Thursday, October 4, 2007

Problem Solved.

I got a call yesterday from a friend and reader of my meanderings. He works at a large trading firm and one of the traders there called him to point out that, while I might be correct on the price of oil, what do I have to say now that the stock market did not crash?

When did I say it would crash? Never in my life… Actually, if the Fed continues to flood the system with money the market can rise to infinity – you just can’t buy anything with the money you receive when you sell your stocks. The important thing to remember is that some organizations and corporations are going to benefit from the energy situation, and others are going to be harmed. If you can figure out the “who”, well, you will do just fine. I cannot comment on that in this forum.
But, really. That is not why the trader called my buddy; he called to gloat. The market is telling him that I’ve got it all wrong - so there.

Here is a quote from my favorite curmudgeon, James Howard Kuntsler:

“Okay, here’s the big problem in America; we made this unfortunate set of choices to create the drive-in utopia, the happy-motoring utopia. America’s oil consumption is the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world. We’re not going to be able to continue this living arrangement and that makes it, by definition, the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world.

But we like things the way they are. So we will not change our behavior until conditions force us to change. We Americans have put so much of our resources, so much of our wealth, so much of our spirit into constructing and assembling this energy-intensive infrastructure for daily life, that we can’t imagine letting go of it.

But get this; no combination of alternative fuels or systems for running them will allow us to run Walt Disney World, Wal-Mart, and the interstate highway system. We’re not going to run those things on any combination of solar, wind, nuclear, bio-fuel, used French fried potato oil, dark matter, or all the other things that we’re wishing for, or even a substantial fraction of it.

I’m not against alternative fuels or making investment in alternative systems. But what you need to know is we’ll probably be disappointed in what they can actually do for us. They can do things for us, but not the things that we’re wishing they can do for us. One of the main implications of “the long emergency,” therefore, is that we’re going to have to downscale everything we do. So the 3,000-mile Cesar salad will not be with us that much longer.”

Actually, in some respects, Mr. Kuntsler is an optimist.

The data continue to point to a 2005 peak in production. The market’s price signals have led me to call “Peak Oil” in past tense. Still the media and the relatively informed continue to debate the “when” of Peak Oil. It might be very entertaining, it might be even sell a little advertising, and it certainly will keep billing up at the public relations firms – it being their duty to manipulate the stories in the media for the benefit of their clients – but it is absolutely not relevant anymore. That peak has arrived or will arrive soon is far less relevant than the fact that it will arrive – no matter what. It is the preparations that matter… The following is a quote from an ingenious blogger commenting on the Association for the Study of Peak Oil.

“This is not only bad for the public discourse, but IMHO, it isn't very good for ASPO, either. Because they risk being rendered obsolete by their own data. ASPO has done the important work of establishing dates and reserves, but shortly, if their own estimates are right, when peak oil is will be an established, documentable fact - if it isn't already. And while ASPO will then have the satisfaction of being right, it will also have the problem of being irrelevant, if it hasn't taken a lead on the next step - where do we go from here?” - SHARON ASTYK

And there is NO satisfaction in being right – the satisfaction comes from being prepared. This is not a debate you can win, a college you can get into, nor a fair maiden’s hand to capture. It just is what it is – the most important event in modern history, and it doesn’t come with instruction manuals, accredited institutions to educate us on the solutions, or a spokesperson. “Wishing on a star” won’t help.

“If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging” – unknown

Yours for a better world,

Mentatt (at) yahoo (dot) com

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