The American way of life – which is now virtually synonymous with suburbia – can run only on reliable supplies of dependably cheap oil and gas. Even mild to moderate deviations in either price or supply will crush our economy and make the logistics of daily life impossible. – Jim Kunstler – The Long Emergency


Here we stand
Like an Adam and an Eve
The Garden of Eden

Two fools in love
So beautiful and strong
The birds in the trees
Are smiling upon them

From the age of the dinosaurs
Cars have run on gasoline
Where, where have they gone?
Now, it’s nothing but flowers

                        Talking Heads – Nothing but Flowers

America was a Garden of Eden with nothing but flowers, trees and vegetation. We bit into the forbidden fruit of oil over a century ago. It has been a deal with the Devil. Oil brought immense wealth, rapid industrialization, 2.7 million miles of paved roads, and enormous power to America. But, now the SUV is running on empty. In the not too distant future the downside of the deal with the Devil will reveal itself. America was the land of the free and home of the brave. Now it is the land of the Range Rover and home of the BMW. In a few years it could be the land of the forlorn and home of the broken down. Our entire society has been built upon a foundation of cheap oil. The discovery of oil in Titusville, PA in 1859 turbo charged the Industrial Revolution in the U.S. The development of our sprawling suburban culture was dependent upon cheap oil. Americans could not survive for a week without oil. Commerce in the U.S. depends upon long haul truckers. Food is transported thousands of miles to grocery stores. The cheap Wal-Mart crap is transported thousands of miles across the seas from China. Americans believe it is our God given right to cheap oil. We are the chosen people. Kevin Phillips, in his brilliant book American Theocracy describes our love affair with cheap oil:

Americans constitute the world’s most intensive motoring culture. For reasons of history and past abundance, no other national population has clumped so complacently around so fuelish a lifestyle. For many citizens the century of oil has brought surfeit: gas-guzzling mobile fortresses, family excursions on twenty thousand-thousand-gallons-per-hour jet aircraft, and lavishly lit McMansions in glittering, mall packed exurbs along outer beltways. Against a backdrop of declining national oil and gas output, Americans consume 25% of world energy while holding just 5% of its energy resources. As the new century began, Americans enjoyed a lifestyle roughly twice as energy intensive as those in Europe and Japan, some ten times the global average. Of the world’s 520 million automobiles, unsurprisingly, more than 200 million were driven in the United States, and the U.S. car population was increasing at five times the rate of the human population. How long that could continue was not clear.

John and Jane Q. Citizen mostly ignore these trends and details, and know nothing of geologist Hubbert’s bell-shaped charts of peak oil. Senior oil executives sometimes discuss them in industry conferences, but elected officials – many with decades of energy platitudes under their belts – typically shrink from opening what would be a Pandora’s Box of political consequences. Oil was there for our grandfathers, they insist, and it will be there for our grandchildren; it is part of the American way.

Ignoring the facts and pretending that we can count on cheap oil for eternity is delusional. It is also the American way. The age of oil is coming to an end.  



There are consequences to every action. There are also consequences to every inaction. Over the next decade Americans will experience the dire consequences of inaction. The implications of peak cheap oil have been apparent for decades. The Department of Energy was created in 1977. The Department of Energy’s overarching mission was to advance the national, economic, and energy security of the United States. In 1970, the U.S. imported only 24% of its oil. There were 108 million motor vehicles in the U.S., or .53 vehicles per person in the U.S. Today, the U.S. imports 70% of its oil and there are 260 million vehicles, or .84 vehicles per person. Jim Kunstler describes our bleak future in The Long Emergency:

 “American people are sleepwalking into a future of hardship and turbulence. The Long Emergency will change everything. Globalism will wither. Life will become profoundly and intensely local. The consumer economy will be a strange memory. Suburbia – considered a birthright and a reality by millions of Americans – will become untenable. We will struggle to feed ourselves. We may exhaust and bankrupt ourselves in the effort to prop up the unsustainable. And finally, the United States may not hold together as a nation. We are entering an uncharted territory of history.”

The land of the delusional has no inkling that their lives of happy motoring are winding down. The vast majority of Americans believe that oil is abundant and limitless. Their leaders have lied to them. They will be completely blindsided by the coming age of hardship.

Factories & Shopping Malls



There was a factory
Now there are mountains and rivers
you got it, you got it
We caught a rattlesnake
Now we got something for dinner
we got it, we got it
There was a shopping mall
Now it’s all covered with flowers
you’ve got it, you’ve got it
If this is paradise
I wish I had a lawnmower
you’ve got it, you’ve got it

                                     Talking Heads – Nothing but Flowers

If Americans had any sense of history longer than last week’s episode of Dancing with the Stars (how about that Bristol Palin!), they may have noticed that the modern age has lasted a mere 150 years and has been completely dependent upon cheap plentiful oil. This is a mere eye blink in the history of mankind.  American exceptionalism refers to the opinion that the United States is qualitatively different from other nations. Its exceptionalism is claimed to stem from its emergence from a revolution, becoming “the first new nation” and developing “a unique American ideology, based on liberty, egalitarianism, individualism, populism and laissez-faire”. This feeling of superiority stems from the belief that we have a moral superiority and God has chosen our country to be a shining symbol for the rest of the world. It is the ultimate in hubris to think that we are the chosen ones. An enormous amount of credit for the American Century (1900 – 2000) must be given to pure and simple luck.

Everything characteristic about the condition we call modern life has been a direct result of our access to abundant supplies of cheap fossil fuels. Fossil fuels have permitted us to fly, to go where we want to go rapidly, and move things easily from place to place. Fossil fuels rescued us from the despotic darkness of the night. They have made the pharaonic scale of building commonplace everywhere. They have allowed a fractionally tiny percentage of our swollen populations to produce massive amounts of food. All of the marvels and miracles of the twentieth century were enabled by our access to abundant supplies of cheap fossil fuels. The age of fossil fuels is about to end. There is no replacement for them at hand. These facts are poorly understood by the global population preoccupied with the thrum of daily life, but tragically, too, by the educated classes in the United States, who continue to be by far the greatest squanderers of fossil fuels. – Jim Kunstler – The Long Emergency

Every accomplishment, invention, and discovery of the 20th Century was due to cheap accessible fossil fuels. The American industrial age was powered by cheap plentiful oil. One hundred and ten years after the discovery of oil in Titusville, PA an American walked on the moon. We harnessed the immense power of oil and rode it hard. An empire was born and grew to the greatest in history through the utilization of oil and oil byproducts. It is no coincidence that U.S. GDP has been dependent upon the growth in fossil fuel consumption over the last 150 years.  


The self centered delusional myopic American citizenry see no parallel between the American Empire built on a foundation of oil and the Dutch Empire built upon wind and water or the British Empire established on the discovery of vast quantities of coal. The Dutch Empire of the 1600s had 6,000 ships and 1,000 windmills generating power. The British Empire used coal to power steam engines, pumps, locomotives and ships and forged a great empire in the 1700s and 1800s. Today, the Netherlands has a GDP lower than Mexico. The U.K. has a GDP on par with Italy. You can be sure you are no longer an empire when your GDP is on par with Mexico and Italy. The United States has grown its GDP to $14.7 trillion by exploiting fossil fuels. The American Empire is clearly waning as its dependence on foreign oil slowly bankrupts the country. We consume 140 billion gallons of gasoline every year keeping our suburban sprawl mall based lifestyle viable.   

Cars, Highways & Billboards 


Years ago
I was an angry young man
I’d pretend
That I was a billboard

Standing tall
By the side of the road

I fell in love
With a beautiful highway

This used to be real estate
Now it’s only fields and trees
Where, where is the town
Now, it’s nothing but flowers

The highways and cars
Were sacrificed for agriculture
I thought that we’d start over
But I guess I was wrong

                                    Talking Heads – Nothing but Flowers

Americans believe our ingenuity, brilliance and blessings from God have led to the elevation of our country to eminence as the greatest empire in history. But, in reality it was due to a black sticky substance that we stumbled across in 1859. Those who believe in American Exceptionalism scoff at the idea that our empire would not exist without oil. They prefer to ignore and downplay the impact of oil on our society. Too bad. Here are the facts from

  • Approximately 10 calories of fossil fuels are required to produce every 1 calorie of food eaten in the US. 
  • Pesticides and agro-chemicals are made from oil. 
  • Commercial fertilizers are made from ammonia, which is made from natural gas. 
  • Most farming implements such as tractors and trailers are constructed and powered using oil-derived fuels. 
  • Food storage systems such as refrigerators are manufactured in oil-powered plants, distributed using oil-powered transportation networks and usually run on electricity, which most often comes from natural gas or coal. 
  • The average piece of food is transported almost 1,500 miles before it gets to your plate. 
  • In addition to transportation, food, water, and modern medicine, mass quantities of oil are required for all plastics, all computers and all high-tech devices. 
  • The construction of an average car consumes the energy equivalent of approximately 20 barrels of oil. 
  • The construction of the average desktop computer consumes ten times its weight in fossil fuels. 
  • According to the American Chemical Society, the construction of single 32 megabyte DRAM chip requires 3.5 pounds of fossil fuels. 
  • Recent estimates indicate the infrastructure necessary to support the internet consumes 10% of all the electricity produced in the United States. 
  • The manufacturing of one ton of cement requires 4.7 million BTUs of energy, which is the amount contained in about 45 gallons of oil. 

Our entire civilization will collapse in a week without oil. Try to imagine life if the 159,000 gas stations in the country ran dry. We are running on fumes and refuse to acknowledge that fact. We sooth our psyche with delusions of green energy (solar, wind, ethanol); drill, drill, drill mantras; abiotic oil theories; and vast quantities of shale gas. The concept of energy required to extract an amount of energy completely goes over the head of media pundits and those who prefer not to think. If you expend 2 gallons of gasoline in your effort to extract 1 gallon of gasoline, you’ve hit the wall. We have sacrificed our future in order to maximize our present, as William James concluded in the late 1800s:

“The most significant characteristic of modern civilization is the sacrifice of the future for the present, and all the power of science has been prostituted to this purpose.”

Americans have a fatal character flaw of desiring others to think they are successful because they drive an expensive gas guzzling automobile and reside in an immense energy intensive McMansion in suburbs 30 miles from civilization. Delusional Americans have convinced themselves that the appearance of success is success. Leasing $50,000 BMWs for decades and borrowing $500,000 to live in a $300,000 house has already pushed millions of egotistical to the edge. Of the 250 million passenger vehicles on the road today, 100 million are SUVs or pickup trucks. The average fuel mileage is 17 mpg. Approximately 70% of Americans drive to work every day, with 85% driving alone. They spend 45 minutes on average commuting to and from work and drive 15 miles to work. The average home size increased from 1,400 sq ft in 1970 to 2,300 sq ft today, despite the fact that the average household size decreased from 3.1 to 2.6. The bigger is better fantasy will be devastating on the downward slope of peak oil.    

Pizza Huts, Dairy Queens & 7 Elevens



Once there were parking lots
Now it’s a peaceful oasis
you got it, you got it
This was a Pizza Hut
Now it’s all covered with daisies
you got it, you got it
I miss the honky tonks,
Dairy Queens, and 7-Elevens
you got it, you got it

And as things fell apart
Nobody paid much attention
you got it, you got it

                                     Talking Heads – Nothing but Flowers

How will Americans survive without the 7,500 Pizza Huts, 5,000 Dairy Queens, and 8,000 7-11s that dot our highways? The average Joe is so busy tweeting, texting, and face-booking on their iPads, Blackberries, and laptops, watching Dancing With the Stars on their 52 inch HDTV bought on credit, or cruising superhighways in their leased Hummers to one of the 1,100 malls or 46,000 shopping centers, that they haven’t paid much attention as peak oil crept up on them. The globalization miracle of cheap goods produced in China and shipped across the world by cargo ship and then trucked thousands of miles to your local Wal-Mart is wholly reliant upon cheap oil. Our own military has concluded that:

 By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 MBD. – Joint Operating Environment Report 

When worldwide oil demand slightly exceeded worldwide oil supply in 2008, prices surged to $145 per barrel. A 10 million barrel per day shortfall is unfathomable by the purposefully ignorant masses. The sprawling suburbia that now houses the American population will become not viable when oil prices rise above $200 per barrel. Out-of-town shopping and entertainment malls will be deserted. The prosperity borne from the advent of oil is waning. Jim Kunstler explains the end game in The Long Emergency:

The entropic mess that our economy has become is in the final blow-off of late oil-based industrialism. The destructive practices known as “free market globalism” were engendered by our run-up to and arrival at the world oil production peak. It was the logical climax of the oil “story”. It required the breakdown of all previous constraints – logistical, political, moral, cultural – to maximize the present at the expense of the future, and to do so for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the many. Even mild to moderate deviations in either price or supply [of oil and gas] will crush our economy and make the logistics of daily life impossible.  

The United States is already tottering, as the oligarchy of the Wall Street banking syndicate, global mega-corporations and corrupt political hacks in Washington DC have pillaged the wealth of the country and left a middle class gasping for air. The mood of the country is already darkening as The Fourth Turning gathers steam. The recognition by the masses that peak cheap oil is a fact will contribute greatly to the next stage of this Crisis. Fourth Turning periods always lead to war. American troops are not in the Middle East to spread democracy. They are the forward vanguard in the coming clash over depleting oil resources. We are entering an era of strife, war, chaos and destruction. The facts of who controls oil supply and who needs oil (U.S. – 25%, China – 10%) are clear. Kunstler bluntly deals with the facts:

Fossil fuel reserves are not scattered equitably around the world. They tend to be concentrated in places where the native peoples don’t like the West in general or America in particular, places physically very remote, places where we realistically can exercise little control (even if we wish to). The decline of fossil fuels is certain to ignite chronic strife between nations contesting the remaining supplies. These resource wars have already begun. There will be more of them. They are very likely to grind on and on for decades. They will only aggravate a situation that, in and of itself, could bring down civilizations. The extent of suffering in our country will certainly depend on how tenaciously we attempt to cling to obsolete habits, customs, and assumptions – for instance, how fiercely Americans decide to fight to maintain suburban lifestyles that simply cannot be rationalized any longer. –  Jim Kunstler – The Long Emergency

Mr. Kunstler believes that the U.S. will be forced to downscale, localize and adapt to a new reality. I wholly support his attempt to warn the American people and would urge those who chose to think that preparing for a more agrarian lifestyle that will be forced upon us by circumstances is essential. No technological miracle will save us from our fate. Decades of inaction will have a price. I truly hope that his optimism that hardship will renew the American spirit will reveal itself:

“But I don’t doubt that the hardships of the future will draw even the most secular spirits into an emergent spiritual practice of some kind.”

As I live in the outer suburbs and commute 30 miles per day into the decrepit decaying city of Philadelphia every day, I’m less optimistic that the transition will be smooth or even possible. Kunstler’s view of the suburbs is accurate:

“The state-of-the-art mega suburbs of recent decades have produced horrendous levels of alienation, loneliness, anomie, anxiety, and depression.”

Families stay huddled in their McMansions, protected from phantoms by state of the art security systems. Their interaction with the world is through their electronic gadgets. Neighborhoods of cookie cutter 4,000 sq ft mansions appear deserted. Human interaction is rare. Happiness is in short supply. As I sit in miles of traffic every morning during my soul destroying trek to work I observe the thousands of cars, SUVs, and trucks and wonder how this can possibly work when the peak oil tsunami washes over our society in the next few years. Then I reach the bowels of the inner city and my pessimism grows. This concrete jungle is occupied by hundreds of thousands of uneducated, unmotivated, wards of the state. They live a bleak existence in bleak surroundings and depend upon subsistence payments from the depressed suburbanites to keep them alive. How will they survive in a post peak oil world? They won’t.

The Hirsch Report and Jim Kunstler’s  The Long Emergency both were published in 2005. M. King Hubbert warned U.S. leaders decades in advance about the expected timing of peak oil. The warnings have fallen on deaf ears. We were busy with our wars of choice, home price wealth, gays in the military, and the latest episode of Jersey Shore.

And as things fell apart
Nobody paid much attention



  1. Jim,

    A 5-point buck showed up by my shed the other day. When the oil runs out and the supermarket shelves are empty, you are invited to come over and help me kill it, and we can have a feast. You bring the beer.

  2. You have done a splendid job of tying together a variety of trends, all of which I’ve been following on Kunstler’s blog, zerohedge and the like. (Interesting thread of comments on zerohedge- not for the timid if you like to avoid fistfights). No one can say we weren’t warned.
    And now we can surmise what all those FEMA camps and acres of plastic “grave-liners” are for.

  3. I’m glad to see this post, particularly in the same week in which the NY Times did a special energy feature (Nov. 17) assuring us that we have vast amounts of available fuel here in North America, from tar sands and shale primarily. Yes sir, it’s business as usual according to the NYT. No need to worry. I’m sure the article was very satisfying to all the wall street bankers heading back to their mansions in Greenwich on Weds. evening. I guess the folks at The Oil Drum and those nervous Nellies in the Joint Command are just a bunch of Chicken Littles.

  4. I took a look at the comments at Zero Hedge, and I wonder why there is such a different demographic there, many of whom dispute the validity of this article. Are they the “clever” types who think that they can always outthink the next guy, or can always find the edge or margin to game the system? Do they think they will be able to game reality?

  5. “They paved paradise and and put up a parking lot, with a pink hotel, a boutique and a swinging hot spot. ”

    Joni sang that song in my youthful years.
    It became a reality in my latter years.
    America, America, I once knew ya ….

  6. I think a return to a more local, agrarian society with little federal government oversight sounds great. Have our lives improved so significantly by being able to buy cheap junk from China? Or driving cars, waiting in traffic, frantically hoping we get to the store before it closes?

    Maybe it’s just me, with an agricultural background and 200 acres of land that I escape to on weekends — sans television or any contact with the world outside of our own little community — but I think I’d prefer this way of life. The lefties call this “austerity” and say that it means failure for our country. They want more cheap junk, more taxes, more entitlements for the poor via “wealth redistribution.” They believe owning land should be illegal because anyone who does is “privileged at birth” and therefore one of the “rich” who need to share what they have.

    Not for me. I’ll take a low-key existence, with strong family-community ties and as little government intervention as possible. Good-bye, oil. You really weren’t all that great, after all.

  7. Reactive, just imagine how much less we would all have to work. We really do spend a HUGE amount of time working, just so we can pay the government.

  8. Returning to an agrarian society seems like a grand idea, except for the small problem of all those folks who live in the Suburbs and the Big Shitties. There’s just a few too many of them to drop down on 200 acre properties to do some sod busting. They can’t sell their McMansions to buy some land either, since the McMansion is first off underwater, and second the chain of title was broken in the Fraudclosure mess.

    How the folks who are sitting on a piece of property here in the FSofA figure they “own” the property is beyond me. The property is owned and controlled by the state, and the minute the state wants to take control of the property, all they have to do is raise your property tax past what you can afford to pay, and POOF you are another dispossesed peasant. This is how AgriBiz run by the Illuminati consolidated up all the land in the Great Depression.

    Anyhow, the bottom line here is you are OWNED by the Fascist State you live in, and unless you have your own private army as well equipped as the Jackboot Thugs of the FBI & ATF, you’ll only be free to live on that land for long as you pay what the State requires you to pay for the priviledge of parking your butt on that piece of property.

    To make a long story short, a return to an agrarian lifestyle here is not going to be accomplished without a lot of fighting over who “owns” the land and how the products of that land get distributed out. Besides that, the fighting will have to significantly cull the herd for there to be enough land for the folks still standing to adequately distribute out amongst themselves. There is certainly NO guarantee that the present “owners” of any property will remain the owners in perpetuity, particularly if/when Da Goobermint collapses. After that, you only own what you can Protect yourself.


  9. Good work Mr. Quinn.
    The very few who do not get it need to see Matt Simmons old work “Twilight in the Desert”, and his other PPTs with the decline curves for the elephant fields. Are the majors and Brazil drilling 15,000 foot wells in 5-8,000 ft of water because they like it? Easy shallow goodies are long gone. See the decline curves for North slope Alaska and Mexicos Cantarell. Most of sheeples do not know from decline curves. Jet transport of grapes and other perishables from South america and Mexico will slam to a halt at what jet fuel cost?

    What simmons pointed out that few grasped is that the Saudis are maintaining sort of a flat decline curve using secondary and tertiary recovery called water flood. Water cut on Gahwar is increasing b the year. Cannot urge getting Simmons book strongly enough.
    I could go on with lots more details, but without fundamental issues in the book it will fall on deaf ears.

  10. On the contrary, RE — a collapse of our oil-based economy would lead to a collapse of the federal government and strengthening of local governments. Locals are far less willing to get heavy-handed with people’s property because they’re property owners themselves. And they’re closer, meaning they could get shot if they tried to.

    Yeah, the people in the cities are a problem, but that will probably take care of itself, if you know what I mean. They might roam within 100 miles of the city, but chances are they’ll kill each other off in sufficient numbers to make the whole thing manageable. And there will still be opportunities for the McMansion folks to grow their own food, raise chickens, etc and enter into a different kind of bartering lifestyle. Some skills will still be needed in exchange for food.

    Society may just make a severe correction back to a much more sustainable level. Overall, it would be better for the country and the environment than what we’ve got going on right now.

  11. The Age of American Exceptionism has ended.

    There was a time, on and off, during much of the 20th century, when Exceptionism means a country inspiring people to do great things – discovery, innovation, wonderful infrastructure and products, a compassionate yet rational society, supreme educational achievement and a land of high intelligence. USA was exceptionally good.

    Then, bit by bit, Exceptionism was transformed into a land where one can get away with just about anything and everything. All country and people of the world follow on set of rule, except America. Me is ‘in’ and everybody else, even the well-being of the country, is ‘out’. This cultural trend was started by the politics of ‘easy’, bought by an overwhelming majority raised in the Exceptionism mindset, which proceeded to feed on itself in a self-destructive cycle. Before you know it, Americans even believe they can violate physical laws and monetary reality. A society where millions operate on the basis that energy and happiness can be created out of thin air, just like money. USA became exceptionally bad. And amazingly stupid.

    Washington Post, a mainstream paper, calls on Obama to declare a one-term presidency. It is a recognition that not only Obama, but no politician, is able to confront less tackle the transition from the Age of Exceptionsim.

    Here an analysis from a slightly outside view of the above column, which frequently is far more real and healthy than domestic pundits and analysts:–gwyn-end-of-american-dream-a-nightmare-for-obama

    To highlight the core of the matter that resulted in the end of Age of Exceptionism – housing, the situation is ever more dire. Massive housing price drop and foreclosure will continue for at least two years. Optimistically, the bottom (BOTTOM!) may hit in 2012.

    “The US banking industry is entering a new period of crisis where operating costs are rising dramatically due to foreclosures and defaults. We are less than 1/4 of the way through the foreclosure process.”

    Read more:

    I dare you to click the link to see the Powerpoint presentation by Risk Analytic’s Chris Whalen. It is worded in professional financial language. It is not pretty. The conclusion is simple: USA WILL become Ireland in two years, and there is no EU to bail out the unbailable.

  12. Kunstler gets excited over next to nothing. Vehicles getting 100 mpg are simple to build and use! Our inventive genii will produce as soon as the lazy-assed-loafers are forced to earn their keep, but don’t hold your breath on that!! As soon as the Federal reserve is ended our prosperity will begin!! I will patent my inventions when the patent office is reformed by a Constitutional Congress! Sincerely, RS

  13. @Thinker

    You are joking, right? Local Goobermints are just as corrupt as CONgress, just the payoffs aren’t as big. Think the “Dukes of Hazzard” and Boss Hog. Think Frank Serpico. Think the Hon. Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago, soon to be replaced by Rahm-bo. I wouldn’t count on anybody’s property right being enforced once the Fed collapses, especially since you would not be able to know who really owns anything, besides maybe somebody who lives on a family farm held for generations, and even that you could get a claim on by a Native American. Who is going to enforce these property claims? Your local Sherriff? In collapse scenarios, the local cops operate entirely via protection rackets, you either pay up or you are not “Protected”.

    Anyhow, I am not disagreeing that we need to go back to a simpler form of living. I’m just pointing out that it is a fantasy to think anybody’s property rights will be respected once the collapse proceeds along here. Of course, if you Gang Up with the other locals and form your own miniature Plutocracy with your own miniature Enforcement Arm you might hold onto the land until somebody bigger and better armed shows up in the neighborhood. How said miniaturized Goobermint is run really is what determines how equitable and free your particular neghborhood will be. Likelihood would be for most of these places that they will become Feudalized, since this is the Land Ownership paradigm. Other areas may become Tribalized, others may become Communal. Completely anarchic organization is unlikely to last too long in any area.


  14. Having spent some serious time in third world countries, dancing, eating, praying, and sleeping with the natives, I can forcefully aver that they tend to be, not just a little, but vastly happier in their lives than my fellow americans. So, I am extremely hopeful about the improvement in our general demeanor as we return to being “a more local, agrarian society with little federal government oversight.” Nor do I have my head in the sand about it. Not too many people care to point out that, in order to arrive at this favorable destination, our population must and certainly will be reduced to around 10% of its present size. That means that the vast majority of people younger than I am are in for a big, big surprise ….

  15. Sure, RE. Just keep getting all your knowledge of local governments off the boob tube instead of being in such a community in real life. It’s easier to keep the tin foil hat and government conspiracy theories in place.

  16. I have to agree with RE on this one (dang). The property you think you “own” is only yours as long as the current government continues to maintain its control. Once that’s gone you only “own” what you can defend. I always smile at all the right-wingers who think there should be no government and no taxes, so they can live in peace on “their” property (my in-laws, for instance). Even if it’s all paid off, you only “own” anything to the extent that the government enforces the rule of law on your behalf. If that government decides to increase your taxes by 10,000 percent and you can’t pay (cuz there ain’t no economy no more), guess what? You are now homeless. If that government fails, collapses or otherwise goes away, so do your property “rights.” If a private army decides it wants your land, who you gonna call? Be careful what you wish for.

  17. Quite right SnJ.

    This has nothing to do with using pop culture references to liven up the prose. I’m sure the nice peaceful Conservative Low Goobermint Saxon Land Owners were sure their Property Rights were being violated by those nasty Normans. LOL.

    Take away the veneer of our current system and you will just end up with a neoFeudalist land grab just about everywhere. Any particularly good Ag area will no doubt be seized under martial law to feed regiments from your local National Guard or nearby Army Base, run by your own local Poppa Doc or Fidel.

    Forget being left alone to live in peace and grow your vegetables. Ain’t gonna happen that way.


  18. Great post! Love the JHK references, since I love reading his posts. As a side note, there are plenty of people hoping electric cars or hydrogen cars, etc. will save us, or at least Happy Motoring. But, the last time I checked, oil / fossil fuels are required to build a car, and the parts. It’s going to be a completely different world, in short order, and I’m glad I’ll be around to see it, and survive it.

  19. I found this chart of world GDP, comparing historical key years.


    That and this article together suggest a likely outcome.

    1. Isn’t it ironic that I posted this article just before I got on the biggest freaking ship I’ve ever laid eyes on. We’re at sea and this is costing me 30 cents a minute, so have a nice night.

  20. Oil is not running out, cheap under $200 US barrel oil is running out. Big difference. A probable scenario, the vital, meaning we all starve if it goes, machinery and chemical processes will be converted to natural gas or lpg via direct injection or even electricity. The sheeple and Free Shit Army can pay through the nose for $10 gallon petrol, catch the bus or train or walk (or buy a 50cc scooter and leave the hummer at home). Those who demand their free shit how or else!, will receive the or else via high calibre rounds to the head, the rest will fall into line or die. Nuclear power will be pushed ahead (over the bodies of protesters?) and California will become a free fire “Black hawk down” zone as starving Mexican peasants free the failed state on your doorstep. THAT will be the straw that breaks the camels back. You share an open border with a future SOMALIA!!. Good luck with that one, you will need it.
    Or move to Australia/NZ, we have the ocean to cover our backs and when we buy your nukes off you in exchange for food will use them IF the SHTF (Indonesian invasion, maybe?).

  21. Admin – I hope your ship hits an iceberg and goes down, down, down – just like the Titanic! And hopefully the lifeboats were all left back at port. If not an iceberg, maybe the Russians will sink it with a super sonic torpedo! That way, we won’t have to put up with your bull shit propaganda anymore. By the way a-hole, if “the world is running out of oil” how come you’re riding on a boat which requires petroleum fuels to run? Sounds like you are a hypocrite. I bet you sure get around here and there in an automobile too!

  22. John Fucker: (make that “Tucker) “Nor do I have my head in the sand about it. Not too many people care to point out that, in order to arrive at this favorable destination, our population must and certainly will be reduced to around 10% of its present size.”

    Wow, administrator. You attract (and cultivate) complete wackos! Here’s to you John Fucker, and to you administrator: Do us all a favor! Go out, buy a nice shiny pistol and “off” yourselves (hara kiri). You will “save the planet” and you will decrease the world’s consumption of oil.

    You guys are sick people.

  23. Jim, thank you.

    OB: the only time to invade the land of oz is on Melbourne Cup arvo — the day everything stops.

    And btw, Titanic, GFY. That’s a cultivated recommendation.

  24. [email protected] says:

    Great article as always, Mr. Quinn. Hope you are enjoying your well-deserved down time!

    Peak Oil used to be the territory of the tinfoil hat brigade but, thankfully, no more.

    Your excellent article is a great step in moving Peak Oil into the consciousness of our fellow Happy Motoring Americans. If they can be crowbar’ed out of their cheese-doodle-eating-American-Idle-watching-comas that is!

    However, I fear that civilization downsizing effects of Peak Oil, and they will be catasrophic if quick, will be upstaged by the imminent financial chaos. With a few computer keystrokes the Fed can, and has, cranked the printing presses up to warp 10. Our bankers, the Chinese, are extremely pissed about that. With every bank on the planet interfaced with every other bank, a crash even in a small economy like Ireland, Greece,or any of the insolvent PIIGS, has the potential to take them ALL down. And if the US goes down, the globe will burn. Let us pray to whatever Gods are listening for a slow crash and some time to adapt and downsize.

    I am a healthcare worker, living on the Gulf Coast and with experience in delivering health care in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Allison, and Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike. Medical facilities are at the end of a very long and vulnerable supply chain, a supply chain totally dependent on cheap oil/transport to keep going. There are plenty of examples from recent events to study how quickly the medical system goes tits up when the supply of food and stuff is gone. Like in 48 hours.

    Imagine what would happen to the already high cost of medical care when oil goes north of $100/barrel, or God forbid, on the day that the EROEI goes negative. It will simply cease to exist other than a country doctor level, sorry, but no more operating rooms, chemotherapy, joint replacements, drug manufacturing, nursing homes, etc.

    But hey! Obamacare will save us!! (sarcasm alert)

  25. Mankind 5 to 25 million years, civilization 10 to 12 thousand years, oil maybe 20 decades, and then ?. Going to be a very big down sizing of the population and restructuring how we survive.

    Enjoyed most of the comments, and Quinn please asked the first enginner how much fuel the ship consumes per hour?. I think I remember the correct amount of fuel my aircraft carrier used in the Navy, it consumed 800 gallons per minute at top speed of 34 knots.

  26. StuckNinja, glad to see you posting again. I hope all is going well with you and your son, been keeping you in my thoughts.

  27. Or maybe the cruise ship will “go dead” like that one did off the coast of California a few weeks ago. They lost power, had no warm water, could not cook food and were stuck out in the ocean. If that happens, you most likely won’t have internet to post your rubbish comments.

    Administer, you remind me of Al Gore. He touts global warming (a complete myth) and then was consuming massive amounts of energy to power his home in Tennessee. He gets out and about in a jet plane also. You see, it’s only the “little worms” that need to “off themselves” and stop using oil. The elitists want to use all the energy they can, and they want to brainwash the rest of us into thinking we need to kill off 90% of the population in order to “save the planet” (refer to John Fucker’s comment above). Global warming is a lie! Peak oil is a scam!

  28. I have long believed Kunstler is wrong on the whole food issue, and here is why.

    Urban areas are a wastelend so far as arable land for planting crops. A city of say 3 million cannot grow enough in their yards, parks, and highway bufferes to feed themselves. they are completely dependent upon industrial agriculture for their food.

    As Robery Hirsch covered in his recent book (and an excellent interview on Financial Sense Newshour), fuel will eventually be rationed. First will come the military, then agriculture, followed by essential transport (rail, trucking of food/clothing), essential services(fire/police/ambulance) and way down at the end of the chain will be the 50 mile urban commuter, who will get totally hosed.

    When one considers the essentials in life, we have to start with the FEW (food,energy,water). Since energy is the essential part of the rest of the equation, and the world will go on quite well without more iPads, we will eventually see that those nations that can produce food at a reasonable cost (ie. not from marginal land with highly expensive input additives) will benefit to the extent that they will get energy in much larger allocations than nations that cannot do so.

    The myth that we will all return to the land, and grow our food on our ten acres plots (that no longer exist) is just that, a myth. Over time we will conquer the wastefulnees of auto travel thru other means, and free up (or price out those who cannot afford it) petroleum energy for the uses it is best suited for, like tractors and transport. the transition will be expensive and ugly, but we will get there. In addition, a farmer with a small tractor and small plot of land is much less efficient than a big ag farmer with undreds and thousands of acres when it comes to production and latter distribution.

    As a “gentleman farmer” with both a small plot of urban land as a hedge (9 acres) plus large industrial wheat/soy land, I am betting against Kunstler on his thesis because he fails to keep in mind economies of scale and distribution costs. Time will tell who is right.

  29. Thanks Punk! SJ is doing much better. After seeing both a psycholgist and psychiatrist several times here in NJ we have been told that the Paranoid Schizophrenic diagnosis was totally bogus. “State (Washington) psychiatrists that are dumb and run amok.”, is what he said. Doc said there was zero physiological or emotional evidence. Unreal. So, I’m actually relieved he suffers only from compulsive disorder and ADD. Those we can handle. LOL !

  30. Stuck – glad things are better for you. Good to see you post.

    Titanic – I believe you may be the first poster to ever wish violence on anyone. Well done. You are a low life asswipe. Go fuck yourself you sorry piece of shit.

  31. Who in hell gave a thumbs down to Punk’s comment, “StuckNinja, glad to see you posting again. I hope all is going well with you and your son, been keeping you in my thoughts”?

    Punk was just expressing concern for Stuck’s son’s well being. What could possibly be wrong with that?

  32. More of the same old crap. If in fact there ever is a so-called shortage of oil. It will be entirely a fraud perpetrated by the global elite. They have for years been putting lands off limits to oil exploration. Frozen wasteland in Alaska( I mean pristine wilderness) is an example. The masses are not stupid enough to believe this contrived shortage.

  33. SSS – no understanding people sometimes. I disagree with lots of folks, but wouldn’t ever consider thumbs downing a well wisher.
    And wishing someone dead is just insane. RE pisses me off to no end, but I hope he lives to be 120 in total peace.

    Smokey – glad to see you lurking about. Been a bit dead of late around these parts.

  34. Peak oil is about running down, not running out. If I have to pay 5frns to put Tony the Tiger in my tank, I will either choose to do so or not. If I want to drive somewhere I must pay the price. Food and everything else will go up too. The FSA will become increasingly agitated and they just might come to a neighborhood near you and steal your gas or your food. I think this is the scenario we will face, probably sooner than later.

  35. @LLPOH

    Highly unlikely I make it to 120 in peacetime or war.

    Far as Death is concerned, its forced on the impoverished folks of the world all the time as their resources are captured and stolen by the Capitalist class. The only message I deliver is that this is not likely to be the case in perpetuity, since what goes around comes around and there is no escaping Eternal Justice.

    Its not a matter of “wishing someone dead”. MANY people are going to die here as the resources become ever more scarce and ever more maldistributed. The only real questions lie in who dies in what numbers and how they die in what timeframe. I just make a few value judgements on who should be the first dead and how they should die, and then describe it in virtually ENDLESS prose 🙂


  36. RE – you still piss me off, your last post case in point. Capitalism is just another chapter in the never ending story of survival of the fittest. It has worked wonders in extending human life, and even in allowing it to multiply. It has been misused in some cases, for sure, but your anti-capitalist crap simply isn’t reflected in reality.
    Have we reached a point where populations have exceded natural resources? Perhaps. But I believe technology will overcome in the end, and that the population will collapse back naturally to more sustainable levels as world-wide birthrates fall over the next 100 years.
    The bigger threat to me seems to be the FSA that breeds non-contributors, and of course idiot politicians. Survival of the fittest needs to be the nature of the game, there needs to be compassion, but fully fit adults need to all pay their own way.

    You keep coming back to the ills caused by capitalism. You must really be blind. Check out life expectancy tables for the last few hundred years to see just how well capitalism has actually worked.

  37. Extending life expectancy has increasing demands on the society as a whole. In order to achieve it, our medical apparatus has become bloated to the point of being unaffordable. Aging demographics in all the industrialized countries require the younger generations being born to shoulder an ever increasing number of the aging population that is no longer productive. These are the vast preponderance of the “non-contributors” you revile so much, since they are the outsized demographic which results from a lengthening life span.

    The anti-capitalist spin I write IS reflected in reality. It has in fact already failed, or rather it never existed in the first place depending on how you want to phrase it. What really exists is a manipulated market run by a small Plutocracy for their own benefit, which masqueraded for a few years as a “free market” while Oil was plentiful, but now has been exposed as the lie it always was.

    The world will eventually achieve a balance again, and you can count on the fact that balance will not include aging Alzheimer victims living off their Pensions and Investments while legions of young people have no work to support those Pensions and Investments. The artificially extended lifespan averaging 75 or so now in the industrialized world will soon enough drop back down to its pre-industrial average in the 50s or so. That might be sustainable for a while, assuming our agricutural resource hasn’t been too depleted. After that, count on a pre-agricultural lifespan of maybe 35-45 years as average. At typical human reproductive rates, those are the sustainable numbers, not calcified 75 year olds who repeat the same failed platitudes over and over again.


  38. Great article full of truth that far too many aren’t paying attention too. When oil prices climb into the stratosphere, and our economy continues to collapse, things are going to get very strange. I have no doubt that lots of folks are going to die, and probably most of them will be the once weathy surbabanites being offed by the criminals and gangs. Starvation will also be a factor and something that hasn’t been seen in America for decades. The biggest obstacle to the new future will be the mindset of so many suburban Americans. I was reading posts over on the Unemployed Friends forum. You would think that if you are unemployed, hungry, living hand to mouth and getting foodstamps that you might want to supplement your diet by hunting. Nope! That’s a big foo-pah and there are lots of anti-hunting posts over there. These folks will sit in their tent cities, waiting for a government handout and pontificating about the evils of hunters! Americans like this will be among the first to die off and I would guess that Americans like this number in the millions. Until this mindset changes, a return to an agricultural farming and hunting society just isn’t going to happen. Some folks have some hard lessons ahead to learn.

  39. My hat’s off to you Jim. Keep up the good work. Just ignore the nay sayers, and help save those that can still be saved. You may lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it think.

    How anyone can still deny a fast approaching peak in oil production after last weeks IEA report just validates what I’ve long thought about Americans: The mainstream of America is irrationally optimistic, and believe technology will save them from virtually everything; and they know history about as well as they understand economics and finance.

    See you on the other side my friend…

  40. Stuck
    That is good news indeed. A bad diagnosis from a state/government employee… Gee, that isn’t a central theme here on TBP….

    This thumb button pusher is killing me. I am a really sensitive guy, every red thumb I get hurts me a little more than the last. Did you see that he zapped a comment by Avalon a few days back? Avalon! No honor with that one.

  41. RE – not surprised you can’t see the flaws in your position. It is laughable that you see increased life expectancy as a failure. It is a godsend. And it was made possible only by the capitalist way. You really can twist reality to suit your science fiction view of the world.

  42. ~~ It is a godsend. And it was made possible only by the capitalist way ~~

    I respectfully disagree as A: God was not a capitalist, and B: According to Genesis people lived much longer back then sans capitalism.

    Its often said necessity is the mother of invention.

    If anything disease did, and still does, bring about the necessity [or desire] to increase life expectancy.

  43. ~~ Extending life expectancy has increasing demands on the society as a whole. ~~

    Not sure I follow.

    Lets take Walmart for example. They tell their employees to go to the government for medical care. the majority of those workers arent near retirement age. That may result in lower prices but in the end increases demands on society that has nothing to do with increased life expectancy.

  44. Kill Bill – a godsend is a desirable or needed event that happens unexpectedly or rapidly, and generally isn’t associated with God, but can be on occassion.
    So I think it applies correctly above.
    Also, I personally take little or nothing literally in Genesis.
    I for one am extremely pleased that people are living longer or I’d be dead by now.

  45. ~~ Kill Bill – a godsend is a desirable or needed event that happens unexpectedly or rapidly, and generally isn’t associated with God, but can be on occassion. ~~

    I was being a bit facetious. =]

    Many people have a tendency to associate events they cant explain to God as they find God unexplainable. God comes from the word good [see Gott or Gad].

    A goodsend. Either way capitalism [which is explainable], IMO, didnt increase life expectancy.

  46. llpoh said: “Capitalism is just another chapter in the never ending story of survival of the fittest …”

    Nailed it … times 1,000!!!

    This is something that RE refuses to admit. ALL humans systems are flawed. Yes, some are more flawed than others but, all are flawed.

    RE argues that HIS system, the ONLY alternative he has ever suggested … something called Tribalism … is more fit than any other system. Reading his rants, he would like for us to believe that it is the only system that works … free of flaws …. the ideal system for mankind.

    He is wrong. And, fatally so. He is so wed to his beliefs that he has become blind to himself. There is no one so blind as one who does not WANT to see. That’s why arguing with him is futile.

    And what he doesn’t see is the Root Cause. That is simply this; humans are flawed! We do indeed have a Selfish Gene. We are driven to survive, often at any cost.

    This being an indisputable fact, it is pure foolishness to believe a flawed being can create a flawless system of governance.

    At the end of the day, Tribalism, or any other “ism” is just as destructive and selfish as capitalism.

    Just ask those millions of poor souls who fell under the triabalism of Attila the Hun.

  47. @Kill Bill. You are dead wrong about Walmart. They insure their full time employees with the employees contributing part. My sister worked their for 5 years, and her insurance cost her about $100 a month, for a family of three and one of them were always on some pill.

    Reality is we are nearing the end of cheap oil. Reality is we are at the end of cheap credit (for the masses, we all know the government and TBTF get theirs cheap), the end of cheap food (as the third world gains prosperity and a taste for Doritos), the end of small business (as Walmart and UPS get dispensation to not pay for part time workers, but your local little guy is forced too while competing with the TBTF and China), the end of low personal taxes, the end of many, many things.

    The trip down is going to suck hard and less than one in a hundred has a clue of what could happen.

    After opening my eyes it took me a couple years to develop my conclusion as to how this goes down. I figure, lay low, have things for barter (bullets will surely be popular), a way to purify water and the luck to stay away from the government, and inner city, thugs.

    My only questions are how long do we have, what exactly will be the trigger and how fast will it circle the drain?

    All I know is good luck to anyone that sees it coming, and I am sorry that reality will suck so bad for those that don’t.

  48. Admin et al

    Does anyone have an answer to the following question: Why do so many people embrace the concept of Global Warming (now called Global Climate Change), and refuse to consider Peak Oil?

    In some ways they are step-children of the same parent, fossil fuels. And in some ways, the solutions share commonalities.

    But while the science of GW is extremely complex and could be wrong due to the computer modeling and immense number of variables, the facts of Peak Oil are simple and straightforward, consisting of two curves, the demand curve and supply curve.

    And yet people readily believe that which they, themselves, cannot explain or prove without a Phd in Mathematics, Computer Modeling, and other various sciences.

    I live in liberal, “educated”, Boston, Massachusetts, and Global Warming here, among the “educated” is believed with absolute certainty, and yet Peak Oil is not discussed – if you do you are considered a lunatic.

  49. Fewer than 50% of employees opt-in to Wal-Mart’s health care program because it is too expensive and inaccessible? As a result, many Wal-Mart employees are forced to enroll in Medicaid.

    That’s right. Wal-Mart is driving its employees to use a publicly-funded health care program – placing a huge burden on employees and state tax systems. For some families, it is easier to simply go uninsured rather than deal with either system.

    So, no. I am not dead wrong.


    Twenty-four states have tracked and reported the number of employees and dependants that the largest employers within their borders have enrolled in state-funded health care programs, and in those states, Wal-Mart is at the head of the line for public assistance. In all states that have released such data – Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey,
    Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin – Wal-Mart tops the list.2
    The FACT is that Walmarts pay scale puts a burden on the social safety net. Poverty wages put a burden on the taxpayers so Walmart can obtain larger profits and sell its products at a lower cost [or so it would seem]

  51. “Capitalism is just another chapter in the never ending story of survival of the fittest …”

    Sounds like animalism. =]

    Actually I think that would lead to class wars [ Buffet says his ‘class’ has been for some time] which ultimately lead to revolution.

  52. Stuck – I have mostly abandoned conversation with, or commentary on, RE. He twists every event to suit his doomsday vision. It is impossible to argue sanely that increased life expectancy is a bad thing. Of course it presents societal challenges. But it is a wonderful thing. Nice post.

    Kill Bill – you sucked me in it seems. Shame on you. Subtlety is wasted on me I’m afraid!

  53. @ Jim Quinn: I just have a question. Let’s say we had an epiphany and decided to go back to a Gold standard or Silver(providing we have the Gold or Silver we say we have) Couldn’t we price oil in that commodity rather than dollars thereby making it “cheap” again. Now that certainly wouldn’t solve the problem of depletion or demand. In fact, it would probably make it worse, but wouldn’t getting capital for more exploration and refurbishing refineries along with a REAL push on alternates be more feasible? I don’t know, I’m just guessing. Anyone have an opinion?

  54. Its “impossible” to argue sanely that increased life expectancy is a bad thing? Great! I love impossible challenges!

    First off, have you ever taken a walk through a Nursing Home or the ICU of a modern hospital, where on any given day half the beds are occupied by 80 yr old COPD patients on Respirators? In order to achieve that 75 year old average, we have an ever growing population of people completely dependent ona variety of medicines, machines and operations keeping them ticking well into their 90s.

    Fo most of these folks, their productive lives came to a close somewhere around the age of 65. Thrat means in one form or another, the rest of the working population is taxed to pay for their existence. That tax can come publicly in the form of Social Security, it can come Privately in the form of Pensions, or it can come in interest and dividend payments on the “investments” they made during their working lives. All those payments have to be made in the end by the people currently working in the society.

    Now, if you figure that for most people their productive years start at around age 20 and end at 65, that is 45 years of productivity. For the first 20 or so they are Dependent on their Parents, then if they live from 65 to 85 dependent on pensions and investments, this means there is a total of around 40 years living as a dependent on others. This is roughly a 50-50 relationship where in a steady state population for each dependent person you have one person working to support that person, as well as himself. This is tough enough to support, but in a situation where the number of working people is significantly declining, it begins to become a terrific burden where each working person is taxed to support 2 or more dependent people. This is the situation we find ourselves in now.

    About the only person a vastly lengthened life is good for is the person themself when they reach that age and don’t want to pass into the Great Beyond. For everybody else in the society, its an ever more onerous burden as they age and become ever more dependent on increasingly expensive means to keep them alive.


  55. RE – gotta hand it too you, you never fail to impress with your twisted logic. So, it would be better if everyone died off early so as not to linger on life support? That is a social and moral issue, not an issue re life expectancy. If the person is reasonably healthy and of sound mind, extended life is an absolute good. Your argument is simply hogwash.

    Not all elderly will be burdens on the young. For instance, neither my wife nor I will be. IThe goal should be for a person to collect enough acorns when “productive” to support themselves when they are no longer “productive”. They shouldn’t be a burden on the rest of society. Many people on this site keep pointing out the fact that people need to be responsible for themselves. Your argument is that the FSA is inevitable and irreversible. Not true. There needn’t be dependent persons, for the most part. The fact that there are so many dependent persons is an indictment on the political system, and needs to be changed.

    The old person is only a burden if they haven’t prepared properly for their old age. That needs to addressed. Longer life is a godsend, failing to provide for it individually is the crime.

  56. RE is spot on. The aging baby boomer population is bankrupting the western world. The birth rates in Europe are well below replacement with most nations having a birth rate of 1.4. These societies can not sustain themselves, it is economically impossible. No nation will survive with 1 tax payer to 2 or 3 takers. To make matter worse the percent of population physically unable to work over the age of 65 is well over 50%. The USA fares a bit better with a higher birth rate and immigration, but will still feel the effects of this. This is what is bankrupting our nation and it is going to get a lot worse. Unfunded liabilities exceed 70 trillion and the bulk of this is towards entitlements for the elderly.

    I wonder how all the new smart talking Republican hot shoots are going to handle this coming nightmare. They talk a good game, but lets see how they do when they have to tell Grandma her SS has been cut in half. Good luck to them.

  57. Milw05 – of course the current system is bankrupt. That has nothing at all to do with the fact that increased longevity is a good. To argue otherwise is the same as believing that humans should simply die off entirely, which largely seems to be RE’s position. Don’t be an idiot.

    The two issues are not related. The answer is not to have people die off young. The answer is to have each person bear responsibility for themselves. Society cannot assume responsibility for the failure of an individual to be responsible for themselves, and so long as the governing bodies continue to protect the irresponsible, bankruptcy will loom.

  58. Geez, it is almost impossible to believe that there is such a basic lack of logic by some posters. so, let me try a different tack:

    Each human life is valuable and good. Hence, more of such human life is more valuable, and less of such human life is less valuable.

    That the system we have in place is not functioning properly in no way negates the truth of the above. The system needs fixing. Having people die young in no way fixes the system.

  59. “Each human life is valuable and good. Hence, more of such human life is more valuable, and less of such human life is less valuable.” LLPOH

    Do you include members of the FSA in that fabulous piece of logic? LOL.

    Individually, Grasshoppers are Good also. The problems come when every so often when all the conditions are right they SWARM and become Locusts.

    For Homo Sapiens on this Planet, those conditions became right when we accessed first Agriculture and then the Thermodynamic Energy of Oil. The Grasshopper we once were became a SWARM of Locusts consuming everything in its path on the planet Earth, to the point now that many of the resources necessary for maintaining such a population have been thoroughly depleted.

    The Swarm of Locusts will dwindle back down to a few Grasshoppers.


  60. LLPOH – I don’t believe the answer is for people to die off young. I’m stating the facts at hand and nothing else. An increase in the birth rate in western nations will help solve many of the problems. Have more young working to help pay for the elderly. At the current rate it doesn’t look good. Were asking a smaller percent of the workers to pay for a larger group of elderly and non workers. Asking an individual to fund 20 or more years of retirement is asking alot. Maybe 15% or 20% of the population could pull this off, if were lucky and the stock market does well. The rest will be dependent on the government for survival. Maybe we should go back to granny flats and have extended family care for the elderly. This may be the best solution, but it still doesn’t take care of the plummeting birth rate in the west. Having two elderly for one non elderly isn’t going to work. Again I’m not wishing for anyone to die off young.

  61. RE – life expectancy is a totally different issue than total population. With reference to the FSA, their lives of course have value in and of themselves, and I would never proactively deprive them of this value. I simply do not in any way believe it is my responsibility to feed them. If they cannot feed themselves, they die off. They do not have the right to impact negatively upon my life or upon society. If they are productive members of society they gain the benefits of society. If they are not, then they have chosen their own solitary path. So be it.

    There is of course a finite number of people the planet can support. I do not know if this has been reached or not. Many things can be done to extend the number of souls that can be supported – all vegetarian diet, water management, etc., so whether or not the world has reached or exceeded its ability to support human life is unknown. In any event projections are that the total numbers will fall back owing to reduced birth rates if for no other reason, albeit somewhat slowly.

  62. Milw05 – As you say, to expect the a few young to pay for the elderly is impossible to maintain. It is a flawed system. Each must pay for themselves. It is possible. The 15 or 20% that you believe can do it highlights that it is possible. Your idea re granny flats/extended family support is also an option. However, it is up to the individual to figure it out. If they need to save 30% of their income each year to support themselves in old age, and forgo the big-screen TV and the new car and the McMansion, that is how it is. If they need to downsize into a trailer from a house in retirement, so be it. If they can make family arrangements for some help, good for them. Whatever they need to do, they need to do. They simply cannot ask anyone else, especially the young, to support them. IT IS A FAILED SYSTEM. It is nothing more than a giant PONZI scheme.

    An increased birthrate will possibly kick the can down the road a bit further, but it will fail nevertheless. If the young can afford to support the old, they should instead be putting the money aside to support themselves. It is the same difference. The problem is that very many people have not prepared to support themselves, the PONZI scheme is in full-flight, and their is now a crisis that cannot be avoided as the system needs to reset itself to one that is sustainable, that system being to make everyone responsible for their own welfare. It will be a very painful reset.

  63. “RE – life expectancy is a totally different issue than total population. ”

    They are integrally connected, because increasing life expectancy puts more generations of people on the planet at the same time. If people reproduce on the average of every 20 years, if you have a life expectancy of 40, you on average would have 3 generations alive, a Father, a Son and a Newborn infant at the time of the 40 year old’s death. If you up life expectancy to 60, you can have 4 generations, 80 5 generations.

    Now, by delaying reproduction (which is true in most Western countries) to age 30, you can reduce this some, but then you still run into the economic problems relating to fewer younger workers being born to provide a living for an increasingly aged population as a whole. “Providing for yourself” individually is not an answer, because Investments you live off are just a drain on the society as a whole, just as GM Pensions created a drain on their balance sheet. It doesn;t matter whether you do this individually or in group form, in aggregate it amounts to the same thing, a Tax on the working population to support the retired population.

    There is no getting around the fact that somebody somewhere must be doing the work necessary to provide you with food, energy etc, along with copious amounts of Oil being used up for each person also. The more retired people there are and the fewer working people there are, the less this equation works out. It is not supportable long term, so it won’t be. Consider yourself lucky to have been born at precisely the right time to have enjoyed most of the benefits the Age of Oil dropped down on Homo Sapiens. This will not be the case for much longer.


  64. Thank you RE for being the one of the few who understands the declining birth rates effect on the economy. Lets take Japan for example. All of these economist Eiensteins out there trying to figure out whats wrong with the Japanese economy and all but a few get it. Japan has had a birth rate of around 1.2 for decades now. This gives them just over one child for every two adults. Their economy has been in the tank for over 20 years about the time the low birth rate effected their economy. Young families are the drivers of a economy, not the old and single. Old folks often horde their money due to fear and the single only have themselves. Simply put few families equal a slow economy and low demand. As the population ages this problem grows and expands until the point where the system fails. In Japan the government debt to GDP is 200%. No surprise given the demographic data. Now the debt needs to get paid and guess what? Their ability to pay off the debt will decrease due to their aging shrinking population. It’s a loop they can’t escape and it gets worse and worse as their population ages and the amount of young workers gets smaller and smaller. Adding to this is the demands of a large elderly population and the few to care for them.
    Now expand this to almost all of Europe and much of the rest of the developed nations. Europe has a slightly higher birth rate than Japan, but there time is running out and the same problems are showing up. They will be in the same place as Japan within this decade. A demographic downward spiral with no short term answer in slight. Growing debt and growing demands without the ability to deal with it. We see it in the US with our crazy unfunded liability. We will not have the ability to pay these obligations. The result will be a large increase in poverty among our seniors. This is a global demographic financial meltdown and only a few seem to get it.

  65. RE – your points seem to be 1) that humans are incapable of devising a system of storing an individuals excess production therefore making it a certainty that elderly must be a drain on the young, and 2) that lack of oil will result in it being impossible to create surpluses in any event.

    We sure are an ignorant species if we cannot overcome these two obstacles. Barter has always been a means of storing/passing along excess production. The current barter system is money.

    The oil situation will be overcome. It will be painful to accomplish, but it will be overcome.

    And humans will continue to become more efficient, allowing each individual to create excess product for saving into the future.

    You take current issues and extrapolate, falsely, each into a doomsday scenario. Every society has had its challenges, and, despite hiccups, has survived. This will be no different. Humans are very resilient. Populations will fall naturally. The burst in populations are still largely a function of agrarian/semi-agrarian societies, and the economic need for large families is decreasing.

    Milw05 – virtually EVERYONE on this site understands the problems that have been created by demographics (i.e. an aging population) combined with failed political policy (the welfare state). The answer, as before, is to require individuals to be responsible for themselves. It will be painful to introduce, but it is necessary. To try to carry the old by increasing the burden on the young is doomed to failure, as it presumes an ever increasing population, and this is not possible.

  66. llpoh – I’m sure the majority of members understand problems by demographics, but why is it that it is almost never mentioned by the media and never by the public at large. It seems to me that 98% of the population is completely unaware of this. But again most people could care less about boring stuff like this, now mention Jersey Shore and their eyes will perk open.

  67. Milw05 – At lot more people probably understand the issues than we know about. The problem is that they are going to be the recipients of the largess – in other words, they are relying on someone else to foot their bills for them. They do not want to rock the boat. They want their McMansions/TVs/vacations/new cars, and they want the young to pay for their retirements. It is a great rort, isn’t it? Problem is, the system is failing, and those that are relying on SS or other forms of government money are going to find there is none when it comes time to retire. Sure, we keep kicking the can, but it can only go so far. When the PONZI well is dry, and the music stops, those without a chair (i.e. not enough private savings) will be totally screwed. The pressure on the states and the continued mismanagement of monetary policy could be bringing this day very near indeed. The way it is going, the government may forestall the inevitable for a few more years in the best case scenario. But in the end, the welfare state is doomed.

  68. @ Milw

    I’ll probably write a more detailed analysis of population demographics tonight. What LLPOH seems unable to grasp here is that along with the Welfare State being Doomed, so are his Investments and in fact the entire Monetary system. He can’t accept the idea that we will not find a replacement for oil, and remains stubbornly in denial with all the evidence staring him in the face. You cannot do anything to help people like this, they are beyond salvation. You cannot save them all of course. You can only Save as Many as You Can.


  69. RE
    There are a multitude of replacements for oil, they simply haven’t been implemented, here. Nations all over the world are building nuclear powerplants, while we cower in fear of our faces melting off. It is too late to avoid a generation changing energy crunch, I believe, that doesn’t mean there are no alternatives. Besides that, we have become a culture of excess, we live high on the hog of cheap oil and credit, our attitude WILL change to one of conservation because it must. It doesn’t mean the end.

  70. @Punk

    Spend some time reading over on The Oil Drum and LATOC. If you think Nukes are going to save the day, this is your perogative but most of the Peak Oil comunity doesn’t agree with you.

    I’ll let Stoneleigh answer this in more detail. From the Automatic Earth:

    Stoneleigh: Since it is the major world conundrum with the shortest timescale, I usually focus on finance here, but alternative energy sources and power systems are my day job. Ilargi suggested that, in response to a question about the potential for renewable energy and electric vehicles (EVs), I write an article on the future of power systems.

    With people hanging so many of their hopes on an electric future, it seems timely to inject a dose of reality. This is meant as a cursory overview of some of the difficulties we are facing with regard to electrical power in the future. The extraordinary technical and organizational complexity of power systems is difficult to convey, and there is far more to it than I am attempting to address here.

    First off: As we are entering a depression, within a few years hardly anyone will have the money to buy an EV. Second: the grid could not come close to handling the current transportation load even if EVs could become common. An economy based on EV transportation would have to be fueled by base-load nuclear that doesn’t currently exist and would take decades to build, and no one builds anything in a depression.

    What they do is mount a losing battle to maintain existing infrastructure and hope they don’t lose too much before better times return. This depression will last long enough that the infrastructure degradation will be enormous, even without the impact of above ground events resulting from serious societal unrest. Attempts at recovery after deleveraging are going to hit a hard energy ceiling. Power systems are critical to the functioning of a modern economy, but are almost completely taken for granted. That will not be the case in a few short years.

    Here in Ontario, Canada (pop.13 million), the provincial government has just passed the Green Energy Act, and renewable energy proponents are queuing up to sign 20-year feed-in tariff contracts for power generation at a premium rate per kWh (varying by technology and reaching a maximum of 80 cents/kWh for small-scale roof-top solar).

    The general assumption is that we are well on our way to building a future of renewable energy powered smart grids that will be able to accommodate not only our current demand, but much of our transportation load as well, thanks to EVs.

    Unfortunately, much of this techno-positivist vision is nothing but pie-in-the-sky, thanks to the limitations of the electrical grid, as well as the low EROEI of renewable energy, the effect of receding horizons on the prospects for scaling up renewable energy development and the impending deflationary collapse of the money supply.

    Investment in grid infrastructure, as with public infrastructure of most other kinds, has been sadly neglected for a long time. Much of the existing grid equipment is at or near the end of its design life, as are many of the power plants we depend on. (For instance, in Ontario we haven’t got around to paying for the last set of nuclear power plants we built, that are now approaching the end of design life and have had to be very expensively re-tubed in recent years.

    The outstanding debt is some $40 billion, and the debt retirement charge we pay doesn’t even cover the interest.) Liberalization in the electricity sector has led to a relentless whittling away of safety margins in many places. Where we once had a system with a great deal of resilience through redundancy, that is generally no longer the case. In North America we now have an aging system with a very limited capacity for accommodating either new generation or new load, and we have great difficulty building any new lines.

    As the power system was designed under a central station model to carry power in one direction only, with high voltage transmission and low voltage distribution, the modifications that would be required to enable two-way traffic, especially at the distribution level, are very substantial. Comprehensive monitoring and two-way communication would be required down to the distribution level, with central control (dispatchability, or at least the power to disconnect) of large numbers of very small generators.

    The level of complexity would be vastly higher than the existing system, where there are relatively few generators to control in order to balance supply and demand in real time, and maintain system parameters such a frequency and voltage within acceptable limits.

    The image above conveys by analogy the essence of power system frequency control – the easiest parameter to visualize. Frequency must be maintained at a set level by balancing supply and demand over the entire AC system. There are 4 such systems in North America – the east, the west, Texas and Quebec – and each functions as a single giant machine. The trucks in the image are generators and the boulder they tow up the uneven hill represents variable load. The trucks must pull the boulder at an even speed despite the bumps.

    For a more accurate representation, one would actually need additional trucks, some moving at the same speed waiting to pick up a line if one should be dropped (spinning reserve) and others parked by the side of the hill (standing reserve). Some of the trucks would have to be able to start the boulder moving again from a standing start if it should stop for any reason (black-start).

    We are looking at a world where there would be many more trucks, but each would be much smaller, and some of them would only pull if the wind was blowing or the sun was shining. The difficulty of the task will increase exponentially, and frequency management is only one parameter that must be controlled.

    The mismatch between renewable resource potential, load and grid capacity is considerable. Resource potential is often found in areas far from load, where the grid capacity is extremely limited. Developing this potential and attempting to transmit the resulting power with existing infrastructure to where it can be used would involve very high losses. Many rural areas are served by low voltage single phase lines, and the maximum generation size that can be connected under those circumstances is approximately 100kW.

    Even where three-phase lines exist, so that larger generators can be connected, carrying the power at low voltage is particularly inefficient, as low voltage means high current, and losses are proportional to the square of the current. Building high-voltage transmission lines to serve relatively small amounts of renewable energy would be an exceptionally expensive and difficult proposition, especially in a capital constrained future.

    Renewable energy generation far from load could amount to little more than a money generating scheme, as a premium rate will be paid from the public purse for the time being, but little of the power might reach anywhere it could actually be used.

    Difficulties occur when generation proposed would amount to more than 50% of the minimum load on the feeder. At this threshold, special anti-islanding measures are required that add considerable cost to the grid connection. In North America, we have large geographical areas served by a network of long stringy feeders with very low load. Adding much of anything to this system will be very challenging.

    In much of Europe, where renewable energy penetration is relatively high, the population density is high enough to be served by a three-phase grid composed of relatively short feeders with high loads. Many of the limitations faced by North America simply do not apply in places like Germany, Denmark or the Netherlands. The North American grid has more in common with rural Portugal or the Greek Islands.

    In this province alone, the amount of grid construction required in order to connect our renewable potential with load would cost tens, if not hundreds, of billions of dollars, and it would take decades to build. The cost of building, installing and connecting the necessary power generation equipment would also be enormous, and we would have to maintain at least some of the large plants needed for power system control and ancillary services (rapid load-following adjustments for frequency management, spinning reserve, rapid-response standing reserve, black-start capability, provision of reactive power etc).

    This will be difficult as many large plants are due for replacement, large power plants take many years to complete, conventional fuels are depleting and capital will be very limited. While demand destruction will build in a temporary supply cushion, the lack of maintenance and new construction, which will inevitably follow a lack of funds, will take a huge toll in relatively few years.

    Far from a future of greater high-tech connectedness under a smart-grid model, where EVs would charge at night and cover both transportation needs and power storage, we are looking at a much more fragmented picture. We are very unlikely to see massive AC grids covering anything like the area they do now, and much less likely to see power carried over large distances.

    Rural areas may well be cut off and will have to provide any power they need themselves (yet another example of the core preserving itself at the expense of the periphery). This will mean a drastic cut in demand to a third world level in many rural areas, and may lead to other areas with no power production, and no money to build any, being abandoned completely or reverting to a pioneer lifestyle.

    In urban areas, where dispossessed rural people migrate in very hard times, electricity provision in places down on their luck could look more like this picture of a favela in Rio de Janeiro. It’s a far cry from a neat and tidy high-tech vision of efficiency.

  71. Punk – RE lives in his doomsday fantasy land and the ingenuity and resilience of humankind simply doesn’t fit into his back to the stone-age scenario. You are 100% right. The world will suffer substantially as oil dries up. There are a great many energy alternatives, but the incentive to get them up and running hasn’t been substantial enough. Yet. RE’s doomsday fantasy is without basis. His forecasting ability is well documented.

  72. RE
    The Hoover Dam was built during the Great Depression, for example. People build shit during hard times, they just don’t build needless shit.

  73. Punk – it is amazing what has been accomplished with a pick and shovel. Adversity can result in some incredible accomplishments.

  74. Yojimbo – “I live in liberal, “educated”, Boston, Massachusetts, and Global Warming here, among the “educated” is believed with absolute certainty, and yet Peak Oil is not discussed – if you do you are considered a lunatic.”

    Yojimbo – Global Warming is the biggest fraud perpetrated upon mankind, and Peak Oil comes in a close second. There is no credible science behind either of these lies. The reason so many people in Boston, Massachusetts believe in the fairy tale of Global Warming in because the elitist billionaires and trillionaires spend literally billions of dollars pushing this lie. The naive, newly graduated high school students are bombarded with this fairy tale all throughout college. Global Warming was not a valid theory from the beginning. IT WAS A COMPLETE FABRICATED LIE, A FAIRY TALE, JUST LIKE PEAK OIL IS. The reason is to make people think the world is ending (“the sky is falling”) and we have to tax and regulate you worms to death to save the planet. IT’S ALL ABOUT MONEY, CONTROL, POWER, AND POPULATION REDUCTION.

    Go to Wikipedia and look up “Georgia Guidestones.” Look at the first one! These elitist monsters have given us a glimpse of their plan! “To maintain the population of the earth under 500,000,000 (500 million) people.” The population of the earth is now about 6 billion. They want to kill off 90% of the world’s population !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WAKE UP PEOPLE!!! This is what Global Warming and Peak Oil are all about. They are absolute lies.

  75. Peak oil is a fabricated lie——LOL—Research it, dumbass.—–Quinn needs a filter on this blog to prevent retarded idiots from commenting. That would eliminate Titanic and RE.

  76. Did DP send Titanic over here to make him look sane? Its working.

    Dood, you need to get a grip, no one is trying to kill you. You’ll come down in a couple of hours, maybe a day, tops. Relax. I’m guessing you ate some homemade acid, and there is too much strychnine in it. Drink some cranberry juice. Or gobble down some cowshitius mushrooms and lead paint chips, It won’t bring you down but it will add a whole new level to your delirium, which will at least be entertaining for the rest of us.

    Good to see this article is getting around, damn fine piece of work. Fucking spot on.

  77. Yojimbo

    You said, “But while the science of GW (global warming) is extremely complex and could be wrong due to the computer modeling and immense number of variables…..”

    Truer words were never spoken. I’m currently taking a Climate Science course at the University of Arizona. Damn. I really have to pay attention to catch all the complexities in the planet’s climate. Prevailing winds at the various latitudes of the hemispheres. Ocean currents. Water vapor (humidity). Amount of watts of energy from the sun per square meter. And yes, carbon dioxide. Shit, this goes on and on.

    And all this global warming science depends upon computer modeling. A poll of scientists involved in climate science revealed that 39% support computer modeling. Duh, that leaves 61% who do not. What’s that tell you about the Warmers?

    Spot on, Yojimbo.

  78. What a lengthy tirade. It was so long I couldn’t tolerate reading the whole thing. I am not too impressed by the scientific data presented by the talking heads. Please show scientific data that the large deposits of natural gas and oil are fossil fuels. Coal is, and methane can be (people and cows make a lot of it). I agree that the days of cheap and easy oil are disappearing. There is a lot of oil down there, but much of it is under the ocean floor, and very deep and difficult to get to. If we paid the full price at the pump for the cost of our military adventures to keep cheap oil flowing, we would all drive VW’s and smarts. We have oodles of oil shale oil (difficult and expensive, but doable), large deposits of natural gas, and plenty of coal. I would say, follow the (saudi and opec) oil money, and you will see why we are dependent on imported oil, old technology, lack of technologic innovaton, etc. By the way, do a little research. You may find that petroleum saved the whales (harvested for oil) as it was cheaper, more abundant, and safer to obtain. The automobile and suburbia were eagerly anticipated by some early social reformers as a means to help clean up the cities (can u imagine NYC in summer with all the horse drawn cabs, wagons, and trolleys, and the belching coal/steam locomotives?). It was hoped that cheap and reliable cars would be less polluting and enable workers to live in better places than crowded tenements near the factories.

    1. Guy Forestor

      What a lengthy response to my lengthy article. Sorry to take you away from the Dancing with the Stars finale. Did your lengthy response add any value. I don’t think so.

  79. You miss the point completely: “Americans believe it is our God given right to cheap oil.” Very few Americans believe that.

    What we have a right to expect is a government that does not try to bamboozle us with trumped-up claims of “global warming” (which morphed into “climate change”, which morphed into “climate disruption”). We have plenty of oil – for the next few decades – mostly in ANWR (but the environmental loons care a lot more for the billions of mosquitoes there than the country). If the government left the market alone, and not try to legislate the laws of physics by decreeing 50 MPG cars, American know-how, science and technology would come up with a solution.

    Reverse Engineer: “Local Goobermints are just as corrupt as CONgress, just the payoffs aren’t as big.”
    Probably more so, because they’re less widely known. Consider Bell, California:

    California Official’s $800,000 Salary in City of 38,000 Triggers Protests

    The mayor and all but one of the city council were arrested.

  80. john Tucker says: Having spent some serious time in third world countries, dancing, eating, praying, and sleeping with the natives, I can forcefully aver that they tend to be, not just a little, but vastly happier in their lives than my fellow americans. So, I am extremely hopeful about the improvement in our general demeanor as we return to being “a more local, agrarian society with little federal government oversight.”

    Having had similar experience I whole heartedly agree and it suggests an important point that hasn’t been brought up in the discussion here. Before I bring that point forward I want to point out that those of us here on the internet discussing this issue are all part of a very small elite that consume many multiples of resources that the majority of humans consume. Yes Al gore is a hypocrite as far as consuming is concerned but none of us are saints.

    We like to think of ourselves as the saviors of the 3rd world for improving the lives of impoverished people incapable of looking after themselves by giving them handouts that our technology make possible.

    The opposite is true.

    The overlords of our technological society rape and pillage the world at large using the power we give them by being their willing slaves. Their abuse is worst in the “3rd world”. There is starvation and poverty there mostly because the local resources which used to feed and cloth the local population are now used to produce export crops and products in order to put profits into the pockets of our leaders. Instead of living off the bounty of their own local resources the locals there, just like ourselves, must now work for the company at a pittance so they can buy food at outrageous prices in the local company store.

    The handouts we give the resulting starving poor are another outrageous abuse. They may be given out free to the recipients but if you look in the background you will discover that the owners of the agro corporations are well rewarded for their efforts at the expense of the dupe taxpayers here in techno land. A great scam for our leaders, make us all feel good about our society while they are laughing all the way to the bank. Getting rid of much produce outside the local commercial market also helps the local bottom line by keeping prices high on scarce(?) products.

    Anyway back to the point I want to make…

    ALL the discussion here seems to focus on being forced by circumstances to change the way we live. This assumption is probably valid but what about the quality of our lives? Is it worth considering voluntarily trading in our lives for a different possibly more rewarding way of life even if catastrophe doesn’t strike? Is our current way of life worthwhile?

    My personal opinion is that the “American Dream” is actually a nightmare. Whether peak oil, climate change, or the NWO are real is irrelevant to answering the questions above. Removing them from the dialog and assessing our lifestyle on it’s own merits might make for a more productive discussion.

    Personally after spending many years trying to find the truth in the midst of all the propaganda we are constantly bombarded with I realized endlessly arguing points that can never be definitively proven back and forth just wastes precious time we can ill afford.

    Instead I asked myself the questions above and decided how I wanted to live my life. I don’t care if anyone agrees with me or if the rest of the world thinks I’m crazy. I took the knowledge I have gained, decided how I wanted to put it to use and set about accomplishing my dream. My lifestyle is now much closer to those simple folk living in the 3rd world but my quality of life has soared more than I thought possible.

    I won’t bore you with details at this point but if there is interest I would be glad to detail some of the changes I have made. I will say that regardless of what the future holds in the way of surprises I stand a good chance of surviving and even prospering in a quality of life way.

    A comment on longevity…. My parents built a large extended care facility when I was quite young and we lived in the basement. I spent my youth until I left home at 14 working with old people. I got to see first hand for a number of years how people approached their death and spent their final days. My perception is that there are two main approaches to death and what separates them is the quality of the life the person has lived. A small group of people approach their death with ease and comfort while the rest struggle and approach death with great fear.

    Those that were comfortable retained their dignity and reason right till the end while those that struggled mostly sunk into dementia. Those in dementia often raved in a loop reliving over and over some incident in their life where they were traumatized and which they never resolved. They went struggling to their deaths still trying resolve the past.

    Dementia is becoming more prevalent in our society and striking much earlier in life. I believe our stressful lifestyle is the main culprit. Regardless of any other benefits gained from our society it is questionable to me whether they are worth the price of destroying our peace of mind. There are many examples in history of non-technological societies with a much higher quality of life than we have. The garden of Eden suggests the potential.

    What worth is a longer life if it is a living hell? Wouldn’t a shorter but more meaningful life be a better alternative?

    I suspect primitive or non technological do not necessarily equate with shorter lifespans. Removing the stress and many diseases directly caused by our technological society from our lives is likely to extend at least that portion of our lives that is rewarding.

    I am looking forward to my death as another exciting challenge. It is not important to me whether I die tomorrow or 20 years from now. I live my life in a way that satisfies me and have no regrets. I am not in a hurry to die but will willingly move on right now if that is what is in store for me.

    My experience demonstrates quite clearly that there is still room today for individuals to take matters into their own hands and make life whatever they desire it to be. What it takes is giving up the struggle to pick the winning side and instead using your energy to accomplish your own desires.

    I have been both wealthy and a pauper and worked close enough with some of the most powerful people in the world to realize that our society is in most aspects a prison controlled by a wealthy elite. That said I still believe anyone whether rich or poor can avoid being destroyed by our society. It only takes individual effort.

  81. Whether a shorter, simpler, less complicated lifestyle is beneficial to humanity or not is rather a moot point…………. it is most certainly what we are going to get in the future – like it or not.

    Opetero wrote

    “That said I still believe anyone whether rich or poor can avoid being destroyed by our society. It only takes individual effort”.

    When the capitalist system inevitably completes its final collapse, I truly believe that your statement will hold truth and hope for all of the worlds populations.

  82. English Rose says: “Whether a shorter, simpler, less complicated lifestyle is beneficial to humanity or not is rather a moot point…………. it is most certainly what we are going to get in the future – like it or not.”

    The difference is an important one…. We don’t know for sure if there will ever be a catastrophic collapse. If there isn’t what will our lives look like if controlled by our leaders for another 50 or 100 years? Do you want to go there? It’s pretty obvious to most people by now that democracy is just a pretty word and has nothing to do with how our world really works. Under the current regime we will not jointly decide the future, our leaders will decide it for us. Our leaders have a track record of a few 100 years to look at at this point. Is 1984 accurate?

    The longer we wait the more difficult it will become to make our own choices about the future. Instead of only reacting we need to get ahead of the curve and act preemptively. Those who control the situation have lots of experience at raising the temperature slow enough to avoid the frogs jumping out of the pot. If we wait until the heat is unbearable we will be well done before its over. We either jump on our own volition or become a tasty meal for someone else.

    opetero: “That said I still believe anyone whether rich or poor can avoid being destroyed by our society. It only takes individual effort”.

    English Rose: “When the capitalist system inevitably completes its final collapse, I truly believe that your statement will hold truth and hope for all of the worlds populations.”

    opetero: Speaking from personal experience I know it is possible to accomplish this even now. It will never be easy even after a collapse but it is doable. I learned the hard way that the idea our society is a compassionate one that looks out for its citizens is just a myth. The truth is we get a little attention as long as we man the shovel to make our owners rich. If for any reason we become unable to do that we get about the same amount of compassion as a cow pie. If we happen to land in an inconvenient place all we can expect is to be scraped up and thrown out of the way.

    We are responsible for the abuse we bear so I have little sympathy for those within our society in this regard. Life is hard… either we shape up or ship out. What does bother me to no end and finally forced me to strike out on my own is the realization that our society is like a pirate ship sailing the oceans of the world raping and pillaging at our leaders will.

    Even though most of us don’t realize it, or won’t admit it to ourselves, we are the crew that enables the captain to heap abuse in all directions. The captain’s propaganda does a good job of soothing the crew’s conscience and keeping it ignorant about how their labour is used. The captain doesn’t really need to worry too much as even the scraps off his table seem to be enough to motivate the crew not to ask the hard questions about how their actions affect others and the world in general.

    I was a successful rich white boy who retired to Mexico and lost everything in 1998. Not even welfare there. It was a hard grind getting back on my feet in mexico. For a year or so I didn’t know where my next meal would come from. From there I built myself a new life that most would envy now.

    I learned that most of our possessions are but unnecessary toys that tend to keep us enslaved to the system. Even once we pay for them most take substantial resources to maintain. Most of us are so busy slaving to “afford” our stuff we have no time left to actually enjoy it. What a waste. What a deal for our master’s.

    Peer pressure keeps us from considering alternatives. I didn’t have any choice in changing my lifestyle, it was do or die. That I am here speaking to you attests to the fact it can be done. I suspect everyone will soon be forced to go through what I did. If this is true it will become more difficult to survive the longer it is put off. In a total societal collapse everyone will be in the same boat with little extra to share with those worse off. At least when I went through it there were others who could afford to share. The compassion of strangers played a part in my survival.

    Although the idea of voluntarily making such a transition before crisis forces it on us is almost impossible to consider, doing so and acting on it now would ease the transition as there are still resources available to help make the change. Many people are actually doing so although you won’t hear about it in the MSM.

    Although it is true that the earth can’t support 6 billion people living like we elite do; it is very likely that 6 billion people living closer to the land is doable for a period. Most of the population explosion is the result of overproduction by the technology machine in order to generate profits for the owners so once this stimulus is gone I suspect the human population will slowly correct itself back to a level where local populations stabilize at a level that local resources can support. A forced die off is not necessary. Voluntarily changing the way we live will allow the population to again find its own viable level over a number of generations.

    The end of oil does mean the end of our current way of life but it doesn’t mean the end of available energy. There are plenty of alternatives abundant enough to support a less consumptive lifestyle. There is no need to revert to being complete savages living crude lives in convenient caves.

  83. Its not just Dementia which is on the rise in Old Folks,you also have all the problems in Kids with ADHD and other disorders. How much of this is Biochemical poisoning and how much is a result of just a sick culture is an open question, but there is no doubt all these problems are steadily rising in the industrialized countries.

    Now, even here on this board filled with people who think the Capitalist model is a good one, most of these folks also now are thinking about/hoping for a return to a somewhat simpler lifestyle, basically taking their Winnings from the years of Capitalist Rape, buying Doomsteads and hoping to become Gentleman Farmers in some community far from the Madding Crowd. Some of them may even succeed in this venture, but its certainly not a solution for the vast majority of people out there who just live paycheck to paycheck, if they still have one. Exactly how we will deal with all the people who are unprepared in any way for what is coming down the pipe is the major economic, moral and ethical question of our time. Many here would support the idea of simply abandoning those people, but its not a tenable solution, besides being pretty low on the morality scale. To engineer the kind of life you describe, these folks are going to have to be given assistance and education. To do that, there has to be Leadership in place to support such initiatives. Developing such a leadership to fill in the Void when the Conduits fail is what we must begin now.

    It has also been my experience that people who live simpler lives less dependent on technology tend to be happier overall then people who are immersed in the Rat Race of modern society. However, it also has been close to impossible to retreat completely off the grid in modern society, and as you say anyone who is participating in discussion on the internet is immediately guilty of having a much larger energy footprint than say a Bushman of the Kalahari. Its estimated that now the Internet consumes 10% of the electricity produced in the FSofA, and with the continuing drive to increase bandwidth and push video rather than text across the network, the power requirements increase exponentially.

    Ideally of course, the Internet could be a good thing and a worthwhile use of energy if we can communicate the means and methods of living a more sustainable lifestyle. We don’t have to keep increasing energy requirements to push video, text and pictures can provide all the information necessary, at least as long as people still know how to read, which seems to be falling by the wayside here already as the civilization spins downward. Still, long term it seems unlikely we will be able to maintain this medium, any more than it seems likely to me we will be able to rebuild and refurbish even existing railroad lines, much less build new high speed ones. Anymore than it seems likely to me that even if we build Thorium Reactors we will be able to rebuild and refurbish the power distribution network of cables and transformers. All of this is likely to go the way of the Dinosaur over time here, the main question is how FAST it all goes down. Will there be a Sudden Stop or more gradually decay over a decade or more? Impossible to determine that at the moment.

    The idea that ever lengthening lifespans are good also is one that is accepted by many as a self-evident truth, but I can’t see how this is so. My dad’s last 10 years were spent attached to bottled Oxygen, my mom does little these days but sleep and chat on the phone with the few aging friends she has still alive. I personally can’t see why I would want to ever extend my life ;ik that into my 80s. I wouldn’t mind a few nice years at the end to just contemplate the nature of existence and not have to work, but a 20 year retirement period is just nuts.

    The biology of Homo Sapiens allows us to begin reproducing around the age of 13 or 14 and with good nutrition and exercise you can stay pretty healthy nowadays into your 60s, and further than that even if you utilize all the nutrition supplements available these days. However, those are mostly dependent on the vast quantity of food grown utilizing the thermodynamic energy of Oil, you could not make all those Vitamin pills without that. To get one Vitamin C Tablet, several pounds of citrus rinds have to be ground up and the C extracted from them. With a typical diet of just what you could grow or harvest, you could never consume so much of these nutrients. So in all practicality, your physical body will begin serious deterioration in your 60s for almost everyone.

    Anyhow, you have plenty of time if you live to 60 or so to reproduce, and even see your Grandchildren born and grow to adulthood if you reproduce young enough. Plenty of time to spend some productive years working and building and perhaps leaving some sort of Legacy, and enough time to spend at the end in contemplation of your life’s work. Why do people want to live to 90 and decay and live in Nursing Homes dependent on others? Sure a few people still have all their marbles and are sorta fit at 90, but not most of them. This is a huge drain on our resources no matter how you cut it.

    Anyhow, as ER mentions, its not a real choice here, its moot. Lifespans will retreat back and be shorter again in the future. Retirement as it has been pursued in the Age of Oil for the population that benefited from that will not continue onward or be available for future generations. Accepting this truth is difficult for younger people now who look at the Baby Boomers who enjoyed this one time gift and they are resentful, and rightly so. A huge amount of resources are being consumed to keep the current crop of retirees going. Those entitlements are likely to vanish along with the ones the rest of the FSA are getting nowadays.

    Its not really possible yet in most places in the developed world to live the life of a Hunter-Gatherer, and for those of us who grew up inside the mechanized society of the Age of Oil, we are for the most part unsuited and incapable of living that way. It is not impossible though to reduce your footprint and use a bit less, and to try and prepare the next generation for the challenges to come in REVERSE ENGINEERING our way back to simpler types of less energy dependent living. We aren’t going to return to a Hunter Gatherer lifestyle overnight, in fact not even for generations in all probability. However, for anyone who does survive the coming maelstrom, there is no doubt they will be leading a far simpler life with far less available energy. That is inevitable now.


  84. Nigel Farage is paying attention!

    Never heard of him? Nigel is Britains Ron Paul. Tells it like it is. He rants against the entire Euro concept and this NWO crap. “Just who the hell do you think you people are? You are very, very dangerous people, indeed.”,

    Brilliant orator … full of passion and vigor … and all without a telepromter.

    Trust your old friend Stucky. This is a MUST SEE video.

  85. The issue of longevity (longer life is better) is like looking through a telescope from the wrong end.

    Quality of life is far more important than the length of life and quality of life can be at very high levels with very little asset wealth beyond food, shelter and (of course) sex.

    At my age, I take all the good in my life, place it in my right hand every morning (not literally, of course) and all the bad in my left. When the right side outweighs the left, I’m here for another day and enjoy every minute of it.

    When the left (bad) outweighs the right (good), I assess the possibility and probability that the good with effort and time will once again outweigh the bad. If it looks like next week or a month down the line, the good will again come to the fore, I fight the good fight and make it so.

    When the probability is overwhelmingly certain that the bad will forevermore rule my life with no possibility or probability of reversal, at that point in time, I will issue an invitation to my family and friends to join me in a celebration of life at some very near time in the future. After the party, I’ll bid all ado and retire to the privacy of my bedroom or under a tree, outside, if the weather is nice and die forthwith. (60 milligrams of methadone will do the job nicely and peacefully).

    I will not live beyond the point where my living requires constant care by another person in order to just survive because by that time I will have ceased to live any productive or satisfying life and only exist, which, in itself, is a supremely worthless and boring enterprise.

    99% of the benefits of civilization are highly over rated. A loving family, a few good friends and purpose are all that is truly needed to bring inner happiness. All the other “stuff” is just that, temporarily fun to have, quickly forgotten, and at the time of death certainly not worth a fraction of the work many people put into acquiring it.

    Unfortunately for all of us, the fiction of “God” gets in the way of such self-determination for many people which leads to the sad and unsustainable situation of 3/4 of the money spent for health care being expended during the last few weeks or months of life just trying to keep an already dead hull from drawing a last breath. In my opinion, that is an immoral situation with no good solution except through vast philosophical sophistication of people in general which, again, in my opinion will never happen in any meaningful time span.

  86. “Its not just Dementia which is on the rise in Old Folks,you also have all the problems in Kids with ADHD and other disorders. How much of this is Biochemical poisoning and how much is a result of just a sick culture is an open question, but there is no doubt all these problems are steadily rising in the industrialized countries.” -RE

    Oh noes the old folks are turning to crazed Zombies. The end of the world is upon us like an adult diaper!!

  87. The future will, no doubt, be full of challenges. If one of those”challenges” is that we will not be receiving the crap manufactured by Communist China, I personally will view that as a blessing because I have never bought or owned one thing that was made in China that was worth even having. Just think that the new San Francisco Bay bridge is being purchased from and manufactured in China. It will be the most expensive $ 400,000,000 that a government never did save. Goodbye oil, so long China. No tears here.

  88. @Muck About: There are a lot of people on respirators right now because they thought they knew how to end their lives. “60 milligrams of methadone” will NOT “do the job nicely and peacefully”. More likely to do some brain damage from hypoxia. Please don’t misinform people about suicide methods…one of them might be someone I love.

  89. Rhonda, I would go with google. I got my own domain for 12 dollars a year. It comes with all of the business google features including email. Also you can just blog with Blogger through google. Only thing you need after that is a template and some xml knowledge to make you site original. Best of luck!

  90. Fantastic items from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you’re just extremely magnificent. I really like what you have acquired here, certainly like what you are saying and the way in which in which you assert it. You make it entertaining and you still take care of to keep it smart. I cant wait to read much more from you. That is really a wonderful site.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

You can add images to your comment by clicking here.