Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Dire Predictions and the New Realities

John Greer starts and ends with peak oil, but the route he takes in between exposes a dream picture hung in front of a window to hide poverty.

Greer does a great job of entertaining with analogy as he points out what he calls Hallucinated Wealth.

He got me thinking along the same lines.

The "let them eat cake" economic statistics and political pronouncements hide and disguise the unraveling real economy. Crashes of one bubble lead to the immediate inflation of the next bubble. Each bubble is of necessity created a bit larger and more unstable than the prior one.

The old saying that a broken clock is right two times a days is frustrating those of clear vision. They pronounce the end of a bubble and position themselves to profit from the pop, and frequently do make huge profits.

The problem is encountered in retaining the profits. Because their clear vision has shown them the bubble rests on a house of cards, they expect the bubble's burst to blow down the weak structure supporting it. They then bet accordingly.

A new bubbles emergence lifts the weakened house of cards structure and the new imbalance comes into play.

Greer's analysis is good and worth considering. My potential disagreement would come in the effects to be wrought by the collapse of the industrial age - or as he views it the slow decline back to an agrarian society.

I think there will be disruptions along the route to the Netcohort Society. I also believe that scarcity does not have to be a cause of decline, but necessity will once more become the mother of invention. The delay of minor necessity by government intervention and reality cloaking only increases the size of disruptions along the route.

Such as price controls that lead to scarcity without a financial incentive to solve the problem.

In the late 1700s Thomas Malthus talked about earth's population overcoming its ability to feed itself. At this point the inventions and revelations leading to the industrial age were already in place. Industrial farming had the capability to feed a growing world.

While the capabilities to feed a world are in place, government interventions still prevent distribution of edible wealth.

In 1801 when Jacquard invented the first programmable production tool, the seeds were planted for an era beyond the industrial age. That this new era has been delayed so long is the result of factors buried within the industrial age itself.

Industrialization promotes the satisfaction of wants on a general scale. Specific needs are not addressed as the economies of production are in huge runs of one size fits all solutions. Huge bureaucracies became the norm, as size enabled the efficient methods of central control.

This has been a bad fit for human society as individualism and seeking of personal satisfaction is at the core of humanity. Greer's comments (remember John Greer) on peak oil correspond with the deflation, or a possible implosion, of the industrial age.

We do not have to return to a past era now that the declining age is weak.

The individual is being empowered by technology. Technology is similarly empowering small and mobile Netcohort teams to craft solutions on a small scale while retaining the incentives necessary to inspire creativity.

In is not just the industrial age that is passing, it is the age of HUGE that is dying. Internationally powerful corporations, governments, systems - they are all finally obsolete. Of course their death throes will be dangerous.

If we must have a historical model to describe the future let's return to the Renaissance.

The Netcohort will travel to the most accommodating location to practice their economic mercenary arts. These creative solution finders already function in a similar fashion just as the free lances and condotta were selected to work under their own captains.

The peak of resource based cheap energy may be upon us - but it does not necessitate a return to a drab and overworked existence.

The future may be quite bright.


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