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Olduvai III: Catacylsm
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Has the World Gone Mad?

Understanding the crisis in Ukraine from a peak resource perspective

No, this war is not (just) about getting Ukraine’s resources. Other political ambitions aside, this one is more about the rest of Europe loosing its energy carriers, together with its political power — and stability.

It is no wonder that we use the same word — power — to describe both the use of political force and the rate of energy transfer. It’s almost an axiom, that the more energy (and other mineral resources) a nation has, the more political power it possesses over its neighbors. It is also important note, that power is relative: you don’t need to have all the energy of the galaxy at your fingertips — it’s enough to have a little more than the next country in the row.

In an abundant and growing world (i.e. between 1950 and 1970) this was of little concern. Each and every country had enough —i.e.: enough to generate as much energy and turn up as much minerals and food they need, with headroom to grow — so no one was really bothered to run down their neighbors. Of course this was rarely the case and thus the post WWII years can now be safely considered the biggest anomaly in human history. In ages of discontinuity however, like the one we live through these years, the role of energy is hard to underrate.

Yet, our political leaders and economic pundits would still like to believe that we are in the 80’s and 90’s, the roaring decades of globalization with an ever increasing number of cargo ships criss-crossing the planet’s oceans… Where every international issue and local shortage could be resolved by trade deals or embargoes. What we are witnessing at the moment however, is a dissolution of this idea — together with the myth of infinite replaceability and the effectiveness of sanctions.

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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