Global Squeeze Plays

Sadly, the graphs below have a similar pattern. In each case, the lines closing together coincide with increasing political unrest. There’s much more to the story from the resource shortage angle, but standard journalism is not designed to probe that deeply very often.

Graphs are from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. However, Gail Tverberg spotted the pattern in her blog.

In this region, Iraq and Libya are the best-known oil countries. However, Syria, Egypt, and Yemen have all had “some oil,” which is now declining. Each country has had rapid population growth, and now each one has water and food shortages.

While they lasted, oil exports allowed these governments to subsidize food, armaments, housing – and population growth. Now the party is over. In each country political unrest is sliding toward failed-state status. No matter who is “in control,” governments face the “Compression Issue:” how to keep the populace living well while using much less and preventing environmental degradation.

This takes much more social collaboration than these countries have been able to muster of late – maybe ever. In states of war, or near war, collaboration is hard to imagine, much less execute. In this region, the basic unit of survival is the family, extended family, or tribe. When other institutions fail, people trust only people like them; not governments; not corporations; and not people from far, far away.

Unfortunately, fragmented tribes are unable to do much on their own, so they turn on each other and squabble to control common infrastructure, or what’s left of it.

Where we do not live with clear ethnic tribal divisions, we invent our own. Creating trust where it is in short supply is the biggest human impediment to dealing with the Compression Issue, or our common human challenges of Compression.

Recent Posts:

The Influence of Neoliberalism Runs Deep

The Influence of Neoliberalism Runs Deep Better known in the United States as Libertarianism, neoliberal dogma began as simplistic assumptions in old quantitative economic models, before computers; later economists were not as constrained. Moneyed people glommed onto...

“Deep” Complexity

A graphic depiction of Gaia from Pixabay, showing that we are connected to each other, to our ecology, and to everything else. That everything in the entire universe, not just earth bound systems, all somehow link together.   Can We Understand Complexity or Only...

Covid-19 Complexity

This is one variation of Ouroboros, a snake eating its own tail -- doesn't recognize its own tail.. Here Ouroboros is also shown in the form of the universal symbol for infinity, signifying deep, hidden feedback connections that we might never be able to fathom with...

A Microbiomic Crisis

The Economy Critically Disrupts the Balance of Nature  Black Lives Matter demonstrations all over the world crowded Covid-19 out of the news, swelling into a pandemic of demonstrations in small towns as well as big cities on six continents. Triggered by the death of...

Planet of the Humans

Planet of the Humans, movie by Michael Moore and Jeff Gibbs Moore and Gibbs’ movie appears calculated to incite controversy. If so, they certainly roiled the environmental community. So far, it’s received little mainstream attention, and a few environmental activists...

Finding Our Real Reserves

Finding Our Real Reserves April 7, 2020  Covid-19 and its economic tailspin presage many more crises to come. We must change how we live and how we think. Our economic objectives have set us up for Covid-19, with more debacles on the way. What we have assumed to...

System Fragility

Above: Model of the Corona Virus. At Right: Diagram of our proper priorities: Earth first; us second; profit third. Or, should profit be no more than a systemic convention? Collapse Now and Avoid the Rush First in a Series “Collapse Now and Avoid the Rush” is a stock...

Legal Creep

  Legal Creep Or why we think there is no alternative to economic expansion A better sub-title for this essay with two book reviews might be “can we escape our self-deception that economic expansion is necessary?” Whether economic expansion is labeled capitalist...

Follow Us: