Friday, October 19, 2007

oiling the wheels

In October 2001, the price of a barrel of petroleum was 19 dollars.

Yesterday it reached 90 dollars.

It hasn't even made the headlines. I'm looking at a few news websites. Yes, it's there, somewhere at the bottom. But that's because it hasn't translated to petrol prices yet, and because we haven't looked back to realize how far we've gone from the cliff edge.

Capitalism is all about playing the roadrunner. You're safe as long as you don't look down; just keep running, and the wind you'll make will help your fellow roadrunners to hover onwards. There are however moments when people look down. They can't help it. It's inevitable. Humans are curious creatures. Like the story of Lot's wife or Orpheus. They know it's not going to bring good but they look back. I wonder how close we are to the moment of sudden awareness - low-energy light bulb! - TING! - we've founded an entire civilization on the basis of a non-renewable energy source!! and it's not going to last much longer!! What are we going to do??

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