One cannot disagree with this article, but there is perhaps an omission.

The American empire (and it is an empire) was founded in the same year as the viable steam engine (essentially the one still in use today) was patented.


That was the critical year.

And while we have visions of wagon trains taking settlers across the nation, and occupying territories that belonged to the indigenous native peoples, they did not have sufficient numbers to sustain the cohesive whole that was to become the United States of America.

Had it not been for the power of the heat engine, consuming colossal amounts of fossil fuel and releasing surplus energy, those disparate groups of settlers would have formed themselves into self governing groups, and ultimately nations; each based on geography, ethnicity, religion and so on.

Borders would have been fluid and embattled, just like any other continental landmass.

The secession of the southern states in the 1860s was prevented by overwhelming Northern industry, not better soldiers. The same thing settled the outcome of WW2.

Just like Ancient Rome, the United states has been stitched together by the threads of its communication links.

But instead of just roads, the USA has rail and air. All totally dependent on cheap hydrocarbons, supplying 96% of all transport fuel.

The divisions into a number of separate countries are clear and obvious: California and NW, the South East, the South West, the Central states, the North East. Alaska could not have been bought by a nation that was comprised of rural peasantry. The Alaska purchase was through the wealth of growing industry. As industry collapses, Alaska will cut itself adrift.

And all this is not in some distant future.

Our energy-supported global economy is collapsing right now. There is disbelief about that, but the bottom line is inflexible; The USA produces 10Mbd of oil, but burns 18Mbd. In general, oil costs more to produce than the end use can afford to pay for it

“In 1975 one dollar could have bought, on average, 42,348 BTU; by 2010 a dollar would only have bought 6,946 BTU” (The Hills Group 2015).

That’s where the“American Dream” went. And why wages haven’t risen in real terms since then

No amount of posturing and bluster and promises “to make America great again” will change that.

The 8Mbd difference is effectively the gap where running must get faster and faster just to stand still, because oil is becoming harder to extract and thus costs more in real terms.

All three, Road Rail and air are wholly dependent on the availability of cheap surplus hydrocarbon fuel. Without it, the threads will come apart, and the nation will disintegrate.

Without transport, Washington cannot govern people 2000 miles away.

But of course Washington will be in denial of that fact, and as the “economy” disintegrates, civil disorder is inevitable, as is government intervention.

The authoritarian state is kicking off right now, you don’t need me to point out the obvious signs. When all those promises fail to materialize, all hell is going to break loose.

co-author of The End of More, in paperback and kindle on Amazon email

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