Gail in China Report #2

Greetings Finite Worlders! Gail is on her 1 month lecture tour of China. She’s unable to access WordPress from China, but does have access to email, so she’s sending me updates to publish here on OFW. This is the second of her Updates to me from China.  My Byline/About appears at the bottom here, but the China Travelogue articles are authored by her and all photos are from her. We will try to keep you updated as the trip progresses. -RE

I left on March 13, and it is now March 25, so I have been traveling or in China for 12 days now. 

The short course I have been teaching is approaching its end point. I have given seven two-hour lectures to my class. Tomorrow, I will finish the last of my lectures (for 1/2 hour or so), and give a test for the rest of the period. The test will be multiple choice and short answer. The big concern I have is whether the students will know enough English to do well on the exam. One of the faculty has written translations for parts of the test, but there is still quite a lot that is not translated.
My plans for the rest of my stay here are still being finalized. I will be flying to Hohhot, Inner Mongolia on Friday, and staying through the week-end. That is about a 1.5 hour flight north-west of Beijing. One of the graduate students is from there. That is a big coal producing region, and wind energy is also produced there. The graduate student’s father is involved with wind energy.
There is also a plan that I will visit Daqing oil field with two of the professors, since that is a location that the professors are familiar with, and where they have contacts. The second trip will probably take place the following week-end (and a bit before and after), because the professors have teaching commitments during the week. In between, plans are still being finalized. One plan being discussed is an internal seminar with faculty/ grad students here; another is to try to get together with a fairly high level official that I met when I was here in 2011. I am doing other things as well. I have been helping Prof. Jiangliang Wang with a paper evaluating unconventional gas in China. (I have been a co-author on two previous papers with him.) And I am talking to graduate students about their projects, with the idea of perhaps helping them.
Prof. Feng would like to help me get my ideas together in an easy-to follow form. My lectures here have been videotaped (with me standing next to the slides), with the idea of putting the videotapes up on line, probably on OurFiniteWorld. I also have PDFs of my talk that can be put up on line, perhaps with notes added.
As I indicated previously, I am being treated very well. On Saturday morning, three graduate students and I climbed a nearby mountain overlooking a reservoir. It was not very high, and there were stairs leading to the top, so it was not too difficult.

 

Gail-China-1
A few comments about life here:
There are a lot of people wearing clothing with American logos on them, or with writing in English on them. Some of the writing is simply an American brand name like Adidas. I haven’t noticed any clothing at all with Chinese characters on them. In one case, I noticed a Chinese brand (361 Degrees) on a some shoes, written in American lettering.
A lot of people know at least a little English, since English has been taught in the schools for quite a few years (10?). But many of the students are not very good at spoken English, because most of their training was with respect to written English and grammar. The students have received PDFs of my presentations, so have had a chance to read them, and look up words if needed, to try to understand what is being said. Students all seem to have English-Chinese dictionaries on their phones, so that they can figure out translations.
There is no cold water served here, except bottled water (probably because of potability issues, past or present). At every meal, soup of some form is provided, free of charge. This is sometimes eaten with a spoon, and sometimes drunk from the bowl. Hot soy milk is one common from of soup, especially for breakfast. There are several other kinds of soup, including egg drop soup and various forms of thin grain porridge. At restaurants, if a beverage is ordered, it is often hot water, served in a pot (like hot water for tea, but without the tea). The graduate student office keeps thermoses of hot water, to make tea. In fact, all of the offices on campus seem to keep thermoses of hot water. These are refilled by the dining hall.
Gail-China-2
The food is quite varied here, with more vegetables (and more kinds of vegetables) served here than in the United States. Fish tends to have a lot of bones in it; meat often has a lot of bones in it (or it is ground, and in a dumpling). I am willing to try quite a few things, so I haven’t had a problem with the food.
One thing I noticed is that the campus is not very handicapped accessible. I have seen a few buildings with ramps, but most of them have lots of steps. There are elevators, but they don’t necessarily stop at every floor. If you want to go to the fourth floor, you may have to go to the fifth floor and walk down a flight of stairs. Doorways may have bars at the bottom that a person has to step over. I asked about not seeing any students in wheelchairs on campus. I was told that the bus system wasn’t set up for handicapped people (and I doubt that the dorms are set up for handicapped people), so wheelchairs are few and far between.
The Great Firewall of China blocks a lot of websites–anything Google related, WordPress and Blogspot blogs, Facebook, Twitter, the Wall Street Journal, and I am sure a fair number of other sites. Our Finite World is available to read (but not edit) in China, but I have been having difficulty accessing it, apparently because of a weak WiFi system on campus. People who are accessing the Internet using an Ethernet cable are doing much better at connecting up with Our Finite World.
I commented earlier about the heat being turned off in the buildings on March 15. After being here a few days, I think that the reason for the cut-off has to do with the inflexibility of heat from radiators (probably hot water heat, using coal to heat the hot water). We in the United States in newer housing are used to systems where temperatures are easily regulated. But when the heat is either “off” or ” on” as it seems to be with radiator heat, the problem as the season heats up is that rooms quickly get too warm when the temperature outside rises. This is especially the case when there are a lot of people in a not very large room, with the sun shining in. Even with the heat off, there are times that someone opens a window to try to get the temperature down.
Smog levels have varied a lot. Today, the pollution level was high again, making it the third day out of the twelve since I arrived with a noticeably high smog level. I am feeling some effects in my sinuses. At this time of year, there are also some trees blooming, so my problem may really be a touch of hay fever.
I keep talking about diminishing returns in my talks. As I think about the differences between China and the United States, it strikes me that in many cases the difference has to do with diminishing returns. China has chosen the inexpensive way to do things, such as serving fish with lots of bones, not doing much to accommodate the handicapped, and using radiator heat put in buildings long ago. There is a more polished way of handling these issues, but the cost of making an upgrade may not be proportional to the benefit.
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About Reverse Engineer

Reverse Engineer is Admin and Chief Cook & Bottlewasher on the Doomstead Diner Blog & Forum, and hosts the Collapse Cafe Video Discussions and Podcasts, and the Frostbite Falls Daily Rant spleen venting Collapse-tainment show. Fans of George Carlin, Bill Hicks and Rick Mercer tend to like the material, Academic folks, not so much.

163 thoughts on “Gail in China Report #2

  1. Ongoing Commodification of the Commons
    “(…)
    The commodification of the commons will represent the greatest, and most cunning, coup d’état in the history of corporate dominance – a fait accompli extraordinaire of unparalleled scale, with unparalleled repercussions for humanity and all life.

    Further, it matters little whether or not the money is moved from direct investments in fossil fuel corporations to so-called “socially responsible investments.” The fact of the matter is, all corporations on the planet (thus all investments on the planet) do and will continue to require massive amounts of energies (including fossil fuels) in order to continue to grow and expand ad infinitum – as required by the industrialized capitalist economic system.

    The windmills and solar panels serve as the beautiful (marketing) imagery, yet they are somewhat illusory – the veneer for the commodification of the commons, which is the fundamental objective of Wall Street, the very advisers of the divestment campaign.
    (…)”

    More (much more!) on Cory Morningstar’s blog “The Art of Annihilation”:
    http://theartofannihilation.com/mckibbens-divestment-tour-brought-to-you-by-wall-street-part-viii-the-social-capitalists/
    Some (all?) of her articles are published on “Counterpunch”

    • Solar panels are not beautiful. They are ugly. People are cutting down acres of forest and covering the scraped bare ground with ugly industrial artifacts. People are getting $20,000 per year rental for allowing this to happen but the lessees seem to be financial middlemen like stock brokers and mutual fund managers. The leases are backed by tax credits which are backed by what? State laws? Anybody ever actually seen one of these leases? What guarantees the 20 years of payments if state laws change and who removes the panels and restores the land?
      It is one thing to put these things on dumps and buildings. That is ultimately useless but not as pernicious as cutting down forests and orchards.

  2. Dear Gail, thanks for posting the updates.
    Given the apparent slowdown in China, and recent talk by IMF? that world must definately expect from now on much slower (and desirable) growth forwards, would you please try to connect it with some real world observation on the ground level so to speak, perhaps few questions asked to your colleagues/students over there is it already noticable somehow? Are chinese feeling this “overall plan” issued from their big government (and international institutions) in some practical manner already, are they discussing the implications? In particular the possible flight to “quality over quantity”, i.e. russian linked gas for power generation instead of dirty coal, more refined consumer products and services bound for domestic market instead of increasingly saturated/impoverished western markets, former sweatshops outsourced/moving to other countries like Myanmar, Africa etc.?

  3. Remember that China is about the same size geographically as the U.S., actually slightly less arable land, and what, five times the population? I believe that underlying reality explains much about China, as well as its history of the last few hundred years. As for cold water..I think that is an American taste…I know in the eighties in Prague if you asked for ice they brought you ice cream! I think many cultures prefer room temperature or warm water to cold.

    • I was told many prefer room temperature water because you don’t perspire as much if you are in a hot climate which keeps one from losing the intake of water thru their pores.

  4. Regarding Daniel Hood’s observations about China and demographic implosion: interesting topic…China has led the world in having to face population pressures and limited resources. They have talked lately about abandoning the one child policy, I believe due to concerns over this approaching demographic problem. But consider this notion…I can’t recall the exact figures, but robotics and automation penetration of manufacturing and business processes in the western developed countries is about three or four times that of China. I believe that is one reason (among several) for our suppressed wages (a robotics tax anyone?)….but China has built it’s economy on cheap labor, and is only now beginning to deploy robotics and automation. If they handle it nimbly, perhaps productivity with robotics can increase dramatically enough at the same time as declining work force /population ratio to compensate and maintain a healthy economy. If that could happen it could help create a new non-growth oriented economic model. China so far seems to have been trying to emulate western economic models, architectural and lifestyles, which is, frankly, an enormous tragedy. Gail it would be interesting to here if you perceive any reaction or kickback from people about that issue…too much westernization, too much western financial influence.

    • Bob Titley says: “China so far seems to have been trying to emulate western economic models, architectural and lifestyles, which is, frankly, an enormous tragedy.”

      Yep.

      Here, however, is an interesting scenario of what the future might hold:

      “And then, there are the ideologues. They are, of course, vastly more culpable than the scientists. Here, The ‘Collapse of Western Civilization’ picks up a theme from ‘Merchants of Doubt’: Free market ideologues, trained on the idea that the Soviet Union was the root of all evil, converted to an economic religion of their own dubbed ‘neoliberalism,’ defined as ‘the idea that free market systems were the only economic systems that did not threaten individual liberty.’ Unfortunately for this worldview, market failures do exist, and climate change is the granddaddy of them all. But too many neoliberal ideologues couldn’t accept that, so they doubled down on fantasy. (These are the climate change denying libertarians that we all know so well.)

      “In ‘The Collapse of Western Civilization,’ neoliberals receive a comeuppance for this that is appropriate in its dramatic irony. The book ends by noting that China, a country not exactly wedded to freedom of thought or free markets, nevertheless survived climate calamity the best, thanks to its ability to exercise the centralized power of the state to force rapid climate adaptation. Eighty percent of Chinese thus survived the climate cataclysm. Other nations soon followed suit, also growing more autocratic.

      “Oreskes is not applauding this, of course; rather, she’s suggesting that it could be a very, very painful irony resulting from the behavior of neoliberals. ‘It could well be the case that the authoritarian nations are actually better situated to deal with climate disruption than the liberal democracies,’ says Oreskes. ‘And we want to suggest that that’s a very worrisome thought’.”

      http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/07/inquiring-minds-naomi-oreskes-collapse-of-western-civilization

  5. “Political campaigns to reduce the growth of the human population are decreasing, not increasing. The most effective of all, China’s policy of one child per couple is relaxing and and only a third of the population is subject to this limitation (Source: The Australian ).”

  6. Just went to the mall here 100 mile of NYC. About 25% of the store are out of business. One of four anchor stores JC Penny is closing. Sear, an anchor store, on a Friday night has no where near enough customer to keep them in business. It does not end with a bang but a whimper.

    • That depends on your perspective and where you happen to be located. It’s ending with a very BIG BANG in Yemen right now, in fact many of them courtesy of the Saudi Air Force equipped with the full Death From Above arsenal by the FSoA MIC.

      Gail likes to put up the Leonardo Sticks pic as a representation of what is occurring, but IMHO it’s not a good analogy. This is an edifice that is collapsing from the outside inward. It appears to be collapsing slowly at the foundation level inside the FSoA here, but at the upper stories it is coming down quite rapidly. The Jenga Tower is the better analogy IMHO.

      Run Away. Run Away FAST. RUN AWAY NOW!

      RE

      • I tend to relate to the Leonardo Sticks better as it explains how interconnected the entire global econmy is and removing one or two pieces can bring everything down.

      • RE,
        in my mailbox, instead of the picture of the collapsing Jenga tower, I have this link: http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/forum/index.php/topic,4493.msg71410/topicseen.html#msg71410
        which leads to an article by Ugo Bardi, “On Climate Change and World Hunger.

        BTW, I like Bardi’s article because he takes the example of world hunger to show that an uncomplete analysis of a complex problem leads to apply bad fixes that can help improve it in the short term, but likely makes it much worse -or insoluble- in the future.

        Now, this “future” is TODAY, so let me quote Al Bartlett:
        “Anyone here for promoting disease? (audience laughter)
        We now have the capability of incredible war; would you like more murder, more famine, more accidents?
        Well, here we can see the human dilemma—everything we regard as good makes the population problem worse, everything we regard as bad helps solve the problem. There is a dilemma if ever there was one.”
        http://www.albartlett.org/presentations/arithmetic_population_energy_transcript_english.html

        Note he’s talking about the population problem only. Suppose that we were able to fix it in a sufficiently short period of time (don’t ask me how!), it would likely trigger financial or other problems that will eventually bring the whole system down. Except maybe some small remote parts that are not “financialized” at all (yet).
        On another hand, doing nothing will lead us to the same result.

        So we should consider that BAU is already over and that “humanity’s focus should now be more on resilience than on sustainability. It is far too late to achieve sustainable development, as that term is commonly understood.”
        (Dennis Meadows, quote from: https://citizenactionmonitor.wordpress.com/2014/12/03/it-is-too-late-for-sustainable-development-world-renowned-dennis-meadows-explains-why-video/)

        Personally I doubt that we could build up sufficient resilience to withstand the magnitude of the multi-shocks to come almost simultaneously, due to the many tensions, of different types but all interconnected, accumulated in our complex system.
        But of course, anyone can try! (and go grow crops in South-NZ..?)
        Last paragraph is my opinion only.

        • Not sure why the link to the forum shows up with one of Ugo’s articles…maybe because I used the pic as a Feature Pic for the Homepage.

          The lack of any real good solution other than a lot of DEAD PEOPLE makes the problem quite intractable. Even the “slow” reduction of population via demographics with a low birth rate and higher death rate has its own set of problems.

          The most likely solution provided by Nature right now is a Global Famine that will wipe out many people rapidly. Whether those remaining people can make a go of it with ongoing climate change is an open question.

          Also as always the biggest bear is the timeline question, when it begins in earnest and how long it takes. I still think Guy McPherson’s 2030 timeline for NTHE is way too short.

          RE

          • “Also as always the biggest bear is the timeline question, when it begins in earnest and how long it takes. I still think Guy McPherson’s 2030 timeline for NTHE is way too short.”

            I tend to agree! Maybe another 100-200 years, who knows for sure. I still think what will get us will be a polluted environment. That’s why I keep looking at the oceans and how we are killing them off with the millions of tons of plastics and toxins that’s dumped each year.

            • This feels like my understanding of 1913. A lot of big egos spoiling for a fight. We may not have to wait for the environment to kill us. We may do it ourselves.

      • Yep, that’s a point discussed here numerous times. Especially for non US/NA world inhabitants, it’s pretty evident that the post WWII (and earlier) arrangement is broking down on several fronts/levels, firstly in perifery countries and this trend of instability is moving to the core areas. On the other hand it also works in reverse, few decades ago it would be almost unthinkable to imagine events such as the Balkan wars and the recent/current carnage in E.Ukraine, not mentioning those “distant” and “savage” events in ME, however even the western public is being saturated slowly by images of rotten bodies, pensioners grabbing dirt/food near the battlefields, destroyed houses and city infrustructure etc. which goes on much closer to home these days. So, should this come to them very personally at some point of time, the psychology is already somewhat predisposed to it.

        • Thanks Gail for your realistic view of China. I’ve recently undergone a change of mind regarding China. I had been tempted, as many have been by the view that China could be the world’s next great empire, but I have seen the error of my ways. I am wondering if more than just me are waking up to the idea that the emerging counties of the world are not going to be the salvation of the world but will actually go down ahead of us.
          I am also currently wondering if the fact that I am waking up to the idea that the emerging world is in fact beginning to seriously fail is not also being recognized by the wall street crowd and that as they become aware that there really is no hope it will be reflected more and more in the stock market.
          A post over at the doomstead diner posits that what is needed for us to be a little more resilient as the collapse unfolds is local currencies that will provide us with a method to maintain some kind of economy in a world where the petro dollar and American empire are beginning to disappear.

          • Here 100 miles north of Wall Street many farms are owned by the Wall Street crowd. They of course do not work them they have staff for that. They always upgrade the mater’s house to be beautiful with immaculate grounds. They have sale distribution that they will modify as needed as the slide down progresses. They are smart people.

            • edpell,

              They are smart but not smart enough. Or, rather, the real problem is that they don’t have enough social feeling to really protect themselves. They can’t lose sight of their status and social standing, everything they do is geared to maintaining or enhancing this, and this will be fatal.

              Insofar as it is a matter of intelligence and rational planning pure and simple, they don’t get how interdependent they really are. If they were smart enough to really grok this, then even lacking the necessary social feeling, instead of thinking of themselves as supermen with fortresses of solitude, it would be better if they conceived themselves as “lords of the manor” and took seriously the fact that they needed a healthy, doing-okay pool of skilled labor ready to hand to work the land they own and provide the support on which they will ultimately depend.

              To wit, it would be better if instead of leaving all of their chits in the “market” to make more chits, they took a few tens of millions and invested in building a resilient community for a radically relocalized world, where their “retreat” is located. In addition to training and providing work to the locals in permaculture and livestock management , they should be creating the ability to make their own clothing by re-introducing hand weaving of locally produced wool, hemp, etc., tanning and leatherworking, making sure there is a very well stocked public library with a full suite of medical, dental, chemistry, engineering, science, agriculture, permaculture books, etc., supporting and making sure there is a quality local medical facility, preferably one with doctors and pharmacists already thinking about what those practices should be in a post-oil world, and making sure there are a few people on hand who know waterworks and who can build and maintain waterworks, etc., helping the local government to stockpile some good supplies that will help in a transition, etc. There is no end of things such a wealthy person could do, if only the right attitude existed. A lot of the agricultural and clothing activities can be structured as businesses designed to produce and sell “artisanal” hand made products, but the ultimate goal of course would not be to make profits but to build the community up for the world-to-come, and for the rich family to position themselves as benefactors IN and OF the community, with people’s interests in mind, and cultivating a “we’re all in this together” feeling and the ties that bind. In short, these rich people would do better if they actually adopted feudalism as their mindset and approach than what they are doing, which ultimately only antagonizes the locals and will lead to the result RE refers to.

              Apart from that really basic flaw in their “intelligence,” I am also not sure that being about 75 miles north of the Indian Point nuke facility is “smart,” but there aren’t a lot of options for avoiding nukes in the Eastern U.S. (I myself am in the NYC metro area, but plan to retire elsewhere.) However, it is a probably as good a bet as can be made to expect that when TPTB wake up to the fact that they are going to have to do something with that waste, NOW, assuming that it is still possible to do something at that point, the places near the Washington-Boston megalopolis will probably receive priority.

            • Do they have not only farmers, but cobblers and weavers and tailors on hand? Are they willing to eat moldy bread if they get a bacterial infection? Can they, themselves use weapons to defend themselves? I’ve really looked into life without oil and coal, and it requires looking at the world very differently.

            • I’ve thought about it as well.

              We pampered, soft, weaklings are going to be forced to live like pre-industrial man.

              But without any of the skills and knowledge that such men had.

              I am hopeful that the spent fuel ponds exploding will preempt this misery.

  7. “For consumers, experience suggests the acceptable oil price zone is $40 to $60 in today’s dollars: higher than that, and goods and services (particularly transportation) become more expensive than current spending patterns can handle. For producers, the acceptable zone is more like $80 to $120: lower than that, and upstream investments make little sense, so production will inevitably stall and decline.”

    http://www.postcarbon.org/goldilocks-is-dead/

    These are pretty specific numbers, what are your thoughts Gail ? Also, I expect producer numbers to increase over time, but I don’t know what the rate over time would be. 5% yr over yr ? Thoughts? TIA, Jonzo

      • Speaking of miners, and QE messing up the process if value-based investing …
        http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-03-29/miner-problem-2-billion-negative-working-capital
        “In a lengthy bear market for mining stocks, there have been repeated calls by pundits for the culling of hundreds of companies that have been unable to raise new money or generate shareholder value. This piece of the capitulation process, some say, is what is needed to put confidence back in the market so that the bull cycle can start again. Tony Simon, President of Seguro Consulting, has put together a report that has rather concerning findings for those interested in the venture markets. The chief finding in his report is that there are 589 companies (roughly 40%) that should no longer be listed as they do not meet the continuous listing requirements required by the exchanges.”

  8. One would suspect that the next phase of the battle to delay the end of the world is now underway.

    This surely is evidence that the central banks are actively trying to prevent the insolvency of energy companies by either purchasing shares directly or making ZIRP billions available to the energy companies to buy back their shares.

    $50 oil = insolvency for most of the oil industry.

    The marginal cost of the 50 largest oil and gas producers globally increased to US$92/bbl in 2011, an increase of 11% y-o-y and in-line with historical average CAGR growth. http://ftalphaville.ft.com/2012/05/02/983171/marginal-oil-production-costs-are-heading-towards-100barrel/

    Sanford C. Bernstein, the Wall Street research company, calls the rapid increase in production costs “the dark side of the golden age of shale”. In a recent analysis, it estimates that non-Opec marginal cost of production rose last year to $104.5 a barrel, up more than 13 per cent from $92.3 a barrel in 2011. http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/ec3bb622-c794-11e2-9c52-00144feab7de.html#axzz3T4sTXDB5

    Steven Kopits from Douglas-Westwood said the productivity of new capital spending has fallen by a factor of five since 2000. “The vast majority of public oil and gas companies require oil prices of over $100 to achieve positive free cash flow under current capex and dividend programmes. Nearly half of the industry needs more than $120,” he said
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/oilandgas/11024845/Oil-and-gas-company-debt-soars-to-danger-levels-to-cover-shortfall-in-cash.html

    • I was reading an article from Reuters today that said if the Iranian sanctions are dropped they could flood the market with their oil and drop the global price to $20 or less.

    • Sub $50 oil is just one tree in the wood. The price fell in part because demand could not increase fast enough to balance the economy. That is partially explained by the FED’s tapering of QE from March through September 2014. The hard part is understanding that the financial system needs to be reset to near zero to function efficiently again. That’s just the mechanics of money. That change will not fix finite oil supplies, only make rationing easier to implement.

      • As mentioned zillion times over, the sheer level of demand destruction factor took us all buy surprise. So, the global oily-debto-ponzi machine can sort of continue to work till mid 2020s, no systemic reset before that. However, it was suppose to happen roughly between 2005-2015 per majority of collapsnik theorists, simply premature bad call. For some this “delay” is very welcomed good news, while for others it negates their plans and schedules currently underway.

        • We may have a clearer view of the world in 2016 soon …
          http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/31/us-iran-nuclear-oil-idUSKBN0MR0KG20150331
          “(Reuters) – A possible surge in Iranian oil exports from an end to sanctions will reboot a struggle between top Middle East producers for Asian buyers, with Iraq looking the most vulnerable.
          The latest twist to the saga of aggressive marketing is the world oil glut and low prices, likely to fall more with added Iranian crude, making Tehran’s battle for market share tougher.
          “You cannot produce without demand. There is a limit in any market and also long-term contracts between Gulf oil producers and Asian refiners,” said a Gulf oil source.
          “That’s why it is hard to imagine big volumes just eating into the market share just like that. Even if the Iranians offered discounts and sold on the spot market, there is a limit.””

        • @ worldofhuman said: “As mentioned zillion times over, the sheer level of demand destruction factor took us all buy surprise.”

          What “demand destruction” are you talking about?

          One must learn to take what the MSM says with a grain of salt.

        • The above is a graph of total global liquids consumption (crude oil, condensate and NGLs).

          Not only is there no “demand destruction,” but there is not even a decrease in the rate of increase in world oil demand.

          There are many moving parts that go into world oil demand, but it looks like US demand may be poised for some pretty healthy gains:

          “US Oil Demand Is Alive And Well”
          http://oilprice.com/Energy/Oil-Prices/US-Oil-Demand-Is-Alive-And-Well.html

          • Perhaps you were not present when it was discussed over here numerous times, simply the demand destruction in west/north is quite apparent. Unemployed, underemployed youth is not buying cars and driving like crazy around. Plus the wealthy – boomers are increasingly past the frivolous activity spending age activities like long distance vacations, sportcars/airplanes, mobilehomes etc., they usually now spend the money on their own healthcare or helping out offsprings not to starve (PIIGS).

            Also most of the residential and industrial RE in OECD countries has been at least partly upgraded via energy saving remodeling and equipped with low energy appliances etc.
            Coal and natgas is beyond cheap, gasoline/diesel is cheap.. however there is still no pickup in energy burning activities of the past..

          • Yes, there is a limit to how low demand can get if we are to maintain our industrial society. But how does the consumption curve fit in with population growth?

            • Oops!

              ‘Per capita’ oil consumption, not ‘per capital’ oil consumption. There’s so much fictitious capital these days that the “per capital” oil consumption has undoubtedly declined substantially.

            • And I wonder what that per capita world oil consumption graph would look like if we substracted the amount of oil consumed to produce the oil consumed. Beginning in the naughties we began shifting from predominately conventional oil production to non-conventional oil production (e.g., shale oil, Alberta sands, deep-water, etc.) which has a much lower EROEI than conventional oil. I have a hunch it would look like the orange line penciled in on this graph:

            • And one must wonder what net per capita oil consumption would look like, after the amount of oill consumed to produce the consumed oil is substracted. I have a hunch it would look something like this:

    • “We are determined to bring the application models to the market before the Tokyo Olympics in
      2020. Our collective dreams are to provide the world with this clean source of energy”

      And i am determined to make gold from lead with the first kg blocks ready by 2020. It is my dream to make gold from lead.

      Anyone care to bet one ounce of actual gold that neither of us succeed?

      The winner will not collect. Because this charade that we are going through will end well before 2020 and we will all be dead, or have no use for the ounce of gold.

      • You cannot eat gold, but you cannot print it either. If we are going to have a monetary system after this great failed experiment fails, what will it be based on?

        But I do not have an ounce of gold to bet in the first place. I’m guessing that you do not either, which means that you shouldn’t be betting an ounce.

        • I most definitely do have an ounce or two of gold coins in my change purse.

          It’s not edible but it’s probably going to be more useful than stocks, bonds, property, cash, and all other assets post collapse.

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