Monday, June 09, 2008

Converging structural problems

A very interesting news cycle this morning.

10 minutes on fuel prices, including Jim Kramer. The gist of the discussion was 'up supply' via opening up more drilling at home, and 'reduce demand' by driving less. While it is debatable exactly how much opening up more drilling at home would help - and it would almost certainly at least help a little, it was was more refreshing to hear it broken down into supply and demand finally. We so deeply wish there was a bad guy here - the mercenary oil companies, the big bad Saudis, the greenie weenies who won't let us disturb the caribou - but none of this seems to be the case. If we are indeed nearing a peak, this is what I would expect it to look like.

How high it can go is anybody's guess, but there must be some point at which demand destruction starts to set in seriously. 150$/brl and 5$ fuel? We'll see.

But that led into a whole discussion of the economic ramifications of such pricey fuel. And this is where it gets truly nerve-wracking. Higher fuel = higher inputs into EVERYTHING, higher shipping, higher production costs. And then there are the food costs which right now are being attributed to ethanol.

So the discussion that followed THAT one was how to save money during tight times. Which is the right thing for individuals to do, but which also will drag this whole thing out even longer.

Meanwhile, the housing crunch is still on, with the credit crises rippling through finance.

Going on Strauss and Howe, we should expect a 4T to feature structural problem reaching a tipping point. And here we seem to have that happening. In tandem with that, we would also expect the public mood to change - and rather suddenly. It seems weeks ago, that this same Kramer was saying there would be no housing crunch and that the economy was fine with all his usual gusto. Further, Obama rocketing through the Democratic party completely catching the old guard completely off guard fits the model too.

Interesting times.

2 comments:

Cheryl said...

Sorry, this isn't a comment about your post but I found an article by you on your website that I would like to use. Apparently your contact information is no longer valid and the University of Evansville could not tell me how to contact you. I want to use the following article:

1999 “Towards a Sociological Theory of Authenticity.” Presented at the annual meetings of the Midwestern Sociological Society.

mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.