Nature suckered us in with temporary abundance; a condition that we misconstrued as permanent…
The Set Up
Enabled by abundant and inexpensive domestic nonrenewable natural resources (NNRs)—fossil fuels, metals, and nonmetallic minerals—times were SO GOOD for Americans between the inception of our industrial revolution and the middle of the 20th century, that we came to believe that our domestic NNR supplies were unlimited and that our resulting prosperity was permanent.
This belief—formally articulated by our mantra “every American generation will have it better than the last”—became so firmly ingrained in our culture that we promised ourselves and our descendents the “American way of life”—continuously improving material living standards for our ever-expanding population—to be enabled by our “unlimited” NNRs.
Unfortunately, NNR supplies are not unlimited; they are finite and non-replenishing. And, by the mid/late 20th century, domestically available, economically viable supplies associated with the vast majority of the NNRs that enable our industrialized existence had become scarce, and were no longer sufficient to fulfill the promises made by our ancestors during the era of American NNR abundance.
In response to ever-increasing domestic NNR scarcity, we relied increasingly on foreign subsidization in the form of imported NNRs, imported goods and services, and imported credit, in order to perpetuate our American way of life through the mid/late 20th century and into the 21st century.
Today, as a consequence of living increasingly beyond our means over the past 150 years, both economically and ecologically, we are now “rolling over” in terms of our societal well being level—i.e., our American way of life is entering a state of terminal decline.
Read’em and Weep
Because NNRs are now becoming increasingly scarce globally as well as domestically, we in the US can no longer perpetuate our American way of life through imported NNRs, imported NNR-derived products and services, and imported credit.
We no longer possess adequate real wealth to offer in return for these imports, and the rest of the world is becoming increasingly unwilling to accept our unrepayable debt and continuously devaluing currency in exchange for their real wealth.
America is Nature’s greatest con to date because virtually nobody in America currently understands that we have been conned. We continue to believe unquestioningly that perceived “structural flaws in the American economy” can be “fixed” through “enlightened economic and political policies and programs”.
Regrettably, America’s predicament cannot be “fixed” through economic and political expedients, because the underlying cause associated with our predicament is ecological—ever-increasing NNR scarcity—it is not economic or political.
Most regrettably, America’s predicament cannot be “fixed” at all, because we will never have access to “enough” economically viable NNRs—from domestic and imported sources combined—to enable us to deliver on the physically impossible promises made by our ancestors back when times were SO GOOD for Americans, temporarily.
Next sucker—the world…
For details and supporting evidence see “Scarcity—Humanity’s Final Chapter?”
Chris Clugston Bio
Since 2006, I have conducted extensive independent research into the area of “sustainability”, with a focus on nonrenewable natural resource (NNR) scarcity. NNRs are the fossil fuels, metals, and nonmetallic minerals that enable our modern industrial existence.
I have sought to quantify from a combined ecological and economic perspective the extent to which America and humanity are living unsustainably beyond our means, and to articulate the causes, magnitude, implications, and consequences associated with our “predicament”.
My previous work experience includes thirty years in the high technology electronics industry, primarily with information technology sector companies. I held management level positions in marketing, sales, finance, and M&A, prior to becoming a corporate chief executive and later a management consultant.
I received an AB/Political Science, Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Penn State University, and an MBA/Finance with High Distinction from Temple University. firstname.lastname@example.org