More Sex, Drugs and Peak Oil

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
more sex drugs and peak oil

San Francisco columnist Mark Morford has a round-up of doom and gloom on the energy front. After six paragraphs spent telling us that gas prices are high, staying high and might go higher– with enough links to build a good size fence– Morford finally gets down to the business of entertainment. Here's what the high energy future looks like to a man whose official bio proclaims that he writes about "politics, pop culture, sex, music, design, a wry and punch-drunk universe, vibrators, scotch, media, spirituality and small European cars. And sometimes, genital grooming." Got it? Right… "Carpooling will soar. People will walk, bike, scooter, take the bus, work shorter weeks, stroll and amble and hum a merry tune, reacquaint themselves with the neighborhood, telecommute, vacation locally, have more phone sex. They will shop locally to avoid skyrocketing shipping prices, buy less plastic, recycle. The era of cheap oil that enabled hideous urban sprawl will now quite possibly flip over and begin to enable the exact reverse … whatever that is." That's about it for the good bits. The rest is your boilerplate Big Oil Bush-bashing fear-mongering tripe. Still, was it as good for you as it was for me?

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  • Geeber Geeber on Jun 09, 2008
    golden2husky: In NYC under Mr. Guiliani, the police used a tough shake down tactic in “the hoods”. Basically by profiling who the saw, they figured the odds would be better at nabbing drug dealers, illegal guns, etc. And by the numbers, that was true. However, the large majority of those who were knocked to the ground with the officer’s knee in the back had nothing illegal on them at all, but they fit the “profile” - baggy pants, black, young, wrong place, late nite, etc. New York City under Mayor Guliani also saw a big drop in crime. Talk to people about their "anger" over this issue and you'll discover that one big problem is that the people being caught puncture the myths they use to comfort themselves (government overreports minority crime; the big danger facing minorities is white racism or the Klan, not members of their own community, etc.). golden2husky: The old school days of immigrants and poverty went like this - parents arrive, live in squalor amongst themselves, work very long and hard for a pittance, are taken advantage of, have kids, instill ethics and values, and these kids are the ones who do remarkably well. Today, it does not work that way anymore. Maybe one reason it doesn't work this way anymore is because what we call the "safety net" has really become "a way of life" for a relatively large group of people in urban (and, to be fair, rural) areas, and it doesn't encourage people to better themselves or take responsibility for their children.
  • Shiney Shiney on Jun 09, 2008
    "Their social safety net has created high unemployment and permanently underclass people who are just as hungry and in need of medical care as our poor. They are just less likely to rise out of it." Actually, that's no longer true. From the PEW Trust Economic Mobility Project: “Americans are particularly optimistic about their chances of moving up the economic ladder,” said Isaacs. “However, a growing number of studies show that when compared to other industrialized nations, the United States stands out as having less, not more, economic mobility.” In particular, 42 percent of sons born into the bottom income quintile stay there as adults, compared to 25 percent in Denmark, 28 percent in Norway and 30 percent in the United Kingdom. Moreover, it takes an average of six generations for family economic advantages to disappear in the United States, compared to three generations for Canada, signaling higher mobility in Canada. It is important to note when making such cross-country comparisons, that Americans may have farther to climb to get to the next rung on the ladder than their European counterparts due to increasing levels of inequality in the United States." That said, I moved out a pretentiously nice suburban community to a somewhat iffy in-city neighborhood about 5 years ago and would never go back. Its closer to everything, more interesting, and my neighbors never complain about the sights and sounds of me working on cars.
  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Jun 09, 2008

    Right. We have more rungs on our ladders than they do. We knew that. How much are they paying the scholars to tell us that? Seriously, I have lived in Canada. I know better. Very, very, very few people were rising above the middle class by working at a job. The reason was taxes. Furthermore, their rich folks were all spending a huge amount of effort hiding wealth and income. There was actually a lot of wealth disparity that was not apparent as income disparity. I met more people in Canada that had wealth and property stashed outside the country than I have ever known in the US. Tax evasion was sport. Their immigrants mostly had graduate degrees! It's the only place I have ever been where the guy working the counter at a restaraunt or store was likely to be better educated than I am. The poor could certainly rise up to middle class, but that didn't look like it does to us here. Their middle class lived in pretty tiny houses, condo's and apartments. Aside from them being more nicely kept, they otherwise looked like parts of town in the US where people don't go at night. I could go on and on, but I can tell you from experience that it's a bad comparison.

  • Geeber Geeber on Jun 10, 2008
    shiney: Moreover, it takes an average of six generations for family economic advantages to disappear in the United States, compared to three generations for Canada, signaling higher mobility in Canada. Not necessarily. It could also signal that Americans do a better job of managing and protecting their wealth over generations. Just because other families manage their wealth properly doesn't necessarily mean that other, poorer families are at a disadvantage. Total wealth isn't a zero-sum game (where the pie is set at a fixed amount, with everyone clamoring for a share of a static pie); a healthy economy grows the total pie.