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Chris Martenson And James Howard Kunstler Explain How "The World is Going to Get Rounder and Bigger Again"

Tyler Durden's picture


"Straight Talk" features thinking from notable minds the audience has indicated it wants to learn more about. Readers submit the questions they want addressed and our guests take their best crack at answering. The comments and opinions expressed by our guests are their own.

This week's Straight Talk contributor is James Howard Kunstler, author and social critic. His better-known works include The Long Emergency, in which he argues that declining oil production will result in the decline of modern industrialized society and compel Americans to return to smaller-scale, localized, semi-agrarian communities; World Made By Hand and its sequel, The Witch of Hebron, all published by The Atlantic Monthly Press. He writes a weekly blog is also a leading proponent of the movement known as "New Urbanism."


1. When will the average US citizen wake up to the perils of peak oil?

JHK:  When a crisis comparable to the 1973 OPEC embargo -- with lines at the filling stations and hefty price-hikes --  whaps them upside the head. For now, what I call the psychology of previous investment is a massive impediment to the public's ability to think clearly. By this I mean mainly our sunk costs in suburbia, including all its furnishings and accessories. That's where we put so much of our "wealth" over the past sixty years. I regard these as tragic mis-investments, of course, because the wealth has gone into a living arrangement that has no future. The housing bubble crash is greatly aggravating the problem, because it is de-valuing the whole kit-and-kaboodle. But the net effect for now is only to generate more anxiety among the public, which leads to more confusion, more cognitive dissonance, more static in the collective imagination, and more political noise -- in short, more obstacles to clear thinking. 

2. There seems to be no political will to tackle the reality of peak oil. What might tip that balance (before we hit the proverbial wall)?

JHK:  Leadership in America has been abysmal on these issues -- and not just in politics, but in business, media, education, the enviro community, even the clergy. For the politicians, I have to suppose that the implications of peak oil are just too painful to face. They simply do not compute into any winning formula. They won't go near it.

I'm quite convinced that Dick Cheney and George Bush were informed about the oil situation, in particular its relation to the national defense. After all, Robert Hirsch arrived on the scene loudly in 2005 with his report, commissioned by the US Department of Energy, which was quickly suppressed because its conclusions were so stark. Bush made occasional remarks about our "dependence on foreign oil" but he didn't have the guts to spell it out further, and he was a tool of Big Oil, after all, which has run a PR campaign for ten years denying the peak oil story. Anyway, he didn't want to interrupt the fabulous credit-driven boom of the years leading to his final months in office, when things really did go south.

Obama is another story, of course. He couldn't be so poorly informed as to not know about peak oil in most of its contours and implications, especially vis-a-vis the military, which has issued more than one report while he's been in office. So I conclude that he is a kind of charming bounder. I'm not necessarily sorry I voted for him, because I think McCain would have been worse, entwined as he is with the lunatic right-wing and its toxic aura of paranoid unreality. 

It's unclear whether the media is too dumb to get the complexities of our oil predicament, or if they are just bought-off lackeys of the various corporate interests. Probably a combo on that. It is rather hard to understand, for instance, the vapidity of The New York Times -- in particular its op-ed pundits, Krugman, Friedman, Brooks. The Times's straight reporting on the oil scene has been scant and fatuous. The Wall Street Journal, ditto. TV news operates in its own special sewage canal of idiocy, so one might not expect much from there.

Since business in America has resolved more and more into a set of rackets, one can't expect plain-dealing from that sector these days.

I've seen the failure of the environmental community up close. Two years in a row at the Aspen Environmental Forum, I listened to the cream of the Green movement rhapsodize over all the cool new "green" ways you can run cars other than on gasoline. You see, their base assumption -- like everyone else in this society -- is that driving cars incessantly is a God-given entitlement. They were in a techno-rapture over electric cars, bio-diesel, and so on. They didn't once mention walkable communities or public transit. They're just not into it. I consider their position utterly disgraceful. 

The clergy is an interesting case. Notice especially how the Sunbelt born-again crowd are perhaps the staunchest defenders of suburbia -- and everything that goes with it, including car dependency and and huge volumes of oil imports from unreliable foreign nations. They conflate suburbia with the constitution and Jesus and, really, their belief system is so incoherent and ridiculous that it must really frighten the educated folk of other nations who see how we carry on. 

3. If you were President and had free reign, what would be your energy plan?


  • I would commence a public debate on whether we go forward with a nuclear power program, to weigh the hazards involved -- but, frankly, there may be no other ways to keep the lights on in a decade or so. It may turn out that we are too short of capital to carry out such a program, or our society may be too disorderly in the years ahead to run it, or we may decide the hazards are not worth it, but the discussion must start now.
  • I would direct major capital resources to repairing the conventional passenger railroads in the US, because commercial aviation as we know it will not continue another ten years, and ditto Happy Motoring, and this is a big continent-sized nation. If we don't get regular rail running, we may not be able to go anywhere. We should just put aside our fantasies about high-speed rail or mag-lev. We're too broke for that, and we need to temper our techno-grandiosity. But, believe me, Americans will be deliriously happy ten years from now if they can go from Des Moines to Chicago at 80mph on-time. During the Obama years, we've stupidly poured our dwindling capital resources into building more highways. This foolishness has got to stop. I would promote public transit at the smaller municipal scale as well, to go with regular rail.
  • I'd begin the task of rehabilitating our inland waterways so we can move more goods around the nation by boat -- and in particular the port facilities that have been mostly removed in places like St. Louis and Cincinnati and around the Great Lakes.
  • I would put an emphasis on walkable communities. I would prepare the nation for the possibility of gasoline rationing, since events could shove us into criticality at any time.
  • I would begin closing down scores of unnecessary overseas military bases and I would terminate the nation-building project in Afghanistan since there is no possibility that we can control the terrain or the population there for anything more than the shortest run.
  • I would direct the Attorney General of the US to mount investigations of the Bank of America, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, and other big banks in connection with the massive swindles and frauds in house lending and the securitization of mortgages -- because the rule of law requires that somebody be held accountable for the demolition of the banking system.
4. Now take out your crystal ball. What is the most likely scenario you see playing out in global energy supplies over the next few decades?

JHK:  I see the USA getting blind-sided by events. We import nearly three-quarters of the oil we use and much of it comes from very dodgy places. The ideas derived from Jeff Brown's Export Land Theory tell us that oil export rates are certain to go down very steeply and soon. Before long, exporting nations will have to ask themselves whether they ought to keep some of their oil around for their own people.

In the meantime, China is very busy spending its foreign exchange reserves on "favored customer" oil contracts, more or less cornering a lot of the market. I think that will lead to conflict between them and us. We may even invoke the Monroe Doctrine over Chinese oil purchases out of Canada.

Also meanwhile, we'll see the feedback loop of demand destruction leading to supply destruction as the oil industry becomes starved of capital to get at new production to offset worldwide depletions, and that will result in wildly gyrating oil prices -- all of which will shove the global oil industry -- production and markets -- into fatal instability. Nicole Foss's rap on this dynamic is an excellent reference.

The prospects for gross geopolitical mischief around this are huge, of course, meaning war in some shape or form -- and it will clearly be a war over dwindling resources. Also, of course, you can't overstate the potential for disorder in the Middle East. The king of Saudi Arabia is well over 80 years old now and his successor is also old and ill. I'd suggest we may see a Shia uprising on the western rim of the Persian Gulf (that is, the Arabian side) that would bring down the Saud royal family and ignite a major struggle all over the region. 

There is currently a lot of hoopla over shale gas in the USA, but I think that will disappoint us, since it requires gigantic ongoing capital investment, and capital will be in ever-shorter supply. And this is not to mention the other problems and hazards associated with shale gas "fracking," such as the extreme forms of groundwater pollution and cancer clusters.

Bottom line: in ten years or fewer the USA will be starved for energy resources and probably on its ass in one way or another.

5. The economy's a mess.  What's the best possible outcome to this and how does it come about?

JHK:  The best possible outcome would be a peaceful re-set to a lower scale of activity -- the whole downscaling and re-localization package. It's hard to see that happening smoothy.

It will be very painful because we're talking about liquidation and de-leveraging beyond even Great Depression levels. We have to allow a clearing of mis-investment. Unfortunately, this means not just the "toxic" paper from the colossal frauds and swindles of Wall Street but much of the infrastructure of suburbia itself, which is losing value now even despite massive government efforts to prop up house prices and pretend that losses in commercial real estate haven't occurred. That clearing process is so tremendous that it is hard to imagine a way that it could occur without leading to gross political disorder -- including the possible breakup of the USA into smaller autonomous regions. We're looking at institutional failure at never-before-imagined levels: pensions and social security lost, insurance companies and banks collapsing, the medical system in disarray, really the whole social safety net and beyond just dissolving. This is a comprehensive economic collapse beyond the scale even of the Soviet collapse which, Dmitry Orlov tells us, at least allowed people to stay in their homes and get around on public transit when all else failed.

One much-fretted-over outcome is authoritarian government in the USA. We can see the larval stage of that now with the tea baggers and the theocratic right-wing and a Republican Party that has made itself hostage to the John Birch Society -- but I maintain, as I wrote in The Long Emergency, that it's more likely the federal government will become impotent and ineffectual, and therefore unable to carry out a "corn-pone Nazi" program, even if such characters got a hold of the offices.

In any case, America will be faced with rebuilding all the major pieces of its economy at a lower scale: farming, commerce, transportation, education, banking, you name it. This re-set will occur naturally -- if we don't blow ourselves to Kingdom Come -- but there's no telling how long the process might take. We do know that following the collapse of Rome, Western Europe endured nearly a thousand years of relative hardship. I'd add that societies are essentially emergent organisms and that this economic re-set would therefore be an emergent phenomenon -- not something that required centralized planning or anything like it.

One notable side effect of all this will be a "time out" from technological innovation, which is destroying the ecosystem of the planet Earth, our only home. The human race needs a time out from all this techno-magic-mischief, a period to reflect on what we've done and how we ought to behave with this stuff. I don't even know for sure whether it's a time out or a game-over for technology, and I'm not convinced that we need to know at this point.

6. What steps are you currently taking in preparations for the upcoming “post-peak” years? What do you advise to those simply looking to protect the purchasing power of their current wealth?

JHK:  Well, at 62 I've already outlived Babe Ruth, Mozart, Abe Lincoln, and George Gershwin,  so however long I go from here is "gravy."  But I do all I can to maintain good health. I eat mostly plants, as Michael Pollan would say. I get a lot of exercise. I lead a purposeful daily life. I stay current with the dentist. I made the formative decision of where-to-live over thirty years ago when I settled in a "main street" small town in upstate New York. My surplus wealth is invested for the moment in hard gold, the Sprott Physical fund, Australian and Canadian short term bond funds (cash equivalent), and Potash mining. I am renting my dwelling, sitting out the housing collapse. I acquired the NY State handgun permit (not so easy). I have some tubs of brown rice, lentils, and curry powder, etc., stashed away. Alas, I didn't have the capital twenty years ago to get hold of forty acres and a mule -- but that's not a bad idea for other people.

7. Are you able to tell (either based on your website viewership or book sales, or from any other source) in which parts of the country/population your teachings are gaining the most traction?

JHK:  My only index of that is the size and mood of audiences where I speak around the country. The Pacific Northwest is always a lively spot. The people who show up are intelligent, informed, and interested. In Southern California I seem to be utterly unknown. Parts of the Midwest, such as Wisconsin and Minnesota, seem to be organizing for a different economy, but other parts (rural Illinois, Indiana, Ohio) are sheer zombie-land. New York City and Washington exist in bubble-fantasylands of their own. Rural New England is pretty peak oil aware, though the Boston-Cambridge hub is locked into transports of techno-rapture, probably due to the techno-grandiose culture of MIT. The baleful influence of Harvard shows up in the urban design and architecture field, where they are preoccupied with narcissistic careerism rather than repairing the human habitat. Dixieland is hopeless, what with their thrall to the born-agains and the misfortunes of their demographic (namely, "Cracker Culture" which celebrates ignorance and violence). I don't follow my book sales, frankly, and my website manager knows more about the activity on my site than I do.

8. You speak to a lot of audiences and groups.  What has shifted over the years and what, if anything, gives you hope in those trends?

JHK:  I must tell you that I think almost nothing has shifted among the body politic except perhaps the levels of angst and desperation for individual citizens brought on by personal calamity involving job losses, debt, house repossession, family breakup, and related effects of our economic collapse. Meanwhile the distractions from all this pain and stress are ever more moronic -- Dancing with the Stars starring Bristol Palin -- can it get any worse?

Mr. Obama, who I voted for, has done almost nothing to address our energy predicament, and the 2200-page financial regulation bill he signed does little to reform the problems in capital finance -- so, here we are eight months after Fin-Reg entering another stage of the banking crisis. We are still absolutely sleepwalking into the future.

9. It seems inevitable that the suburbs (with 60-mile commutes) and places like LA will suffer badly in a peak oil future.  Do you still hold the view that some regions are going to fare substantially better than others?

JHK:  It ought to be self-evident. I mean, compare Phoenix and Portland, Oregon. Phoenix is utterly toast in a few years. They can't grow any food there without expensive and heroic irrigation. They have water problems. They're slaves to their cars. They're in a place where even the hamburger flippers need air-conditioning to survive. It's quite hopeless there. Portland, on the other hand, has turned itself into one of the finest walkable cities in the USA and the Willamette River Valley is one of the most productive farming micro-regions in the world. Human beings will continue to live and thrive to some extent there. Similarly, I think the Great Lakes region is undervalued these days. It is whole lot of good ag land surrounded by the world's most extensive inland sea -- kind of a Mediterranean of fresh water. I remain pessimistic about Dixieland, which I think will be prone to violence and political disorder. In the longer run I believe it will become what it was before World War 2: an agricultural backwater. But, really, everybody in every region of the country will be touched by the problems of the long emergency.

10. What question didn’t we ask, but should have? What’s your answer?

JHK:  Will China dominate the world further into the 21st Century?  

A lot of people think so. I'm not so sure about that. They have problems that are orders of magnitude greater than ours with population overshoot, dwindling fresh water, industrial pollution, relatively little oil of their own, and legitimacy of governance. They've become net food importers.

We look at them and their recent accomplishments in awe -- and they've come a long way from the point thirty years ago when most Chinese lived like it was the twelfth century. But they came to the industrial fiesta very late. They are making some rather dumb choices -- like, trying to get their whole new middle class in cars on freeways, putting up thousands of skyscrapers. Their banking system is possibly more corrupt and dysfunctional than ours -- since it's run by the state, with very poor accountability for lending. As a Baby Boomer, I well remember China's psychotic break of the 1960s, when the country went cuckoo under the elderly, ailing, paranoid Mao Tse-Tung -- which is to say, they're capable of flipping out on the grand scale under stress. They are reaching out these days in a resource grab using their accumulated foreign exchange reserves. At some future time -- say, if the global banking system implodes, and their forex reserves lose value -- I wonder if they will reach out militarily for resources, and how the world might react.

In any case, I take issue with the Tom Friedman notion that the world has become permanently flat. The world is going to get rounder and bigger again. We'll discover -- surprise! -- that the global economy was a set of transient economic relations that obtained only because of a half century of cheap energy and relative peace between the big nations. Ahead now, I think you'll see the big nations shrink back into their own corners of the world. I'm not saying we'll see no international trade, but it will be nothing like the  conveyer belt from China to WalMart that we've known the last few decades. And the prospects for conflict are very very high.



If you have not yet seen the other articles in this series, you can find them here: readers can submit their preferences for future Straight Talk participants, as well as questions to ask them, via the Straight Talk forum.




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Wed, 11/17/2010 - 18:23 | 735996 trav7777
trav7777's picture

well it would help if you guys could show even ONE real world example of TSHTF where being out in the country was better than the city.

Because, you know, like, people who've lived through these collapses in S. America prefer the city.

I mean, yeah, Madmax was a great movie; I loved the supercharged muscle cars and great hairdos and costumery as much as the next guy, but that was FICTION.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 19:01 | 736130 Citxmech
Citxmech's picture

How about Dresden in 1945?

Hey, I'm not saying anyplace is going to be a paradise as society grapples with resource shortages.  I also don't think there are any easy answers.  Do I want to live like the "mad trapper?" No.  Do I think any man/woman/family can be an island?  No. 

Right now I reside on a small "urban homestead" about 7 miles from the heart of the city.  We grow a suprising amount of our own food, and preserve our excess by canning and drying.  We have chickens, and collect rainwater.  Is it "enough?"  Probably not - but it's a start.  And I'm sure not going to just put on the TV and rely on "just in time delivery" and "new advances" to keep my family fed.  There are many degrees of "emergency" and we can keep comfortable with little to no input for 4-6 months right now.  I sleep better because of that.

If I can swing it, we'd like to get a small 5 acre place about 30-50 miles away at some point.  Will that be perfect?  Nope.  But the beauty of this all is that even if someone invents Mr. Fusion tomorrow - I'd still want to "retire" to my small farm, growing my own food, and raising animals.

I've lived in the country, the suburbs, and the city.  My choice is to be part of a small faming community.

btw - outside of a total SHTF event, I don't expect to have to defend against plauges of zombies...

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 22:56 | 736683 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture

Monterrey and Juarez, 2010?

Port Au Prince, Haiti?

New Orleans, La?

Buenos Aires, Argentina?

Sarjevo, Yugoslavia?

Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, London, Poland, and Moscow in WW2?

Even if the when the shit isn't hitting the fan, I prefer the country.  Green Acres is the life for me!


Thu, 11/18/2010 - 01:50 | 736912 Rotwang
Rotwang's picture

Well now. Too resource intensive to deploy a single tank to the country side.

Besides people really aren't that stupid. Too hang their bare biceps out on a low slung bike, when all it takes is a 5 gallon plastic can being crushed by the tracks, and a road flare.

Exactly how do you think tennis shoe soldiers are pinning down an official force along with contractors doubling their ranks?

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 15:08 | 734978 Fearless Rick
Fearless Rick's picture

"When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny."

Let's take Jefferson's idea and run with it. "When people despise the government... (fill in the blank)"

Here's my end line: "... the government sets out to destory them."

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:49 | 734371 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

I think his bias is from ignorance. I grew up in California, I have lived in Washington and other states. I reside in Kentucky. 

The people are smart, capable and know how to survive. They are good neighbors. Religious? Most, but I have never been harassed for my lack of it. 

I have grown to appreciate their humility, sense of humor and "backwardness". 

The author's dismissal of this culture merely emphasizes his intolerance. My neighbors are farmers, with little or no debt, that live simple lives. They work hard and care about their children and the neighbor's children. They understand charity is not a flashy organization- it is taking care of each other in the moment of need.

They are intelligent about the important things in THEIR lives. I have never lived anywhere with so many people that understand the dangers of the FED and governmental tyranny. 

Are there "Crackers"? Sure. Take me somewhere there isn't, cause I've never heard of it. 

The author lives in a house, with no land and some barrels of grains and a gun. Good Plan! Ever thought about water? Got a well? 

While some of his observations are reasonable, are they illuminating? You could read ZH for two weeks and figure this much out on your own. 



Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:56 | 734417 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

well said

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 13:14 | 734498 Whats that smell
Whats that smell's picture

I'm with you brother. Ky is where my bug out is. I think we will do Ok there. JHK does make some valid points but is off on some others. Me feels there is too much science in the PO arguement for it to be all bunk. I think the correct price for gasoline would be around $10/gal. ($5 fed Iraq/Afg war surcharge tax)

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 16:46 | 735471 Citxmech
Citxmech's picture

I was startled by JKs comments on that point too. 

Damn - I'm actually better prepped than he is!  Who woulda thunk...

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 16:49 | 735482 Citxmech
Citxmech's picture

[duplicate post deleted] 

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:11 | 734226 HarryWanger
HarryWanger's picture

Two clowns with the same old mantra. We have a ton more pressing issues than peak oil. I really don't understand the fascination with Martenson and Kunstler at ZH. They bring the credibility of all the other posts down.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:16 | 734252 Tortfeasor
Tortfeasor's picture

Here here

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:49 | 734369 Internet Tough Guy
Internet Tough Guy's picture

I think you bring your credibility down. It's hard to think of a more pressing issue than peak oil.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 13:16 | 734510 MsCreant
MsCreant's picture

If you don't believe in peak oil, but do believe in a contracting economy, much of what he has to say is worth paying attention to. 

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 13:05 | 734460 High Plains Drifter
High Plains Drifter's picture

Wow! Listen to you Harry?????

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 13:18 | 734515 MsCreant
MsCreant's picture

You do realize you are talking to someone who has named himself "Furry Penis," right? Just sayin,' may be time to just give it up.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:56 | 734928 the rookie cynic
the rookie cynic's picture

Name your issues.

If your talking about a 1-5 horizon, maybe Peak Oil isn't paramount.

Anything beyond 5 years, and you'd be foolish not to consider it.

Politicians don't worry about it because they don't care about anything but the next election cycle. I'm thinking you might be in the same boat.

My kids that are going to be alive in 2060. Who's got their back? 

No one.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 19:56 | 736267 saulysw
saulysw's picture

Well said. I fear for my children - either starving or being used as cannon fodder - some time in the future, but within their lifespans. I don't have a credible plan to protect them at the moment. I don't know if I can.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:12 | 734229 JackAz
JackAz's picture

As someone who lives in PHX and has invested a lot of hours thinking about what I will do when TSHTF, I think he makes some valid points. PHX exists only because of a/c and imported water. We have no walkable cities. We have the worst of suburbia combined with the worst of urban living. It's all terrific if we have plenty of cheap energy and a growing economy, but it suck Big Hairy Donkey Balls if we don't. I realize Peak Oil is controversial, and I am not sure what the truth is, but IMHO he nails it on the head when it comes to the problems of suburbia. I do think he is misguided vis-a-vis "Dixie"; the people of the south - in my experience - have a pretty solid understanding of what it means to be a neighbor, even if their theology is a little whacked out. Finally, it'd be nice to read informed criticisms of his opinions rather than mere ad hominem attacks.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:14 | 734240 bigking12345
bigking12345's picture

he's playing the full retard.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:15 | 734250 Watauga
Watauga's picture

Cannot disagree with his take on the future which is, unfortunately, somewhat bleak.  But only if we measure it by what are probably fairly false and soulless standards (the unbridled consumerism and materialism of the last 50 years).  Perhaps we will all be richer spiritually and in our connection with the natural world if we convert our society from one of urban blight and suburban sprawl into one of agrarian and urban success stories.  That will take one heck of an effort, but if peak oil and an economic and political collapse is forthcoming, then it will be a matter of choice, but, rather, a matter of necessity.

I am a bit surprised at such bizarre ravings as this: "One much-fretted-over outcome is authoritarian government in the USA. We can see the larval stage of that now with the tea baggers and the theocratic right-wing and a Republican Party that has made itself hostage to the John Birch Society -- but I maintain, as I wrote in The Long Emergency, that it's more likely the federal government will become impotent and ineffectual, and therefore unable to carry out a "corn-pone Nazi" program, even if such characters got a hold of the offices."  If I did not know better, I would have thought this was a Keith Olbermann or Ed Schultz mental breakdown (a common phenomenon).  Where has our author been the last 2 years?  While GWB helped carry on the disaster that is the federal government's statist takeover of power the Founders guaranteed in the Constitution to the States, he was merely a small cog in the Statist machine. 

The collapse of a great nation began with Father Abraham's invasion of the U.S.'s sovereign neighbors to the South (i.e., the Confederate States of America), and took on a one-world bent with TR and WW, only to turn into a imperial Leviathan under FDR.  Subseqent Presidents and Congresses and Supreme Courts and myriad agencies and bureaucrats only served to reinforce the Statist takeover--step-by-step.

This Statism culminated with Big Media's darling, messianic, celebrity President--BHObama.  In a mere two years he and his Congressional cronies have taken a disaster and turned it into a collapse.  Our nation, after GWB, may still have been salvageable.  Our nation, after 2 years of BHObama, is unrecognizable and irredeemable.  

And here's the thing.  NONE of this has to do with the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, corn-pones, and Christians.  It has to do with just the opposite--Statists and Corporatists of every political stripe.  It has to do with their  greed and their hatred of America's Middle Class and its Christian foundations.  For the Statists and the Corporatists to succeed in the ulimate goal of one-world totalitarianism, they have to destroy the United States and her Middle Class.  They are doing a darned fine job of it, and silly statements like our author's serve only to promote this agenda.

Again, I agree with most of the author's ideas.  He loses a heck of alot of credibility, however, when he rants and raves about the Tea Party and Christians, calls them names, and tries to paint them as some sort of rising Totalitarian regime.  Totalitarianism is the goal of the Statists, not working Americans, the latter wanting only to be left alone and given the freedom FROM government to make the most of liberty and private enterprise.   

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:37 | 734331 impending doom
impending doom's picture

Watauga county?

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:32 | 734837 Watauga
Watauga's picture

Watauga. . .

The historical Watauga Association was my intent when adopting the name.  The brief history can be viewed at Wikipedia:

Yes, I understand the limits and risks of Wikipedia, but for short summaries of many things, I have found it to be invaluable.

I am a Hoosier from way back who was displaced throughout youth in the land of the Buckeyes (but also the land of Tecumseh and Little Turtle and Blue Jacket, as well as "Mad" Anthony Wayne), only to wind up traveling around the world several times during 23 years in the Navy.  I settled in Virginia and, while I regret her present state of fattest child sucking on mother D.C. juiciest teat, I nevertheless hold out hope for any commonwealth whose motto is "Sic Semper Tyrannis."  JWB, as we know, shouted these very words after doing what he determined to be his patriotic duty in 1865. 

Like many Americans, I appreciate the sentiment more than the act.  The better course, especially in the 21st C, is to fight the best fight possible within the system until you simply cannot fight it any longer. 

I came across the Watauga Association a while back and admired the strenghth, courage, and boldness of these people.  It is that spirit that made America great once, and it is that spirit we must renew to make her great again.



Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:16 | 734254 arkady
arkady's picture

Am I the only one put off by his 'tea bagger' reference and the historically ignorant assertion that the movement to break down Federal control is somehow related to Nazism.  This is a tired old cliche of the Left and can only be found in the most intellectually dishonest enclaves of academia.   The idea that somehow returning spending and rights to the States is authoritarian smacks of so much ignorance it becomes difficult to accept anything this guy says.

Never heard of him before and not interested any further.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:41 | 734871 Watauga
Watauga's picture

No, arkady, you are not alone.  He clearly hates Christians and anti-Statists.  He certainly fails to understand the road to serfdom or, for that matter, Nazism and Marxism.  You are 100% correct about his either naive or malicious analysis of Americans who oppose "maximum government" rather than "limited government."  He appears to me to be an anti-Christian, anti-Southern, devotedly Statist man.  On the other hand, I am not as certain as many of the posters that his views on peak oil, urbanization, and so forth are incorrect.  Indeed, I think we may be nearing peak oil, which will have a huge impact on all societies.  I also believe we are in for a serious social upheavel due to population growth, scarcity of resources, and the breakdown of political and social order.  The recipe in such cases is always more government to restore security.  The recipe in the case of the U.S. MUST BE much less government, and it MUST START now.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:50 | 734900 Phaethon
Phaethon's picture

Just enjoy his little tirade for what it is:  the rantings of a crotchety old Jewish liberal who didn't get his way.  When you view it that way, it's actually sort of funny.  Bonus points to him for managing to reference Nazis, zombies, idiotic Southern "crackers" and Sarah Palin.  Somehow all tied in to peak oil.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:17 | 734257 RobotTrader
RobotTrader's picture

Believe it or not, the 3000 mile salad, retail strip malls, and suburban sprawl is still flourishing.

With no Peak Oil in sight.

XRT remains pinned at 4-year highs, totally unaffected by Greece, Ireland, commodity prices, world record housing busts, and chronic unemployment.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:26 | 734290 HarryWanger
HarryWanger's picture

If it's this good now, just wait until employment turns slightly better and housing starts gain. Then we'll see an explosion to the upside. It's coming, just down the road a bit.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:30 | 734296 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture


Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:33 | 734317 GoinFawr
GoinFawr's picture

"...down the road a bit..."

around the bend, over the hill, on the flipside, after we turn the corner, when the cows come home, and when we all get to that pie in the sky.

Thank GHOD,ALLAH and JEHOVAH for abiotic oil!


Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:53 | 734404 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture


Wed, 11/17/2010 - 13:06 | 734467 High Plains Drifter
High Plains Drifter's picture

Sounds like a great time to buy some Chinese solar stocks. Have at it pal.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:22 | 734785 Thoreau
Thoreau's picture

"The Road," you mean?

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:42 | 734880 Watauga
Watauga's picture

Now THAT is a frightening image.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 17:48 | 735834 Citxmech
Citxmech's picture

At which point energy consumption will kick back up, the POO will go ballistic again taking the legs right out from under the "recovery."  Repeat as necessary until the system can't get back up...  [no "LifeAlert" for this fall either] 

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:25 | 734279 tamboo
tamboo's picture

hey you can make fuel from sea water, when will that peak?

primitive shit compared to free energy from the vacuum but cant have folks gettin stuff for free eh?

looks like all enclaves of academia are dishonest.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:25 | 734283 pazmaker
pazmaker's picture

Not much to learn from a man who still hasn't gotten away from "it's all the right wingers fault!"  When you disparage a whole group of people(christians) and a culture(dixieland) that tells me you have an agenda that doesn't include truth seeking.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:48 | 734891 Bob
Bob's picture

Such intolerance, and the ignorance it necesarily requires, indicates that he lives in an echo chamber.  And likes it that way. 

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:25 | 734284 RobotTrader
RobotTrader's picture

Speaking of Peak Oil....

Jim Puplava must be scratching his head, totally stumped.

Gas prices in San Diego have been flatlined for nearly 2 1/2 years after he predicted gas lines, global shortages, rapidly declining production, yada, yada, yada.

And prices remain flat despite:

- Booming emerging markets

- World record car sales in international markets

- Resurgence in pickup truck sales at GM and Ford

- Offshore drilling bans

- A 50% rise in the S & P 500 via POMO's and unlimited monetizations.

Peak Oil isn't here yet.  Maybe in another 10 years.

No wonder consumer discretionary is by far the strongest sector right now.


Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:45 | 734350 HarryWanger
HarryWanger's picture

Been hearing a lot of doomers talk about how the "high price" of gas would hurt the holiday shopping season. I'm seeing the same as you, flatlining gasoline prices. Has to be north of 5 bucks/gallon to start having any impact.

Seriously people, if nearly 10% unemployment isn't stopping people from buying iGadgets and Coach bags, you really think gas at 4 or 5 bucks a gallon will? How naive.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:53 | 734397 Internet Tough Guy
Internet Tough Guy's picture

Flat at $3 per gallon in a period of high unemployment; clearly this is a victory for the bulls, heh. As for peak oil not being here yet, production in every country which reports actually production and reserves continues to fall. Peak oil isn't defined by daily price fluctuations, it's geology.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 13:13 | 734494 MsCreant
MsCreant's picture

Robo is not stupid, yet stuns me with these cherry picked snapshots presented, as if they represent the macro picture. I don't want to believe it is just trolling. 

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 13:30 | 734578 HarryWanger
HarryWanger's picture

You're correct, he's one of the smartest posters here. This "cherry picked snapshot", as you call it, is hugely macro. Look, if people are spending money (and please don't try to argue this as we've just seen excellent Retail Sales and earnings from retailers) with gasoline prices remaining steady and unemployment high, that tells us something. Tells me that the vast majority of doomers here and in the media are and were dead wrong about higher oil prices putting pressure on the consumer. 

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:14 | 734745 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

Why stop there? I mean higher oil prices won't put pressure on anything right? It's not like it's a fundamental component in our economy, right?  

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:59 | 734432 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

If anyone can confirm my observations, please do so. I have seen gas prices change based on what the market will bear in states where gas has traditionally been cheaper (Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Texas) with overall prices rising. In states like New Mexico, Arizona and California, the prices have not gone nearly as high as I would have expected. 

It seems like the distributors are "sharing the load", so to speak. 

There used to be a 40 to 80 cent difference per gallon from Kentucky to California. In the last year it has stayed at 40 cents and occasionally 20 cents. 


Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:05 | 734681 steve from virginia
steve from virginia's picture

Higher oil prices are putting pressure on business and employment. This has been ongoing since 2004.

Pressure on business has trickled up to banks. Since the beginning of last year almost 300 have failed. The large money center banks are skating on thin ice held aloft by cheap credit forwarded by YOU.

Pressure on business has been relentless, squeezing margins. Input prices for raw materials are effected by rising energy prices. Don't look now but most of the OECD is bankrupt. Why? Misinvestment in automobiles and other waste- enabling goods. There aren't many 'investments' as these cost more in energy than they can return.

Hence the rise in finance as a large economic sector, BTW. It exists to usurp the tax power of governments and substitute interest payments. Returnable investments would not allow finance to grow to the degree that it has.

China, India and other so- called developing countries are following the same waste- based economic model of the US: automobiles, high- rises, freeways and credit excess. China has a massively expanding property bubble fueled by cheap F/X gains and capital flows. Ditto with other developing countries. Robo and others confuse credit flows via carry trades as organic, top- line growth as measured by stock prices. The same Robo complains about bailouts, credit expansion and Fed manipulation of market prices! Good grief!

In the real world, there is very little top line growth and what remains is shrinking fast. Credit overhang is a problem but secondary to oil and water/agriculture are primary. They cannot be substituted for, either.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:01 | 734683 steve from virginia
steve from virginia's picture


Wed, 11/17/2010 - 13:08 | 734480 High Plains Drifter
High Plains Drifter's picture

Gee, Robo, you read Puplava ???? I am soooooo shocked.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:32 | 734307 bigdumbnugly
bigdumbnugly's picture

i can admit defeat.  i will now consider turning my screen name over to kunstler and embark upon seeking out another.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 13:08 | 734476 MsCreant
MsCreant's picture

I don't think Kunstler is all that big.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 13:22 | 734536 bigdumbnugly
bigdumbnugly's picture

yeah, maybe not.  but two out of three ain't bad.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:37 | 734328 kragsquest
kragsquest's picture

Kunstler does not strike me as a competant thinker, when he has to resort frequently to four letter words.  He is not pro-growth, I heard him at an organic farming meeting once, and found him to be another self-promoter.  The young are hungry for real political solutions and healthy growth.  Bill McKibben is a better writer and instructor if you care for environmentalism. 

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:46 | 734356 HarryWanger
HarryWanger's picture

Ditto Martenson. Self promoting "buy my latest" hack.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:41 | 734869 Thoreau
Thoreau's picture

Kunstler is pro-sustainability. He understands entropy; which no organism, organization, nation or system is immune to. All growth is ultimately unsustainable - save for imagination, and maybe the universe itself.

But it's all gravy, baby! And gravity.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 16:38 | 735424 MaldelBot
MaldelBot's picture

"The young are hungry for real political solutions and healthy growth."

No they're not. The young have been turned into an empty consumer class. Instead of protesting they are too busy feeling smug about pithy slogans on t-shirts...congratulating themselves on how clever they are.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:37 | 734330 RobotTrader
RobotTrader's picture

Alternative energy is dead.

Because we are already swimming in oil and natural gas.

Solar stocks are getting totally decimated.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:25 | 734610 Whats that smell
Whats that smell's picture

We will be swimming in it when one half the Chinamen get a moped?

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:35 | 734851 Japhy Ryder
Japhy Ryder's picture

Your statements have made you a useless contributor.


Wed, 11/17/2010 - 16:04 | 735249 Glasgow Gary
Glasgow Gary's picture

"Because we are already swimming in oil and natural gas."

Global oil production has been flat for six years. In fact, the correlation between oil production and oil prices has broken down. Sometimes higher prices bring on more supply. More often now, however, is that higher prices don't bring on more supply. (And yes, lower prices have not suppressed supply as much either). 

It's always preferable to be fact based, rather than philosophy based, when it comes to comes to stuff like energy, debt, and finance, don't you think?

"We are swimming in oil and gas" is not unlike "we've got plenty of money to pay off our debts."



Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:39 | 734335 VyseLegendaire
VyseLegendaire's picture

I've always enjoyed Kunstler's commentary on poor urban planning, but he has fallen off the wagon lately when talking about politics.  He borrows half-baked statist propaganda from guys like Chris Hedges, and passes it off as an understanding of power and philosophy.  

I do think he has credibility on the energy issues though.  

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 16:42 | 735444 MaldelBot
MaldelBot's picture

I liked him too, but he just couldn't help it eh....the little side jabs at the stupid cracker goyim.

Even when our precious elites mean well, they just can't help themselves.

"Why did you sting me? Now we shall both perish."

"I am a scorpion. It is what I do."

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:45 | 734353 jesusonline
jesusonline's picture

This board is full of desperate people. Lighten up! Yes, the world is not running out of cheap resources and there's no global rush for stuff. Why, it's all infinite and after all we'll just jump right onto some brand new smart green tech. Yes, it's all about the fiat money and ONLY about that. Oh, yes, it feels better now. Now go back to your CNBC's and Bloomberg's, they'll sell you a lot more of that abundance. It will make you even more happy than you are now, scalping the sweat off Bernanke's printed riches. 

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 13:01 | 734438 TeamAmerica
TeamAmerica's picture

GOD will provide.   There will never be a shortage of anything.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:46 | 734888 Watauga
Watauga's picture

At the risk of appearing thick, I would like to ask you respectfully to please explain what this comment means--thank you.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 17:45 | 735816 TeamAmerica
TeamAmerica's picture

Sarcasm is “a sharp, bitter, or cutting expression or remark; a bitter jibe or taunt.” 

Thu, 11/18/2010 - 11:42 | 737723 Watauga
Watauga's picture

To define "sarcasm" does not answer the question.  What did YOU MEAN by it?  Nearly any attempt at sarcasm, no matter how effective, can be interpreted in several different ways.  This is why sarcasm should never be used to try state clearly what one wishes to say.  Usually, the resort to sarcasm is the result of the inability to thoughtfully analyze a problem and articulate a cogent argument.  Which is precisely what appears to have happened here.  But then again, I can be thick at times.

Thu, 11/18/2010 - 13:49 | 738151 TeamAmerica
TeamAmerica's picture

Ok, I'm convinced; you can indeed be pretty thick.

A sarcastic remark generally means the opposite of the literal text.  To wit: I meant that God will NOT provide, and we can expect shortages, extinctions, and disasters in all forms imaginable.   The world is finite and there are limits.   There is no metaphysical exemption to the fact that when you eat your cake you no longer have it.

Clear enough?

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:48 | 734365 TeamAmerica
TeamAmerica's picture

Peak oil deniers on ZH?   I'm shocked...NOT.

Here's a clue: think in terms of rate, not volume.  As oil fields deplete the rate of production falls dramatically.   There can be an enormous volume of petroleum left, but the amount of drilling you need to maintain the rate of production makes the net energy return uneconomic.  

If you doubt this, be aware that worldwide oil production peaked in 2005 and has declined ever since despite high prices and record numbers of rigs at work.   Ignore hysteria and research the facts for yourself.   If you have a brain you'll have no problem figuring out where to invest your money for the long haul.




Wed, 11/17/2010 - 13:40 | 734620 trav7777
trav7777's picture

Look, I have cited the 2005/06(IEA) peak in C&C production many times and it cannot DENT the stupidity of those who believe oil production will rise exponentially forever.

May as well just be abusive.  A $147/bbl oil price did not increase production in 2007; the 2005 peak still stands.

Sure we have higher nominal flow rates from nonconventionals and other sources which produce substantially LESS NET OIL than C&C.

Most people don't have a fucking clue what bitumen is or how much NG they have to burn to process it.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 13:57 | 734677 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

Trav, I'm sure you're right as rain, but the problem here is one of believability. One, you cite the IEA for a source. Please use another, unbiased source, I'm sure they exist. Two, the oil cartel has been known to "keep making sex with me!" in the past and may be controlling the information and product flows? Three, the peak oil calls have been made for years without derailing consumption or creating large shortages- this may just be a story of the boy screaming wolf, but it does not enhance the peak oil argument.

Is any commodity infinite? Of course not. However, the argument has been made and never refuted, that as a commodity becomes scarcer- new sources of supply always emerge. Perhaps at higher prices or through better technology, but they always emerge.

You are smart enough to persuade without insults. Scary smart. Now, be scary helpful.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:17 | 734759 SwapThis
SwapThis's picture


Wed, 11/17/2010 - 23:00 | 736691 Herd Redirectio...
Herd Redirection Committee's picture

Exactly.  Yes, society has some big problems it is facing, but we have to realize we have had misallocation of capital on a massive scale for the better part of the last 30 years.  Once humanity commits sufficient resources to developing solutions we will be surprised at what progress is made.

As it stands now the oil industry has been suppressing the development of new technologies, it is time to admit atleast that much.     Just like Big Pharma doesn't want to cure you (continuous treatment is much more profitable), Big Oil don't want to cure you of your oil dependency.

Exposing the Oligarchy one Psycho at a time.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:33 | 734842 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

"the peak oil calls have been made for years without derailing consumption"

that only increases the problem

"as a commodity becomes scarcer- new sources of supply always emerge. Perhaps at higher prices or through better technology, but they always emerge"

what's the price? what's the price of the technology, or water, or extra energy? and at what point does that cost exceed the return? Oil is not your everyday commodity.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:35 | 734853 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

(agree with your insult comments)

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 15:14 | 735005 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

Yesterday, there was a letter sent to Congress from over 100 "influencial" financiers (bankers, hedgefund managers, pension fund managers) calling for action by congress on carbon legislation or the economy will crater.

These are not people out for the little guy. It makes me immediately suspicious, especially as the last go round merely wanted to establish a trading platform for carbon credits- without doing anything to address the carbon issue.

This is what causes people to question the actions of government, to distrust the bankers and even scientists- as they have now shown themselves to willingly distort information to get their way. 

The discussion on energy consumption and creation are essential and yet we lack any honest forum to have an intelligent discussion. 

As for what price? the price at which people will buy and sellers can make a profit. When it becomes too expensive, it will disappear and be replaced by a new resource. Just as rare earths are climbing and new sources are being discovered. 

What we need are facts we can trust. From people who do not lie and distort to further their objectives. I'm not sure what will appear first: peak oil or honest statistics. (I'm betting peak oil).

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:44 | 734884 Thoreau
Thoreau's picture

The sheeple won't "baaahhh" until two hooves are over the ledge. Our society has the foresight of a rear-view mirror.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 16:47 | 735480 trav7777
trav7777's picture


You know the IEA had forecast a peak in like 2025 for the past bazillion years?  I mean, just for them to even admit this and change their forecast at all was a huge deal.

You want other sources?  Gosh, there are only like a dozen of them, most of them forecast peaks and are cited in the Hirsch Report, which you can google for.

Or you can try TOD as they have reference to most of those plus others which are more recent.

As for shortages, what do you think the runup in 2007 was?  C&C peaked in 2005, the reason price kept going up was because we were consuming inventories.  Demand was greater than production for that period.  After the 2008 crash, the US cut consumption by around 10%, which provided the slack capacity necessary to drive down prices.

To refute your "economist" thesis about scarcity leading to alternatives, let me lock you in a cage till you start to starve and let's see if a sandwich manifests itself.  In case this went over your head, demand does not CREATE supply all by itself.

As for "new sources," this is patently false.  No new sources have been known to magically appear once a commodity becomes scarcer.  Perhaps alternatives might be employed, but in some cases, there just aren't any. 

Helium peaked in 2002...where are the magic alternatives?  Where is the new supply of gold, whose production peaked in 2000?

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 16:49 | 735499 trav7777
trav7777's picture


You know the IEA had forecast a peak in like 2025 for the past bazillion years?  I mean, just for them to even admit this and change their forecast at all was a huge deal.

You want other sources?  Gosh, there are only like a dozen of them, most of them forecast peaks and are cited in the Hirsch Report, which you can google for.

Or you can try TOD as they have reference to most of those plus others which are more recent.

As for shortages, what do you think the runup in 2007 was?  C&C peaked in 2005, the reason price kept going up was because we were consuming inventories.  Demand was greater than production for that period.  After the 2008 crash, the US cut consumption by around 10%, which provided the slack capacity necessary to drive down prices.

To refute your "economist" thesis about scarcity leading to alternatives, let me lock you in a cage till you start to starve and let's see if a sandwich manifests itself.  In case this went over your head, demand does not CREATE supply all by itself.

As for "new sources," this is patently false.  No new sources have been known to magically appear once a commodity becomes scarcer.  Perhaps alternatives might be employed, but in some cases, there just aren't any. 

Helium peaked in 2002...where are the magic alternatives?  Where is the new supply of gold, whose production peaked in 2000?

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 18:03 | 735905 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

Now, that is so much more helpful. As for demand create supply, it does create the incentive and that incentive has continued to find new sources, recycled sources and replacements. 

Consequently, we are not "out" of any commodity. The new supply of gold, if you read the from the World Gold council report above, is in China, The US and Australia. 

Will oil exhaust itself? As the main energy source on this planet- absolutely. Care to hazard a guess? Me either. 

For me, the problem lies in projections that assume use patterns based on past experience. The future is unknowable. For people to ignore field expertise is rat bastard stupid. Still, all projections I have ever seen are based on models and models can be inaccurate- e.g. climate models of the 80's and 90's. 

I really enjoy your comments. You have a lot to say. 

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 18:33 | 736042 trav7777
trav7777's picture

Dude, peak does not mean OUT, ok?

It's very critical that you understand what Peak is.  It is merely the maximum sustained rate of production for any well, field, country, or the globe.  I explained this to tmosely last time on the last peak oil topic, in gory detail.

NEW supply of gold?  WHAT? listening?  Gold production PEAKED in 2001.  Every year after that, gold production has fallen.  Now, it made a run at the 2001 peak in 09, but it remains to be seen if that was merely a blip.  At some point, ALL RESOURCE production INEVITABLY peaks, even water, despite the fact that water is indestructible!

SO what if there is new supply...production continues to fall!  The "new" supply merely MITIGATES the production decline.

As for this patterns based on past experience...sheesh, man.  I've dropped a hammer from my hand and 100% of the time it has fallen toward the earth.  Hubbert's US Peak forecast was based upon his PAST experiences at other wells and fitting their production curves to the US as a whole.

The future is NOT unknowable...just because YOU do not understand how someone can know something does not mean that such a thing is not possible to be known.  This is the Downing Effect.

Hubbert CALLED US peak oil 20 years prior to its occurrence.  Pretty freakin good, huh?  This is not climate modeling, ok?  Peak "theory" is actual hard science. 

The problem is that engineers and geologists and oilmen KNOW about peak...they have for 50 years.  It's fact.  The general public does NOT know about it and assume that if it were real they'd have heard of it, because gosh it sounds serious.  Again, this is a mistaken assumption.  I've had very intelligent friends who didn't accept peak until I had to explain it a dozen times to them and they could find absolutely no basis for dispute.

It is apodictic that ANY resource, even an infinite one, will find a production peak. 

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 23:26 | 736735 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture


I understand what peak means. I don't question that we are running out of oil as it is presently produced. This is obvious. The time it will take to use current supplies to the point it impacts the ability to consume is the question. You sound like it is around the corner, though you may not feel this way, it could be 100 years in the future. You don't know- and no one else does either.

As for knowing the future, if any one could know the future, than why are we where we are today? Anyone who thinks they can predict the future is seriously mentally compromised. You can project, make probability suggestions, but you cannot be correct 100% of the time- 90%-70%-50% of the time. 

This allows plenty of room for chaos and chaos creates new pathways. However, I'll give you your chance: predict the date the US must ration gasoline because of inadequate oil supplies. 

As for commodities- how about agricultural production rates over the last 80 years. Whether you want to eat it or not- technology has allowed for dramatic increases in commodity yields. 

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 19:22 | 736180 TeamAmerica
TeamAmerica's picture

I'm not sure you can be satisfied as to an "unbiased" source, but how about the US Department of Defense?   These guys consume vast amounts of petroleum-based fuels and have every reason to take a good hard look at the they did:

A tidbit from the above:  "By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 MBD."

The Germans made a study of their own and came to similar dire conclusions:,1518,715138,00.html


Thu, 11/18/2010 - 17:42 | 739115 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

true, true. We are right at the point of crisis. No big deal

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:23 | 734791 Slewburger
Slewburger's picture

Maybe I've got my head in a hole, or down a hole.

Lets not forget peak oil is a theory. Much like the Von Mises (stress) or the theory of relativity.

Currently down hole completion tools sacrifice flow control (depletion rate as you call it) for a removable amount of oil (volume) from the formation. As completion tool technology advances, more oil (not in terms of rate) can be removed from the formation. 70% removal would have toolmakers and shareholders drooling.

I'm tired of people banging the peak drum. Is oil expensive? Is the dollar a piece of shit? Are full tankers sitting waiting on the price to go up?

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 17:02 | 735588 Citxmech
Citxmech's picture

FYI a "hypothesis" is an postulate that is scientificlly based and presented in a testable/falsifyable format.

A "theory" is a generally accepted postulate that has withstood scientific rigor for some substantial amount of time. 

When theories are overturned, it is generally revolutionary or paradgm-shifting.  When hypotheses are disproven the state of the art only advances slightly, if at all.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 15:01 | 734952 euryale
euryale's picture

exactly - peak was 2005 - we have been plateaued since.

there is also the issue of why production did not increase summer 2008, if we are so awash in oil - it is because spare capcity was scant and getting scanter.

the recession saved us - declines in demand have kept us plateaued. get the globe back to growth and supply constraints would cause another price spike and another recession.

there is also strongly growing demand among the exporters. It is small, on a global scale, but I personally wonder if this will be the straw that breaks the camels back.

the old EROEI is a good tool for assesing the usefulness of a potential energy source, and comparing it to historical EROEI. it is taking progressively more energy to get out a unit of oil - at some point we encounter diminishing returns... Everything from tar sands to photovoltaic (not to mention ethanol) have awful EROEI. Our practial alternatives are not plentiful. Nuke is the only one that has anything like historical EROEI, and it has it's own issues...

there is also the issue of the time and capital required to rollout alternatives.

Kunstler is correct on gas fracking - AND the fields play out much more quickly than expected - this fad has been funded by investors and, quite frankly, a blind eye to environmental degradation.

I am sorry to addemdum your post so flagrantly, TA, but I was thinking everything you wrote as I read the comments section here.

As a person who works in the oil and gas, I see what I see and I stay informed for my own good. If any of you really think peak oil is bunk, that is your choice, but I encourage you to do your homework on this topic.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:52 | 734384 jmc8888
jmc8888's picture

Again this guy, like chris Martenson is completely dependant on the MONETARY SYSTEM.

They always approach all their shit, as if the MONETARY SYSTEM was the only thing we could ever be in, and thus the only way we apply our work.

We 'dont' have capital.





Fusion program, check

Space Program, check

NAWAPA, check


Amount of capital that comes from any bank, especially the Inter Alpha Group?  0

Amount uttered from the Gov't - 100 percent


That's what these assholes keep pointing too.  They come up with conclusions based on the MONETARY SYSTEM.


Let's get something straight, the conclusion, will not be under a monetary system, thus any conclusion with such allowances built in, or in these dumbasses case, the only thing considered, renders their points moot in many, many cases.


We can use human ingenuity to get ourselves out of a supply crunch.  But not under a BRITISH corporate fascist debt based monetary system.

Also regular rail is for tards, it's MAG LEV, it's MAG LEV FROM the tip of South America to Paris or Johannesburg (sp). 

If you think that's impossible, congratulations, you are a dumbass.

The only way out longterm is FUSION


Nuclear until Fusion

Just think how much Oil you save by not powering our electricity with fossil fuels?  Do that around the world, and the nuclear plants will have cut our dependence on oil greatly, ensuring years/decades more supply.

But you have to BUILD 10,000 reactors just in the U.S. 

You need to change the amitorization laws in the U.S. to make it profitable to build them.  Once you do, 1.5 cents kw/h -3 cents kw/h

Nuclear Breeder plants, others working Thorium plants.  There is a way out, but we have to actually do it.

These other guys want you to think really deep, so you do, so why shouldn't they?  They ask you to believe all this stuff is possible, all this stuff is probable, but never take on the biggest point of them all. MONETARISM.  It's like they built the Sears Tower on quicksand of monetarism. 

Once they actually start talking about getting away from MONETARISM, and thus freeing up credit to build what we need, and using these points in their guidelines, perhaps their work would be worth more than the almost nothing it's worth now. Their work is USELESS if they don't use their head for the obvious solution.  END MONETARISM, so the things you say can save us, can be funded.  What's so hard with that shit.  Why do they have to say, oh but we can't do that.

Idiots. Our engery consumption, is that based on a MONETARY system.  Perhaps they should figure that little point out.  Focus on it more.  Flesh it out.  Maybe then they can actually say something useful.  Rather than pointing that the end of the world is coming, and you can't do anything about it.


YOU CAN.  These guys are just too stupid to figure it out.


Wed, 11/17/2010 - 13:16 | 734508 TeamAmerica
TeamAmerica's picture

"Utter" credit?   Perhaps you meant "udder"...would make your rant a little funnier.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 13:45 | 734635 trav7777
trav7777's picture




Those goddamned scientists and their stupid "physics"!!!!11  What matters is the power of IMAGINATION.  I can imagine pumping water uphill and getting MORE energy through its flowing back downhill than the energy I expended!!!!  I can IMAGINE perpetual motion and antigravity.

So don't TELL ME about physics and maths and all this bullshit.  The HUMAN ELEMENT is the most critical.  WE are #1 at bestness.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 15:42 | 735139 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture

Won't my Chevy Volt run on fusion, and doesn't the Ford Fusion do so already?

Thu, 11/18/2010 - 06:31 | 736844 chindit13
chindit13's picture

Congress already runs on Con-fusion, and all of Chinese society is based on Con-fucius.  No wonder they are growing so quickly!

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 17:27 | 735726 Citxmech
Citxmech's picture

I recently witnessed a conversation between an otherwise intelligent friend of mine [BA,JD] and my molecular biologist wife [BA,MS,MS,PhD] where my friend went on an extended soliloquy explaining how scientists will soon be able to do all kinds of fantastic stuff like reversing aging, create a sustainable utopia, etc. etc.  And she's sitting there trying to explain to him why most of what he was saying was pure fantasy - and the guy just wouldn't listen.  Eventually she tells him that he should work on the these projects as it sounds like he's got it all figured out.  At which point he throws the ball back in her court saying that people like her are the ones who have to figure out the details. 

It was like he was saying that scientists are all idiot-savants with no creativity or any idea what they can actually accomplish without the "artists" to tell them what they can accomplish.

Nothing like being condescended to regarding your area of expertise by someone with no experience...

Trust that the future will "always be brighter" at your own peril.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 18:38 | 736059 trav7777
trav7777's picture

and after witnessing this and what passes for discourse around here, could you or anyone else question why I am so frequently abusive?

You should have - seriously - stepped into the conversation, looked him dead in the eye and said, "you are an idiot."

If he continued, have Downing Effect ready on your smartphone via wiki and read it to him.  This is really what is in play; he believes, erroneously, that he is way smarter than he actually is.  I see this a LOT.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 19:06 | 736142 Citxmech
Citxmech's picture

Oh believe me Trav - I understand where you are coming from intimately.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:25 | 734802 Rotwang
Rotwang's picture

Electricity isn't generated from petroleum in any meaningful quantity.


Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:54 | 734409 RobotTrader
RobotTrader's picture

Outright collapse in crude oil continues today.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 13:04 | 734455 HarryWanger
HarryWanger's picture

But I thought they all said we were going to $100/barrel and it would crush the consumer. Wrong.

Oil coming down serves as another catalysts for consumption. More money in the consumers pockets. You can't argue with the excellent results we're seeing at the consumer level. You can't argue Retail Sales being up. You can't argue Apple selling expensive phones and iGadgets as fast as they make them.

Lower gas prices leads to more consumption which leads to increase demand which leads to increase manufacturing with leads to increase in employment. Econ 101.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 13:23 | 734544 Tortfeasor
Tortfeasor's picture

Actually I CAN argue Retail Sales.  Same store sales are only calculated in areas where there are still stores around from last year.  Does not take into account new bankrupt chains, shuttered stores, etc.

Retail sales is a fool's metric.  As for everything else, it's easier to buy a phone when you don't pay your mortgage.  When the real inventories of homes sustains a level below 6 months of inventory, then I'll buy into your recovery thesis.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 13:32 | 734589 HarryWanger
HarryWanger's picture

Retail earnings, top and bottom lines all improving as we're seeing right now with earnings reports. Those reports validate the Retail Sales number.

The theory that people are not paying their mortgages and buying shit has been shot down numerous times. It's simply not true. 

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 13:48 | 734644 trav7777
trav7777's picture

Retard, how do you reconcile this with the abysmal employment numbers?  I mean like 15% of the country is on fucking food stamps.  Sales tax receipts are down across the board and California's municipal bonds are crashing faster than oil.

CSCO's numbers shit on your thesis.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:03 | 734699 HarryWanger
HarryWanger's picture

Last I looked, CSCO is not exactly a "consumer" discretionary stock. I don't need to reconcile anything regarding sales and employment, the retailers are doing that on their own with excellent numbers. 

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 15:46 | 735153 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture

Harry is Jack's (and thus Tyler's) inflamed sense of red, white, and bullishness.


Man, this thread has it all!

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 19:34 | 736203 goldsaver
goldsaver's picture

Fuzzy Penis, quick question. Are the retail numbers based on inflated dollars or total number of sales?

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:52 | 734911 Watauga
Watauga's picture

Agree. . .  which leads to overconsumption and fierce competition for the limited resources which drives the price of those resources up. . .  which leads to the price of those resources going down. . .    AND SO ON. 

But the larger question, which appears to be about as settled as "global warming" or, in its new, less obviously inaccurate name, "climate change," is whether we have reached peak oil and if the larger, long-term supply which drives the cycle upon which we agree is rapidly diminishing to the point of zero (theoretical).  If so, the glorious cycle you describe on the micro level is caput.  If not, then that cycle can continue ad infinitum, and we can all continue on our merry way.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 13:06 | 734462 TeamAmerica
TeamAmerica's picture

The inflation-adjusted average cost of a barrel of oil since 1950 is about $30.    Even the dips on your chart are double that.   Hard to explain given the moribund world economy...unless supply is constrained.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:19 | 734749 steve from virginia
steve from virginia's picture

Crude is in a long- term bear market:

Keep in mind, low prices are 'bad'. They mean the customer for crude oil is broke and cannot afford to pay a higher price.



Wed, 11/17/2010 - 12:57 | 734421 keating
keating's picture

I didn't see much in this article of use.


1. Shale gas is about as much as two Saudi Arabia's of energy.

2. Coal to diesel technology is coming along.

3. As the price of Middle East oil rises, alternate fuels, including local solar, become marketable, and don't send money overseas.

4. Cars, even internal combusiton engine cars are going to be available in very efficient models, and cheap.

5. The reason people like suburbs is safety. Our suburb has 1/60 the crime of a city slum less than 30 miles away. And the schools are better. The state tests hre are failed by a small number of poor students. In that same slum, most kids fail, and many drop out. That is why, for the most part, suburban house values will rebound. It is a much better life.

6. Most companies are adapting well to a higher energy society. If it is financially worth it, most companies will work to lower utility bills.

In short, peak oil is simply the process of oil rising in price, and alternates that are now uneconomical become reasonable alternatives. The other shortages, water and food, may be tougher, but expect to see a continuation in the massive increase of reservoirs for water, as well as passive desalinization.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:30 | 734822 Johnny Moscow
Johnny Moscow's picture

Right on re the suburbs - safety and good school are the biggest reasons we live there, along with overall larger home/yard sizes. Still, we give away a lot in terms of convenience and quality of life living in McMansions - it takes a lot of time to drive all over the place, usually in traffic, to get the things you need. It's also incredibly boring and isolating in many ways, with little in terms of benefits from socializing with neighbors and those living around you.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 13:05 | 734461 MsCreant
MsCreant's picture

I have hung out over at Kunstler's blog. Not so much now. Many of us have left messages on his board telling him that the party shit, the elitist shit, and the anti-south shit is hateful and works against his argument (he also rants against people with tattoos and hip hop culture). He embodies the real problem of why we can't get any kind of dialog going about scaling down our lifestyles: He is trapped by his need to create an us and a them. It is an interesting perspective preaching sustainability and hatred in the same breath. And he wonders why no one will listen. 


Wed, 11/17/2010 - 13:24 | 734497 Blindweb
Blindweb's picture


John Michael Greers has a much more civil discussion over on his peak oil blog:


Also Kunstler has very little new to say on his blog.  Every entry is about him driving all over the place, and repeating the same info that's in his book.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:36 | 734843 Whats that smell
Whats that smell's picture

He has not spent any time in the south, but the observation about the tatooed, barbarian youths is spot on. I read the other day a woman had a teen girl that did not know how to use a can opener.

They act and dress like psyhco bikers but want to be treated like a sunday school class.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 13:06 | 734469 hettygreen
hettygreen's picture

I still enjoy reading JHK on some topics however when he gets on the peak oil (and dire consequences) bandwagon the contrarian in me takes notice. I saw him speak in the summer of 2008 when everywhere the news was $200+ barrel oil. This was almost precisely the moment oil prices began their epic tumble.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 13:37 | 734603 steve from virginia
steve from virginia's picture

The Bundeswehr study suggest non- linear economic events leading to collapse.

Section 3.2 is entitled, “Systemic risks of exceeding a Tipping Point” (p. 47-50). Here the authors warn against “a false assumption [that] a phase of slow reduction in the amount of oil leads to an equally slow reduction in economic capacity” (p. 47). Instead, they warn that a rapid chain reaction of downward trends could be set in motion: a loss of confidence in the market, recession, increasing unemployment, rising food prices, and extreme pressure on government budgets. Many of these conditions are self-reinforcing, so there is the potential for a tipping point to be reached, leading to a medium-term scenario whereby “the global economic system and every market-based economy collapses” (p. 49, in bold). The authors then offer further theoretically possible consequences: crashing financial markets, a loss of confidence in currencies, mass unemployment, the collapse of critical infrastructure, and famine.

This paragraph is worthy of particular consideration:

The above-mentioned chain of events shows clearly that the energy supply of the economic cycle must be assured. The energy supply must be sufficient to allow positive economic growth. A shrinking economy over an indeterminate period presents a highly unstable situation which inevitably leads to system collapse. The risks to security posed by such a development cannot even be estimated (p. 50, emphasis added).

Ongoing macro- economic difficulties suggest that peak oil has taken place already which aligns with fuel price rises of 600% since 1998.

Bankruptcy, anyone?

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 20:02 | 736286 Citxmech
Citxmech's picture

The Spice must flow...

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 13:38 | 734612 Milestones
Milestones's picture

Wow! Can't remember when I have seen a cast of commentators like this collection in a ZH article since I don't know when. All I can say to you shale oil/ gas frackers is that you apparently think having transportation fuel is more important than food and safe drinking water.

Oil Shale extraction in the Wyo-Utah-Colo. shale area will take up most of the water allocation that raises nearly 50% of this nations produce 6 months of the year from the Colorado river. That also takes care of L.A., San Diego and Phoenix and of course L.V.    Milestones 

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:48 | 734890 G-R-U-N-T
G-R-U-N-T's picture

Get bent numbskull. Now your going to try to put the fear of God in everyone over water? Yeah the next looting frenzy extravaganza polluted water and not enough of it to go around. Be sure to tax the air we exhale dingus.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 15:26 | 735057 Sean7k
Sean7k's picture

Actually, there is plenty of information on the excessive amounts of water needed and the pollution problems from shale oil extraction. As with the problem of peak fresh water- much more important than oil- ask China. 

Get bent numbskull? I don't always agree with Milestones, but he/she is never a numbskull. Which just


Wed, 11/17/2010 - 21:41 | 735548 G-R-U-N-T
G-R-U-N-T's picture

Are you her spokeshole big daddy? The behavior that is associated with alarmist thinking such as her comment is irresponsible without the facts. Its mind numbing how such a small cabal of environmentalists whose many policies are based one inaccurate biased  research can have so much influence on a naive public, hence numb-skull. Just look at the CO2 fraud. There is no evidence whatsoever associated with man made CO2 that effects temperature. They call CO2 a pollutant when in reality it's a nutrient. Horrible decisions are made by believing lies like these. Next is water shortage and believe me looting mongols will try to put the fear of God in anyone they can all in the hopes of extracting as much money from the taxpayer as they can so they can do their feeding.

California is retard central when it comes to green energy/green technology/green jobs/green regulations/green fees/green compliance. The California Air Resource Board is among the most morally corrupt boards on the planet. Absolute moral idiots. They are destroying a man's ability to make a living.It's absolutely insane. They are destroying business, jobs, and eventually annihilate themselves. Just wait and see. You will probably see an eventual revolution in California because it's going to get worse.



Wed, 11/17/2010 - 23:21 | 736730 Herd Redirectio...
Herd Redirection Committee's picture

Supposedly Suncor has had success up in the oil sands with rehabilitating their tailing ponds.  So I don't know how much that applies to the oil shale in  the Midwest, but it shows the innovation is possible.

Exposing the Oligarchy, one Psycho at a time.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:51 | 734892 G-R-U-N-T
G-R-U-N-T's picture


Wed, 11/17/2010 - 13:40 | 734616 Burticus
Burticus's picture

Disclosure:  Long silver, gold, steel, lead, stored food, doomsday seed bank, farming tools, gravity water purifier, bio-diesel contraption, other Mad Max tools & supplies...and hangin' rope.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:57 | 734933 Watauga
Watauga's picture

You forgot AR-15s, 12 gauge shotguns, and S&W handguns, plus plenty of ammo!  And where you going to go--you have to have a defensible TEOTWAWKI retreat.

Oh, and don't forget the library of DIY TEOTWAWKI, ihcluding most of the books of John Wesley, Rawls and John Seymour.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:58 | 734936 Watauga
Watauga's picture

You forgot AR-15s, 12 gauge shotguns, and S&W handguns, plus plenty of ammo!  And where you going to go--you have to have a defensible TEOTWAWKI retreat.

Oh, and don't forget the library of DIY TEOTWAWKI, ihcluding most of the books of John Wesley, Rawls and John Seymour.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:58 | 734938 Watauga
Watauga's picture

You forgot AR-15s, 12 gauge shotguns, and S&W handguns, plus plenty of ammo!  And where you going to go--you have to have a defensible TEOTWAWKI retreat.

Oh, and don't forget the library of DIY TEOTWAWKI, ihcluding most of the books of John Wesley, Rawls and John Seymour.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:02 | 734693 the rookie cynic
the rookie cynic's picture

Right now alternative/renewable energy sources produce about 9 quadrillion BTUs a year. Sounds like a lot right? Not!

Estimates are that by 2035 we’ll need 739 quadrillion BTUs to sustain world population at that time. 

Economically recoverable oil will be mostly depleted by then I think. We won’t make up the shortfall without a radical change in energy policy and production.

Go here for summary of the energy situation with real numbers.

Perhaps a better heading for the discussion is "Peak Energy".  Fossil fuels represent millions of years of collected solar energy - a windfall of monumental proportions. Replacing that will be a miracle (i.e. fusion).

Peak oil is an important issue. Deny it at your peril.


Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:05 | 734698 absinthejo
absinthejo's picture

EROEI ftw. But they said the Bakken field with potentially 5 billion barrels is a giant. Same size as the Ghawar field, right? Never mind, it's shale oil. Or Maybe Canadian Tar Sands. Never mind it's not oil. Or maybe Brazil's deep sea oil. Never mind it's below more than 16,000 feet of sea, rock, and volatile salt deposits. Or ANWR? Never mind the USGS lowered the reserves more than 90 per cent.

And now even the IEA admits that conventional crude oil peaked in 2006. So if you think these "giant fields" will make up for the difference and allow us to continue BAU, you're in for a blast.



Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:07 | 734715 DougM
DougM's picture

Famines happen.  Wouldn't suprise me if oil shortages led to a 'correction' in the global population bubble. 

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:41 | 734872 Japhy Ryder
Japhy Ryder's picture

Hopefully the "correction" includes the elimination of the peak oil naysayers, lawyers, politicians, financial analysts and many other useless people.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 15:01 | 734954 Watauga
Watauga's picture

Doug--Recommended reading--"The Camp of the Saints."  About as scary as McCarthy's "The Road" except that it presents a much more likely scenario of our destruction.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:08 | 734720 linrom
linrom's picture

Thanks ZH for bringing these Chris Martenson's interviews. The article by Steve Keen on GFC(Global Financial Crisis) and J.H Kunstler on sociology are some of the finest and lucid writings anywhere. Both Keen and Kunstler use the flame thrower approach on conventional thinking.

Keen models Minsky economic instability thesis and ridicules conventional economists who fail to consider debt and assume that economy is always (or strives towards) equilibrium---the opposite is a fact. J.H Kunstler shows how we set-up our societies based on the false notion that oil is and will remain always plentiful (state of equilibrium) and fail to consider that with each day we're driving towards energy disequilibrium, which could leave many communities like isolated islands in the Pacific.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 15:07 | 734971 Watauga
Watauga's picture

linrom--that all sounds nice, and as I wrote above, I cannot disagree with many of his concepts.  However, he loses much credibility because of his ridiculous, bizarre, and wholly gratuitous attack on the anti-Statists of the Tea Party.  He appears to try to lump them into the Republican Party, then perversely tries to lump the Republican Party in with the John Birch Society.  Where the hell does any of this nonsense come from, and what does it have to do with the price of tea in China?  It comes, I have to believe, from malicious intent to undermine the anti-Statist message of those Americans who would oppose the Obama/Bernanke Statists.  Yes, this next part is hyperbolic and figurative--REPEAT, THIS NEXT PART IS HYPERBOLIC AND FIGURATIVE--Thus, he is like Goebels to Hitler--a mere tool in the hands of the monster.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 15:36 | 735108 linrom
linrom's picture

I understand your point--his elitism and loathing of southern culture are legendary and are always brought up by those who comment on his writings. However his opinions are distasteful and personally offensive, his main message never changes: he is the anti-Tocqueville of American future which he so artfully describes in death of suburpia.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:23 | 734786 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

One thing that the huge BP leak in the Gulf taught us is that there is a huge quantity of oil at great depth.  Consider that the rate of leakage was 40,000  barrels per day.  That positions the Macondo well as one of the greatest producers of all times.  Russian oil was running out until they discovered deep oil.  Now thay are the world's largest exporters.  Oil companies need to maintain the delicate thought balance between "plenty of oil" and "running out of oil."  Too much push in either direction will reduce their power and profits.

The quantity of oil is not the question.  The question is when will we choke to death on the byproducts of fossil energy?

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 16:59 | 735565 trav7777
trav7777's picture

40kbpd of uncontrolled flow would have fallen off very rapidly.  The field simply isn't that big

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 17:32 | 735746 cosmictrainwreck
cosmictrainwreck's picture

right - if it had been, they'd have shut that bitch down so fast yer head would spin, instead of lolly-gaggin' around.... "yeah - fuck it - write it off"

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 18:02 | 735899 TeamAmerica
TeamAmerica's picture

"Huge quantity"???  You could not be more wrong!  


1) The BP Macondo reservoir is estimated to contain 50 million barrels of producible oil.

2) Worldwide oil consumption is about 86 million barrels per day.

Let's to the math: 50 divided by 86 = 0.58 days, or just under 14 hours worth of oil.

That "huge quantity" of oil ain't so big when you consider the rate of consumption.   It is even less impressive when you recognize that deeper oil = fewer wells = slower production.   It's not just the dwindling quantity; it's a problem of lower rates of production while demand is increasing...the ultimate death cross.

(and big fat kiss in advance to everyone who junks me for trying to speak facts).

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 18:45 | 736086 trav7777
trav7777's picture

Again, I know you mean well, but please do not do this.

You cannot divide reserves by consumption to get lifespan.  Don't do that; it's misleading and horribly so.

Even if flowing 40kbpd, Macondo blowout DWH1 would have produced .000005% of the world's daily oil needs.

There was not "14 hours' worth" of oil in Macondo...there was a few seconds worth per day.  ALWAYS divide production by consumption, never reserves by consumption.  If you do the latter, people hear that we found 30Bbbl in Carioca and that "gives us a few more years" and they think the can can be kicked and peak will just keep getting pushed out as we find all these gigantic deep, hot finds.

Deeper wells also have shorter time-to-peak and quicker production collapses, huh?

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 19:59 | 736276 TeamAmerica
TeamAmerica's picture

Hey...I'm just trying to keep it simple to get the message through some very thick skulls.   I've posted about rate a couple times in this thread, but in this case I was just illustrating the fallacy of millions = "huge".

And it works for the alleged big finds just as well.  IF you could suck up 30Bbbl at a rate of 86Mbpd you'd be done in 349 days...not even one year's supply.   Anyone who wants to argue that the can has been kicked down the road must recognize that we don't find 30Bbbl of new oil each year.   Knowing this we can prove that actual reserves are going nowhere but down, ergo "peak oil" is real. 

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 18:57 | 736119 Stuck on Zero
Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:25 | 734801 Johnny Moscow
Johnny Moscow's picture

I think in general terms much of what he is saying will eventually come to pass, but it will be a much slower, long drop in living standards. He exaggerates a lot though, and I think a lot of his arguments are too ideal. Sure, we should try to make cities and towns more walkable and become less dependent on oil and cars to get around, but in America that would mean less freedom of association and also a lot of people becoming enraged about their nasty neighbors.

His lunatic rants about Christians in the South is borderline paranoid...yeah, like they are running the country and the biggest threat to a stable US - sure. I could make a much, much better argument that his fellow follwers of Judaism have helped crater this country what with their takeover of much of the media, Hollwood, and a large chunk of Wall Street - THOSE GUYS are waaayyy worse than a bunch of rednecks drinking longneck Buds and watching NASCAR - come on give us all a break buddy!!! I guess the PC crap we all deal with day in and day out prevents anyone from saying that sort of stuff though.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:31 | 734834 Japhy Ryder
Japhy Ryder's picture

"But the net effect for now is only to generate more anxiety among the public, which leads to more confusion, more cognitive dissonance, more static in the collective imagination, and more political noise -- in short, more obstacles to clear thinking."

Cognitive Dissonance ? Where are you ?

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:42 | 734877 Phaethon
Phaethon's picture

I speculate this guy got his heart broken by some taut young Southern belle and has hated  Southerners ever since.  It's obvious he has an axe to grind.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:48 | 734894 Japhy Ryder
Japhy Ryder's picture

Articles like this can really separate the "Right Wing Elitists SOBs" from the "NON Right Wing Elitists SOBs"   

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:49 | 734895 Japhy Ryder
Japhy Ryder's picture

Articles like this can really separate the "Right Wing Elitists SOBs" from the "NON Right Wing Elitists SOBs" on this message board.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:49 | 734896 Japhy Ryder
Japhy Ryder's picture

Articles like this can really separate the "Right Wing Elitists SOBs" from the "NON Right Wing Elitists SOBs" on this message board.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 14:50 | 734902 Newsboy
Newsboy's picture

Lotta' acrimony about this, today. Let's separate the messenger,from the essential aspects of the mesage.

With the advent of cheap global transportation, cheap global electronic instant-communication and global capital markets and monetary flows, we got the One-world global economy.

When letters of credit were not available for international shipping cargos in late 2008-2009, we got a freeze of global shipping.

when energy/transport costs go up, as they have, we get a situaton where US steel is sudenly competitive with Chinese steel, since their energy costs and ore transport costs offset their cheap labor.

I think we should accept the premise that expensive energy will constrain the China/Wal-Mart connection.

World oil production has been on a broad plateau since 2004, peaking in 2005 or maybe a monthly peak in 2008, when oil was so dear. The Oil Drum has not been mentioned in this thread.   It has the most intelligent and industry-based comments after articles. They serve to broaden, illuminate and sometimes refute the articles. This is a forum where industry insiders get their say, and don't always agree. Peak oil is certainly real. The only question is really the timing, steepness of the curves, and how the shrinking pot will be divided, based on money, military and location.

A financial site, where the views of Nicole Foss, who Kunstler mentions, may be found, is The Automatic Earth Blogspot. She had a carreer in planning for electric utilities, and some of this energy work also extended into zones like Bosnia, in situations of social crisis. Her nom-de-plume is "Stoneleigh".

I hope this is useful.

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 15:15 | 735014 Watauga
Watauga's picture

And, in this article we got an Anti-Christian, pro-Statist committing what would be characterized as "hate speech" if said against anyone in the world except for Christians and anti-Statists.

I understand your point--and I agree--he makes some sound points about the future.  But you cannot separate the message from the messenger.  The messenger has shaped his message deliberately.  In this case, because of his lunatic ravings, he loses credibility with respect to his message.  That is the nature of attribution--the audience gets the benefit of linking message and messenger.

Would you have us ignore Hitler if you believed his message was sound? 

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 15:27 | 735063 pazmaker
pazmaker's picture

Agreed Watauga!   Is that Watauga as in Watauga County/Boone?

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 15:13 | 735000 Mariposa de Oro
Mariposa de Oro's picture

"One much-fretted-over outcome is authoritarian government in the USA. We can see the larval stage of that now with the tea baggers and the theocratic right-wing and a Republican Party..... " This is where I finally gave up on this guy. Doesn't he know that Big Sis and her scanners/gropers are controlled by a "D" president and a "D" CONgress? Has it occurred to him that the above mentioned president and CONgress have had almost two years to repeal the Patriot Act and all they've done is extend parts of it?

Wed, 11/17/2010 - 15:17 | 735022 Watauga
Watauga's picture

Well, according to him, the John Birch Society has taken over the Republican Party, and the Republican Party is now attempting to acquire Nazi-like control of the United States.  This is the bizarre part of the interview.  Why go down this lunatic-fringe path?  And this is why I wrote, above, that you cannot separate the message from its messenger.

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