You might think this photo a bizarre image to be in a blog dealing with Peak Oil and striving toward sustainability. But it was the quote from a reader of Richard Heinberg in the Post Carbon Institute web site that inspired me. I had talked to family and friends this weekend concerning who was culpable in this ongoing tragicomedy I have chosen to call the Panic of 2008. As I have previously stated, we must punish the perpetrators who not only have destroyed our American economy, but the the world's economy by their greed, fraud and incompetence. I don't think we should close Guantanamo in Cuba yet. The blog respondent said:" Just like the Auschwitz guards: Let them be known. Let them be hated. Let them be hunted for the remaining days of their miserable lives."
A bit harsh perhaps. But not harsh enough. Bush never could find Osama but I'll bet Henry Paulson and his gaggle of rogues will be easy to track down. In September of 2001 with twisted girders and toxic dust in the streets of NY, we had a president who offered a useful response for the nation:SHOP!
A national united response to a horrific terrorist act should be to go shopping?
Any fence sitters out there who had any doubt about whether America was on the right track or not were no longer in doubt. And you know what? We did just that. And now we sit here in the United States contemplating the rubble of our economy wondering how all this happened and why everybody is so mad at us. Naomi Klein has a best seller entitle "shock Doctrine:The rise of disaster capitalism" which has been a recent best seller which certainly describes today's events.
And it will take a huge shock to get this country moving away from a Las Vegas mentality of something-for-nothing to a society where honest work that produces products of real value. But in the meanwhile we will have to figure out what we are going to do with 18 million vacant homes, $10 trillion+ of public debt, $10 trillion of commercial debt, $2.6 trillion of credit card debt and unfunded debt from medicare and SS debt of over $42 trillion. Over $13,7 trillion of that debt is owed to foreign lenders. And the news over the weekend from China wasn't exactly encouraging. The communist online newspaper the People'sDaily called for banishing the US dollar from direct trade relations and relying upon local currency. And over across the Taiwan Straits in the non communist china, Taiwan government regulators were calling on national insurance companies to reduce government exposure to US agency debt such as Fannie and Freddy which was $55 billion in 2007. As I've repeated here several times, the real thing to fear is not falling real estate values or a drop in your 401K or $5 gas. The real thing to fear is when the world stops buying our debt. The financial bobbleheads in Bobbleonia rend their garments reminding us what a crisis it is when banks wont lend to each other. What do you think will happen when no countries will loan to Uncle Sam? Does the word "default" come to mind? How about insolvency? Could it happen here? Could this increasingly interrelated tightly globalized net work within a complex society collapse? Of course it could. It's happened to complex societies for millennia. A society built on out of control consumption of resources in a finite world is going to collapse eventually. Whether the collapse begins in 2008 or 2108 is in some ways irrelevant. At some point we as a nation will have to realize we must stop over consuming, over sprawling and overeating and decide that there is no such thing as something for nothing. As a nation we must live within our means, develop tight local communities and use far less energy in transportation, in housing, in manufacturing, and in food production. The unspoken US goal of controlling the world's energy by military occupation and invasions must cease before we or the world is destroyed.
Meanwhile over it Reykjavik it has been a slow news day except for some flag burnings and demands to sack the bankers and a good part of the government. The good news was that the snow is early and heavy. It is shaping up as a good ski year.