"Solutions that should enable a reduction in oil consumption are only functioning as an insane rationale for using more. The pity of this utterly unnecessary disaster is matched only by the arrogance that created it. "
With this article both I and the FTW family will never again think in terms of whom we might offend or what bridges we need to build, burn or fireproof. As Don Henley wrote in a song of profound spiritual gratitude, "Sometimes you get your best light from a burning bridge." I'm going to burn a few with this essay.
Peak Oil is no longer on the way. It is here. Forget for a moment whether or not global oil production has actually begun (see below) its hopelessly irreversible decline. We will not know that for certain until sometime after it happens. The political fact, however, is that global inertia in response to Peak has driven our species, all of it, past the point of no return. There is no changing course for us. We have committed to a path of bloody destruction that can no longer be postponed or evaded. Energy investment banker Matthew Simmons - long a smoke alarm for Peak Oil - has said repeatedly, "The problem is that the world has no Plan B." Simmons is right.
Seeing clearly that there is no Plan B, it is now also too late to come up with a Plan C or Plan D. What I had hoped to accomplish with Crossing the Rubicon is now a missed opportunity. Yet the map so many of us drew in Rubicon remains astonishingly accurate and unaltered. It may prove to be an indispensable survival tool in and of itself very shortly.
Politicians come in varieties. They are in business. They are sometimes activists. Many pose as journalists. Some are economists and academics. They work in think tanks and manage the editorial decisions of major press outlets. Many average citizens behave and think like politicians because they accept as their primary mantras: "Don't rock the boat," and "Don't offend anyone." Politicians are more deadly than any weapon. They see their primary mission as building consensus to improve outward appearances.
For a politician the questions are always: "How can I superficially address an immediate problem without going to its root causes? What is the least amount of work I have to do to make this go away while I'm on duty? How can I deal with this problem without burning bridges?" Lately, economists, business and religious leaders, and everyday people have been behaving more like politicians than politicians themselves. Much like the incestuous, sealed-off, fetid Bush administration, the politicians are going to other politicians to make policy - when they dare even to do that. Refusing to make policy is also a policy.
In fact, most people have become politicians and it may well be that political correctness (including the fear of speaking out) - to whatever degree it is observed - will be the sword on which we now (not tomorrow) impale ourselves.
Bridges are burning all around us; bridges to responses that might have mitigated the already brutal (and just beginning) ravages of Peak Oil; bridges to reduce the likelihood of war and famine; bridges to avoid our selectively chosen suicide; bridges to change at least a part of energy infrastructure and consumption; bridges to becoming something better than we are or have been; bridges to nonviolence. Those bridges are effectively gone.
Stan Goff was right when he warned activists that "the gun," in all its forms, would be brought out before this was over. It was inevitable. False flag terror attacks, a fake war on terrorism, routine political murders, stolen elections, and Republican traffic in pedophilia remain causes for outrage and defiance, but they can no longer be useful avenues to justice: the legal system is broken. It's broken for reasons far greater than what used to be called corruption. And it cannot be fixed when a world war and unprecedented economic and ecological collapse are smashing down every wall between humanity and the unthinkable.
Politicians are creatures of economics. Their success has always been measured first and only by what economic benefits they returned to constituents or themselves. The victim has been the future. We have all told the politicians what we really want them to do for us while speaking platitudes from the other side of our mouths. As I have said for so many years, we are all prisoners of the way money works. Until we change that, any solution is only temporal and illusory. No electoral change is possible now that elections all over the world have sworn their allegiance to privately owned software programs and obvious manipulation.
FOR THOSE WHO CAN READ THE MAP
As the evidence grows stronger that we are at Peak now (or very close to it), there is a distinct correlation between oil price hikes and military budget increases, weapons deployment, warfare and covert operations around the world. Economists don't consider such things so they don't report on them. Their orthodoxy scorns any integrated view of world developments outside their own discipline.
For long-time readers of FTW I need do little more than discuss a few recent developments to put this in perspective. For the rest I will provide you with some of a great many available dots you can connect if you care to. Most people find themselves unable to tolerate the sight of the pattern which the connected dots reveal. After this, FTW will no longer try to detail the dots of Peak Oil. What we have published over the last seven years is proof enough. We had it right. I refuse to go over it again. Those who get it now, get it. Those who do not may possibly be beyond saving, because their own choices have deprived them of critical months of preparation for the crisis - especially since most of this "preparation" is psychological in nature. It is very hard and very painful to get one's mind to accept this reality.
Nature does not grant time outs.
I recently had a conversation with someone who spent 17 years in the CIA's Directorate of Operations. Thinking of the purge and power shift that has - over the course of the last nine months - decimated the Central Intelligence Agency (long my Bęte Noir) and shifted much of its power to the Pentagon, I asked the following question.
"Look, the agency does many things in many roles from raw intelligence gathering, to economic warfare, to satellite recon, to paramilitary operations requiring cover and deniability, to drug smuggling. But since its inception it was always focused in large part on medium and long-term intelligence gathering and covert operations through the costly, patient, expensive means of placing NOCs (non-official covers) or assets in missions where it might take five, ten or fifteen years to bear fruit. These programs were always centered on "what if" contingencies which inherently implied that multiple outcomes were possible; that there were alternative futures to be influenced and shaped.
"Battlefield intelligence is a different critter. It presupposes that there is nothing more important than the battle that has been joined at this moment. If the battle is not won, there are no future choices. Hence nothing matters other than the war that is being fought today. No Yaltas or Potsdams; no future deep cover moles will be needed.
"Every country in the world is betting everything it has on this one hand knowing that after 2007 or 2008 the game ends. The map of the future after that is unknowable and, to large extent, irrelevant. That's why Rumsfeld has won the battle to control American intelligence operations and why the new National Intelligence Director John Negroponte is getting the job.
"Is that right?"
Without the slightest hesitation the former CIA employee answered, "Yes."
It is the ultimate testimony to the madness of Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Dick Cheney that there are no more tomorrows left to fix anything. Since 9/11, and especially since a second presidential election was stolen four months ago, the setting for a real Armageddon has been locked in place. It may well have been for years before that.
A recent USA TODAY story, giving us the new word "Petronoia," warned that gasoline prices could jump by 25 cents per gallon within the next few days. That increase, it said, would take $90 million per day out of a consumer economy that relies on profligate spending to sustain already bursting bubbles. How are we getting the money to sustain these bubbles? We are, according to Bill Fleckenstein of MSN, using our houses as ATMs just to keep up, even as the housing bubble has already begun to burst.1 Our paychecks certainly aren't increasing.
Oil has topped $54 a barrel. It's gone up more than 25% in less than three months and fifty per cent over the last year; 400% since 1999. This amid strong signs that global oil production may have already peaked, as declines around the world are not being offset by new production. New fields may come online but the respite will be very short-lived. There may be a few "mega" projects (about a six-day supply for the planet in each) which may produce momentary price declines but the trend is irreversible. Official bodies like the International Energy Administration (IEA) are openly wishing that demand growth might slow in 2005, when actual figures already prove this wish utterly fanciful. China's oil demand is expected to grow by 33% this year. Industrialized and developing nations are expanding their economies as fast as possible to generate cash and liquidity as a means of securing more oil.
The vicious cycle is in full swing. And yet, according to economist Andrew McKillop…
We then move on to actual declines in production. For the majority of non-OPEC producers - (in fact nearly all except Russia and some Central Asian producers) rates of decline are stubbornly high, despite vaunted technology improvements…
One of the biggest problems facing the IEA , the EIA and a host of analysts and 'experts' who claim that 'high prices cut demand', either directly or through damping oil economic growth, is that this does not happen in the real world. Since early 1999 oil prices have risen about 400%. Oil demand growth in 2004 at nearly 4% was the highest in 25 years. In each year since 1999 world oil demand growth has been higher than the previous year - as prices rise.2
McKillop's analysis, which essentially says that rising oil prices are either good or of no consequence, falls way short for two reasons. Energy investment banker Matt Simmons a year ago in Berlin stated that he saw the actual point at which price would curb demand at around $180 per barrel. The consumers are bearing most of the costs of these increases. Is this the consumers' choice, or is it simply the point beyond which "the American way of life" will become impossible, regardless of how many incremental cuts people accept?
Go ahead; try to choose to use less oil of your own volition. What reductions are available to you are minimal because the world in which you must make your house payments, feed your family, drive to work and pay your bills is leaving you little choice but to consume more and get less for your money. Only at around $180 a barrel will the consumer no longer be able to subsidize the corporate and economic superstructure on his/her shoulders. This is essentially what Simmons was saying.
The poor will be the first to suffer and they will suffer the most. They will be the first to die.
Secondly, McKillop assumes a "trickle down" benefit to consumers from high prices. International capital flows and your own checkbook should be enough to dispel this belief. Need I say more? Didn't we hear enough about trickle-down from Ronald Reagan?
Oil industry guru Jan Lundberg - who seems to be getting a lot less air time than he used to - recently wrote the following brilliant assessment for (ironically of all places) Electric Vehicle (EV) Magazine. Lundberg got it right.
The end of abundant, affordable oil is in sight, and the implications are colossal. About now in our hydrocarbon phase of human history, we have pulled out of the Earth approximately half of the available petroleum (crude oil and natural gas). The other half still in the ground is harder to extract and may not - as assumed - fuel the global economy or even provide a transition to another phase…
This means that the next tough oil shortage, even if it is not acknowledged as a post-peak oil extraction phenomenon of diminishing supply, will cripple the globalized economy. Understanding of both the economics and social dynamics of collapse is rare, and even when it is present there is an absence of taking into account the "market factor" in ushering in collapse…
Despite the need to be prepared for imminent, final energy shortage - which could happen now or in several years at the latest - people persist in focusing too much on the likely date of the passing of the peak. It is already clear that the oil industry and OPEC numbers on oil reserves are suspect.
The scenario I foresee is that market-based panic will, within a few days, drive prices up skyward. And as supplies can no longer slake daily world demand of over 80 million barrels a day, the market will become paralyzed at prices too high for the wheels of commerce and even daily living in "advanced" societies. There may be an event that appears to trigger this final energy crash, but the overall cause will be the huge consumption on a finite planet.
The trucks will no longer pull into Wal-Mart. Or Safeway or other food stores. The freighters bringing packaged techno-toys and whatnot from China will have no fuel. There will be fuel in many places, but hoarding and uncertainty will trigger outages, violence and chaos. For only a short time will the police and military be able to maintain order, if at all. The damage that several days' oil shortage and outage will do will soon wreak permanent damage that starts with companies and consumers not paying their bills and not going to work.
After an almost instant depression seizes the modern industrialized world, and nation-states break down, the frantic attempts of people to feed themselves, stay warm and obtain fresh water (pumped presently via petroleum to a great extent), there will be no rescue. Die-off begins. The least petroleum-dependent communities will survive best. These "backward" nations will be emulated by the scrounging survivors of the U.S. and the rest of the "developed" world, as far as local food production will be tried - in a paved-over, toxic landscape by people who have lost touch with the land...
The prospects of mitigating peak oil or avoiding collapse are almost nil. U.S. petroleum demand in 2004 grew at its strongest rate in five years. In December the daily consumption of refined oil was 21 million barrels in the U.S, a quarter of world use. The U.S. leads the industrialized world in population growth, part of a domestic policy to assure more car and oil sales…
… The Earth cannot, as of the world oil peak in extraction, give up ever greater quantities of black gold. Most of the world exporting companies are now reducing extraction rates due to fewer discoveries and depleted fields. Oil production in 18 producer countries has passed its peak and is declining faster than previously thought: at about 1.14 million barrels a day.
"International Energy Agency figures put the total spare capacity of all 11 countries in OPEC at just 330,000 bpd (down from 6 million bpd in 2002). Conventional Saudi spare capacity is zero... An IEA report from August 2004 indicates Saudi Arabia needs up to 800,000 bpd of newly discovered oil each year just to offset declining fields and maintain its current production level." - This can't happen, so watch for the ensuing energy crisis.
The world needs to produce another 2,723,530.2 barrels per day by the end of 2005 just in order to stand still…
Petroleum is the Great Leveler, in the sense of "leveling" or flattening oil civilization. But petroleum will also be the Great Leveler in terms of equalizing everyone: People will go through a final, grasping petroleum grab with whatever funds and connections they have, before the attempt fails for good. Then all people will have no choice but to work together or perish. Until then, we have skewed values: for example, when a kindly old lady drives to a shop and has her charitable concerns, the use of oil makes her a killer of the planet and she is not pursuing a sustainable form of transportation. Meanwhile, a mean old man who scowls at little children who walks to the shop might be a much more valuable citizen in a practical fashion that matters to the world.3
THE MOST EVIL STATEMENT I HAVE EVER HEARD
Detroit News columnist Thomas Bray recently described an interview with two "experts"; authors who come from the corporate/industrial/Neocon camp. The aberration of his thinking is symptomatic of the guilt we all share and the consequences we all seem to be begging for.
"We will never stop craving more," say Huber and Mills, "nor should we ever wish to. Energy is what brings light out of dark, civilization out of disorder, prosperity out of poverty."4
What was the title of the book that Bray was so jazzed about? The Bottomless Well: The Twilight of Fuel, the Virtue of Waste, and Why We Will Never Run Out of Energy.
Contrast all of the above with the following February 28 quotation from China's Xinhuanet news agency:
Global demand may average 84 million barrels a day in 2005, while daily production in January was only 83.6 million barrels, according to the International Energy Agency. Oil prices have risen 11 per cent in the past three weeks in New York on growing concern that OPEC and other exporters will fail to keep up with demand this year.5
That all of these factors are forming a perfect storm is now clear.
Marshall Auerback, a brilliant economist (www.prudentbear.com) who dares to see the world whole, notes:
"At the time of the 1929 stock market crash, total US credit was 176 percent of Gross Domestic Product. In 1933 with GDP imploding and the real value of debt rising even faster, total credit rose to 287 percent of what was left of GDP…In 2000 at the top of the late bull market, total credit was 269 of GDP. An extraordinary statistic to be sure but dwarfed by today's figure, in which total credit stands at a whopping 304 percent of GDP, according to a recent study by fund manager Trey Reik of Clapboard Hill Partners.
The title of Auerback's essay was, "Last Orders for the US Dollar."6
Auerback opened his treatise with a recent quote from former Federal Reserve Chair Paul Volcker that should have sent politicians (all of us) feverishly to work on a survival plan.
Below the favorable surface , there are as dangerous and intractable circumstances as I can remember…. Nothing in our experience is comparable… But no one is willing to understand this and do anything about it… We are consuming… about six per cent more than we are producing. What holds the world together is a massive flow of capital from abroad… it's what feeds our consumption binge… the United States economy is growing on the savings of the poor… A big adjustment will inevitably become necessary, long before the social security surpluses disappear and the deficit explodes… We are skating on increasingly thin ice."7
The world's network of crude oil pipelines also is now operating at virtually 100% capacity. For almost all of 2004, the world's tanker system operated at full capacity too. This sparked an unprecedented rise in taker rates, which added up to $5 to $6 per barrel to the wellhead price of oil in some key long-haul export routes. - Matthew Simmons. Why are no more tankers being built? Because soon there won't be enough oil to ship to cover what it would cost to build them.
Also from Simmons: A lack of qualified manpower is looming high on the list of capacity problems. In addition, the many layoffs and downsizing events that our industry has endured… As a consequence, we now have an aging workforce at a time when the technical intensity of the industry is increasing each year. - Why? Because the industry knows it is going to collapse and no replacements are being trained to fill short-term, dead-end careers.
Officials of Mexico's state-owned oil company PEMEX have announced that Mexico's largest oil field, Cantarell, will enter permanent decline this year. - Bloomberg, March 1, 2005.
ExxonMobil is selling its 19 percent stake in China's Petroleum and Chemical Corporation - Forbes, March 2, 2005. This is a likely move to cut losses in the event of war.
Ukraine and Georgia have agreed to reverse the flow of oil in a strategic pipeline from the Black Sea thus effectively reducing Russia's control over some Caspian basin exports. - BusinessWeek, Feb. 28, 2005. A Ukrainian alliance with NATO would deprive the Russian Navy of access to its Black Sea ports.
In a move to bypass US-led efforts to reduce her influence in the world's oil supply chain and access to markets, Russia approved the rush construction of three new oil terminals on the Gulf of Finland to supply Europe. - Moscow News, March 1, 2005. (Three days after the above pipeline decision? Surely these power blocks had been making contingency plans for these events for years).
Saudi Arabia may have already peaked in production as a result of over-producing its fields. Overproduction by water (and gas) injection destroys a reservoir's geologic structure. It is an undisputed certainty that if Saudi Arabia has peaked, the world has peaked. - Al Jazeera, February 20, 2005.
Oil has been rising steadily in terms of dollars, but now it has begun to increase in price relative to the Euro - James Turk, GATA.
Petro Canada has decided to invest $3 billion in the development of Alberta's tar sands in spite of high costs, enormous environmental destruction and dwindling supplies of natural gas needed to make steam to wash the sands. - The Globe and Mail, March 2, 2005.
Royal Dutch Shell, which has downgraded its reserves four times in the last two years (as a result of fraudulent bookkeeping), has announced it may experience a 5% production decline this year. - Forbes, March 2, 2005. The truth comes out.
Iran and Mexico have signed an MOU for mutual assistance in developing oil and gas projects. - Tehran Times, Feb. 20, 2005.
MILITARY AND POLITICAL
Spain's foreign minister has voiced concerns held in Britain and elsewhere in Europe that the era of the nation-state is coming to an end as regional powers replace national identity. - The Sun, March 2, 2005. Energy-starved Britain will ultimately be forced to join the EU.
After Canada recently refused to participate in the US Strategic Missile Shield, the US government accused Canada of relinquishing sovereignty over its airspace and prompted a statement from US Ambassador Paul Cellucci that the US would shoot down missiles over Canada whether Canada gave permission or not. - CP, Feb. 24, 2005.
US forces in Iraq have apparently attempted to murder an Italian journalist who was freed after negotiations with her captors. They succeeded in killing an Italian Secret Service agent and US stories of the account are falling under widespread criticism and rebuttal. Anti-American sentiment in Italy is bubbling over. - Multiple sources.
China is experiencing massive shortages of coal to power its electrical generation. - Multiple sources.
China is already buying and hoarding 60% of the world's commodities: (Oil, Cement, Aluminum, Copper, Zinc, Manganese, Steel, Coal, Gold, Silver, etc.). It has bought so much cement that it has caused a slowdown in US construction. Last year it bought 90% of the world's steel output and shipped it to China - Multiple sources. Why? Because soon there won't be enough fuel for the globalized transport of such heavy things, nor, presumably, for their industrial exploitation. The world may also be at war shortly, further endangering international trade and transport.
China has announced a 12.6% increase in its defense budget for next year, pushing it into an overt arms race with the US. - Reuters, March 4, 2005. This has put the enduring China-Taiwan flash point back on the front burner as China has warned Taiwan against secession and the US, Japan and Taiwan have countered with equally risky rhetoric against China. Taiwan is crucial because of its location the South China Sea and proximity to smaller but accessible oil deposits in the Spratly Islands. Even more, should China incorporate Taiwan into its borders, its claims to territorial waters as far as the continental shelf would effectively deny Japan any future exploration off its western coast. - Multiple sources. Japan, which has no energy resources, is in deep trouble.
Chinese energy shortages have resulted in what may be selective blackouts of Japanese auto and other firms manufacturing in China. - Asia Times, December 9, 2004.
As frictions intensify between Japan and China , Japan - America's strongest ally in the Pacific - has been forced to sign an oil agreement with Iran . This agreement came as a slap in the face to the US which had opposed it.
Japan has announced a $1.1 billion emergency plan to build liquefied natural gas terminals. - Bloomberg, February 14, 2005. Twelve days later it was announced that Japanese destroyers had driven away Chinese exploration vessels in international waters that were too close to a possible natural gas field (claimed by Japan) in the East China Sea. - The Herald Sun, January 26, 2005.
China has begun placing nuclear-capable ballistic missiles on some of its submarines for the first time. - The Washington Times, December 3, 2004.
Last November a Chinese nuclear submarine intruded deep into Japanese territorial waters and was escorted (chased) by Japanese Navy ships back into international waters. - The Asia Times, Jan. 16, 2005
China and India have agreed to hold first-ever joint naval exercises in the Indian Ocean. - San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 13, 2004.
China is beginning a push to control the strategic Straights of Malacca through which 80% of its imported oil passes. This strategic waterway - only 1.5 miles wide at its narrowest point - lies between the countries of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. - Asia Times, March 2, 2005. Yes, and 40% of the world's piracy occurs there.
Indonesia has sent warships in an escalating dispute with Malaysia to an island off its west coast. The subject of the dispute: Malaysian oil exploration. - www.news.com.au, March 6, 2005.
The following day Indonesia dispatched F16 fighters to the Malaysian border, escalating the oil conflict. - The Standard, Match 7, 2005.
A number of stories have reported that Japan is secretly considering the abandonment of its pacifist constitution and - if it so chose - could have nuclear weapons in months, if not weeks. - Multiple sources.
Britain's parliament is in revolt over a proposed "terrifying" house arrest plan which would enable the government to order residents locked up in their own homes without trial. - The Independent, March 2, 2005.
Venezuela intends to purchase advanced MiG 29s from Russia, capable of downing F16s . - Reuters, Feb. 12, 2005.
Venezuela (the world's fifth largest oil exporter) has purged its state-owned oil company PdVSA of pro-American managers and is implementing a 17% tax increase on the revenues of foreign oil companies doing business there. - Multiple sources.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has traveled to New Delhi, India where he chose to make a public statement that he would cut off Venezuelan oil supplies to the US in the event of any intervention or a US-directed attempt on his life. The Indian government has thus tacitly endorsed the threat. Meanwhile, the US ambassador to Venezuela has imponderably replied that if that happened the US would just go somewhere else to get its oil. - Multiple sources.
Venezuela has sold its (already in decline) San Cristobal oil field to India. - Times of India, March 6, 2005
President Bush has given Syria a non-negotiable deadline of May 1 to withdraw its forces from Lebanon. One million Lebanese (almost a quarter of the population) have marched in the streets in protest. - Multiple sources.
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan told Congress the record U.S. budget deficit is "unsustainable'' and that spending cuts are needed before costs balloon for Social Security and other benefit programs. - Bloomberg, March 2, 2005.
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has stated that high oil prices are threatening the global economy and that those prices will be one of the most important items on the agenda of the coming G-8 summit. - The Daily Star, March 1, 2005.
The Bank of International Settlements has made it official: the dollar dump is underway. Since 2001 the number of dollars held by Asian central banks has fallen by 13% and the rate of sell-off is increasing. - Reuters, March 6, 2005.
OPEC has announced that oil prices could reach $80 per barrel within two years. - Agence France Presse, March 3, 2005.
A research foundation in Dubai has affirmed that western banks have rigged and suppressed gold prices. - Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee, http://www.lemetropolecafe.com/.
THE NEW WORLD ORDER
The New World Order is not a monolith; no single group of rich folks sits together in one room debating our planetary future. It is, quite literally, a new order in which world power aggregates along geographic/geologic lines, forcing regions to become players against each other and running roughshod over the nationalist sentiments of their subject populations. The regions are Europe (including Britain), Asia, South America and North America. Woe to those nations who are stuck in between. In spite of Sino-Japanese tension, Japan, China and South Korea have urged the creation of a Free Trade agreement to cover the Western Pacific. Geography and money will prove to be the ultimate trump cards because geography is governing economic decision-making. There may be a war between China and Japan but ultimately Japan (like the UK vis-a-vis Europe) will find itself swallowed into regional hegemony, either as a winner or as a loser.
Take a look at Orwell's 1984 again. It is a wonder how he saw so much. Yet behind all of this realignment, enormous streams of wealth or capital are being expended and - most importantly - transferred behind the scenes. The people controlling that money are not seeing their control dissipate as the nation-states vanish. Money makes its own rules.
Profits were made during the cold war by continuing the controlled escalation of tensions between the superpowers while secretly preventing those tensions from reaching critically dangerous levels. The major players included Armand Hammer, the Rothschilds, the Bushes, Averill Harriman, inter alia.
These people always find ways to eke profits from a system that is in meltdown. They make money on the way up. They make money on the way down. Their appalling justification, their pact with the devil that makes this all possible, is that "As long as we're making money then everything must be OK." This is what the real PTB (Powers That Be) believe. This is the final distilled definition of "the bottom line".
The problem lies in the definition of "The Powers That Be." Most people still think in terms of nation states. I always think in terms of money, even to the point of looking at money (the way it functions now) as the PTB without attachment to a human or national identity.
Not too long ago I had a dialogue with Catherine Austin Fitts after which an epiphany struck. As the human race blows itself into extinction, or destroys the climate, or starves itself to death, the last corporate merger and acquisition will take place. And at the same moment as mankind dies, the CFO of "GlobalCorp" will be shouting, "Hooray! We did it!"
Those who win in a rigged game get stupid. We have all played this game (to one degree or another). And compared to the rational, far-sighted humanitarians that Jefferson and Whitman hoped for and expected, we are all frightfully stupid.
In spite of all the warning signs that demand and energy use must be curbed immediately, the only commercial effect of Peak Oil has been to increase consumption as much as possible - so as to get as much "money" as possible, as quickly as possible. This before the instant, possibly only months away, when money - because of a lack of energy - becomes valueless. Solutions that should enable a reduction in oil consumption are only functioning as an insane rationale for using more. The pity of this utterly unnecessary disaster is matched only by the arrogance that created it.
With unmistakable desperation, China, the US, Russia, Europe and the Middle East are fiercely jockeying for a measly 40 billion barrels of Caspian heavy-sour oil instead of the 350 billion we were promised by the major oil companies a decade ago. Caspian oil has some of the highest sulfur content on the planet. It is expensive and environmentally destructive to refine. The mountains of sulfur around the Caspian are now so large as to be visible from space. Do you not see the desperation here?
The only way to curb demand is to pull the plug on global economies, starting first with the already partially cannibalized US economy. Our manufacturing has been stolen or given away for "spare parts." So have our savings, our Constitution, our resources, our credit, our credibility, our confidence, our manufacturing base, our jobs; and soon our houses, our personal bank accounts and ultimately our hope. The United States is being liquidated after a fait accompli merger and acquisition.
The bottom line turns out to be the suicide of the human race as mergers and acquisitions lead to the final moment of malignant capitalism: "the last corporation standing."
GlobalCorp becomes Global corpse.
Hurray, we did it!
To look on the brighter side of this, my brother in arms Matt Savinar helped me to see the good in Peak Oil. He wrote, "When people ask me what is 'positive' about Peak Oil, I tell them (only half-jokingly) that: "well, if there is no collapse, we're all going to be chipped, tagged, drugged with FOX news being beamed into our brains while living in slums patrolled by robotic soldiers with strangely familiar Austrian accents."
The fire has begun.
FOR THE RECORD - FTW REORGANIZATION PENDING
I wake up now on a daily basis knowing that at any moment the story might break signaling that the collapse has been triggered. It is my mandate to scan the horizon for signs of this, to help discern where the blows will fall, how hard, how quickly and where they will have the most impact. Effective immediately (and taking into account stories FTW has already committed to publish), it is imperative that FTW transform itself into an informational / intelligence lifeboat for those who are listening.
I will not be writing for FTW for a period of approximately two months while I complete a corporate reorganization that is necessary to adapt to the world as it is, not as we might wish it or pray for it to be.
FTW now has tens of thousands of daily readers who understand what is happening and who are urging me to stop trying to convince the rest of the world. They want us instead, try to and help those who are already convinced. We cannot save everyone. We can only help those who are asking for it. That is our constituency - our contract. The doors will always be open for latecomers.
What you will see in two months or less is a new FTW; focused, precise, and more useful on a day to day basis. If I lose support from progressives or activists for this, so be it. If FTW falls from grace with some for failing to be politically correct, then all I can say is "Good luck to you."
We must all do what we must do and do it now. My conscience is clear that I have done all that is possible to warn. When a tsunami is coming there is a point at which one must stop trying to warn the indifferent and just get out of the way and help others who are also trying to get out of the way. For those who now see this, FTW hopes to become at least a partial bridge to your safety. In order to do that, other bridges must be abandoned.
1. Fleckenstein, Bill; Prerequisite to current events: Bubble 101; MSN, Feb. 28, 2005.