Friday, February 20, 2009

Addicted To Oil. Recovery?

"America is addicted to oil," said the oil guy in 2006.  For twenty years (1981-2000), this truism was only stated openly by a few contrarian souls lingering from the 1970's. But here it was again, and in the State of the Union Address. There may or may not be an "economic recovery," depending on umpteen things (including climate change), but if recovery means something other than economic growth, there will likely be one. The USA (chiefly the State, but also corporations, and the People) can't forever mainline petroleum, plastics, and petrodollars; eventually there will be a recovery in the AA sense: the fossil fuel addict will go through the agonies of withdrawal from economic growth and the raw materials that drive it, especially oil. This is still something which the Beautiful People do not talk about. There are alternatives, but they remain neglected because the whole issue is treated as toxic, intolerable like talk of AIDS, or aging, or death. Better, it is what sex was to the Victorians: a dangerous contagion, the mention of which marked a person as coarse. In America since 1981, there are certain facts one generally does not discuss, e.g., infinite growth on a finite planet is omnicidal. Someday soon, maybe a State of the Union Address will include that sentence.

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