Thursday, February 25, 2010

ar: Economic Decline, security - the rise of Imperialism?

Sharon Astyk at Casaubon's Book mentioned an astute gentleman, John Michael Greer, who writes the Archdruid Report. Today Mr. Greer writes on a continuing topic, descent of the United States and the rest of the world to "Third World" economy and lifestyle. Only his picture isn't bleak for the citizenry, only the industrial magnates.

One issue that flows, for me, from Greer's reference to Gandhi's economics and Schumachers, is national security.

One aspect of declining fortunes of the GNP type bothers me. National security. Larger nations are attacked relatively less often, because they field bigger armies. When the Gandhi plan, though, the reduction in centralizing monetary resources implies more difficulty in maintaining a national defense. We have the Interstate Highway system with a defense shield for a symbol, because in his Army days Dwight Eisenhower formulated a response to the need for moving people and material to meet security needs.

Militaries are energy profligate. Energy, and especially oil, was a central strategic barrier and goal of all parties in WWII. I expect no less, militarily, as supplies of oil dwindle. Hungry people are ripe for exploitation by unscrupulous wealth. I might posit that the decline of the British Empire was brougth about by the rise of cheap energy. It follows then - what prevents the decline of cheap energy from reverting to an imperial form, merely to control security by taking direct control over distance threats? Today's industrial concentration of wealth provides monetary levers to collectively manage adventurers and despots. But what happens as those levers fail?

Wars are fought to put money in someone's pockets. Today, cheap energy fuels potent militaries that make battle inefficient, even among relatively smaller antagonists. When expensive energy again makes war profitable, what means, other than assimilation - empire - will provide security from external threat?

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