08 December 2008

Thoughts on Oil and Finance and the Future

I was looking back through my posts over the past year and had to laugh a bit at the amount of coverage the oil spike this summer saw vs. coverage of the financial crash and the resulting problems with that. Neither issue has resulted in anything good and the oil spike is a big part of the trigger that started everything that has happened up until now.

I'm still convinced that we are near the max production rates of a lot of things in our civilization and our ecosystem and to add any more population or growth to the whole thing is going start to make things worse, not better. The oil thing is going to get crazy - big ups, big downs in the price and availability until we can wean off of the stuff, somehow. We have to really start thinking about making an effort to do things smarter. We are capable of many great things in very creative and flexible ways; it's unfortunate that the thing that motivates us to take action collectively in the quickest fashion is fear.

What baffles me most about the past six months is not that oil has come back down in price with the slowdown of the economy and the lowering of general demand, but how low how quickly the price has gone down. Is it even possible that before the spike we were paying more than we are now? Has the economic situation already gotten that bad this quickly that the prices are adjusting accurately, or have speculators taken control of the bottom of this price slide too? It's all head-spinning.

It's also true there are no winners in this current situation. As much as I'd still like to buy a house this year with the market softening, most of my marvellous downpayment was dependent on investments that aren't so marvellous anymore. I may be thankful that I didn't buy in the Calgary market in the past couple of years, but it's quite likely I won't be able to buy in the next two either.

Despite it all, I sure do lead a pretty privileged life. There's no doubt about that. I read a story today about life in the shanytowns of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and how this might be a situation that is going to get more more prevalent and commonplace around the world. Very scary and sad. Abidjan was a place that held so much promise when times were good in the 1980s and has very quickly become an economic and environmental nightmare with the capitalists and Western civic and political leaders pulling out and leaving the local and indigenous populations to fend for themselves. So many unemployed men with nothing to do.

My main resolution in 2009 is to change my attitude to the more positive and uplifting one. It may or may not do anything good, but happy and optimistic is always better than sad and pessimistic, despite what reality throws and you (and what you interpret that reality to be).

That's it for now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's the spirit! Lift up your heart: We still live on a beautiful planet with many mysteries to unravel.