Here is a good piece in its entirety below, via @pdenlinger and written by @nelderini, critiquing “an America in thrall to its illusions, unable to respond meaningfully to the challenges of peak oil, climate change, and population.” Agree or not on any of the points, if you invest or follow climate, oil and energy policy developments, it is a thinking piece on the status quo.
As my regular readers know, I’ve spent much of this year contemplating big themes, like the long-term picture for energy, energy and monetary policy, black swans and the human penchant for valuing the present more than the future, the problems of complex systems like the energy-food-water nexus, sustainability, and the relationship between climate change and peak oil.
As this year draws to a close and I review my work, the biggest question that emerges is about why it is so incredibly difficult to reach people on these subjects.
It’s more than the usual culprits. Yes, the corporate media and the ad-supported business model are problems — like when I was called a “peak freak” on television and given no opportunity to respond to my opponent’s disinformation.
Yes, the overweening influence of corporate lobbyists has effectively neutralized policy and confused the public debate on our most serious problems. Yes, the capitalistic system favors short-term concentrated profits over long-term public good. And yes, the simple human preference for happy talk over sad stories plays a role in our denial.
The real problem is much more pervasive. Those actors cannot explain more fundamental questions:
Why has our economic theory failed us?
Why is the reality of climate change so hard to accept?
Why does climate change dominate public dialogue while the more proximate threat of peak oil remains far off the radar?
Why do we have such resistance to change?
Why would anyone ever think Dubai World was a good idea?
Why is talking about population control — arguably the only real way out of our predicament — taboo?
For over 40 years, our public dialogue has gotten progressively dumber and more polarized. The one “town hall meeting” I attended on health care was a horrifying display of tribal theater, with both sides screaming at the other and drowning out the elected official. It did not even remotely resemble intelligent discussion of issues.
Our news media have substituted entertainment for information and sponsor-endorsed opinion for neutral reportage, while the literacy of the public and the capacity for critical thought have progressively declined. Orwell, Huxley, Bradbury, Vonnegut, Chomsky, and a long line of others have decried it all along.
Yet it persists, and grows. Why? [Read more…] about Investing in an Empire of Illusion, by Chris Nelder