Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A Confluence of Crises

What we are seeing is the confluence of different but related crises: peak oil and peak food, both exacerbated by global warming - the overarching crisis that humanity is facing. Whereas people are now increasingly aware that we are just past the point of peak oil, most people don't know that we passed 'peak food' in 1998 - already ten years ago. What is meant by that is that at that point in time there was the largest surplus of grain stock available in the world and since that time reserves have been dropping. Grain storage now is at the level of 1947-48

The sense that global food stocks are running low of because of scarcity has only recently become an issue of wider concern - not just to the poor and starving nations, but even in the US there should be an acute sense of imminent collapse of the current food system - without alternatives being in place. Twenty eight million people on food stamps sounds like a very loud alarm.
A weak dollar continues to increase the exports of farm commodities including wheat dramatically, and make the wheat increasingly unaffordable for the internal American market itself. This hollowing out of the food and grain supply is further exhausted by the production of subsidized bio-fuels from food crops - one of the dumbest 'green solutions' ever.

People have recently identified the housing crisis as the main reason for the coming depression. But the real causes of the coming depression lies much deeper. They are rooted in the fact that the neo-con capitalism has chosen resource war as its main economic vehicle and legitimacy. The puppets at the top are there solely to perpetuate a state of disinformation, secrecy, denial, betrayal, and brutality such as threats of torture and imprisonment - in order to at once hide and at the same time legitimize the pervasive corrupt cronyism robbing the resources from everything in sight and turning them into war diplomacy: bullies and bullets. The Iraqi war itself may cost as much as 3 trillion dollar over time. Three trillion on borrowed money - just try to imagine that even for a moment... and that is the true cause of tightening credit, affecting all the hanky panky we have lived from for awhile - like easy credit in the housing market.

An old saying says: “the warring nation becomes infertile”.

Eventually the war modus operandus turns itself on itself, exhausts the land and kills the imagination. it was not very long ago the people were gloating over the american 21st century and the permanence of the unequaled superpower. Look at it now: the once richest nation in the world is trying to hold on to a 2nd rate status desperate to not immediately tumble into third world economic status. The housing crisis bad as it is didn’t do that.

Lies, torture, militarism, criminal leadership, corruption - they all carry a price in credibility that is eventually felt in the wealth of a nation and ultimately in the pockets of increasingly disenfranchised masses. Models suggest that once passed peak oil the available supplies of oil may drop off by as much as 6% each year, due to the fact that the geopolitical interests are shifting because of the acute sense of scarcity. If fuel competes with food it is time to invest all our last resources into food security rather than military dominance or empire.

The ultimate nightmare for the United States is a dollar collapse - after all the dollar represents the value of our credibility - and that is what is dropping. The true reason behind our economic crisis is in this crisis of values- like betting on the wrong horse way too long - the horse of protracted war as economic vehicle.

The problem with such an escalation of folly is in its logical conclusion: having, promoting and eventually using a nuclear arsenal to secure energy resources. The US in that sense is not to be trusted. No doubt that the renewed pressure to develop a pit production facility in Los Alamos, is an example of where the true intent of the US lies. Imagine if the Iranians in this day and age would develop a factory for 50 -80 pits per year - how would we feel?

Despite paying lip service to being 'green' the New Mexican Political Representatives in Congress are not actively creating economic alternatives to the nuclear destiny of New Mexico: ultimately they bet on re-prossessing, nuclear weapons, nuclear waste, military spaceports, nuclear weapon design and storage to secure the main Federal income stream for New Mexico . They could easily stop the new nuclear pit factory - but they won’t - so that is what they really stand for regardless of what they say.

What we have to realize about 'green' is that it includes a social dimension: from now on we need to critically evaluate all policies against one looming reality: How will this policy impact and affect the poor? The technology we want to invest in creates jobs, opportunity, lifts people into meaningful work, promotes environmental re-mediation, and a sense of common destiny and justice. That is the social dimension of 'green' and is incompatible with the warring war economy.

-Willem Malten

1 comment:

  1. I agree with your assessment, that the food shortage on the horizon is connected to the approaching economic difficulties. I want to add that the currently shuddering economy that is showing itself in the 'mortgage crisis' has much deeper roots. This type of predatory lending has been systemically applied to third world nations through U.S. based institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. It was only a matter of time before this policy was turned in onto the American people.

    The focus of predatory monetary practices turned its monstrous head onto the American people and was accelerated under the Reagan administration as his deregulation policies, cloaked under the guise of increased market competition, began to deregulate the saving and loans institutions (along with other aspects of the economy). Because part of the deregulation policies changed accounting rules, the same complicated, yet legal and viciously dishonest accounting practices led to the collapse of WorldCom (owned by General Electric, and while it also operates NBC and its affiliates, it didn't report on it so much) and later the collapse of Enron. The downfall of these institutions is connected to the horrible fact that laws and policy have made the American people economically responsible for this corporate irresponsibility.

    While U.S. based corporate irresponsibility continues to create policy that takes from the wealth of the American people as well as the people outside of its borders, as oil and food supplies continue to dwindle, the corporate media does not report the full story to the American public.

    There are, however, hundred of thousand of Americans who are aware of these practices. We, the People in the United States have tremendous power because it is in the tradition of the United States to fight against tyranny and overcome. The story is familiar, only this time, the tyranny and those that take taxes while not representing the interests of the People, are within the borders of the United States and not an ocean away. I believe the American people have the ability to have dialog and create effective change. We, as a whole, must believe it, begin effective communication and action, then realize it.