I’m starting to get the feeling that what the Dust Bowl was to the Great Depression the Oil Slick will be to the Great Depression 2.0. Listening on NPR this morning to an oyster farmer describe how his family business of 134 years has been destroyed by the oil entering his bay, it struck me how analogous the Gulf of Mexico spill is to the Dust Bowl. Both were caused by misguided applications of technology and regulation: in the 1930s it was “decades of extensive farming without crop rotation, fallow fields, cover crops or other techniques to prevent erosion.” (wikipedia). In the 2000s it is the result of decades of poor regulation as diminishing oil reserves pushed exploration offshore to ever deeper waters without investment in the development of technolgies and methodology to deal with a major spill (for no better reason than that the probability of such a spill was deemed as “unlikely”)
Both are ecological and economic catastrophes brought on by either willing ignorance or plain naiveté. Whatever the case the results are similar. Expect massive economic turmoil as hundreds of thousands of Americans must be kept on social assistance as they are forced to relocate across America in search of new livelihoods. That sick feeling you get when taking in the ever worsening news about the spill? It is totally justified for this is the oil slathered Black Swan that may very well tip the U.S., along with the rest of the World, into Depression. And we are relatively powerless to do much about it accept hope for the best as we struggle through the worst.