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[PVPost] End of Civilisation as we know it?

 
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PVPoster1



Joined: 24 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 5:44 am    Post subject: [PVPost] End of Civilisation as we know it? Reply with quote

[This is an edited re-post of a topic that existed before the forums were hit by a virus in June 2005. Please feel free to add comments at the end.]


I guess many people would laugh at this seemingly preposterous suggestion.

But the danger with our current society is how complex and interlinked it is. Predicting the behaviour of complex systems is extremely difficult.

The key question is whether we can move to alternative energy sources quickly enough. If so we can avoid disaster, but there are no currently viable ways to sustain the current population.

The numbers are not good. Pre-industrial population was maybe 1 billion, now we are at 6 billion. Downsizing of that magnitude would be extremely difficult. But even returning to a medieval society may not be possible, because of depletion of mineral ores. A return to earlier age is a real possibilty.

A possible salvation could be fusion power, but it is a way off yet. The next fusion reactor is being held up due to political squabbles over where it should be built.
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PVPoster1



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 5:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not the end, Peak oil will not be the end of civilisation but rather a return to what humans have done best over the centuries - fight wars. I live in the province of Alberta in Canada. We have the Athabasca tar sands which contain hundreds of billions of barrels of heavy oil. As you might be aware it takes 2 barrels of oil equivalent to extract 3 barrels from the ground. Extracting large quantities of it emits trmendous quantities of CO2and uses large quantities of water(most of it will have to be extracted using steam heated by natural gas or coal).
As the world competes for a diminishing supply of oil, the tar sands will be greatly sought after. Prior to the 1996 Petroconsultants report there were few new projects in the tar sands. Shortly after there were over 21 billion dollars of new projects announced.
We just had a large delegation from China here looking at the current projects. If oil were not peaking, why would there be such interest in such a difficult resource to develop? What will be the response of the Chinese to a declining supply of oil? What will little Canada do caught between two superpowers who want their resource?(Our provincial preimier personally visited the Bush administration to talk tar sands oil.).
I can only hope that peak oil won't occur for more than 10 years, That new technology is being developed, and that recession slows oil demand and buys time peacefully.


Last edited by PVPoster1 on Thu Aug 25, 2005 5:53 am; edited 1 time in total
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PVPoster1



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 5:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

China and action,The chinese response to the search is to buy the largest Canadian oil production company that there is!! The deal cost them $7 billion and is finalised at the beginning of November this year. How much Canadian oil will be on its way to China by the 1st December do you think?

Last edited by PVPoster1 on Thu Aug 25, 2005 5:52 am; edited 1 time in total
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PVPoster1



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 5:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is possible that the US economy will collapse, and then they will be in no fit state to fight wars. The M1 Abrams tank does 0.6 miles per gallon, or about 300 gallons for 8 hours operation. The US are the biggest consumers of oil per capita and are most sensitive to price rises.

The US is a very reluctant empire. They have a philosophy opposed to imperial intervention, although this is over-ridden by practical concerns, certainly anything considered to be self-defence. So a wounded America may be a toothless tiger - or more dangerous? It is really hard to say.

The wars may have already started, if we count Iraq.

Whatever happens, there may be some big surprises. The certain thing is that with oil declining, population rising, we are pushed ever closer to the brink, a sudden discontinuity in the world order. Something like Europe and Middle East at war with the US say, a cold war if not a real war.

The lesson of history is that when an integrated system collapses, it reverts to smaller component units, in this case if global trade collapses, nations will have to become self-sufficient units again, or at least trading with immediate neighbours. That's about the only thing I can predict, quite how it comes about is difficult to say.
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PVPoster1



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 5:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Worse surprise,There is, in fact, a much worse surprise in store for us that very few seem to either know about or accept. Since the beginning of the oil age crude oil has been paid for in dollars - hence the name petro dollars. All the oil producing countries do not do any actual work for their income except sit back and wait for the royalty cheques, the oil companies doing all the work. This year with the price going from around $35 to $50 a barrel (but without any extra costs of production) they have all received unplanned for windfall payments as they receive a percentage of turnover. The majority of these payments have been invested, as they are in dollars, through the New York Stock Exchange.
The American nation was, until some three weeks ago, in debt to the tune of $7 trillion (this is not their own personal debts on credit cards, loans etc. this is money borrowed on international money markets to balance the annual budget). Because Bush did not want to go to Congress for them to authorise even bigger loans just before the election he authorised that the Federal Employees Pension Fund should be used to make government payments with the promise that all the money would be put back.
For some time there has been muttering amongst the oil producing countries about the fact that they are not happy paying for oil in dollars, using the currency of a country that is so badly in debt that their currency is unsafe.
Last Thursday at an international meeting President Putin stated that he would be quite happy to see oil paid for in Euros, particularly if this helped his European allies.
One of the American nations biggest creditors is the Chinese nation.
Some 20 or so years ago the French nation demanded that the American nation pay it's debt to France in gold. This is when the American nation came off the international gold standard.
So picture the scene :-
The oil producing nations begin to demand their payments in Euros and to invest their money in the Hong Kong stock exchange (very near the Pacific Rim where most international manufacturing is now being done). The Chinese, feeling that the American dollar is now an unsafe currency (check the value of the dollar against the pound sterling now and nine months ago to see how unsafe), demand repayment of the American debt to them, in gold.
The Americans cannot repay the debt because they do not have sufficient gold, nor do they have sufficient credit anywhere else to borrow to pay the Chinese.
The Chinese demand that the land that the Americans have signed over as security for the debt be transferred to their ownership. (the vast American Wilderness where oil exploration is being carried on as we speak, in the north west of the country, including a lot of the Rocky Mountains is security for the debt).
The Americans refuse to either repay the money or hand over the land.

What is the next move by China? What is the next move by any country that America owes money to? What is going to be the value of any money invested in America? Where is the majority of your personal pension money invested (if you don't know didn't you ought to find out?)
You did know that the initials HSBC (one of Britain's biggest banks) stand for The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation didn't you? You did know that one of the majority shareholders is the Chinese government didn't you? What is going to happen to their asset base if the American don't pay back?
My view is that when this is realised to any degree anyone with money invested in America will want to cash out and run. The people who are first will get all their money but eventually America will close the door on all it's banking operations, declare bankrupcy and then no-one will get their money. As an aside did you know that the Americans closed the door on their banks in the 1930s by order of the President (see Robert Beckhams book Crashes"") no-one could get access to their money and people had to live for 10 days on what they had in their pockets and purses? The American nation was effectively bankrupt. Certain of their citizens had seen this coming and were queueing at banks demanding all their money in cash and closing their accounts. The first few got theirs but eventually of course branch banks ran out of cash and had to close their doors. Imagine the scene in small town America when citizens go into the local coffee shops shouting that the banks had no money and wouldn't pay out to their account holders. Magnify this and imagine the scene in the international money markets when it is shouted about that America can't and won't pay it's debts. What valkue your pension fund then. What value any money invested in America? The next scene could be so black that Peak Oil pales into insignificence!!! As a net importer of oil and gas the Americans will be asked to pay cash with order. They will not be able to do this so the law of supply and demand swings into action and what oil is produced in America becomes incredibly expensive. Follow the infrastructure of oil and imagine it's cost when it can be had increasing by a factor of 10 20 or more. Even food could be priced out of the reach of a large proportion of the population.
I know that this all reads like some black science fiction prediction novel but go check what I have said to see if it is the truth and then use your own imagination to see what happens.
All this information I have read by following links from the site After The Oil Crash. This to my mind is the most important of web sites available to us without subscription and anyone reading this posting should immediately put AfterTheOilCrash near the top of his/her list of sites to be checked on a twice daily basis.


Last edited by PVPoster1 on Thu Aug 25, 2005 5:52 am; edited 1 time in total
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PVPoster1



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 5:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I think you explained the scenario very well. Didn't Iraq start asking for payment in Euros? I think that preventing this would have been a definite plus on George Bush's list of reasons for invading. Its my belief that empires collapse from within rather than being overthrown by external threats. Americans seem to like being in perpetual fear of foreign invasion which is quite fanciful while their real danger is right on their doorstep.

When a society becomes unstable and vulnerable to collapse the actual trigger could be something like a switch to oil payments in Euros. I bet none of the people in the '30s thought a crash was possible either. It always amazes me how short peoples memories have become. That crash was only 70 years ago and yet economists today say don't worry everything will be fine. In the '30s the US was more isolated than today would a US depression bring down the rest of the world ?

Even if we stop buying consumer goodies there is still a huge need for food and transport both dependent on oil. With oil supplies declining hopes that cheap oil would kickstart a recovery may be misplaced. If in the UK a deep recession took place do you think law and order would start to break down? That is the real crunch point for civilsation.


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PVPoster1



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 5:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the 30's a saying developed that was, If America sneezes the rest of the world catches a cold. Today that idea holds true even more than then.

I think law and order won't break down until the very late stages of the depression depending on how quickly our government react and how bad we let it get.

At first we would start to ration oil for food production and the emergency services.


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PVPoster1



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 5:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

American sneeze, Now George W is back what will be the first sneeze? My bet is reintroduction of the draft. The second will be when the balance of the budget leaves America $10 trillion in debt. Another world first for the good ole US of A!!!! By God George the Third did we English a big favour when he got rid of that colony didn't he?
Just joking folks. Wouldn't some of you wish that they had torn up the Declaration of Independence years ago though?


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PVPoster1



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 5:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Protect ur little 1's, well, i reckon you should at least make sure your families know, pick up a copy of Trail magazine or the like and enrol on a survival course, most of which provide priceless practical information. maybe we cant stop the planet from destabalising it's climate.. or putting politics aside and just changing the way we live.. maybe we can, as im sure we can all agree, no1's gonna know until it happens. so prepare, or take action, or both..
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PVPoster1



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2005 5:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wait a minute...I thought civilization ended already Embarassed

No one knows how to bake a loaf of bread.

The produce at the market is gassed to appear ripe.

We defecate into porcelain bowls and then forget about it.

We gossip about fictional characters seen in cathode-ray facsimile.

We ignite and destroy a substance hundreds of millions of years old in order to haul our BigMac-fat-asses to the Curves weight-loss studio and then refuse to engage in a bit of manual labor without the aid of a machine.

We run 3 miles a day then come home and cut the grass with the riding mower.

We still make things buy them and toss them out--all in the same day.

Civilization is dead, then come home and cut the grass with the riding mower.

We still make things, buy them, and toss them out--all in the same day.

Civilization is dead.
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