Monday, April 11, 2005


I just noticed another way to put a number to the state of awareness of dwindling petroleum. If you googled "peak oil" on the first of the month over the last two years, I bet it went from a handful of scientific and environmental activist websites to where it stands today: 516000 matching webpages!. Of course, "awareness" is a rather neutral term. That number includes pages devoted to dubunking the "myth" and some pages are promoting shakey schemes in stock and commodity trading to "cash in on the comming shortages". The latter seems proof conclusive that we are a sick society...the "maximum PERSONAL wealth" meme is so blind to its consequences that it is happy to mine the tailings and dung heaps it has already made of the WORLD'S resources. It has been often argued that booming economies are win-win engines that make wealth out of nothing but cleverness and a bit of hard work. If you charged a cost of materials to those booming economies that would replace the natural resources which were used up in the process of "creating" all that wealth, I suspect we would have something close to a zero sum game. Faced as we now are with either radical reduction in consumed resources or finding ways to restore and replace the oil, the farm land, the clean air and the clean water frittered away throughout the history of a less populous world, the existing models for distribution of resources as a basis for wealth are going to invert into lose-lose, dog-eat-dog. And looky where the lead dogs are: the profiteers hawking their scheme for you to get rich while your neighbor shivers.

Wealth is an illusion, transient and a corruption if it can only be gained from the poverty of other people or future generations.

1 comment:

Jered said...

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