I find it enervating to listen to economists trying to explain our circumstances without reference to resource constraints, as if resources were a separate topic. Krugman’s backing of Waxman-Markey carries some weight with me, but not as much as it would if he didn’t totally neglect resource constraints.
Some of the things Tidal has said in comments here fit in with this point of view; essentially driving the collapse of the Ponzi scheme is the fact that our ability to borrow from the future is now facing substantive limits which it did not face before. The key resource constrain is usually taken to be peak oil; CO2 emissions constraints function similarly.
I am looking to collect articles which tie the current economic disruption to resource and especially energy constraints. Here, from the Oil Drum, is an interesting one which manages to blame Richard Nixon for everything.
I don’t share the article’s extreme pessimism (or revolutionism?) about the future of capitalism; I think the system will limp along and eventually learn to live within limits. But perhaps my own expectations aren’t worth very much. Anyway I am not ready to talk about them at length.
I do share the article’s sense that resource constraints and especially energy resource constraints are related to the current crisis for reasons other than a mere coincidence in time. To read even Krugman or DeLong is to believe that the problems of the economy and the problems of its key resource are completely decoupled. It’s hard to find professional economists who make more sense than these guys and yet they aren’t making much sense at all.
To be fair, Krugman does seem to understand that oil is finite. It’s just that he doesn’t seem to think that’s very important, or relevant.
James Kunstler’s May 18 blog entry is also worth reading. (And don’t miss his eyesore of the month series if you are feeling sardonic!) But is there somebody convincingly arguing for a middle between collapse and “recovery”? Or is growth so hardwired that near-zero growth simply doesn’t happen.
I’m looking for other articles wherein resource constraints are tied to the economic prognosis without going into revolutionary or Kunstlerian postapocalyptic scenarios. Any ideas, anyone?
Note: I am not looking for ecological economics, Daley, Ayres, etc., unless and to the extent that they specifically tie their analyses to the recent economic disruptions and the prognosis.