Saturday, February 11, 2012

peak oil and the disintegration of industrial civilization



integralworld | Wood and labour of living beings (humans and domestic animals) were the chief sources of energy[2] in the agrarian civilizations. Coal was used in some regions—as in England from 14th century on or in the Song China—but that was exception. So, the vast majority of the population had to live as peasants and in an urban environment—cities and towns—were living only 5-10 % of the population. In favourable circumstances human population rose, depending on available food, and then crashed by hunger and various diseases. Majority of population in agrarian civilizations was living on the brink of hunger and demographic-social crises were often. Many agrariran civilizations—Maya, Roman Empire, ancient Summer—badly damaged ecological foundations of their existence and perished or significantly weakened. Main ideological forms in agrarian civilization were axial religions—christianity, islam, buddhism, confucianism etc.—which were originaly protest against social repression and other anthropogenic problems in their society but quickly became consolation for supposedly inevitable human misery.

Faith in «historical progress»—the fundamental metanarative of all modern secular ideologies[3] —was created due to the discovery of the New World, but became widespread due to new energy sources. Traditional economy, from 17th to the middle of 19th century, often acknowledged natural limits, especially in very influential population theory of Thomas Malthus. But mass urbanization and gradual harnessing of oil and gas, from the middle of 19th century on, created faith in unlimited natural resources or, what was the same, unlimited human power in exploiting these resources. After that, modern enocomy was builded on the negation of natural limits and on faith in free market's capability to overcome all (temporarily) restraints. For sc. scientific economy resources depletion has no meaning, because free market will always find some solution, either by increase of production (and price falling), or finding alternatives. Liberalism, marxism and other modern secular ideologies also proclamate their faith in unlimited power of human „conquest of nature“. For them, nature is just storehouse of resources existing for human exploitation and consumption.

The most common explanation of sc. industrial revolution—lack of wood in the Great Britain—remains the best one, despite many criticisms. Other countries had to follow British example if they didn't want to stay behind in the international competition. Industrial revolution had many deep social and ecological consequences but it was, in the main aspects, deepening and accelerating of fundamental trends of the last several thousand years: expansion of population, agriculture and cities, ecological destruction, centralization and bureaucratization etc. Industrial societies, with mass urbanization and mechanization, in the last 200 years are created by finding and exploiting new energy sources: coal as fundamental mover of the first and oil and gas as movers of the second industrial revolution. New energy sources were crucial factors for vast increase of human population, from below 1 billion around 1800 to cca 7 billions around 2010.[4] Fossil fuels—energy sources with high quality and density and high net-energy value—are the main factor in creating an industrial civilization in the 19th and 20th century, including mass urbanization, mass transportation and consumer society.[5] All industrial megastructure, in the last two centuries, was building on the fossil fuels and their consumption was steadily growing in the last several decades (see graphs I and II). Oil dependence is not „addiction“ (famous sentence of former American president Bush Jr., that „America was addicted to oil“), because drug addict can overcome his/her addiction and leave his/her drug behind. Industrial society can't „leave behind“ oil, certainly not in some easy-going fashion. In some vital parts, like transportation or industrial agriculture, oil is absolutely crucial. Technology is not a some kind of autonomous force, but only a transformer of energy. Technology never creates energy, but only uses up available energy, that is, in industrial society, fossil fuel energy and its derivatives.

2 comments:

nanakwame said...

Technology never creates energy; it find whys to create processes for other sources of energy -  Energy was before form. It is probably late in many ways, yet, there is the faith in our intelligence and adaptive ways. The finding of the lake and the study and reading of it, shows that even those with money and resources isn't waiting around for g_d or Church to command them. Weather or not the "evil" or the "saint lives on doesn't matter - this is a time that many great finding are going on especially in consciousness, where you and I first bumped heads.  The attack from the right and the sloppily and elitist way the left teaching what is known, has been the most stupidest thing I have seen my nation done. We are seeing the emotional madness of Rome, but doesn't mean that educated people become manic. The f_kin American Middle Class asked for this and they got it.

The greatest gift for me is to see that we move finally and strongly as Man being the Center of "Life". You just don't know. 

CNu said...

this is a time that many great finding are going on especially in consciousness, where you and I first bumped heads.

lol, you mean where you began bumping your own head through belief in things you don't understand...,

the sloppily and elitist way the left teaching what is known, has been the most stupidest thing I have seen my nation done.

while I'm all for democratization and marketing of STEM, there IS something to be said for the self-limiting nature of stupid, and the fact that stupid people can't/won't/don't make efforts to struggle with difficult questions (even less the vital "unanswerable" questions) - leaving them in their short term current predicament of being lined up at the feed lots and waiting to cue up in the packing house.

The greatest gift for me is to see that we move finally and strongly as Man being the Center of "Life"

uh yeah..., I got your "center of life" http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_QnADwcsfZCg/TUdUF893jlI/AAAAAAAABOg/zvgw7TOtCOU/s1600/soylentgreen.jpg

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