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

Friday, August 15, 2014

Fracking – another commodity bubble of our times

Click here to access article by Bryan MacDonald from RT. 
Just like the housing bubble of the early years of this century, the fashion for fracking is also heading towards a cliff. Once the attractive spots have been milked, production will slump and many wells will not even take off at all, following the example of Poland where drilling dozens of wells has led to nothing.

It’s obvious that a few years from now, fracking will be seen as this period’s equivalent of the tulip and dot-com convulsions. The environmental legacy will be felt in the US for a considerable period, but markets will, doubtlessly, swiftly move on to the next fad.
These are the conclusions that an independent Irish journalist reaches regarding the much ballyhooed shale oil fracking that has produced so much oil and gas recently in the US. His article explains the reasons for this conclusion.

His observations correspond very well with energy analysts like Gail Tverberg whose articles I have frequently posted here for the past five years. Tverberg's views are widely respected among independent scientists and technologists. However, in contrast to her views the implications that MacDonald draws from this forecast are frivolous. 

Energy is no fad. Cheap energy has made the pyramid scheme of capitalism possible in the past 300 years. With the decline of cheap fossil fuel energy, our world will change drastically. We can expect more wars--hopefully not major conflagrations--as capitalist gangs fight over the remaining sources. In addition, we can expect what we are already beginning to experience: major economic disruptions and the associated austerity policies of poverty, unemployment, police state methods deal with riots, etc. Then, of course, there is that other devil that is waiting to take humanity down--catastrophic climate destabilization caused by the excessive burning of fossil fuels to fuel capitalism's cancer-like growth. 

The question for the world's Ninety-Nine Percent is: are we going to be merely passive spectators of these developments, or are we going to take action to head off the disasters that await us under capitalism? Shakespeare's soliloquy has never been more important.
To be, or not to be, that is the question—
Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?