Tuesday 29th April 2008 7:31 pm: Mad Max & the Palace State.
So what could we expect in a post peak oil, post-industrial overpopulated tribal world of conflict and poverty that is the future? Well, exactly that, perhaps.
I think Iraq is the model of the shape of things to come in most of the world. This makes sense to me, since they took away Saddam Hussein and swung him from a platform and in doing so killed the only leader capable of holding that country together, even though by brute force to a great extent.
However, there are rich people and they are not going to want to live in that kind of world. What's the point of beng rich if you have to drive around in an old beaten up pickup with a machine gun at the back like Mad Max or a paramilitary gang in the Congo? Not much point. They will need a 'Palace State' to be created to enjoy their wealth in safety away from the ravening hordes.
So, maybe we will have a playground area where the rich and the ruling classes will all live, a polluted production area where everything is made (China perhaps), some mining areas such as Southern Africa, Siberia, South America and Canada where commodities are obtained, the oil producers in the Middle East and then a kid of chaos area in the rest of the world, where the remainder of the 7 billion, 10 billion, 25 billion or 50 billion semi-starved poor of the world will live their Mad Max existence. In this situation, survival rates will probably be low and the world population could be less than it is now, especially without any good healthcare systems available or affordable.
Where would the playground area be? Somewhere surrounded by or bordered by oceans, nice climate, sun, sea, sand and the rest. Australia, New Zealand perhaps? Oh and plentiful water supplies. How about north America near to the great Lakes? Whichever areas are chosen would be heavily fortified against any outside interference. The playground areas of late, such as Dubai are difficult to sustain, in the desert but that partiular one may survive with oil wealth, perhaps. Monaco may still be there but it is in the middle of the future war-torn ethnic mix of Europe, which could present a big problem. Still, it could be heavily guarded.
Have you noticed how the Formula One Grand Prix races are gradually moving to the Middle East and Far East (Malaysia, China, Bahrain for instance)? This is one almost perfect illustration of this trend. The massive horseracing industry in Dubai is another.
Iraq as a model for all areas where commodities are mined is the correct one, I think. There will be massive social deprivation in these areas and the mines and oil fields will be guarded by military hired by the commodity consuming area(s). Outside those areas will be pollution and anarchy. China will have all the production facilities and be massively overcroded with cheap labour workers crammed together in a smog filled polluted environment, like Northern England in the late 19th Century, only much more extreme.
The post-industrial countries (the USA, Britain, most of Europe) will also be war zones. No longer able to compete for the supply of commodities, they will become Third World areas. Existing Third World countries will become Fourth World, never to get off the ground.
To anyone who disagrees, how do you see it then? The economics and resource allocations of the present world order simply don't add up, even without Peak Oil. Human life as we know it is simply unsustainable and the wealthy will at some point have to move to one heavily protected area of the world to enjoy the fruits of their wealth in relative safety.