Even though I keep myself very aware of big-oil and it’s ramifications on the world (I’m probably the only person in my family who watched Farenheit 9/11 or Syriana in the theater (or at all) let alone both of them), I have found something even more deeply disturbing today. Note: No, watching the aforementioned films does not make you that much more educated in these matters. However, refusing to watch them on the basis of Fox News talking points shows a lack of ability for critical analysis. “I don’t need to watch them because Bill O’Reilly told me what happens” isn’t a good argument. It’s the same reason women don’t watch the presidential debates but instead vote on which candidate is the most sexually appealing. I’d be the first one in line to watch a documentary by Rush Limbaugh on the Democratic party.
For years I’ve been arguing with my father about the wontedness of blood for oil warfare. One of his points has always been that we need petrol for things other than taking trips to Tijuana on the weekends. In this he is very right. However, I found an article today that illustrates the entire world energy crisis dilemma better than any previous one. In effect, it states that we will play blood for oil games for the next 50 years or so, but in the end it will only be grasping at straws, and my future children’s generation will be left with a collapsed society by the time they are adults (or middle-aged if we’re extremely lucky). In the worst-case scenario we run out of crude oil in under two decades.
In fact, in the discussion with myself, my father, Jeremy, and Brian that took place on Christmas Jeremy made a strong note that America will “fall” soon. Many believe this based on the high price of consumerism (but not necessarily relating this to need for oil). Frequent LA philosophy-club attendee Aaron Montes also loosely holds this opinion. I’ve always rebutted the argument and held that our system will not fail (at least on a massive scale). I still believe it won’t.
While I agree with everything in this article – I do not see massive rioting happening with the banks collapsing. With so many people in this country drowning in debt it will almost be like giving millions of people a free pass. Those who HAVE money will be affected by the collapse of the oil infrastructure, not those who don’t. And before you come back at that comment – think about this – according to US Census figures from 2000 less than 10% of Americans (or household income figures) make more than $100,000 a year. If you make less than $100,000 a year you have less liquid assets and more property. Ironically these people are usually more self-sufficient because they have to be. They will much easier adapt to not being able to drive than someone who is used to flying to Rome every year for a vacation. If you are used to scraping by and saving, growing your own food and metering out how you use the remaining gas in your tank (when a gallon costs $200) isn’t so hard. Poor people in Ohio making $15,000 a year but own land will be at a much greater advantage than people making $60,000 a year in NYC renting a 30th floor small apartment. Land will become the most important commodity after oil runs out as it contains the means to be as self-sufficient as possible. When the dollar is only worth 5 cents of what it is today – an apple will still have the same nutritional value it has always had. If you can grow your own food from plants that regenerate every year, you don’t need to pay to have it delivered, and global/national financial market instability has less of an affect on your physical well-being. When the banks collapse, you’re savings account will disappear, but you’re house and land will still exist. Meanwhile – those who have their money tied up in stocks (and borrow back from those investments to pay their bills) will lose everything, as will those who have their finances tied up in physical investments that suddenly become worthless (i.e. paintings that won’t be worth anything in a new economy where a bottle of Florida Orange Juice costs $75). This kind of loss would only affect 25 million people, with the other 250 million (using the 2000 census population figures again) would simply go on “hard times.” Most of those 250 million people are descendants of immigrants who came to this country with little or nothing in the first place. They are not inexperienced at surviving hard times.
Immediately this would lead one to think that Midwestern and eastern communities would fare the best in this “crisis” (a misnomer since a crisis is only temporary). However, the west does hold a few advantages. The farming communities in mid and southern California will be much better off. Crops can be grown year round and a consistent comfortable temperature prevents bouts of sickness and death that will plague the eastern and northern states when temperatures drop and energy costs (to heat the home) are too expensive to manage. When the financial market falls out concurrent with the increase in energy prices expect a mass exodus to the West. The nation will be focused on states like Arizona and New Mexico that have farmland and also still have massive amounts of unpopulated area (which California no longer has). The rebuilding will begin there.
So, you say – “don’t you believe now that America will fall?” No. Nations fall when they are conquered or destroyed. America is too large to have the whole country be “destroyed” (by sickness, famine, etc. caused by energy shortages), as the shortages will affect some states much more than others. Also, this shortage will affect all nations simultaneously. Some more, some less. However, since military power requires energy, no other nation will be in a position to conquer us. The Chinese aren’t going to SWIM across the ocean (and then have energy left over to fight hundreds of millions of angry desperate Americans). All industrial armies will be similarly weakened across the globe and nobody will be in a position to fuel up battleships and fighter jets for a trip across the Atlantic or Pacific. Even if our neighbors were to try something they would not likely succeed. With America’s financial and economic bubble burst people will much more violently defend their land (because the land itself will be all they’ll have left). Cubicle jockeys would sign up to fight an invading Mexican army, whereas we’d never sign up to go to Iraq. Thus America will survive, but it will not be the futuristic image of flying cars and holographic televisions that we all yearn for. Closer to Mad-Max, but with less oil.
Anyway – I found the article in a post by the band Muse on their website about the recording of their impending album.