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Listening to several politicians on the news makes me wonder what planet they go home to at night.

 When asked what the most important issue is facing America today, they began arguing about Obama’s cap-and-trade energy bill and global warming as if the world’s immediate fate hangs on this issue.

The fact of the matter is this: It does not.

Global warming is a serious issue for the future, but by the time global warming really heats up, other crises will have destroyed our modern industrial civilization. Let’s look at the two foremost insurmountable problems.

First is resource depletion. Eighteen months ago, demand was outstripping supply of many critically important resources. However, as the global economy nose-dived, demand and price plummeted. The crisis didn’t go away but was postponed as new deposits weren’t discovered.

Case in point: Oil is 800 billion barrels from running out and we’ll be dry in 45 years. Directly responsible for the success of agriculture and pharmaceuticals, it allowed the world’s population to increase from 1 billion in 1859 to 7 billion today. Without oil (of which there is no substitute), these revolutions will reverse causing mass starvation, rampant disease, wars, societal breakdown and a biblical die-off. Ninety percent of the world’s population could be gone in less than 200 years.

But don’t lose any sleep over this horrific scenario, as we have an immediate crisis in front of us that will bring the same ramifications, only quicker: The impending worldwide financial, fiscal and economic collapse.

Most economists agree that “as goes America’s economy, so goes the world’s,” and most Americans feel ours is too big and powerful to fail. Economist Nassim Taleb, author of the “Black Swan,” makes the point that anything as large as the economy will completely collapse when it weakens beyond a point. That tipping point was long ago.

Think of our economy as a huge scaffold from which nuts-and-bolts and cross-bars have been removed. Yet the weight it is supporting, in this case the weight of the national debt, is increasing exponentially as we print money like there’s no tomorrow. Instead of focusing on reducing the debt, the government is concentrating on stimulus packages that only inflate assets, stimulate nothing and deflate the dollar’s value. Revenues decrease on all levels so there is no way to address the ever-growing debt. It will only be a matter of time before the scaffolding crashes down.

The recent destruction of

$8 trillion of people’s net worth since 2007 makes a consumer-driven recovery impossible. And we have only seen the beginning of this disaster: Late August will bring what is now being referred to as the “fourth wave of foreclosures.” Predictions are that it will be larger than everything that has preceded it combined, dropping real estate values another 50 percent in the next 18 months.

Since January, more than six million jobs have been lost, most permanently. A recovery is not possible with such a huge, permanent welfare class existing on government handouts — handouts the government can’t afford.

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The Chinese know this charade can’t go on. Five months ago they threatened to stop buying our debt until Hillary (of all people!) reassured them about our solvency.

But did she? I believe she told them the truth: America is heading for bankruptcy. Knowing this, the Chinese began binge-buying coal-and-oil fields, mines and multi-national corporations throughout the world before their excess dollars assumed the value of monopoly money. This began at the same time we started “nationalizing” American banking, insurance and auto industries.

On July 3, the Chinese demanded that the G-8 meetings place the dollar’s future on the agenda. The danger is that if the true value of the dollar is exposed and it no longer remains the world’s reserve currency, our economy will implode overnight. American societal collapse will commence.

Resource depletion and economic collapse are nothing new. Every civilization that has collapsed throughout history had done so due to their populations overshooting the carrying capacity of their land, natural resources and economies. (When you have finite resources, just the term “growth economy” is an economic oxymoron.) This is a simple concept: Population overshoot equals civilization collapse.

The combined crises of overpopulation, resource depletion and economic collapse at the current levels are too great for any complex industrial civilization to survive. As the global economy contracts, less wealth is spread around among more people lowering the standard of living. The wealthier the nation, the more it is affected. No country will be as hurt than the United States. Since few realize this awful reality is barreling toward, few will be prepared to do anything about it. At first, I expect there’ll be resource and currency wars to maintain the status quo, but soon we won’t be able to afford them.

(Lydecker lives in Napa.)

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