Is it possible to reduce our debt, and as a consequence shrink the economy, in a controlled fashion such that standards of living contract smoothly in step with declining net energy?
Or is a violent crash inevitable because existing debt cannot be sustained without growth, which is not possible without increased energy consumption, which is not possible without additional debt, which is not possible without increasing incomes, which is not possible with declining net energy, which is inevitable due to depletion of a non-renewable resource?
I suspect the design of our monetary system necessitates a crash, but it would be nice to be proven wrong as this would give us something worthwhile to lobby our leaders for.
Those of us fortunate to live in the developed world consume much more than we require to survive. Our standard of living must contract soon due to fossil energy depletion. If we can figure out a way to contract in a planned and controlled fashion, then we might be able to maintain social order and avoid war and unnecessary hardship.
Note also that a smaller economy emits less CO2 which might make climate change less bad provided that self-reinforcing positive feedback loops have not already taken over.
Planned contraction is one of the most important questions we should be exploring. I have not yet read enough to know if it is possible.
This article provides a flavor of the debt problem.