Thursday, January 31, 2008

We're being peaked!

Please bare with me for a while, things are just too much to contain right now and I need to spread the load. (I may wrap this up as an article, hence some repetitions from last rant).

The oil prices could act as a storyteller of modern history. Much conspiracy, war and drama unravels around it so when plotting the price development for last hundred years it's no surprise it's looks more of the readings from a Richter meter in San Fransisco then a clean schoolbook example of demand/supply. However, the oil market has since long left the cloud of confusion whipped up by the Iraq occupation and is forced to look at other explanations to last years development. Logistic problems, lack of investment and of course manipulation from the undemocratic states (read "non marketized economies") in OPEC has been pointed out by analysts as sources. All leading to the same conclusion, we've faced a temporary glitch that's just an idle phase before the invisible hand arrives. On the economy pages no one cries wolf as it would implicate heresy - "are you not a believer in the system? There's no such thing as limited resources, only higher prices and it's corrections". As usual that doesn't stop our market fundamentalistic leaders to interfere. Bush doing some pep talk on his Saudi mates, pleading them to open the pumps while at the same time the Iraqi OPEC representives says that there is really not a demand - just confusion. That's quite a misunderstanding I'd say.

But in South Africa the capitalists hasn't been this nervous since Mandela talked about nationalisation the industry. Lately blackouts are frequent, sudden and they last for whole days. Major industries are frozen and to run crying to the governments doesn't give any comfort. "People is already living with just an hour of power a day" a spokesman said. Redistribution simply can't fill the gap. What's needed is more juice. On the other side of the global ballpark an old Shell boss pops up in media and surprises everyone by asking for limited fuel consummation on civil transports to tackle climate change. He's got quite allot on his CV this guy so it's understandable that he gets attention. Right now he sitting as chairman for the mining company Anglo American, heavily invested in South Africa. While South Africa is extreme, there is also problems reported from China, India, Brazil and Chile.

Freeze the film. We've got a oil price steady floating around 100$, an American president that can't get the oil he's asking for, OPEC refusing to deliver more for no apparent reason, industry asks for civil energy restrictions and not to forget an ongoing war mainly about oil that no president candidate seem eager to stop.

Please tell me we're on peak bullshit. A news-googling on "peak oil" shows NO MAJOR NEWSPAPER HAS WRITTEN ANYTHING FOR MONTHS. I'm sincerely impressed the truth ministry on this one. Peak oil is not really a conspiracy, it's a well accepted fact. Wheather or not we're actually right on the top of the historical point in human history, where energy will become more and more inaccessible it doesn't even come across the journalists of the world to even raise the question. Of course, at some point even the economists has to deal with the real world but until then we're leaving some valuable time for a few knowing men to strike some deals. While the financial writers debates the depth of the sub-prime crisis, Bush presents financial aid to the crippled economy, slashing 17'000 public jobs, reduces income taxes, increasing war spending, further sacrifice environmental protection and make up an even more bizarre overall spending figure. When seen in the light of the upcoming election this may be interpreted as an attempt to weld the Republican politics into the white house but if one instead accept the urgency of peak oil it is starting to look as pillaging. That story can only be told by us.

Peak oil is a moment of change. On the bottom lies an inevitable simple physical truth but the choices presented to us is political. We will by all measurements have a shrinking global economy the near decades. In physical terms this shouldn't leave us in bad shape considering our biological needs and resources but our current economic system demands growth and herein lies the problem. It's my impression that the peak oil awareness group tend to focus on the predictable factors of a peak oil scenario. Calculating and predicting the factors as if we were standing before a struggle between man against nature. They've chosen to forget their own message that it doesn't matter how much we produce in absolute terms, it's relative to our expectations. There's only us. From a tactical perspective it can make sense to not present this as a right/left question but it is fairly obvious that that's where it's leading us. After the peak there we will have to divide a set amount of oil between us instead of getting more until we fill the total need. The question then comes if we should leave this to the market or some sort of democratic arrangement. Even on short term the outcome is unclear. Industry will need to feed it's growth based projects with more and more oil and will try to use government to secure the supply, shortcutting before any civil usage. An ugly parallel is drawn right now as bio fuels and food directly competes about the fertile ground of the world. As the north's transport interest is put up against South's food need the outcome is depressingly predictable- famine. Both EU and America were early in setting bio fuels targets and is leading a rush for bio fuels that no environmental movement worth it's name is supporting. The states is on a mission and it's client obviously isn't us. It is my hope that the battle following peak oil awareness will be fought with this scenario in mind. Not forgetting the lesson that both the environmentalist and globalisation movements learned, this is nothing else then capitalism in it's free form and if competition is it's game, then competition it shall have.


Kjell said...

Bra skrivet! Demokratiska storföretag försöker även ställa odemokratiska skurkstater inför rätta då de inte tillåter fria marknader.


så länge vi får välja fritt i affären i väst så har vi demokrati över hela världen.


Kjell said...


ska länken sluta på

Björn Henriksson said...

Ja det dar ar javligt intressant, kanns som mkt kan komma att rora sig kring det o valdigt snabbt. Det ar val antagligen USA som kommer agera djavulens advokat men eftersom de ar pa vag utfor samt fast i skiten i Irak sa kanske Exxon kommer gora nagot som pekar i en ny riktning?
Det kanske ocksa ar forsta riktiga kofrontationen mellan vast o Sydamerikas nya vanster vag. Vi verkar skrammande val forberedda, min stolsgranne utbrot "dude he's a dictotator" om Chavez ett tag sedan. Han visste knappt nat om Venezuela men anda trodde han sig veta det.