Will Peak Oil Spell the End of Capitalism? (Article) - 7/18/2012 12:31:38 PM
Excellent review of an important book. There is so much technical information to digest and understand when discussing the possibilities of our energy future and our current dilemma of oil dependence. Many people like me depend on scientists to spell things out in layman's terms. These scientists are on the right track and do us all a great service by not only alerting to impending crisis but by offering alternative courses to avoid a bleak future.
I do believe though that the main issues are not addressed, as in most progressive/scientific assessments of energy and capitalism. The primary ingredients that will determine our future are power and history, always sidestepped in such discussions. And of course power and history equals politics.
The powerful and rich people, or nations, are not interested in what's good for the whole planet, only themselves. If you own ten cars it really doesn't matter if you pay $4 or $20 for a gallon of gas. If production costs shyrocket, it doesn't matter if you can afford to pay the price. This is the future. Wealthy people or nations (who possess the capital)continuing to make the decisions about where that capital is spent/invested. Capitalism is a selfish game. To accept a ceiling on economic growth as one author of this book proposes is daydreaming. Economic growth will slow and reverse for some - middle class Americans - but not the wealthy or captains of technology. And these are the people who have a strangle hold on our political process. Vesuvius has been seen smoking for two generations now, yet the powerful have either calmed everyone's fears with religion or diverted their attention with iPhones and twitter diversions.
The problem is political: if burning oil or natural gas or coal and polluting the atmosphere is just a matter of being able to afford to this will be the status quo. The price will go up, but there will be people - nations - who can pay.