A wave of revulsion rolls around the world. Approval ratings for incumbent leaders are everywhere collapsing. Symbols and slogans trump facts and nuance. One in six Americans now believes that military rule would be a good idea. From all this I draw the following, peculiar conclusion: no country with a McDonald’s can remain a democracy.
Nafeez Ahmed writes: A new research study by HSBC on global oil supply shows that the bulk of the world’s oil production has peaked and is now in decline. Welcome to a new age of permanent economic recession driven by our ongoing dependence on dirty, expensive, difficult oil — unless we choose a fundamentally different path.
From The New York Times: …It is impossible to imagine a world without global connections: They have always existed, and no place has escaped their formative influence. But this does not mean that there is any inherent merit in interconnectedness, which has always been accompanied by violence, deepening inequalities and the large-scale destruction of communities.
The final stages of capitalism, Marx predicted, would be marked by global capital being unable to expand and generate profits at former levels. Capitalists would begin to consume the government along with the physical and social structures that sustained them. These assaults would destroy the host. This final stage of capitalism is what Trump represents.
As 2017 dawns, in a great many ways, modern industrial civilization has flung itself forward into a darkness where no stars offer guidance and no echoes tell what lies ahead… We’re not discussing the end of the world; events like those that can be found repeated many times in the histories of other failing civilizations.
We face awesome global environmental challenges. Climate change, food production, overpopulation, the decimation of other species, epidemic disease, acidification of the oceans. Together, they are a reminder that we are at the most dangerous moment in the development of humanity… Now, more than at any time in our history, our species needs to work together.
Please don’t read this unless you are feeling strong. This is a list of 13 major crises that, I believe, confront us. From Trump to climate change, this multi-headed crisis presages collapse. And there’s no hope of exiting the ‘other side’ if political alternatives are shut down. Sorry to say that it’s not happy reading.
Soumya Dutta writes: Pakistan is a dry country, with average annual rainfall of less than 250 mm, less than our desert district of Bikaner. The Indus, which India is now threatening to block, irrigates around 70% of the ‘food basket’ farmlands in Punjab & Sindh; it’s literally the life line for the people of Pakistan.
Michael T. Klare writes: Nationalistic exceptionalism could become something of the norm if Donald Trump wins, or other nations put the needs of a fossil fuel-based domestic growth agenda ahead of global climate commitments. In its latest report, the Norwegian energy giant Statoil outlines a chilling scenario focused on just this sort of dystopian future.
Helena Norberg-Hodge writes: Today, banks and corporations run Europe. For big corporations and financial institutions, diversity is an impediment, whereas monoculture – in all aspects of life, from seeds, fast food and clothing, to architecture – is ‘efficient’. For them, a single Europe-wide market of 500 million people was an essential step to further growth:
Twelve years ago, John Perkins published his best-seller, ‘Confessions of an Economic Hit Man’, where he described his career convincing heads of state to adopt economic policies that impoverished their countries and undermined democratic institutions to promote U.S.’ interests. This new book is an updated version, and details how those methods have evolved since then.
With the production of ‘conventional oil’ having reached a plateau and fossil fuels in general under attack for their impact on the climate and the environment, the global oil industry is undergoing an unprecedented upheaval. Oil being the very lifeblood of all industrial societies, the geopolitical and economic consequences of these changes are already being felt.
Author Mark Weisbrot says: “Behind almost every prolonged economic malfeasance there is some combination of outworn bad ideas, incompetence and the malign influence of powerful special interests”. Unfortunately, such nightmares are repeated in other places because even if the lessons are learned, they are not taken to heart, by “the people who call the shots”.
Colin Todhunter writes: There is a notion that we can just continue as we are, with an endless supply of oil, endless supplies of meat and endless assault on soil, human and environmental well-being that intensive petrochemical agriculture entails. Given the statistics, this is unsustainable, unrealistic and a recipe for continued resource-driven conflicts and devastation.
Oil prices drive not just economics, but geopolitics. Alliances rise and fall over petroleum. For these reasons and more, the collapsing value of oil will have profound consequences, with the potential to destabilize regimes, remake regions and alter the global economy in lasting and unforeseen ways. Fifteen experts tell Politico what that means for the world.
(Note: This new book asks, and attempts to answer, the crucial question: What if government and corporate elites have given up on stopping climate change and prefer to try to manage its consequences instead?) The Secure and the Dispossessed: How the Military and Corporations Are Shaping a Climate-Changed World Edited by Nick Buxton and Ben
(This article was first published in Industrial Economist) Brent crude oil price after reaching a high of $110 per barrel in June of 2014, seems to have reached a floor price of $45/b this January. It has gone above $60/b. Despite earlier failure to predict oil prices, oil experts are again at it to predict where oil
Environmental Risks Dominate the WEF Global Risks Report 2015 Edge Environment Surveyed responses ranked the risks of ‘Water Crises’, ‘Failure of Climate Change Adaptation’ and ‘Extreme Weather Events’ among the topmost likely and impactful global risks in the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2015. These potential risks were considered of greater importance than other