Eric Harrington – It’s the economy?

I read in today’s polls that voters insist that with the dramatic rise in oil prices,  the economy is suddenly their primary concern in the coming election.  That after 2 years of the Iraq war looming as the major issue, and the driving force in the last election.  The thing that absolutely amazes me, is that NO ONE is saying the obvious.. Iraq IS the economy.  Iraq is directly or indirectly responsible for all our economic woes, including:


Oil Prices– Iraq is the primary cause of our rising oil prices.  For those who do not read Greg Palast, the Iraq war was never about stealing Iraq’s oil, it’s was about controlling it, and keeping it in the ground.  Why would the oil companies want to find more oil, or develop Iraq’s largely untapped fields, (the 2nd largest in the world)  when by simply keeping it in the ground, they can make MORE money through rising prices off the same oil production, with no additional investment. That of course would have been impossible with the loose cannon Saddam Hussein in power, the brutal non-secular dictator who bucked OPAC at every turn and could dramatically manipulate the oil market at will by varying his production.  THAT is the only reason we went to war in Iraq.  This is not to say that our recent taste of the long prophesied oil peak is a phantom– it is real and Iraqi oil would have only slowed and buffered it for a short while. Chinese demand is driving up the prices and was inevitable and will continue. Sorry folks, Oil prices will continue climbing for decades to come.  Mark my words. Be prepared.


Housing bust–  The Iraq war quickly created a very stagnant US economy with so much uncertainty and huge debt accumulation making sophisticated investors extra careful. So what better way to stimulate the economy than to sucker the working class with no money down, interest only loans, and lax verging on predatory credit practices.  No one seems to be asking he question of where this brilliant, economy collapsing idea to alter century old lending practices came from, who made that call at the top, just at a time when the economy needed a few years of artificial support to keep the war from becoming the albatross it really was.  The same mechanism was in play during the Dotcom bubble. Venture capitalists rewrote the time tested rules of investment, (namely, how will any new company make money) and funded highly speculative ventures on a grand scale.  Same result too. This artificial housing bubble, built on emotion and bad business practices collapsed just in time to be dropped in the laps of the new (likely Democratic) presidential administration..  So whose idea was this? Why didn’t federal regulators — who will literally arrest you in a second for only subtly misrepresenting the prospects of high-risk investments like oil wildcatting, intervene in both of these situations?  I propose that the reason for the Housing bubble being allowed to happen, (let’s face it, mortgage brokers, or anyone, will sell what ever they are allowed to sell) was to hide the effects of the Iraq war on the economy.


 Stock Market – The Market is driven by PERCEPTION, not reality. Reality tempers that perception but it is not the controlling force.  Highly successful companies can have average performing stocks while companies with highly speculative business models (see Google) can go through the roof, all based on perspective.  And as George Soros has postulated, the chaotic nature of the market is due to the feedback loop created by this perception influencing the performance of a stock, regardless of the company’s performance.  People perceptions of and emotions about the investment alter the investments performance.  So how can a stock market flourish with all the uncertainty of a failed war in Iraq and debt to the Chinese (our major competitor in the world economy) rising at the rate of a half trillion dollars a year?  Investors must to be cautious, it’s their money. How can the Dollars value not go down with this unsustainable system in place?  How can the Dollar possibly compete with the Euro, when the entire world sits back and watches us sink with the weight of Iraq chained to our ankle. 


There is NO way to divorce any and all of America’s economic chaos from the Iraq war. It has been the elephant in the room for years now, with little or no real in-depth discussion of its impact by the media or the administration.  Our participation in this civil war must end immediately.  We should probably move a portion of our troops to the guard borders of Iraq to prevent outside interference, and let the Iraqi’s settle it, one way or the other.  There are more players than just the US counting on a stable oil supply, and if Muslim extremists were to actually legitimately threaten that stability, the ENTIRE WORLD would move in immediately.  This is simply not a real threat, clearly evidenced by the lack of international support for this war in the first place, and instead another phantom created by the current administration to justify a war to enrich the oil oligarchy which has effectively controlled this country for 7 years.   Terrorism is also not a real legitimate threat, at least to more than a handful of people here or there. It is a boogey monster at best.


The real threat we face is an impending global catastrophe. It is highly likely that 500 million or far more people will be without enough water or food to survive by 2030. The melting of Glaciers in the Himalayas which feeds all the major rivers of Asia could cause them to become seasonal or dry up completely.  And with them go virtually all the grain production for the whole of Asia.  The industrialized countries like China and India will then likely use more oil to begin desalinate ocean water in huge amounts in a desperate attempt to remedy the situation, but in the end only exacerbating it.   Even America will be desperately impacted by Global Warming as soon as 2020, when oil prices reach $10.00 a barrel, and warming trends reduce snow pack and available fresh water.  Unfortunately, just limiting carbon production will not be enough. We may have most likely already passed that trigger point, and even if we could dramatically slow or begin to reduce CO2, the present situation today is already unsustainable. And with the melting of the Northern permafrost will come the release of huge amounts of Methane which will drive the warming even further.  


But that being said, the US and Europe can still become sustainable. We may not stop this warming cycle, but we can survive it.  Life will dramatically change, but we can still do it.  It will, however, require an immediate and unprecedented investment of Trillions of dollars and huge human capital into creating a renewable energy infrastructure, thermal mass building, and decentralized food production and water storage and telecommuting. This is a far greater threat than the Nazis in WW2.  And it will be IMPOSSIBLE with the weight of Iraq dragging us down.  But actually the biggest obstacle is public perception, and the fact that the corporate controlled media is not giving people access to the truth.


 Incredibly short-sighted and naive perceptions such as; the doomsayers always exaggerate, or as long as I get wealthy I will be fine, or that it’s all hype to promote the liberal agenda, have allowed the oil oligarchy to continue to drain off trillions with the Iraq war, trillions that could have accomplished as much as a quarter of the job already!   The Oil Peak theory has been consistently given the moniker of Conspiracy Theory for years now, but it has arrived as predicted, and it is just the beginning of the wave of collapse, as our global population continues to explode and their basic needs increasingly exceed the capacity of the planet to sustain them.  That is the other elephant in every room on this planet. The inarguable FACT, that this planet CANNOT sustain current 3rd world population growth. While the US and Europe have effectively stabilized their growth and can sustain current population levels with a major infrastructure changeovers, the poorest countries consistently have the highest growth rates, and sending them food aid with the dwindling resources required to produce it,  will not solve this crisis, but sadly only feed them a short time until the utter collapse. Iraq is just a single episode in an upcoming parade of failed states and overwhelming desperation.  Our only recourse at this point, is to lead by example and do whatever it takes to become sustainable HERE immediately.  Europe is already way ahead of us.  We have just barely enough time, I hope…    


If you do not believe me, please read Plan B 3.0 by Lester R. Brown for starters, and then tell me I’m wrong.

~ by Eric Harrington on September 2, 2008.

3 Responses to “Eric Harrington – It’s the economy?”

  1. Thank you, that is a very good text, that you wrote.
    There is no legitimation for the war in Irak at all. There are no terrorists there and there are no mass-destruction-weapons there. The military killed approx. 1200000 people in Irak, because they throw bombs. Sure the danger for the american soldiers is not so big, if you use bombs, but you kill a lot of innocent people.
    The US government is guilty, not the US people, but all US people have to pay the costs for the war and the reputation of America is destroyed. They should never start such wars. Now they should end it immediately, they are not able to bring real peace, the people in Irak have to take care of themselves. The US soldiers should be called back, they do not like to do bad thinks, that is for sure.
    The oil companies are the lucky winners, but we all know, they are making business with evil means. Weapon fabrication and weapon trade is a fine business to make money, but it is devilish, no good person should be part of it. They are using the uranium waste for the production of projectiles. That is unhealty for the soldiers, who have to use them, and the land where the weapons are used is poisoned.
    We really need a better democratic system in politics (all over the world), the folk has to be part of the decision, otherwise such bad things will happen again and again.
    There is a change necessary, it is too easy for a dictator to gain absolute power.
    The Bush-government behaves in some points like the „Hitler-regime“. In Guantanamo beach they hold prisoner a lot of so called terrorists. They never see a regular judge.

    PS: sorry for some mistakes, but I am an Austrian and English is not my mother tongue.

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