Monday, May 23, 2005

Oil Optimism

Uncle has a different reaction from mine to the site:

"Speculations and hypotheses, however high they be piled, are not the same as evidence verified by repeated (sometimes hostile) experiment. This latest Doomsday scenario is speculative. More, it relies upon a near-total ignorance of the history of science and technology, as well as an innate pessimism that gives even me pause."

It is hard for me to see the followers of the peak-oil theory as pessimists. We have a huge, ugly machine of misguided greedy civilization flattening humans and humanity like a steamroller. When the gears of this machine stop for lack of oil, we will have a chance to move toward a clean, rewarding, and happy future. This, to me, is not pessimistic.

Points have been made by Uncle and others that it seems silly not to expect new technologies to provide power after oil. While I agree with that, it is important to note that one of the fundamental flaws in capitalism is that the system is built like a pyramid-scheme which depends on growth of profits (also remember that profits are just unpaid wages) quarter-over-quarter, at least as an average in the long run. Take away oil, and the replacement energies will not result in a net-energy growth over many decades, and ever-increasing truck, airplane, and steamliner shipments to Walmart will not be possible. Yes, we will be able to cook, travel some, and continue our development as a people. We will just not be able to sustain the self-canibalizing economies of capitalism. We will become people, not labor machines for wall street profits.


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