Important indicators point to quite a few economic and ecological bumps ahead of us. Contrary to popular belief, technology won’t be able to make this reality go away. However, good governance may make it easier to manage the possible hardships.

Many people are lured by a belief that somehow technology will sort out the global problems we now face because of the advancing climate change, resource depletion, inescapable surge in energy cost, population pressure and water distress. Or, that some technology will magically enable farmers to even further increase their yields on less, more exhausted, toxified and weather-torn land – and that also with less assistance from other species – like the complex system of microbiota that are so essential for soil fertility, pollinators, or insect predators.

Overwhelming part of that progress is based on the ephemeral burst of cheap fossil carbon energy, which now is becoming more expensive to find and extract as the easiest, cheapest sources have been exploited. It is also requiring technologies of exploration and production that are growing more complex and risky. Ignoring the central role of cheap fossil fuels has blinded us to profound risks that rising extraction cost of finite resources pose for our livelihood.


There will be price swings as countries and companies artificially manipulate the supply. But the long-term trend is inexorable. That means that the technologies that have been used to boost carrying capacity, particularly by increasing food production, will become more expensive, perhaps prohibitively. The economy is likely to contract, a process, which may occur suddenly, remain long and be socially complicated. Moreover, this is likely to come at the same time when the environmental costs become more painfully apparent. The possibly severe implications will be felt in all countries, albeit in different manner and at different time, although globalization may diffuse the impacts over entire regions quite suddenly. At the same time.

Meanwhile, even though we still nurture trust in the state, we have generally adopted governance models that favor the interests of markets and the economy over the interests of the individual citizens. We have allowed government’s role to shift from custodians of the commons to stimulating development and economic growth. The complexity and the global scale of our systems further erodes notions of local governance and dilutes responsibility. This has an inescapable result: our shared commons – share such biodiversity, water, soil and air – become increasingly fenced, exhausted and fouled, precisely at the time when these commons will be imperative to our survival.

As increasing costs of key resources like fossil fuel begin to strain our abilities to pay, first those with fewer resources and ultimately everyone will face increasingly constrained economic growth.

Contraction, or reverse industrialization, is an economic reality, even though our systems are construed to negate it.

At the same time, we may be crossing key environmental tipping points.

As these events unfold, we will be operating in increasingly chaotic social and political environment.

If we are wise, there will be sober recognition that the state must return to its vital role of protecting local interests and mitigating extremism.

If we don’t embrace this, we won’t continue to thrive.


The onion America's finest new source

Some thoughts about the role of industry

The Times interview with a CEO illustrates how the Industry takes on the role of “fight nature”

Video: example of Industry attempts to Work on the public opinion – a panel on Atrazine, a very dangerous chemical

RSA Animate - The Truth About Dishonesty

Pesticide Testing in Meat 1964 USDA

Report by Generations Futures about how Pesticide regulators ignore the legal obligation to use independent science for deriving safe exposure levels

Some thoughts about the role of government

Video from senate hearings which shows how the US government has no clue and is guided by the industry.

Some thoughts on the precautionary principle.