Coal production in Britain peaked in 1913. World War I began the very next year. This is also when the Reserve Currency status of the British Pound Sterling began to fade as the world began to prefer the US Dollar. This is also around the time that the Federal Reserve was created and the US went mostly off the gold standard.
Coal production in Britain decreased rapidly again in the late 1920s after coal miners went on strikes due to long hours and brutal work conditions. Only a few years later the world was sliding towards economic depression and another world war.
In 1971 US oil production came to a peak and began to decline. The following decade saw two energy crises and extreme economic stagflation. This is also the time when the US went off the gold standard completely.
In 1985 US oil production saw another small peak. The Savings & Loan crisis soon followed.
In 1987 oil production in the Soviet Union peaked and began to decline. By 1991, after political and economic collapse, the country became the Former Soviet Union.
In 1998 Argentine oil production peaked and began to decline. In 1999 the country experienced a violent economic and political collapse.
In 1999 UK North Sea oil production peaked and began a sharp decline. This was followed closely by the popping of the tech bubble, 9/11, a massive war for resources (oil) in Iraq and lots of money printing.
In 2005 global conventional crude oil production peaked (led by Mexico) and began to plateau. Since then we’ve seen a great recession, more resource wars, food price inflation, food riots, the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, The Bundy Ranch, the rise of Daesh (ISIS) and unprecedented amounts of money printing. At the height of the money printing The Federal Reserved printed more US Dollars in a period of 45 days than existed in 1980.
In 2015 US oil and natural gas production peaked and began to decline. If you’ve been following along here you can hazard a pretty good guess at what is coming our way in very short order.
Some say that our industrial civilization would fail to function without oil and other fossil fuels. That is true as far as it goes but leaves out one vital piece of information. Not only are fossil fuels required but they must be available in increasing amounts for our economic, political systems to remain healthy. When the available amount of fossil fuel stops going up (a plateau) or worse yet begins going down (a decline) the systems that support us begin to fail.
Some say that renewable sources of power can replace the role of fossil fuels in our industrial civilization. They couldn’t be further from the truth. The world consumes 54,400 TWh worth of oil every year. A typical wind turbine produces 0.006 TWh every year. Even if we tripled the output of the average turbine we’d still have to create so many wind farms that we’d run out of viable steel, lithium and copper long before the task were complete.
The industrial and high tech parts of our civilization are in decline. We must learn how to have civilization without all of the wondrous things that cheap oil and automation can provide. The economy is running out of fuel. Where will you be when it all comes crashing down?