We may be witnessing the beginning of the end of free-market global capitalism. despite political assurances to the contrary - of business as usual - and their ongoing blind pursuit of Free-Trade Agreements (China, India, the USA?) the signs are all around us that the system is falling apart under the twin pressures of peak oil and climate change. In New Zealand last winter, fruit and vegetable prices reached unprecedented levels due to the earlier Queensland flood and the cost of air freight. Unable to compete with the Queensland growers in earlier, better times, New Zealand growers has ceased production, and in the absence of their product, demand has vastly outstripped supply. The same has happened with other foods, so that low-income New Zealand families were unable to properly feed themselves.
ll of this has happened over the last 20 years because we have allowed ourselves to be lulled into being consumers rather than producers, buying our commodities and luxuries from far away and supported in this by the cheap price of oil. At the same time that we have used cheap oil to fuel (no pun intended) our export drive to sell our own commodities and produce far overseas where prices are higher and profits bigger. In this, we have also condemned poor New Zealanders to pay high export prices for domestic products that we produce here in profusion - milk, cheese, lamb etc.
These prices and the economy on which they are built are completely dependent on cheap fossil fuel and on a stable global climate. When either of these two things change (as they now appear to be doing) the price of food increases. As we run out of oil and as the climate change progresses, the world food system is becoming increasingly unstable and unsustainable - the 2012 drought in the United States is a case in point..
This critical analysis examines the intersection of these two variables and suggests that we may not have much longer to prepare for the coming collapse. To download the PDF CLICK HERE
To view a related piece on the impact of peak oil, climate change and food scarcity on housing patterns see: Housing For the Coming Crises, and download it here