Peak "X" - a meme is born
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Peak Gold: Yellow Metal reserves are depleting
You have heard of Peak Oil, as the world is increasingly debating the maximum rate of oil production because oil reserves are depleting in comparison to the rising demand for energy. But have you heard of Peak Gold?
Similar to Peak Oil, we have these days a Peak Gold phenomenon whereby demand for gold is increasing; but the production of the yellow metal is coming down and biggest gold discoveries have already been done.
“While world's mines are depleting their reserves, particularly their high grade ore, the remaining supplies of gold are becoming harder to find,” says reputed gold analyst Jon Herring.
(1 February 2009)
Peak pro sports?
Linton Weeks, National Public Radio (NPR) (US)
Will The Super Bowl Stay 'Super'?
... In the way that people speak of "peak oil," is it possible we have seen "peak pro sports"?
Even the almighty NFL is being thrown for a loss. Individual teams are paring payrolls. The Cleveland Browns, Washington Redskins and other front offices have laid off staff members. Forbes.com reports that the snakebit Detroit Lions franchise is losing money.
The Forbes Web site also reports that overall attendance at pro football games was down in 2008, compared with the year before. And most of those tickets were bought before the economy went south. "We're concerned about next year's attendance," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Forbes.com.
(1 February 2009)
Peak Middle Class
Donal, TPM Blog
One of my high school history textbooks went to great lengths to shoot down communism as it was explaining it. The authors cited a large middle class, such as in the US, as a bulwark against the class struggle predicted by Marx and Engels. I guess that argument stuck with me, and over the years I have tended to find comfort in our prosperous middle class as a stabilizing influence in our political culture.
But the middle class comes with a hefty environmental price tag.
If you listen to Julian Darley, Richard Heinberg or any of many academic doomsayers, it is the large, comfortable middle classes of the developed world and the growing middle classes in Asia that are the primary culprits in both energy depletion and climate change. Not the rich, because there aren't enough of them to make a difference, not the teeming millions of poor because they don't individually own or consume all that much, but the middle class with their long SUV commutes to large, exurban houses stocked with globally manufactured possessions.
And the middle classes are themselves an economic burden.
If you believe Sharon Astyk, the middle class bears on a substantial economic foundation of newly-industrialized third world workers.
(28 January 2009)
Tom Laskawy, Ezra Klein, The American Prospect
Felix Salmon mused on the subject of Peakniks recently (and what a neologism THAT is!) after reading Ben McGrath's entertainingly morbid piece "The Dystopians" in The New Yorker ($ub req'd). While it's worth observing that "peaknik" has typically referred to Peak Oilers, I think it's safe to say that we're all peakniks now.
McGrath talks mostly about financial doomsayers, i.e. Peak Debt and Peak Dollars, but refers generally, if somewhat dismissively, to the "Peaknik Diaspora" and some of its adherents. These would be folks who "believe" in Peak Oil, Peak Carbon, Peak Dirt, Peak Fish. Personally, I think Peak Carbon is a not terribly useful way to refer to climate change - although "climate change" is itself a not terribly useful way to refer to climate change (something that Gar Lipow has taken it upon himself to fix). Peak Things, in my humble opinion (speaking of which, why did IMHO go out of favor? Is there no longer any humility on the Internet?), should only refer to resource maximums. Switching that around for carbon - i.e. we're trying to stop producing carbon so we can declare/achieve Peak Carbon and continue reducing from there - is just plain confusing. So let's dispense with Peak Carbon.
Peak Dirt (aka Peak Soil), on the other hand, is very real. Or rather the underlying problem of soil erosion is very real. Industrial agriculture with its "fencerow-to-fencerow" monocropping techniques and mass applications of synthetic fertilizer further exacerbates the problem (although there's a peak for fertilizer, too - Peak Phosphorus).
(29 January 2009)
Also at Gristmill.