Libya – means you are going to get poorer

Most folk don’t think about it, but our standard of living comes to us courtesy of others. It’s been that way ever since ever – Cecil Rhodes and his railway were all about raping the one to feed the other. The Brits used Opium to lubricate the China tea trade. The Spaniards in South America, history is littered with the plundering of someone else, and the extraction of their resources.

The USA was the biggest rapist for the last half-century. Look at the Iraq war, and it’s control of oil. Look Afghanistan, and it’s the strategic linch-pin of oil (and the Cheney/Halliburton pipeline).Gaddafi was useful for the same reason – you get cheaper access to the resources, if you sideline the locals, and the easiest way is via a puppet governor, armed force and CIA backing.

Others do it too – Google Royal Dutch Shell, Nigeria, and Ken Sarowiri. How many of us buy Shell products? And there is the essence of the real dilemma.

We – by living this way, are living beyond our means. Not in the nonsense of fiscal counting, GDP or any of that artificial nonsense. but in terms of Natural Capital. Resources. Depletion. Pollution.

Living on the back of others low wages, or using their resources via corrupt puppets, worked, but the irony is that even that approach, when grown exponentially, runs into global limits.

As it has. It might have been, that the repressed didn’t get their act together, but they just happened to have cell-phones, Twitter and Facebook. The Empire moved too slowly – and if you study history, that is always the way. This will be a never-ending scene now. As resources deplete, energy becomes more contentious, and organised folk get angry, it’s going to get less pretty. Expect big repression attempts on the internet, from the established powers (that’s not a prejudice, it’s just stating the obvious – they’ve got the most to lose. China and the USA can be expected to lead the shut-down.

What will it mean for you and me?   Rapidly increasing prices for oil (some admittedly driven by those who bet on trends) which means: increased prices for everything – repeat everything – else.

Folk may be surprised – off-balance. They shouldn’t be. Anyone who understands the exponential function, understands how fast it comes on. I use the example of washing out a wine-bottle (I would!).

You start the tap, put the bottle under, and wait. You know it’s going to accelerate when it gets to the neck, but even knowing that, you get beaten by the acceleration caused by the narrowing . You’re always late turning off the tap.

Same thing. We seem to be linear-thinking, en masse. Tim Groser epitomises this “we use 5% of our water, imagine if we used another 5%”. Most of our politicians don’t get it. And it’s here. Now,

Libya and the rest will be passed off as ‘Arab’ or a ‘Middle East’ thing. Nobody will address it in terms of ultimate scarcities. I guess, even if they knew, they don’t want to scare cities. (sorry). 🙂

This is the beginning of what John Michael Greer calls ‘The Long Descent’, and Kunstler, the ‘Long Emergency’.

But I bet all we’ll here today, from Business on Radio New Zealand, will be GROWTH (is good).

Heaven help us – says the career atheist.  Have a good day – I sense they’re numbered.


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