I.O.U.(S.A.)

In spite of all of the evidence on climate change and Peak Oil, many (if not most) people simply just continue to invoke the mantra, “They’ll think of something.”  No matter how many charts, how much logic, or how much data you give them, they still live in a ‘hopium’ world where Science Will Solve Everything.   It’s a bit annoying, especially for folks who have technical training, to live in a 400 ppm CO2 (and rising) world, and to hear that said at a party/bar/random event, or even at technical conferences.   People seem to blithely go about their business, thinking of the next sporting event, some new gadget, or new political news with almost no attention to those topics.

One reason this may not be conceptualized is that climate and oil are too abstract for some simple minded folks.   There is one topic, however, that due to its very nature, might be the first way to crowbar your way into getting people to think about a future that might not be so bright and shiny.  Yes, we are talking about MONEY.

Now, finance and finances can be pretty daunting, and good chunk of the folks in the financial world are folks who through the magic of survivorship bias think they they have a handle on financial reality.  In truth, they are only running one of the most massive Ponzi schemes ever, filled with concepts like ‘fractional reserve banking’, ‘fiat currency’, and the concept that money can buy anything, if the price offered is high enough.   For the record, you can make a lot of money on Wall Street.  Sure, you can invest in companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, and a host of other market darlings, but good luck sleeping with yourself at night (this will be another topic down the road).

One of the clearest presentations I’ve seen on the not-so-shiny future we’ll be heading for was done by the film I.O.U.S.A.  Now, although the film doesn’t address Peak Oil and climate change, it does bring up the serious multiple deficits (budget, savings, trade, and leadership) that exist in modern America.  One of the best things about this film is David M. Walker, the former U.S. Comptroller General.   He was essentially the government’s top green-eyeshade accountant, and is about as button-down as they come.  One of the key elements of the film is that given the multiple deficits we have, there is absolutely NO WAY we can ‘grow’ our way out of the problems we are in, and some tough measures are going to be required, or else we’ll be in a lot of trouble.

If you can’t get people to come around on Climate Change or Peak Oil, maybe talking about something they are familiar with on a daily basis is a good way to get them out of their zombie worldview.

I.O.U.S.A. is usually available from your local public library as a book, and as a documentary DVD.  You can also find it on some video sharing services, if you must.

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