The exhaustion of our energy supply may end affluence as we know it.
Don't let the name of the magazine scare you away.
The exhaustion of our energy supply may end affluence as we know it.
Don't let the name of the magazine scare you away.
Good article. A rather bleak assessment, but certainly one possible outcome if we do not get our head out of the sand. As he says - our whole society is predicated on cheap oil lasting a long time - if it is really peaking, we had better get our priorities straight. We tend to think of our economy, military forces, and technology as infallible but all you have to do is look at recent events to see that we are not as powerful as we think, and situations can escalate out of control pretty quickly.
That's pretty funny - I never would have thought that Kunstler was considered a conservative. Its kind of odd that a conservative magazine would print such an article, considering that most so-called conservatives seem to believe that the earth's resources are unlimited and that economics and technology will always prevail in spite of much history (and current events) that prove otherwise. On the other hand, I think the terms liberal and conservative have been totally drained of their meaning anyway. Most liberals these days are almost worse because they think all they have to do is drive a hybrid, recycle a few cans, and the problem will go away. It won't.
There are tons of articles and books on the subject of peak oil. I recommend to anyone and everyone to look into it for themselves. My favorite books are the "Limits to Growth" series that used computer programs to try to predict the future. Pretty scary stuff. Also, check out www.dieoff.org. The site hasn't been updated for a long time but the information there is still valid.
We're going to hell in a handbasket, but at least on a bicycle you can enjoy the ride.
Kunstler's a neocon, read his blog and read all his comments, particularly the ones around 9/11 and around the time Bush jr. went over there. He can "neocon" with the best of them, going on and on about how them islamo-fascists are gonna killus all. I wish he'd just stick with his analyses of suburbia and peak oil etc because he's good at that.
And it's refreshing to see this stuff in that mag - I'm willing to bet it's a neocon not a paleocon mag, but the neocons have been the most stubborn in their belief in Empire as a way of life. Paleocons have been open to the idea of peak oil for a long time, after all, WWII and in fact most wars wre/are over resources.
Best of all is the "petrocon," or petroleum conservative. I only need enough oil to keep my chain from squawking!
(Until you start counting the oil that goes into the food I eat, and everything I own... )
- while the rads rejoice in higher oil prices, wait until the cost of those high-end components and new Ti or carbon frames reach into the thousands of dollars...
- oh wait...
Originally Posted by lilHinault
It's Pat Buchanan's magazine, lilHinault
Same here......... getting rid of the car is the single biggest step a person can make, but we still use oil for everything.Originally Posted by mrjon
Paleocon then. Kinda fits in with my theories, paleo's are often at least willing to look at things like natural resources and see that they're limited. Neo's tend to just leave that up to God, who has given them the mission to fight against the infidel etc etc etc yadda yadda although they won't often come out and say it in so many words. To give you an idea of this difference, look up the roots of the "ecology" movement.Originally Posted by FXjohn
We can adjust to limited petrolium based fuels. What we would have a very difficult time living without is all the other uses for petrochemicals from shoes to medicine to fertilizer and pesticides.
Fruits, vegetables, and spagetti can be bicycle fuel, but without petrolium, those items would come at an increasingly high premium. Without petrolium, it is most probable that mankind could not produce enough food for today's populations - not to mention the fact that lack of fossil fuels would make it difficult to maintain today's level of distribution.
As much as we bicyclists fantasize about a world with fewer automobiles, there would be no real joy in a world without access to plentiful and cheap petrolium.
Spoken like a true 'murrican.Originally Posted by mike
Yep he's right, no joy unless there's tons of oil and cheap too. All the human generations before the 1870s or so were mired in deep misery, why, it's amazing they didn't kill themselves. I guess Gawd (the 'murrican God) musta come down from Heaven and told them to hang in there, because some, a very few, of their descendants would become 'murricans and have cheap oil to burn, burn, burn! And thus they'd be the only humans to not live in utter, desolate, misery.
Hot dang bruther, I owes ya a Budweiser, some time at the shootin' rainge, and a gud ol' feed at the In-N-Out or Micky-d's yer choice!
I heard Dubya say on NPR Friday morning that if other countries will eliminate monetary trade barriers, America will do the same. What effect do you think that will have on where American companies get their products made? Any? Do you think it will help farmers and small businesses to compete with big business, here and in some of the poorer countries, as he claims?
Life was not so grand in the 1800s or before that, despite what you might see on the Little House On The Prairie re-runs. Every continent experienced times of famine - petroleum products largely changed that with effective pesticides, fertilizer, and herbicides.Originally Posted by lilHinault
What is more important is the distribution of food and manufactured goods which allowed for better diets and economic growth. As a more modern example of failed food distribution, in China from about 1951 to around 1970, millions of people are estimated to have died simply because food could not be transported and distributed effectively. Many people in the USA suffered the same problem back in the 1800's because transportation and logistic limitations forced many families to eat very limited diets. Even many farm families suffered.
In the 1800's and earlier, people suffered and died from the simplest of diseases - diseases and illness that have been overcome or greatly relieved by petroleum based ingredients.
To this, add all the petroleum based lifestyle products that have clearly improved the lives of people like prosthetic limbs, clothing, vision assist items, surgical equipment and supplies, communication equipment.
So, your suggestion that "All the human generations before the 1870s or so were mired in deep misery, why, it's amazing they didn't kill themselves." is not so far off as your sarcasm had intended. Sure, some people did commit suicide, but most did not have to. Life was short enough as it was.
Last edited by mike; 09-17-05 at 05:22 AM.
Fo' shizzle... that's a typicle neocon article. It does nothing but urge fear, panic, and an apologetic justification for U.S. American hegemony in oil producing states. People should be discussing solutions.
I wish the author would advocate for the development of a culture of innovation to drive our economy. We need to tap into peoples' creativity to find more appropriate (i.e., cheap and sustainable) sources of energy. The best place to invest in innovation, IMHO, is in our schools. Invest in kids that are creative and smart, and they will drive a more sustainable future.
Well, Molly Ivins' column appears in some fairly conservative periodicals, but this doesn't make here a conservative. David Brooks' writing appears in the New York Times, but this does not make him a liberal.Originally Posted by Thor29
The collapse of many empires, civilizations, etc. have taken place when resources were overused. Everyone thinks that Hitler's biggest tactical error in WWII was turning against Russia. But the reason he turned against Russia is less discussed. The Nazis were going through their fuel resouces quickly -- and they wanted the oil fields that Russia controlled.Originally Posted by Thor29
Ultra cheap transportation has allowed many good American jobs to be exported to low wage countries. This has turned us into a vulnerable debtor nation and crippled our manufacturing capability. If transportation costs revert to a point where it again makes sense for Americans to produce the products that we ourselves consume, I'd see that as a good thing - a restoration of balance and common sense, not a disaster.Originally Posted by Brad M
To be fair to Kunstler, in the mental confusion right after 9/11, a lot of people temporarily sounded neo-con, even people that are not normally neo-con. Since Kunstler is critical of the notion that the U.S. can use military might to maintain dominance over fossil fuels and since he believes we need to become less dependent on fossil fuels, it's hard to make the label of neo-con stick to him.Originally Posted by lilHinault
Of course, one awkard thing about language is that the meanings of "liberal" and "conservative" have flipped around. The term "liberal" used to mean that one was quite liberal about having the government do favors for business, and the term "conservative" actually was related to conservation. Theodore Roosevelt was a Republican and a "conservative", and he was concerned with "conserving" natural resources and national resources. Roosevelt conserved lands and national forests. By this older definition of conservative, it might be possible to call Kunstler a conservative.
It sounds like you wouldn't mind having a big smoke belching steel plant in your backyard to make steel for your bike frames? You also wouldn't mind trading your community's high tech jobs for jobs in a smelting facility? It's OK for your school kids to take voc classes that prepare them for careers working in a rubber plant to make your spare tubes?Originally Posted by Platy
If you're from the rust belt, you know this kind of development is a double edged sword.
Here's a disturbing, off topic factoid... just under half of U.S. academicians believe technical/vocational education will become the primary form of education required by the market by 2015. Furthermore, only about a quarter of academic professionals believe knowledge production in higher education needed by the market will occur primarily through liberal arts education.Originally Posted by Roody
" The Nazis were going through their fuel resouces quickly -- and they wanted the oil fields that Russia controlled."
Which he could have quite likely done, had he not decided Stalingrad was an essential prize. Hitler's grasp on strategy and tactics were at best erratic, at worst ridiculously inane. Many feel he wanted Stalingrad simply because of the name it carried, and not for any actual value other than propaganda. Much of the thrust of his forces was away from the oil fields, anyhoo, towards propaganda prizes: Stalingrad, Lenningrad, Moscow.
Part of this thrust was a thought that the Germans could cripple Soviet manufacturing, and thus hobble them completely. Hitler never realized that the Soviets would simply move many of their factories East, as they did in a massive effort. Much of his intital thrust was actually towards Soviet manufacturing, and not oil (although that figured into the equation). Hitler figured on crippling Soviet industry; it did not work.
Another mistake was declaring war on the USA after Pearl Harbour. Had the Americans concentrated on the Japanese, it likely would have delayed their movement into the European and African/mediteranian theatres of operation.
Allied raids on Polesti had more to do with Axis fuel shortage than just about anything else.
Regarding the overseas manufacturing problem... After peak oil hits and oil prices start climbing, the cost of shipping will begin to rise. Which means that almost everything we buy will get more expensive. Which will result in a serious economic depression. It is unlikely that there will be enough capital to rebuild the manufacturing base that America shut down, and even if the will and the money were there, it would take years to recover. In the meantime, energy prices will continue to rise thus hobbling any efforts to try to re-localize the economy.
In regards to the idea of big belching steel plants being placed near our communities, if these things are so horrible, why is it okay to place them near other people's communities? That is sick. Anyone remember Union Carbide and the deadly Bhopal, India accident? Why is it okay for American companies to rely on overseas manufacturing with lower pollution and worker protection standards? Out of sight, out of mind, I guess. (Which reminds me of factory farming and bombing other countries and... well the list goes on for awhile).
If you wanted to build a steel framed bicycle that was as ethically pure as possible, not only would you have to pay your workers a living wage and make sure that your operation was as clean as possible, but you would also have to figure out exactly where the steel and all of its alloys (chromium, molybdenum, etc) were coming from. And don't forget all of the manufacturing equipment, who built it and how? And what about the electricity and water supply? We live in such a complex, intertwined economy that it is hard to keep track of everything. And unfortunately, there seem to be plenty of people willing to do whatever it takes to make money. Of course, the system is set up so that you cannot escape the monetary economy. If you live outside of it like the remaining tribal peoples of the world, then the system will destroy you because the land you live on will not be producing any wealth until someone can come in and cut down your trees for furniture, sell your wild animals as furcoats, and plant grass to feed cows for hamburgers in America's drivethrough burger heaven.
All we need is some smart kids, and then they'll come up with a magic solution that will take away our need for petroleum.Originally Posted by Pampusik
Honestly, I think so many people are hoping for a quick fix. I think it's gonna be complicated and difficult to reduce our reliance on petroleum.
I don't think papusik was talking about a quick fix. Training children to deal with problems in 20 or 25 years is more of a slow and long lasting fix. I think papusik was alluding to the possibility that the search for new energy technology to replace hydrocarbons might have a stimulating effect on future economies. Perhaps the investment of capital and labor into research and implementation of alternative energy will mitigate the economic harm caused by more expensive oil. For example, aerospace research greatly stimulated the economy in the 1950s and 60s.Originally Posted by cerewa
I'd say Kunstler was only "sounding" neocon because of, and shortly after, 9/11 if that's the only time he made those noises, but he makes them fairly constantly. I have his book, The Long Emergency, and it's got plenty of neocon ranting against those mean ol' Muslims who want to kill us all.
Tonto to The Lone Kosher: What do you mean "we", matzoh-man? :-)
Islam welcomes all, there was a show on PBS about the Haj, which is a pilgrimage to Mecca all Moslems aspire to make, and it's moving and wonderful. There's a lady from Texas or someplace who's converted and is there, no problems - obviously American by appearance and accent and language of choice, English, and welcomed. Kinda like Tonto and the Lone Ranger, all these Indians want to kill them, wait a minute, Tonto ain't their enemy, Ranger might be though.......... :-P
Radical Moslems want to convert before kill, although they do have some real problems with Jews/Israelis. As in, well, generally not wanting them to exist because they in turn don't want any of them in the Middle East any more, at all. It's complicated, but the upshot is, Kunstler gets his licks in where he can trying to convince us that those bad old "islamo-fascists" are out to kill us all, blah blah blah all the usual fear-mongering, and the truth is, the war's between them and the AIPAC crowd, they're not out to kill all of us, just the group that's got a long track record of killing them. And, Kunstler's family's political gripes have no place in a book, blog, page, commentary, about Peak Oil and the wastefulness of suburbia.
I don't know about this.Originally Posted by mike
I was in the library not too long ago reading old newspapers stored on microfilm about 100 years ago. I did not see any of this "deep misery" you mention at all or people suffering because they didn't have motor transport. In fact, people were happy as we were in the middle of an industrial revolution and jobs were abundant.
Just look at what petrol has done in the past 100 years. Millions have been killed world wide in motor car accidents yet this is considered insignificant for it is the price we must pay for hyper mobolity. Has petrol really improved our diet or is it full of fat and sugar killing tens of thousands each year? Is this considered progress? Did you know that obesity and diabetes were a small fraction of medical deaths 100 years ago but has become epidemic today? How many people have been killed or being killed over the past 100 years through wars to support our inexpensive oil addiction? How many millions are going to be killed when the Artic melts raising water level to unprecendented hights due to all the fossil fuels sent into the atmosphere?
In a separate issue, I suspect 500 years from now, people will be say how terrible it must have been to live in 2005 when they didn't have a cure for Aids or Cancer, actually had to use money for currency, couldn't fly to Mars or live to be 250 years old. Tell me. Do you think life stinks in 2005 because we can't travel at 100,000 miles per hour or your Ipod doesn't come with 100 billion Giga bytes? Hardly! Life was enjoyable 100 year ago and it will be 100 years from now with or without Petrol or anything else for that matter.
As I read through the New York Times 100 years ago, I didn't see any of this human sufferage people mention on this forum. I suspect if I go back 150 years ago, the result will be the same and I challenge you to read prior newspapers at the turn of the centry to see for yourself. People worked, dated, lived and shopped all without the use of a motorcar. It seems like people really believe that life in this country started after 1925 when the Model T became affordable to the mass population. We went throght two World Wars and two industrial revolutions and so much more with the majority of the population car free. When all the oil runs out, we will return just like the way we were 100 years ago in 1905. People will just have to live, work and shop within walking distance. Life will be simple again.