Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Transparency: a prophecy

        The political noise machines are really being cranked up to full steam as election day approaches!

         But what is being said of real importance?

         Perhaps more importantly from the perspective of political transparency, what is NOT being said? What issues that should be on the front burner aren't even on the stove yet?

         We believe that the two issues of greatest importance are not even being discussed (or, at best, are given pious lip service):

(1) Peak Oil: the exhaustion of cheap, easy to extract and refine oil reservoirs. This is the most immediate challenge our society faces today.

(2) The "Environmental Issue": everything from climate change to habitat destruction, species extinction and the destabilization of vital planetary ecosystem services (clean water, air and soil; the capacity for natural soil regeneration..)


         We predict that these two issues, completely off the political agendas of the major parties, will become major social, economic and (geo-)political issues over the next, say, 2 to 10 years (and probably no more than 5).

         Now, these predictions are not really rocket science. The first, Peak Oil, is in fact already here. More and more economists, of late, are conceding that peak oil price hikes in spring / summer 2008 and not the subprime mortgage scam (autumn 2008) were the immediate, effective cause of the current world recession. Now, it does not take a rocket scientist  to figure out that, as economies "recover" from the recession and 3rd world economies grow, demand will once again push "tight supply" oil prices through the ceiling again. The only question is when: summer 2011? fall?..  spring 2012, winter equinox 2012?.. (were the Mayans right after all..)

         As for the "environmental thing", we wager that this cluster of crises will be the wild card for the first half of the 21st century. One salient point to consider while assessing future climate change possibilities: the experts and their computer models inevitably err on the side of conservatism (as indeed they should - if they are doing good science and not, say, astrology..) They consistently underestimate the velocity of the ongoing changes: ice cap or glacial meltdown for example.

         At present, the rising tide of political instability in the Mideast is due, in part, to food price hikes caused by extreme weather crop damage over the last growing season (Russia, prairie Canada, Pakistan..) If global warming / climate change are, in fact, real - as we posit they are - then the tide of geopolitical instability can only be expected to rise in the years to come..

        Yet, paradoxically, none of these "clear and present dangers" is front and center on the political stage (not to date, anyway..) Why this curious silence? And does this lack of contact with reality have anything to do with apathy of young voters who instinctively recognize, perhaps, that the system is not addressing the problems they will soon have to deal with? One can only speculate..

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