The great advantage we have, our best chance for avoiding the fate of past societies, is that we know about those past societies. We can see how and why they went wrong. Homo sapiens has the information to know itself for what it is: an Ice Age hunter only half-evolved towards intelligence; clever but seldom wise. We are now at the stage when the Easter Islanders could still have halted the senseless cutting and carving, could have gathered the last trees’ seeds to plant out of reach of the rats. We have the tools and the means to share resources, clean up pollution, dispense basic health care and birth control, set economic limits in line with natural ones. If we don’t do these things now, while we prosper, we will never be able to do them when times get hard. Our fate will twist out of our hands. And this new century will not grow very old before we enter an age of chaos and collapse that will dwarf all the dark ages in our past.
The Diebold presidente here, Felipe Calderón, proposes to privatize the national oil company, Pemex. The elected but excluded actual presidente, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, with his pot-bagging street crowds, controls enough of the national assembly to thwart that move, but the seriousness of the proposal exemplifies the degree of official desperation. The largest single source of both national exports and government tax revenues is the state-owned oil and gas resource, which is in production free-fall after desperate attempts at tertiary recovery using nitrogen injection and lateral drilling. Mexico is the US’s third largest supplier, in case we had forgotten.