Part 1: the curbstomping at the end of history
Who’d have thought the future would get here so soon?
I’d been thinking for awhile of formally checking in on my future predictions series, to see how far along we’ve come ( not so much the later series which is really more about my method of discerning future trends). And perhaps adjust my thinking a bit.
What I found alarming was that, not only are my predictions for the next five years on track, but things I thought were at least ten, maybe even twenty years out, are starting to happen now. Also my long term, conceptual view has gained a few wrinkles, which I’ll clarify shortly.
I would obviously suggest you read the original three articles ( and indeed most of the stuff in my futurism category, to get a feeling for where I’m coming from ), but if you can’t be bothered here’s the capsule summary for the first bit. The next two parts to follow…
the next five years(written in 2006, so that covers up till mid 2011, I guess):
– past peak of oil and gas extraction
– economic meltdown due to loss of confidence in the dollar, among other things.
– political implosion of the neocon regime and the republican party in general, with a possible realignment of US politics in general, most likely towards some kind of reactionary neo-fascism.
-general war in the middle east and africa, which is really more of an open source guerrilla style bloodbath, and metastasizing into other locations.
Now, none of these are rocket science, at least not in my book. The writing has been on the wall for some years before I even wrote that old piece.
If I remember correctly, oil was at around 60$ a barrel in 2006, and now it’s hovering around a 100$. All promises to open up the taps from saudi arabia and whatnot have been proven just hot air. The noise about alternative energy just gets louder and louder, and the price of oil and gas just keeps going up.
We’re probably in the plateau phase, where all the spare capacity gets used up, as supply starts to shrink and demand grows at the usual steady rate. I have no problem putting off a serious demand crunch for another few years, as there is a lot of slack in the system and waste to be stripped out, before we really start hitting a wall here. People in other parts of the world are already fucked, mind you, but that is, unfortunately, not much new.
Don’t worry, we’re fucked too, just not right away. When that crunch hits and there is an estimated 3% growth in demand every year, matched with a 3% decline in supply, then you’re looking at super spikes in price and what they call ‘demand destruction’, Where whole supply chains start to collapse because they’ve been priced out of the market.
Keep in mind that 3% is being cautious. The third biggest field in the world is looking at a fifty percent decline over three years. That’s not a decline. That’s a cliff.
The skeptics in the area are welcome to their opinions, but in every case, they always think in terms of ( usually falsified) proven reserves and static numbers, rather than flow rates, which is what it’s really about. So buckle up.
Moving on, anyone who thinks we aren’t in major economic meltdown isn’t paying attention. I scarcely need to comment on this, do I?
This is a bit dated now, but do lets watch Jim Cramer have a nervous breakdown on television, and you can judge the level of feeling in the financial community.
…and bear in mind, things have gotten a lot worse since then. They will have to invent new words for the combination of inflationary and deflationary effects that we will be experiencing in short order.
Moving on to politics, it looks at this point like the republican choice is going to be the lunatic john mccain. Not only is his support in the world of reactionary partisan politics somewhat shaky, ( he appears to have some actual principles) not to mention his weak appeal to backwards ‘christians’, but he’s also prone to fits of rage and bizarre outbursts. Probably down to his advanced age, and the time he spent in a Vietnamese POW camp.
If anyone thought that the christopher walken character in the deer hunter would make a good president…well there he is.
The republican chances of winning the presidency again just went from slim to none. The reactionary southern strategy that propelled the republicans from nixon on up has run it’s course and it’s ideology in general has arguably been a spent force since Reagan, so you can be sure when they lose this time around, they will be looking to fuck each other with knives. Good riddance.
Not that Obama or Mrs. Clinton is really gonna help much either. I will concede that electing a white woman or a black man to the presidency is a huge step for the united states, in principle, but I seriously doubt either one of them is really equipped to deal with what’s happening. They would have to demonstrate some understanding of it first, but that hasn’t happened, and probably never will. So four years from now, look for the democrats to implode too.
And finally, we have what we will eventually know as world war III, but won’t recognise till long after the fact. Everyone is expecting that we have to have nuclear tipped ICBMs flying around to have world war, but what we’re going to get is general breakdown of the nation state and regression to primary loyalties ( that’s another word for ‘tribalism’). It’s not going to be about issues large enough to launch nuclear weapons over, or between bodies large enough to command them. Iraq, Iran, the Sudan, Pakistan, Columbia, Chechnya… same shit, different languages. When war is happening everywhere, that’s called a world war.
I reffer you to the brilliant and insightful John Robb of global guerrillas who examines this trend in minute detail and echoes my own thinking in many ways.
long story short: the war of all against all, with semtex and ak-47’s. And that’s if we’re lucky. Because once we kick over into 2012 or so, you’re gonna be nostalgic for the days of car bombs and drive by shootings.