Monthly Archives: February 2009

American Disaster

From John Michael Greer’s The Long Descent, whose theme is the shape of the world in an emerging era of resource scarcity:

    No empire, even in its prime, can afford to pursue policies that estrange its allies, increase its overseas commitments, make its enemies forget their mutual quarrels and form alliances with one another, and destabilize the world political order, all at the same time. American foreign policy in recent years has accomplished every one of those things, at a time when America’s effective ability to deal with the consequences is steadily declining as its resource base dwindles and the last of its industrial economy fizzles out. To call this a recipe for disaster is to understate the case considerably.

Greer is a peak oil theorist and head of a sect of modern druids. His thought-provoking blog The Archdruid Report is worth checking out.

My question to you is, is he right? Has America’s potential been squandered beyond repair, through a combination of terrible policy decisions and the tendency to overreach that is the curse of all empires? Or can the sorts of strategic adjustments proposed by Barack Obama for the financial, energy, health care and educational sectors give America the boost it needs to be a leader again in the 21st century, even in an era in which resources are more limited than they were in the past?

Amazing World

Putting the financial crisis in perspective:

    When I read things like, “The foundations of capitalism are shattering,” I’m like, “Maybe we need that.” … Because everything is amazing right now, and nobody’s happy. … We live in an amazing, amazing world and it’s wasted on the crappiest generation of spoiled idiots that just don’t care. …
    I was on an airplane and there was high-speed internet on the airplane. That’s the newest thing that I know exists. And I’m sitting on the plane and they go, “Open up your laptop, you can go on the internet.” And it’s fast, I’m watching YouTube clips, it’s amazing—I’m in an airplane. And then it breaks down, and they apologize, “The internet’s not working.” And the guy next to me goes, “Pfff! This is bullshit.” Like how quickly the world owes him something he knew existed only ten seconds ago!

Comedian Louis C.K. on the Conan O’Brien show. Thanks to financial blog Infectious Greed for the tip.