Peak Oil Ass-Backwards: Forget Austerity and Grexit – it's Time for a Gretaway! [part 3/3]

"Taaaaake myyyyyy moneeeeey! Pleeeeeease!"

So here we are on this precipice of sorts, staring upon the twilight of the industrial economy due to peaking energy supplies and thus peaking credit supplies (as explained in part 2 of this 3-part series).

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Well said! (You are here in Toronto-and so am I. Since I don’t personally know anybody else who is onto this…howzabout dinner and drinks at my expense?)

What ELSE are you onto?



i’ve been banging on about this for years—but get mainly blank stares when I try to explain that we live in an energy economy, not a money economy. It is a concept that is beyond our comprehension, because we have lived in an environment where energy is fed into the ‘economic system’ at an ever faster rate to give us ‘infinite growth’.

this is what our politicians promise, and we are so locked into the system that we have no choice but to take our pick from the concoctions of lies on offer.

maybe the economists and politicians believe it too—they are mere mortals after all.
it is plainly obvious that the majority believe that prosperity can be voted into office.

This is a really enjoyable and lucid post. But!

But seeing how there is very little realization in Greece and other countries as to what the underlying factors at play are, and seeing how Syriza and whichever other party that comes along next is going to be unable to stem the austerity tide, one hopes then that frustrations of hungry and desperate populaces don’t result in xenophobic parties such as Golden Dawn coming to the fore.

I am sick and tired of the common phenomenon in western press: the people who actually speak out systemically against the insane tide of refugees they have to deal with IN ADDITION TO the austerity policies and other chaos they are smacked with, are called xenophobes and neo-nazis.

Secondly, the whole paragraph is insane. The people writing it KNOW (and say so) that there is no effing chance in hell that the populace at large will understand the way these con games are being played, and yet they are “hoping” that the frustrations of hungry people will not turn, um, to those parties that actually express those frustration in public political life – in sharp contrast to politically correct progressives and greenies and peak oilers like themselves.

There is hopium for you

Glad you liked it! About Toronto, although I grew up just north of the place and then lived there for several years, I don’t actually live there anymore (I’m currently way over in New Zealand). Regardless, economics certainly isn’t my forte (if I even have one), and other posts on this page attest to my interest in beekeeping, agriculture, and much more. Being from Toronto, “the most multicultural city in the world,” you might find my 4-article series on authentic multiculturalism rather interesting. As well, and as I linked to on the page for the one podcast I’ve done so far, the city with the highest amount of listeners for podcasts from the Doomstead Diner (whose posts this article rather parallels) is Toronto. So they’re out there!

I couldn’t agree with you any more. About the economists and politicians believing we live in a money economy rather than an energy economy, I think I agree with the statement that if you’re forced to choose whether something can be chalked up to conspiracy or ignorance, chances are it’s stupidity. Probably helps one sleep slightly less worse at night as well.

And thanks for the link you left. I just read your two articles over on Collapse of Industrial Civilization the other day, and although I don’t have an e-reader, I’m looking forward to reading your book in the future.

Glad to hear you found at least part of the piece enjoyable, and I can understand where your relevant criticisms come from. I was toying a bit with how to write that “one hopes then that…” sentence, as I certainly didn’t want to give the impression that “don’t worry, it’s all going to work itself out!” That being said, I see the word “hope” as a verb and so implying action. This is why I said:

“for those aware of the current situation’s underlying factors, a crucial undertaking is the setting up of alternative currencies.”

Whether or not enough of these get created and used to stem the increasing triaging I can’t say, although I’m not about to hold my breath. I don’t know if I would call that hopium so much as doing what one can amongst a grim reality.

In regards to “‘hoping’ that the frustrations of hungry people will not turn, um, to those parties that actually express those frustration in public political life,” as you put it, I don’t see those parties talking about the underlying issues causing all this anymore than the more mainstream parties. (The exception to that, from what I’ve noticed, is the British National Party, which will likely be what my next post will address.) All they really do is say “you’ve got the wrong skin colour or language or religion or eating habits or whatever, and besides, we were here first.” All that results in is bloodshed. As far as I see it, the mainstream political parties as well as the xenophobes all believe in silver-bullet solutions, their cures being either austerity, Keynesiamism, or expulsion of the “other.” None of that will work.

And regardless of whether or not refugee crises (of which we’ve hardly even seen the tip of the iceberg yet) are a result of blowback, there’s probably little that can be done to stop people abandoning their homes – be they in Syria or California – and trying to make their way to where people seem to be living “the good life.”

Tough call.

Allan, I am delighted you engaged. I was fearing another bout of vilification, as I have gotten from other web places with similar points. Or silence. Loved all you had to say about the currencies, and I don’t really disagree with trying to do what one can in the face of grim reality.

Still, though, I think it behooves us all on alternative media to be as honest as we can, and calling people who fear the tide of refugees and destruction of their home culture “xenophobes” seems mean to me. And not quite honest.

Yes, their message may be close to what you say, but that is how people on the street feel, that is their frustration, said simply. (And political parties are not known, in general, for the honesty and acuity of their political analysis.)

For example, similar sentiments are expressed in the Baltic republics. Here you have people whose ancestors were persecuted and died in the gulag for standing up for their culture against the Soviets. Now their economies have been done in, in part by EU policies, their young people fled in search of jobs, and now they are being forced to accept hordes of people with whom they have little in common and who will undo all the sacrifices made to hang on to their culture, and to keep it alive and even thriving.

No, there is little to be done when people want to abandon their homes. But there is plenty that can be done to defend the other people’s homes that are being invaded. And if it’s not done, then there will be bloodshed. And western Europe has been singularly unwilling to defend the cultures that “have been here first” and bends over backwards to favor the newcomers from far away lands. I don’t have a good analysis of this, but find it extremely troubling.

And finally, I will go out on a limb and add this: are they going there because that’s where people are living the good life? I have myself been among those who fled from the iron curtain, and we sure did not behave with the contempt and disregard many of these newcomers have shown to the Europeans that welcomed them with toys and food and shelter. They behave more like people who come to trash and crash what good is there.

Just occurred to me: in Canada, the Indians are called First Nations, and the implication is that those who were there first, their cultures are worth protecting. How come they are not worth protecting in Europe for the same reason? How come that sort of an appeal is to be scoffed at?

Excellent writing mate

I don’t find this article satisfactory. The energy economy is a dangerous misnomer because the word ‘energy’ is an overloaded term. Laypersons are deluded into believing that electrification and substitution in general easily resolves the various resource contention problems. We have all seen the false claims: just put up a lot of breeder fission reactors and voila, energy problem solved (and thus money too). The layperson assumes electricity (energy) contributes the same wealth effect as crude oil.

To me the essential fact is that crude oil is a source of perpetual growth in hard collateral rather than merely embodied dense energy.

And certainly alternative local currencies are a hopeless avenue.

Very good points you bring up, but having re-read your comments a few times, I’m rather flummoxed with what to say.

But before I start, I should point out that although there’s a lot of grey area here, when I mention xenophobic, I’m referring to the hardliners who accept nobody but their kind. With your talk about people in the street, although perhaps I’m wrong, I envision a bunch of people who don’t have much of a clue as to what’s ultimately going on, and just want to maintain normality. But normality is going the way of the dodo bird, for everybody.

Me, I’m from the 'burbs north of Toronto, so the only culture I can really say I grew up with is fossil-fuelled consumer culture. That way of life is coming to an end, and I imagine people will ultimately be evacuating the place where I grew up rather than gravitating towards it. Where are they going to go? Who are they possibly going to run over?

Likewise with the (middle-class) Syrians evacuating their homeland. As Nafeez Ahmed pointed out a couple of years ago, their oil supply peaked a few years earlier, which was their major export. As well, they’re going through a major drought. So an overpopulated land, made possible due to fossil fuels and all its manifestations, is being evacuated by those rich enough that can afford early tickets out. Once the even bigger stampede starts, where are they going to go? Who are they going to overrun?

You say that “there is plenty that can be done to defend the other people’s homes that are being invaded.” Really? I have no idea what that would be besides having a massive body of water between you and them (as is the case with New Zealand, where I currently am, but will be leaving in a few weeks). Other than that I can only imagine machine guns and the like as fences aren’t going to cut it.

You say next that:

western Europe has been singularly unwilling to defend the cultures that “have been here first” and bends over backwards to favor the newcomers from far away lands. I don’t have a good analysis of this, but find it extremely troubling.

I think John Michael Greer explained this very well two weeks ago when he said that:

Whether allowing mass immigration to the United States is a good idea or not, it’s fair to say that sharply limiting the number of legal immigrants and then turning a blind eye to illegal immigration lands us in the worst of both worlds. The only people who benefit from it are the employers who get to pay substandard wages to illegal immigrants, and the privileged classes whose lifestyles are propped up thereby.

It’s all been in the name of growth and keeping up business as usual (read: the fractional-reserve, Ponzi scheme banking system).

In effect, once things get hairy, out pops those who blame all the troubles on immigrants, when really it was business as usual that effectively brought them in in the first place.

Perhaps I was incorrect in inciting “the good life,” and should have stated that they’re blindly going to wherever seems prosperous and to places where people seem to have things figured out (but don’t, and just aren’t on the front lines of current and upcoming crises).

Sure, in Canada the natives are called First Nations, and it does imply something, but it’s all lip service and is actually a very bad example to use. Their cultures and ways of life have been decimated, replaced much too often with many young women turning to prostitution who then are then disappeared and murdered, and young men sniffing gasoline. Their land is often ripped away from them, razed for tar sands extraction and such, the recompense being a casino or two. People may talk admirably about the natives, but really, they got the ass end of the deal.

What we’re facing is a world of 7 billion people which is quite possibly overpopulated by several billion. With fossil fuels now peaking, and which made most of those 7 billion lives possible, well…

To say then that European ways of life are somehow above all this is rather short sighted. Not only that, but I would venture to guess that even if there wasn’t any refugee crisis to speak of, those European people you speak of are going to be in for a rude awakening nonetheless. I imagine their way of life is more resilient than the one I grew up with, but not by much.

Perhaps you might want to read my four-part series on authentic multiculturalism that I wrote last year, starting off with Culture and the Land.


I’m not really sure with what you’re saying here. You seem to be saying that fission reactors and other forms of substitution are a crapshoot. If that’s the case, I agree. But I have no idea where you go from there to claiming that “crude oil is a source of perpetual growth in hard collateral rather than merely embodied dense energy.” Actually, I don’t even know what that means, unless it’s just a bunch of gobbledygook.

To say then that alternative currencies are but a hopeless avenue simply shows your prejudice. Sure, alternative currencies aren’t going to buy us another Mercedes, but if you’re expecting to hold onto that way of life, you’re going to be in for a rude awakening. Moreover, if you followed the links I gave (both from the New York Times), you’d see that they most certainly are not hopeless. And as international and national currencies fall apart, for an ever increasing number of people, they will most certainly not be hopeless, but reality.

well, yes, but what you say does not address my points. I know all about Indian and Eskimo decimation. That does not change my query about why “we were here first” should not be respected. It only indicts those whose “First Nations” approach is mere lip service.

Look, if someone owns a home, people who try to move in, are generally not allowed to do this by the whole interlocking system of customs, laws, police, judicial, militias, and neighborhood self-protection. I (or my parents or grandparents) were here first, and yet, it counts. If someone tries to squat it while I am away for the weekend, I have this network to lean on.

But in Europe, this system of custom and protection has been undermined, for decades. I don’t see very far into it at this point. I am just glad that I found a blog where it can be explored in peace.

I think out of control immigration always helps those who want to keep wages down, and their middle/lower orders in distress. Then, they created the Ponzi retirement schemes, and instead of fixing that, they invited young migrants in. But now jobs are disappearing… where will these people work in Spain, where unemployment is insanely high?

In the older days, they created endless refugee camps. Now Turkey opened the border, and the people smugglers are getting big money from somewhere, the refugees from Africa have gobs of money to pay their way through the mafia and gypsy networks that ferry them… It’s far far bigger than anyone in the mainstream press is willing to say. And the “welcome the refugees” people, you can’t even talk to them. It’s like their mind in a one track groove.

I think there would be one way to slow this down to a trickle. Divvy the immigrants among all UN-belonging nations of the Earth. That is the only fair solution, and one that would discourage those set on western Europe, it would be somewhat manageable, and it would give the leaders a chance (if any are left) to come up with a solution at least to Syria, and then to the various other devastations. Perhaps there is some bit of light with Putin and China wanting to be involved in that project. And the rich Arab states and Israel would have to take some too. Everybody.

But frankly, IMO, the only real solution is to get the pathocracies out of power. That’s the hard one.

What about the kink I just read about where a prominent Islamic preacher in Jerusalem preached about stealth conquest of Europe via Islamic invasion?

Well, I am not here to make your life more difficult. Looking forward to your next post, and will read those you recommended. Thank you for listening.

Allan, my reply just got eaten by the internet gremlins. So I will be brief. You seem to agree that in Canada, first cultures are worth protecting and preserving. You are outraged that this worthy ideal is more honored in the breach, that lip service prevails. I am too.

Yet you are unwilling to apply the same ideal to European cultures, and scoff at the Europeans who appeal to it. How come?

I will read your other posts. And thank you for listening.

Glad to see your longer comment didn’t disappear. I seriously hate when that happens on whatever site and so always copy and paste my comments to my email or something before I hit submit, just in case.

On to your comment, okay, I see where you’re coming from now, and that’s a fair argument. At the same time, and although it doesn’t override what you’re saying, I do wonder how many of those people that are currently there actually have much connection to their places (that their ancestors had) and whether or not they’re more like itinerants in their own land. I know people in Canada whose ancestry in the place goes way back, and I’d have a hard time telling them apart from someone like me who is first-generation.

What about all the immigrants in places like Spain who are now jobless like many other Spaniards and such? I hate to say that the Spaniards (and the like) made their own bed, but it’s not as if they didn’t welcome with open arms the immigrants to come in to work the menial jobs so that a significant portion of them didn’t have to. Vast messes have been created, and I don’t see why the immigrants should be singled out as having any lesser rights. But to what? The hovels they rented out?

If you look at Canada, there’s hordes of (female) Filipino nannies that do a vast larger job of raising many children than there parents do. Why? So that the parents could be dedicated to their careers, and perhaps so that they didn’t have to deal so much with the drudgery of raising their own children. It would be a bit stupid to say that the nannies are more deserving of the place than their corporate-acquiescent employers, but really, what do you say or do? Do the Filipino nannies, who raised those children, have less of a stake in Canada? I don’t think so. They were invited to come in, and when resource shortages start to hit those places as well, the Canadians who were there first are going to have to deal with the situation that they created themselves.

What you say about divvying up immigrants between UN countries makes sense. Although I won’t speak for you, I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one. More likely, little is actually going to happen, and the waves are going to get bigger and bigger. Fact of the matter is, we’re overpopulated, possibly by 3, 4, 5, or even 6 billion people. I think that that’s ultimately going to be the big problem.

And about that link you read. I myself was thinking, and nothing inherently against Syrians, that what’s to stop several unpleasant people from embedding themselves amongst the refugees and infiltrating various nations? The day after I had that thought, even the pope said it.

Tough times.

to add another line to this ongoing oil to money thread, today the Nigerian ex oil minister Diezani Alison-Madueke was arrested in London for laundering $20 billion. A few million would have been enough to live on in comfort for life—but when presented with unlimited opportunity, greed is also unlimited. This was oil cash looted from the Nigerian people, the majority of whom are in dire poverty, lacking hospitals schools and so on. The oil companies were no doubt complicit in it too.

she has left Nigeria to stew in its ‘resource crisis’, even though that country is a major oil producer. Nigeria is the 3rd richest country in Africa, but with 60% of its people living in poverty.The term resource crisis is applicable to the majority of the population who never had access to modern resources in the first place.

Which adds to my point that people have a tendency to grab what they can while they can, knowing that nothing lasts forever, and when the oil has gone any producer goes back to being what it was a century ago. You can put this scenario on most oil producing nations, to a greater or lesser degree.

This directly and specifically relates to Syria, where rival militias are grabbing what they can while they can too, and to hell with everyone else. This will go on as oil declines and poverty climbs further up our ladder of prosperity.

Norman, it is not “people” who have a tendency to grab what they can while they can, it is the conscience and empathy impaired among us that stand out and excel in this particular endeavor. “To hell with everyone else” is a psychopath motto.

Vera, I take your point, but nevertheless it happens in every society and in every era, that resources are taken by those with the power/cunning/inclination to do so. Roman emperors, conquistadors, slave traders, fascist/communist dictators, Rockefeller, Carnegie, empire builders of every kind–the list is endless, but the thread is a common one, the grabbing of resources for self.

bear in mind also that the grabbers cannot do it alone. they need thousands of like minded people to do the dirty work for a share of the spoils. Capitalists of the last century had no qualms about employing police to break strikes with extreme violence.

Maybe I don’t have a very good opinion of humanity in general, but when Hitler tried to grab Europe for himself, his millions of helpers had Gott Mit Uns inscribed on their belt buckles.—had they not been stopped by a greater force, they would have swept into asia and met up with the japanese coming the other way. And proceeded to declare war on them too in due course.

right now, the collective psychopathy of isil is screaming exactly the same thing, and committing the same brand of evil
In the long run it may not do them any good, but it doesn’t stop it happening