KMO talks to engineer and permaculturalist, Robert Brown, about the strengths and weaknesses of the Peak Oil narrative. KMO recalls the different psychological factions that congregated under the Peak Oil banner. Some were focused on finding investment opportunities, others were disgusted with contemporary society and thrilled at the prospect of it falling to pieces. The conversation also touches on the harms and benefits of digital technology.
KMO has turned Peak Oil apostate. Information technology and machine learning in particular, seem to have played a much more influential and interesting role in determining the course of industrial civilization over the past decade than have shortfalls in petroleum production. In short, the predictions of a Peak Oil fast collapse have failed to materialize. Over that same period, most everyone in the industrialized world has taken to carrying powerful computers around with them that fit in the palms of their hands. Governments and corporations use the data we generate with our online activity for surveillance and social control. What will the coming decade hold? Will the collapse of industrial civilization finally make its entrance, or will information technology extend it's lead over the predicted collapse? KMO puts these questions to long-time C-Realm guest, James Howard Kunstler, who predicts that the collapse is still coming, and that the next couple of years will be marked by greatly increased levels of disorder on the international stage.
In a follow-up conversation to C-Realm Radio episode 51, KMO talks with Adam Grubb, an Australian permaculturalist and radio host. Adam created the very first website devoted to peak oil, and he has lived with a peak oil mindset for several years longer than KMO has. They discuss peak oil's short-comings as both a cult and a predictive model. There is much personal history involved in this discussion, but hopefully not too much information for listeners' tastes.
KMO has been listening to learned guests articulate the Peak Oil worldview for the past decade. He still considers it a serious topic which needs to be taken into account, but the people who articulate the collapse worldview seem not to be following other trends that will shape how humans inhabit the landscape and make a living in the future, and his faith is clearly faltering. Christopher Harrison returns to the Vault to remind KMO of the Peak Oil fundamentals and lay out the hard facts about the unsustainability of our current living arrangements.