Are the world’s Leaders actually leading us somewhere ( unto salvation, for instance ) or just sending us all to hell in a hand-cart?
My answer to that is just another question I’m afraid ; namely, this one : Given the choice, would people rather start starving to death immediately , or put that eventuality off until quite a bit later?
That’s really what we’re talking about here , isn’t it ? Preferring salvation for today , even if it means having hell to pay tomorrow?
At the risk of indulging in the understatement of the millennium , allow me to venture the opinion that times have changed . I would go so far as to say that times have changed a lot.
Back when most folks were subsistence farmers ( and the world’s population was a tenth what it is now ) day to day living was a practical and direct activity. You grew food, or hunted it, provided your own transportation and shelter, and really understood the importance of staying on good terms with the tribe or land lord.
The means of survival were not abstract, and they were seldom distant.
Now they are extremely both.
For most of the six billion souls currently on earth survival requires money and the overwhelmingly complex systems that money runs. The ‘stuff’ we now live on doesn’t come from nearby fields or hunting grounds any more. It comes from the other side of the planet, as often as not, and the various elements that comprise the system of creation, control and delivery are as distant as you can get on a spherical rock such as ours. That these systems are completely dependent upon shrinking supplies of fossil energy is somewhat hidden from those who don’t make a deliberate effort to figure it out, and it’s daunting even for those who do.
When Peak Energy arrives, death cannot be far behind, but for those who just hate to wait, there is a faster way to the same end. Break one of the other crucial life support systems (and I’m thinking of one in particular) and the dying can start immediately.
The hands down easiest and most quickly devastating one to break is money. Not only is money both the craziest and the most abstract of our civilized systems, but it is also the one we use to regulate and control all of the other things that we are capable of regulating or controlling. That we are able to pump the 82 million or so barrels of oil from the earth needed to run our world each day is completely and utterly dependent upon the orderly transfer of money to and from the millions of people involved in that process. Screw up those profits and paychecks for even a few weeks and the oil stops flowing. Less oil equals less food, and well, you know what happens after that. So money is the weak link.
And how crazy is the modern way of making money? Barking mad. Suicidal.
Just look at the mainstream way of making money. First, borrow too much money to acquire an overpriced thing no matter how ultimately destructive it might be ( toxic MacMansions where fertile farms used to be, redundant new weapons systems, fraudulently “packaged” subprime mortgages, whatever ) on the assumption that in the near future that overpriced thing can be re-sold at an even higher price to a greater fool. The players know that the biggest fastest bucks happen when the deal is signed. Once they’ve got the money the question of fair value is someone else’s problem. Ever larger loans mean ever larger profits (and net worth) so Banks are eager to drive the process. It is a world-wide Ponzi scheme gone haywire, and like all such scams (pyramid sales, multi-level marketing, chain letters) it hits the wall when there are not enough fresh suckers to go another round. Suckers are a renewable resource, but when that next ridiculously huge loan can not possibly be repaid, lenders turn off the money spigot regardless (and with it the supply of fresh suckers.) And then they pray for a government bailout… because they know that what happens next is really going to hurt. But turn it off they do anyway, because lending every penny they’re worth on a dead certain loser would hurt even worse. (And how do they know something’s a dead certain loser? They know a thing is a dead certain loser when they are dead certain they won’t lend a new sucker the money to buy it.)
That brings us back, remarkably enough, to the problem getting our leaders to do something about the impending peak energy disaster.
Any energy policy capable of adjusting consumption downward to bring it in line with projected supply, will have the immediate effect of destroying the world’s economic system because that system, lamentably, is utterly dependent upon growth. Less energy consumption means less everything… and especially less credit based ‘growth.’ Such a move would end the Ponzi scam. It would cause world wide economic recession on a scale to make the Great Depression an insignificant blip.
Without ever-expanding credit to regulate and control production, distribution and security, the nearly instantaneous consequence would be chaos, starvation and violence. Train wreck on a global scale.
Actually, since the poorest are the most vulnerable it would be a ‘caboose first” sort of wreck.
To carry the train analogy one step further. It’s a little late to be flagging down the engine to warn that the bridge is out. The engine (if you will) is doing exactly what it was designed to do: making more profit for its owners next quarter than it did last quarter. Feeding facts to the guys running that engine and expecting sensible results is working about as well as yelling at a runaway train and expecting it to back up.
In other words, we can (and shall ) plunge into the chasm beneath that broken trestle when declining energy supplies cause the collapse, but just forget about any leaders throwing their nation into that chasm voluntarily at any time prior to that event. No leader ever achieved power by promising unbearable hardship and death, nor lasted for long by delivering it.
This is all ‘In Plain Sight’ sort of stuff. World events and the otherwise inexplicable obliviousness of our government to Peak Oil and Financial Collapse make sense (in a criminally negligent sort of way) when viewed from this perspective.
The world’s leaders (including our own, of both parties) are not ignoring the problem. They see the situation at least as clearly as we do. They have carefully estimated the consequences of these crises. They are responding vigorously. They are getting themselves, personally, as far away from that damned caboose as they possibly can.