Capitalism is Against the Law (The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics)
Can't believe I didn't link to this months ago when I first read it. The Oil We Eat (Richard Manning) scared the shit out of me a while back, and this article "Capitalism is Against the Law" by Stan Goff upped the ante. Not only will Peak Oil screw us up severely, but worse, there are no alternative energies right now that are cheap enough, portable enough, safe enough or available in large enough quantities to replace petroleum at the current levels we use it. Some combination of cutting back usage severely and ramping up alternatives would begin to mitigate the disaster that we'll face after Peak Oil hits, but we can't expect alternatives to easily fill the gap.

This is not to say that we should drop all research into alternatives and stick with oil. We need to maintain or increase the research into alternatives while also radically changing our lifestyles to cut back on the need for oil. We need a society that won't crash so hard when the oil rug is pulled out from under us.

“Developing and commercializing carbon-free power technologies by the mid-21st century could require efforts, perhaps international, pursued with the urgency of the Manhattan Project or the Apollo space program.”
-- Martin Hoffert, a physicist at New York University, during a forum on global warming.

Of course, Goff argues that Capitalism as a system necessarily burns up and wastes resources around the world in order to fuel the ridiculous growth required by greed. But even if you disagree about Capitalism being harmful, he makes the case with lots of cross-references to explain that it would be physically impossible for alternative energies to fill the gap right now. Crossing your fingers and hoping for a new technology to solve the problem would be a faith-based initiative as ill-advised as Noah's neighbor hoping for a fully-stocked yacht to float up to his door when the rain starts.

How long can you tread water?


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