Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Limits to Growth

When I see 2.999 on the gas station sign, I can feel the 3-dollar barrier straining against the demands of capitalism. "Grow, grow, grow, you big, beautiful economy! Hang those who speak of less or just maintaining the current GDP!" Do people realize how fucking crazy capitalism is? Do you realize that WE CANNOT STOP GROWING? Do you realize that if we stop growing, the economy dies? How fucking stupid is that? Infinite growth requires infinite natural resources. We're going to discover the limits to growth very soon, and then we'll all have to wake up.

I used to feel guilty for wishing for economic collapse, but I figured out why I'm right to hope for its imminent arrival. It's very simple: The sooner the economy collapses, the sooner we all wake up to reality and get our shit together. And by "get our shit together," I mean re-organizing society in a manner and scale that don't require the massive, concentrated energy provided by fossil fuels. The longer we continue to sleepwalk, the worse the crash will be.

I don't know how many of you are familiar with this enviro-political perspective, but the Malthusian argument is making a big comeback. This is actually the moral of Urinetown, which ends with the cast exclaiming, "Hail, Malthus!" I wish I'd known about that when I saw it 5 years ago on Broadway with my parents. It took me a year-and-a-half to learn that lesson. Only when it was spelled out in stark, apocalyptic terms did the message sink in.

Unfortunately, the revelation was so overwhelming that I collapsed in on myself. I wish I hadn't been carrying so much emotional baggage when I discovered Peak Oil. It probably wouldn't have led to a nervous breakdown. But, as they say, the truth hurts. They also say the truth will set you free, and I've found that to be true as well. I wonder what will happen when the whole world figures this out. I think a lot of people are going to have to sort through their baggage like I have for the past 3 years (and will for a long time to come).

1 comment:

Walk | On | Red said...
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