I've reworked my recent post on the Tea Party movement and added some more commentary and a oil consumption scenario that shows the magnitude of the transition facing the average American, even under a fairly optimistic "peak oil" assumption of 2026 - Peak Oil And The Tea Party Movement.
Time Magazine recently had an article (Why the Tea Party Movement Matters) that looked at the latest manifestation of populism in the United States, with widespread discontent at the state of the US economy and the US political system, particularly the lack of transparency evident in many government initiatives ranging from the bail-out of the financial system to proposed changes to healthcare, along with discontent about costly wars in the middle east that seem to be never-ending.
The "tea partiers" remain a somewhat disorganised grass-roots movement (albeit one with concerted efforts by the conservative establishment to pull their strings) and they are showing some signs of adopting the tactics of the hippie counterculture of past decades and simply dropping out of mainstream society (see this piece on the "Rippies" for some background), but they do have the potential to grow as a result of a number of problematic trends affecting the western world in general and the United States in particular.
The graph below shows a possible scenario for average per capita oil consumption in the United States over the next 40 years, which could possibly drop by 90%. In this post I'll have a look at the boost this is likely to give to populist politics and some of the possibilities for addressing this.
The oil production scenario is a simple one most peak oil analysts would find optimistic - it is based on peak production being achieved in 2026.
Global and US population numbers are based on population models that show global population rising to 9.5 billion (and US population rising to 530 million) in 2050.
The US consumption model assumes that US per capita oil consumption will equalise with that elsewhere in the world over the next 40 years as a result of globalisation.