Podcast: David Korowicz Part 3- On the Cusp of Collapse

Off the Microphones of David Korowicz, RE & Monsta

Aired on the Doomstead Diner on July 27, 2013

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On the Cusp of Collapse

Complexity, Energy, and the Globalised Economy

On the Cusp of Collapse

The systems on which we rely for our financial transactions, food, fuel and livelihoods are so inter-dependent that they are better regarded as facets of a single global system. Maintaining and operating this global system requires a lot of energy and, because the fixed costs of operating it are high, it is only cost-effective if it is run at near full capacity. As a result, if its throughput falls because less energy is available, it does not contract in a gentle, controllable manner. Instead it is subject to catastrophic collapse.

Fragments from a globalised economy

• The eruption of the EyjafjallajÖkull volcano in Iceland led to the shut- down of three BMW production lines in Germany, the cancellation of surgery in Dublin, job losses in Kenya, air passengers stranded worldwide and dire warnings about the effects the dislocations would have on some already strained economies.

• During the fuel depot blockades in the UK in 2000, the supermarkets’ just-in-time supply-chains broke down as shelves emptied and inventories vanished. Anxiety about the consequences rose to such an extent that the Home Secretary, Jack Straw, accused the blockading truckers of “threatening the lives of others and trying to put the whole of our economy and society at risk”.

• The collapse of Lehman Brothers helped precipitate a brief freeze in the financing of world trade as banks became afraid to accept other banks’ letters of credit. [1]

Download the full paper at DavidKorowicz.com

 

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