READERS of my correspondence to The Gisborne Herald should now be familiar with terms like Peak Oil, Energy Descent, Fantasy Finance and the current clash of wills between those who seek to control the resources of the world by endless money creation, and the laws of nature that demand a sustainable approach.
All of these concepts are best expressed in a paper by Richard C. Duncan PHD called “The peak of world oil production and the road to the Olduvai Gorge” that states modern civilisation has a life span of around 100 years, measured from 1930 to 2030.
The idea is that the exponential growth enabled by access to cheap oil came to a peak around 2007, followed by a static plateau up to 2012, followed by a fall in energy use until 2030 by which time energy available for use by mankind reverts to 1930 levels.
Now there’s a scary thought.
A series of massive power blackouts like the recent one in India triggers the “Olduvai Cliff” where modern society becomes too complex and can no longer run smoothly, causing collapse.
The most obvious manifestation of this theory at the moment is “fantasy finance”, where growth is being perpetuated, despite fewer jobs and dropping production, by increasing the money supply to mimic growth.
This oversupply of money, through the creation of debt, has turned the average man into a “debt slave”. Most of us struggle on still trying to live the modern economic dream, on tick with all the pressures that accompany it.
We all share an uneasy feeling that something is up, which is why people like myself are stepping forward and volunteering “sane” leadership based on “awareness” as against the traditional leadership which is based on “obedience” and “compliance” to models that are no longer working.
Each day everyone looks out the window and the sky is not falling down so we tell ourselves that everything will be all right, because that is what we want to believe. But one by one, family by family, we are being picked off and pushed over the Olduvai Cliff.
You see, energy descent is manifested to each person individually.
If you have enough money to buy a car and fill it with petrol and run a house full of electrical appliances and fly around the world for business or pleasure, then you are not affected. If the person next to you loses their job and can no longer pay their bills, you are not affected. It is only when something happens to you directly that you are affected.
If you lose your job, your wages are cut or stay the same for a long period in the face of rising prices, you struggle silently because “that is what we do”.
Last Wednesday, I was driving my bought-and-paid-for car down Ormond Road. It was full to the brim with diesel, enough to last the next two weeks. At that point I was a participating member of modern society.
The cellphone rang, I reached in my pocket, took my eyes off the road and boom, I drove over the “Olduvai Cliff”.
My unspectacular, pathetic little car crash was of no consequence to anyone except me and my family and the poor woman whose parked car I unceremoniously ploughed into.
The foolish act of reaching for modern technology threw me back towards 1930 in a nanosecond.