the above is just something that i found interesting, and while it could apply to the topic at hand, i seek to promote a different point here.
this has to do with decentralization, of food, society, and economy. i think (unfortunately this is only an idea) that communication technology may be at the point where we are able to do this in a large scale society and still keep some measure of cohesion. decentralization will be necessary, it seems, as energy input declines in society. the current trend towards globalization historically has been powered by increased energy input through technology or resource.
society in europe has been dissected and examined historically for centuries. if one looks at the very beginning of human existence, it must first and foremost be concerned with the collection of food, just as every other animal, or living thing for that matter. society was able to concentrate on other things with dawn of preservation techniques along with the technology of of abstraction, in other words money. later, society was able to expand more with the coupling of sailing tech with greater ability to store food.
the advent of oil is different. not only did it enable greater transportation and storage, but also completely revolutionized the way food was made. food production has exploded with world population. the things we have been able to do with all this excess energy (converted into luxury time and then society advancement, meaning art and science) are incredible. however, we are aware now that oil is not an inexhaustable resource, and the problem lies not in the way that we get around the world, but in the other limiting factor of society, food production.
because food production is so intwined with oil, and oil is exhaustable and in all probability soon to be expensive and scarce, food production will be limited and also become scarce. if the tech and society that we have currently are dirivitaves of the excess energy inserted into the system by oil via ease of food production, then it would follow with the decline of oil goes the decline of society.
i do not believe all is lost. the technology we have created in this time of excess is incredible. the society we enjoy created and has been changed in order to deal with its effects. democracy is function of a intellegent, communicative populace. using the technology we have, and the tech we will make, we can weather the coming storm. and it IS coming. i believe food is important, and as such, should be locally produced in order to protect it from the coming fall.