Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Deflate or Inflate?

Recent economic events have the world and its people in turmoil. Credit markets have frozen. Factories have closed. Unemployment has risen. The new government to be installed in January of 2009 is considering solutions to these difficulties.

Basically, the purpose of this blog has been to ignite discussion and provoke thought by readers as to the cause of this world-wide problem and consider what we as individuals can do at this time. Generally, the theme of the blog thus far has been consideration of whether there is a common denominator to all these problems. The tentative conclusion presented is that, yes, there is a common thread. Nothing is static. Change is constant and knowledge always unfolding. We live in a finite world with ever-increasing demands on finite resources in that world.

Presently we deal with the problems generated by growth's demands for energy. Those energy demands have centered mainly on fossil fuels. Other sources of energy exist and will be tapped by the growing demand. How will that happen?

The Institute for 21st Century Energy is an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. A panel of the Institute, headed by none other than General James Jones has just issued its Transition Plan for Securing America's Energy Future. Notably, the preamble to that plan states:

Global demand (for energy) will increase by more than 50% between now and 2030 – and perhaps by as much as 30% here in the United States. We must develop new, affordable, diverse, and clean sources of energy that will underpin our nation's economy and keep us strong both at home and abroad. Our energy future must address growing shortfalls in infrastructure capacity and emerging environmental issues. . . . .And looking ahead, even the most optimistic among us must conclude that we are not well positioned to anticipate nor prepared to meet tomorrow's energy needs.

Everyone should click on the foregoing link of the Institute and go to the Plan. We are indeed at a defining moment in our existence. If our government and leadership simply continue the status quo, life on this planet will become most unenviable in the days to come. The punch line is a lack of preparation for that tomorrow. Chants of "drill baby drill" will not cure the problem. Conversion of food stuffs to fuel for machines will not cure the problem. Providing public funds to financial institutions to permit continued lending (hopefully to qualified borrowers) will work only for awhile. Providing public funding to the automobile industry will put off today's misery of joblessness for awhile.

Eventually, this additional printing of government paper results in that hidden tax on all of us that we know as "inflation". Only when we realize that the issue is finite resources, and the axiomatic changes this realization dictates, will the problem become susceptible of resolution. There are but two alternatives for mankind: Sustainable living (getting by with less and living more cooperatively in a sense of community and mutual self respect); or discovery of a "magic bullet".

Sadly, the basic nature of mankind will prevent realization of the first alternative, sustainable living. As to the discovery of magic bullets that rewrite the laws of physics as we know them, such an event is unlikely. Our basic nature, however, is not limited just to greed and avarice. Many of us also hold deep within ourselves the hope for the discovery of new knowledge that will provide new avenues to economic growth and eventually to the stars.


No comments: