Friday, August 21, 2009

open letter to the queen

Abundancy Partners | We live in tumultuous times. Many developed world citizens are losing their livelihoods. The effects on the world's poorest will, as ever, be dreadful. However we are surprised that the Academy has not addressed anything outside the narrow remit their letter covered. Far greater insecurities threaten the world's poorest due to our effects on the natural world.

The letter ignores the physical constraints which are central to this bubble and indeed most bubbles. It speaks of "the bigger picture" and of "individual risks being small" and "the system as a whole being vast", yet, for us has a limited horizon.

Our premise is that our current economic malaise is symptomatic of a far more serious systemic failure to acknowledge what Archbishop Rowan Williams has identified in saying "It has been said that 'the economy is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the environment'. The earth itself is what ultimately controls economic activity because it is the source of the materials upon which economic activity works".

Energy underlies everything – Scylla and Charybdis of peak oil and climate change. The underlying cause of the current economic meltdown is a multi-generational debt-binge inextricably linked to a concomitant multi-generational energy-binge. The Academy's letter focuses on some "imbalances in the global economy". However, the key to addressing our current situation is to recognise the far more serious imbalances between our insatiable hunger for energy, its finite nature and the environmental pollution in its use.

Energy is the lifeblood of any economy. Our exponential debt-based money system is in turn based on exponentially increasing energy supplies. It is therefore clear that the supply of that energy deserves our very highest attention. That this attention doesn't appear in the Academy's analysis is deeply worrying.

The impending peaking of production of oil and other hydrocarbons, along with the resulting peak in food production and everything on which oil relies, is now widely accepted. Leading UK companies including Arup, Scottish and Southern Energy, Solarcentury and Virgin have warned that a peak in cheap, easily available oil production is likely to hit by 2013, posing a grave risk to the economy. On 2nd August 2009, the International Energy Association's Chief Economist, Dr Fatih Birol, warned of an oil crisis in 2010.

The letter refers to the "overheating economy" but gives no mention of the effect and cause of the overheating of planet Earth. Climate change is now recognised by the world's scientists, political and business leaders as the most serious threat to mankind and is described by Sir Nicholas Stern as "the greatest market failure of our times". On an almost daily basis we get increasingly urgent signals that unstoppable, runaway climate chaos is almost upon us.