American Society in 20 years

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by apendrapew, Oct 15, 2003.

  1. Golgo 13 The Professional Registered Senior Member

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    First and foremost, the issue of "running out" is a red herring since by the time you've run out of oil, society has imploded in part or completely due to severe ecological strains no longer being subsidized by cheap and abundant energy, or we've somehow discovered cold fusion, how to harness the quantum vaccuum, and continue to grow until the planet is 1 person per square inch on the dry land-surface.

    The real crisis hits when production begins to decline, not when reserves have exhausted.

    If there's one thing there will never be a shortage of, it is people rehearsing this tired old canard of "running out" and previous calculations being wrong.

    Someone made a calculation about a finite resource such as oil in the past. The calculation was wrong, and they therefore conclude that all calculations are wrong.

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    Seeing as the world consumes so many tens of billions of barrels of oil a year, It's really no suprise that all the hard, empirical, corroborative, factual geological material supports this conclusion from a multitude of independent sources such as former (and thus disinterested) petroleum geologists as well as energy investment firms looking to cash on on the energy crisis.

    The whole situation in the 70's was explained easily enough by the aforementioned excerpt. Back then they just took the amount of oil they had then, divied it by the amount of resource they had already discovered, compensated for growth in consumption of the resource (Which was 7%. If you calculate the doubling time [T2 = 70/P where P is the percent growth per unit time] then you see that rate of consumption has a doubling time [time it takes to increase by 100%] of a mere decade), and came up with their figure.

    The thing is, with the way they were doing it, compensating only for the amount of resource already disovered, then they had to make a new calculation every time a new signifigant discovery was found.

    What we do with depletion modeling today is use that same method, but we calculate for the discovered and undiscovered reserves. We're now talking about all of the oil.

    You need look no futher than this to get a clear picture of where we're heading:

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    It is generally estimated that the world has has around 2,000 billion barrels of oil ever since we started using it. Now that is a very uncertain figure, plus or minus 50%.

    This figure here charts different estimates for the URR (Ultimate Recoverable Reserves) of oil.

    On the conservative end, we have that 2,000 billion barrel figure which puts us at peak oil like right now. On the high end, we have 3,000 billion, and on the uber extreme high end, we have twice the amount we ever expect, which is exceedingly unlikely given the paltry discovery trend of the resource.

    The United States Geological survey gives the conservative estimate a 90% chance of being correct, with the second estimate being something like 7%, and the final one 3%.

    But no matter how you look at it, you will live to see the peaking of world oil. And you have to ask yourself, "What's life going to be like with world energy in decline?".

    I don't think it takes much of an imagination to conceptualize what desperate times and scarcity issues combined with the human condition would lead to.

    You don't have to guess if you know the slightest thing about modern agriculture. There's no 2 ways about it. Food availability in first-world countries is directly proportional to oil availability. Take the oil and the food goes with it.

    Yeah. It's a good thing those children in third-world nations are getting divine sustinance to feast on and not starving to death like you see on TV. What, with God providing for them and all.

    Yep.

    But what allows people to maintain their unjustifiable optimism in technology and market forces are the fact that they don't understand both are predicated upon by finite energy sources which are subject to expiration and will take their flat-earth economic techno-hubris to the grave with them.

    People don't seem to grasp the fact that nobody can name a single renewable source as versatile, dependable, and energy dense as petroleum because it simply does not exist. People at large aren't interested in making a distinction between energy and technology. This reveals a misunderstanding very common among those in the US public who think about these things at all, namely, that technology is thought to be synonymous with energy, that they are essentially the same thing.

    The fact that energy and technology are not the same thing is crucial to understanding our predicament. There are really only five energy sources available to us: non-renewable oil, natural gas, coal, uranium, and renewable solar (which includes wind, hydro, photovoltaic, and bio-mass, all dependent on sunlight acting on the earth.) The hope is that technology will somehow allow us to capture an equivalent amount of energy from renewables that we now get from non-renewables. This is the central fallacy of techno-hubris

    There is a remarkable consistency in the delusional thinking at every level of American life these days. When Americans think about the future at all, they seem to think it will be pretty much the way we live now. The buyers of 4000 square foot McHouses think that they will be able to continue heating them with cheap natural gas, not to mention commuting seventy miles a day. The stadium builders assume that major league sports will continue just as it is today, with chartered jet planes conveying zillionaire athletes incessently back and forth across the continent. The highway engineers and the municipal planners are focused like lasers on providing more roads and more parking spaces for evermore cars. The architects are designing more skyscrapers, despite the decrepit condition of the electric grid and the frightful situation with our depleting natural gas supply. We're so confident, so sure of ourselves.

    When you combine the seven deadly sins with high technology, you get some really serious problems. You get turbo-sins. It's dreadful to imagine what goeth after turbo-pride.

    Those boys are in for a surprise when they discover that nature gave the human race technology in order that we might choose to shoot ourselves in the head when the time came.

    The tragic futility of the suburban growth racket and the towering hubris of Modernism go hand-in-hand. Both rest on ideologies that drive relentlessy toward death. Both depend on a condition of widespread and extreme narcissism among individual members of society to continue their operations. Both represent a kind of wickedness that does not require religious transliteration to understand. Both will be defeated by reality.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2005
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  3. fadingCaptain are you a robot? Valued Senior Member

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    I saw they are doing something with wind energy off the texas coast. We are slowly moving that direction. Not fast enough, but people will start to see the writing on the wall. Energy costs are skyrocketing.

    I think we will adapt and find a way to meet our energy needs. I could be wrong and we could be heading for a dark age. Hope not.
     
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  5. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

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    American society in 20 years

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  7. "There is a remarkable consistency in the delusional thinking at every level of American life these days. When Americans think about the future at all, they seem to think it will be pretty much the way we live now. The buyers of 4000 square foot McHouses think that they will be able to continue heating them with cheap natural gas, not to mention commuting seventy miles a day. The stadium builders assume that major league sports will continue just as it is today, with chartered jet planes conveying zillionaire athletes incessently back and forth across the continent. The highway engineers and the municipal planners are focused like lasers on providing more roads and more parking spaces for evermore cars. The architects are designing more skyscrapers, despite the decrepit condition of the electric grid and the frightful situation with our depleting natural gas supply. We're so confident, so sure of ourselves."

    I will make a bet with you. In 20 years, I will still be living in my 4,000+ foot McHouse, communiting to work, and watching my home team slug it out in the 9th inning. In 40 years, my kids will be doing the same. You and your righteous indignation will have turned to dust, but your progeny will be echoing the same old chorus.

    Lest you forget, envy is also a deadly sin (if you believe in that sorta thing). Make no mistake about it, the tone of your post is very telling. You want American society to fall so you can look back and say "ha, I was right!" I believe that we are more resourceful than you might think.

    Extreme narcissism yet rapidly increasing interconnectivity? Could it be that we are approaching a potentially great leap in evolution that will be playing out for next several thousand years?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 25, 2005
  8. Golgo 13 The Professional Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    102
    And what energy source are your kids oing to be driving around on?

    GLI (George Lucas' Imagination)?

    This is a real problem, man.

    No, I'm becoming pretty jaded about our ability to wake up and do shit because of the concensus trance apathy that is the status quo and shows no sighs of changing.

    If American society (the society I live in) collapses, how does that benefit me? I'll be like "Haha, I told you so!" and we all starve to death. I'm just trying to wake people up so they actually do something instead of waiting for the next techno-messiah deus-ex-machina to save them from theirselves.

    As Carter said:

    "'We are grossly wasting our energy resources and other precious raw materials as though their supply was infinite. We must even face the prospect of changing our basic ways of living. This change will either be made on our own initiative in a planned and rational way, or forced on us with chaos and suffering by the inexorable laws of nature."

    And we consume said resources at rates orders of magnitude greater than their creation.

    Science in all its profligate and amazing forms has utterly transformed the world in under 300 years, some might say under 100. Without the accomplishments of science, my guess is that 1/10th the present population of this planet would be able to survive and they would be scrambling to a much higher and more desperate degree than we are to maintain subsistence. Everything we have and use, everything we eat and drink, everything we build and design, everything we humans implement to leverage our biological advantage (the brain, hand, etc.) in one sense or another, comes from this planet of ours we call earth. The two most endangered commodities on this planet are clean water and unpolluted air. Atop those substrates stands an enormous pyramid of industrial minerals and commodities that we as a species consume at rates that make locusts look like lichens. Petroleum is a case in point.
     
  9. fadingCaptain are you a robot? Valued Senior Member

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    1,762
    "The two most endangered commodities on this planet are clean water and unpolluted air."
    We have plenty of clean water and unpolluted air. What we need is an abundant, practical, and clean energy source. Its not impossible. We just need to devote our collective intellect and resources to it.
     
  10. Golgo 13 The Professional Registered Senior Member

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    102
    In other words, we need to become more complex.

    I have serious doubt about the long-term viability of this strategy.
     
  11. fadingCaptain are you a robot? Valued Senior Member

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    1,762
    Going backwards isn't the answer. Why don't we just go back to being cavemen? I mean its simpler and environmentally friendly and all. But thats not what we are all about. We get more complex because we are intelligent (relatively).

    I agree that we face some serious hurdles in regards to energy. But we should focus our intellect to overcome these hurdles...not back away from innovation and turn back the clock. Maybe I am a techno optimist. But it hasn't really failed us yet.
     
  12. tablariddim forexU2 Valued Senior Member

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    4,793
    Can anyone quantify American society?
     
  13. Golgo 13 The Professional Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    102
    And we haven't critically depleted any key life-sustaining resources yet on a global scale (there are localized historical examples which invariably led to dieoff). Coincidence? I think not.

    If you're looking for a way to get anywhere near an appreciable fraction of energy that we're now gettig from fossil fuels out of renewables then you're in for a huge dissapointment. Those that understand that fossil fuels represent hundreds of millions of years of consolidated energy know that renewables merely compliment our fossil-fuel foundation.

    People today, by and large have unrealistically high expectations about renewable energy platforms that primarily only exist as theoretical concepts insofar. No renewable energy source (with the exception of sustainable cold fusion) has the potential to generate anywhere near as much energy as we get from fossil fuels.

    This means that we will either have to voluntarily reduce our energy usage (which some people characterize as 'going back to the stone-age') or just let natural limits totally wreck us when they are made manifest.

    If, for whatever reason, humans fail to stop population growth and growth in the rates of consumption of resources, nature will stop these growths. Nature's method of stopping growth is cruel and inhumane. Glimpses of nature's method of dealing with population that have exceeded the carrying capacity of their lands can be seen each night on the television news reports from places where large populations are experiencing starvation and misery.

    Right now we have approaching 7 billion people on the planet. This population exists in the context of abundant quantities of cheap energy, and an infrastructure build over 150 years that facilitates the use of this energy. People seem to think we are going to switch out a century and a half of infrastructure for some source of energy that doesn't exist yet and go about our merry way entirely without incident. I hate to break it to them, but it's not gonna happen that way. But don't take my word for it. Feel free to research the issue of carrying capacity, energy density, the net energy principle, and energy returned on energy invested (EROEI) for yourself.

    In terms of population, growth, energy consumption, and sustainability one can.
     
  14. NMSquirrel OCD ADHD THC IMO UR12 Valued Senior Member

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    5,478
    i just found this thread..it was created in 03 and posted in till 05..
    8 years later, i find it..

    that is almost half way to the projected 20 years referenced in the OP..
    worthy of some reflection i think..
     
  15. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    24,690
    Indeed, 300 years ago the population was just about 1/10th what it is today, approximately 700 million. Before the Industrial Revolution, it had taken a thousand years for the population to increase by 1000%.

    The previous factor of ten increase took almost seven thousand years--going back to the Stone Age cities prior to the Bronze Age.
     
  16. Me-Ki-Gal Banned Banned

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    4,634
    You think like me on this for the most part. We as humans working in the machine are slaves to society . Why? To over produce. To what end ? Monetary systems in these modern times is a crime. We pay farmers not to grow food. Farmers make a very small profit if at all . So something is wrong and we all know it. There will be less and less jobs as time goes on and this will in it self force the collapse of economic systems we live with now. The system is not sustainable. The old way you talk about is looking like a good model to Me. People want to contribute and be recognized for there good work. I believe this would be true if there was no such thing as monetary gain . To have a purpose would be the reward for contribution . To be the best at what it is you do and this would give you the right to do it there by giving you purpose your reward and Satisfaction because you got to do the job. Because your skill level was good enough.
    The other thing about our over producing system is Administration. The waste of having so much administration aids in the collapse of the system we know now. Eliminate the waste and that waste is our manufactured positions we call jobs . Little niche businesses of administration we try to sell as a real service. It is like running in a circle were as you go no where , but we get there mighty fast. It is all ridiculous and what I think= Humanities mental state has not caught up with the technological state . We still think in terms of hunter gatherers by the way we hoard . Evolve already people. You are giving Me a headache .
     

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