Tag «economics»

Endgame for the world economy?

Cheap oil allowed the construction of suburbia. Cheap oil allowed us to use our houses as ATMs. Cheap oil allowed the banks to borrow money inexpensively and lend it slightly more expensively (but it was still cheap). Cheap oil allowed economic growth.
Those days are behind us.

What I hope for

Do I want to see it all come down? Personally, no. Like everybody else, I do not want to die young after suffering immensely. But I’m wise enough to see beyond myself, and empathetic enough to give a damn about other cultures and species, and even future generations of our own species.

Dodging the bullet

For those of you not paying attention to the news last week, here’s a quick summary: The United States economy nearly collapsed, taking the world economy with it. Only a quick infusion of cash by the Treasury Department prevented full-scale collapse. The problem: peak oil. The solution, such as it is: print money, sensu Weimer Republic. Ben “Helicopter” Bernanke is living up to his nickname.

Location, location, relocation

The increasing urgency of this topic demands frank conversation, but the human ego is stunningly fragile. As a general strategy, I would not recommend starting the conversation about relocating with a group larger than half-a-dozen people, primarily because you’ll need to create and maintain an emotionally, psychologically, and physically functional group of people, on short notice, to do things you cannot imagine doing. The future is funny that way: We don’t even know what needs to be done.

Destroying demand

I underestimated the impact of high gasoline prices on our behavior. I thought $5 gas would be necessary to produce the type of impact we’re seeing at only $4. Demand destruction is so severe it’s overwhelming events in the former Soviet Union, where chess-master Putin is spoiling U.S. attempts to extract oil by going around Russia. Along the way, Putin has demonstrated exactly how impotent the U.S. has become on the world stage.

The jig is up

There simply is no way to prop up civilized society when oil costs more than $100 per barrel. Well, there might be one option: fascism. Oh, wait. We’re already there.