The Times They Are A Changing

The so called leaders of the world are gathering in London for the G-20 Economic Summit, a last ditch effort to somehow keep the world afloat. It won't work of course, but it won't keep them from digging deep into their bag of tricks to prop up the real masters of the Universe, the corporations that really rule our world. They'll make a good show of things, make important speeches and generally act like they have the answers to what ails us. Hell, it might even work for a couple of years but ultimately, nothing anyone does will make a damn bit of difference and the world economy will continue to contract.

As I've said many times before, we live on a small blue planet orbiting around a strictly average sun in a strictly average galaxy in a strictly average part of the universe. In other words, we are alone in our own little corner of all that is known and for all intentes and purposes, it's a finite world and in a finite world, infinite growth simply isn't possible. As I've also said many times and will continue to say, we have been very blessed to have been alive during this one time only bonanza of cheap energy and easy living. For all of humanity, life has been incredibly difficult and labor intensive. For all of human time, people didn't live all that long, they were often quite hungry, cold in the winter and hot in the summer, more often than not they were sick and not a single one of them ever gave a thought to such things as retirement, the weekend or other fanciful things that we take for granted.

That all changed of course with the advent of the petroluem age and the resulting orgy we call the 20th century. Because of oil, food became plentiful, health care expanded and became much better, life expectancy shot upwards, mobility became something we take for granted, jobs became rewarding and offered the chance at a nice retirement and most of all, human population soared and soared. Today, there are over 6 billion of us and for some reason we are reproducing like mad, adding numbers that simply can't be supported on this planet we call home. It's been a great run, really it has. For those of us blessed to have been born in the 20th century, it's been a ride unlike any ever experienced and one that we will one day tell our grandchilren about as they try to wrap their minds around a world so plentiful that nothing they have experienced can compare.

We are at Peak Oil, Peak Natural Gas, Peak Uranium, Peak Water, Peak Air, Peak Food, Peak Soil and Peak Standard of Living. Like it or not, it's all downhill from here on out. You won't hear any of that this week, no political leader is ready to admit that the era of growth is officially over, but if you take a moment to dig around, the truth becomes crystal clear, the times they are a changing. In the short term, I suppose their might be a 30% chance that things will get better, we are currently living in a world that is awash in oil (due to dramatic demand destruction from the recession), but once that excess supply evaporates, it won't take long, we'll run into another wall and economic growth will once again stall and fall backwards. It might even repeat itself for a decade or so, short periods of slow growth seperated by energy driven constraints, but as global oil production falls off the bumpy plateau it's found itself on this past decade, even the short periods of economic growth will fail to come. Yep, the times they are a changing...


2 comments:

nexy | March 31, 2009 at 10:10 PM

i'm hoping for another decade :)

Kelly | March 31, 2009 at 11:11 PM

Me too and we might just get it but I'm not holding my breath.