Monday, August 25, 2008

August 25 Meeting: The Unholy Trinity Plus One: On Governing the End of the World as We Know It

Rupert Goetz and Marya Grambs

Click here to listen.

Prof. James Dator

“For years, I have been asking people in Hawaii to consider one of four "alternative futures" that I have constructed for them. Interestingly, the one that most people here tell me they like… Hawaii as a community frozen in time when things were about as good as they could be for most people living here--the late 1950s and early '60s.

How is it possible since all dominant forces are pushing for endlessly more of everything--tourists, hotels, big box stores, McMansions, and economic "growth" in general?

The answer may lie in what I call "The unholy trinity, plus one." I use the phrase to capture the combined influence of three processes that are often considered separately. Someone focusing on one is unlikely to pay attention to the other two. Indeed, solutions to the one are often expected from the other two. But, all three are in crisis together and must be viewed together--along with something else: the "plus one" in my title.

The unholy three are:

--"Peak Oil"--that we may in essence "run out" of oil before equally abundant and cheap energy sources come on line. And Hawaii is almost totally dependent on cheap oil for everything it does now.

--"Climate change" and all the other many environmental problems we have been neglecting, and making worse, for so long.

--And "global economic collapse" of the debt-driven Ponzi scheme we call an "economy."

Many of us expect the federal government to help solve these problems--by sending everyone $300 so we will go shopping and keep the economy going, or by investing in energy R&D. Yet, our Government can't help because of 20 years of bad-mouthing (neo-conservatism has convinced us that all government is bad), downsizing, privatizing, outsourcing, and debt, each of which were intended to drive nails into the coffin of effective government. Massive debt is the final nail. Our huge national debt was incurred on purpose. It is not an unfortunate consequence of policies. It is the intent of those policies to destroy effective government so as to leave everything up to private and not public forces-- of such profiteers as Blackwater, Battelle, Halliburton, et al.

Conclusion: It is far too late to prevent the consequences of the Unholy Trinity, Plus One. We can only deal with them, and thus look forward eagerly to Hawaii being the best little backwater on the planet. Many people say they want such a Hawaii. Now is our chance. We all must learn how to live with grace and purpose with far less energy and consumer goods.”