If you hang out on any of the peak oil forums or discussion groups for any length of time, you’ll run across doomers. These are the folks that believe that society is screwed, we’re too ignorant and too late to stop the tide of problems heading our way, and that it will all end in fire. Some of these folks seem to be salivating in anticipation of the societal collapse they believe is coming, and I’ve often wondered why. I myself am in the middle somewhere on the doomer/cornucopian continuum, believing that while we’ve definitely got major problems coming our way, I don’t believe that society is coming to an end in the next decade or two. Things will change radically, but the whole process will take decades to play out totally.
Doomers are often derided by their critics for either holding extreme leftist/anarchist beliefs, or for simply being “life’s losers” who are hoping for society to reshuffle it’s deck and give them a better hand. While some of those claims are undoubtedly true, I think that there’s more to the doomer psyche than that. I wonder how much the doomer philosophy is shaped be people’s desire (either concious or unconcious) to avoid what they see as a dystopian future shaped by global corporatism and industrial science run amok.
Here’s a short list of current and future trends that scare the hell out of me:
- Terminator’ seed technology that forces people to constantly go back to the seed companies for more product. Especially when it’s being proven that the ‘terminator’ gene can cross over and affect non-terminator seed crops in nieghboring fields.
- Genetically-Modified Organisms (aka ‘frankenfoods’) that insert genes from all sorts of wierd sources to ‘enhance’ food crops.
- Corporations’ efforts to patent as much genetic code (human, animal and vegetable) as they can.
- Cloning of animals for consumption. I don’t want to be a guinea pig for the biotech industry anymore than I already am, thank you very much.
- Chipping’ of live animals… the NAIS system with it’s imbedded RFID tags is being theorized as the precursor for doing the same thing for people.
- Water Privatization – forcing people to pay market rates for a staple of life that is becoming more precious as the world’s population continues to grow and the sources of untainted freshwater continue to dwindle.
There are plenty of other issues out there that people are getting nervous over. Feel free to add some in the comments section.
I wonder if some people’s fears that peak oil doesn’t mean the automatic death of the system is based more on unease over fears about a possible future of ‘clean, green facism’ (to steal a term from Kevin). It seems that many corporations see scientific research as a way to both maximize profits (via monoply, control of patents etc.) and to work around problems created by past ‘breakthroughs.’ The ‘green’ solutions that many coroporations are promoting are simply attempts to use different energy sources to power industry and society instead of trying to change the dominant paradigm of continually growing energy use along with more industrial/scientific kludges designed to keep all of us doing things the way we’ve always done them.
So, will we all be driving hybrids and loving life, or will be be killing our neighbors over the scraps of our current society, or will we simply be debt slaves paying through the nose for a few essentials and eating food that’s a combination between soylent green and frankenfood? Doomers seem to believe in option ‘B’ or ‘C’ for the most part. A future like that isn’t appetizing for me, and I certainly don’t want my kids living in a world like that; neither do a lot of other folks based on what I’ve seen online.
Are the doomers out there simply wishing for Armageddon to avoid hell on Earth?