Warren Platts' recent post, here, provides a couple of links which talks about peak oil production reaching in 2005, and how experts agree that it will take a serious economic downturn before the world turns away from its dependence on oil and towards alternative energy sources.
Put simply, peak oil is the point where additional increases in production are no longer possible for a variety of reasons, including dwindling or supplies or easily-found additional reserves. Experts surmise that to be around 95-100 million barrels of oil a day, and evidence is increasing that we've already reached peak oil production. The result of reaching peak oil production is a sharp rise in prices, possibly followed by a recession.
If the recession doesn't happen, or isn't severe enough, the result would be overconfidence which leads to a catestrophic energy failure as the primary resources failed faster than we'd be able to switch to alternative sources. On the other hand, a severe recession would both curb demand, dropping prices, providing temporary relief, while fostering a period of somber reassessment and conversion to alternative sources so as to avoid overdependence on oil.
Naturally, this leads some to believe, "why not just engineer a recession and force the reassessment/conversion at a much earlier, far less risky (if not catastrophic) date?"
Uh-huh... It seems we may have done just that, as evidenced by the government's massive, yet highly ineffectual bailout of the financial services industry last year, which resulted in a serious mistrust of government, and a loss of faith in the efficacy of the government when it backfired and the recession continued it's downward spiral.
Yeah. Obama's economic incentive plan? More of the same, to finish it off, providing a seamless transition between presidencies, and cement the situation whereby the transition to alternative sources becomes an imperitive.
I'll repost the two links here, and here, for your convenience.
So how do we counter such governmental manipulation?
Well... We don't! Nor should we, as we're headed towards a brick wall if we don't convert from oil to other resources, and converting early only benefits us early.
So, this is one time where being an early adopter may very well be the most patriotic thing you can do.