Written by Post Carbon
Tuesday, 27 September 2011
In the last five or six years at least 20 major studies have been published by governmental and non-governmental organizations that either deal with or touch upon the possibility of severe energy shortages developing in the near future.
Studies done by governmental entities, however, are rare for nearly all of the world's governments still prefer to wait as long as possible before confronting the myriad of problems that will accompany declining oil production. Exceptions to this phenomenon of denial, however, seem to be military organizations that have realistic planning baked into their DNA. All professional military services know that in the last century they have become so dependent on liquid fuels that their effectiveness would be severely degraded should shortages or extremely high oil prices develop.
Last year two military planning organizations went public with studies predicting that serious consequences from oil depletion will befall us shortly. In the U.S. the Joint Forces Command concluded, without saying how they arrived at their dates, that by 2012 surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear and that by 2015 the global shortfall in oil production could be as much as 10 million b/d. Later in the year a draft of a German army study, which went into greater detail in analyzing the consequences of peaking world oil production, was leaked to the press. The German study which was released recently is unique for the frankness with which it explores the dire consequences which may be in store for us.
The Bundeswehr Transformation Center, the organization that prepared the study, starts with the assertion that as there are so many forces in play, it is impossible to determine an exact date for peak oil, but that it will become obvious in hindsight. The Germans also believe that it is already too late to complete a comprehensive global transition to a post fossil fuel economy. They introduce the notion of a peak oil induced economic "tipping point" that would trigger so much economic damage that it is impossible to evaluate the possible outcomes.
For the near future the study foresees that a very large increase in oil prices would harm the energy-intensive agricultural systems that produce much of our food. Not only could the costs of fertilizers and pesticides become prohibitive, but the massive amount of oil-dependent transportation needed to move agricultural products long distances could make food unaffordable for many.
The study goes on to postulate a "mobility crisis" that would arise from substantial increases in the costs of operating private cars and trucks. Although sudden shortages could be relieved by volunteer and regulatory measures, ultimately the mobility crisis would feed into and add to the worsening economic situation.
As oil is used either directly or indirectly in almost 90 percent of industrial production, major increases in the price of oil would change most price relationships. Domestic and foreign trade will have to adapt to these new relationships but doing so will likely lead to economic upheavals. As businesses transform to less oil-dependent forms of services and production, there would likely be an extended period of "transformation unemployment" that will become a major economic problem. A case could be made that our current "jobs" crisis is simply the leading edge of the "transformation unemployment" that could go on for decades.
The German study maintains that all countries on earth will sooner or later be faced with the problem of transitioning to a post-fossil fuel age. As such a transition has never happened before, there are no guidelines for how it is to be accomplished. Of great significance is the willingness of nations to implement the economic policies necessary to effect the transformation to the post fossil fuel age. Forms of government will be sorely tested. The Germans who have much experience in these matters note that only continuous improvement in individual living conditions forms the basis for tolerant and open societies.
Given the widespread unemployment and high mobility costs that are almost certain to accompany the transition to a post fossil fuel world, democratic forms of government are likely to face severe challenges. We all remember the Weimar Republic. Also of note are recent studies within the OECD that show that voting for extremist and nationalist political parties tends to increase with economic setbacks.
For the immediate future, however, the German Army study foresees: 1. increasing oil prices that will reduce consumption and economic output (i.e. a recession or worse); 2. increasing transportation costs that will lead to lower trade volumes - less income for many and unaffordable food for some; and 3. pressure on government budgets as they must keep populations fed, deal with the social consequences of mass unemployment, and attempt to invest in sustainable sources of energy. Governmental revenues are bound to fall as unemployment increases along with resistance to further taxation.
In the medium term, most companies would come to realize that the global economy is going to be shrinking for a long time and act accordingly. In an indefinitely shrinking economy, savings would not be invested as profits could no longer be made or borrowing costs paid. In this environment, the banking system, stock exchanges and financial markets would have a hard time surviving.
Banks would be left with no reason to exist as they would not be able to pay interest on deposits or find credit-worthy companies or individuals. The final step would be the loss of confidence in currencies and with them the ability to carry on normal economic transactions outside of barter.
If all this sounds extreme to American ears, remember the Germans have been through far more than we have in the last century. What is interesting is the way they are telling it like they see it - no pulling of punches here.
By. Tom Whipple
Source: Post Carbon
Government Aims to Build a ‘Data Eye in the Sky’
More than 60 years ago, in his “Foundation” series, the science fiction novelist Isaac Asimov invented a new science — psychohistory — that combined mathematics and psychology to predict the future.
Now social scientists are trying to mine the vast resources of the Internet — Web searches and Twitter messages, Facebook and blog posts, the digital location trails generated by billions of cellphones — to do the same thing.
The beauty of revolution – Steve Biko lives!
Two interesing and not unrelated blog posts to mark the 34th anniversary of Steve Biko‘ death. In the first Khadija Patel interviews Andile Mngxitama, South African Black consciousness activists and co-editor of “Biko Lives!” – the mistake is to have believed he died on that day 34 years ago.
All the Single Ladies
Recent years have seen an explosion of male joblessness and a steep decline in men’s life prospects that have disrupted the “romantic market” in ways that narrow a marriage-minded woman’s options: increasingly, her choice is between deadbeats (whose numbers are rising) and playboys (whose power is growing). But this strange state of affairs also presents an opportunity: as the economy evolves, it’s time to embrace new ideas about romance and family—and to acknowledge the end of “traditional” marriage as society’s highest ideal.
Remembering the Mahatma
October 2 marked the 142nd birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
In the enthusiasm to dwell on Gandhi's superhuman sagacity, we often fail to appreciate his more human virtues. His immaculate sincerity. His incredible tolerance, his modest charm. His infinite patience. And, above all, his abiding faith in Truth and non-violence.
Coptic Egyptians pray for end to bloody clashes
The prayers of Rev. Joseph Guardious, a Coptic priest, for an end to attacks against Christians and their churches were answered Sunday evening with a fresh explosion of religious terror - one which left 24 dead and scores injured in the Egyptian capital.
New leftists salute Wall Street brethren
HONG KONG - As the Occupy Wall Street protests targeting corporate greed and political corruption spread from coast to coast in the United States, China's new leftists - socialist critics of the country's capitalist-style economic reforms - are beginning to lend support, declaring the demonstrations as a "great revolution" that sounds the death-knell for capitalism throughout the world.
Supporters of the new leftists have staged street protests in at least two cities of Henan province, Luoyang and Zhengzhou, in the past few days to show their "firm support" for the "Great Wall Street Revolution".
A changed world is emerging
Globally the political economic structure as the world has known it over the last four decades or so seems not only set for fundamental restructuring, but the process has already started. What in immediate recent history came to be known as the Arab Spring is starting the shape-up to a winter of discontent for the developed world and with even echoes in planned actions of South Africa’s ANC Youth League.
"Occupy Wall Street Is A Thought Revolution - And It Won't Be Minimized" - MOC#83
There's no getting around it - Occupy Wall Street is a thought revolution for the United States. It's our Mental Spring. The flood gates are open and they're not closing.
Why prisons and prisoners must matter to the Occupy movement
Prisons and the millions who are imprisoned are a critical issue in this society for the 1 percent and for the 99 percent. They must be a vital area of concern for the Occupy Wall Street movement and especially here in Occupy LA.
#OccupyWallStreet comes to Denmark
“Our movement is growing and now it’s too big to ignore,” Vogter said. “The press has finally realised this isn’t just a group of unwashed hippies.”
FlashMob Peace Meditation, NYC 2011
Oswald was trying to prevent JFK’s assassination says Judyth Vary Baker
TORONTO -- Judyth Vary Baker; author of ME & LEE: How I came to know, love and lose Lee Harvey Oswald, a 600-page non-fiction autobiography which recounts the undercover medical project they worked on together and the secrets he shared with her about JFK’s impending assassination.
Occupy Seattle Protesters Sit Down In The Middle Of Busy Down Town Street
October 08, 2011 KONG TV News
Iceland's On-going Revolution
An Italian radio program's story about Iceland’s on-going revolution is a stunning example of how little our media tells us about the rest of the world. Americans may remember that at the start of the 2008 financial crisis, Iceland literally went bankrupt. The reasons were mentioned only in passing, and since then, this little-known member of the European Union fell back into oblivion.
Afghan woman Suraia Sahar speaks in front of White House on 10 year anniversary of Afghanistan war
AFP member Suraia Sahar travels from Toronto to Washington DC on 10 year anniversary to call for an end to the war in Afghanistan.
Speak Out! - "Truth Is" by Black Ice
Black Ice w/ another great performance on Def Poetry Jam. Original upload by SpokenPoetryTV.
Libyan revolutionaries used dating website to dodge Khadafy's secret police
Mahmoudi -- leader of the Ekhtalef, or "Difference," movement -- acted as if he was looking for a wife under the profile name "Where is Miriam?" and sent coded love letters to spur people to revolution.
Wall St protests spread south
The anti-Wall Street protest that began in New York last month will spread to Melbourne this week, local organisers say.
Los Indignados: Operation Occupy Brussels
OCCUPY DC - OCTOBER 9th, 2011
IMF advisor says we face a Worldwide Banking Meltdown
Dr. Robert Shapiro who advised Presidents Clinton and Obama and who currently advises the IMF predicts a cascading meltdown of the World's banking system starting with Sovereign debt in the Eurozone, affecting the UK then finally bringing down the global banking system.
A History of Violence - Edge Master Class 2011 - Steven Pinker [9.27.11]
What may be the most important thing that has ever happened in human history is that violence has gone down, by dramatic degrees, and in many dimensions all over the world and in many spheres of behavior: genocide, war, human sacrifice, torture, slavery, and the treatment of racial minorities, women, children, and animals.
The clip was aired October 5, 2011 on the popular News show Newsnight with the corporation's top interviewer Jeremy Paxman.
Is the world too big to fail?
Noam Chomsky explains how the global order of power has been created and describes the mechanisms behind its continuity.
Google Hands Wikileaks Volunteer's Gmail Data to U.S. Government
Gmail users got a hefty dose of reality today when it was revealed that Google handed over one user's private data to the U.S. government, who requested it without a search warrant.
Occupy Wall Street Protesters Plan March on Mansions
Occupy Wall Street is moving on up to the East Side — literally, with a coalition of activist groups is marching on the homes of some of New York City’s richest residents tomorrow.The “Millionaire’s March” was organized by three of the groups that helped plan last Wednesday’s Occupy Wall Street megamarch; UnitedNY, the Strong Economy for All Coalition, the Working Families Party, and New York Communities for Change. It will include stops at the homes of News Corporation Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch, energy executive and conservative activist David Koch, real estate developer Howard Millstein, hedge fund manager John Paulson and JPMorgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon.