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Page added on November 23, 2011

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Predicting the Psychological Response

Alternative Energy

Predicting the Psychological Response of the American People to Oil Depletion and Declining Energy Return on Investment (EROI)
Jessica G. Lambert and Gail P. Lambert
Abstract: Oil has played a crucial role in the United States’ continued but increasingly tenuous economic prosperity. The continued availability of cheap, high energy return on investment (EROI) oil, however, is increasingly in doubt. If cheap oil is increasingly constrained, how might that impact the American psychological sense of personal and national well-being? We employ general systems theory and certain key paradigms from psychology and sociology to predict the possible societal response to global peak oil and the declining EROI of whatever oil is produced. Based on these frameworks, the following three defense mechanisms seem likely to be employed by individuals and groups within society if and when confronted with stresses associated with declining oil availability. These are: denial of one’s passive helpless state, desire to establish a scapegoat, and arousal of affiliative needs and increased subgrouping. A group’s “survival” is a function of its unified sense of direction and the stability of necessary interdependencies and linkages. We suggest that the ability of the U.S. society, taken as a whole, to adapt to the stresses derived from the declining EROI of oil will increase during periods of moderate stress, and then decline after reaching its maximum ability to cope with stress. The integrity of interdependencies and linkages—power, communication, affect, and goals—must be preserved for continued social unity. Americans will need to acknowledge the reality of biophysical constraints if they are to adapt to the coming energy crisis.

3 Comments on "Predicting the Psychological Response"

  1. SOS on Wed, 23rd Nov 2011 8:52 pm 

    Unfortunately, politics keeps energy expensive, unclean and hard to get. The USA has enough natural gas to give us cheap energy, in abundance for as far as the eye can see. Why dont we switch? For one thing the President hates fossil fuels, even a clean abundant and cheap one like NG. The nuclear industry hates NG because it is much cleaner and cheaper to fuel an electrect plant with NG. Coal hates NG for the same reasons as nuclear. And, lets not forget the green freaks and all the useful idiots in each of those political camps who want to hunt and gather. What a delusional laugh the doom and gloom is. Its all politics to occupy the useful idiots.

  2. BillT on Thu, 24th Nov 2011 3:25 am 

    Is this a psychology ad? It rambles on in circles and says nothing. Sounds like a ‘government study’ that cost taxpayers millions and does nothing.

  3. Analoggod on Thu, 24th Nov 2011 3:55 am 

    Any society that cannot on a daily basis have a detailed discussion about eating each other——will eat each other

    Feel no mercy for the dying “sane”

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