4/09/2005

Daily Kos :: The coming crisis - the optimistic scenarios

The coming crisis - the optimistic scenarios
by Jerome a Paris
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Thu Apr 7th, 2005 at 18:38:51 CDT

If you've been reading my diaries, you'll know that I have been predicting the "perfect storm" of a crisis, to be triggered by the continued combination of increasingly high oil prices, unsustainable US debt and consumption (someone has claimed that this was just a form of advertising for me and my bank - if only...)

You know the problem:

(Hat tip to Fran for the picture) Here are some optimistic views on the fix we're in:

So, are you ready for the optimist scenario, i.e. the mild catastrophe, or the slow-motion catastrophe?

The first lie is the assumption that breakdowns will be sudden and permanent. More likely it will go like this: As energy gets more expensive and the electrical infrastructure decays, blackouts will be more frequent and last longer, but power will come back on. By the time the big grids go down permanently, the little grids, patched together from local sources, will be ready to take their place. They will be weaker, less reliable, and more expensive, and they won't cover the slums, but by then we'll all be experts at living without refrigerators and running laptop computers from car batteries scavenged from junked SUV's and recharged with solar panels. Electricity is a luxury, not a necessity. When the lights go out, we won't go berzerk -- we'll go to bed earlier.

Likewise with gasoline. The oil's not running out -- it's just getting more scarce and expensive. People who want it will not form motorcycle gangs that chase tankers and fight to the last man. They'll do what my dad did in 1973 and what they're doing now in Iraq -- wait six hours for a fill-up. If you already know how to get by with a bicycle, you just won't have as many cars to deal with..

Daily Kos :: The coming crisis - the optimistic scenarios

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