My major point ... [is] that our economy’s overall energy return on investment is already too low to maintain the economic system we are accustomed to.This is the first indication I have seen from the writings of this esteemed fossil fuel industry analyst that both makes a cogent argument that we are running up against energy resource limits and that this is related to an economic system. From here it is only a short hop, skip, and jump to an idea that just maybe we ought to be considering another system. She still doesn't go there, but what she does do is important: all the evidence she provides adds up to the dramatic conclusion that the (capitalist) system is headed for collapse due to the increasing costs of extracting fossil fuels required by this growth-addicted system.
We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up