Springs Eternal: Hopes against Collapse, Hopes for Consuming

We actually know what must be done to save our planet, and it is not the propping up of a consumer society.

March 28, 2014 | Source: Culture Change | by Albert Bates

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We actually know what must be done to save our planet, and it is not the propping up of a consumer society.

More people want more. “We need better health, better education and more jobs” and “My sons work from 5 in the morning until 10 at night for only 400 euros per month” and “We were promised better!” said protesters interviewed by RT at this month’s March for Dignity, a road show en route to Brussels after converging on Madrid. Karl Marx is getting a surge in Amazon sales as capitalism catches the blame for the energy famine, a megatrend that none of the people in the street seem to grok. “We want our energy slaves!” might be a more apt protest.

In February Steve Kopits gave a spellbinding talk at Columbia University that is still making ripples on Wall Street, summarized (by Gail the Actuary) as:

“the cost of oil extraction has been rising rapidly (10.9% per year) but oil prices have been flat. Major oil companies are finding their profits squeezed, and have recently announced plans to sell off part of their assets in order to have funds to pay their dividends. Such an approach is likely to lead to an eventual drop in oil production  it looks like lack of sufficient investment is poised to bring the system down. That is basically the expected limit under
Limits to Growth.”

Yet the oil reality still does not inform sufficiently to change society’s course, nor does the end of cheap, easy petroleum appear to terminate growth — just yet.         

The stock market already has jitters as it crests another all-time high. Last week the Fed tried to shore up confidence by announcing that interest rates will presently be adjusting upwards. Any announcement by the Fed immediately clobbers gold prices, but the dollar index has been coming down for 7 weeks as international treasury-bond holders, like the EU and China, worry about how long the charade of solvency of the US empire can continue to extend and pretend. The Fed’s announcement seems to say, “not much longer.” Janet Yellen’s statement was less to reassure foreign markets than alert her bankster billionaire pirate buddies that the bonus treasure chests will soon be used up and its time to shift any remaining loot to their Cayman Islands accounts.