Thursday, May 20, 2010

Collapse and Capital Destruction

There exists an element in the human psyche that relishes conspiracy, apocalypse, doom and gloom, the fear of the unknown, and so on.  For centuries people have theorized the end of human civilization.  Thomas Malthus has a reputation as having predicted human overpopulation of the earth.  More recently Paul Ehrlich wrote The Population Bomb.  Michael C. Ruppert is perhaps the most recent addition to the list of apocalyptic prophets.  He has written a book and is the subject of a recent film that predicts the end of civilization as we know it due to the collapse of oil production--peak oil.

A reader and commenter of this blog brought my attention to the film, Collapse, and since, I have been following Ruppert's blog.  Ruppert gave a lecture in Vermont last week and the video is now available online.  You may watch it below.  Ruppert's argument, in short, is that human civilization has grown in parallel to increasingly efficient uses of energy--wood to coal to petroleum.  Ruppert is convinced that we reached the peak of oil production in 2005-2006 and we're about to see a "cliff event" that will destroy the technological advances that have been made in the 20th and 21st centuries.  Imagine a world with a permanently low, and decreasing supply of oil.  It is a frightening thought.

I don't know enough about Peak Oil to make any real judgments about the merits of Ruppert's thesis.  So without judging the validity of his premise, his conclusion does seem very plausible--perhaps even frighteningly logical. 

The most important aspects of Ruppert's thesis doesn't necessarily hinge on Peak Oil itself, though I think he would disagree.  The reality of our age is that we demand everything now--infinite wealth and prosperity.  This sentiment has driven the dogma of Wall Street--wealth and profit at any expense.  At one point in his lecture Ruppert discusses Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs)--a scheme designed to profit on the financial ruin of governments and corporations.  This is a critical flaw in modern financial strategy--as it represents a momentous shift in man's desire for wealth.  Historically, the creation of wealth has required production--capital creation.  Our age now seeks wealth through capital destruction, not simply capital creation.  Ruppert even goes so far as to say that the real money is in capital destruction, though he uses different terms.  This is the true story of the ongoing financial collapse. 

The new Wall Street, combined with global fiat currencies, have created an environment ripe for the destruction of nations.  Nations are in trillions of dollars of debt, with shrinking tax bases.  The obvious implication is that there are a lot of people about to lose a lot of money.  The question is who will lose it?

Both The Crash Course and Michael Ruppert see Peak Oil as a critical piece in the financial ruin of the world.  If they are right about Peak Oil, we are in very dire straits indeed.  I encountered another blogger commenting on Ruppert's film and lecture in an entirely different realm today as well, indicating that these views are taking on a much wider audience--perhaps about to go mainstream.  In essence, this blogger is advocating civil disobedience because a collapse is coming and the government won't be able to do anything about your law breaking anyway.  This perspective is frightening, in that what happens if this view does go mainstream?  It is one thing to disobey an unjust law, it is another to disregard all law, as may happen if the nation begins to realize it is falling apart.

There are some concerning things happening in our world right now that are new to the western consciousness.  A friend on Facebook recently asked, "What happens to the nation whose God is not the Lord?"  The first response was "I think we're gonna find out."  I replied with Isaiah 1:7-9, though I could have said, we're already witnessing the consequences of idolatry in our nation and across the globe.

Doug Wilson said something very interesting today in an "Ask Doug" segment on Canon Wired.  He wants to write a book entitled, "Mere Christendom," dealing with the Prodigal Civilization.  He thinks "secularism is on its last legs", and wants to see "a return to a Christendom ideal."

The future is not ours to know, so I won't make any predictions, but I suggest you look at the evidence around you and prepare for hard times ahead.  But most importantly, pray for the world--that we all might repent of our sin and turn in faith to the Creator God.

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