One can check many news sources, some with clear political agendas like the BBC, some with counterintelligence agendas like Alex Jones, some with asset pumping agendas, like Max Keiser to name a tiny few. The pervasive philosophy that is transmitted is based on economic free market theory, with concepts like debt, GDP, investment. A few will talk about other systems, like Bitcoin, a virtual digital currency that has recently exploded on the scene, or talk or be part of an intentional community, a cashless society (not meaning that all money is 100% virtual).
All these opinions are cute. They may not get along at times, but one really is no threat, much sooner a precondition for the other. A country has to have an aggressive oil based military industry to protect all the people that want to have alternative lifestyles. You need a fossil based banking system to make Bitcoin work (not forgetting a fossil fuel based energy infrastructure). It is amazing what diversity can be achieved without changing the fundamental dependence on a fossil fuel based banking system. The reason for this is simple : Economics.
Economics as most people understand it (and it is intentionally complex and intrinsically counterintuitive) is about finding valuable investments. It is about book keeping on a country by country, continental and global scale. It is about equitable exchange of goods and services between people, to their mutual benefit. It is a pretty myth, in fact only a salespitch for fossil fuels.
So if kids in India glue your shoes together and can scrape a rupee as they damage their nervous system that is fair to you who pays 80 Euros for them? Can’t you glue shoes? Would it not make more sense to give your local shoe maker a job than kids locked in basements, or girls saved from prostitution? Even then, what happens between the 4 Euro your shoe costs and the 80 Euro you pay? Why should all these intermediaries make so much money? Still worse is that cheaper shoes can also be bought, but they are painfull to wear, so someone has been glueing their butts off in some toxic sweatshop and the result is hated.
Of course the resulting product is sold not at it’s price but at what the average consumer can spare in his/her budget. Its price conforms to the perception of value because profit is a major goal in economics. Profit means the extraction of money over and above the amount needed to run the business, making money more scarce and driving people into debt. More profit means more people need banks. Its a power thing see.
Although the result of fossil fuel based economics in the short termis positive, the long term effects are devestating, ones we are now faced with around the world. It is no surprise that the denial or deminishment of global warming reality runs across all things financial, bar perhaps marginal green investment initiatives that allow the generation of a lot of credit (used to sell oil) or turn out to be devestating to the environment and habitat of endangered species, like soy and palm oil plantations. Can Europe feed its cattle? Sure! But let’s get it in Brazil, so it makes the GM, shipping, farming fertilizing, clear cutting etc people good clients of the oil companies. Even the massive protests against deforistation mean massive sales of feul to airlines and what not. If everything runs on fossil fuels, every movement will mean better business.
The problem is that our mythology, what we believe about economics, is wrong. How is it wrong? Why doesn’t it work? What is not true about an investment cycle that is part of a network of supplying companies all adding to the ‘economy’? Of course the answer can’t feel like a real answer, or we would already feel like our economies are hairtriggerable death traps. The answer is dead simple : The fuel supply. It is almost never an issue. It is never adressed as such. Economics is not about the fuel supply, it is soley about the rate of fuel consumption. That is because economics is about selling fuel (but we already stated that).
How can you speak of a viable strategy to run billions of lives if you know for a fact two things : The fundamental resource needed (fossil fuels) to run it is running out, and the use of fossil fuels is causing the dissapearance of almost everything you need to keep going, at a growing rate and ever more fundamental level. We are losing the chemical conditions for life in our oceans for instance.
Attacking mainstram mythology is a cardinal sin. If you choose to do so you will interfere with the trust of so many that it could lead to a revolt. The highest figures in society, carefully groomed to spout specific nonsense most convincingly are of course wrong. But we would not even have such central figures if it wasn’t for fossil fuels. We would have no media and consumer culture if it wasn’t for fossil fuels. Even with thousands of wind turbines and solar panels all around we still think about them in economic terms. How much do I make with them. Money is the key, because money is our only way to access those things produced on the other side of the globe.
The series The Dome show our reality. We have cars, but not for long if we exhausted the local fuel station and could not reach any other. This seems such a practical and insignificant problem, perhaps because even when it happens, or a region is cut of off fossil fuels for a while, you won’t hear from these people except perhaps see shots of rescue choppers bringing in supplies. True fuel cuttoffs are usually reported as economic downturns, the eggs dissapear, what happened to the chicken is ignored. Also, usually when a country has to make due with less fossil fuels, it descends in to chaos and war. We have seen this in Egypt and Lybia recently, the Lybian situation being a oil grab, the Egyptian something similar. Poverty in Egypt was driven up because the US inflated the value of the dollar, pushing the country off the the international oil market for which it is a supplier!
We are just seeing the total surrender of Venezuela, selling its oil and gold to the US now that Chavez is dead. We are seeing the surrender of Iran, abandoning its plans for nuclear energy making it impossible for it to protect it’s reserves, which it was already selling to China anyway. Great news for all those young Iranians that can now enjoy the (expected legal) revenues of Irans oil and gas to buy products from around the globe! Due to millions of years of carefull photosysthesis and decay economics remains sound as long as you can pop the lid of ever more fossil fuel deposits, or last long enough to pressure others in making reserves available to you (the function of the canadian tar sands).
There is so much at stake for the people keeping this economic mechanism alive, and so many do so without seeing they are mere salesmen and women for fossil fuel companies, that almost nobody thinks about whether it is the most we can get out of our planet. Whether we are not suffering in many ways without reason, because the energy we threaten lives for and make our lives depend upon is but a fraction of the energy we could exploit if we choose to enable ourselves to do so at the cost of economic principles. We can eliminate energy cost and as a result of that all cost from society by adopting renewable energy as the only source of energy. We don’t have to stop at 100% of our current energy use, we can easily go on to harvesting 15000% of what we use today. In doing that we will eliminate the need for much cashflow and therefore eliminate the need for a large part of our ‘economy’.
People rather live in their myths, suffering and competing over the use of a dwindling reserve of totally unnecessary fossil fuels than abandon them to taste the wealth and abundance of renewables, solar, wind, wave and geothermal under a non economic model, one that does divide resources on markets, but one that doesn’t maximize the utility of fossil fuels like our present one. For that to happen we need to purpose fossil fuels primarily to achieving replacing renewables, and renewables to replace renewables.
Using the mechanism of economics as we understand it now will never work, and will surely not work fast enough. If you expect all renewables to be made with fossil fuels you are introducing a limiting factor as well as suggesting we make a choice between renewable sources, because obviously one of them is has the best multiplier (relative to fossil invested). Anything else would mean a loss of future wealth. Look for renewables to make your renewables and you remove the limit of fossil fuels, you no longer have to ask for the use of fossil fuels, and you are free to produce the renewable energy sources of your choice. Economics will never suggest this option. There’s no money in it.