American Thermidor (not Lobster)
I recommend reading Stirling Newberry's series called American Thermidor, Part 1 and Part 2. I commend Newberry on trying to make sense of this huge jigsaw puzzle of the world economy:
The reality is that all of the deficit problems, the energy deficit, the trade deficit, the budget deficit, and the wages and wealth deficit, are connected, each one reinforcing the others. They cannot be solved piecemeal: increasing real wages will mean that Americans will burn more oil, and import more, which means a higher trade deficit. In an environment in which other nations have energy deficits of their own, America cannot export its way to material prosperity, and so it votes for budget deficits to keep the economy propped up. This is the centerpiece of why the Republicans hold power: to undo what they have done requires a broad mandate to attack, not one deficit, but all simultaneously.Some of the arguments seem to echo Jevon's paradox, whereby the Clinton internet economic boom, seemingly designed to reduce energy use by improving productivity (less work travel) actually worked to exascerbate the situation (more vacation travel) -- finally leading to the Bush bust, when people would just not part with the endless riches imagined and hoped for. All told, a brilliant analysis.
I also missed out on commenting on this Peak Oil fracas on DailyKos. Most of these threads burn out fast, but I thought the level of discourse was pretty amazing for a Sunday afternoon.