Prophet of Doom is a tough sell, as it always has been. Nobody appreciates a prophet in his own time, I suppose. On the other hand, there’s no need for a prophet in these times: the newspapers are filled with far more economic doom than I can keep up with, much less write about. So this post will focus on my personal approach to an economy rigged to fail.
I never cease to be amazed by the number of people, on this blog and elsewhere, who believe the supply of oil is infinite, and the similar number who believe we’ll innovate, conserve, or organize our way out of our oil addiction. I use “believe” intentionally, because there’s no evidence of any thinking going on. If there were is evidence to support the notion we’ll get through the year without capitulation of the Dow, please bring it forward, and soon.
We’ve known this was coming for a long time. Every empire is built on a foundation of
sand debt. The Ponzi scheme works for a while but, at some point, the debt we’ve passed along to future generations must be paid. The alternative is default, which can happen with extreme rapidity. The latter option is increasingly attractive because the current U.S. debt of $10.5 trillion far exceeds the value of all the currency in the world combined with all the gold ever mined from planet Earth. This seems like a problem to me.
In the final pages of Earth Abides, Stewart gives us great hope. He envisions the day civilized humans will give way to worldly humans, abandoning dominance and arrogance for coexistence and humility. He imagines humans living with the world, instead of apart from it. He imagines us becoming part of nature, so that, when nature bats last, we’ll still be on the planetary stage
Damn the torpedoes. It’s full steam ahead for the idea of economic growth, even though Obama surely knows the days of economic growth are behind us.
The Economist finally showed up for the party, admitting late last week “the worst economic performance in 26 years could still be described as better than expected.” Yep, the vaunted hyper-conservative journal of record for the hyper-conservative financial sector finally conceded the economy’s in the tank and, calling it a recession, “this one is getting worse.”
We’re due for a massive correction with respect to our hallucinatory economy and our bloated population. Because we’ve run out of inexpensive energy, we’ve reached the end of economic growth. We might be at the end of global population growth, too. If not today or tomorrow, the day is fast upon us. Within a few years, the global human population will shrink by eighty percent or so. When it does, the alleviation of oppression will be profound, with respect to the rest of the world.