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The problem is globalism

 
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YossarianUK



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2005 1:07 am    Post subject: The problem is globalism Reply with quote

This topic was split from Peak Wood


fishertrop wrote:

In the UK we could get out of the peak-oil mess with some - but not massive - upheaval, alas I don't thik this will happen, I think it'll be bad decisions and short termism leading to a more harsh end game, which p1sses me off since we're going to throw away repeated chances to fix this mess.......


I think you could be right - the problem is not that the UK could possibly muddle through for a reasonably long time. If the peak had hit in the early 80s that might be more achievable than it is now.

The problem is globalism and the extent to which manufacturing has been outsourced - we may have the energy to heat and light our homes. However, we lack the capacity to make everything that is essential - all of it is overseas - much of our food production, almost all of our clothing/textiles production, almost all of our household goods & appliances.

The ascent to this level of globalism was painless - each step in the "progression" resulted in cheaper prices which no-one but those made redundant complained about. This will not be the case on the way down the other side of the slope.

As the cost of the transport of all of our goods becomes more expensive, we will quickly learn the true cost of the "service economy". At the very least in the early stages, the cost of everything will rise as the cost of transport rises. People will buy less of everything but food - we will put off purchases until this "temporary" inflation is defeated. This will put additional pressures on globalised production, leading to yet greater prices. Eventually the cost of transport will become prohibitive and western society will have to rebuild a production economy.

This rebuilding is unlikely to move to its logical conclusion of a local economy in one step - we are still likely to expend more of our remaining oil capital in rebuilding continental production and then national production until we eventually settle on local production.

These multiple steps WILL bring massive upheaval. Our financial system could not cope with progressive price increases (inflation / hyper inflation), and certainly would collapse with the massive loss of confidence as people realise that things will be "regressing" for the foreseeable future.

Whether society will cope with peak oil is not just a calculation of how much energy will be needed to keep the bare minimum running locally, and how much energy can be supplied locally. The danger of rapid global economic collapse during the downsizing of the world's economy, regardless of local energy availability, is my principle worry in this whole debate. A rapid economic collapse may also greatly damage the ability to supply energy locally.
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skeptik



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 2969
Location: Costa Geriatrica, Spain

PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2005 12:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
However, we lack the capacity to make everything that is essential - all of it is overseas - much of our food production, almost all of our clothing/textiles production, almost all of our household goods & appliances.


Yes, we are somewhat interdependent to say the least. I read somewhere (or maybe heard it on the radio - BBC radio 4's "In Business" probably) that one city in CHina and its hinterland - I forget its name unfortunately - now produces more than half of the entire global shoe production.

I wouldnt be surprised if the US military is patrolling Baghdad in Chinese boots...
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snow hope



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 4101
Location: outside Belfast, N Ireland

PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2005 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent post Yossarian - I think you have outlined the likely situation very clearly - this is the way I see things panning out.... Crying or Very sad
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Ballard



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 826
Location: Surrey

PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2005 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not so sure...

My neighbour works for P&O shipping (in finance), they run a large number of the container ships that form the global transport network. With the massive rise in oil prices the fuel costs for shipping this stuff all over the planet has shoot up. However the fuel costs as a percentage of the shipping costs are still very low, these price rises have been passed on to the customers with negligible impact. This is because the costs of shipping are a tiny fraction of the overall costs of the 'consumables'.

According to him it would take massive fuel price rises to affect the global shipping network. It may be that global recession may reduce demand long before global transport network is effected.

Obviously air freight may be effected quite quickly, so no more fresh apples from New Zealand, but will the transportation of goods in general and therefore globalization, be priced out of existance early on the down slope or late?
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skeptik



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 2969
Location: Costa Geriatrica, Spain

PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2005 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ballard wrote:
This is because the costs of shipping are a tiny fraction of the overall costs of the 'consumables'.

According to him it would take massive fuel price rises to affect the global shipping network. It may be that global recession may reduce demand long before global transport network is effected.


I think you friend is right. As far as I remember, bulk cargo , container ship and supertanker are the most energy efficient means of moving stuff about the planet.

Its when you get to the last stage of the delivery - from supermarket to home via SUV that fuel price rises really start to bite...
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MacG



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 2863
Location: Scandinavia

PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2005 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

skeptik wrote:
As far as I remember, bulk cargo , container ship and supertanker are the most energy efficient means of moving stuff about the planet.


Yes. Well, as long as the steel used to build the ship was mined using yesterdays cost for energy. And as long as the port facility was built using yesterdays energy costs.

Get me right here, shiping IS effective. The egyptians shipped the stone for the pyramids and the Sphinx. But it may prove that not just everything is smart to ship. Some stuff might be smarter to source locally.
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Ballard



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
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Location: Surrey

PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2005 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed, however this may lead us into an position where we still have the global trade that destroys local / small scale industry and networks, with the economic effects of a post peak world.
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