THREE PHASES CIVILIZATION COLLAPSE
Prepping For Economic Collapse-Petroleum Dependency
Way back in the day when men were men and sheep were nervous and brides were as easy to order as a Sears catalog tool ( quality not guaranteed ), the US was the premier manufacture center. Not because we were all that much smarter or hard working ( this was also the heyday of immigration, and those non-natives were some hard working schleps ) although our kind-sorta mainly laissse-faire society encouraged this kind of thing, but because we had oodles and gobs ( an oodle and gob are units of measurement comprising that of crap-loads ) of energy and other resources. We had so much coal and wood and hydropower and crops and oil, it was a glut on the market. We had to invent how to waste it, literally. That was the prevailing business model. How do I waste resources in such a delightful way that customers would buy my crap rather than the other guys. Russia had a similar problem but since they don’t do business or profits ( other than for the czar/commissar ) they still have a lot of their resources ( their main business today is natural gas to Europe but it isn’t about profit but strategic positioning- the oil was squandered to an extent keeping the lid on things decades ago but since they waste little they still have plenty to see their military along nicely on the down slop of global Peak Oil ).
This isn’t just ancient history like dudes in white wigs and funny socks. This is fundamentally important for our future crystal ball ponderings. This was and is our economy. All our infrastructure, from eating and jobs to electric power to collapsing bridges to our laws and customs, is based on waste ( a bit catchy, Based On Waste ). Oh, we’ve played at the edges of the system to minimize the amount we waste, but still at heart it is the same old thing ( and, no, to forestall any silly questions, we can’t change things to a whole other system. You need surplus energy to build a system. We are stuck with what we have ). Now, the individual can certainly do things that aren’t centrally driven by waste. It isn’t simple and you must buck the trend, but you can easily do this. It is more attitude than intelligence, more discipline than investment. In short, you must start down the road AWAY from petroleum dependence. It will never be complete because our entire system is built around waste, around surplus energy very near “too cheap to meter” ( the battle cry of the nuclear power movement, which should have been “our meters glow in the dark” ). You might be arguing that gasoline is expensive and the utility company pays us to insulate, but again, that is minimizing waste rather than eliminating it. A house should need no heat, not just half what it used to. Your commute from the suburbs should need a bike, not a car ( yes, both need kilocalorie consumption in one form or another, but a population on bikes would never overtake our resource base like motor vehicles has ).
Again, you can’t do this perfectly. You can strive towards a goal even if it is ever illusive. A twenty acre homestead won’t do it. You need a job, which ties into the resource wasteful economy to pay the bankers for the mortgage. You are now food self-sufficient but still 100% dependent on the economy. And the economy is now in zombie mode because our resources are in decline. The economy is powered by consuming resources ( your home office job, seemingly petroleum free, involves solar cells shipped from China or more likely power from coal, but even solar needs batteries which are oil transportation imported ore and petroleum plastic. Your computer and the computers at the Internet hub are imported, built and shipped with oil. All your customers burn oil to get to their jobs which are burning oil to stay in business. And etcetera ). A growing population needs growing economies which need a growing resource base. Our resource base is shrinking, and most efficiencies that could be wrung from the system have already been achieved decades ago. Ergo, our economy based on grown and resource use MUST collapse. Which means you must transition to far less petroleum dependency. And in your personal life this means an actual savings since a lot less money will be needed to buy all the things Petroleum Age offered you as a consumer.
Yes, you still need to invest in a petroleum sipping ( verses guzzling ) future. And sometimes that investment seems huge with minimal savings ( it would take me twenty years to pay for my underground lair at current price propane savings ). But you are not investing to save money. You are investing so you need no petroleum in the future. And it doesn’t require a lot of investment. It requires minimizing your needs. I don’t have a roof full of solar panels. I minimize my watts used to a mere 50 a day and hence only need a few hundred dollars in panels. I don’t need a mortgage to build an underground house, since I downgraded my needs to a hovel/shack ( where I can survive without heat-but you do need to wool-up inside ). I certainly didn’t buy a three thousand dollar bicycle, but a $300 one ( do NOT buy China-Mart bikes unless you are prepared to start repairing all non-frame parts within several hundred miles ). My job is certainly petroleum dependent, but I’ve eliminated all debt and most expenses so I can survive on part time. I’m still eating on food from two thousand miles away, but I have my own stockpile to get me through transportation disruptions. And I own no power tools. Everything is manual, from digging holes to clearing brush. It isn’t a huge change, just a lot of little ones. It isn’t independence, but it isn’t total dependence either.
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