Indeed, M King Hubbert first explained Peak Oil in 1956, but few people were interested in the phenomenon then and not many folk are interested in Peak Oil even today, despite the rising awareness of the likes of the DT's Ambrose Evans-Pritchard.
James Kunstler lowered the bar in 2005 when he published 'The Long Emergency'. Other people like Richard Heinberg ('The Party's Over', 2005), Jeremy Leggett ('Half Gone', 2006), John Michael Greer ('The Long Descent', 2008), David Strahan ('The Last Oil Shock', 2008) and others have been explaining Peak Oil in some detail over the past 5 years or so. Few citizens have bothered to take note of the facts of Peak Oil (Peak Oil is not "a theory" by the way, it is merely the science of geophysics), least of all orthodox economists, journalists and/or the political class.
The result today is widespread bafflement, verging on panic, as to why we haven't been able to resurrect industrial age rates of economic growth. Of course, the fundamental reason, the root cause is - as the DT article indicates - that we've reached the end of mankind's era of cheap oil.
Energy can neither be created nor destroyedRichard Heinberg explains the situation superbly in his most recent book, 'The End of Growth'. The concept of the end of economic growth is absolute heresy of course, because as far as orthodox economists are concerned, infinite economic growth at industrial age rates is a God-given right. All economics assumes infinite substitutabilty and doesn't recognise any particular resource as being more significant than any other.
The reality is different. There is a 'master resource' and that master resource is energy; specifically, net or surplus energy. Mankind has now all but blown 2 billion years worth of accumulated energy reserves (aka fossil fuels and, especially easy and cheap-to-get sweet crude oil) and from here on in ... certainly for the next few decades and possibly for a generation ... we're looking at trend economic growth at/around 1.0% - 1.5% per annum - like it was for thousands of years before the Industrial Revolution. The problem is that civilisation as we know it today doesn't work with economic growth at that relatively low level.
As the physicist Michio Kaku points out in his book, 'Physics of the Impossible', "energy is vital to civilization. In fact, all of human history can be viewed through the lens of energy ...". Tullet Prebon, in the final report of their 'Project Armageddon' series, point out that "ultimately, the economy is an energy equation, not a monetary one. To be slightly more precise, it is a surplus energy dynamic."
As I read the DT's article ... which I thought was a fair exposition of our oil energy predicament ... and as I considered the passing away of Neil Armstrong, I was reminded of another astronaut's famous phrase, "Houston, we have a problem." As far as the end of mankind's era of cheap oil is concerned, we do indeed have a problem.
Onwards...?The great challenge now (understatement) is to persuade the panglossian Peak Oil deniers, the orthodox economics community, the mainstream media and - last but not least - the political class that we have indeed reached the end of mankind's era of cheap oil. Frankly, I'm very pessimistic about this and so consequently I fully anticipate that our transition to a lower energy future will be fraught with strife.
Finally, a couple of other guys who are worth a read are Richard Duncan who proposed 'The Olduvai Theory' (second link below) and Chris Martenson ('The Crash Course', third link below).