Saturday, January 22, 2011

Things may unfold faster than you think

Nicole Foss, one of the authors at The Automatic Earth, on the triple challenges of economy, energy and environment (especially climate in this case). She sees energy as the most significant driver of where industrial civilisation heads next, though economics is the way that it will manifest itself with most speed and violence in a debt-driven economy. Her analysis of the effects of peak oil as being an exacerbation and acceleration of economic swings is an important corrective to those who imagine that peak oil simply means ever increasing price spikes. I think she underestimates the long term significance of climate, but her points about resilient communities of trust and the importance of forward thinking prudence in order to avoid toxic and violent responses are well made. Whether she is right about deflation as the way in which the next financial crisis (the continuation of the present financial crisis, depending how you look at it) is above my pay grade (which, given that it is almost zero, isn't saying much).

In short, she thinks it is very important to get out of debt as soon as possible, to prepare mentally for a different and more difficult world within the next few years and to invest in local relationships of trust. As a Christian, I don't see much to disagree with in this advice.


byron smith said...

Peak oil keeps becoming more mainstream. Nothing particularly new about this article, but most people need to hear things plenty of times before they start to sink in. Yes, there is far more to say than is said in this article, but if you're interested enough to start digging into the details, then you're halfway there.