Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Leonard Bernstein, Lenny Bruce, Lester Bangs

I just read a piece in Rolling Stone by James Howard Kunstler about how we're about to reach our global peak oil production, like this year or next, and after that everything is going to go to hell:
Most immediately we face the end of the cheap-fossil-fuel era. It is no exaggeration to state that reliable supplies of cheap oil and natural gas underlie everything we identify as the necessities of modern life -- not to mention all of its comforts and luxuries: central heating, air conditioning, cars, airplanes, electric lights, inexpensive clothing, recorded music, movies, hip-replacement surgery, national defense -- you name it.
. . .
The upshot of all this is that we are entering a historical period of potentially great instability, turbulence and hardship. Obviously, geopolitical maneuvering around the world's richest energy regions has already led to war and promises more international military conflict. Since the Middle East contains two-thirds of the world's remaining oil supplies, the U.S. has attempted desperately to stabilize the region by, in effect, opening a big police station in Iraq. The intent was not just to secure Iraq's oil but to modify and influence the behavior of neighboring states around the Persian Gulf, especially Iran and Saudi Arabia. The results have been far from entirely positive, and our future prospects in that part of the world are not something we can feel altogether confident about.
. . .
The circumstances of the Long Emergency will require us to downscale and re-scale virtually everything we do and how we do it, from the kind of communities we physically inhabit to the way we grow our food to the way we work and trade the products of our work. Our lives will become profoundly and intensely local. Daily life will be far less about mobility and much more about staying where you are. Anything organized on the large scale, whether it is government or a corporate business enterprise such as Wal-Mart, will wither as the cheap energy props that support bigness fall away. The turbulence of the Long Emergency will produce a lot of economic losers, and many of these will be members of an angry and aggrieved former middle class.

. Kunstler's complete doomsday scenario is outlined in his book, The Long Emergency.

The writing's on the wall this morning in a piece from The Christian Science Monitor noting that, thanks to rising oil prices, it's not just gas that's getting more expensive, but everything:

"The true cost of energy is now being felt more broadly through the entire economy," says Mark Routt, a senior consultant at Energy Security Analysis, Inc., in Wakefield, Mass.

The reason, according to Mr. Routt, is what he calls the "tale of two economies." Most consumers focus on gas prices and the impact on their wallets. But diesel, which fuels truckers and some manufacturers, has gone up just as fast, and in some cases, gone higher. Thanks to that competition for consumers, combined with the concurrent growth of cheap imports, most people have so far been sheltered from that impact.

Link. Well, um, this should be interesting.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just noticed that this blog entry got tagged by blogger with the word "apocalypse." This struck me as interesting since the word apocalypse was actually never mentioned in the blog itself (as far as I and the "Find" feature could tell). Either the tagging program read the blog and found it startlingly and frighteningly apocalyptic, and used the tagging feature to communicate this impression, or it did some sort of word similarity computation based on the presence of words like "doomsday." Personally, I think the first possibility is far more likely.

--Mrs. "Machines are Reading Our Blogs!" Good Reverend

12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Good Husband just informed me that it is in fact he, and not blogger, who tags the entries. I think, then, that the most logical conclusion to reach is: ...my husband is actually a Blog-reading, Apocalypse-tagging Evil Machine! Wish I'd known that when I signed the marriage certificate. Oh well, there are worse things to be married to--at least my robot husband uses his evil powers for the mundane, like tagging blog entries, rather than to plot to destroy the earth. On second thought, this might explain all the mysterious charts and gadgets on his desk...

Mrs. Good Reverend, rethinking everything she once held dear

1:22 PM  
Blogger The GraveDigger said...

Mrs. Good Reverend,

Seek out the old Dear Abby RE: Romancing the Stone. I know we're out of the Stone Age and into the technology age, but some things never change. See if you can change that robot back into the man you once loved.

12:18 PM  

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