Thursday, September 2, 2010

Peak oil: 'mass upheaval within 15 to 30 years'

German military report: Peak oil could lead to collapse of democracy
Raw Story: Peak oil has happened or will happen some time around this year, and its consequences could threaten the continued survival of democratic governments, says a secret German military report that was leaked online.

According to Der Spiegel, the report from a think-tank inside the German military warns that shrinking global oil supplies will threaten the world's economic foundations and possibly lead to mass-scale upheaval within the next 15 to 30 years.

International trade would suffer as the cost of transporting goods across oceans would soar, resulting in 'shortages in the supply of vital goods,' the report states. The result would be the collapse of the industrial supply chain. 'In the medium term the global economic system and every market-oriented national economy would collapse.'...

Public anger at the existing system would create 'room for ideological and extremist alternatives to existing forms of government.' Populations would fragment along political lines and 'in extreme cases' this could 'lead to open conflict.'...

With the report, Germany joins the growing ranks of Western governments apparently alarmed by the prospect of peak oil... The UK government is reportedly canvassing scientists and industrialists for their advice on how to built a contingency plan for peak oil. And earlier this year, a report from the US Joint Forces Command stated that 'by 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear.'

Der Spiegel: The study is a product of the Future Analysis department of the Bundeswehr Transformation Center... It warns of shifts in the global balance of power, of the formation of new relationships based on interdependency, of a decline in the importance of the western industrial nations, of the 'total collapse of the markets' and of serious political and economic crises... Central points:
  • Oil will determine power
  • Increasing importance of oil exporters
  • Politics in place of the market
  • Market failures
  • Relapse into planned economy
  • Global chain reaction
  • Crisis of political legitimacy
Image source here.