Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Slow Crash

This essay by Ran Prieur was posted on Energy Bulletin recently. Its a thoughtful proposition about how things might change, but in a less extreme fashion.
Imagine the end of the world in moderation. It's hard. We tend to imagine that either the "economy" will recover and we'll go on like 1999 forever, plus flying cars, or else one day "the apocalypse happens" and every component of the industrial system is utterly gone.
He denounces the images of people running wild in the streets. He starts out with the question of electricity: "When the lights go out, we won't go berzerk -- we'll go to bed earlier." Gasoline and water are dispatched. Food is more problematic, but he does not believe "the lack of food will make people kill each other." He has plenty of examples to counter that.

...[T]he interesting question is not "How will people die?" but "How will people live?" In the town next to the mass grave, what will we do all day? Process data and feign enthusiasm? Get on the internet? Make crossbows? Tend fruit trees? The best I can figure it out is to look at a bunch of more and less likely modifiers to the world as we know it, and think through how they could change things.
He goes on to look at the effects of various possibilities, including peak oil, economic depression, WWIII, secret weapons, China, serial Falluja, disease, weather, astronomy, and finally, a human consciousness shift.

Interesting reading. And be sure to give the appendixes at the end a look.

1 comment:

Tim of Suburbia said...

This is one of my favorite "Peak Oil" essays of all time. Thanks for posting about it. By the way, might want to update your Flying Talking Donkey link. I deleted it and now it's been splogged! It's officially NSFW.

My stuff is now over here.