free html hit counter Peak Oil Debunked: 61. AMERICA COLLAPSES... NEWS AT 11:00

Friday, August 26, 2005

61. AMERICA COLLAPSES... NEWS AT 11:00

The doomers inform us that America has been strapped into position and the guillotine blade has been raised. Peak oil, the consumer debt crisis, fiat money, the weakening petro dollar, bird flu, global warming, the assault on the bill of rights, resource wars, topsoil degradation, depleted aquifiers, people who would rather cannibalize each other than take the bus etc. etc. Any day now, the whole house of cards is going to collapse into anarchy.

Personally, I'm a little more optimistic, but (just for fun) let's assume that America does crash and burn. This is going to be a source of great amusement and mirth in the peasant agriculture zones of the world. All the locals are going to turn up and watch it on the solar powered TV at the co-op. They'll be getting daily feeds as a running news series called "America Collapses..." with a nifty graphic in the corner of the U.S. map sagging like one of Salvador Dali's clocks. It'll be like an old silent era slapstick comedy, with American fatties out trying to grow food in their yards, and failing pathetically -- hoeing with the wrong end of the hoe, dying of a heart attack after digging one hole etc. etc. The peasants will parade around the TV, laughing hysterically, mocking the Americans in their jabbering languages, making razz noises with their lips. Yes, even in its death throes, America will be entertainer to the world.

5 Comments:

At Friday, August 26, 2005 at 6:12:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think France would be a bit darker on that map.

 
At Friday, August 26, 2005 at 3:48:00 PM PDT, Blogger James said...

There's one thing that's been in the back of my head that your post brought to the front burner. Why is PO.com, a site about energy (specifically oil) depletion, talking about things like global warming and the bird flu? They should change their name to www.doomsdaycentral.com!

To be fair, I'm a fan of the front page stories, as they are usually fair and balanced in their content (doomer stories are posted along with optimist stories).

 
At Friday, August 26, 2005 at 5:22:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peakoil.com is really a Malthusian cult site. A lot of posts are about oil, but gas, nuclear, coal and renewable are all mentioned too. As was as running out of basic minerals and metals (even the ones that are recyclable) and various end of the world debates. This is curious, because while there a couple of New Age potions and lotions types on there, in general they are ordinary people with a degree of angst.

The trouble is some bizarre theories are coming out, such as ‘we’re running out of energy to use because the laws of thermodynamics state..blah..blah.’. While no one dispute the laws of thermodynamics, humans are quite clearly not running out of energy to make use of, what with 200 years of fossil fuels, 10,000 times more sunlight hitting the earth than we use today, everyday, waves, wind, biomass, nuclear and even some more exotic stuff, potential energy in the form of hydro and gravity pull from the moon creating tides that could be harnessed. It’s just it happens that other sources of energy are more expensive right now, compared to fossil fuels, but that will change, as alternatives become competitive.

Essentially ‘Peak oil’ is a social, technology and organisation debate rather than a real energy crisis of terminal proportions, with two key questions. Are the oil reserve predictions wrong? And I don’t think even the optimists would disagree there may be a problem there. And, are alternatives scalable? Well the lights are not going out tomorrow and 70% of oil is used for transport, so there might be a liquid fuelled transport crisis for a period, especially for Airlines. For everyone else, the worst thing that could happen is rationing and allocation of resources to farming, industry, public transport, trucking which various restrictions on top, such as lower speed limits. But if we get to that point, nobody is going to be driving 15mpg gallon SUVs and not thinking of trading them in, so at some stage there is demand destruction, coupled with government schemes and planning. This could happen, and even the optimists don’t dispute that rising oil prices are a ‘non problem’. What are disputed are the fall of industrial society and the starvation of billions because of oil. A debate which started way back in the early 1800s and was very popular in the 1970s too.

 
At Friday, August 26, 2005 at 6:58:00 PM PDT, Blogger James said...

The snark that you (JD) put into this post would make a good SNL skit when oil prices go through the roof soon. E-mail the producers, and negoiate a royalty! :P

 
At Wednesday, January 9, 2008 at 4:48:00 AM PST, Anonymous FiniteResource said...

Anonymous wrote: "What are disputed are the fall of industrial society and the starvation of billions because of oil. .."

The question remains whether humans, having been stupid enough to p**s away a one-off gift like oil and gas in under 200 years, are smart enough to manage the transition back to a less energy-rich planet.

On rationing, I say it could be the BEST, not worst, thing to happen. Even if the probability of peak oil (and more seriously gas) is less than 50:50, we should surely be doing more to conserve what's there to ensure we have the energy and materials needed to convert energy from other, longer-lasting, sources.

 

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