What are the options for a low-energy-surplus future?
1. Hierarchal approach: Some smart government gambles on researching a secret, subsidized fusion/hydrogen cell program. Then, as the rest of the world becomes more and more desperate for energy, they can control the backbone of the global economy. Hmmm... sounds a bit like US foreign policy? The ramifications: well, we're seeing it already. Insurgents in Iraq (despite the spotty news coverage) are focusing their attacks on infrastructure (namely oil and electricity, also water). And it's succeeding. Did you know that despite pumping 1.8 million barrels a day out of the ground, Iraq is actually importing oil from Saudi Arabia? This kind of attack will spread because they create far greater return-on-investment than do real terrorism (as opposed to the newmedia use of the word "terrorism"). If al-Qa'ida is smart, we'll see the same thing happen in Saudi Arabia in the near future--probably kicked off by coordinated attacks on the Ghwar Superfield. And if ELF & the Primitivists are smart, they'll bring this crusade home to the US... (see Global Guerrillas)
2. Rhizome approach: If you buy my arguments in "A Theory of Power", then we need to spawn the formation of rhizome and ensure future civilization's compatibility with our genetic ontogeny (create an environment matching what we are genetically optimized to live in). From an energy perspective, this means single point production and consumption of energy, most practically in the form of Passive Solar... pioneers are already demonstrating that this is possible, but it has this nasty tendency to get in the way of corporations' need to centralize, stratify and profit...
3. 'Do-Nothing... the Rapture is coming anyway' approach: Pretty self-explanatory? Well, for those of us not sucked up the chute to heaven, this could get pretty ugly. We'll turn increasingly to coal as we try to salvage our failing global economy. That will kick global warning into overdrive (regardless of people who still think it's a left-wing conspiracy. Yes, they really exist, and not just on Fox!). Basically, we'll see the prophecy of James Madison come to fruition:
What becomes of the surplus of human life? It is either, 1st. destroyed by
infanticide, as among the Chinese and Lacedemonians; or 2d. it is stifled or
starved, as among other nations whose population is commensurate to its food; or
3d. it is consumed by wars and endemic diseases; or 4th. it overflows, by
emigration, to places where a surplus of food is attainable."-- James Madison,
The window of opportunity to "choose" one path over the other is fast closing...