We are at Peak Oil now; we need very low-cost energy to fix it

This past week, I gave a presentation to a group interested in a particular type of renewable energy–solar energy that is deployed in space, so it would provide electricity 24 hours per day. Their question was: how low does the production cost of electricity really need to be?

I gave them this two-fold answer:

1. We are hitting something similar to “Peak Oil” right now. The symptoms are the opposite of the ones that most people expected. There is a glut of supply, and prices are far below the cost of production. Many commodities besides oil are affected; these include natural gas, coal, iron ore, many metals, and many types of food. Our concern should be that low prices will bring down production, quite possibly for many commodities simultaneously. Perhaps the problem should be called “Limits to Growth,” rather than “Peak Oil,” because it is a different type of problem than most people expected.

2. The only theoretical solution would be to create a huge supply of renewable energy that would work in today’s devices. It would need to be cheap to produce and be available in the immediate future. Electricity would need to be produced for no more than four cents per kWh, and liquid fuels would need to be produced for less than $20 per barrel of oil equivalent. The low cost would need to be the result of very sparing use of resources, rather than the result of government subsidies.

Of course, we have many other problems associated with a finite world, including rising population, water limits, and climate change. For this reason, even a huge supply of very cheap renewable energy would not be a permanent solution.

This is a link to the presentation: Energy Economics Outlook. I will not attempt to explain the slides in detail.

Slide 1

Slide 1

Slide 2

Slide 2

Some people falsely believe that energy supplies are “only needed for industrial purposes.” Energy supplies are, in fact, needed for many things: cooking our food, keeping our homes warm, and creating the clothing we expect to wear. It would be impossible to feed, house, and clothe 7.3 billion people without supplemental energy of some kind.

Slide 3

Slide 3

Slide 4

Slide 4

Slide 4 suggests that the world economy is heading into recession, because recent growth in the use of energy supplies is very low recently. Another sign that we are headed into recession is that fact that CO2 emissions fell in 2015. They usually don’t fall unless a global crisis exists. Emissions fell when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, and they fell during the economic crisis in 2008. Perhaps the world economy is hitting headwinds that are not being picked up well in conventional calculations of GDP growth.

Slide 5

Slide 5

Slide 5 shows a chart I put together, using data from several different sources, showing how growth in energy consumption has compared with growth in GDP. Growth in GDP tends to be somewhat higher than growth in energy consumption.

Economic growth (and growth in energy use) was low prior to 1950. There was a big jump in economic growth immediately after World War II, in the 1950-65 period. There was almost as much growth in the 1965- 75 period. Since 1975, economic growth has generally been slowing.

Slide 6

Slide 6

Between the years 1900 and 1998, the use of electricity rose (black line) as the cost of electricity fell (purple, red, and green lines). Electricity consumption could rise because it was becoming more affordable. Rising electricity consumption allowed the economy to make more goods and services. Workers (with the use of electricity) were becoming more efficient, so wages could rise. With higher wages, workers could afford more products that used electricity, such as electric lights for their homes and radios.

If electricity prices had risen instead of fallen, it seems doubtful that this pattern of rising consumption could have taken place.

Slide 7

Slide 7

The comments in Figure 7 represent my own view. It is based on both theoretical considerations and historical relationships. Many who have studied the economy believe that energy is important for economic growth. In my view, the real need is for cheap-to-produce energy, not just any energy. If cheap energy is not really available, then adding more debt can somewhat make up for the high cost of energy production.

Debt is important because it makes goods affordable that would not otherwise be affordable. For example, having a loan for a house or a car makes a huge difference regarding whether such an item is affordable.

Even when energy products are cheap, debt seems to be needed to get oil or coal out of the ground, or to make a new device such as a wind turbine. Part of the problem is the cost of the capital equipment needed to extract the oil or coal, or the cost of the wind turbines themselves. Another part of the problem is paying for factories to make devices that use the energy product. A third problem is making it possible for users to afford the end products, such as houses and cars. It is much easier to borrow the money for a new tractor, and pay the loan off as the tractor is put to use, than it is to save money in advance, using only the funds earned when farming with simple hand-held tools.

Slide 8

Slide 8

I mentioned the need for $20 per barrel oil on Slide 7. This is a very inexpensive price. Slide 8 shows that the only time when oil prices were that low was prior to the mid-1970s. (Note that the amounts in Slide 8 have already been adjusted for inflation, so my $20 per barrel target is an inflation-adjusted amount.) The cost of oil production is now far above $20 per barrel. The sales price now is about $37 per barrel. This is below the price producers need, but still above my target price level.

Slide 9

Slide 9

Slide 9 explains where I got my $20 per barrel price target. Back prior to 1975–in other words, back when oil prices were generally low, $20 per barrel or less–the increase in debt more or less corresponded to the growth in GDP. Once prices rose above $20 per barrel, the amount of debt needed to produce a given amount of GDP growth rose dramatically.

Slide 10

Slide 10

Slide 10 shows interest rates for US debt with 10-year maturity. These interest rates often underlie mortgage rates. As interest rates fall, homeowners can afford increasingly expensive homes. If shorter-term interest rates fall as well, auto loans become cheaper too.

Slide 11

Slide 11

The value to society of a barrel of oil is determined by how many miles it can make a diesel truck go, or how far it can make an airplane fly. This value to society is more or less fixed. The only change is the small increment each year from efficiency changes, making a barrel of oil “go farther.”

In the 2000-14 period, the cost of new oil production was increasing very rapidly–by more than 10% per year, by some estimates. The rising cost of oil production occurred much more quickly than efficiency changes. The result was a falling difference between the value to society and the cost of production. When oil prices are high, oil-importing nations tend to suffer recession. When oil prices are low, oil-exporting nations find it hard to collect enough taxes to support their many programs.

Slide 12

Slide 12

The fact that we need energy for economic growth means that we somehow must obtain this energy, even if doing so costs more. The big run-up in oil prices is a major reason for the historical run-up in debt levels. China’s big build-out of homes, roads, and factories was also financed by debt.

The higher cost of oil affects many things that we don’t think are related, including the cost of building new homes, the cost of building cars, and the cost of building roads. As consumers are forced to buy increasingly expensive homes and cars, and as governments find that the building of roads is increasingly expensive, more debt is used. The terms of loans are often longer as well, to hold down monthly costs.

If we still had cheap oil, this oil by itself could provide a “lift” to the economy. An increasing amount of debt can “sort of” compensate for the absence of cheap oil.

The problem we encounter is that neither cheap energy nor the continued run-up of debt is sustainable. Cheap energy tends to change to expensive energy, because we use the cheapest sources first. The continued debt run-up becomes more and more difficult to handle, unless interest rates fall lower and lower. At some point, interest rates can’t fall enough, and the whole pile of debt tends to collapse, like a Ponzi scheme.

Slide 13

Slide 13

I gave this talk on December 15; the first increase in interest rates took place on December 16. With rising interest rates, we suddenly have “the prop” that was attempting to hold up economic growth taken away.

We need ever expanding debt–that is, debt rising faster than GDP levels–to try to keep the world economy growing, so that the whole pile of debt doesn’t fall over and collapse. If we are to have non-debt growth in the future (because we are reaching limits on debt), it needs to again come from cheap energy alone. We need to get back to something similar to the low-cost energy that fueled the economy before the debt run-up.

Slide 14

Slide 14

Most of us have heard the Peak Oil story, and assume it represents a reasonable view of where we are headed. I think it is close to 180 degrees off course.

Slide 15

Slide 15

M. King Hubbert talked about a very special situation–a situation where another cheap, abundant fuel took over, before fossil fuels began to decline. In this particular situation (and only in this particular situation), it is reasonable to assume that production will follow a symmetric “Hubbert Curve,” with half of the production coming after the peak, and half beforehand. Otherwise, the down slope is likely to be much steeper.

Many peak oilers missed this important point. We certainly are not in a situation today where another very cheap fuel has taken over.

Slide 16

Slide 16

Slide 16 represents what I see as the predominant “Peak Oil” view of the oil limits situation. Some individuals will of course have different opinions.

Slide 17

Slide 17

Peak oilers certainly did get part of the story right–at some point, the cost of oil extraction would rise. What they got wrong was how the whole scenario would play out. It turns out, it plays out pretty much the opposite of what most had supposed–that is, with stagnating wages, loss of buying power, and prices of all commodities falling because of lack of “demand.”

We seem to be hitting energy limits, right now. That is why debt is such a problem, and it is why prices of many commodities, including oil, are far too low compared to the cost of production.

Slide 18

Slide 18

Slide 18 shows the fall of commodity prices up through 2014. The fall in commodity prices has continued in 2015 as well. The story we frequently hear is about low oil prices, but there is also a problem with low natural gas prices. Coal prices are low now too, and, in fact, many coal producers are near bankruptcy. Prices of iron ore, steel, copper, and many other metals are very low, as are prices of many kinds of staple foods traded internationally.

Slide 19

Slide 19

The problem with low commodity prices is that there are many loans that have been taken out to support their production. There is a significant chance of default, if prices remain low. Also, low commodity prices affect asset prices–for example, prices of coalmines, or prices of agricultural land. As the prices of commodities fall, the price of the land used to produce those commodities falls. When this happens, it becomes difficult to repay the loans on the property.

Slide 20

Slide 20

Peak Oilers were right about the cost of production continuing to rise. What they missed was the fact that prices would at some point fall behind the cost of production because of affordability issues. Low prices would then bring the economy down, as it did in the Depression in the 1930s, and in quite a few earlier collapses.

I think of increased demand, provided by debt, as being like a rubber band. Just as a rubber band can stretch for a while, the price of oil can rise for a while, fueled by more and more debt. At some point, debt can’t rise any higher–the rate of return on investments made using debt is too low, and defaults become too frequent. Instead of continuing to rise, commodity prices fall back. Market prices of commodities fall to much lower prices than the costs of production.

In order to get oil prices up higher, the wages of factory workers, restaurant workers, and other non-elite workers need to rise, so that they can afford to buy nice cars and nice homes. Commodities of many types are used both in making homes and cars, and in operating them.

Slide 21

Slide 21

If space solar (or for that matter, any renewable energy) is to be helpful, it needs to be very cheap, so that products made using renewable energy are affordable.

If the replacement energy source is cheap enough, perhaps there will not be a huge run-up in debt to GDP ratios, to finance the new devices used to provide electricity or other energy.

We are encountering problems now, so we need a replacement now, not 20 or 50 years from now.

Slide 22

Slide 22

We cannot expect the cost of electricity production to be more than the current wholesale selling price of electricity. Thus, it needs to be four cents per kWh or less. Ideally, the price of electricity should be falling, as in Slide 6.

Another consideration is that we need to be able to operate our current vehicles using a liquid fuel, made with electricity, because of the time and materials involved in switching over to electric vehicles. This requirement likely reduces the maximum cost of electricity even below four cents per kWh.

Slide 23

Slide 23

It is possible to run into many different kinds of limits, over a period of time. In my view, the first limit we reach is an affordability limit. We can tell we are hitting this limit when high prices reverse to low prices, as they have done since 2011. The fact that prices are continuing to fall is especially worrisome.

Slide 24

Slide 24

There has been a popular myth that it is OK for energy costs to rise. We will just choose the least costly of the high-priced alternatives. This approach doesn’t really work, because wages do not rise at the same time.

Also, we have to compete with other countries. If their energy costs are cheaper, their manufacturing costs are likely to be lower.

Slide 25

Slide 25

If conditions existed that allowed oil prices to rise endlessly (in other words, rising wages of non-elite workers together with debt that could spiral ever higher, as a percentage of GDP), we wouldn’t really have a problem–we could afford increasingly expensive substitutes.  Unfortunately, the story of ever-rising oil prices is simply fiction. It is a pleasant story, but not really true. I explain some of the issues further in “Why ‘supply and demand’ doesn’t work for oil.”

About Gail Tverberg

My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
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1,585 Responses to We are at Peak Oil now; we need very low-cost energy to fix it

  1. Pingback: 2016: Oil Limits and the End of the Debt Supercycle | Achaques e Remoques

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  4. Stilgar Wilcox says:

    All right, it’s time to get nag dab it alarmed, because if you’ve been following the thread in relation to recent stock market woes, then you’ll get a kick out of this: At the link above; The Dow -167 today after all the other losses in the last 7 trading days clocking a minus 1300 points in 7 days of trading!!! Regardless of where we go from here that is trillions of equity loss. I was on one ticker symbol’s website’s message board for the stock. One guy said he invested 92k and got back 20k. Another wrote: Yeah lost 100k but making some back on TSL. There are people getting their portfolios tossed into wood chippers, I mean it’s all out carnage for some.

    That’s like a loaded nuclear launch cannon set to go off ‘possibly’ on Monday. That doesn’t mean it will walk the gang plank, but it’s at minimum set perfectly for a cascade of the most macabre kind. Not only that but China took the brakes off of their plunge protection. There’s no 7% sell barrier anymore. What if China investors get spooked over the weekend because of the -167 today, Friday (after good news about US employment and usual optimism on Friday). They’ve got the whole weekend to panic and they have a communal way of responding to things. If their market drops 10% before the panicking authorities race to stop the slide, the post effect on other stock markets will be like a wave just before it crashes on you. The situation could accelerate into the financial abyss for 10’s of trillions in equity losses.

    Just sayin’ tune in Monday…

    • Van Kent says:

      Yup, a Black Swan-Event is scheduled for Monday. Tune in for some first class chills and thrills, but be sure to take some extra oxygen with, it might be needed.

      • Stilgar Wilcox says:

        All right, VK, let’s see how bad this puppy goes down. You can always get a hint from the premarket. Just google premarket then hit CNN premarket – it’s the most current. I’ll be tuning into that Sunday night. The real kicker though will be how China’s market opens before the US – that’s the key catalyst/most dangerous accelerant under the current situation in which China’s stock market due to shrinking GDP and devaluing Yuan are panic selling.

  5. If only more people had been reading your blog, Gail. I’ve been following ‘peak oil’, better described as ‘peak energy’, for over 10 years & you helped me understand the importance of debt. Thanks, always!

  6. Pingback: 2016: Oil Limits and the End of the Debt Supercycle | naked capitalism

  7. Artleads says:


  8. Ed says:

    What is happening right now with the global economy? We can’t say energy is expensive with oil at $35/barrel. Some thoughts
    1) oil going to over $100/barrel has broken the system
    2) moving production to low pay country has has created a global Keynesian depression
    3) demographics in US/EU/Japan is the issue to many old not enough energetic young
    4) too much war

    I understand in the “long” run we are out of cheap energy but it is hard to see how that explains today.

    • “What is happening right now with the global economy?”
      I think it is a combination of:
      1. Too much debt
      2. Automation replacing jobs at a rapid rate
      3. Customs, psychology and regulation preventing new jobs being created fast enough

      • If the system were really producing a lot more goods and services in total, we would have a lot less problem with the wealthy group getting a disproportionate share of the total. The concentration of wealth among the few is a sign of inadequate total output of the system. There would be a lot less push toward automation.

        • “There would be a lot less push toward automation.”

          I think no matter what, there would be a continuous trend towards more automation. The robots do the work with lower defect rates, with more total production, for lower cost than a Chinese worker. Perhaps some places in Africa might be able to undercut the robots on price.

          Unless there were regulations or customs banning or limiting automation, all industries will naturally try to automate as much as possible. Everyone wants to be as productive as possible, and make as much profit as possible.

          The only work-around in the near term I see is to try to create new jobs as fast or faster than they are replaced with automatons.

          • Somehow, the citizens (in the aggregate) have to be getting enough wages to buy the output of the system. If there are only a handful working, and it is hard to tax businesses, the system can’t really work–at least that I can see.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      ‘I understand in the “long” run we are out of cheap energy but it is hard to see how that explains today.’

      I grow weary of connecting dots… you do it:

      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


  9. Pingback: 2016: Oil Limits and the End of the Debt Supercycle | Enjeux énergies et environnement

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  11. MJ says:

    Within the last decade, the currency war has transformed into a global trend and the rising of new major powers, like China, has challenged the hegemony of the US. This includes the competition to acquire financial dominance among the international community. In recent years, China’s Yuan has been introduced in many countries as an alternative payment for both debt and investment – See more at: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/01/07/facing-greatest-currency-war-21st-century-yuan-vs-dollar.html#sthash.2NNXcwiY.dpuf

    In the near future, the currency war, particularly, the competition between Yuan and US dollar is likely to become extremely harsh and unbearable. It seems that this beneficial strategy will be exercised by the Chinese government in the long run so as to take dominance over US dollar in the international market.

    Who will win the war and become the ultimate champion? At present, this remains unpredictable. There are still many factors that may impinge on the competition. –

    However, currency wars itself have been occurring for many years and since it is related to national interest, direct government intervention is an essential element in such a war.

    When it comes to national interest, a country will do anything to survive. This is reflected in the idea of the “struggle for survival” as interpreted by Nicholas J. Spykman, an American geostrategist, acknowledged as one of the founders of the classical realist school in American foreign policy –

    Chin Poo Yang of Cina Central Bank overheard at Mikkie Dees Duck Dive that
    “We eat anything with legs, as long not chair sitting on”

    • What has supported the current global regime “surprisingly” for several decades more than acceptable by plain logic was also the contributing fact of local/regional elites simply not working in the interest of their country/people but helping and juicing the capital out and up into the utmost global capital layer. It is both a natural process, namely aggressive greed but also organized scheme by the owners of the system. In this fashion local governments were made powerless to launch any meaningful counter strategy given the election cycle, constant media/ngo propaganda etc., some exceptions apply like Russia, Iran, China, also some Europeans hedging their bets.. but even all those countries were parted with significant portion of their wealth on several occasions, moreover the prevailing global structure was just much bigger in volume of activity and number of players.

      To resolve this situation takes extra decades, so the old ~approximate rule of international economic system tweaking (changing is larger/longer cycle) in roughly 40yrs cycles is no longer valid, or more precisely it is stretched further into the future. Also as mentioned previously China and other powerful countries have unfinished modernization projects in terms of core infrastructure, military and so on, therefore the incentive is take the abuse from the system as a necessary temporary additional taxation taking resources and time. This whole process drags on and eventually ends on a pinpoint, threshold, where the system snaps into different arrangement in unrecoverable fashion, my guesstimate based on the performance of the key players, it’s 5-15yrs away.

  12. Stefeun says:

    Wolf Richter Jan.07, 2016

    As for inventories, what’s up next?


    “Note how declines are common this time of the year, but how last year at this time inventories began to skyrocket. It is unlikely that inventories will skyrocket to the same extent this year. If they do, it’s going to get ugly beyond comprehension. It’s more likely that inventories will rise at a pace closer to normal seasonal increases. Even those increases will inflate inventories – if there’s even enough storage capacity available – to dizzying heights by the time driving season begins.”

    “closer to normal”, sure of that? And let’s keep in mind that global consumption is on a downtrend, seasonal so far, but…

  13. “Returns from being long the commodity super-cycle have evaporated in the last 18 months… to 42 year lows…” graph inside: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-01-06/sell-1973-and-go-away

    + “Commodities is people!” (remix 1973)

  14. Stilgar Wilcox says:

    I’ve seen Max apparently juiced before but never this loopy. Sometime between 4-5 minutes into the latest video, he starts gargling water with his head facing up, saying a bunch of stuff and spilling water out of his mouth on to his suit. Maybe time for him to ck. into rehab.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      max is a funny guy — he is like others good at identifying the symptoms… but never discusses the disease…

      • Stilgar Wilcox says:

        Yeah, I wonder if he gets so worked up because he thinks things are out of sync because of corruption by TPTB, not realizing TPTB are always corrupt but in this case it is more that they are trying to keep BAU going because of diminishing returns from energy. Him and Stacy only rarely talk about oil and when they do it is not in the context of what is discussed by peak oilers. Someone in the know needs to give them a tutorial. Unfortunately I could not find an email link.

        • I do have Max Keiser and Stacy’s e-mails, because I have been on their show two or three times. I could send them a link to my current article.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            Does Max buy into the end of cheap to extract oil disease?

            I used to watch him — as I used to read guys like Paul Craig Roberts — great at identifying symptoms but to them the disease is corruption and stupidity….

            I wonder if someone like Max understands what the disease is but does not go there because it’s bad for ratings to discuss a problem of this nature that has no solution….

  15. Artleads says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1AWLo_fK1U – how to live in your car, without cops bothering you? Only at Walmart.

  16. Stilgar Wilcox says:

    As Jan. trading started on Monday, Dow dumped over 200 pts. then broke even on Tues. then down again today over 200 points. Is it starting a big correction or will enough companies buy back stock to benefit CEO bonuses?

  17. B9K9 says:

    Xabier, the irrational arguments you describe are essentially the very definition of induced cognitive dissonance. Since the PTB control the entire media spectrum, they are able to define the terms of any narrative and set boundaries for “reasonable” discourse. Like debate 101, it doesn’t matter which side is argued, as long as time honored rules are followed ie anything that is a negative can be reversed and represented as a positive, and vice versa.

    The true indicator is whatever narrative is currently being forwarded is dedicated to supporting the .2%. Throughout all history, this is the time honored test of truth. The 99.8% simply possess neither the native intelligence, resources, organization or skill sets to understand what is occurring, much less mount effective opposition to superior power.

    As I keep saying, it not only makes no sense to get emotionally tied to any of these events, it also provides a reveal that one doesn’t completely understand that macro perspective. The key to this game is to win; in order to win, you need to understand both who is playing and what the rules happen to be.

    The PTB are all about power & control – they long ago satisfied Maslow’s basic needs and no longer have any remote concept of desire for necessities like food, shelter, clothing, security, etc that the 99.8% dream about and aspire to fulfill. Rather, their days are filled with intrigue on the great chessboard called global politics.

    They know full well about our “predicament”; Gail doesn’t have to tell them which way the wind blows. That means everything we see in play today, including ongoing war in the MENA and induced migration into Europe, is part of a plan to maintain rule & order as we begin to ski down the peak oil slope.

    That’s why I advocate ignoring daily political posturing and current events – focus on the big picture. There are only TWO possible outcomes to our situation:
    – fast collapse
    – slow collapse

    As everyone knows, I’m in the slow collapse camp, not for any reasons related to wishful thinking, but careful observance of what is occurring. The PTB are going to devalue, they are going to impose price controls, they are going to effect rationing, and they are going to clamp down on association/travel.

    I’m fully committed to this position and see no reason why order cannot be effectively maintained. That’s because not only do the 99.8% lack the essential ability to control their destiny, but they are very easily satisfied. As we already see, extremely low energy devices can be utilized to keep people entertained. As long as they are fed and adequately sheltered, I fail to see where social disruption would occur,

    • B9K9 says:

      Over time, I’ve gained more appreciation for the French & Italians, while becoming more disdainful towards the British & Germans. It’s sort of ironic, because I was/am an SS poster boy, being 6’1″, blonde/blue eyed and 50/50 English/German descent.

      Perhaps the Brits & Germans had more gonads prior to WWI wiping out their best, but they are truly pathetic specimens these days. They retain all the servile, earnest desire to please their superiors that has long been noted, yet seemingly have no clue that both are vassal states of the USA. As such, it really doesn’t matter a whit what they say or think – they are going to have demographic change shoved down their throats to satisfy higher goals.

      The French are a weird case, because Algeria was actually part of the French Republic up until 1962:

      Italians are benefiting from the their lack of overseas empire (except for Ethiopia) by seemingly have the least amount of immigrants – at least from what I can tell. IOW, Germany gives me the creeps – it’s almost all Turks/MENA in many cities. Paris has them contained in the ‘burbs, leaving the center for Euros. London/UK is on a whole different level.

      Anyway, the point remains that complaining never does anyone any good. The key is to understand not only what is occurring, but WHY it is occurring. Once you know the why, then you can deduce the motivation. Once you understand the motivation, then you can predict future moves. Hence, slow collapse, and the associated tactical steps being introduced to assure victory for COG.

    • el mar says:

      I am wondering very much about this fact:
      7.500.000.000 human beings are living on earth.
      This blog is one of the rare outstanding platforms to discuss energy and financial themes.
      The most important questions for our survival.
      Approximately 50 user are discussing at the moment.
      Where are the other 7.500.000.950 humans?

      • el mar says:

        PARDON. 7.499.999.950 is the correct Number

        • Van Kent says:

          As BAU continues only 1 in 10.000 takes whats coming seriously. That still leaves a few million. They don´t have internet connections, are busy, have chosen different arenas to visit regularly, or have understood the general situation and are concentrating on hunckering down. Considering.. 50 or so active commentators and not just lurkers, that´s still pretty good, good job Gail!

      • Ifromplanetclaire says:

        “Where are the other 7.500.000.950 humans?”
        Spawning and consuming.
        Humans adopt any philosophy that allows maximum opportunity for spawning and consuming.
        This is not a very popular blog.
        Now if Gail was just to lie her ass off and support a cheery non solution it would be very popular blog.

        • hkeithhenson says:

          “Spawning and consuming.
          Humans adopt any philosophy that allows maximum opportunity for spawning and consuming.”

          That’s not entirely true. Most relatively well off humans reproduce at or below the replacement rate. That’s most of Western Europe, Japan and China. I think it was EO Wilson who commented on this saying that humanity is just lucky that we have this odd response to plenty.

          “This is not a very popular blog.
          Now if Gail was just to lie her ass off and support a cheery non solution it would be very popular blog.”

          How about a cheery solution? There is at least one or two that would kick the BAU can down the road for a century or two.

          That should be plenty for our collective fates to get us.

          If you want to see what I suspect is in store for the race, Google “Clinic Seed.”

          • bandits101 says:

            The upper class have as many offspring as they want. They divorce a lot as well. The middle class in certain circumstances have fewer children for selfish economical reasons only. The early years are spent in education so families are put off to the later years so careers can be pursued. Consumerism…..

            The fossil fuel age enabled the the western middle classes and they took advantage of the lower infant mortality rates facilitated by technical advances in medicine and surgery. They go hand in hand with fertility rates. As the fossil fuel age ends, mortality rates will rise along with fertility rates. The rising fertility will not be able to offset mortality rates, overshoot will see to that.

            • ejhr2015 says:

              I think you will find the matching graph for that in the renowned Club of Rome standard graph from 1972 “The Limits to Growth” The highest birthrates are in nations caught up in wars.

            • DJ says:

              Upper class has many offspring.
              Lower class has many offspring.
              Middle class has few offspring.

              The middle class is the only whose economy is affected by number of offspring.

              So we need western middle class living standard globalt.

            • “So we need western middle class living standard global”

              Yeah, we just need to plunder a half a dozen or so parallel earths to get the resources.

            • DJ says:

              I never said it would be easy 🙂

            • xabier says:

              Pre-Fossil Fuel Age the aristocracy married very young in order to produce heirs for their land and titles as soon as possible, with spares. In the Middle Ages a noble girl might start producing at 16.

              The labouring masses just reproduced without thought for the future and followed their natural inclinations, with the result that even those on decent wages were driven into despair and poverty and their children malnourished. It was said an owner of serfs was never in fear of poverty, because the source of wealth just kept on multiplying…..

              The middle classes generally waited until they had financial security before marriage and reproduction: a man of 30 to 35 would marry a woman of 18 to 21, ideally.

              By 35 a successful tradesman or professional could expect to have a secure business and income, savings, and probably to have inherited some property and cash from parents dying in their 40’s and 50’s.

              Even by the late 19th century, half of all children had lost at least one parent by the age of 9. Average length of marriage, 9 years, due to decease not divorce.

              It was only yesterday, but rather hard to imagine for those born in the Age of Antibiotics.

              I once repaired a family Bible belonging to one of the great noble families of Scotland, and the list of infant deaths written by the head of the family on the first blank pages was quite appalling – even the rich suffered dreadfully from infectious diseases (and perhaps the efforts of their doctors).

              The death cycle was this: half of all children died as babies or infants; half the rest died by 30.

              One had a much better chance of reaching 30, or even 50, if living in a rich agricultural area with a decent diet,etc, far from any doctor. I’ve read dozens of medical pamphlets from the 18th century they are hair-raising!

            • hkeithhenson says:

              xabier, you might find Gregory Clark’s work interesting, for example http://faculty.econ.ucdavis.edu/faculty/gclark/papers/Capitalism%20Genes.pdf.

              “Before 1800 all societies, including England, were Malthusian.
              The average man or woman had 2 surviving children. Such
              societies were also Darwinian. Some reproductively successful
              groups produced more than 2 surviving children, increasing their
              share of the population, while other groups produced less, so that
              their share declined. But unusually in England, this selection for
              men was based on economic success from at least 1250, not
              success in violence as in some other pre-industrial societies. The
              richest male testators left twice as many children as the poorest.
              Consequently the modern population of the English is largely
              descended from the economic upper classes of the middle ages.
              At the same time, from 1150 to 1800 in England there are clear
              signs of changes in average economic preferences towards more
              “capitalist” attitudes. The highly capitalistic nature of English
              society by 1800 – individualism, low time preference rates, long
              work hours, high levels of human capital – may thus stem from
              the nature of the Darwinian struggle in a very stable agrarian
              society in the long run up to the Industrial Revolution. The
              triumph of capitalism in the modern world thus may lie as much
              in our genes as in ideology or rationality.

            • Thanks! Interesting! I have read that the practice of allowing up to four wives tends to increase population (Secular Cycles–Turchin and Nefedof), because it allows an even higher growth rate of the upper class population. The number of children, of course, depends on the number of wives. Poor men, who can’t really afford wives or children are “squeezed out” of having a family, but this doesn’t really reduce the overall population.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              ” because it allows an even higher growth rate of the upper class population.”

              In a steady state situation, the upper class population can’t grow. For example, if you define it as the upper ten percent of the population. What happens as Dr. Clark found is “downward mobility” where the the social status and wealth of the offspring of the higher reproducing class tend to be less wealthy than their parents.

              “Malthusian” populations are static mainly due to food limitations. Of course in those days malnutrition due to periodic famines hugely increased the risk of dying from one of the infectious diseases so common at the time.

              Speaking of multiple wives, it was common before the modern era for a well off man to go through several wives. Childbirth got many of them. I don’t know exactly when monogamy became the norm in the UK, but it was the norm though out the time of Clark’s study.

              Clark’s work, particularly on interest rates, may help to understand how they come about. You can trace interest rates and their precursors clear back to hunter-gather times.

            • I agree that in a steady state situation, the upper class population can’t grow. But the population in a later period can represent more of the offspring of the wealthier people and fewer of the offspring of the less wealthy.

              Thanks for the tip on Clark’s work on interest rates. This is a link to Gregory Clark’s research. http://faculty.econ.ucdavis.edu/faculty/gclark/research.html

              This is a link to another page called Data on the History of the English Economy 1150 – 1914. http://faculty.econ.ucdavis.edu/faculty/gclark/data.html

              This is a link to an article called Debt, Deficits and Crowding Out: England, 1727 – 1840. http://faculty.econ.ucdavis.edu/faculty/gclark/papers/debt_deficits_&_crowding_out.pdf

              Page 22 seems to suggest an average bond interest rate of about 5%. I know that Michael Hudson talks about similar interest rates much earlier, in Killing the Host.

            • kesar0 says:

              “I agree that in a steady state situation, the upper class population can’t grow. But the population in a later period can represent more of the offspring of the wealthier people and fewer of the offspring of the less wealthy.”

              There is this fragment from Secular Cycles – Turchin & Nefedov:
              The pattern of the replacement rate curve shown in figure 2.4 has interesting
              implications for the dynamics of the lord-peasant ratio during the
              fourteenth century. As previously noted, it is generally agreed that general
              population started declining soon after 1300. The numbers of the landed
              elites, on the other hand, continued to increase for another fifty years.
              We can estimate the magnitude of this increase by calculating the relative
              population of elites, starting with one in 1240 and then using the replacement
              rate to project the population change one step forward. The calculated
              relative population increases by 40 percent between 1300 and 1350.
              Naturally, we cannot conclude that the elite numbers increased by the same
              amount, because elite dynamics are governed not only by the biological
              reproductive rate but also by upward and downward social mobility. Nevertheless,
              it seems likely that during the first half of the fourteenth century
              elite numbers continued to increase while commoner numbers declined.
              As a result of both these processes, the lord-peasant ratio must have grown
              substantially on the eve of the Black Death.

              One of the thesis of this book is that during later stages of secular cycle the ratio of elite to non-elite citizens increases, initiating social tensions and triggering revolutions and wars. The same was observed in other places and historical periods (Russia XIX century, Ancient Rome, France before Revolution). We watch exactly the same process globally.

            • I talk about some of the issues that might cause the proportion of elites to grow in the post http://ourfiniteworld.com/2015/12/08/economic-growth-how-it-works-how-it-fails-why-wealth-disparity-occurs/

              I am not sure if I mentioned increased technology in that post. If I didn’t, the extra education that only part of the workers receive also tends to increase wealth disparity. It also keeps those receiving higher education out of the work force longer, adding more “$0” earnings of those not really participating in the labor force.

            • ejhr2015 says:

              Now that you have mentioned Michael Hudson’s book” Killing the Host” let me suggest you look at the final chapter where the “Nonsense” you described MMT to me recently is explained.
              Maybe Mr Hudson’s more erudite description will change your mind to the sense it embodies? As I have done, he suggests debts have to be written out of existence, The How is subject to debate. The Why is resolved as he explains it.

            • Unfortunately, these debts are what hold up our banks, insurance companies, and pension funds. There is no way that they can be written off in the world today. And we have the same problem going forward, with more debt.

              What Michael Hudson says could be written instead as, “The Ponzi Scheme we have constructed has to collapse. There is no way it can be maintained.” How many businesses do you know that would be able to get along without banks to pay suppliers and to pay employees? This is what we would be missing! This is a huge problem.

            • “even the rich suffered dreadfully from infectious diseases (and perhaps the efforts of their doctors).”

              Remember, doctors did not believe their dirty hands were the cause of disease. If not malnourished, I bet peasants had a better rate of survival. Better physical conditioning, and delivery by someone experienced in delivering livestock instead of a doctor.

              If there are survivors, and they continue to do basic things like wash their hands when delivering infants, survival rates could be pretty good.

              If you survive birth and early childhood, the next big killer is probably wisdom teeth.

      • pintada says:

        I see this question come up in various comment sections, whether I’m reading AGW doomerism, the arch druid, something David Stockman-ish, a radical christian site, the angry arab news service, etc..

        The answer is always the same. “We are the only ones who see the TRUTH staring us in the face!”

        Van Kent’s answer is generally typical.

        There is another answer, and it is certainly true on some of the other sites that I read.

        The answer never spoken is, “Very few people get it because, we are: totally. completely. wrong.”


    • Fast Eddy says:

      Mark Twain — ‘If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re mis-informed.’

      The MSM is an amusement … like watching a parallel universe…. if you understand that is what it is…

      Then the door to understanding the world begins to swing open….

      I am amazed that so few people get this…. even if you explain it to them….

    • Subscribing to “slow” collapse camp chiefly for historical reasons (~precedents) and the very twisted sense of time-space humanoids are capable (too fast vs too slow comprehension of concepts), while political-social changes necessarily take time, it’s almost as another wave like structure given and revealed by the universe.

      Now, inside the realm of the “slow camp/faction” many issues come forward, e.g. are we going to experience certain period of more distributed global power aka makeshift can kicking system arrangement or is there going to be rather abrupt shift towards new hegemons perhaps even with blocks of sphere structure and/or nasty rapid sub regional fragmentation? That’s one of the tough ones, which will largely decide the suitability-success of any individual strategy taken to deal with the near term future.

      • kesar0 says:

        Since I’m also in slow version camp, I would like to add my two cents on this.

        As I see it the alliences are set so far on historical basis (post-WWII order):
        US + EU + minor other NATO/OECD countries – US signed the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) with countries like Canada, Mexico, Australia and Japan. It gives this block a lot of advantage. They all have most of the share of world GDP.

        On the other side of the ring are China obviously, and Russia, India. These countries are only challengers so far. China is closing ties with Russia recently and trying to build Asian Development Bank – counter part to western IMF. Some countries joined the circus (like UK), which made waves on the other side of the Atlantic. Considering China debt trap and economy forecasts, I wouldn’t bet on them. Too separated and isolated, too weak at the moment.

        Both sides are interested in controlling MENA resources. So far West is trying to limit the losses and keep diplomatic control. Recent move to start bombing without land operations is next stage. Soon it will require another invasion/war on terror. This is my guess. As long as West is controling the MENA all other are vassals. It might change one day, though.

        • Van Kent says:

          If Russia has the rumored satellite blinding, radar jamming, communications ending thingy http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3151339/Russia-claims-developed-superweapon-capable-switching-foreign-satellites-enemy-weapons.html then they can win 10 out of 10 with the U.S.

          But still Russia is negotiating.. Funny thing, really.

          If neocons had that thingy, they wouldn´t negotiate, it would just be wham bam thankyou mam.

          Just makes one wonder why Putin is still having talks with Kerry. What is Kerry promising Putin?

          • They are most likely negotiating spheres of global influence, timing of “managed retreat” in various questions of global economy order etc., for instance it took past ~5yrs to allow Chinese enter inside the big honcho money club, but obviously they want and are working towards even larger share of the pie, and are hedging with their separate version of SWIFT and other systems. That’s why it is important what happens in the next say 20-30yrs, if we get local COG hermit-ism and openly antagonistic global blocs structure, you can largely kiss most of possible individual hedges of little people goodbye, you will be simply rationed, taxed, imprisoned, expropriated, chain-ganged into GMO farm, .. away. On the other hand some form interim global re-order gives more “freedom” possibilities to function.

          • kesar0 says:

            I don’t believe in any such announcements. The only reliable source for this kind of information is military intelligence and they don’t share this type of information with media, unless they have special interest in doing so – either indoctrinate your own population or this is political pressure for budget.
            In either case this cannot be a real threat.

            • Van Kent says:

              Oh you mean you need US Defense Secretary Ash Carter to announce it.

              Ok, US Defense Secretary Ash Carter: “New … innovation in technologies like the electromagnetic railgun, lasers and new systems for electronic warfare, space and cyberspace, including a few surprising ones I really can’t describe here” https://www.rt.com/usa/321194-carter-russia-threat-world-order/

              With such capabilities, its 10 wins to russia, out of 10 different war scenarios..

              Here is some video on the basic priciples they now seem to have mastered on a higher level https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIaRACGX1KQ

            • “With such capabilities, its 10 wins to russia, out of 10 different war scenarios..”

              I’d like to see how that system performs if the first volley is chaff. A nice big cloud of little bits of aluminized mylar. Maybe it cannot see the next volley, or maybe its own laser or microwaves reflect back at it.

            • Van Kent says:

              I reckon those were on the real battlefield test objectives, when Russia went in to action in Syria.

              Anybodys guess how the tests went, though. Except of course the fact that U.S. now feels threatened, that tells a lot how the tests went..

            • kesar0 says:

              I still don’t believe that almost 20 times smaller economy (if you count US + EU) is capable of creating such revolutionary technology. Pentagon with their budget does nothing in the meantime?… not likely.

            • “Pentagon with their budget does nothing in the meantime?”

              Well, the F-35 will be a trillion+ programme if it is ever completed. The Pentagon also has to maintain all those overseas bases all over the world, while Russia has far fewer. The USA has also been invading a lot of countries, while the Russians have mostly stayed out of foreign engagements for the last ~25 years. A lot more overhead, plus a small number of massive programs, reduces the amount of available resources for other R&D.

              DARPA does have a lot of neat weapons and systems on the go. Autonomous four-legged robots, exoskeleton suits, bullets that compensate for crosswinds.

            • kesar0 says:

              Regarding the overhead costs – true, but well, at least they have a training ground for testing their operations and hardware. US military presence gives much more flexibility and control.

              Do you believe that Russian military machine is so efficient? Well, you haven’t worked with these guys obviously.

              Sorry, I still don’t buy these stories about Russian military dominance. This is pure fear mongering for the sheeple.

            • ejhr2015 says:

              Talk about “Free Money” The pentagon certainly thinks it has a perpetual money machine, and it does. The US can never run out of its own dollars. If you don’t believe me just look at the US military. They can’t even account for a lot of it, but why worry? The spigot is always on.

            • Van Kent says:

              Pentagon budget, or do you mean contractors who became billionaires, and trillions that go mysteriously missing every now and then?

              The sad truth about U.S. military spending is this http://uk.businessinsider.com/why-navy-uss-milwaukee-broke-down-2015-12?r=US&IR=T

              The new bomber, if it flyes at all http://www.popularmechanics.com/military/research/a18130/will-long-range-strike-bomber-succeed/ the Russians new thingy made it useless already..

              The Russians build ugly, but working machines.

      • bandits101 says:

        “Slow for historical reasons”……..what precedent historically is similar to what we have now?

        • el mar says:

          We are walking on thin ice because of the economies of scales. Substantial degrowth is not possible. The fix inputs have to be covered. Grow or die. Degrowth is not avoidable as soon as cheap oil will be extracted in declining quantities because the global economie is a dissipative structure, like a hurricane.
          Landfall: http://megacancer.com/2015/11/07/landfall/

          A self-energizing deflation spiral will take place: Fast collapse! Aprrox. 70 % of all jobs are gimmicks of a so called “service society”. They will disappear very fast. Mass unimployment like in Greece all over the world, than, very soon! And nobody available to help or bail out. Besides mars!

          Fuses are burning at every corner now. It is unpossible to predict what finally will be the trigger. For sure we are in a later stage of this crazy dekadent cycle.

          Enjoy the finale month, like FE does.


          el mar

          • Fast Eddy says:

            ‘Fuses are burning at every corner now’


            China crashing again…..

            Always have a fallback plan if things go to pieces…..

            How about this:

            – stop at the shop and buy cases of fine wine, champagne, caviar, and other fine foods (on plastic)

            – find the best hotel in town and pre-pay a 3month stay (plastic)

            – run up the room service until that is no longer available (plastic)

            – buy a bag of assorted pills (for when the food and champagne run out) – also book a high floor in case the pills down work….

            It is important to have a Plan B….

          • Stefeun says:

            Thanks for the link, el mar,
            James’ other posts are worth reading too.

        • Fast Eddy says:


  18. Fast Eddy says:

    I present classic examples of inbred royal with the donkey shaped head…. this is what happens when a number of generations are married off to first cousins….



    As we can see from this photo — the donkey look is a dominant gene that manifests in generation after generation….


    • And the moral of the “story” suppose to be … ?
      In fact authoritarian feudal regime balanced with powerful yet engaging local nobility and merchant class has been the best system humanity can offer, unfortunately I’m too old to be around when its rehashed version starts to return.

  19. Fast Eddy says:


    My assistant is checking for any videos uploaded under various tags including migrant attacks Germany …. and he is finding nothing … nadda….

    I guess everyone forgot to charge their cell phone batteries….

    • Yorchichan says:

      You need a new assistant:

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Can you help?

        I really want to see the videos of these 1000+ rabid dogs attacking women…. there must be some great punch ups when the men rush out to defend their ladies…..

        I am standing by…..

        • FE, renown Instadoomer and in love with migrant invasion, what a combination..
          It took few days, but today the German victims were allowed on the TV networks for the first time, also today Makrel-Merkel finally backed away from standing immigration policy, likely on increased pressure from regional / Bavarian PM and these events in Cologne and other DE cities.

          • Perhaps the real and biggest factor of them all was the announced Nordic immigration shutdown, which is going to push Germany into even much difficult spot. What comes around goes around, Germans had it too good for too long on the shoulders of others..

          • Fast Eddy says:

            I am 100% nihilist when it comes to refugees… like I said … you ain’t seen nothin yet…

            Oh so they are on TV talking about this — remember this little darlin who appeared on teevee before the gulf war?


            Then watch this — she was a complete set up job…. (Don Draper…) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaR1YBR5g6U

            So 1000 rabid refugees attacking women — and not a single video …… in an era when people upload videos of their restaurant meal…

            Strange eh….

            • Van Kent says:

              The statistics are somewhat like these, and getting worse: in 2007 35% of crimes in Italy were committed by immigrants (immigrants make up 8.2% of the Italian population). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_and_crime

              If the stats keep on rising like this, they suggest eventually 1 in 4 Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish etc. European women will be raped.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Still waiting for the videos …. just asked my assistant and he says there is still nothing on this on the interweb…

              Yoo hoo —- 1000 rapists are on the loose — surely someone has a clip?

              Surely the men of Germany have massed to thwart these perverts…. where are all the twerking jack asses who upload their daily bowel movements but can’t seem to be bothered to deliver a clip of this mass rape to the yootoob.

              I want to see rapists! I want to see rapists!

              Howling screaming crazed rapists with brown and black skins….

              Show me the rapists Jerry!!!!

            • Yorchichan says:

              @Fast Eddy

              Sorry for the slow reply. I had to go to work.

              The headline on zerohedge was misleading, but it’s you that likes to post links to that site. To me, it’s a malware infected piece of crap.

              You asked for videos showing migrant attacks in Germany and I posted a video showing migrants throwing fireworks at people. Constitutes an attack in my book.

              The zerohedge article only mentioned one rape. If this occurred I doubt it would have been in public. Very remiss of the victim not to capture it on her cellphone, I know.

              Many women reported being sexually assaulted i.e. being touched up. This would happen in seconds and would be tricky to catch on camera.

              If you think bored, resentful young male migrants with no prospects of a job, money or getting laid are going to behave well you are guilty of the koombaya you (rightly) keep accusing others of.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Zero Hedge – piece of crap… really? It’s one of the few sources of information worth looking at…

              Where do you get your info — if you have better sources please let us know….

              Still waiting on the videos — I am currently in Salzburg — now imagine if I were a dark skinned man — and I raced into the street and started grabbing the asses of the very fashionable women I see walking the streets (I sometimes do have the urge…. but my wife pulls me by the leash to stop me)

              How do you think the men on the street would react to that?

              Might the smirk and say ‘oh those silly dirty Arabs — look at that fellow grabbing my wife’s ass — jolly good fun – ho ho ho — hey Omar — go grab that girl over there — she’s a hottie — ho ho ho — those Arabs’

              Or do you think that I might rather quickly be in a battle for my life fleeing down the small streets with a horde of Austrians chasing me intent on beating me senseless?

              If that were to happen do you not think at least one person might pull out an iphone and video this?

              I don’t even think I’d have to be dark-skinned to get the shit kicked out of myself — my Aryan looks would not be carte blanche to perve even a single woman.

              Now perhaps a couple of dark skinned men grabbed a women’s ass and fled before anyone could react and beat them… but 100’s — or 1000’s…… really?

              Show me the money ….. no money no honey…. no money no talk… no money no believe 1000 refugees were racing through the streets of Germany this week touching up women..

  20. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Artleads, MG, Van Kent, Chrisiqn

    Thanks for your comments on the notion of ‘complexity’. A few responses from me, which aren’t meant to be particularly argumentative. Just thinking out loud.

    Complex vs. complicated. There is an element of truth here, but I don’t think it is the whole truth. For example, the human genome has around 20,000 genes which code for proteins. But in our bodies we may have 6 million microbial genes which code for proteins. Now it is widely accepted that ‘humans have outsourced digestion to the microbes’. The microbes also take care of much of our immune function. But we still have this nagging suspicion that we are more complex than microbes. Besides just our nature to focus on Number One, what might account for our nagging suspicion? I think it has something to do with degrees of freedom of action. We think that a microbe pretty much does what it is programmed to do. It’s like a computer program with a whole bunch of subroutines….the subroutines reliably and predictably do what they are supposed to do. We think that humans can behave in unpredictable ways.

    This goes back to my point about Daniel Kahneman’s separation between fast thinking and slow thinking. We believe microbes can ONLY engage in fast thinking, reacting to situations in stereotypical ways. We like to think that we ourselves are more thoughtful creatures, able to consider all sides of the issues and make wise decisions. Only pessimists like George Mobus think that homo sapiens have very little sapience. So I think that an important aspect is the degrees of freedom that the actor has. And I will agree that humans have more degrees of freedom than microbes.

    All thought is harmful. It’s hard to argue with that. There is a long Eastern tradition of meditation which emphasizes just experiencing what is happening, not trying to hold onto it. Not grieving when it is gone. I can see some benefits to such practice, but I continually behave as if there really is a tomorrow. Which leads me to notions of using some of today to build structures which will be useful tomorrow.

    Processing information. I like this, but don’t necessarily think it captures everything. For example, consider the mitochondria and the cell proper. The mitochondria can be damaged by antibacterials, so there is probably truth to Lynn Margulis theory that mitochondria are captured bacteria which are now symbiotic with the cell proper. The mitochondria can make usable energy out of raw materials. Nothing else in our body can do that (to my knowledge). I am sure there is information processing, but the physical capabilities are probably also important. When a man and a dog hunt, the dog brings some physical gifts that humans don’t have, such as acute smell. Similarly, a falcon and a man bring different physical gifts to hunting. By the way, did you see the recent scientific study on the ‘sense of self’ of dogs. When you put a mirror in front of a dog, it tends not to recognize itself. A few creatures such as dolphins do recognize themselves. So theorists come up with elaborate theories about ‘sense of self’ and build castles in the air based on that. But it turns out that if, instead of a mirror, you present the dog with smells, it can and does recognize its own smells. Which just proves that dogs are like humans….they just use different senses. You can buy a book called What Plants Know, which explores the sensory world of plants. So perhaps it is better to say that a complex system involves many component parts which are able to accomplish a variety of physical and information processing feats that no individual component could perform.

    Tainter’s definition: ‘ number and distinctiveness of its parts’. If we adopt Tainter’s approach of counting roles, the microbes win hands down. Yet if we think that complexity has something to do with resilience, then the theory falls apart. Microbes have been around for billions of years, and may have come from outer space. A cubic meter of soil is an extraordinarily diverse community, and has great resilience, as attested by its survival over such a long time period. BUT, humans with heavy equipment can easily compact the soil and do grievous damage to the community. Or the humans can flood the soil with synthetic fertilizers and fungicides and poisons of various kinds and do grievous damage. IF a definition of complexity implies something about vulnerability, we would have to admit that the microbial community in the soil is vulnerable to humans commanding fossil fuels.

    I don’t know if this makes any more sense. I’m certainly not about to try to give a comprehensive definition of Complexity.

    Don Stewart

    • Stefeun says:

      Complexity is indeed a very complex topic (yes!) but I’ll nevertheless try to throw my 2 cents, hopefully understandable.

      One cannot talk about compexity without defining the perimeter of the entity considered.
      If we define an entity as a number of cooperating parts and sub-parts on the one hand,
      and on the other hand suppose that cooperation takes place only when the total energy dissipated by ‘the group’ is superior to the sum of the energy dissipated by separate parts,
      then it makes sense that increased complexity goes along with increased dissipated energy.

      According to the MEP law, the dissipative structures are always trying to dissipate as much energy as possible. Not surprising then that they try to increase their complexity, which in fact means they try to encompass as many parts as possible, that cooperate together.

      That’s why human society dissipates, by unit of weight, roughly one order of magnitude more than a single individual, which itself dissipates more than a single cell, etc…
      If you remember the chart by Eric Chaisson:


      • Don Stewart says:

        Thanks for the reminder.

        Lets consider waste heat. The article at Resilience complained about burning natural gas, which can heat materials to very high temperatures, for warming water for showers. The entropy produced is proportional to the difference between the heat of the burning gas and the temperature of the water we want to use (I think). So it’s like using a sledgehammer to drive a tack.

        The way Nature usually works is to set up a chain of consumption where intermediate waste is used as the input into the next step in the chain which ultimately uses a high percentage of the original exergy. So the calories go into the stomach and microbes disassemble the fiber that humans can’t digest and leave some residue which is used for essential human needs such as short chain fatty acids. If the humans then make humanure, even the residual is used again and more energy is extracted.

        So if we look at the Circular Economy project of the Ellen MacArthur foundation, that would be a step up in complexity from the ‘once through and throw away’ model which dominates industrial society today. (Whether we can actually design and run such an enterprise is an open question.)

        So it seems that in addition to measuring entropy, we would also need to sort the entropy at each stage into what is lost as waste heat and what is used as part of a next stage in production.

        Don Stewart

        • Stefeun says:

          I don’t believe in circular economy because I don’t think that our thermo-industrial civilization can be nearly as efficient as Nature itself, that uses mostly chemical processes. We cannot duplicate Nature, we’d better try to re-inset ourselves into it (ie HG lifestyle).

          Secondly, re-use of a part of the waste of a previous process would require a totally different way of accounting, as in our current system the energy input is paid for at the first step level, only. I don’t think that, where we are today, we can change anything in the accounting rules.

          • Don Stewart says:

            There ARE examples of the intelligent reuse of waste heat. But I agree that most waste heat is lost forever. But IF we were able to use more of the exergy to do useful work, then we would have built a more complex society, I think.

            Let’s look at the production of a calorie to fuel humans. I’ll be using some data and ideas from The Hidden Half of Nature. In 1997 Americans ate 500 grams of carbohydrates per day. In 1909 we ate 500 grams of carbohydrates per day. In 1909 Americans had few chronic diseases. By 1997 most adult Americans had a chronic disease. At the present time, half of the Americans who live to the age of 85 have Alzheimers. In 1909 infectious diseases were a major cause of death. By 1997 infectious diseases were uncommon. In 1909 obesity was uncommon. By 1997 most adult Americans were overweight or obese.

            In 1909 Americans ate a lot of fiber….so we had a high carbohydrate/ high fiber diet. In 1997 we had a high carbohydrate/ low fiber diet. Taking the fiber out of our food and using the nutrient stripped residual to make industrial food greatly increased the consumption of energy in the food system and greatly increased the GDP associated with food production. It also, obviously, resulted in bad health which powered the health care industry, which greatly increased GDP until now medical care is one fifth of our economy.

            David Montgomery recounts what happened to him and his wife:
            ‘When Anne decided to change her diet, I wasn’t thrilled….Cancer lent gravity to her argument….I now see that my normal diet included way too many simple carbohydrates—plenty of bread, crackers, beer, and wine…

            Putting in our first vegetable beds set us on the path to change our diet. Initially, we weren’t thinking of cancer or cholesterol or anything like that. Awash in homegrown produce, however, we began eating a lot more vegetables as main courses. And because we ate more things from the garden, we ate less meat, cheese, and bread, and hardly any boxed things from the cupboard. And after a while, by changing what I ate and deciding to walk the two and a half mile roundtrip to work each day, my health dramatically improved.’

            Now I pose the question: Did Montgomery and Bikle simplify their life, or make it more complex? My answer would be that they traded one kind of complexity (industrial food and industrial health care) for another kind of complexity (biological complexity with microbes playing a major role). It’s clear that the old lifestyle burned a lot more fossil fuels, and so is higher on a scale which equates complexity with entropy production. But the facts scream to us that the old way was insanity.

            So, as a practical matter, I don’t think simply measuring entropy produced is very helpful. If we say, ‘first, the actions have to be sane’, then a lot of entropy and GDP producing activities need to undergo some serious changes.

            Don Stewart

            • Thanks for that very eloquent post on “trading complexities” – that’s why I think people in very different setting might have future beyond the fossilrush version of todays civilization.

      • pintada says:

        Good info and analysis.

        • pintada says:

          And of course, it went to the wrong place – I was specifically referring to Stefeun’s post.

          • Stefeun says:

            Thanks Pintada,
            (your comment went in the right place)
            this was not my own thinking, rather a trial to see how Tainter’s statement could be explained by basic principles as set out by Roddier.

        • Stefeun says:

          Thanks El Mar,
          already seen it, and also gave the link I think.
          It’s one of the very seldom articles by Roddier in English language (excl. those about astronomy).

    • MG says:

      Dear Don Stewart,

      “microbial community in the soil is vulnerable to humans commanding fossil fuels” is a very interesting observation. In my opinion, the fossil fuel energy is required by the weaker part of the population in order to survive, i.e. the weaker part of the population uses the temporary energy to suppress the naturally strong part of the population – this way the democracy originated. Once the weaker majority of the population loses the advantage of the cheap energy, the democracy can not continue to exist and various forms of slavery or serfdom prevail, where genetically superior individuals regain on importance.

      • The United States was founded even before the use of fossil fuel energy. The US did have abundant land, and that gave more wealth to a wider range of individuals. This allowed the development of a representative democracy. In general, it does seem as though a relatively high level of energy is required for a democracy. Governments exist only because of the surpluses of an economy. This is why taxes can be collected. If a large amount of taxes can be collected, a fairly elaborate economy can be supported, including many representatives.

        I would not call the outcome of natural selection, “genetically superior individuals.” I would call the individuals “better adapted to current conditions.” These conditions keep changing. If we lose the use of fossil fuels, we will need more strong individuals–probably men. We will also need people adapted to the amount of sunlight available in the particular part of the world. I expect that we will have lost these characteristics in selection, during our brief use of fossil fuels. Going forward, selection will be in the direction of what traits are needed at that time.

  21. Fast Eddy says:

    Default Rate Highest since 2009, US Distress Ratio Soars.

    Standard & Poor’s slashed the credit ratings of 112 corporations around the globe to default (D) or selective default (SD) in 2015, according to S&P Capital IQ Global Credit. The highest number of global defaults since nightmare-year 2009, when a previously unthinkable 268 companies defaulted, and not far behind the second highest default tally of 125, in 2008.

    The oil & gas sector led with 29 defaulters (26% of the total). Metals, mining, and steel followed with 17 defaulters (15% of the total). The consumer products sector and the bank sectors tied for the third place, each with 13 defaulters (12% of the total).


    That’s how a seemingly stable situation …. turns into a very fast rout … unless the central banks can work out a way to bring demand back… this is where we are heading…

    One day you go to work … you eat dinner … you go to sleep …. and the next all hell breaks loose….

  22. Fast Eddy says:

    Here’s a refugee feel good story

    Meet the Two Brothers Making Millions Off the Refugee Crisis in Scandinavia

    End of the day none of this matters…. there are too many people…. we are running out of energy … and the entire world is about to become a giant refugee camp…. one without any food, medicine, or energy….

    The plight of these people clamoring to get out of failed states…. well… you ain’t seen nothin yet….

    Wait till the dam busts.

  23. Fast Eddy says:

    Supermines Add to Supply Glut of Metals

    Giant mines, begun when prices were high, weigh down copper, iron ore and other metals

    CERRO VERDE, Peru—In this volcanic desert, a dusty moonscape patrolled by bats, snakes and guanacos, America’s biggest miner is piling on to the new force in industrial resources: supermines. It’s a strategy that could be driving miners into the ground.

    Freeport-McMoRan Inc. is completing a yearslong $4.6 billion expansion that will triple production at its Cerro Verde copper mine, turning a once-tiny, unprofitable state mine into one of the world’s top five copper producers.

    As Cerro Verde’s towering concrete concentrators grind out copper to be made into pipes and wires in Asia, it will add to production coming from newly built giant mines around the world, in a wave of supply that is compounding the woes of the depressed mining sector.

    Slowing growth in China and other emerging markets has dragged metals prices into a deep downturn, just a few years after mining companies and their investors bet billions on a so-called supercycle, the seemingly never-ending growth in demand for commodities.

    More http://www.wsj.com/articles/supermines-add-to-supply-glut-of-metals-1451952511

    And here we have yet another toxic side-effect of money printing…. when you create false growth …. this is what you get….

  24. pintada says:

    The world food system has collapsed significantly and it can only get worse. If you do not grow and process your own food with some help from your friends, your health is being negatively impacted.

    So, Don you have discovered and like bacteria. Great.

    Time to expand your horizons:

    Manure in the garden sure, but a few mycorrhizae really supercharge the soil.

  25. Don Stewart says:

    Dear MJ and Finite Worlders

    Relative to your comment that humans aren’t doing very well at putting knowledge to work.

    If you remember Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Phaedrus was always looking for a sharp knife to dissect the world so he could better understand it and react to it. He settled on the notion of ‘Quality’.

    I suggest that there are two notions which are helpful to us in terms of changing human behavior. Those notions derive from Daniel Kahneman’s book Thinking Fast and Thinking Slow, and the notion of capital and the built environment.

    Kahneman shows that we overwhelmingly react to events without thinking much about them…at least as a scientist would think about them. For a current example, I suggest this video discussion between Drs. Perlmutter and Ludwig.

    Dr. Ludwig describes why struggling with our hormones is almost always a lost cause in terms of keeping our weight under control, and the health consequences of our failure to do so. St. Louis University did an experiment with some poverty stricken people several years ago. Their intervention was to go into the house and get rid of all the industrial food, and replace it with natural food. In short, they changed the ‘built environment’….when the people opened the fridge, they found a completely different set of food than had been there the previous day. They also did some education work, explaining why the food needed to be different. Last I heard, the experiment worked in the medium term….whether it is possible to segregate a target population in the modern USA over the longer term is a good question.

    As another example from a quite different perspective, consider a rich suburb of Raleigh, NC which has a water pollution and erosion and flood problem. One solution is to build ‘rain gardens’ which keep rainwater on the property for a longer period of time, reducing the rush of the water into the nearest creek. While this was a rich suburb, people were unwilling to spend the 600 dollars needed to construct a rain garden if the benefits were going to go to the larger community, rather than to the home owning family. HOWEVER, a majority of the people were willing to have the city impose a tax which would fund the building of rain gardens in order to eliminate the common problem. I submit that the tax is a way to change the ‘built environment’, or it is a form of ‘capital’, which modifies behavior in a positive direction.

    The difference is related to Kahneman’s distinction between ‘fast’ and ‘slow’. A homeowner can listen to a presentation on storm water and conclude that a property tax is a good idea and vote for it. One decision, based on rational calculations of cost and benefit. But to require homeowners to make constant decisions to do something about storm water is to struggle against the need to behave in ways that don’t require a lot of ‘slow’ thinking. Similarly, the St. Louis University experiment only asked the poor families to make a single decision: in or out of the experiment. The families were not required to walk through supermarkets displaying thousands of bad food choices and to resist all of the bad choices.

    In The Hidden Half of Nature (page 194), Montgomery and Bikle tell the story of Liping Zhao, a Chinese scientist who had grown up eating a traditional Chinese diet, but had then ‘benefitted’ from Western lifestyle and education, including Cornell. In middle age he found himself fat and not very healthy. In 2004, he read a research paper which indicated that the gut microbes could influence obesity. He remembered the traditional Chinese diet, and adopted it for himself. He also measured not only his weight and triglycerides and other macro measurements, but also the contents of his fecal matter. He found that his gut microbes changed rapidly in response to the change in diet, and his macro measurements responded to the change in the gut microbes. He later extended his experiment to include more than a hundred people.

    If we examine Zhao’s change, we see a single ‘scientific’ decision (eat a traditional Chinese diet) having a profound impact on his life in a way that simply responding to the myriad temptations of walking through a grocery store or fast food joint would not have had. I would call Zhao’s knowledge of the traditional Chinese diet a piece of ‘capital; which could be called upon to guide the myriad daily decisions he had to make. We might also think of the ‘Chinese diet’ as a meme, or as a piece of DNA transferred laterally as in a microbial infection. The important elements, I believe, are the existence of useful pieces of capital coupled with the minimization of the need for scientific decisions by reducing choice.

    Not to forget Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and the notion of quality. On page 205 Montgomery and Bikle describe the progress of food through the stomach, small intestine, and colon. I suggest reading the whole thing. But to pick one single example:
    ‘Think of short-chain fatty acids as the ultimate in recycling—bacteria thrive on what we can’t digest, and then we thrive on their wastes.’
    I submit that ‘the ultimate in recycling’ is closely related to the notion of ‘Quality’.

    This is a long post already, so I won’t write more volumes on how we might go about applying the notions of Kahneman and fragments of capital to construct a built environment which restricts us to good choices and relieves the cognitive load on the logical brain. Suffice to say that I doubt that any mass movement can achieve it. I suspect that individuals, families, and like-minded groups are the best we can do.

    Don Stewart

    • MJ says:

      Don, thank you for your additional comments. You made appropriate reply. The notion of humans not good a putting knowledge to work is interesting. One aspect is does knowledge have a place where it operates well and in other cases it is destructive in nature where it forms images (ideas) that cause harm. One learned individual pointed out “all thought corrupts” and when it forms divisions of re!igions, ethnic groups, nation states we have twisted vision, that leads to a great waste of energy. Certainly, this is obvious.
      To exist as we are is rather limited and as pointed out by many here somewhat comatosed. Unfortunately, not many are at all interested in this inquiry and will continue in the manner that they find false security and .comfort

  26. Van Kent says:

    Dmitry Orlov: “Bigger collapses are nastier than smaller ones. For example, if you had lots of local banks and credit unions making loans to people who then couldn’t repay them, then some large number of these banks and credit unions would collapse, insured depositors would be repaid, bad debts would be written off, and the entire system would eventually recover. But if you have a handful of gigantic banks and financial institutions holding most of the bad debts, and they fail all at once, then that brings down the entire system. And if you bail them out, then the entire system ends up on life support for the rest of its life, because nobody has any incentive to stop generating bad loans, since now everyone expects to be bailed out again and again.” http://cluborlov.blogspot.fi/2016/01/my-prescription-for-2016-collapse-early.html#more

    Home Run for Dmitry

  27. Fast Eddy says:

    Anglo American (AAL.L), the world’s fifth-largest mining company, plunged 7.4% on Monday. Glencore (GLEN.L), the world’s third-biggest miner, fell 5.7%. Both stocks are near all-time lows.

    BHP Billiton plc (BLT.L), the world’s largest publicly traded mining company, fell 3.3% to its lowest level since the 2008 financial crisis.

  28. el mar says:

    It is incredible what happend Sivester in Cologne.
    Many of my friends and realtives are living there.
    That must be orchestrated.

    • On macro level this crazy ME invasion invitation by psychonauts such as Merkel, Gauck & co. is just another blow-back from the shortsighted German reunification and following rapid buildup of EU structures around the “4th Reich principles” – it was feared and predicted outcome by several western and eastern politicians in the early 1990s and before. Now the EU/EUR political pact is on life support and should these institution disintegrate it means much higher value for “northern EUR” exporters, which would be a problem, and much lower value of southern currencies, which would be positive for their longer term stability, plus it would obviously cause havoc in the global debt arteries clogged from their inception by the end of WWII, i.e. US dollar reserve system, guess who is calling the shots and enjoys cankicking of the whole circus for some more days..

    • Another unpleasant effect is that many Germans of some wealth are now about to begin diversify globally and regionally, i.e. damaging/increasing effect on RE/acreage prices and availability. In recent weeks and months there has been some immigration upsurge towards Israel, but sadly also into other European regions, makes locals very unhappy..

      • el mar says:

        Interesting! Where did you get this information from?

        • The Israel bound emigration wave from EU (not only Germans but french Jews as well) was described in several western media recently. And the second part about Germans looking and actually scouting, buying property, and moving from DE is by personal experience as I talked to few buyers/and local sellers during winter holidays.. this process is just in very beginning because the political gridlock inside DE will not allow real solutions for next several years at the minimum.. and Germans will wake up very slowly..

    • Stilgar Wilcox says:

      I still remember our first school year of integration in the 3rd grade in 1965. Everything seemed fine until one day a week into the school year ‘they’ went off kilter and started to see who could toss our bicycles the farthest. They all ended up in a pile, scratched and dinged up but most were operational with some tool adjustments. We didn’t ride them to school anymore and the veil of thinking they were the same as us except for color was gone, just as it is now is in Germany. The teachers did nothing. We were told it was ok did because they didn’t have bikes like us so it was a natural (jealous) reaction. Later, things got much worse but the teachers never did a thing about it because the fear of being called racist is worse apparently than doing something. Most of the kids whose parents could afford it sent them to private schools.

      For some reason people buy into ‘they’re the same as us’ until so many incidents occur that is it obvious that cannot be true, but then they do nothing about it. What Germany was thinking in opening up their country to a million+ is so far beyond the pale it’s outrageous, but the top powers will never suffer problems like the local people that from now on will have to experience the daily humiliations that pervade their lives. What they will also find out is they are much better fighters because for some reason they are much faster even though we are supposedly identical except for color? (ever watch the NFL or boxing?), masters of INTIMIDATION, bullying, stealing by distraction, verbal humiliation and completely reject any attempt to get a good education. Not all, but most. Good luck with all that. Merkel has written her political epitaph.

      • Van Kent says:

        For more then a decade now its been obvious that rape crimes in Europe have a HUGE statistical spike because of immigrant refugee populations. Despite this obvious problem, I haven´t seen any serious attempts to tackle it, or even talk about it. And then came 2015 and another million+ came..

        A friend living in Göteborg Sweden commented that certain parts of town are totally void of swedes. Going there is dangerous for a young blonde. That begins to be the new normal in most of Europe. Nice.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          I don’t have any friends in Sweden but I’ve been in Eastern Europe for 3 weeks now and my wife, who is a very well-dressed, well-spoken, confident person who would never in a million years be confused with being a refugee — has been driven nearly to tears a few times now by racist comments.

          The most recent incident was in a petrol station. I ordered a coffee and tea and the lady saw my blue eyes and blond hair and wonderful white skin and she bent over backwards to kiss my ass…. she was fawning over me … in fact I think she wanted me to take her out to dinner….

          My wife goes to the toilet and there as a line up …. so the hot water for her tea was cold by the time she came back ….. so I told her to ask the server to replace it with more hot water…

          She came back visibly shaken telling me that the lady said no in a very kurt manner and she could fill it up from the public tap in the bathroom.

          I very calmly approached and asked for an explanation …. the lady said that they had to pay each time the machine was used … to which I responded with what I would describe as a rather fierce look on my face…. now you didn’t send me to the public toilet did you —- why couldn’t you give her the explanation you just gave me…. don’t you think everyone deserves a certain level of courtesy….

          And I turned and walked away…..message delivered.

          Now I may have been wrong here… maybe she was not expressing racism … rather she was thinking the dinner date was a go then she saw that I had a wife in tow and that spoiled the moment for her…..

          My point here is — there are a shitload of racist pricks in most countries and they are often the problem.

          I think that most immigrants to countries are not looking for trouble. They are often just trying to get away from the bombs we have been dropping on them.

          When they behave badly it’s likely because they have had multiple experiences like the one above… and there would have been nobody there to stand up for them…

          We’re on a roll here…. last year …. Milan airport…. some African guy is at the car rental hanging about trying to make a buck … he’s so goddamn poor that he had mis-matched shoes on….

          So I say he bud, where are you from? He says Libya…. I say Libya’s a bad place these days eh… he says ya that’s for sure…. so I got him to help with our bags and had a chance to chat with him on the way to the terminal and he said it was very difficult because most people treat him like shit … most don’t want him to help with their bags….. I asked him what Libya was like with Gaddafi there…. ‘everyone liked Gaddafi’ ……

          I gave him 30 Euros for helping out —- I figure it’s the least I can do after we blew his country to pieces….

          Anyway — walk in the other guys shoes (mis-matched at that) before judging …. or at least ask them about how they are feeling.

          Nobody was born a terrorist. Nobody wants to be a terrorist.

          • pintada says:

            “walk in the other guys shoes (mis-matched at that) before judging …. or at least ask them about how they are feeling.”

            You nailed it again Fast Eddie.

          • Van Kent says:

            My sister who lives in Malaga Spain, doing some freelancing with interpol AI tools, I guess, told me that the so called terrorists have excellent packages for the widows. Well, at least as long as they got the oil money from Nato Turkey, now after the Russia attacks I doubt they have the money anymore. The widower allowance was so good, that the women encouraged their men to join the so called terrorists and to go on suicide missions if at all possible.

            I´m not so convinced about the term terrorist though.

            If God told you to go murder your neighbour, would you do it? Pretty crazy God, to ask for something like that, but, that is exactly what religious extremism is. There are currently millions of people ready to die or kill for their religion. So, is God a terrorist?

            The only real terrorists I can see are the crazed neocons. We know who the neocons are, we know they created Al Qaida, ISIS, IS, funded and armed them etc. we know they have access and/or are in control of MSM manipulation and covert operations false flag attacks. We know they have FEMA camps ready to seize the U.S. citizenry when collapse starts. We know they have been arming up the Police so that they can weige a war on the U.S. populace. We know they are ready to use whatever force, tools, nukes necessary to secure U.S. hegemony over all. Yet, have any of the so called terrorists attacked these neocons? Nope, on the contrary, all so called terrorist attacks have aided neocon policies. Strange. So, if we know the neocons are ready and are planning to kill, torture and maime everything you love and respect, why are the neocons still around, walking in open daylight?

            Well, I guess its because the term terrorist is owned by the neocons and they have the only right to name who the terrorists are (anybody who opposes or hinders neocons) or is not an terrorist (anyone who helps the neocons). Now, if that isn´t the most classical example of Orwellian doublethink-doublespeak I don´t know what is, because the only real terrorist organization I can see, are the neocons themselves.

          • Ifromplanetclaire says:

            Racism exists, It exists in all races.

            Whatever my race the chance that any particular individual intends to do me harm is greater if they are a different race than me. This because racists exist in all races,

            Im from planet claire. Where I grew up it was mosey people from planet garbanzo. I know about racism. I truly believe there are both beautiful and ugly violent people in all races.

            I am not a racist. I believe every rapist should have a machete planted in their kidney regardless of what planet they are from. I dont care about their shoes nor do I have any desire to walk in them. I understand that violent humans have often been exposed to violence. I understand that very well, Every human still has a choice regardless of the environment we come from, We can choose love or we can choose hate.

            Ugly violent humans often use their environment as a justification for what they have chosen to become. “Walk in their shoes” often supports that justification. I value compassion but I do not value attitudes that condone the acts of ugly violent people.

            Your gut can spot ugly violent humans every-time. If you disregard your gut because they are from planet broccoli then you strongly increase your odds of being a victim.

            I am sorry your wife experienced racism. My wife is from a different planet than me and has also experienced racism and I have also experienced anger at that. It doesnt really bother her. As far as me and my anger, no one ever promised me a rose garden.

          • Karl says:

            Now who’s singing koombaya? Human beings are tribal. Diverse groups fight, especially when resource constrained. I can empathize though, my wife is also a different ethnicity from me, and one of my greatest worries is protecting her and the kids once BAU comes crashing down and people circle the wagons with “their own kind”.

            • bandits101 says:

              A good test for the do-gooder’s would be that they have to take a refugee or refugee family into their home. It’s all well and good to be magnanimous about allowing them into the country or town, where they can be someone else’s problem. Let’s see how generous they are when they have to actually share their own food, clothing and shelter, if they have to give up or share their job with a refugee. Throwing a refugee a few bucks and telling everyone about it, might give one a superior air but is not really helping.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              No thanks.

              As I have said I don’t have a position on this — I don’t care….

              But if I were observing as a Martian what I would say is — so your governments blew the daylights out of these countries (iraq syria libya…) — and now the people of these failed states are pouring over your borders…. and you are blaming them?

              Yet you believe you live in democracies….

              If that is the case then should you not be blaming yourselves for having elected governments that bomb people back to the stone age?

              Putting on the Fast Eddy/Mr DNA hat — we needed to bomb these people into the stone age to ensure we get to LIVE LARGE. So I fully support that. Either we do it – or Russia or China do it… and we live small and they LIVE LARGE.

              I also fully support not allowing refugees into my country. And I would be seriously pissed if the NZ government has done what Europe is doing.

              If there are any angles I missed feel free to point them out…. I can wear many hats

            • Fast Eddy says:

              No koombaya here — I expect racism — but will I tolerate it when it shows up at my doorstep?

              Absolutely not.

      • xabier says:


        I’m afraid that the mass of self-righteous liberals in Europe will find some way of talking about this mass-sexual assault by muslims in Germany as if it were the fault of a non-welcoming and ‘institutionally racist’ German society, not that of the assailants: it’s the standard response, and has always been irrational, so evidence won’t change it.

        I recall long ago the EU Commission burying the details of an upsurge in attacks on Jewish graves and people: perpetrated by muslims, but represented as some nasty resurgence of ‘European anti-semitism’!

        The British Guardian reported the German assaults -like all ugly migrant news – as a very small article, with no comments allowed….

        A Turkish friend (ex-muslim, and hence candidate for the ISIS fast-track death-penalty) recently observed that ‘If I were European, I’d be frightened.’ I entirely concur with her. Related to this she informs me that as Turkey Re-Islamises under Erdogan, liberal secular Turks want to get the hell out.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Put it this way…. if western powers would gas women and children in Syria and try to pin that on Assad…. (which they most definitely did).

          They are capable of anything…. including faking stories to incite hatred….

          • psile says:

            Exactly. Take for instance MH17. Clearly it was instructed to divert direction and lower altitude right into the firing line over the Donbass when the war was hot there in 2014. Since the plane was over Ukrainian airspace the order could not have come from the Russian side. Nor did the separatists have a weapon at their disposal that would be capable of knocking a jet plane out of the sky at 30,000 ft. So it’s clear the fix was orchestrated from the Ukrainian/pro-Western side, with the West’s full understanding.

          • xabier says:

            Regarding current propaganda in Europe, the journalist to read is Natalie Nougayrede, who publishes in English and gives one a good idea of the line being spun by Brussels on Russia, Syria, migrants, Islam, etc.

            Currently there are two main strands to EU propaganda:

            1/ ‘If you don’t want these migrants, we have to get rid of Assad the Evil Dictator, then they will all go home to the new democratic, re-built Syria’. This meshes with the UK/US propaganda on the Syria debacle.

            2/ ‘It’s true that mass immigration hasn’t worked well in Europe up until now, but you people have to get used to the idea that Europe is going to change fundamentally from now (ie mass muslim settlement), and we have to make it work. There is no alternative so don’t even think about being a xenophobic racist protestor. They are not the problem, you are!’

            There is a subsidiary one, very worn-out:

            ‘They built the Alhambra in Granada when we lived in mud huts and died like flies of the plague: we owe them so much, they are great!’ The Mayor of London trotted this out the other day.

            That these two main lines of argument are contradictory seems to escape the brilliant opinion- formers of Brussels: just here until Assad is gone, or here to stay and change Europe ‘forever’, which is it?

            As to the advisability of mass immigration by practising traditional muslims from these regions, it’s illuminating to speak with educated Turks, Iranians, Kurds, Pakistanis, etc, who have come to the West precisely to escape the deadly grip of Islamic theocracy and the general repression and contempt for women, which the incident in Germany (and many others on a lesser scale all through Europe) illustrates.

            Even in Iran, and when correctly Islamically dressed, women are subject to considerable sexual harrassment verbal – in the street if they commit the sin of being there alone: desperate repressed males who think that if a woman is not at home in the kitchen she must be potentially available and lacking in ‘honour.’

            One of the reasons orthodox muslims like Erdogan and his brain-dead peasant followers hate the Kurds so much is that many of them are relapsed muslims or atheists who accord to Kurdish women the same kind of freedoms and dignity that women have won in the West, and are capable of seeing women in bikinis in a mixed-bathing beach without concluding they are whores who deserve to be raped, as an orthodox muslim peasant would.

            Those who have been brought up in liberal societies are mentally ill-prepared to deal with such a phenomenon.

            The mid-East is a seething mass of ethnic and sectarian hatreds which make European racists look mild.

            • xabier says:

              For instance, to give another glimpse into the crazy zone, it is very fashionable to admire Hitler in the ME: the archetypal Strong Man! The irony of this escapes them.

            • kesar0 says:

              RE: wave of ME immigration.
              Are any of you aware of any article/interview with the immigrants regarding their narrative: how they go to the other continent, 4.000 kilometers away with a handbag? What kind of rumors/information motivated them to take this journey?
              How come that not one of these journalists asked these questions to over one million people arriving in EU?
              Propaganda in mass-media is overwhelming.

              I bet it was all orchestrated by western intelligence operation.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Agree – it all seems a bit strange…. but nobody is asking any questions…

              This photo is the tell…. looks like lad was kitted out in the latest Ralph Lauren for Kids before the CIA office wrung his neck and Don Draper arranged him the perfect pose for the camera:


              Speaking of well-dressed people…. we went to the opera last night in Vienna — we never had an opera house in the mining town I grew up in so thought this might be a nice addition to the End of the World Tour…..

              Barber of Seville — it was sold out so the only tickets we could get were in with the aristocracy … bloody near as expensive a Leafs playoff tickets — but anyway — the world is ending so I figured who gives a shit… I forked over the future toilet paper….

              As I sat there with lukewarm interest (I’d much rather see a rock concert – almost any rock concert….) and was observing the very precious people in their very expensive clothes,,, $100 hair men’s haircuts … maybe $300 for the women? Or perhaps those were wigs made from the hair of refugees? A women beside me was sporting what was clearly a very expensive bag — I think it might have been made from the foreskins of drowned refugee babies….

              Anyway…. I was wondering….

              Do these people look like donkeys in Dolce Gabbana dresses and Zegna suits because they come from long lines of inbreeding — or is it all the Botox and surgery?

              I concluded over a glass of wine with the wife afterwards that to get that long-faced donkey look it had to be a combination of both .. one or the other on it’s own would be unlikely to bring on such an equine result.

              I was also thinking — boy oh boy oh boy are these types going to be in for the shock of a lifetime when the SHTF….. most of them probably don’t even know how to work a toaster…

            • Stefeun says:

              Thanks FE,
              I could almost see the scenes, with your face expressions, and hear the off-voice of your thoughts. Very good!

            • kesar0 says:

              Lol, looks like good description of the Leisure Class

              Don Draper, we watch the same shows, lol!

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I suspect that in all places where the colonial boot has been applied — there would be seething hatred for westerners….

              The volume of the hatred would no doubt be highly correlated with how recent the boot was on the neck — with the middle east being at the volume of a Metallica concert given the boot is still on the neck…..

            • bandits101 says:

              The desert kingdoms all expanded their populations beyond reality. Oil giveth and the lack of oil is/will take away. So get used to people on the move. As collapse occurs sporadically, people will move to where life is or is perceived to be better, thus hastening the collapse of the alternate. There will be no islands of plenty in a sea of want. 7.4 billion people ravaging a planet, fit for at best a tenth that number is the disaster very few understand.

              At present the do-gooder’s assume there is plenty for everyone. So magnanimously giving a few bucks to a refugee and telling everyone about it gives bragging rights. But invite one or two to live in your actual home instead of the country or town, let’s see the do-gooder’s do that and set a proper example. I think money where the mouth is is appropriate in more ways than one. We like to think of ourselves as being altruistic but the normal human condition is fuck-you-jack-I’m-alright, when push comes to shove that is.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Giving a few bucks to the luggage guy is not about bragging — as I said — it’s a token gesture for blowing his country up…. kinda like you throw your spare changed into the Unicef box at the grocery check out …. but without the middle man taking 90% of the donation to fly business class and stay in the hilton….

              Or you could just tell the poor guy to fack off and get a life….

      • Fast Eddy says:

        I went to a multi-racial school in Canada — in fact most schools in Canada are completely mixed with races because there are millions of immigrants in the country.

        ‘We were told it was ok did because they didn’t have bikes like us so it was a natural (jealous) reaction.’

        I never saw incidents like this. Could it be because the Canadian government heavily promotes multi-culturalism encouraging us to learn about others?

        Racism is there but it is not tolerated by most people. I was a a Junior A hockey game once and there was a black player on the ice and there were 3 guys shouting racist comments at him when he touched the puck… there were made to feel about as low as anyone could feel — they stopped.

        On the other hand in European sports you get monkey chants when black players take to the pitch …. you have to threaten fans to get them to stop


        Stilgar – do you know if the kids who threw the bikes had been taunted by other students? Maybe they were referred to as dirty refugees or something like that?

        • xabier says:

          I don’t think multi-cultural education is the key. Rather, the self-definition of Canada is that of a new country born of migration. It also helps being incredibly wealthy.

          That is not the self-image of Europeans: most of the migrating occurred at least 1,000 years ago, and for 1300 yrs or so we have been at war with – in fact struggling for existence against – Islam.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            My father was the son of immigrants…. he used to speak often of the brutal racism non-WASPs endured — himself included — how in the mines and other industries if you weren’t a Jones or a Smith you could pretty much forget about moving up the ladder

            Towards the end of his life he did recognize how much the country had changed since he was a young man

            So no – Canada has not always been as it is now.

            • InAlaska says:

              I just returned from a week in Vancouver. Amazing place. There were many times when I was the only western person I could see for miles. It looked like Hong Kong and, in fact, that is where most of the people there are from. After China took over Hong Kong, many of them moved to Canada to escape the Red Menace. The only natural born Canadians that I met were at hockey games! Either way, I detected no signs of the upcoming collapse in Canada. All of the malls were full of people, spending money everywhere. The roads were jammed with cars, the restaurants full of people and everyone looked rich. Flew back to Alaska via Seattle where everyone also looked rich, happy, and completely unconcerned with the fate of the world. The Space Needle glowed on the skyline.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I remember speaking to a lawyer in HK who attended the Super Bowl before the 2008 crash — he was amazed at how things were just off the boil in the US — just so much money being splashed around….

              Then of course the party ended…. abruptly….

  29. Fast Eddy says:

    This is more troubling than peak cheap oil …. is it possible to frack coffee to increase the supply?

    Coffee Crisis Imminent

    A coffee shortage will hit within 3 years as demand for fine beans soars.


  30. Fast Eddy says:

    The Economics and Strategy team at Canada’s National Bank put it this way in their BNF Economic Monitor:

    Good riddance 2015. The global economy’s performance was the worst in six years despite a massive stimulus to consumers around the world courtesy of lower energy prices and highly stimulative monetary policy.

    As it turns out, those boosters were offset by headwinds generated by China’s rebalancing towards a more service-oriented economy which proved more challenging than first thought, particularly for trading partners in emerging economies. The bad news is that those headwinds will continue to restrain growth in 2016.


    The cure for low commodity prices is low commodity prices — generally — but this time is different.

    Keep in mind there is substantial QE continuing to be pumped into the global economy by Japan and the EU — and the trillions the US infused is still circulating….

    The horse is barely twitching no matter how much we beat it….


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