The shortest day of the year is here and I am celebrating. The sun has come out after a few days of really bleak winter-like weather. Lots of rain and wind.
Happy Solstice to All
This has certainly been an interesting year. The political, government arena continues to be a real laughter. Now that Obama and the congress are both lame ducks and the Supreme Court is split on just about everything the three-ring circus that is the US government will continue to supply ample material for the comedians and late night hosts. Too bad Colbert picked this time to abandon ship.
Meanwhile world events continue to demonstrate the accelerating spiral down the tubes for humanity. There is so much it is impossible to keep track anymore. One thing is certain, just because something is no longer top-of-news in the media doesn't mean it has gone away. The European economic crises is still very much afoot. The situation in the Middle East-North Africa (MENA) has only gotten worse of late with the so-called Islamic State taking chunks of Syria and Iraq.
But wait! The price of oil is way down. That has to be a good thing, right? Oh yes. So American consumers, who are the main beneficiaries it seems, are going back to buying goods with their extra change. That will boost the economy back into growth mode. We're saved, and just in time for Xmas too!
All of the cheerleaders are out in force with the America is the new Saudi Arabia shouts. None of them has a clue about the nature of chaotic processes apparently. Sudden changes in price signals cannot be taken for anything other than an alarm. The current glut in US oil supplies is partly due to the frenetic drilling that is going on in the shale (tight oil) plays in Texas, North Dakota, etc. They have to keep drilling at this pace in order to keep the oil flowing because each well, after an initial huge burst of production, goes into decline rapidly and the total amount of oil you get out of it is quite a bit less than from a conventional well that costs considerably less to drill and pump. Moreover, the drilling doesn't always produce a great well. There are "sweet spots" on the landscape, places where the fracking produces good initial flows. But most of the holes don't perform that well, so it takes more hole to get the same amount of oil out.
All of that frenetic activity costs a lot of money (investment) and with the poor cash flow from poorly performing wells, that money has to come from outside sources. Hence all the hype you hear in the media about the oil "boom". By the end of this new year I expect the big story to be the devastation of the oil bust. All of the minor players, the wildcatters, will be forced out of the market and the big players will be restricting their drilling because they can see the writing on the wall.
Meanwhile oil consumption goes up because prices are down (Econ 101) and expectations for that lasting forever return to our short memoried populace. Already we hear stories of increase SUV sales and increases in miles driven per capita. Happy days are here again!
So what happens when you have a sharply declining supply and a sharply rising demand (Econ 101 again)? I expect a real shock to occur sometime in this next year. Right in the middle of a political battle of epic, nay Biblical, proportions. Couple all of these energy dynamics with the climate change issues and we have the promise of a real wild ride.
Chaotic systems that are being driven (forced) often undergo dramatic shifts, say from one attractor basin to another. The sign that such a shift is pending is sudden swings in some parameter, up and down. Such swings portend catastrophic changes, like a swarm of small earthquakes just before a major one. Look for it soon, coming to a planet near you.
Despite it all I am serenely pursuing my next project. Sales of the Principles book appear to be surprisingly robust, even in the Xmas shopping season. I have started reworking my Sapience working papers into a version tentatively called, "The Systems Approach to Understanding Mind", or something like that. My hope is to have a series of books taken from this very blog that all are of the theme, "The Systems Approach to ..." in which I apply the principles from the current book to a number of domains. After the sapience book I plan to start on one for the governance of socio-economic systems based on my sapient governance blog series.
The basic idea is to produce a series of books which show how the systems approach and systems thinking actually do apply to at least the analysis of complex social problems if not providing some clues to the solutions of those problems.
I hope you will have a reasonably peaceful winter, but if there is a lull in the action, please consider taking time to reflect on all of the forces that are conspiring to alter our lives radically. And take heed. Think about what you need to do personally to prepare and adapt. In the end that is all you can hope to accomplish.