Dematerialism and Peak Oil

Since all rational political thought is driven by population explosion and the rapid exhaustion of underground energy reserves, my book has become more timely and, as events unfold, may soon be replaced by a better book written by a more distinguished person advocating the ideas presented in On the Preservation of Species or better ideas.  I am not holding my breath however.  It seems that most environmentalists and conservationists choose to ignore the certainty of continued consumption and waste inherent in capitalism and American-style political-economic systems; whereas the communists and anarchists either are not aware of the  population explosion and rapidly dwindling natural resources, e.g., petroleum, or choose not to emphasize this catastrophe, which is already upon us, thus making their arguments much less compelling.  

See “Energy in a Natural Economy” for a simple little study to estimate how much of our energy budget must be charged to the capitalist system itself, that is, how much energy is consumed dividing up the pie without providing one single thing we need to live.  Clearly, this much could be saved by switching to a planned economy or, better yet, a natural economy.   In a planned economy, people tell central planning how they will be spending their emergy certificates (apportioned equitable if not equally among the members of the community or all of society) and central planning notifies individual enterprises that supplies these needs of the likely production they will have to meet. Hopefully, over a large number of people, the differences between expected needs and actual needs as they occur balances out.  In a natural economy, people notify the enterprises directly of their anticipated needs.  Alternatively, each enterprise estimates its expected production demands according to last year's seasonally adjusted demands.  

In any case, people order goods and services directly from the principal providers.  They are delivered by specialists in the most efficient manner possible somewhat as United Parcel Service does in the capitalistic setting.  Clearly, such transportation specialists will spend much less energy delivering everything that has been ordered during the last delivery period, probably one day, to everyone along its route than the individual consumers would have spent picking up the products individually.  In the natural economy, there is no bookkeeping, no accounting even for emergy, and no payments of any kind.  This is the sort of thing that evolves from a planned economy after nearly everyone who doesn't grasp the fact that he ought to consume as little as possible is no longer an active participant.

Please look at some of these links to grasp the seriousness of the world situation:  Richard Heinberg’s Home Page by the late Mike Neligh

Let us suppose, then, that the reader understands the seriousness of the world situation.  Let us begin to evaluate our alternatives:  We can continue doing what we have been doing and leave our comeuppance to Nature.  We can try to save ourselves and our loved ones and the devil take the hindermost.  Or we can try to change the world so as to ensure the survival and happiness of all of humanity and other species of plants and animals as well – at least the avoidance of unbearable misery.  Admittedly, there are intermediate choices worth considering, but I see no reason why all of humanity (and such other species as we can account for) cannot be saved if anyone can be saved.  Certainly, a small elite (even a large elite) trying to save itself at the expense of the rest would face very strong opposition.

I now wish to present an extremely conservative proposition, namely, that all of us should embrace communism and anarchism according to the principles of dematerialism.  [Dematerialism can be thought of as a path from fascism to libertarian communism.]  This is the only way that I have ever heard of or that I can imagine in the furthest reaches of my imagination for all of us to survive Peak Oil and all that follows from Peak Oil without unbearable misery.  I think you will agree after you digest carefully all of the facts and all of the reasoning linked to this webpage in one way or another.  (I am under no illusions as to the inconvenience to myself associated with these reforms.  No one is more dependent upon the capitalist modes of production than am I.)  The ideas presented on this website do not require belief in astrology, astronomical conjunctions, UFOs, alien conspiracies, channeling, psychics, soothsayers, political parties, TV pundits, communication with angels, numerology, or cryptic literary revelations.  I hope that everything in the book, the essays, the articles, and the hyperlinked web pages can be verified directly by the reader.  We must think for ourselves.

The article, “Future Primitive” by John Zerzan, at, offers scientific evidence that the natural society discussed in On the Preservation of Species could be everything I have claimed for it and perhaps more.  Obviously, we can’t retrace history, but we can contrive to avoid the worst defects of agricultural society.  Clearly, the question of a return to a natural economy will require something like dematerialism as we cannot undo the effects of  language, agriculture, and civilization independently of such things.  Dematerialism is supposed to be a way to achieve a natural society without priests, kings, or bosses.  Richard Manning’s article “The Oil We Eat” corroborates Zerzan’s idea that, if we weren’t already in trouble when (as a species) we started talking, the beginning of agriculture and, with it, territoriality and property  marked the start of the principal evils in human society.  Undoubtedly, dematerialism is too soft on agriculture.  However, the abandonment of agriculture should not be necessary in a natural economy.  Most of us would make exceptionally inept hunter-gatherers.

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