International Man: The carbon hysteria extends far beyond oil and gas companies.
One overlooked area is household appliances.
Politicians are implementing increasingly stringent regulations for dishwashers, washing machines, and other appliances. There have even been reports of a desire to phase out gas stoves.
What’s your take on all of this?
Doug Casey: As Der Schwabenklaus of the World Economic Forum boldly said some years ago, “You’ll own nothing and be happy.” Economy, Society, and ... Buy New $11.95 (as of 01:30 UTC - Details)
The fact that a prominent figure could actually say that, promote the idea, and not be pilloried gives you an idea of the spirit of the current century. The lack of outrage from the average man is even more sick than the idea itself.
Not owning appliances is a practical application of the meme, but just one tentacle of the global warming octopus. Appliances are constructed from resources that have to be mined and run with electricity; that makes them evil. It’s much more important in these people’s views to “save the planet”—a ridiculous concept—than to continue raising the standard of living.
The fact is that the self-righteous authoritarians who want to limit the use of appliances basically just hate people—especially middle-class people. They’d really like to revert to pre-capitalist times, when only the upper classes, the feudal aristocrats, could benefit from conveniences.
Ecowarriors, the Greens, are cut from the same cloth as socialists, communists, and fascists. Their totem fruit is the watermelon, green on the outside and red on the inside.
International Man: Many people have noticed that modern appliances are not the same quality as the ones produced decades ago. For one thing, modern appliances tend to require much more time to do the same thing an older model could do faster.
For example, today, it’s common to see a standard dish-washing cycle to take more than two hours.
Modern appliances also don’t perform as well and break down more frequently. Climate regulations are largely to blame for this regression.
What is really going on here?
Doug Casey: I don’t have a lot of personal experience with how appliances work, but I’ve certainly heard that modern appliances are designed to sacrifice convenience and time in order to possibly use less water or electricity.
One thing that I do recall is that several decades ago, the US government decided to regulate the amount of water that could be used to flush toilets. The devices are now less sanitary and often have to be flushed twice. The idea that politicians should mandate plumbing designs is absurd. But they do this with all products—cars, planes, houses, you name it. They destroy capital and slow technological progress, even while annoying and frustrating engineers.
But perhaps the average person doesn’t think about these things or care. The standard of living has gone up for so long that we tend to think it’s automatic and divinely ordained. I’m not so sure about that. Everything tends to wind down unless there is enough outside force to counteract it.
For instance, we live in a throwaway society. If you need something repaired, it’s generally more economic to throw the whole thing away than to hire a skilled craftsman to fix it, even though they barely exist anymore, and they’re very expensive. It’s often cheaper to replace things that break.
Is that truly economic or not? I’m not sure, but we can see it even with houses. Once upon a time, houses were built to last 100 years or longer. They were a major capital investment. But now, they seem to be the residential equivalent of IKEA furniture. They’re disposable assets. But who cares if you’re renting or have a large mortgage?
I can understand how a “throwaway” mentality might be a good thing, even though it seems wasteful, simply because technology improves. Out with the old, in with the “new and improved.” Most changes make electricity, plumbing and insulation more economic. Who wants old stuff when technology can give you new stuff that works better? The problem, however, might be that new appliances are expensive and often financed. Your standard of living might go up in the short run but further down in the long run as you deal with debt.
A case can be made for everything being bulldozed after 50 or 100 years—a cycle of life argument. You may want to keep an old car for sentimental reasons, but newer cars really do work better. Although you’ll probably have to finance the thing over seven years since they’re so expensive. Or lease it, turning a minor asset into a perpetual liability. And if it breaks, you can forget about trying to fix it yourself, if only because of its thousands of computer chips. The same is true with most devices.
There are reasons to hate appliances and devices even while you need or even love them. But I prefer to make the decision, not some government official. It’s a moral question, not a technical question.
International Man: Governments present so-called “green” solutions as a step forward to the future.
However, in many ways, they represent a big step backward.
What is your take?
Doug Casey: One currently fashionable indication of this is the 15-minute city, which governments are trying to impose all over the world. These would penalize you if you exit your designated 15-minute zone more than X number of times per month. The idea is green. And, like most green notions, it is very retrogressive. They want to return people to the status of medieval serfs, when few ventured more than 15 minutes from their hovels.
The most egregious green solutions, of course, involve spending trillions of dollars to build wind and solar facilities to generate electricity. There’s nothing wrong with using wind or solar power, but they only make sense for specific projects, usually in isolated locations under special conditions.
Wind and solar are totally unsuitable for running an industrial civilization. They’ve gotten much better over the years as technology has advanced, but they’re still more the product of social engineering than mechanical or electrical engineering.
Electric vehicles are another example. As a lifelong car guy, I see advantages to EVs. They have very low centers of gravity, which, everything else being equal, makes them handle much better than equivalent internal combustion engine cars. They have many fewer moving parts, which adds to reliability and efficiency. They’re quieter, emissions-free on the road, and lightning-fast. These are big pluses.
But on the downside, they’re a nightmare when it’s too cold or too hot; temperature extremes drain batteries, and it’s still quite inconvenient to charge them. That’s assuming the huge extra load they entail doesn’t cause the whole “sustainable” wind/solar grid to collapse.
Of course, battery technology will improve, so they may yet fulfill their promise. But in the meantime, when the lithium battery needs replacement, you might as well junk the car. Plus, they tend to be ultra-expensive to repair if you’re in a fender bender and potentially quite dangerous under certain conditions.
Unless I either want a high-performance plaything or was in an ideal environment where I’m just using it locally, EVs don’t currently make much sense.
In fact, almost all “green” solutions are uneconomic, counterproductive, and even destructive.
International Man: The rise of carbon hysteria has coincided with rising inflation.
For example, the average person might typically be expected to be upset by a drastic rise in meat or energy prices.
But his anger is muted and misdirected by the media, academia, Hollywood, and politicians telling him that his reduced standard of living is somehow helping save the planet. It seems like the carbon hysteria is a mass campaign to gaslight people into accepting a lowering of their standard of living.
What is your view on the relationship between inflation and the carbon hysteria?
Doug Casey: Well, inflation is caused by money printing. The carbon hysteria will mostly be financed by money printing. So, there’s an indirect relationship. But it’s actually worse than that.
It’s long been said that war is the health of the State. We’re now looking at an insane war on carbon to supposedly save the planet. Carbon is not only the basis of all life, but CO2 levels are only marginally above what’s necessary to sustain plant life.
It’s genetically inbred in people to pull together during a war. The eco-hysterics ask: “What could be more important than a war to save the planet?” So, of course, thoughtless people will accept less and do what they’re told. In my view, this is all complete nonsense.
If they tell the plebs that inflation is somehow necessary to fight deadly CO2 and save the planet, then the average pleb will probably go along, since he’s got almost no knowledge of economics, and even less of science.
The planet will be just fine. It’s been here for 4.5 billion years and will be here for billions more, long after humanity has disappeared or gone elsewhere. Anyway, the climate hysterics don’t really care about “saving the planet”; even they aren’t quite that stupid. What’s going on is that they actually hate humanity. And themselves. The world is suffering from an episode of mass psychosis.
My reaction is to push against them wherever possible.
International Man: Where is the carbon hysteria trend headed? Have we hit the high water mark? Getting Libertarianism... Best Price: $3.95 Buy New $7.95 (as of 12:25 UTC - Details)
Doug Casey: Well, we have to look at both long-term and short-term trends.
The long-term trend—the ascent of man—has been in motion for at least 10,000 years. It’s been advancing exponentially with more scientific breakthroughs, leading to better technology and a higher standard of living. Will that trend stop? I’d like to think it will not only continue but accelerate.
But there have been counter trends within that very favorable long-term trend. The Bronze Age collapse around 1200 BC set civilization back for over 400 years. The fall of Roman civilization in the West led to the Dark Ages from roughly the fifth through the ninth centuries. Could we be on the cusp of something similar? There are plenty of reasons for concern. But let’s not engage in fear porn.
I hate to think something so dire is in the cards. But Dark Riders are at large, and the eye of Sauron is scanning the world. The tendency towards authoritarianism or even totalitarianism worldwide is growing—not to mention the possibility of World War III.
The negative trends go way beyond carbon hysteria and appliances that don’t work very well.
Reprinted with permission from International Man.