to peak oil, population overshoot, and climate change available?  Yes.  Are most people aware of it?  Dimly, at best.

Why?  Our imaginations are bound by our life experiences and our need to reduce anxiety which comes with awareness of these kinds of issues.  We retreat into the "pro-sumer" identity set up for us as an ideal of personal peace and comfort.

(Now I must go draw with my young son.  Be back later, i hope.)

From my own personal experience I can be pretty sure that there's little hope for a concerted peaceful decline. Those who are aware at the the top are only concerned with their own welfare. Those who would trumpet warnings are drowned out by the mass of people who don't want bad news. Even the mildest good news (as in the Jack 2 find) is blown out of all proportion in a futile effort to keep the markets optimistic. You cannot live on optimism; it supplies nothing but false hope. The decline will be a jagged and bitter pill that will come too late to help the patient. In fact, I'm of the opinion that it might be best to stay silent on the issue altogether, create some kind of network for survival and plan for a new world order in the background. Knowledge is power and exclusive knowledge even more powerful. Who will lead the militias and mobs when total collapse occurs? If civil wars between factions do occur who're going to be the leaders of these groups? Is it better to disappear into the wilderness or to take the leadership roles when the time comes? There's going to be a lot of hard decisions to make when the time comes, who will have the answers? If die-off on a grand scale occurs what will be done will the bodies of the dead, will they be left to rot where they fall or buried beneath the cornfields? Those at the top at the moment will surround themselves with the last stocks of everything but will have to guard it with their lives, or the lives of their few minions. The collapse will be quicker than anyone has imagined I'm sure. The greed of the system is not just in the system it is inherent in every member of the society that supports it. That is going to be the "killing-punch" that can't be avoided. Optimism of any kind relies on the belief that people will unite to overcome "the problem", though this might've been somewhat relevent in times of national disaster against an outside enemy, the end of resources pits everyone against everyone else in the scramble for basic commodities. When that happens social cohesion collapses.  
speaking of, go over to the Huffington Post right now and Learsy has a piece:


basically saying "everything's fixed!  peak oil is stupid!"

I put up a comment basically pointing to Dave's Jack-2, DOER, and Cornucopian posts.  I would encourage all of you go over there and do the same--flying the TOD flag if you wish--if you are so inclined.

 I'd already read that page, though some of the later comments are new. Thanks.  

Another example of what thick-headed types we're up against. The trouble is that I'd normally take the side of the oil-conspiracy folk myself. I wouldn't put it past the oil barons in trying on something like a scare campaign to up their margins. Unfortunately they're the ones who are denying Peak-Oil, and, the math behind all the arguments for peak-oil is too solid to ignore. I wish I could join the naysayers, nothing would make me happier. Maybe if I hadn't studied math so hard I could remain just as blissfully ignorant; but it's too late now...

In fact, I'm of the opinion that it might be best to stay silent on the issue altogether, create some kind of network for survival and plan for a new world order in the background. Knowledge is power and exclusive knowledge even more powerful.

This assumes that :
  • Some RELIABLE networks are forming, without too many lunatics.
  • Not too many networks are created and end up in conflict.
  • Such networks have sufficient size and ressources to maintain themselves in STRONGLY ADVERSE times.
  • You are aware of the network(s) and can join.
  • YOU PICK THE RIGHT ONE, or one among a few successful ones.
A piece of cake...

In fact, I'm of the opinion that it might be best to stay silent on the issue altogether, create some kind of network for survival and plan for a new world order in the background. Knowledge is power and exclusive knowledge even more powerful.

This assumes that :
Some RELIABLE networks are forming, without too many lunatics.
Not too many networks are created and end up in conflict.
Such networks have sufficient size and ressources to maintain themselves in STRONGLY ADVERSE times.
You are aware of the network(s) and can join.
YOU PICK THE RIGHT ONE, or one among a few successful ones.
A piece of cake...

 I've already begun to put together a group of people that would be likely candidates for "my tribe"; therefore the network structure is mine to coordinate. The upper limit is around 100 people. The difficulty is in spreading enough skills across enough generations to survive the fall in a remote (already chosen) location. Unfortunately most of the people I can "acquire" are too specialised in their fields, most of which are not going to be valid in a post technological age. However, there are a few who are multi-skilled in some critical areas. The difficulty in keeping harmony amongst these widely disparate members will come from strict leadership and strict community laws. As I am the principal "designer" and one of the multi-skilled I will set the politics. Not everyone has an equal share to contribute in regard to set-up, but this will be totally by-passed as the real contributions will come from individual effort. The timing is the most crucial element, and that is why I must cruise the airwaves and internet constantly, watching for the first signs of collapse...
 I'm not interested in setting up a dictatorship but I am going to be the one who makes the first rules. Tribal democracy will allow for the elction of those who make the best decisions and that is how it should be.

The upper limit is around 100 people.

Wrong number!
Nothing below 5000 can make it in the long run.
And that was in NO SPECIALLY difficult times.
Autarchy isn't a piece of cake, read some anthropology.

You are some kind of primitivist, talk to Jason.

 Actually anthropology is one of my main interests; one of my more specialised group members is an anthropologist (PHD who did her thesis on climate change). A worldwide study of ancient village life concluded that the prime number for longstanding villages was 123 individuals, after that the tribe either fractured into additional tribal formations or or condensed into a super-village model with a shorter history or disappeared entirely.
 Co-joing with other groups will come after the dust has settled. And primitivism (of a sort) is something that we're all going to become accustomed to in the long-run. Although I expect our group to retain some sophisticated low-energy technologies (which may be tradable commodities at some point).
A worldwide study of ancient village life concluded that the prime number for longstanding villages was 123 individuals, after that the tribe either fractured into additional tribal formations or or condensed into a super-village model with a shorter history or disappeared entirely.

Right but a village is NOT an autarchy unit it needs trading partners and alliances otherwise it will be swamped by neighbouring predator cultures.
Like the Chatham islanders :

Then in 1835 real disaster struck the Morioris: the Maoris arrived. The Maoris from the New Zealand mainland were not at all peaceful like the Morioris. Some Maoris served as sailors on ships that visited the Chatham Islands. They told their friends that food was plentiful in the Chatham Islands, a land ready to be conquered since its "inhabitants are very numerous, but they do not understand how to fight, and have no weapons."

The number 5000 pertains to larger trade/alliances associations, it is the limit below which crafts and technical practices cannot be nurtured and maintained, in the long run even the most basic technical skills decays and get lost.
See Jared Diamond about Tasmania.
It is also the size which gives some "statistical" guarantee that some critical common skillset or human ressource cannot be wiped out by "accidents" diseases, floods, raids etc... (re Flinders islanders in the above link)

And primitivism (of a sort) is something that we're all going to become accustomed to in the long-run.

To me this is no more a desirable outcome than terminal crash by "business as usual" or warlordism (primitive TPTB).

 The key here is "in the long-run". In the long-run there won't be competition for resources from isolated communities. Whatever survives the fall will contract into groups with sparse communication between each other, if any at all. There won't be "other predator cultures" that survive far beyond the fall, and if there are they won't be very mobile.
 Technical skills will disappear to a greater extent and much of modern knowledge will go with it - even being able to keep track of time will be difficult. Books will become scarce; treasured as glimpses of a strange past. Being able to retain information generationally will be a problem; the ultimate fate of the species will be determined by whatever level of civilisation we descend to that can  be maintained. Something like the middle ages might not even be possible. The last of our generation will not see the outcome. Setting up some kind of academic heritage would be nice, but probably futile in the face of the enormous challenges facing the following generations.  
 I'd like to remain positive (my normal state) but looking at the bulk of people I don't see much to be positive about.  
 Primitivism might not be to your liking, it certainly isn't something that I'd prefer either, it just happens to be the most likely outcome.
Your plan gives me a nutty impression but it do at least make my thoughts on how the local municipiality and country incrementally could be made more disaster and "post peak oil" resilant feel sane and down to earth. Thankyou, I guess.
 Unfortunately my "plan" is too loose to give it much of a big tick. The group is too "liquid" at this time. Getting it all to come together in the time that I suspect is left might be impossible. Besides getting everyone to make the moove at the same time, the material supplies (rations, tools, seed and livestock etc) and the temporary and semi-permanent lodging, there's the no-small matter of finance.
 The locale is already chosen (far enough away from most dense populations to be "safe" with arable land and water) but with all the necessary initial "extras" the cost is likely to be around $2 million. I can scratch together about a million personally and I expect others to cough up another million, but this doesn't include long-term back-up goods (medical supplies, minimal electrical generation etc). On top of this problem is the need to convince a lot of members to start making the move sooner rather than later when it will be hard or impossible to liquidate assets... Timing is crucial...
 Hopefully, the crash will come in jagged stages, this will allow me to consolidate backing and for others to pick up the pace... On top of that I can only count on about 30 people the other 70 might have to be drawn from fairly random sources (which makes social stability a bit of a lucky-dip) In the end all plans made may come to nothing...
 Nothing to be cheered about here...
What is your plan if there is no crash next year or in 10 years? You are convinced that the world as we know it is ending but how do you realy know that your worst case scenario will be the outcome?

If I were in your shoes I would build a green mostly self sufficient vacation resort where the group members can enjoy their spare time for decades if there is no worst case crash.

And take lots of pictures. My guess is they will look back at them and laugh.

However, I could be wrong. That's the catch - no one knows the future.

 If there is no crash next year I will be quite happy. If there is no crash in the next ten years I will be exstatic!
 I'm hoping that the "worst case scenario" doesn't occur because that would be a world war. Under those circumstances the planet would be doomed, not just our specie. If America decides that a grab for the last resources is the only way for it to survive then world war will happen. I'd not only be worried about thermo-nuclear exchanges either, though this would be catastrophic. America hasn't signed the treaty against bio-weapons since it lapsed in 2002. However, should America let loose something like that then a thermo-nuclear reply would be certain.
 But, I'm betting on a financial collapse first, followed by massive dislocation and civil disobedience. Martial law will be followed by civil internment and then starvation across the western world. Depending on the season there could be mass deaths by exposure as weather becomes a serious problem. Blackouts, brownouts and fuel shortages will presage everything. Communication will collapse and at the same time the general public will be totally unaware of the cause as news media is unavailable too.
 My best guess is the northern hemisphere winter of 2008 when heating oil and gas spike. Of course there are a multitude of triggers that could topple the stack of cards first. The American economy sits on the top of the pile and any number of factors could bring it down. America now holds so much foreign debt that one big disaster in one of two major trading partners might flood the market with US currency. It's hard to say where it will start but the cascade effect will be unstoppable as investors pull out to save whatever they can. Geopolitically, America stands on shifting sands and any number of bad moves could start the chain reaction; with the current administration having not a clue what it's doing anything could happen.

 As for the "vacation resort" advise; bravo! I've been looking at a 175 acre resort that's surrounded by national park, it has a river frontage and a spring creek running through it. It's isolated with only one road in and boxed in by mountains. It has two dams as well and existing orhards and gardens (which I'd expand dramatically). Unfortunately there are only four 2-bedroom cabins as well as a main residence with five bedrooms (not enough for the thirty people I've already chosen let alone another 70 as well). Apparently there are a lot of deer as well as kangaroos in the national park abuttment, which is helpful to a small degree. The price is not too bad either ar $750 K. I don't know whether I'll actually buy but there are a lot of other properties on the market that have similar attributes. Of course, if nothing happens for a long time the worst that can happen is I'm saddled with an appreciating asset. I just hope there's time to do it all before money is worth nothing... If it could hold off until 2010 I'd be far more finacially able to do it without asking for help from others. The thirty people I have already aren't sceptical, but most don't have much in the way of liquid assets or even much equity...

Why 100 persons? Why not start with you who have the capital to buy the property and work upwards from eight people as you find people who can bring enough recources to add cabins, common function buildings, trees and so on.

Working upwards from a small scale gives you time to make mistakes and learn withouth making 30 or 100 people angry and disappointed.

 The 100 hundred people includes families, most of which have one or more children. Though I'd expect everyone to lend a hand there'll be far less expected of the children. I can expect around 40 - 50 adults of varying ages and varying skill-sets, of these I will have around 20 adult males who are able to handle heavy labour - which is a handy number for building extra facilities. There are a lot of other considerations that are too numerous to add here that make the 100 (approx) number ideal. I'll stockpile building materials and hand-tools while making a start on some structures when I first take up residence, but this assumes I have the foresight to time it all perfectly, which is not only governed by world events.

 The capital I have is mostly locked up in assets, though they can be quickly off-loaded. My own family's present circumstances complicate the issue as well (from small children happy with their local school to overseas relatives) all of which can be resolved with a little more time. Much of these problems will evaporate if I've the time, and timing of any manouvre is awkward. I won't have any problems with invitees ("making them angry or upset")as most of the risk (what there is) will be taken on by me. I'm trying to draw up a list of "essential" items I'd like people to bring with them when the move is empirically necessary (as in jump in your vehicle and run-for-the-hills) but other than this I'm going to take all the capital risk myself. I can count on a few who will throw some funding at the idea but since most don't have much liquidity or equity I can't count on them.
 I don't think that "mistakes" will be common in preparation. No preparation is going to be perfect but I think mistakes will likely only be discovered after the fall. Material stockpiling will be the most important preparation. Necessity will govern everything after that.



Please send an eMail to me if interested.

Alan_Drake (at) Juno.dott.com

Best Hopes,

My main interest in Peak Oil was the hope it would lead to the collapse of the current US political regime because I had convinced myself the neocons were not nice people.

They showed no evidence of fairness, in fact they have flaunted their open disdain for it.  They have treated their own citizens like Guantanomo Bay prisoners if they so chose...etc., etc....

After years of following the discussions, prices, weather, analyses, I've come to learn that the issue is not really just with the neocons in office, but all those that have allowed them to take over and slowly bleed this country in front of our faces and behind our backs.

What it all boils down to is this?  When push comes to shove, are we "good" or "evil"?  I've been looking for what I think is "good" for a long time in our national politics and have come up mostly empty.

So, I don't think things are going to change nationally very soon.  Like I've said before, that's why many that have been in the PO discussions for awhile have pulled back...to take care of themselves and try to influence arenas where we may actually have more effect...local communities and cities.

I have been lurking here and making a few posts now and again.

In the last couple of weeks as the price of oil has gone into freefall - the postings here have gotten really stupid and off topic - threads on housing - spinach - and other banal off topic STUPID stuff.

Either this is an OIL site or an AOL wannabe chat room. Are you the oil drum - or beeing played like a drum?

Why am I irate? I am in my 50's and my dad is in his 70's. He has a PHD in organic chemistry (at age 22 from Univ in London, UK). He has some influential friends. I have been trying to engage him in PO debate and wish there was a sensible site that I could get him to read. He is very internet savy.

Sadly this site is the best - but too often way off topic. Am I alone in this concern.

I can just see some one from CERA, CNN, FOX, Jim Cramer, etc  visiting and just laughing their fannies off about all the fluff posted here.

I agree.  I know that many things are related to peak oil, but maybe not everything needs to be discussed here.

I come here to learn about oil (and natural gas).

Rick DeZeeuw

I came to learn too.

Now that the world seems to be awash in oil - and the US is shattering all records for natural gas in storage - we now get threads on tainted spinach. Sure would like to see Oilcast come back - it was spotty at times - but always ON TOPIC - PO.

There is no sign the world is awash in oil, regardless of recent price weakness, which imo is mostly in sympathy to weakness in other commodities, not least ng. See my post to oil ceo, later in this thread, regarding OECD oil stocks.

The us is indeed awash in ng, there remains an outside chance that the storage caverns might be full before the winter season starts, coincidentally the same time as the election. ng prices will almost certainly continue falling throughout the winter and into next spring unless the winter is colder than normal...  Industrial users are unable to compete with fertilizer and plastics precursor imports, reducing US ng demand around 20%.

Hello Beechdriver,

I think it is safe to assume that you and your father do not read everything in a newspaper or magazine.  Do as I do and scroll quickly through text that does not interest you, and/or use the search engine to find posts of interest.  I only wish we could get Yergin & CERA to openly debate some of the highly technical posts by RR, SS, Khebab & Westexas, et al.  I would bet they have an employee paid to lurk here and other websites to gather tech info, but he/she is forbidden to post.  Just imagine how much money in research costs we have saved CERA already.

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

I'm afraid they'll see what's real.  They'll see the natural outgrowth of the internet "forum" structure ... a loose sense of community, sometimes dividing into factions.  There's literature on this, computer-mediated communication

To some extent it echos what happens in the real world, and to some extent the artificial form of interaction magnifies what might be small glitches in the real wold.  Heck, you could probably signal with body languages that you wanted to get back on topic.

So anyway, a forum becomes a place, a place gets members, members bring their baggage with them.

Point your dad to one-subject threads, not the open threads (DrumBeats).  There's a lot more fluff in the Open Threads (which is usually case, so your Internet-savvy dad should understand).
Better he should read Paul Roberts (The End of Oil), Jeremy Leggett (Half Gone), and Colin Campbell (the Scientific American article is as good a place to start as any, all the more seminal for that it was published when oil was $10/bl).

Also Ken Deffyes, both books.

As good places to start the debate as any.

This seems to me to be swinging from one misunderstanding of history to the opposite misunderstanding.  The elites attempt to maintain control, and have powerful tools at their disposal, but they do not always succeed.  Many times the best they can do is feather their own nest and keep their own clan safe, waiting for better times.

I agree with some parts of Ibon's conclusions, such as,
"Instead of chaos and transformation I see the global elite preserving the status quo at all costs to prevent revolution." and "result in an increase of a two tiered class culture where the elites and wealthy will preserve their status and wealth and a growing underclass will be socialized to accept their decline and serve the interest of the elites." and even "increasing environmental degradation as consumption levels will stay at the maximum level the available resources will allow."

However, global elites can only attempt to preserve the status quo.  It helps them that just about everyone wants to maintain most of the status quo, if for no other reason that they fear the alternatives since they are unknown.  When the status quo becomes unpalatable, many underclasses throughout history have revolted, and many have overthrown the elites.  Certainly not all, but the only ruling class I can think of that has survived the last thousand years intact is the Catholic Church.  

The world is a chaotic place.  Economies really do form bubbles and have recessions.  Wars between elites can completely destroy former rulers (how powerful are the Hapsburgs today?)  Natural resources are found, peak, and are either replaced or, to the extent possible, people live without them.  Oil really is going to be difficult to live with less of each year.  More expensive energy really will change what people do.

I'm continually surprised at how much people project their desired revolution onto Y2K, Peak Oil, etc.  Matt Savinar keeps pointing this out, and he's right.  Lots of people want some change.  I don't know how many expect to rule in a brave new world, but I think many of us hope that the status of our group will improve, if for no other reason than we see huge problems in what the elites are doing with their power.

So what do I expect?  I expect more Americans to ride bikes, walk, and take transit (we're getting there).  I expect Americans to do something about climate change when they run out of money to keep burning fossil fuels (we're getting there).  I think the housing bubble really is a bubble, just as the stock market bubble really was a bubble.  The housing bubble will collapse, and I don't think the stock market is done falling (housing is falling).  I think American's are digging ourselves into a financial hole that we will not easily, possibly ever, recover from (we're getting there).  I think the Rainwaters of the world will do well until Americans vote in another Roosevelt, who will take the money away from the kids of the Rainwaters.  

But all of this is going to take decades, not years.  Patience.

Elites are as much part of the process as creators of it.

If the right side of the probability distribution of Global Warming is right, then we don't have decades.  the outcomes could be so severe, that waiting decades to take action would doom us.

Also in the case of GW our contribution to the problem is accelerating, not declining.

Consider: the peak of the Mayan temple builders was less than 50 years before the collapse of the society.  I don't know what the comparable time lag was on Easter Island, but it was not long-- some of the biggest statues were abandoned in situ as the environment collapsed around the inhabitants.

Some of the greatest Gothic cathedrals were unfinished when medieval civilisation went into its long decline (1346 is the usual date taken-- the date the Black Death reached Europe at the port of Genoa).

Crude Oil Rises a Second Day on Speculation OPEC May Cut Output

By Gavin Evans

Sept. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Crude oil rose for a second day in New York on speculation the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries may cut production if prices extend a two-month slide.

OPEC, which pumps about 40 percent of the world's oil, reduced its forecast for fourth-quarter oil demand on Sept. 15 to 85.6 million barrels a day, citing the impact of high prices and slower growth in Europe and the U.S. The group should reduce output quota if prices fall below $60 a barrel, Iran's oil minister, Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh, said last week.

``There is a reluctance to sell now that it's got down into the low $60s,'' said Tobin Gorey, a commodities analyst at Commonwealth Bank of Australia Ltd. in Sydney. ``People are starting to look for some reaction from OPEC.''

Crude oil for October delivery rose as much as 37 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $63.70 a barrel in after-hours electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It traded at $63.50 at 10:35 a.m. in Singapore.

Oil has fallen 19 percent from the record $78.40 reached on July 14. The slide accelerated the past three weeks as reports showed rising gasoline and distillate stockpiles in the U.S., the world's biggest oil user, and as the risk of United Nations sanctions being imposed against Iran eased.

The October contract fell to $62.03 a barrel on Sept. 15, the lowest intraday price since March 23. It closed at $63.33, an 11 cent gain, and just the second increase in 10 days.

Forecast Demand

Brent crude oil for November settlement gained 12 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $63.45 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures exchange at 10:06 a.m. Singapore time.

World oil demand peaks in the fourth quarter when refiners make heating fuel for the northern hemisphere winter.

OPEC's forecast for the quarter, a 2.2 percent rise from a year ago, was 300,000 barrels less than the group estimated a month ago. Slower economic growth and weaker-than-expected summer fuel demand in Europe and the U.S. were cited for the reduction.

Oil was expected to trade little changed near $63 a barrel this week while European nations try to broker a peaceful solution over Iran refusal to end its nuclear program, according to a Bloomberg News survey.

Fifteen, or 45 percent, of the 33 analysts, traders and brokers surveyed on Sept. 14 expected prices would be unchanged this week. It was the biggest percentage expecting prices to be little changed since the survey was introduced in April 2004. Eleven forecast a drop and seven expected an increase.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gavin Evans in Wellington at gavinevans@bloomberg.net

Last Updated: September 17, 2006 22:45 EDT

I think prices will quickly move back to an oscillation around the three year trend as soon as those needing to replace stocks stop waiting for a bargain... If correct, prices will shoot past the current center price of 74 to around 80 or a bit more within two months, before falling again.  Imo, all that has happened is that volatility has increased.

OECD stocks are at a ten-year low as consumption is at a ten-year high, and down one day's coverage (my guess is 60mmb) from last year per eia.

I'm going to go see if my volatility meter is still working. I wonder if we'll see more of it. The gurus always mention it, but never provide any data showing it. Last time I checked it was getting better over the long run.
I dont wish for a revolution or "great turning" in my country Sweden. A continued fairly slow accumulation of efficiency gains, electricity production, post-peak-oil-infrastructure, well planned urbanisation and so on is perfectly ok and wont stress our social fabric much. But the pace could of course be increased in some key areas.
Interesting from what our papers say about your underlying unemployment rate, that you already have a social crisis buried.  Ditto the difficulties integrating new immigrants into your society.

Sweden Norway Finland Denmark (and perhaps Estonia) are top of my list of countries that could adapt to a world of global warming very well.

But (see para 1) it sounds like you have some very serious social problems building up (and underlying, an economy which is not dynamic in terms of job creation).

Correct, a very large part of our governments resources are currently used to keep unemployment hidden, people fed and reasonably happy withouth working and perhaps also to keep them from competing with union workers. The unions are in close cooperation with the socialist party.

This will change now when our socialists have lost power to a four party alliance that is starting a transformation I expect to be a fairly smooth where the policy is changed from preserving the current situation into creating jobs and flexibility to handle change.

We must indeed make our authorities more efficient, our businesses climate better for starting new companies and generally make people more comfortable with change or we will not be able to handle globalisation / peak oil / global warming well.

There seems to be some planning for wet, dry, hot and sea level rise climate change scenarios. We are reacting to disasters and near disasters such as reinforcing critical dams for the 90:s calculation of a 10000 year rainfall after a minor dam break and doing large scale cablification of the rural power grid after a strong storm.

But we do indeed need to make our economy stronger to get more things done. Part of the strenght needed is the social capital produced by people getting jobs and starting companies instead of watching TV and playing video games.

And Iceland.  Large amounts of cheap, renewable energy/capita.

Tax breaks for being green.

I just want to mention that I've posted about canceling taxes for what I call green citizens. The nice thing about canceling federal or state taxes for being green is that low income people will have to choose if its worth it. While people like me who pay more then most people make in taxes would jump on a green tax break. I could for example buy one of the exotic all electric cars easily if it was done with what I pay with taxes. Thus if you offered a tax break of 100% for being green then you would immediately cause a revolution among the higher income to move to being carbon negative. The wealthy can afford the exotic engineering need to convert to a green society.

For those that current tax breaks offer enough incentive no problem.

We have no choice but to devote at least some energy to efforts towards the ridiculed 'great turning', and i'm sure that most of us already do so - we just might instead call it neighbourliness, good housekeeping or stewardship. I wonder if some reformed uberconsumers still hate the hippies, now for being (very approximately) right all along.

The evidence that selfish future-discounting doesn't work mounts daily, and in an era of phenomenal communication and education potential - and nobody is going to learn anything from this? What arrogance, to presume to know the limits of cultural adaptation, regardless of circumstances. Have hope Ibon, no good action is wasted.


I read Das Kapital many years ago and in
there Marx speaks at some depth over the
internal dynamics of capitalism. Briefly,
a privileged elite of the calibre in
mature capitalism is extremely
well integrated and resilient, even where
there might appear to be apparent tensions.
The trinity of the US, Israel and Iran are a
case in point. In the midst of the apparent
fracture,take note of the underlying symmetry of
objectives by closely observing the play off.

In due course, the internal contradictions
system will be its undoing, in much the
same way that feudalism fell before the
imperatives of capitalism. However, the process
is entirely dispassionate and underscored by
massive dislocations of a systemic magnitude.