Gulf Oil Disaster Is Latest Wake-Up Call — We Must Reform Our Oligarchic Money Driven System

An interesting article in The Oil Drum, “Renewables to the rescue?”, reports that, “fossil fuels (oil, natural gas and coal) accounted for 87.5% of the energy we used. Wind, solar and geothermal combined accounted for 0.4%.”

Modern civilization depends on cheap and plentiful energy, and it is astonishing the amount of fossil fuels that is burned up every day to keep our way of life going.  If we keep burning them up, someday, the world will run out of fossil fuels.  There is a finite supply.  And before these fuels are exhausted, it seems clear there will be the nightmare phenomena of “peak oil” and “peak coal” that will radicalize markets, economies and nations.  And this could be within ten years.

From "The Oil Drum"

The depressing news from the Gulf oil disaster adds to my growing pessimism. I’m sad that the children of today are likely to have a crummy future.  The world seems headed for great turmoil, not in some distant time, within the near future — within 20 years, or sooner. And, our system seems without the capacity to deal with challenges.

This oil disaster in the Gulf and the financial system meltdown remind us that the big disasters we should most fear are all man made.  It seems clear that these ecological and financial disasters could have been avoided — if our democracy that was operating to protect and advance the common good.  If, in other words, ours was a successful democracy.

The truth is, our failure to respond adequately to the challenges of our day is not the failure of a vital democracy, but the failure of a money directed oligarchy.  How much worse must it get, before the corruption of our system is seen as the root cause of much of our problems and before the vitalization of our democracy becomes a central issue?

I like this quote from Thomas Friedman“The standard answer is that we need better leaders. The real answer is that we need better citizens. We need citizens who will convey to their leaders that they are ready to sacrifice, even pay, yes, higher taxes, and will not punish politicians who ask them to do the hard things. Otherwise, folks, we’re in trouble. A great power that can only produce suboptimal responses to its biggest challenges will, in time, fade from being a great power.”

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