The houses predate the advent of modern “conveniences,” too. Life without toasters, blenders, microwave ovens, electric razors, hair dryers, curling irons, and electric alarm clocks means there’s one electrical outlet in nearly every room. But none in the bathrooms. And because the house dates to 1938, and hasn’t been cleaned or otherwise maintained since then, several of the outlets don’t work.
Cheap oil allowed us to build the suburbs and treat our houses as ATMs. Thus, cheap oil allowed the fiesta of economic growth and the packaging of bank loans into increasingly complex bundles of surreality. When reality bitch-slaps the banks, it’s really peak oil doing the slapping. When banks fail, or are baled out by … well, you and me … the failures are induced by peak oil and the “baling out” is a tax on you and me.
Within the last week alone, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and Ben Bernanke, the head cheerleader for the U.S. financial system, testified before the U.S. Senate that banks will fail. This is the ultimate no-brainer admission. But still. The FDIC also brought back, out of retirement, a bunch of bank examiners to oversee the carnage. And “Helicopter” Benanke proposes to destroy the dollar, apparently so the banks will have company.
The feds are providing the type of support I’ve come to expect. Facing the collapse of civilization and the extinction of our species, the remaining viable candidates for the nation’s highest office are focusing laser-like on cutting taxes and reinvigorating dying industries that have no future. The federal government’s complete unwillingness to deal with the tsunami of economic news, from home foreclosures to runaway inflation and supply disruptions in gasoline, is truly pathetic. On the other hand, perhaps TPTB understand that, soon enough, their ability to deal with economic issues will resemble screen doors on a submarine. Once they reach that conclusion, it’s easy to imagine they’ll save the lifeboats for themselves.
In a few short years, the United States will have virtually no access to oil and its derivatives, which include coal, natural gas, uranium, solar panels, and wind turbines. The last time that happened in this country, fewer than 30 million people populated the United States; about 10 percent of them were slaves. Life expectancy was 46 years; if you were black, you could expect to live to the ripe old age of 23. Surface water was abundant and clean enough to drink.