In recent years, oil and natural gas have been added to the energy mix. All of these fossil fuels have helped increase the amount of food produced and the quantity of manufacturing done, and thus, economic growth.
• Higher expenditures, because there are more unemployed people
• Need for stimulus funds, to try to increase employment
• Need for funds to bail out banks and insurance companies
Government debt (in red) tends to increase rapidly, but not rapidly enough to keep total debt rising the way it was prior to hitting growth limits. (Government debt in red is added to the private debt in blue, to produce the total debt.)
If a bad recession occurs, almost every business, charity, and church congregation will be in similar circumstances. If sales or donations decrease, they will need to choose between laying off staff or defaulting on debt. Banks and insurance companies are likely to be faced with a large number of debt defaults. It is not clear that these debt defaults will necessarily result in evictions–it wouldn’t work for banks to own a large number of houses, and have people out on the streets.
There is no real solution to our predicament. Even if a cheap liquid fuel could be found in abundance tomorrow, at most what it would do would be move the problem down the road a little way. Population would continue to grow. Pollution would become a greater and greater issue. We would have more problems with fresh water. We would likely come to another limit, in not too many years.
What should we do individually? One possible remedy is to keep some water and food on hand, in case of temporary unavailability. This can work for a short time, but it is really not feasible to store, say, 20 years worth of food and water.
I think that we should plan as if electricity may someday may not be available, or may be available only intermittently, because all of the various systems (financial, oil, electricity) are closely connected, so a disruption in one system may affect other systems. It is good to plan for windows that open, and non-electrical approaches for key business functions.