Jeff Jarvis at BuzzMachine did such a great job of summarizing and expanding on the Coming Information Collapse that I'm just going to direct you to this link so you can read for yourself. Here's the opening paragraph:
Eli Noam, a Columbia professor, writes a most depressing piece for the Financial Times arguing that we're headed to a market failure in the information economy -- and, he says, that holds ominous implications for the economies of countries dependent upon the information economy (like Finland, with 35 percent of exports and 15 percent of GDP coming from one company, Nokia ... or like America, eh?).
I'm not sure he's right about this -- I think, instead, that we are headed for a fundamental restructuring from hyperbig to hypersmall.
The most wildly optimistic estimates indicate 2020 will be the year in which worldwide oil production peaks. Generally, these estimates come from the government.
The energy industry has quietly acknowledged the seriousness of the situation. For instance, the president of Exxon Mobil Exploration Company, Jon Thompson, recently stated: "By 2015, we will need to find, develop and produce a volume of new oil and gas that is equal to eight out of every 10 barrels being produced today. In addition, the cost associated with providing this additional oil and gas is expected to be considerably more than what industry is now spending."
Almost every current human endeavor from transportation, to manufacturing, to electricity to plastics, and especially food and water production is inextricably intertwined with oil and natural gas supplies.
And here's the kicker:
It is estimated that the world's population will contract to 500 million during the Oil Crash. (current world population: 6 billion)....
Dr. David Goodstein, Professor of Physics and Vice Provost of Cal Tech University says:
Worst case: After Hubbert's peak, all efforts to produce, distribute, and consume alternative fuels fast enough to fill the gap between falling supplies and rising demand fail. Runaway inflation and worldwide depression leave many billions of people with no alternative but to burn coal in vast quantities for warmth, cooking, and primitive industry. The change in the greenhouse effect that results eventually tips Earth's climate into a new state hostile to life.
Scary, but I have great faith in our instincts for self-preservation and believe we'll be able to pull off some amazing things to ensure survival of humanity. Seems like we're accelerating quickly on the technology front... nanotech and other innovations should help us combat some of the mega-shifts that we're seeing. (Although with everything I'm reading, those doomsday movies don't appear so fictional...)