Saturday, March 13, 2010
2010 -2019: Great Comments From the Peanut Gallery!
"The man who views the world at fifty the same as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life." Muhammad Ali (easily my favorite athlete of all time)
I sincerely appreciate the comments made in response to my request for a little idea flow on the implications of the Export Land Modeling coming to pass for the U.S.
I remember speaking with Jeffrey Brown circa the ASPO conference in Boston in the fall of 2006 about the impact of Peak Oil on the importing nations. Some time in 2008, Jeff sent me a detailed analysis of the top 5 exporters production and internal consumption trends. The Mad Scientist and I poured through it pretty well; we gave it the proverbial "scrubbing". The assertions on each exporting nation stood up to rigorous fact checking and statistical analysis (that does not mean that these assertions are a "certainty", but it would indicate a very high probability).
Given that this analysis was already over 1 year old when I received it, and given that the analysis has proved accurate for imports into the OECD overt the 2007 - 2009 time period, I am going to base MY investments and life planning on the predictions for U.S. and OECD oil imports for the remainder of the analysis period (which, if memory served had a mid case scenario for near ZERO exports sometime in middle of the 2020's). Some very smart people have crunched the data many, many, many times over. That doesn't make the model perfect - hence it has a best, worst, and mid case scenario - but it makes it a better data point than an arm-chair-general's analysis. I am talking oil import calculations here; what that means in terms of our collective and individual lives is anyone's guess. Still some guesses are better than others.
People frequently talk about unintended consequences - usually as if there is only a single unintended consequence to a particular action. I can tell you with great assurity, because I know from personal experience living as I do in a house full of "unintended consequences" that these said "consequences" continue to manufacture new, and expensive, unintended consequences each and every day - tuition, car insurance, health insurance, braces, lack of sleep... (if I knew the permutations of the unintended consequences of indulging my carnal instincts I might have opted for a monk's life... Just kidding... sort of...). Cut supplies, and therefor sales, of gasoline - and the taxes used to maintain roads evaporate before your eyes. Shift the burden elsewhere, and that industry dissipates before you can even blink. Replace "inefficient" cars with 100mpg motorcycles... ever go shopping and then try and transport home a dishwasher on a motorcycle? What about the thousands of catastrophic injuries surely to result with millions of middle aged fatso's taking to a motorcycle as their primary source of transportation?
Life is dynamic, not static, and of course we will "adapt". I like that word - "adapt". I wonder if anyone used that word when speaking to the Haitians after the earthquake. After all, OF COURSE they will adapt - all "survivors" of any outcome by definition have adapted, otherwise they would have been classified as "victims". (BTW... ever hear the term "survivor bias"? We see it every time a combat veteran speaks. My bet is he feels differently from those killed in the conflict... survivors HAVE a bias! The dead are not around to make themselves heard. If you could wake up those that perished, show them the family they could have had, the travels, wine, women, song, pleasure, pain, thrill et al that makes up the buoyant surge we know as being alive, had they not lost it all... I wonder what they might say about the conflict that cost them all of that...)
But I digress.
Back to adapt. Yes, of course the "survivors" will adapt - some folks will come out ahead, some will come out with the short end of the stick, and some will come out dead. I know which camp I want to be in. But this process happens all day everyday irrespective of the crisis de jour... making short shrift of this won't do you much good.
And there you have it and there it is. So far, the Export Land Model is tracking the real world outcome quite well. If it continues, we are all going to get a chance to live with our decisions. It will be interesting to see how each of us feels about them at that time, though I doubt most will have the luxury of time to ponder this - we might be rather busy doing other things. In the end, for those that do adapt life can just as easily become MORE enjoyable, MORE fun, MORE meaningful as LESS so.
Posted by The Short Story Man at 10:40 AM