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  • Sunday, March 27, 2005


    Oil Death for Industrial Society

    The US should be spending some effort figuring out what to do when the supply of oil starts declining. Some people think we've already passed what is called "peak oil". From the site Peak Oil: "Peak oil is the point in time when extraction of oil from the earth reaches its highest point and then begins to decline." It seems unsurprising to me that the Bush Administration, with its strong ties to the oil industry, isn't addressing this problem. Or rather, the way it is addressing the problem is to send the US military to secure the largest possible sources of oil left in the world. Who do you think will profit from the tightening market on oil and rising prices? Textiles? The service sector? Small businesses?

    A friend of mine sent me a link to the following interview with Matt Savinar. He is the author of The Oil Age is OVER: What to Expect as the World Runs Out of Cheap Oil, 2005-2050. I haven't read the book but he does seem to have a good grasp of the issues. He is very pessimistic about our future. This is from In the Wake:

    Aric McBay: Could you summarize the current Peak Oil situation for us?

    Matt Savinar: If the optimists are correct, we are 10-20 years from the peak. If the realists are correct, we are peaking right now.

    We have no scalable alternatives.

    We have no plan on how to reform the banking system so that it does not require a constantly increasing supply of energy.

    We have no political leaders who are willing to tell the public the truth.

    In other words, it doesn't look good.

    AM: What does this mean for the prospects of industrial civilization? What level of technology will people be living at in 50 years?

    MS: Optimistically, the average westerner will be reduced to what you might consider a modern day third world level of existence. In that case, your best bet is to either be as self-sufficient as possible or extremely rich - top 1 percent or better. Everybody else is in deep trouble.

    Pessimistically, nuclear war and radical climate change will eliminate all but a very small portion of the population.

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