The neo-liberal economic orthodoxy has collapsed – and the recession is here to stay. James Ayers gets ready for the Brave New World...
While we are finding it increasingly difficult to fill the petrol tank or buy a block of cheese, it seems the economists among us are finding it increasingly difficult to explain the myriad of economic woes that beseech us and predict what lies ahead.
That at least shouldn’t surprise us. After all, an economist is simply someone who lies awake at night, wondering if something that works in reality will actually work in theory. The reality is far simpler. What we are all now experiencing, to quote REM, is the end of the world as we know it.
Fifty years ago, a small sovereign nation at the bottom of the world, may have survived the current meltdown of neo-liberal economic orthodoxy and perhaps the collapse of capitalism itself. Thanks to globalisation however, Aotearoa is now just another deck chair on the Titanic and the band has almost finished its last tune “nearer my God to thee”. The time to get into a lifeboat is NOW!
The world is now lurching from one crisis to the next with increasing frequency and intensity; Throw in a few other environmental catastrophes, credit crisis, peak oil, rocketing food prices, spiraling crime and moral decay and it seems we are knocking on the door of the Apocalypse. Have the four horsemen already received their final instructions, or is the free will gift from God ultimately leading us to our own destruction?
While we may hope that the tough times we are currently facing will eventually be turned around, the reality is things are going to get worse, a lot worse! And our naive trust in our political representatives is playing into the hands of the ruling elite who ultimately control the world’s oil and money supply. The irony is that our demise will ultimately be their demise. Peak Oil and Peak Debt are upon us.
Thanks to globalisation however, Aotearoa is now just another deck chair on the Titanic and the band has almost finished its last tune “nearer my God to thee”. The time to get into a lifeboat is NOW!
So what is just around the corner? In short, the death and suffering we believe only happens in Africa, will soon spread throughout the world, as oil prices keep rising and oil supply starts to decline. After all, power, transport, food, water, shelter, and medicine, all depend on cheap oil. When a quick trip to the Warehouse or Woolworths is no longer an option, what then will you do?
It seems the Peak Oil predictions of a Shell Oil geologist named Hubbert over 50 years ago are now a reality. Despite rising demand and prices, global oil production has not increased over the past three years. We are told that OPEC and others will not pump more. What we are not told is that they can’t pump more! Oil at $100 per barrel will seem like the good old days.
When oil hits $200 per barrel within the next year or so, panic sets in and petrol riots become the norm around the globe. At $300 per barrel, the shit really hits the fan, law and order breaks down and all oil fields are acquired at the point of a gun. (Of course the US has already implemented this strategy in Iraq. Iran and Saudi Arabia are next). At $400 per barrel, globalisation, the US hegemony, capitalism, and western civilization itself all come to a screaming halt.
Welcome to the post-industrial Stone Age. If you are alive in 2020, it will be because you’ve figured out how to forage locally and no longer live in a city.
If peak oil doesn’t bring about the collapse of our civilization, as we know it, it will only be because Peak Debt has already delivered the knockout blow (if it hasn’t already with the global credit crisis). The exponential curve of debt growth fuelled by consumerism and greed is now almost vertical.
As debt servicing gobbles up more and more income, consumption starts to fall, jobs are lost, corporate profits collapse, the stock market and commercial property values crash, banks fall over faster than kiwi finance companies and a world supposedly flush with money is now seen for what it is – Western Capitalism has no new clothes!
An economic recession, not just here in Godzone but globally has already begun. And unlike previous recessions, this one-despite what the economists say-is here to stay.
James Ayers, The Corporate Nemesis, Plains FM 96.9 Christchurch, Tuesdays 11am