How Elites May Solve the Global Energy Crisis
As the world runs out of fossil fuel, sooner or later, formerly cheap energy will inevitably become expensive. The cost to extract one barrel of crude oil has been rising for decades. But rather than causing collapse, the transition from cheap to expensive energy forces energy-hungry civilizations like the West to increasingly rely on human labor. This process of replacing fuel with people is already underway; it is what drives mass migration from poorer to richer nations worldwide, supplying the latter with cheap labor.
Examples of this process are undeniable. The European Union has absorbed tens of millions of migrants from mostly Islamic, African and Eastern European nations. In the past few decades, the share of EU citizens of Islamic origin rose to over 10 percent, now representing nearly 50 million people, but the vast majority continue to occupy lower class jobs. The United States is struggling with immigration reform, namely to award legal status to millions of Mexican and Latin-American workers. They too will mostly populate the US lower class. It is even evident in Saudi-Arabia, whose oil riches now afford large numbers of Indian and Asian migrant workers— under conditions of “near-slavery”, according to a Human Rights Watch report.
The Fates of Nations
In 1980, ecologist Paul Colinvaux wrote a little-known book called The Fates of Nations, which argues for a biological view of “why history happens”. In it, Colinvaux debunks the myth that poverty is the cause of overpopulation, claiming it to be the opposite way around. He warns of political propaganda that tells us that Third World family sizes will decline once we bring the poor our wealth. The reason we think this might be the case is because we observe correctly that richer families indeed have fewer children, but the families of the rich are smaller because it is more expensive to raise wealthier people than it is to raise poorer people.
According to Colinvaux, the laws of ecology dictate that the continuing growth of population is the cause of poverty (see citation). The reason is that packing more people into the same niche-space dilutes the resources available to each individual, such as food and living space. An increasing number of individuals for a given niche therefore causes poverty (ceteris paribus).
Running out of Fuel
Colinvaux explains that Ancient Rome failed to advance technologically as modern Europe did, because Roman elites relied on large numbers of slaves to power the economy, eventually draining Rome financially. He points out that the modern West escaped this fate by first turning to steam engines, that run on coal, and later to oil-powered engines, but doing so only recently, during the past two or three centuries. However, with the rising extraction cost of fossil fuels, we may soon be turning to the Roman solution after all, unless we find new cheap energy sources (e.g. nuclear fission, or fusion).
Meanwhile, the Western off-shoring of economic activities to Asia and India has already exchanged local high-energy factories with apparently cheaper human labor solutions abroad. Companies like Foxconn that produce our beloved iPhones may deliver high-tech technology, but their assembly-line factories are far from innovative. Such companies rely on the supply of the cheap helping hands offered by the crowded Chinese countryside (‘crowded’ in terms of niche-space, not spatial density).
Modern Mass Mutiny
The reverse of moving Western industries abroad is, of course, inviting cheap labor to come live with us. As mentioned earlier, evidence of this process is undeniable as Europe, United States and even Saudi-Arabia already absorb large masses of mostly cheap labor immigrants to power their industries. While governments seeking to minimize social unrest may want to market these migrations as ‘multicultural progress’, the true motive for modern mass migration is ecological: the wealthier life styles of Western (and other) middle classes have become too expensive to be able to afford large numbers of offspring.
High living cost is what limits the size of new generations of (indigenous) Europeans and Americans. Mass immigration, therefore, is the ecological answer to vacant Western niche-space, by leaving it to peoples with less expensive life styles. There is, of course, a potential threat in this development — mutiny. If the immigrant masses successfully cling to their cultural identities, they may someday find themselves in charge of Western industries pursuing their own agendas. While the Mongol hordes of Genghis Khan had to fight their way into China, the open-border policies of the West may have invited a Trojan Horse after all.
Paul Colinvaux, The Fates of Nations: A Biological Theory of History (Penguin Books, 1983), 48.