There’s nothing intrinsically strange or difficult about autarchy. It simply means self-government. We are used to the idea of Government – it’s one of those things that Other People do, on our behalf, for our own good, paid by our taxes. But government is enormously burdensome and expensive. It requires a huge task-force to implement. It is oil-hungry, and it may be one of the early failures when oil becomes scarce. Tax-collection and law-and-order are the life-blood of a system. If they falter, and fail – then what have the citizenry to do? What moral and practical system have the people got to help them survive the chaos?
If oil gets so expensive that the ordinary woman and man cannot do their normal work, cannot get to the office or the factory, cannot pay their tax, cannot leave their house to shop or work or visit – then we have a major break-down. The rules that have hitherto applied, may no longer be enforced . The requirement to pay a tax to the central system may no longer be possible. A new and different system of dues, and duty, and payment will have to be established. How we organize our labour, dispense justice, and regulate our social lives in an era of possibly violent transition – will be one of the subjects of this journal.
How to be self-sufficient – how to look after ourselves and our families and our community of young and old and sick when the state-system can no longer provide for us – is the central theme running through this journal.
What is the gun doing there? Is this a ‘PeakOil doomer site’?
Well yes and no. Yes that’s a gun. It has been buried beneath a load of junk since we moved from Ireland nearly ten years ago. It belonged to my wife’s grandfather, an old IRA supporter in the ’20’s. We brought it to France as a family ‘heirloom’ – a curiosity from a distant past. I dug it up again the other day because it seemed to me to be a possible element in my future. Suddenly it dawned on me that I might need to defend myself, or my wife, or our food-supply. That if I followed the logic of what I was reading – then the future was not necessarily going to be a peaceable ‘hippy-type’ scenario. The interim future might in fact be messy and violent.
If I am capable of thinking the unthinkable, then I might have to imagine doing the unimaginable. The idea of putting up barbed-wire to protect my carrots is one thing: the possibility that I might have to defend my chickens with a warning blast from a gun that has no sights and hasn’t been fired in a hundred years . . .
This journal will be an irregular account of my preparations for an unprecedented upheaval of our western society. It is based on my belief that there will be a collapse in both the supply of affordable fuel, and in the financial system. I’m hoping that there’s about five years left to make the transition from Prince to Frog. The Prince is how I have been living this last 50 years, with cheap oil doing the work of dozens of servants. The Frog is the shape of my future, much-reduced and circumscribed. I will be able to depend on no-one but myself and my family.
Les etapes de mon preparation au cas ou on va subir une degradatioin majeure de notre societe. Fioule et systeme economique. A ce moment je vis comme un prince, et mes servants sont les barrils de petrole. Sans eux je deviens une grenouille. Avec un bassin et quelques mouches – je me debrouille.
The ‘five years’ is quite arbitrary – the crash could catch me with my pants half-down, and my new nobbly skin not quite in place. Now if I choose to put my trust in the latest set of figures from the UK Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform [BERR] here:
then everything will be all right. They assure me that oil will cost 85 dollars a barrel in a year or so.
But if I put my trust in the experts at TheOilDrum.com – then all is not well. Oil costs nearly 150 dollars a barrel already. And the rate of flow is not keeping up with demand. It’s fairly simple: a planet over-loaded with people all wanting a better life is finding it harder and harder to meet its fuel demands. If we can’t stop the population explosion and we can’t pump more oil – then we have a crash.