Thursday, March 3, 2011

On-the-ground account of doom

I spend a lot of time online on websites like LATOC (now defunct), and a few new ones like The Oil Age and Hubbert's Arms.  These are forums where people discuss peak oil, economic collapse, inflation v. deflation, cheery stuff like that.  I also post a lot on those kinds of topics, as visitors (if there are any among you, hopefully), know.  But there is nothing quite like seeing an example with your own eyes, and which affects you personally. 

I saw one yesterday.  There is a restaurant in my town, that has been in business for 30 years.  We've been going there for years, I go at least once a week.  Anyway, yesterday, the owner was complaining to a customer, quite vocally, about the rising costs of business.  Lettuce is now at $60 or so a head, and the food distributors who deliver the food to businesses want to add a fuel surcharge due to the rising fuel prices (this was done 3 years ago as well, the last time gas was at $4 a gallon).  He has also been advertising in local papers and circulars, with no noticeable uptick in business.  "Everyone is staying home", were his words. 

I've never owned a business, but in my eyes at least, I don't think a business owner would want to let customers know that his business is suffering.  Unless, he knows that he's hitting rock bottom and that going out of business is only a matter of time, anyway.  I don't want to believe that, this place has been here as long as I have.  But if it closes its doors at the end of the year, I would not be surprised. 

I also wanted to share a video link with you.  I didn't see the video myself, but I did read the transcript.  It's a series by The Nation with a few luminaries talking about peak oil.  This is the one of Dimitry Orlov, author of "Reinventing Collapse".  This is an excerpt I especially liked:

"The way collapse unfolds is actually very interesting, because a lot of it has to do with people’s faith in the status quo. As long as people think that there’s something in it for them, they will cooperate. As soon as they decide that there is nothing in it for them, they will cease to cooperate and the system starts to crumble, cave in on itself. So what we saw in the Soviet Union was political dysfunction where basically the communist regime was so endemically corrupt, and so out to steal as much as they could at the very end, that they really didn’t even bother paying attention to whether they kept the system going. The system was basically on autopilot until it crashed." 

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