Posted by Big Gav
Matt Savinar has been copping a bit of an undeserved beating on ROE3 lately, with some people complaining he doesn't offer any sort of plan for overcoming the problems posed by peak oil. With people discussing plans and predicted timelines a bit lately, I thought it was relevant to quote Matt's view (which he was kind enough to produce after a lot of provocation and some references to 1920's Germany).
Dealing with peak oil boils down to this:
1. Get your financial situation in check
2. Take care of any health problems while you still can
3. Ride your bike
4 Grow a garden
5. Accept the fact you're probably totally screwed, but do the best you can to unscrew yourself
Sometimes in life, there are no solutions. Case in point: I worked at a public defender's office all through law school. 99/100 times, you get to tell the client something along the following lines:
"The prosecutor is charging you with possession of $20 of narcotics. The bad news is if you go to trial, there is an almost 100% chance you will be convicted and go to jail for 10 years.The good news is if you plea out, you'll go to jail for 5 years."
In other words, the individual is screwed either way. If the client was a paying client they would no doubt respond, "there is no way life could be this unfair. You must not know what you are talking about. I will go find an attorney who gives me some hope. 5 years in prison for $20 of drugs is too much to comprehend."
In that case, the client is welcome to go waste their money on some slick-sounding attorney who will take their money while making the situation worse by giving them false hope that if they go to trial they might be acquitted. Ultimately, this serves to make the situation worse as the client will go to trial, thinking they have a chance at acquittal, only to be convicted and sent to prison for longer then they would have been had they accepted the hopelessness of their situation. (Note: this is exactly why criminal defense attorneys are prohibited from working on an hourly basis, but that is another story.)
Back to peak oil:
You are asking somebody to provide you with hope/solutions to the following, all of which are converging at the same time:
1. oil depletion
2. national financial insolvency
3. global enviromental catastrophe
Only a huckster would claim to have comprehensive solutions to these problems. IMHO, anybody taking an honest and unabashed look at the situation would come to the conclusion that we are totally screwed. Even though I realize I'm as screwed as the next person, I'm still doing my best to prepare simply because the alternative (rolling over and dying) is a bit unappealing.
Now - I must admit that I tend to agree on all counts - if any of these problems goes critical in the next year, then he's simply being a realist - we are screwed.
However (ignoring financial meltdown, environmental catastrophe or the outbreak of a major war), even if the oil peak is this year I don't believe that things necessarily fall apart straight away - the top of the peak may last a few years - and I think we need to start heading down the depletion curve for our economic system to really start feeling the strain (I also have some half-baked ideas that you can still have a "growth" economy that's based on constantly increasing efficiency of resource usage, rather than quantity of resources consumed, which eventually leads to a no-gowth energy usage plateau - but I'll leave that topic for later). So, if we assume we still have a few years grace to do something, then it is worthwhile to take a few more actions beyond just riding our bikes around and watching the garden grow (which isn't too exciting on my apartment balcony).
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