Thursday, June 16, 2005

Peak Oil: grab it while you can!

I'm beginning to think, more and more, that global climate change and Peak Oil are opportunities rather than problems, the old Chinese course.

Besides being environmentally unsustainable, human society has been largely dominated by, well, dominating types! The meek have never inherited the earth, even if they ever wanted it in the first place. Under present conditions, the meek are easily dominated by the strong and willful, who have monopolized access to energy and power for their own dominating purposes.

That's all changing now as Peak Oil begins to take a bigger bite, and global climate change really threatens the continuance of human life. A world of less energy will necessarily b a world of less central control, as it takes energy to maintain far-flung control systems.


  1. This reminds me of Lovelock's Gaia hypothesis. Part of which he argues that human produced pollution is not a "bad" thing.

    The end of cheap oil will result in the end "civilization" as we know it. The result will be, as you said, will be a world of less central control. How can that be a bad thing?

  2. Anonymous11:43 AM

    The idea that Peak Oil will lead to a devolution of power may well be true, but I wonder if it will be the "power to the people" sort of devolution Michael desires. The strong never give up power willingly, and the current adminsitration seems intent on centralizing as much control as possible. If history is any guide, when the center sees itself in danger of losing control of peripheral areas, it will respond by installing local strong-arm representatives whose loyalties lie with the capital, not with the locals. It's a feudalistic pattern we've seen from ancient Rome to modern China. It has worked for everyone from William the Conquerer to Stalin. Why wouldn't similar "solutions" occur here in a post-Peak Oil world?

  3. Th difference now is that cheap, easily centralized energy commodities are a thing of the past. As we move to decentralized energy sources, the basis for central authoritarian rule will be reduced. This vacuum will be filled by decentralized, anarchic, non-hierarchical anti-authoritarian self-rule.

  4. Anonymous11:46 AM

    michael, check out Kunstler's "the long emergency" really great read on this topic

    alex, the crazy russian