Why Globalization Reaches Limits

We have been living in a world of rapid globalization, but this is not a condition that we can expect to continue indefinitely.

Figure 1. Ratio of Imported Goods and Services to GDP. Based in FRED data for IMPGS.

Figure 1. Ratio of Imported Goods and Services to GDP. Based in FRED data for IMPGS.

Each time imported goods and services start to surge as a percentage of GDP, these imports seem to be cut back, generally in a recession. The rising cost of the imports seems to have an adverse impact on the economy. (The imports I am showing are gross imports, rather than imports net of exports. I am using gross imports, because US exports tend to be of a different nature than US imports. US imports include many labor-intensive products, while exports tend to be goods such as agricultural goods and movie films that do not require much US labor.)

Recently, US imports seem to be down. Part of this reflects the impact of surging US oil production, and because of this, a declining need for oil imports. Figure 2 shows the impact of removing oil imports from the amounts shown on Figure 1.

Figure 2. Total US Imports of Goods and Services, and this total excluding crude oil imports, both as a ratio to GDP. Crude oil imports from https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/historical/petr.pdf

Figure 2. Total US Imports of Goods and Services, and this total excluding crude oil imports, both as a ratio to GDP. Crude oil imports from https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/historical/petr.pdf

If we look at the years from 2008 to the present, there was clearly a big dip in imports at the time of the Great Recession. Apart from that dip, US imports have barely kept up with GDP growth since 2008.

Let’s think about the situation from the point of view of developing nations, wanting to increase the amount of goods they sell to the US. As long as US imports were growing rapidly, then the demand for the goods and services these developing nations were trying to sell would be growing rapidly. But once US imports flattened out as a percentage of GDP, then it became much harder for developing nations to “grow” their exports to the US.

I have not done an extensive analysis outside the US, but based on the recent slow economic growth patterns for Japan and Europe, I would expect that import growth for these areas to be slowing as well. In fact, data from the World Trade Organization for Japan, France, Italy, Sweden, Spain, and the United Kingdom seem to show a recent slowdown in imported goods for these countries as well.

If this lack of demand growth by a number of industrialized countries continues, it will tend to seriously slow export growth for developing countries.

Where Does Demand for Imports Come From?

Many of the goods and services we import have an adverse impact on US wages. For example, if we import clothing, toys, and furniture, these imports directly remove US jobs making similar goods here. Similarly, programming jobs and call center jobs outsourced to lower cost nations reduce the number of jobs available in the US. When US oil prices rose in the 1970s, we started importing compact cars from Japan. Substituting Japanese-made cars for American-made cars also led to a loss of US jobs.

Even if a job isn’t directly lost, the competition with low wage nations tends to hold down wages. Over time, US wages have tended to fall as a percentage of GDP.

Figure 3. Ratio of US Wages and Salaries to GDP, based on information of the US Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Figure 3. Ratio of US Wages and Salaries to GDP, based on information of the US Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Another phenomenon that has tended to occur is greater disparity of wages. Partly this disparity represents wage pressure on individuals doing jobs that could easily be outsourced to a lower-wage country. Also, executive salaries tend to rise, as companies become more international in scope. As a result, earnings for the top 10% have tended to increase since 1981, while wages for the bottom 90% have stagnated.

Figure 4. Chart by economist Emmanuel Saez based on an analysis IRS data, published in Forbes.

Figure 4. Chart by economist Emmanuel Saez based on an analysis of IRS data, published in Forbes. “Real income” is inflation-adjusted income.

If wages of most workers are lagging behind, how is it possible to afford increased imports? I would argue that what has happened in practice is greater and greater use of debt. If wages of American workers had been rising rapidly, perhaps these higher wages could have enabled workers to afford the increased quantity of imported goods. With wages lagging behind, growing debt has been used as a way of affording imported goods and services.

Inasmuch as the US dollar was the world’s reserve currency, this increase in debt did not have a seriously adverse impact on the economy. In fact, back when oil prices were higher than they are today, petrodollar recycling helped maintain demand for US Treasuries as the US borrowed increasing amounts of money to purchase oil and other goods. This process helped keep borrowing costs low for the US.

Figure 5. US Increase in Debt as Ratio to GDP and US imports as Ratio to GDP. Both from FRED data: TSMDO and IMPGS.

Figure 5. US Increase in Debt as Ratio to GDP and US imports as Ratio to GDP. Both from FRED data: TSMDO and IMPGS.

The problem, however, is that at some point it becomes impossible to raise the debt level further. The ratio of debt to GDP becomes unmanageable. Consumers, because their wages have been held down by competition with wages around the world, cannot afford to keep adding more debt. Businesses find that slow wage growth in the US holds down demand. Because of this slow growth in the demand, businesses don’t need much additional debt to expand their businesses either.

Commodity Prices Are Extremely Sensitive to Lack of Demand

Commodities, by their nature, are things we use a lot of. It is usually difficult to store very much of these commodities. As a result, it is easy for supply and demand to get out of balance. Because of this, prices swing widely.

Demand is really a measure of affordability. If wages are lagging behind, then an increase in debt (for example, to buy a new house or a new car) can substitute for a lack of savings from wages. Unfortunately, such increases in debt have not been happening recently. We saw in Figure 5, above, that recent growth in US debt is lagging behind. If very many countries find themselves with wages rising slowly, and debt is not rising much either, then it is easy for commodity demand to fall behind supply. In such a case, prices of commodities will tend to fall behind the cost of production–exactly the problem the world has been experiencing recently. The problem started as early as 2012, but has been especially bad in the past year.

The way the governments of several countries have tried to fix stagnating economic growth is through a program called Quantitative Easing (QE). This program produces very low interest rates. Unfortunately, QE doesn’t really work as intended for commodities. QE tends to increase the supply of commodities, but it does not increase the demand for commodities.

The reason QE increases the supply of commodities is because yield-starved investors are willing to pour large amounts of capital into projects, in the hope that commodity prices will rise high enough that investments will be profitable–in other words, that investments in shares of stock will be profitable and also that debt can be repaid with interest. A major example of this push for production after QE started in 2008 is the rapid growth in US “liquids” production, thanks in large part to extraction from shale formations.

Figure 6. US oil and other liquids production, based on EIA data. Available data is through November, but amount shown is estimate of full year.

Figure 6. US oil and other liquids production, based on EIA data. Available data is through November, but amount shown is estimate of full year.

As we saw in Figure 5, the ultra-low interest rates have not been successful in encouraging new debt in general. These low rates also haven’t been successful in increasing US capital expenditures (Figure 7). In fact, even with all of the recent shale investment, capital investment remains low relative to what we would expect based on past investment patterns.

Figure 7. US Fixed Investment (Factories, Equipment, Schools, Roads) Excluding Consumer Durables as Ratio to GDP, based in US Bureau of Economic Analysis data.

Figure 7. US Fixed Investment (Factories, Equipment, Schools, Roads) Excluding Consumer Durables as Ratio to GDP, based on US Bureau of Economic Analysis data.

Instead, the low wages that result from globalization, without huge increases in debt, make it difficult to keep commodity prices up high enough. Workers, with low wages, delay starting their own households, so they have no need for a separate apartment or house. They may also be able to share a vehicle with other family members. Because of the mismatch between supply and demand, commodity prices of many kinds have been falling. Oil prices, shown on Figure 9, have been down, but prices for coal, natural gas, and LNG are also down. Oil supply is up a little on a world basis, but not by an amount that would have been difficult to absorb in the 1960s and 1970s, when prices were much lower.

Figure 9. World oil production and price. Production is based on BP, plus author's estimate for 2016. Historical oil prices are calculated based on a higher than usual recent inflation rate, assuming Shadowstats' view of inflation is correct.

Figure 9. World oil production and price. Production is based on BP, plus author’s estimate for 2016. Historical oil prices are calculated based on a higher than usual recent inflation rate, assuming Shadowstats’ view of inflation is correct.

Developing Countries Are Often Commodity Exporters 

Developing countries can be greatly affected if commodity prices are low, because they are often commodity exporters. One problem is obviously the cutback in wages, if it becomes necessary to reduce commodity production.  A second problem relates to the tax revenue that these exports generate. Without this revenue, it is often necessary to cut back funding for programs such as building roads and schools. This leads to even more job loss elsewhere in the economy. The combination of wage loss and tax loss may make it difficult to repay loans.

Obviously, if low commodity prices persist, this is another limit to globalization.


We have identified two different limits to globalization. One of them has to do with limits on the amount of goods and services that developed countries can absorb before those imports unduly disrupt local economies, either through job loss, or through more need for debt than the developed economies can handle. The other occurs because of the sensitivity of many developing nations to low commodity prices, because they are exporters of these commodities.

Of course, there are other issues as well. China has discovered that if its coal is burned in great quantity, it is very polluting and a problem for this reason. China has begun to reduce its coal consumption, partly because of pollution issues.

Figure 10. China's energy consumption by fuel, based on data of BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2015.

Figure 10. China’s energy consumption by fuel, based on data of BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2015.

There are many other limiting factors. Fresh water is a major problem, throughout much of the developing world. Adding more people and more industry makes the situation worse.

One problem with globalization is a long-term tendency to move manufacturing production to countries with ever-lower standards in many ways: ever-lower pollution controls, ever-lower safety standards for workers, and ever-lower wages and benefits for workers. This means that the world becomes an ever-worse place to work and live, and the workers in the system become less and less able to afford the output of the system. The lack of buyers for the output of the system makes it increasingly difficult to keep prices of commodities high enough to support their continued production.

The logical end point, even beyond globalization, is for automation and robots to perform nearly all production. Of course, if that happens, there will be no one to buy the output of the system. Won’t that be a problem?

Adequate wages are critical to making any system work. As the system has tended increasingly toward globalization, politicians have tended to focus more and more on the needs of businesses and governments, and less on the needs of workers. At some point, the lack of buyers for the output of the system will tend to bring the whole system down.

Thus, at some point, the trend toward globalization and automation must stop. We need buyers for the output from the system, and this is precisely the opposite of the direction in which the system is trending. If a way is not found to fix the system, it will ultimately collapse. At a minimum, the trend toward increasing imports will end–if it hasn’t already.



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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1,263 Responses to Why Globalization Reaches Limits

  1. Stilgar Wilcox says:


    Remember the post of CO2 rising 3.76 ppm yoy February 2015 to feb. 2016?
    Well, a new article today reports the CO2 ppm level for the year of 2015 went up 3.05
    That’s a new record folks!
    Just a couple years ago on Neven’s arctic blog I wrote a post saying it wouldn’t be long before CO2 levels increased by 3 ppm in a year, and I was lambasted for a failure to understand it had only gone up 2 ppm in a couple of recent years. I took my medicine because those people supposedly know so much more. Well, it turned out I was correct. Up over 3 ppm in one year and it already occurred in 2015. First time ever in modern human history. Keep in mind it took until the 70’s before it breached 1 ppm added in a year. So we are at a rate of 3 times that much increase.

    At 3 ppm it would only take 33 years to equal another 100 ppm added to the 404 currently and we’d be at 504 ppm. Hopefully predictions of financial collapse are correct and we will never breach 500 ppm.

    As carbon sinks like the oceans phytoplankton decrease and the forest get felled, the rate of CO2 ppm will increase to 4 then 5 ppm added a year. When it’s 5 it will only take 20 years to add another 100 ppm. Ouch!

    • bandits101 says:


    • Artleads says:

      I’m not surprised by any of this. Industrial civilization (as is), however convenient to many of us, is fatal to life support. I don’t have anything against human population, but the fact that it has doubled in the last 40 years alone puts me on the edge of my chair.

    • Yoshua says:

      The global carbon dioxide emission in 2014 caused by humans was 35 billion tonnes, or 5 tonnes per capita.

      • Yoshua says:

        The global carbon dioxide emission by natural causes is 770 billion tonnes annually. These 770 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide is absorbed by nature through natural processes. Nature has kept the process of emission and absorption in balance.

        770 / 35 = 22

        Every 22 years humans add another 770 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

        • bandits101 says:

          What are you intimating Youshua, what is your conclusion.

          • Yoshua says:

            No conclusion. I’m just looking at some numbers and them typing them down to help me remember them by creating a picture of how much co2 we are releasing into the atmosphere in comparison to natural causes. But it looks like we are burning a lot of fossil fuels and causing a lot of co2 emissions.

            • bandits101 says:

              Yes it’s all about equilibrium. We need to balance emissions with natural sequestration. Small increases of atmospheric CO2 and other greenhouse gasses over time, upset the ballance. The natural blanketing affect of greenhouse gasses hold in more heat than can be radiated to space when they are excessive. In the short term the ocean is taking up the majority of the excess.

        • Stilgar Wilcox says:


          Natural Sinks:
          For the decade from 2005 to 2014, about 44% of CO2 emissions accumulated in the atmosphere, 26% in the ocean, and 30% on land.

          Cumulative Emisions:
          From 1870 to 2014, cumulative carbon emissions totaled about 545 GtC. Emissions were partitioned among the atmosphere (approx. 230 GtC or 42%), ocean (approx. 155 GtC or 28%) and the land (approx. 160 GtC or 29%).

          Atmospheric Accumulation:
          The 2014 level of CO2 in the atmospheric was 43% above the level when the Industrial Revolution started in 1750.

          This is the last information I provide to help tutor posters on AGW. If you don’t know this stuff you need to do your own due diligence and search out the information to become better informed.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      That is fantastic news!

      As the burning of carbon is nearly 1:1 correlated with economic growth — and as we all know we can never stop growing — this is incredibly good news.

      Here’s hoping that we can set another record in 2016.

      Heaven help us if we don’t.

      Isn’t this the ultimate paradox….

      • Stilgar Wilcox says:

        “Isn’t this the ultimate paradox….”

        So much so it makes me smile and laugh uproariously. Thanks for the Sunday humor.

        • bandits101 says:

          You never know, maybe TPTB will drink the space solar koolaid and use it for good instead of evil. Maybe they will actually use the power to sequester CO2, maybe some other way will be found to stop the burning and sequester instead of increasing……….maybe, maybe, maybe. There will absolutely be no maybe, if no attempt is made.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            And maybe this time someone will work out how to change lead into gold…. finally!

      • psile says:

        Everything be to blazes…as long as I get higher GDP!

  2. vriralogos says:

    “In a world way beyond the carrying capacity there are two ways to distribute the pain and death. One is the “free” market whoever has the most money lives and the rest die.”
    Yes just like it is now. The 1% which is every citizen of the USA live and others die.

    “The other method is called nationalism.”
    Stupidest false dichotomy I have ever heard.
    “We defend our people and kill their people if need be. ”
    Not sure about the defend but the kill is spot on.
    “It could be these Americans want a chance to live and not die because they are not the uber rich.”
    All Americans are the uber rich.
    ” They want to control their borders.”
    Because they think their wealth is real.
    “They want to control who enters their country. They want that control to be based on one person one vote rather than one billionaire one unit of influence”
    They want they want they want. You certainly got that right ed. What they dont want is the truth. Do you really want us to believe this stupid argument trying to establish your own right to wealth nothing else Ed?
    I , you, every citizen enjoys lifestyle because our military kills. The dollar would ave been abandoned long long ago without that. Without the dollar we have to compete and we cant. We cant compete against the labor of the rest of the world. They cant come up to our standard there is not enough resources for that. The alternative is we come down. You obviously dont want that so you are pro killing. Get off your damn soapbox you make me ill.

    Here is the real choice.
    1. We continue to blow shit up (kill).
    2. go to the same standards of the rest of the world.

    Which do you want Ed make up your mind? Your posts consistently indicate you want to keep your wealth.
    That means you choose option one. The alternative- a true free market- where we compete value with the rest of the world means as a very valuable and intelligent asset you make 10k not 150k. That means the whole illusion comes down because those income levels wont support property values, wont support stock values, wont support pensions at current levels. Poof your wealth is gone. You constantly put forth arguments that support your keeping your wealth. Ed you support killing. Which is good because you really dont have a choice. Hillary will continue to kill. Trump will continue to kill. And Bernie will continue to kill. If they dont then they will be snuffed and a replacement put in who will. Do you see me living under a bridge? No . Guess what that means. I dont like it but I dont post a lot of drivel to justify it. This forum is better than that. Maybe you can just write your drivel in a lab book and read it while looking at yourself in the mirror instead of stinking up this blog?

    • DJ says:

      US population is 4% of the worlds, with less income equality than rest of the west. 90% of americans are not 1%ers.

      Eds argument could work even better on Europe. Close the borders relatively peacefully and keep the wealth for a white. Or let population double and capital per capita halve.

      • Stefeun says:

        Not sure with your figures, DJ,
        and too lazy to try & check…

        Here’s sound hard stuff:
        “Poll taken during 2000 election: 19% of Americans said they were in the top 1% of earners”


        (who said Agrabah? I heard you, mocker!)

        • DJ says:

          320 through 7200 millions.
          Income distribution is Sweden vs US, otherwise I more or less extrapolated.

          • Crusty says:


            The U.S. stands head and shoulders above the rest of the world. More than half (56%) of Americans were high income by the global standard, living on more than $50 per day in 2011, the latest year that could be analyzed with the available data. Another 32% were upper-middle income. In other words, almost nine-in-ten Americans had a standard of living that was above the global middle-income standard. Only 7% of people in the U.S. were middle income, 3% were low income and 2% were poor.

            Compare that with the rest of the world, where 13% of people globally could be considered middle income in 2011. Most people in the world were either low income (56%) or poor (15%), and relatively few were upper-middle income (9%) or high income (7%).

            …….Nonetheless, the majority of Americans are part of the global high-income population that resides almost exclusively in Europe and North America. These two regions accounted for 87% of the global high-income population in 2011 – only slightly less than in 2001, when their share stood at 91%. The rest of the world has a lot of catching up to do.

            • DJ says:

              I’m not sure you agree or disagree with me.

              All above seems to validate Eds point that the poorest in the west is well off. And could be inclined to try to protect status quo by nationalism.

              Nothing suggests the poorest americans are in the global 1% club. Probably not even in the 10% club.

            • DJ says:

              That article is US vs the rest of the world. When really europe, Japan and australia has similar (slightly lower, yes) income.

              So what we have is maybe half a billion living in nations where “no one” earns less than $10k/year, and the rest living i nations where the majority earns a few dollar per day, if they’re lucky.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Imagine what would happen to the world’s resources, the climate and the environment if instead there was a minimum income across the world and everyone earned instead say $5000 per year

            • Fast Eddy says:


              CNBC: Fast Eddy — how does it feel to be on the winning side in the zero sum battle for the earth’s finite resources?

              FE: it feels grrrrreat! I’m living large… I’m very comfortable… of course I do throw a few spare coins in the Oxfam box at the check out counter so – um — ya I am good… I care about the losers …

              CNBC: that’s really kind of you Fast — but what about this Koombaya tax that the UN is suggesting be paid by winners…. 20% of your income to go to alleviating world poverty.

              FE: &^^%$ that. Who’s the commie pc of garbage that came up with that? We fought the battle for world resources using every dirty trick in the book and we WON. And now we have to give some of the booty back to these losers,,,, to the weaklings… the cowards? Is this for real???

              CNBC: so Fast what are you going to do next?

              FE: I’m off to Disney Land of course…. then I am headed to Vegas for a very large weekend of champagne and caviar…. like I said — it feels GRRRREAT to be on the winning side!

        • Slightly confused–or optimistic.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      A lot of people want more equality in the world…. but ask them to take a 20% cut in their standard of living to make it happen…..

      • that’s why Heinberg et al are such daydreamers and wishful thinkers (though well intentioned) when it comes to downsizing.
        it’s ok for everybody else to downsize—but my lifestyle is just too important to take a cut right now.
        Heinberg’s lectures are always laced with ‘we must do’—ignoring the reality that whatever it is will cost someone his job.—and very little awareness of how things might be altered in practical terms,

        we must stop burning coal—everybody agrees on that—but miners jealously guard their jobs, and vote for politicians who deny global warming.—or think like the Chinese, who go on burning it like there’s no tomorrow, thus making sure there won’t be a tomorrow.
        The 50 mile commuters are the same—somehow fantasising that their long distance workplaces will still somehow be there, and some other form of transport will become magically available.
        Ok if you’re a carpet salesman I guess, otherwise forget it.

        • Crusty says:

          It will end…as the commercial states…pay me now or pay a good deal more later

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Actually — it is not possible for most people to take a 20% cut — even if they were willing to.

          Because most people are not living below their means — in fact most are living at or beyond the limit.

          You know how it goes — newly weds Bob and Jane earn 80k per year — and they leverage up on the most expensive house and cars they can afford…. then down the road they are on 500k per year — and they leverage up on the most expensive house and cars they can afford – the kids are in high-priced private schools….

          Remember that op-ed from a banker in New York who said he was struggling to get by on 500k per year?

          He’s under as much stress to make payments as the guy on 50k per year….

          I’ve always liked the idea of living well below my means — it’s also much easier to keep an 1100sf house clean …. and 3 small bedrooms need a lot less furniture….

          But most people would sneer at this way of living… they’d stand in judgment … and make various derogatory assumptions…

          • Crusty says:

            Another rant ….impossible…because most people….Fast Eddy that statement does to pass the passable intelligence remark…now you are just drawing figments of imagination out of your mind. Boy, talk about armchair, cheese puff thinking.
            Impossible? What you think is going here right now….except for the top very wealthy that is!

      • xabier says:


        Exactly. In Spain, people marched with banners reading:

        ‘Solidarity! Share the Wealth! Share the Jobs!’

        Then when the government in the province where my family live decided that for each 24,000 euro salary post they would create 2 posts at 12,000 euros each (liveable on) and target the young (unemployment c 25%) they marched again:

        ‘No to Mini-Jobs!

        So much for Solidarity……

      • psile says:

        Nobody ever voted for austerity.

  3. Ed says:

    In a world way beyond the carrying capacity there are two ways to distribute the pain and death. One is the “free” market whoever has the most money lives and the rest die. The other method is called nationalism. We defend our people and kill their people if need be. It could be these Americans want a chance to live and not die because they are not the uber rich. They want a chance for their children to live and not die because they are not uber rich. They want to control their borders. They want to control who enters their country. They want that control to be based on one person one vote rather than one billionaire one unit of influence.

  4. Crusty says:

    Worries that the IPCC conclusions have been too modest

    – An increasing number of highly recognised climate scientists that Bellona cooperates with, are expressing the same worries. Many highly-ranked institutions conclude that there is an even more pressing need for climate action than what the IPCC has expressed, argues Hauge.

    The IPCC includes only what is scientifically proven. As there are uncertainties concerning the effects of the slow moving processes such as melting of ice, marshlands and tundra areas, these have to a small extent been considered in the Panel’s final conclusions.

    – We can expect some uncomfortable adjustments in the IPCC conclusions in the upcoming years, however we must see the urgency now already. This makes me even more motivated to contribute to solving the climate problem, says Hauge.

    2015 became the warmest year ever measured. The difference from the last record measured was the longest ever. Some of it is caused by the weather phenomenon El Niño, however NASA clearly underlines that the main cause is human activity.

    – This should worry us, adds Hauge.

    We have to go carbon-negative

    An additional concern associated with higher temperatures is that nature itself will emit larger amounts of CO2. Today a large part of the CO2 is stored in the oceans, in permafrost and in vegetation. In case nature emits more CO2 than it absorbs, the temperature rise can increase substantially. Hauge sees only one solution to avoid catastrophic consequences of global warming: we need to get carbon-negative solutions off the ground as fast as possible.

    – By combusting waste and biomass and then capturing and storing the CO2 emitted, one would remove CO­2 from the atmosphere. This is the only solution if the global community really wants to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, concludes Hauge.

    See…..Fast Eddy and Don ….Bill McKibben is listening…you YOU?
    But, but, BAU keeps me living like a GOD….and you are asking me to change?
    Nope, Physics and Chemistry will smack hard.

    Don’t think is just a fake game we are playing. Nope, no American Dream will save you when these feedbacks start (if they may already have by the looks of the changes we are seeing already)

    But the folks like to be entertained and told it will be taken care of….

    • Fast Eddy says:


      I assuming you do agree that if we want to live lives that are not short, nasty and brutish … we need a source of energy. If you don’t agree then you should jump the next bus back to Delusistan because you are not going to enjoy your time in Realitystan

      Pray tell…. what should we replace fossil fuels with that is clean, cheap and renewable?

      Please please don’t say solar… because your arse will look like this within a day or two…


      • Crusty says:

        On the contrary, you, Fast Eddy, are the one delusional in regard to the catastrophic effect burning fossil fuels are waging on the ecosystem. BTW, that picture is gross and uncalled for, never mind insulting. That reflects your stage of emotional attainment. I hope the monitors would remove it from the page.
        Seems Fast Eddy feels he can have his cake and eat it too….forevermore

        Go out now and buy three of EVERYTHING and charge it too
        Extend BAU and mess the Banker who be the fool
        Me just care about me and ready to shoot you
        Do not expect any from Fast Eddy, the King inside my mind
        Lord of the flies coming real soon

        Yo, Fast Eddy…lyrics to a song you can rap

        • Fast Eddy says:

          How long will I have to wait on your answer to the question of:

          How can we stop global warming without collapsing the global economy?

          And yes I am waiting in ambush… I’ve got a very large arsenal of weapons and a very itchy trigger finger…. I am waiting for you and your Koombaya Brigade to come dancing down the trail in your tie dyed shirts singing ‘Imagine’…. It is good sport to waste Koombayaists…. it’s like shooting bunnies…

          So please …. can you respond to this:

          How can we stop global warming without collapsing the global economy?

          • bandits101 says:

            Global warming is unstoppable even if the economy is deliberately crashed. So what is your point? Is it a FE rule that no attempt should be made, because you know personally for sure and certain the future of humankind and the planet.

            • Crusty says:

              What’s my point? Is that what you wanna know? Well, perhaps what you state is not true, maybe it is stoppable, and we have not asked the right questions. Like I pointed out, even those in the field are pessimistic, but that does not mean someone may have an answer.
              So, here we have an individual, Bill McKibben, a writer and otherwise average person that has an interest, sees a need to act and get public consciousness in tune with reality.
              Even Exxon-Mobile sees the dire consequences and because status quo and intertia renamed BAU…rather chase symbols of wealth rather than deal with reality.
              Sure, it is easy to ridicule and poke fun and believe me it was no fun for Bill McKibben to stick his neck out and grind out all these years trying to wake up the people.
              Stilgar already pointed out we are increasing output of CO2….that is unacceptable…how can tolerate such behavior?
              Perhaps, by devoting our attention to this challenge in a serious manner, it may be tackled.
              No, rather design golf drivers to hit the ball further…

            • bandits101 says:

              Wasn’t talking to you Crusty.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              You are kinda in the wrong place for a discussion of AGW…. most people here are far beyond caring because the end of cheap oil Trumps everything….

            • Fast Eddy says:

              The thing is…

              We will collapse long before global warming gets us …. because we are out of cheap oil.

              I am not losing sleep over AGM — (that said I lose sleep over nothing — because I sleep the sleep of the dead — because I am a dead man walking) — in fact quite the opposite — I am headed for northern Canada tomorrow and the weather is already pleasantly into the teens.

              I am hoping I can go to the beach while I am there so please throw a little more coal on the fire – eh.

              Seriously – what’s the point of moaning about AGW — it’s like standing in front of tsunami and screaming that the wave ‘STOP!!!” — it’s pointless and it will only raise your blood pressure

      • doomphd says:

        What happened to that poor baboon’s arse? Obviously not a fatal condition, and perhaps the girl baboons like it?

    • Crusty, this story is really sad, bit it doesn’t look like there is anything we can do about AGW, short of civilization collapsing. In fact, we seem to be headed in the direction of civilization collapse right now, anyhow.

  5. Christian says:

    Any idea why usd credit is (still?) being given to russian oil companies but not to the russian state? This fits none of the theories I know about geopolitics and oil price. Is it that the volume of globally produced oil is more important than Cold War 2 and credit to demand side?

  6. dolph911 says:

    That was a great comment, Norman. When it comes to Trump, I merely want to see some action. I want to watch a guy who doesn’t just bow down all the time to the usual shibboleths of political correctness that are so dominant in our world. And I want to see what happens. The reaction, counter-reaction, etc. When it comes to the politics of left/right, for me it really isn’t the issue.

    If the status quo is intolerable, then by definition any alternative is better…even if it paves the way to ruin. It’s true.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      You know how the US installs puppet thugs in countries around the world who kowtow to the Elders?

      Maybe Trump is kissing Putin’s ring (I believe he is an admirer) and is to be Putin’s man in America when the Elders are toppled…

      On second thought…

      Trump Calls Himself “Very, Very Pro-Israel,”

      • dolph911 says:

        Without getting into it too much, I think Trump knows which way the wind blows. Taking on the Muslims and Mexicans is more politically expedient at the present time than, for example, taking on the Jews or blacks, who have been in America for a very long time. This allows him to pretend to have nativist policies in opposition to the present status quo (namely, that the entire world deserves to immigrate and come to America).

      • Don says:

        What do we give them annually, no questions asked, 5 or 6 billion by now? Meanwhile here at home, Flint Michigan gets a big goose egg ‘0’

      • Christian says:

        “Maybe Trump is kissing Putin’s ring (I believe he is an admirer) and is to be Putin’s man in America when the Elders are toppled…”

        Could be. Must check “ironic coincidences” to be sure


    • I think it’s important to recognise Trump as just another ponzi salesman,
      ie–we continue to provide support to the system that keeps him rich, on the promise that we too will benefit.

      • Artleads says:

        My guess is it’s too late for that. I also guess that TPTB know how bad things are, and are expected to get. Maybe they don’t know whether Trump can create the change they need (assuming they know what that is) or not. I hear that, among TPTB, there are two diametrically opposed camps. One wants to “get back to basics,” press some kind of reset button, a la Scalia, and one does not. Crazy as it sounds, there could be elements among them looking at such alternatives as biological warfare, internment, mass-scale mind altering, etc.. I don’t know who among them is clear on the resource limits involved in any of the scenarios. The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself.

    • Artleads says:

      I imagine that TPTB won’t want him around for those very reasons. I think it’s from them that he is most in danger.

  7. http://in.reuters.com/article/usa-rigs-baker-hughes-idINL1N16J1DU
    ” March 11 The number of rigs drilling for oil and
    natural gas in the United States has fallen to the lowest level
    since at least 1940, oil services company Baker Hughes Inc
    said on Friday, as energy firms continued to slash
    activity amid the deepest energy price rout in a generation.”
    And, my series of deep-cycle batteries (charged mostly with a solar panel) have averaged maybe a year or so, each — running them way down (like I’m doing with this laptop, now) is quite hard on them.

  8. Don says:

    “Oil prices should fall, possibly hard, in coming weeks. That is because the fundamentals do not support the present price.” By Art Berman at Forbes


    • Dear Art,
      the fundamental #1 is that ECB added printing $20B monthly, plus equity swaps programme starting in two months or so, surprise stocks are rising again.

      That’s what otherwise well meaning people like late Matt Simmons and other don’t get,
      the corruption is so deep and so vast, fundamentals simply don’t matter in this world anymore, or more precisely might start matter some time down the road, unfortunately by that time you are too old, dead or impoverished by betting on these supposedly sound fundamentals. Lolz.

    • I tend to agree with Art on this.

  9. now they do appear—weird

    • Ed says:

      WordPress is not the most stable service provider. Or, you get what you pay for and for free well…. but it is good enough.

    • Don says:

      I recently relayed a story to Stilgar which involved a street named ☆erusalem Valley Rd. The proper spelling of the word must have triggered a filter response which requires closer inspection from the administrator before release.

      • Don says:

        Hmm 😈

      • Stilgar Wilcox says:

        I know the road well, Don. Wasn’t that an area hit in all 3 major fires last summer? I didn’t know certain words were flagged. Oh no, he used the J word! lol

    • Part of the problem is that I have a list of words that I ask WordPress to look for, and hold the comment for review. Usually, these words are ones that come up in inflammatory discussion. The fact that the particular word is in a comment doesn’t necessarily mean that the comment is a problem–just that it may be.

      Most of these comments I let through, after I read them.

  10. I’ve tried commenting, but they don’t appear—anyone else had problems?

    • Siobhan says:

      The spam filter may be snagging them. Perhaps they will appear later when Gail releases them from the spam folder.
      (I tried to post a link without additional text before that Gail later released from the spam files.)

  11. Yoshua says:

    Goldman Sachs: Avoid Offshore Drilling Even If Oil Prices Recover


    I have been focused on the “war” against shale oil producers, but it’s the offshore producers that are the real high cost producers.

  12. Don says:

    Before you send your money to Bill McKibben’s biggest manufactured token movent, supported by the elites for the amusement of the peasants, take a few minutes to read this outstanding follow the money piece by Cory Morningstar. Say goodbye to your “grass roots movement’ sacred cow before you start.

    More $ – More Delusion


    • Crusty says:

      Thanks Don, very helpful in exposing the corruption and false movement he created.
      Hopefully, a man, like yourself, will step up to the plate to rectify and create a movement that brought together thousands to rally and also make aware. You can pick your cause, good luck with that! Very certain if you are as successful there will accusations thrown at you too.

      • Don says:

        Try as I may, I cannot see any way around the conclusions reached by Gail Tverberg in her articles here at OFW. The unraveling process will be disaterous, but from a environmental perspective, credit collapse and the resulting fall of industrial empire will be the quickest and most effective way of greatly reducing harmful emissions. Unfortunately we have missed the last exit to awareness many miles back. There’s no turning around from here and the freeway ends just up ahead.

        • Crusty says:

          I didn’t particularly want to lead a movement, but I wanted to join one, and so I helped to build it,” McKibben writes in his memoir “Oil and Honey,” an endearing account of his reluctant rise to leadership. The book weaves together his life on the road stirring up opposition to corporate excess and his life at home trying to build a sustainable world, one local farm at a time.
          McKibben would’ve preferred to spend a lot more time in Vermont, hiking the mountains outside his house and helping his friend Kirk Webster, whose apiary he’d financed, tend to his beehives. But a sense of responsibility pulled him away. He had already written many books and articles on the ways humans screw up the Earth, but in the past decade, he came to the conclusion that it wasn’t enough. In the face of planetary abuses such as climate change, he needed to do more, so he began agitating and organized his first protest in 2006.

          McKibben quickly proved to be a nimble organizer. Working with a group of students at Middlebury College, where he taught, he launched 350.org, which coordinated 5,200 climate-change rallies in 181 countries in the fall of 2009. The group led a similar day of action the following year. It was the “first big green movement for the Internet age,” as he proudly describes it, and an intentional change of tactics from the “Beltway operations” of the country’s major environmental groups, which “were better suited for the 1970s, when they could lobby Congress with some hope of victory
          …cKibben insists again and again that he “wasn’t cut out to be a leader,” but his story of how he became one seems genuine, revealing the difficult choices and sacrifices that he made on the road from writer to activist. Neither an acerbic screed against modern industry nor a naive vision of some bucolic utopia, his book is simply an enjoyable tale of one man’s decision to fight for a world with less oil and more honey.

          You can understand why McKibben might be perfect for the task that he took up.
          Yes, he could be like many and just make reasons why not to, easy for all of us to post comments on a blog.

          • Don says:

            The thing is, divestment from fossil fuels by reallocating towards green revolution stocks, does nothing to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Business is business and the demands/energy consumption remail the same. If anything, the so called green stocks promote a sort of guiltless consumerism, but do nothing to change the root of the problem, industrial empire must be curbed and that means curbing profits. As long as the elites have anything to say about that, and they always will, nothing will change. I think Mckibben knows that, but ain’t sayin. He knows which side of the bread the butter is on. That’s the part that rubs me wrong. It’s that part which causes Guy McPherson to accuse him of malpractice and I see his point. But ultimately it will not be climate change that does us in, so I’ll let it go as there are more immediate concerns ahead. Thanks for your response. Be well.

            I think I ‘ll get into my new 365hp dual fuel pickup truck with EcoBoost, drive it down to the store and pick up some free range chicken for dinner tonight. Oh, must not forget to take out the recyclables. Aren’t I just the model citizen. [Sarc off]

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Don’t forget to bring you ‘eco bag’ to the grocery store!

              For those who really want to be green —- take a pillow and suffocate your children in their sleep….

            • bandits101 says:

              “But ultimately it will not be climate change that does us in”, I see it differently. All things being equal, if civilisation collapsed completely tomorrow, there would be a dieoff in the order of billions in short order and probably several billions on a continuing basis as we adjust. Eventually there would be a recovery and a reset to living like most alive now would not be able to adjust to. It’s the next generations, born into a life that they know no better that will continue on.

              All things are not equal though, we are currently experiencing climate affects set in motion over forty years ago and a severely degraded ecology. Positive feedback loops have assured that the climate will continue to heat for a thousand years.

              When the caps melt and the glaciers are no more, when due points in certain locations rise above survivability, when all large fauna are gone and oceans stagnant. When the shoreline is a hundred ft higher, when flash floods and drought combine to a new normality, when disease is rife and when survival depends more on luck than good management, humanity then will have more to worry about than the collapse of civilisation.

            • Crusty says:



            • Don says:

              Hi bandits101,

              I fully agree. I really wasn’t very clear on that. My thinking is that economic collapse gets things started, while climate change sort of mops things up.

              Have you seen the new global average temperature data released by NASA today? It will curl your toe nails. Deniers are saying, what does NASA know anyway. It’s not as though they’re rocket scientists or anything.


          • Fast Eddy says:

            This guy sounds like he just stepped off the bus from Delusistan….

            What cracks me up is that that guys like this have no idea of the implications of what they are wishing for….

            And the biggest joke is that they dedicate their entire lives to such total utter nonsense.

            Everyone’s got their own matrix… one is as pointless as the next.

            • Don says:

              Beliefs held sacred are almost impossible to penetrate. I sense that he didn’t read the article for that reason. Maybe he was being intentionally obtuse with me. Doesn’t matter.

            • Stilgar Wilcox says:

              Don, not sure if you’ll get to older posts, cause I just responded to one, but anyway if you have an email address you can post I can send some videos of past projects. There will be a really good one soon that is of the most recent one soon to be unveiled (once the weather lets up so we can get it installed). Thanks for the interest.

  13. dolph911 says:

    Although I certainly think he’s a clown who is unaware of the many real problems, I like Trump better than any of his opponents, on the right or left.

    For now, I’m a Trump supporter as the lesser evil.

    Don’t try any leftist guilt trips, they won’t work on me. If Gail wants to regulate the political discussion, that’s up to her.

    • InAlaska says:

      Put your brown shirt on and get ready to go to work.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      I’ve stated that the American president is an actor — who pretends he represents the people and is the most powerful man in the country/world — with the Elders writing his lines that he reads on a teleprompter…

      But with Trump it is different. Very different.

      Instead of an actor for the first time we have a comedian running for office – the Elders will be writing his jokes if he wins…. maybe they can get Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David to help….

      I am all for a comedian for president — we could all use a chuckle as we circle the drain.

      • Don says:

        The office of President has become largely ceremonial, not unlike the Queen of England.

    • Don says:

      “Don’t try any leftist guilt trips …on me”

      Wouldn’t dream of it. I know that it is much easier to fool people than it is to convince them that they are being fooled. Besides, I may vote for him too. Of the candidates running, Trump might be the one most likely to put this country out of it’s misery the quickest.

    • i don’t think Trump will get into power this time around. That isn’t the immediate problem.
      Trump’s ascendency is a symptom of a declining economy and national identity, where no one knows what to do, or how to make things come right.
      Trump is merely treading the path of similar fascist doctrines, laid out down the centuries. The main line of which has always been to blame some other “alien” group for current ills.
      So it’s Mexicans and Muslims now, but Hitler used the same inflammatory words about the Jews in the 30s, it used to be catholics in UK in the 17th c, the list is endless, and too well known to repeat again here ad nauseam.

      However, despite Trump’s rantings, the world economy will continue its downward spiral, driven by climate change, resource shortage and overpopulation. (all three compounded by increasing warfare).
      Trump followers will never be able to accept those causes of their imminent catastrophe, and will continue with the certainty that prosperity can be voted into office.

      There has been a century of growing prosperity, at least in the developed industrial part of the world, and everyone is demanding that it should continue, and sees no reason why not.
      Trump is merely giving voice to those demands, and his followers are just screaming in unison—because they have nothing else to scream about.
      This is why they turn on dissenters. They are seen as heretics and deniers of Trump’s offers of infinite wealth and prosperity. (just like he has—the ultimate ponzi salesman).
      I can only grant Trump the intellect to be aware that if the belief in infinite growth of the global ponzi scheme unravels (as it must), the Trump billions will vanish like everyone else’s assets.
      So he has to “make America great again”. He is locked into the universal growth system, just like the rest of us
      After Trump has faded from the political scene for 2016, whoever takes office will not be able to prevent the ongoing collapse, and in 4 years time, the lamp will be rubbed again, and another genie will appear. But suppose by then the industrial economy has really tanked by then, and people are looking at real privation?
      That will be the time of “emergency measures”. And the masses will vote in agreement because they will have no alternative. (as Hitler 1933) My bet on it would be a theocrat, promising that prayer will bring prosperity again—but only after the ungodly have been purged.

      You find this unlikely?
      Look at the screaming masses wanting the likes of Trump in office right now, and their violent reactions to dissenters.. They are the proof that there will be no shortage of recruits to carry out god’s works. Germany too was a highly civilised nation in 1933, yet the SS recruited millions to do Hitler’s dirty work, with Gott mit Unz on their belt buckles.
      Any bets on the same religious fervour of Trump’s screaming followers? When Trump’s promises are found to be hollow, they are going to get even angrier. and will vote a reall lunatic into office in 2020.

      The role of the police and the military? An economically weakened state will mean that those forces are drastically weakened too, and highly likely to join any force that offers self preservation in the face of calamity.
      Welcome to the Disunited States of America

  14. Fast Eddy says:


    I’m sure everyone will just get along — when the electricity goes off… and the grocery stores are emptied by looters…

    Oh ya — this is gonna get crazy…. really really murderously insanely crazy….

  15. Stefeun says:

    Found at RE’s Diner :

    “The psycho-dynamics of the financial market”


    My comment : the financial sector’s dopamine tap is either fully open, or tightly closed.
    ON/OFF, either complacency, or panic.
    Doesn’t that sound like a recipee for “instadoom”?

    • Mostly ignoring the obvious, up until the end.

    • Stilgar Wilcox says:

      “Mental health problems and debt finance are strongly linked. People in debt have a higher incidence of psychiatric problems, and there is a higher rate of psychiatric symptoms among the people working in the finance sector too. During a bubble, egos are pumped up with asset values – and, when the bubble bursts, reputational collapse occurs with corresponding psychological effects.”

      Interesting correlation, Stefeun, which does not bode well for our collective future financial descent.

      Incidentally, I work in the field of Art. Sure a lot of art is selling at record prices to the super wealthy, however people buying bronze and having projects commissioned to produce bronze are down. The last time it was this low the Leaman bros. moment occurred followed of course by the mortgage meltdown. The writing is on the wall and if past indicators are right, it should not be long before a recessionary downturn. I’m not suggesting collapse, just a financial turn for the worse.

      • xabier says:

        Interesting observation about the art world. I keep an eye on a clutch of galleries in London, in good locations, long-established, selling decorative non-investment (unlike Christie’s, Sotheby’s and the leading -edge contemporary galleries, etc) paintings, roughly £4,000 to £30,000 range.

        They were doing very well indeed over two years ago, with a high % sold at each show, but I noticed a down-turn started in the autumn of 2014 and since then it’s been vary variable, with many shows selling little or nothing.

        The antiquarian book market – always a good indicator of the economic temperature -began to turn down at the same time, with dealers now going for months selling very little with the occasional good sale.

        All feels a bit like 2008-10 in terms of trading conditions.

      • Don says:


        Do you follow Peter Schiff? He has released a video presentation which closely parallels Gail’s thinking, well, to a point. Where Gail leaves it to the readers to own imagination regarding collapse, Peter Schiff presents it full living technicolor. It really gets your attention, and maybe that’s the idea. I would post links to it here if it wasn’t for the ‘hawking’ of his new book and sales pitches to buy gold from his firm. I think Schiff understands the credit collapse which lay ahead, but doesn’t think it through to its logical conclusion. When collapse occurs, money and gold will have no real practical value. Schiff speculates that gold could be in the many thousands of dollars per ounce. That may very well be true if dollars are worthless, but what good is gold when the shops are empty and the country is in chaos. Besides, who’s gonna make change for a Kruggerand.

        You guys are really getting drenched out there. Lake water must be over the spillway by now and the falls roaring. Do you have a website displaying your work? I’d be curious to see, but you would be breaking your cover.


        • Stilgar Wilcox says:

          I think I’ve seen that name before, Peter Schiff, but not familiar with his video. Thanks for the tip, Don. I’ll try looking it up on YouTube. I agree on gold being a difficult money equivalent to use post collapse. Probably end up spending way too much gold on too few apples.

          One scenario that might help with gold/silver is if there was a partial collapse and a new currency was introduced that could be purchased with precious metals. In that case there probably would be a good conversion rate, which would help a lot if the old currency was only worth pennies on the dollar. Savings would go poof! But we haven’t bought a bunch of it yet. Still trying to get into a position where solar makes sense to have some power when the main grid goes out. Also need to plant some apple trees and such.

          We are getting drenched. The people down below us are running a sump pump to get water out of the basement. The HVL spillway is in full flow. We went past that reservoir as you head from butts canyon to Silverado and it is full. Haven’t seen Berryessa yet but it’s got to be close to full. This El Nino has helped locally, but will still need more for the rest of CA.

          Thanks for the interest in our projects. Just put an email address into a post and i’ll email some video’s.

          • DJ says:

            I believe your supposed to buy gold now, deposit it on the bottom of a lake, then after the currency collapse and stability around a new currency, you find your gold, exchange it for new currency and can expect to be able to buy about 200 loafs of bread / suit+shoes / one month low-skilled labour for an ounce.

            Of course, at least half here is certain there is no after.

    • Stefeun says:

      “Singapore Government Fines Tesla Model S Owner for Excessive Emissions
      ​The nation’s transportation authority categorizes the Tesla Model S as a high polluter, based on calculations of the electricity it uses.”

      Good laugh, thank you MG!

    • Don says:

      The electric grid system already comes under strain from too many A/C units operating on a hot day. As we certainly can expect to see plenty of record breaking heat in our near future, it’s difficult to imagine the grid holding up with too many car chargers connected.

      • tagio says:

        Like the lead pipes that need to be replaced throughout the northeast and midwest, there is no serious proposal to replace and upgrade the aging grid. Unless it is for bombing people or handing out to banks, we don’t have the money.

        The grid is a real problem if the class war ever starts ripping because, as I understand it, it can’t be patched up to work only in the bubble zones of the favored cities. Taking out a few key transformer stations outside of the bubble can have a cascading effect that shuts down a whole region, so if the idiocrats who think they run the world think that they will continue to be able to have electricity while the rest of the country is a “sacrifice zone” (Hedges), it may not go down that way. It’s not an unknown idea. Taking out the Capital’s electricity was a tactic in The Hunger Games, a very popular novel and movie series, you don’t have to be a genius to see the vulnerability.


        • You mentioned important point, also as per today you don’t have to be particularly affluent to buy offgrid systems with aprox. 25yrs minimum lifespan, so the stratification of rich and poor will only accelerate. The public space – grid continues to deteriorate, while private estates and even bunkers get the latest greatest gadgetry..

          Also as appeared in the link the last ECB fraud will target, prop up failing energy sector in Europe, where some big power companies/distributors dropped 3/4 in valuation..

          Perhaps just another coincidence, I guess not, more evidence the system takes over core areas to control, so no crash in the foreseeable future allowed, then you can’t crash effectively socialized/nationalized cartels. It will be slow decay.

          • The batteries and inverters are not 25 year systems. And Fast Eddy will tell you that even the basic system is subject to malfunction very early. The pumps and other devices are definitely not 25 year devices.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              25 years…. hahahahahahahahaahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahaha…. more like 25 days…. or maybe 2.5 years….


            • InAlaska says:

              You’re right that batteries and inverters are not 25 year systems. But panels routinely go to 30 years. Batteries are going to 12 years. Pumps and other devices depend more on the brand you buy rather than the technology itself. Inverters–10 to 15 years. Talk to people that run and live with photovoltaic systems and they will tell you what I am telling you. Nothing last forever, but 10 years of electricity (and longer if you go redundant) is a heck of a lot better than 0 years when the grid goes down.

            • Don says:

              In Alaska,

              Something is better than nothing is my thinking too. I think you are right in redundancy, especially in charge controllers and inverters. Last Fall I installed a 12V battery backup which is only grid tied for charging under normal confitions, but can be switched to solar charging when necessary. I’m using a Rolls Surrette battery bank which weighs in at 750 pounds (6 easy to carry 125 pound, 2V cells connected in series). The manufacturer tells me to expect 8 or more years of service, but only guarantees them for 5 years.

              Fly safe.

            • Rodger M.. Bronson says:

              A 20lb bottle of propane can and does last 25 years. Got some outside and it burns just like the day it was canned. Bring 500 gallons of water up from your well into your reservoir with your propane generator. How much propane does it take? Not much. Gas generators are easily converted to propane. They are are readily suited a diaphragm propane carb because of their constant RPM. Conversion consist of drilling the jets on the carb, inserting a piece of copper tubing epoxying the tube in place and int a threaded elbow. The threaded elbow goes to your propane diaphragm carb and then to a ball valve then a standard regulator/hose then tank. The bal valve is adjusted for flow then left at that setting. I have converted many many. Its quite simple. You lose 10% of power rating going to propane. A 3600 rpm gas generator is not exactly a mercedes in terms of longevity. But they are cheap. You aing going to ruinning the washer machine you just need to run it 15 minutes a week to get the water up from the well. The chinese gen sets nowadays arnt bad. Its also a good solution for a genset where the gas was allowed to go old and gum everything hopelessly up. All of that crap the float the needle the jet gets replaced by a nice diaphragm carb that never has contact with the gummy gas.
              To paraphrase Ben Franklin. “Propane Madam if you can keep it” If nothing else the zombies will appreciate your thoughtfulness. Generators are loud a enclosure helps as does a cherry bomb muffler. Zombies are attracted to noise. Especially if they havnt heard a combustion engine for a couple years. Definitely a negative over PV. A positive is if nothing else you can run it and suck on the exhaust. Me I plan on going out like a G.

              Tell me thats not a better and more maintainable solution than all the PV panels 8 year life batteries and associated electronics. You can put a solution in place and a 20 year supply of propane for $1000. If your pump holds out.Do NOT store propane inside!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
              Ice sickle.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Where will the propane come from when BAU has collapsed?

            • DJ says:

              You have a 25 year storage? When BAU is gone and the storage is empty, you have no more propane

        • Stilgar Wilcox says:

          “Like the lead pipes that need to be replaced throughout the northeast and midwest, there is no serious proposal to replace and upgrade the aging grid.”

          I thought a great opportunity was wasted when the huge US stimulus was mostly used for more tax cuts, when it could have been appropriated for upgrading the aging grid. Talk at the time in 09 was we need an upgraded grid to better transfer energy from wind turbines in the mid-west to the East, from solar panels in the west to wherever, but instead Obama tried to appease the R’s with a massive one time only tax cut to spur the economy. An upgraded grid would have employed a lot of people to not only install the new system but spur big investment in solar and wind because the energy could be sold far and wide. But oh no, tax cuts which didn’t do anything was the order of the day. And what good did it do? The R’s still hated O just as much as ever.

          • I thought quite a bit of the stimulus was used for roads, since they had a lot of shovel-ready projects.

            Someone in the electrical industry told me that companies have figured out that it never makes sense to replace parts of the grid before if fails (at least from their cost perspective; not from the perspective of consumers). So electric companies don’t even make plans for replacing parts of the grid. Thus, there are no shovel-ready plans.

            • Stilgar Wilcox says:

              The Stimulus or The Recovery Act, was a stimulus package enacted by the 111th United States Congress in February 2009 and signed into law on February 17, 2009, by President Barack Obama.

              To respond to the Great Recession, the primary objective for ARRA was to save and create jobs almost immediately. Secondary objectives were to provide temporary relief programs for those most affected by the recession and invest in infrastructure, education, health, and renewable energy. The approximate cost of the economic stimulus package was estimated to be $787 billion at the time of passage, later revised to $831 billion between 2009 and 2019.[1] The Act included direct spending in infrastructure, education, health, and energy, federal tax incentives, and expansion of unemployment benefits and other social welfare provisions.

            • Stilgar Wilcox says:

              The stimulus, formally known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, included tax cuts for many Americans, Obama said.

              “We cut taxes. We cut taxes for 95 percent of working families. We cut taxes for small businesses,” Obama said. “We cut taxes for first-time homebuyers. We cut taxes for parents trying to care for their children. We cut taxes for 8 million Americans paying for college.”

              Democrats applauded, while Republicans were silent for the most part. In one of the unscripted moments of the night, Obama looked at the Republican side of the room, smiled and said, “I thought I’d get some applause on that one.”

          • Rodger M.. Bronson says:

            “I thought a great opportunity was wasted when the huge US stimulus was mostly used for more tax cuts, when it could have been appropriated for upgrading the aging grid. ”
            Maybe the aint investing in the future cuz they know there aint going to be one.

    • doomphd says:

      Good to see a government agency doing the correct math on the so-called “zero emissions” electric cars. They are only zero emissions at the point of discharge, and conveniently ignore the power plants making the electricity or the carbon footprints of the factories that made both the cars and the batteries, grid power infrastructure the car uses. These cars are being pushed in a deliberate propaganda campaign. They’re literally banking on public ignorance and denial.

  16. Stefeun says:

    Contingents of statisticians and economists are working hard and making very complex analysis in order to come up with such strategic macroeconomic statements:

    “(…) First, the models converge to indicate that a carbon tax is effective to reduce emissions, but that even in the long term, it has a cost in terms of GDP and employment: a carbon tax in the amount of 1% GDP reduces GDP by about 1%. It will be necessary to recycle the revenue to support activity, including innovation and labor market.”


    1 = 1

    Can’t stop laughing

    • Vince the Prince says:

      But you have to at least appear to the public at large we are tackling climate change/global warming. It need not matter that it is ineffective at all…as long as it enables us to maintain BAU in its present form, we can rest easy. The alternative is ….well, suppose we have the alternative of the CEO of Exxon-Mobile, Rex Tillerson, he admitted in a public forum that the planet is warming due to burning fossil fuels. He does not dispute that at all. States it is an engineering problem and humans will just need to adapt….his own words…move around crops….build sea walls. That should increase economic growth too, make a negative into a positive. Too bad I’m, as well as Rex, are probably too old to witness these adaptations. But then again, we are sure enjoying today’s profits!

  17. Stilgar Wilcox says:

    Hey folks, a yoy increase of 3.76 ppm CO2. All time emission high – all time CO2 ppm increase.


    Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations have spiked more in the period from February 2015 to February 2016 than in any other comparable period dating back to 1959, according to a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Earth System Research Laboratory.

    The change in average concentrations from February of last year to February of this year was 3.76 parts per million at the storied Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, leaving the concentration at 404.02 parts per million for February, based on preliminary data.

    • Vince the Prince says:

      But Stilgar, no need to worry because most if not all of the remaining reserves will remain forever where they are…in the ground (sarcasm). That is what I’ve been hearing for some time….never mind

    • Yoshua says:

      This means that the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere is now 0,04 percent. I’m not a scientist, but to me it sounds as a very, very low level and nothing to lose sleep over. I believe in the idea that it the sun activity that causes the climate change. But then again… I’m not a scientist.

      • Rodster says:

        One of the problems with higher Co2 levels is that the ocean filters out much of the atmospheric Co2 and as such causes the oceans to become more acidic and warmer. Not good for marine life and the all important human food chain. Supposedly plankton die off in the last 30-40 years has been severe due to higher Co2 levels and plankton is the primary food source for marine life.

      • Vince the Prince says:

        As you state, Yousha, good thing you are NOT a climate scientist, because you would be very worried. So best to remain so and not be worried.

        • Tim Groves says:

          Being very worried about CO2 or at least pretending to be so is a minimum qualification for “climate scientists” these days. Those who don’t display sufficient anxiety over the negative implications of man-made climate change are prone to find themselves out of a job, which means they have to run cap in hand to the Koch Brothers for funding or else practice their climatology in their spare time. Statistically, you are far more likely to encounter a Catholic priest who doesn’t believe in Armageddon than a climate scientist who doesn’t believe in “Thermageddon”. It’s a form of denialism officially regarded as anathema and worthy of excommunication and public denunciation. And with the current Pope on board the climate crusade, dissenters cannot even look for sanctuary in the churches.

          • InAlaska says:

            And I suppose you feel this way over the “theory” of evolution and perhaps you are uncertain about gravity, as well?

            • bandits101 says:

              Yes Alaska, it seems like the deniers are far more worried than the climate scientists. The deniers find it too hard to find an ally with a climatologist, so they resort to innuendo, allegations without proof and lies.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I am a firm believer in the theory that we are destroying the planet by burning fossil fuels.

              I remember getting free paint jobs paid for by mining companies because acid rain fall-out has ruined the paint on my car when I lived in Canada. One can only imagine the impact that burning billions of tonnes of coal has on the oceans and soil.

              But do I worry?

              Nope. I don’t even think about it.


              Because there is no way to stop AGW. If we stop burning fossil fuels 7.4 billion people die.

              One can imagine that nobody is going to turn the switch off as they would be aware of that.

              So what is the point getting all worked up about it? It’s kinda like wishing to be sent on a suicide mission

            • Rodger M.. Bronson says:

              I have met a wide spectrum of individuals who think climate change is a hoax. The right “damn green commies trying to tell me I cant run my atv”. The left ” the oligarch cabal have propagated this hoax to perpetuate their power”. You see its always them trying to keep you from your rightful depletion of resources. Them varies depending on which brand of entitlement psychosis you favor. Those that dont prefer a flavor are the most hated of all. A antagogonist fits right in to the psychosis but if any attention is brought to the fundamental flaws that person will be attacked and stuffed huridly into an antagonist box of “facist” or “commie” even though its a poor fit.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I love the smell of burning carbon in the morning …. it smells like…. prosperity!

    • Rodster says:

      The Co2 numbers keep inching higher and it has a negative impact on the oceans with regards to ocean acidification.

      • Stilgar Wilcox says:


        Ok guys, if you go to that link scroll to the bottom. There is a graph showing decreasing ice volumes since 1979 – it’s known as an arctic ice death spiral. More CO2 is not only making the oceans more acidic it’s greatly increased temps in the Arctic, and has increased the temps of the oceans leading to less ice. On the surface that may not seem like a big problem because ice in the Arctic floats, so it’s loss will not raise sea level, however there are knock on effects of less arctic ice, like Greenland melt greatly increasing which does raise sea level, reduced temperature difference between the Arctic, mid-latitude and tropics, which causes the jet stream flow to change which has reduced rainfall to CA, and the less arctic ice the more methane releases from arctic seabed, in particular the biggest risk is the ESAS (Eastern Siberian Arctic Seabed). It’s shallow enough that most of any methane release gets into the atmosphere rather than being absorbed into the water. There is enough methane just in the ESAS to equal the CO2 equivalent man has emitted since the beginning of the industrial revolution. That would be a tipping point and there is evidence it is already becoming unstable and some methane has released. Also, shellfish are dissolving due to acidification (Rodster mentioned) and marine mammals like walrus and polar bears do not have ice to rest on like they use to, so in many cases they drown.

        So CO2 level is a major environmental concern.

        “This means that the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere is now 0,04 percent.”

        I don’t recognize that stat, Yoshua. Can you expound on it with a link? Carbon levels and world temperature have been proven scientifically to have a direct link.

        • Yoshua says:

          Carbon dioxide (chemical formula CO2) is a colorless and odorless gas vital to life on Earth. This naturally occurring chemical compound is composed of a carbon atom covalently double bonded to two oxygen atoms. Carbon dioxide exists in Earth’s atmosphere as a trace gas at a concentration of about 0.04 percent (400 ppm) by volume.[3] Natural sources include volcanoes, hot springs and geysers and it is freed from carbonate rocks by dissolution in water and acids. Because carbon dioxide is soluble in water, it occurs naturally in groundwater, rivers and lakes, in ice caps and glaciers and also in seawater. It is present in deposits of petroleum and natural gas.[4]


          I’m not saying that there isn’t a climate change taking place… I’m just wondering if the co2 level at 404,02 ppm is the main cause for the rising temperature. Did I mention that I’m not a scientist ?

          I have just seen some documentaries about the sun activity and its cause on climate change. That doesn’t of course exclude co2 as a cause for climate change as well. They could be working in tandem right now.

    • I thought CO2 emissions from fossil fuel seem to be down in 2015. BP figures are not out yet, but with US and Chinese coal consumption down, I would expect fossil fuel emissions to be down.

      • Stilgar Wilcox says:

        “I thought CO2 emissions from fossil fuel seem to be down in 2015.”

        Well, in any case 3.76 ppm CO2 yoy increase is a new record, so maybe it’s spiking for other reasons like reduced carbon sinks like the acidified oceans with less plankton and deforestation.

        • Vince the Prince says:

          Oh no, Stiglar, positive feedback loops may be kicking in so soon? Oh my, something we did not fully anticipate….imagine that….but than again .04….
          Now my question is what is the figure for ozone?
          * variable gases
          Ahhh, it can’t be that important.

          • Stilgar Wilcox says:

            Good one, Vince, because of course without that .000004% everything would get radiation poisoning until complete extinction of all species. Maybe we should look at the amount of CO2 from a distance of 50 billion light years away from Earth where the planet is a miniscual dot (if you have the right telescopic equipment), then that amount of CO2 would seem completely insignificant. But back here on Earth Yosh, it’s figured by parts per million. It’s risen from about 280 pre-industrial to 404 today. That’s a big percentage increase even compared to past geologic periods. The speed of it’s increase is phenomenal, a record of carbon build up that cannot be matched in the time it took by any other time in Earth’s recorded history. We haven’t caught up to the momentum, meaning what’s already been put into the atmosphere is a prelude of things to come. As they said in Jurassic Park, “Hold on to your butts.”

            • Yoshua says:

              The atmosphere and its effect on life on our planet seems to be a very complex science on its own. I will read your comments… and perhaps make a stupid comment now and then.

          • Stilgar Wilcox says:

            “Oh no, Stiglar, positive feedback loops may be kicking in so soon?”

            Tipping points resulting from the process of feedback loops – absolutely, Vince. Most people are so easily lulled into what is occurring at the moment, they fail to follow that progression to the next part of it, feedbacks. The more CO2, more energy gets trapped, the more energy transfers into the water, the more ice melts, the higher the sea level, the more the human migration away from near coast living, the warmer the oceans get, the less sea life can flourish, the more methane releases, the less ice in the Arctic in September, the more Greenland melts and other feedback loops in the generalized direction of the big picture, AGW. Once a tipping point like methane release from the ESAS, then the feedbacks build upon one another to self reinforce an acceleration of global warming until we are tapping out but there’s no relief valve to stop the momentum. A perfect example of feedback loops can be seen in the acceleration of sea level rise per year. In the 90’s it was 1.4mm a year. Now it’s 3.7mm a year. That may not seem like much if you get our your MM ruler, but it adds up and 3.7 will turn into 9 and so on. I really wonder how far we are off from the next tipping point.

            Great – we’ve got some posters on here that are up to speed on AGW. We’ve got Don, you (Vince) and myself. Should be fun this Summer seeing what happens in the Arctic. Lined up to be a potentially record melt year.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Might be a good time to pick up some beach front property in Resolute Bay — before the word gets out….


            • Vince the Prince says:

              Fast Eddy, always the positive one here!
              Yes, Stilgar, you may claim I’m up on AGW and to be honest I was hoping Gail’s theory that most of the reserves would remain where they are, locked up in a liquid or solid state for oil and coal. Unfortunately, neither time or financial collapse is on our side. Seems we humans are too clever for our own good. I see us inventing systems to ring the towel tighter and extract even more from the Earth’s crust. Gail mentioned that CO2 emissions should have declined. As in the financial crisis of 2008 they indeed should have. Something may be occurring that we just do not understand. Climate Science is still relatively in the initial stage of full understanding and is complex discipline.
              We know the basics, but not the detail fine points.
              I may add a few more posts about this topic, but seems it really can’t help us in preparing for the harsh reality that it is out of our control.

            • doomphd says:

              Good grief, 400 ppm by volume = 4 E+02 (E-06 g/g) = 4 E-04 g/g = 0.04%, where % = E-02 g/g. It might not seem like much, but throughout the Quaternany (last 1.8 Million years) the CO2 levels have not exceeded about 260-280 ppm in the warmest, integlacial periods. The 400+ ppm levels haven’t been seen here since at least the Pliocene period, over 2 Million years ago.

              Watch the first 2 minutes of Kevin Costner’s “Waterworld” to get an idea of what’s coming.

            • Stefeun says:

              The whole universe is fine-tuned.
              Tiny differences in some values or constants can lead to hugely different results.
              See e.g.:

            • InAlaska says:

              “Should be fun this Summer seeing what happens in the Arctic. Lined up to be a potentially record melt year.”

              I live in the Arctic and I can tell you that is is HOT up here. No reason to wait for summer. It already feels like summer now.

            • Stilgar Wilcox says:

              “It already feels like summer now.”

              Definitely a bad omen, InAlaska.

            • merrifield says:

              Last Wednesday it was 40 degrees above normal in upstate New York.

            • bandits101 says:

              Positive feedback loop……Of course the most powerful greenhouse gas is water vapour but it can be fleeting and not uniform but It’s prevalence in the atmosphere and affect on the climate, only increases as other greenhouse gasses maintain and increase their blanketing effect. A hot, steamy world does not suit all flora and fauna, including humans.

      • Pintada says:

        Dear Ms Tverberg;

        “I thought CO2 emissions from fossil fuel seem to be down in 2015”




        The reason that emissions rose 2.5% and the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere increased by a different amount was due to the interaction of the atmosphere with the oceans. The oceans absorb CO2 normally, but during an El Nino year, the sea surface temp goes up, and less CO2 can be absorbed. That explains the record steep CO2 increase.


        • Stilgar Wilcox says:

          Thanks Pintada for searching out that information and posting it.

          “The oceans absorb CO2 normally, but during an El Nino year, the sea surface temp goes up, and less CO2 can be absorbed.”

          Looks like another one of those nasty feedbacks.

          • Stilgar Wilcox says:

            “The 400+ ppm levels haven’t been seen here since at least the Pliocene period, over 2 Million years ago.”

            Yeah Doomphd, but we are giving ourselves an allowance of numerous billions of tons more CO2 we can pump into the atmosphere so we can keep burning FF while pulling the wool over our own eyes about the implications of such action. I’m obviously being sarcastic and that’s because it drives me batty how good people are at fooling themselves into false viewpoints if it serves those people in the here and now, the future be damned.

            In our area everybody and his brother are getting enormous trucks and having after market mufflers put on. It sounds like a Nascar race way out here in the sticks. Burn that FF and compete for the loudest monkey in the forest. That’s become our new goal apparently.

  18. Fast Eddy says:


    As we can see…. no matter how much they print … we do not get hyperinflation …. at some point we will just get collapse.

  19. Stilgar Wilcox says:

    Get this; companies in China that have nonperforming loans will now get to swap those loans for stocks. Is this getting strange or what?!


    ‘China just made a move to tackle the biggest threat to its economy, and it reeks of desperation’

    This is usually the last stop before bankruptcy.

    Chinese officials have told Reuters that they will start allowing commercial banks to swap nonperforming loans in super-indebted companies for stock. That move is usually called a debt-for-equity swap.

    This is really striking. Nonperforming loans surged to a record high in 2015 of about $614 billion. Unproductive companies in struggling industries — mostly state-owned enterprises (SOEs) — continue to borrow, though, to pay back older loans.

    “The depreciating trend of bad assets not only poses a rising risk for asset management companies in acquiring assets, but also increases the difficulty of bad-asset disposal,” Lai said.

    • Rodster says:

      In his recent rant, David Stockman went off on China. This has all the makings of an equities bubble.

    • I thought that that was the idea behind bank bail-ins as well. If banks get in trouble, depositors will get shares in stock of the bank instead. The plan is to take amounts over $200,000 FDIC limits- but of course, that includes payroll accounts of employers. If the problem gets bad enough, theoretically all accounts could be included.

      • Stefeun says:

        Thanks Gail,
        I didn’t understand the mechanism exactly that way.
        (my questions below may therefore sound stupid…)

        So it’d be like banks mortgaging themselves?
        What happens if the depositors, instead of having cash, find themselves handling illiquid assets they cannot sell, or sell for only a fraction of their nominal value? (in such case, the buyer could ironically be the bank itself!)

        Do they expect depositors to take all the losses? and keep on going as if nothing happened? (like they did 8 years ago)

        As for most of the “financial engineering” tricks, this can work on a small scale, but not in case of a systemic issue, imho.

        • I like Yoshua’s answer, “So they will swap non-performing loans for equity in non-performing companies? That should solve the crisis.” The stock isn’t really worth anything either–unless somehow regulators can keep the scheme going for a while. Even in that case, the swap is probably worth a few cents on the dollar.

          The whole problem is that no one has funds to fix the problem. The government is tapped out. Its insurance–even the $200,000 per account insurance–probably won’t work. The only way it can supposedly give value where none exists is swap one worthless asset for another. Somehow the system has to come crashing down. Yes, ultimately, the depositors will take all of the losses. Do not expect bank deposits to be worth anything in the long run. There really isn’t anything else on paper (stocks, bonds, life insurance products) that will be with anything in the long run. Of course, there may be a few months or even a little longer, when one way to store wealth may seem more beneficial than another. This is a reason for diversifying savings.

          Our problem is that we are moving into a period with virtually no wealth. There is no way we can store certificates saying that some prior wealth will buy something. This is my reason for saying, “Spend your wealth now.” Give money to relatives who are worried about debt. Or make charitable contributions. Or spend money on a trip or something else of value to you.

    • Yoshua says:

      So they will swap non-performing loans for equity in non-performing companies ? That should solve the crisis.

      • Stilgar Wilcox says:

        “So they will swap non-performing loans for equity in non-performing companies ? That should solve the crisis.”

        I know, its absurd, Y. It’s like saying we don’t have any of the silver coins we were going to pay you with but what about these aluminum coins instead? They’re light.

  20. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Finite Worlders

    Here is a post based on a thermodynamic model of the oil industry, plus statistics related to the model. I call you attention to the forecast, which isn’t like any other forecast I have seen recently. It’s not collapse this year, nor is it price recovery as the excess production is worked off. Instead, it is a continued bleeding of money from the oil industry to the rest of the economy. So the oil industry becomes very sick. And then decline and fall of the oil industry and the broader economy. He does not rule out geopolitical or financial events making the situation even worse.

    Don Stewart

    To understand what is really happening to oil some figures are needed. It we look at some for the last 30 years it gives us a little more to go on than Saudi hates Shale, and Iran hates everyone:
    Between 1986 and 2016:
    Production increased by 65%
    The price increased by 203%
    The energy to produce oil and its products increased by 172%
    The price of crude as a % of total production cost fell from 27% to 13%.
    Excess production in 2016 is about 2 mb/d, and will be over 3 mb/d in 2017 if present production does not decline by at least 2 mb/d over the year.
    The 2016 price, to energy cost still has a slight advantage over 30 years ago. The price of crude as a percentage of total production cost also has a considerable advantage. Growing inventories will further depress prices but producers should be able to maintain production for the next year at pretty close to present levels. Price is likely to decline into the low $30 range to balance the price to energy cost ratio to past levels.
    All and all we don’t expect significant declines in price or production until 2018 or later. After that existing fields that can not be replaced in the present price environment will begin to deplete out rapidly. The world economy is likely to decline further putting increased pressure on demand, and prices.
    The continued integrity of the world’s monetary financial systems, and the impact of future geopolitical events are unknown.

    • InAlaska says:

      Don Stewart,
      “All and all we don’t expect significant declines in price or production until 2018….”
      What a surprise, the significant declines are just two years down the road. Where have I heard that before?

  21. Yoshua says:

    I was searching for an article that would show the correlation between the population explosion and declining oil production in Syria as the main cause for the war in Syria… and found this article:

    The Middle East and North Africa had a population of 100 million in 1950, today the region has an population of 400 million after a population explosion fueled by oil wealth. The region is mostly desert and can only produce food for 200 million people, half of the food is imported and financed through oil exports.

    When nations in the region reaches peak oil and the oil production starts to collapse, the nations will most likely start to collapse as well into anarchy and war. The refugee crisis we are looking at today is most likely just the tip of the iceberg.

    If Europe builds a fence to the stop the refugee flood of millions of people heading towards Europe, the risk is that the refugees start to move towards oil rich nations around the Persian Gulf. A collapse of the Gulf States and Iran would turn of the lights and plunge the world into darkness.

    • agree absolutely
      Take Egypt in isolation as an example:
      85 m people, with a growth rate of 2.3%. over 50% live now below the poverty line, with the army barely keeping the lid on it. It is a country 600m long, and effectively only a few miles wide, with a single water source.
      The Nile has 4 nations upstream already building dams to siphon off much of the Nile water, (ostensibly to produce electricity), on which the entire living of Egypt depends.
      Egypt sits at the pivot point of 3 continents.

      Its growth rate means doubling the population in 35 years or so, to 180 million.
      Put bluntly, this cannot happen, so something catastrophic is going to prevent it. The Egyptians wont stop having kids, therefore it must be an outside force of some kind, that will overwhelm Egypt at some point between now and 2050.
      But the population will be unsustainable long before then, so we must retract that date by half I think, to 2030/35.
      Once dams are built, water becomes available for food production in those upper Nile countries, and it will be used for that. This might be the catastrophe that overwhelms Egypt, either that or war to destroy the dams to release vital water. Egypt would have to attack quickly, before water shortage debilitates the country as a whole.
      Tanzania has a population growth rate of 3% Uganda 3.3%—doubling in 23 years. They will have no option but to take water to grow food, even if that means leaving Egypt short.
      That swathe of Africa is drying out.

      Saudi is set to empty its aquifers in 13 years time:
      (that fits neatly with my 15 year timespan above) Also—Saudi will be running out of oil with which to desalinate seawater (though they might use solar for a while, but not on the scale they need it.) The unemployable excess population of Saudi are not going to accept that their party really is over, and they are going to get very thirsty.

      These are the factors that trigger wars, and when (not if) Egypt and Saudi collapse, it will plunge the region into war, and meld with the conflict that is going on right across the region. People have to option but to fight for survival. Up to now we’ve had oilwars
      Water comes next.

      • Don says:

        “…though they might use solar for awhile”

        Optimum solar panel output is determined under optimal laboratory conditions. After all, manufacturers want to put their panels in, well, the best light. Get them out under extreme heat and dust conditions and watch as their rated performance rapidly declines. Also, as long as alternate energy solutions remain derivatives of fossil fuels, I won’t hold out much hope for them as any kind of long term energy solution.

        • I’ve read lots about desert solar—I think you’re the first I’ve read who’s mentioned the dust problem
          (and the necessary water/labour to keep washing them.)
          To be honest—I only added the solar line to placate the solar advocates—personally I think theyre useless long term

          • Don says:

            Yes, I found out just today how notions can be extremely sacred and therefore excluded from criticism or review. Richard Heinberg discusses the problem in one of his lectures. It had to do with a project in Spain which greatly underperformed expectations – and we’re not talking serious heat or dust conditions here. Sorry I can’ t provide a link just now. Over the years I have read everything Heinberg has published, so it will take me a little rootin’ around.

          • Don says:


            Here’s a link I hope you will find interesting. It will take you to one of Richard Heinberg’s excellent Museletters. In it he makes reference to that solar project in Spain with further info available by embedded links. Enjoy.


        • greg machala says:

          I agree solar panels as an energy source cannot stand on their own. They need our infrastructure, and they need the dense energy of fossil fuels to build them, to install them, to maintain and replace them. The solar party is here but, what a pity, fossil fuels weren’t invited.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            3 more hours with the electrician and Lorentz on the phone advising today…. everyone is at a loss to explain why it won’t work…. the latest suggestion is to replace the card in the controller…. USD1000+…… the bloody pump and controller were just over $2000….

            I am on the verge of taking my 12 gauge out back and blasting this piece of shit full of buck shot…. then kicking the heap of shit into the creek.

            Those of you who are counting on solar solutions post BAU —- I wish you luck.

            • DJ says:

              It seems lot of stuff is designed to be hard to repair (especially cars). Combine with planned obsolence and you have a post-BAU-world with a lot of junk.

            • Stefeun says:

              Yep DJ,
              Maximum Entropy Production

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Difficult and expensive — when I told the distributor the pump and controller were not much over $2000 in total he said ‘ya – the spare parts are very expensive’

              Yes … of course they would be …. cuz you can’t get them from anywhere else and they know you’ll have sunk a chunk of change into the install….

              I’m building a cross in the garage and weaving some barbary thorns into a nice crown…. I’ll be nailing Solar Jesus up on there soon enough.

            • InAlaska says:

              Sorry, FE. That sucks when the expensive stuff craps out. Buy three of everything or more if you can afford it. Or just charge it because at the end, your debt wont matter anyway.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Ya that’s pretty much the way to go…. probably a better option would be to just be 100 metres of heavy pipe and the gear to required to anchor it into the creek bank to stop it from being washed away…. then install it post collapse

      • InAlaska says:

        Not to worry, a few Egyptian missiles will take out those upstream dams. War in MENA will do what wars are really actually for, reducing population. Its the kind of problem that solves itself and the math always works out in the end. That pesky oil production issue, though, that might be a problem.

      • nequin says:

        I hope you are right…I fear we may not make it that long

    • Kanghi says:

      Not to mention that Iran is also part of this drough area, and their own old ministers say that parts of the country needs to be abadoned…
      Europe is overpopulated be was it 200 million whom we cannot feed without ourside imputs of food, not to mention the need of energy, so we do not have really a much possibilities to take any meaningful number of people outside.


  22. Don says:

    Is anyone in the market for a used car? It turns out that of the last million cars sold in this country, a third of them were leases. Those leases are now expiring and returning to iventory. I suspect that this will put defationary pressure on all vehicles.

    Great article by David Stockman:


    • Don says:

      My mind ran a little ahead of my typing. The million car figure was just for February. 3.2 million leased vehicles are expected to come onto the market.

    • I am sure the price of the lease was calculated based on an expected value of the car for resale after three years. The folks doing the leasing are not finding the arrangement nearly as profitable as they expected.

  23. Welcome to the real world!

    The path is clear, the only major difference is the pole position of various global key CB-cartels (FED, BOJ, ECB, and China) as ECB is just slowly starting to follow others, moving from “quality bonds” to equity buyout and junk collateral swaps, essentially in direction where some others have shown the way first, notably Japan. The action is the same as predicted, namely, selective debt relief/swaps for equity, nationalization etc.

    I doubt some of the resident “instadoomers” would even reflect on the reality now, not mentioning issuing an apology, simply you were wrong, both on the timing and sequencing, the thesis is not correct at all, this sucker is not going down anytime soon. Expect totalitarian inferno for decades!
    It’s about people after-all, and the human nature in hierarchical societies is simply always seeking the deeper abyss of moral bankruptcy.

    Just in one day, what a confirmation, lolz:

    • Kurt says:

      Looks like I’ll be having turkey for Xmas after all. Come on over FE – I’ll save a little for you.

    • imie says:

      World energy consumption rate is falling. You cannot stop this by printing currency.

      • It won’t be stopped, it will be rearranged, and that’s the major point.

        It’s like with 1890’s eyes and culture looking at 1950’s world, the sense of time is very relative, in few years time the global CBs, key fin cartels and lackey govs would turn world into a gulag. At that point what value will be left in looking back how people lived before 2008/9 or prior 2001, it will be of little concern to dominant generation of that new era. Sobering, disgusting, and hopeless? Welcome to the prison planet. The only hope to crash the structure is the rapid onset of fossil energy depletion, which as explained above, would have to firstly go through effectively bumpy plateau, followed by stall and decline, all these stages taking place for many decades, perhaps towards late 2040-50 the old model could not be supported even at the core anymore.

    • Christopher says:

      Interesting. So the central bankers will now start glutting on losses an pretend that all is well. Could work for a while. Hard to say if it will work as well as ZIRP and QE. My guess is probably not. ZIRP and QE is more like eating losses. Now the centralbankers have to glut. But it could at least bring us turkey also for next christmas.

    • InAlaska says:

      ” Expect totalitarian inferno for decades!”
      Yup. You’re right. The system is more robust than it is credited with. We are talking about the survival of people, here, and people will tolerate anything and do anything to survive. Priorities will be reorganized. A couple of major hiccups from the financial system are not going to cause collapse outright into a Hollywood blockbuster disaster movie type scenario. Things just don’t go down that way.

  24. richard says:

    Energy problems aside, this could be important:
    “Exxon Mobil Corp and Chevron Corp are building mammoth chemical crackers to process polyethylene from natural gas, and logistics firms have created millions of new square feet of warehouse space as they plan to ship the output to the global plastics industry.”
    An inexhaustible supply of credit cards … 🙂

    • Perhaps, but more important for our discussion here, this is just confirmation of my thesis, how the world will increasingly retool into natgas, as the crude peak and depletion sets in.

      Lets repeat it, considering the following aspects: demographics (millennials and post millennials won’t consume as much houses/cars/..), increasingly more regions left out/kicked out of the consumer system (South America/Africa/parts of Asia, parts of ME,..), gov policies bolting down depression => enough resources + time for can kicking variations of this sick system to last for couple of more decades..

      Sorry, it’s the most likely way this is going to proceed.

      • richard says:

        It makes sense to use NatGas for chemical processes like making plastics. Using it for fuel is a waste, and tends to be inefficient. Also, NatGas has other disadvantages as a road transport fuel, hence the only reason to use it there is for cost savings. If oil based fuels are selling for the equivalent of $30 or less, Natgas may have to price at $0 to be competitive, so I do not see that infrastructure coming into place anytime soon.

    • It is strange how long it is for word to get around that there is a problem. Of course, if everyone is denying that there is a problem, and keeping on pumping, this is an issue, too.

  25. richard says:

    Lifting and choking to the rescue?
    “Devon Energy Corp (DVN.N) says it is using workovers, refracking, artificial lift and other techniques to make its wells more productive, even as it cuts spending for the year by 75 percent. It expects 2016 output to fall about 10 percent.”
    “Continental Resources – an industry pioneer that essentially stopped finishing new wells in North Dakota’s Bakken shale field – is also applying chokes to manage production from three news wells in Oklahoma’s STACK play.

    For example, its Compton oil well, which has been producing for 51 days, pumped 80,000 barrels of oil equivalent in its first 41 days online, but has since been restricted to flow at 1,670 barrels of oil equivalent per day.”

    Well, an additional ten percent could go a long way … 🙂

  26. Fast Eddy says:

    So …. 4.5 hours with the electrician with Lorentz Germany, Australia, and Auckland on the speaker phone down at the solar irrigation pump today….. we’ve tried every possible fix and still no joy….. back to the drawing board….

    Maybe I should pray to Solar Jesus for the answer….

    Anyway…. let’s check in on the latest act of desperation out of China:

    China is getting into the venture capital business in a big way. A really, really big way.
    The country’s government-backed venture funds raised about 1.5 trillion yuan ($231 billion) in 2015, tripling the amount under management in a single year to 2.2 trillion yuan ($340 billion), according to data compiled by the consultancy Zero2IPO Group. That’s the biggest pot of money for startups in the world and almost five times the sum raised by other venture firms last year globally, according to London-based consultancy Preqin Ltd.


    Space Solar people —- you know where to go for funding ……

    • Vince the Prince says:

      Seems you will be soon using a hand jack pump to bring up that water….maybe a windmill??

      • Fast Eddy says:

        I should have just ran a pipe from high up the creek and done a gravity feed…. the problem with doing that is that I there are two people above me — one has given permission – the other is in the process of selling the land so even if he gives me permission the new owner might not….

        Odds are he would have said yes — as it would have no impact on him…. but you never know …. an old time family nearby had some goats that were getting into the orchard of a neighbour who is an immigration from the UK (one of the friendliest, helpful, funny people you could ever meet) — he asked if they could please keep the goats fenced… and the neighbour said – and why don’t you go back to where you came from ….

        The goats may end up in a curry one of these days….

        Of course everyone will just get along post BAU…. like magic.

        Did I mention that I bought a fancy new scope for my 308 the other day …. I understand that the difference between a really good scope and an average one is that the good one will let in a lot more light so you can see your target in dim light…. I am sure some day I will be thankful that I spent the extra money….

      • InAlaska says:

        “Seems you will be soon using a hand jack pump to bring up that water….maybe a windmill?”
        Sure, why not? Seems like a good idea to me given the times we live in.

    • Pintada says:

      Dear Fast Eddy;

      You are fighting reality with that DC motor. Hook your panels to an inverter, and get a 120 or 240 volt AC pump at the local hardware store. Easy peasy.


      • Chris Butterfield says:

        word. just get enough batteries for the start amps. Oh what happened to the gravity feed system?
        Youll be humming kumbayah and buying a tesla next. 🙂

      • InAlaska says:

        Yep, you’re right. DC is the pits for large applications. Go with AC and supplement with DC.

    • Need to try to keep things going somehow!

  27. Chris Butterfield says:

    This blog makes perfect sense to me. Yet there are many things occuring that contradict it. Consider the text of this article regarding imports. Consider sky is falling eddy reports on the Baltic dry index. But yet congestion is at a all time high at port of Oakland. Long beach is not much better. Gail makes perfect sense to me as I said. As much as I sense truth in her work the trucks are still rolling and then some. While the conclusions here make sense I advise a grain of salt. There is truth is rolling trucks too.

  28. Rodster says:

    “Once-Treasured Pipelines Facing a `Culling’ as Drillers Go Bust”


  29. Don Stewart says:

    Regarding your dismissal of insects as a protein source. See:

    If you scan down to the part which compares the efficiency of protein production, you will see that crickets are vastly better than cows. To a food company which is just looking for feedstock (as opposed to a steak), the cricket may look pretty attractive.

    Don Stewart
    PS You will also see why chickens have been replacing cows

    • Vince the Prince says:

      Don’, that is a incredible amount of knowledge in that article. You are a treasure of valuable insight here. I am going to continue to focus on aquaculture, along with insects as a protein source. I feel keeping land animals will make one more noticeable. Livestock, small domestic as chickens and rabbits are time consuming and difficult to keep healthy without BAU. The trick is to think out of the norm.

    • Artleads says:

      This is a fantastic breakthrough in nutrition. But the commercial packaging and marketing is, to agree with Gail, not how to go. Small, local operations at the village scale, perhaps. We’ve had biblical infestation of locusts here, with merciless take down of garden produce. Capturing and eating those locusts would be a good plan, but they don’t proliferate most years. Furthermore, capitalism and insects-as-food food would quickly lead to insect extinction, or something equally undesirable..

      “We cannot rely on food production strategies utilizing livestock such as cattle to feed our growing population. About 70% of agricultural land, and 30% of the total land on earth, is used to raise livestock (Steinfeld et al. 2006). Insects are a promising source of high quality animal protein with a substantially lower ecological footprint than vertebrate livestock (Dossey 2013, Shockley and Dossey 2014, van Huis et. al. 2013). Increased utilization of insects in food products rather than ingredients from vertebrae livestock will significantly reduce the human impact on the natural environment, including our contribution to climate change. However, new technologies for improving food security, such as production and processing insects as human food, take some time for application on large scale, so it is important to make investments in these innovations sooner rather than later (Gahukar 2011).”

    • Kanghi says:

      Dear Don,
      Being a fellow permaculturist, I urge you to familiarize yourself with the role of megafauna and ruminants in the global nutritient cycle and their invaluable part in also other ecosystem processes. I see growing insects as food mainly as a extension of factory farming to insects. Try to make a holistic analysis of the situation, I am sure you find the gaps of thinking in this kind of production as those are obvious to see if you look closer.

      • Don Stewart says:

        I am well aware of the role of heavy ruminants in building soils and sequestering carbon.

        I’m not recommending the use of ANYTHING in the industrial food system. I merely point to the way that the industrial system looks for basic commodity inputs…carbs, fats, and protein…and proceeds to mix them in proprietary formulas and box or wrap the product and sell it in grocery stores. Proteins are very expensive, if you check the price per pound of protein powders which people add to smoothies. If industrially farmed insects will give a lower cost of the protein input into protein bars, then capitalists will move in that direction.

        Whether it is smart for anyone to eat those products is a whole different question.

        It is also worthwhile to think about whether the general body of people can ever perceive that we have a food problem when industry can crank out an infinite number of protein bars. One has to be a biologically oriented person to see the fallacy.

        Don Stewart

    • Fast Eddy says:

      it is estimated that there are 5 billion rats …. tastes like chicken?


      Toyota Hilux meet brick wall


      I’ll choose that over rat…

      • Don says:

        Rats can’t taste much different from their rodent cousins, squirrels. I have eaten squirrel (military survival training exercise) and found them to be quite tasty.

        • tagio says:

          Rabbits are another choice (besides the go-to default, chicken) and they can be grown “backyard.” Maybe not the best quality of life for the rabbits, but a food source for sure. And rabbit pelts can be used to make coats. My sister had one, long time ago (rural PA), she said it was very warm. If you live on a farm surrounded by fields and woods, you can also support the local rabbit population in order to harvest them from time to time for yourself (see the chapter, The Shining Wire, in Watership Down). Similarly, if you live in their native environment, pheasants can be cultivated. My uncle worked as a field guide to a business (also rural PA) that cultivated large numbers for people to come to hunt them on the company’s private land. Also, I am not aware how this wasdone, but there are references in English novels (as well as history books) to the fact that during some period of time, aristocrats took to “farming” deer (i.e., cultivating large herds) as a food source. One of the reasons why the laws against poaching became so fiercely enforced. All this seems better to me than growing fish in tubs, which I know can also be done, but I hate fish.
          Of course, these “solutions” likley don’t scale to our current population, but permaculture style support and cultivation of local animals can be a source of food if we ever get to the other side of the bottleneck.

          • Don says:

            Good point, but I think it’s a matter of ‘yuck’ factor for some. My German grandparents raised rabbits for slaughter on their property in the old country. All the neighbors did as I recall. This was back in the early 1960’s. I can still remember Grandma’s hazenpheffer.

    • I wasn’t demising them as protein sources. I was dismissing the packaging and attempt to make miner off the whole process.

  30. Ikonoclast says:

    This article could be titled “Why capitalism reaches limits”. Of course, those who understand limits to growth also understand that economies of any type will hit physical limits sooner or later. However, what Gail is writing about now, whether or not she agrees with me, is that the economy is hitting other kinds of limits before it hits physical limits. Though Gail is not specific, the world economy she is talking about is the capitalist world economy.

    Gail’s analysis would be recognizable to Keynes and perhaps she has drawn on Keynesian thinking. This is praise by the way, not criticism. To draw on Keynes to illustrate the point about lack of effective demand is to correctly understand the economy as an interconnected system with feed-backs. To cite low wages as a key cause in the lack of effective demand is also Keynesianism and a perfectly correct and accurate description of the economic problem. I wonder if Gail also realises she is implicitly drawing on Karl Marx.

    Marx was the other great systems thinker of history and economics and in a number of ways took his systems analysis of capitalism much further than Keynes did. It’s odd to think that the earlier thinker went further theoretically but in this case it is true. Marx was a philosopher and historian as well as an economic thinker. However, let me say first I do not hold that Marx was an infallible thinker. He made mistakes and he got some things wrong. He also worked within the limitations of his day and did not have some of the knowledge we have to today. Having said that, Marx is a profound thinker because of his philosophical and historical training. Most modern economists are very shallow intellectually because they have no grounding outside modern and very artificial neoclassical economics.

    I would recommend that Gail read Marx in the original if she has the time. However, one has to be careful about how one reads Marx. In some ways, his magnum opus “Das Kapital” is flawed. It is flawed precisely because it attempts to over-simplify some of the complexities in his thinking. Some of his earlier writings are more profound. For example, the labour theory of value in Das Kapital is flawed because over-simplified. In his earlier writings, Marx illustrated that he understood that value comes from nature as well as from human labor. Indeed, in a famous fragment in Grundrisse, called “the fragment on the machines”, Marx illustrates that he understands that value can come from non-muscle energy and that this energy can be harnessed by automated processes.

    In Marx’s theorizing on the “metabolic rift”, as he termed it, he was actually writing about the rift between man and nature and the exhaustion of natural resources by increased machine production. Marx understood the possibilities and dangers inherent in this process.

    In reading Marx, discard the simplistic notion of the labor theory of value and discard the idea of “the tendency of the rate of profit to fall” as any kind of inflexible law. Marx’s wording “the tendency of the rate of profit to fall” illustrates he only saw it as a tendency, not an inflexible law. He also wrote about countervailing tendencies (forces like globalisation we he wrote about) which could be used to push the rate of profit back up.

    Marx saw both natural (environmental) and systemic limits to capitalism. What Gail is writing about in this topic are the systemic limits of capitalism. One systemic limit, is the tendency of capital to want to reproduce itself (capital wanting to reproduce and exapand itself). Capital must always do this at the expense of two important things external to capital itself. These external factors are simply the workers and the environment. With workers, capital always wants to push wages down to expand profit and this expand capital itself. As Gail correctly points out, there is a contradiction in this. Marx pointed out the same contradiction. If wages are pushed down and investment capital is expanded, production goes up but wages are insufficient to buy all the product. There is a production surplus. This then leads to stagnation and then recession. Products can’t be sold, workers are laid off and plant remains idle. You have a depression. Unless the government pump-primes as Keynes recommended the depression will persist.

    I could say much more but I will cease here and simply recommend Gail read Marx. Start with the earlier Marx rather than the later Marx. Read him right through. Realize he was developing his ideas all his life and realize that Das Kapital unfortunately was over-simplified in some ways for rhetorical and political effect. Marx’s thought is very subtle once you get into it. He admired capitalism for its energy and overthrow of feudalism. At the same time, he realized and analyzed its systemic limits and its conflict with the natural world (the world of biology, chemistry and physics).

    These systemic limits Gail is now examining and calling globalization are really the internal systemic limits of capitalism. This is not to say that there are not physical limits. There are physical limits too. This is not to say another system like socialism would work better. It might but we do not know that. True socialism has not been tried yet. The Soviet and Chinese systems were state capitalism not communism or socialism but that is another long argument and exposition. However, it is to say that capitalism is flawed and cannot continue. Capitalism has nearly reached its limits internally and it has nearly reached its external limits due to its destruction of nature and exhaustion of resources and bioservices. The only alternatives now are socialism or barbarism. We don’t know if socialism will work but it is our last option. Otherwise, there is only the collapse into barbarism as Gail correctly predicts. Sticking to capitalism is a recipe for certain collapse.

    • richard says:

      “Unless the government pump-primes as Keynes recommended the depression will persist.”
      To follow that anology, you cannot draw water from a 15m well. Think of the debt burden as the depth of the well. And that does not even begin to address the finite world problem.

    • Artleads says:

      Socialism, or any other ism, won’t work either. How can any system work on a global scale, without very abundant energy to drive it? And how does that scale comport with severely depleted natural resources and climate disruption?

    • Fast Eddy says:

      As Russia demonstrated in 1989…. if not for capitalism we would have collapsed much earlier.

      • Stefeun says:

        I didn’t expect such a half-view from you, FE…

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Well…. capitalism is clearly the best system at ensuring we rape maximum resources…. socialism is feeble and would never have gotten us this far….

          • like it or not—we are all capitalists one way or another
            just a matter of scale
            as far as is possible, we will defend that capital, not surrender it to the common good unless forced to do so

          • Don says:

            Has there ever been a socialist experiment? We have corporations runIng government – inverted totalitarianism. We’ve seen government run corporations – communism. But we have never seen a socialist approach of putting people first. I’m not even sure what that might look like.

            • Dj says:

              Those people capable of organizing a socialist takeover is not the right people to lead the state.

              So socialism will never get a “fair chance”

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Every heard of champagne socialists? They are more than capable of leading …. but they will lead while drinking champagne, eating caviar, flying first class and staying in the best hotels… they will engage in crony deals and large scale corruption ….

              i.e. they will do exactly the same things that the non-socialist leaders do….

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Singapore is probably the closest thing to being a socialist country…. most people live in government subsidized housing…. they have massive sovereign wealth fund that everyone pays into….

              I stayed at a hotel owned by the SG fund – Ascott – in Bangkok…. there were loads of Singaporeans at the breakfast buffet — I asked someone why so many Singaporeans were staying there — I was told that the government encourages us to support Singapore owned properties — and we are happy to do so because we are part owners.

              Of course Singapore also has one of the highest ratios of millionaires of any country

          • daddio7 says:

            There can be no socialism without peak capitalism first. In peak capitalism people’s money is being used by others to make even more money. Socialist just siphon some of it off. Low level capitalism is a person using his money and labor to make money and he knows where every penny goes. Let’s say a man is clearing farm land. After he clears 10 acres the socialists take 9 and give them to someone else. Guess how many more acres that man is going to clear.

            Socialism only works after the capitalist have fully developed everything. The hard part is getting enough people to keep working when to make a good living all you have to do is breathe

    • I will admit that I have not read a lot of anyone else’s thinking. I would point out that both Marx and Keynes were unaware of the role energy plays, and the extent to which diminishing returns are a problem. Thus, while they understand some of the problem, it is still only part of the problem.

  31. Stilgar Wilcox says:


    The Curious Case Of The 550 Million Missing Barrels Of Crude Oil

    “Even as US crude oil inventories just hit a fresh record high for another week, both in Cushing and across all other regions, a more curious accumulation of excess oil inventory has emerged: according to the IEA, global oil production exceeded consumption by just over 1 billion barrels in 2014 and 2015. (a billion barrels is a lot, considering the world consumes about 30 billion a year.)

    crude oil production exceeded consumption by an average of 0.9 million barrels per day in 2014 and 2.0 million bpd in 2015. (2 million barrels a day?! That’s no rounding error.) Of this 1 billion barrels which the IEA believes was produced but not consumed, some 420 million are said to be stored on land in OECD member countries and another 75 million can be found stored at sea or in transit by tanker somewhere from the oil fields to the refineries. This means that as of this moment, about 550 million “missing barrels” are unaccounted for apparently produced but not consumed and not visible in the inventory statistics.”

    As John Kemp writes, like most “plugs”, the missing barrels are recorded in the “miscellaneous to balance” line of the IEA’s monthly Oil Market Report as the difference between production, consumption and reported stock changes. The miscellaneous item reflects errors in data from OECD countries, errors in the agency’s estimates for supply and demand in non-OECD countries, and stockpile changes outside the OECD that go unrecorded.

    The last time the miscellaneous to balance item was this large and positive (implying an oversupplied market) was in 1997/98 when the issue triggered fierce criticism of the IEA’s statistics.”

    My own take on this is it sounds like the consumption numbers were elevated to disguise the disparity of production to consumption. There is another name for this; CORRUPTION, FRAUD, because the accuracy of that information is crucial to not only investment decisions on whether to invest in oil or not, but also as an indicator of national and world economic strength. I have a simple question; How many important national statistics are accurate? Are we down to none? Has all important statistical information been fed through a propaganda filter?

    • I don’t think the people producing energy statistics really know what the numbers are. Mostly what they can see is how much inventories are rising. From this, they can sort of work backward to guess at supply and demand.

  32. Fast Eddy says:

    He sped north along a lonesome two-lane stretch of Midwest Boulevard, toward the prairie-scrub city edge, where he drove his SUV into a wall at high speed.


    Big thank you to Aubrey for test running my ultimate solution!

    • Yoshua says:

      If you can afford the petrol.

      • doomphd says:

        Aubrey must have actually believed that fracked oil was just as useful to society as oil pumped from conventional wells. He thought he was drinking beer from a tap, when all the while he was actually using a vacuum to suck spilled stuff from the rugs after the barkeep called time. (Hat tip to Nicole Foss.)

      • Fast Eddy says:

        I’ve got 10 large containers of diesel fuel in one of the sheds out back ensuring the ultimate solution remains an option when things turn ugly. But before it gets to that point I have roughly 5000 rounds of ammo.

        That’s my grandpa in the photo


        • who needs donald trump when eddy’s in charge?

        • Don says:

          5000 rounds, FE?! How many of them do you think you can take with you? If it comes down to shooting it out, odds are that a farmer won’t need more than one clip.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            I’ve got 5 guns …. and my neighbours have plenty of guns … but would not have a lot of ammo because they can always buy more at Wallys World…

            Actually – the idea behind all the ammo is food related — there are plenty of deer, pigs and rabbits in the forested hills near us.

  33. Yoshua says:

    I live in Finland. Last month exports fell by 10 per cent. Unemployment is 10 per cent and rising. The Government and the Unions can’t reach a deal on how to solve the crisis. Today the EU sent us a letter since we are breaking EU rules by taking on too much government debt. Last time I checked we produced zero barrels of oil and nil cubic feet gas. Winter time is freezing cold (-10 to -30 degrees Celsius). Refugees are fleeing Finland. Everything is just fine ?

    • Not really! Cold counties have the worst problems when competition gets fierce. They naturally have higher costs than warm countries, because they must heat their homes. It is also difficult to use bicycles when it is freezing cold. Even animals must be kept warm. On author told me that he thought cold countries should somehow get a deduction for their high costs, but this is not the way the world works.

      • Yoshua says:

        Yes, a nation like Finland is a high income nation since a good portion of the income is used just to stay warm. Since Finland doesn’t have oil and gas we are dependent on trade for our survival. When the global economy and global trade collapses Finland will become a death trap.

        • I recently had a heated debate with someone who insisted the world population should go vegan
          it didn’t go down too well when I presumed to ask how the Inuit would get on

          • Stefeun says:

            Maybe they could try to grow an assortment of various mushrooms and funghi directly on the body?
            Bonus: no more need for underwear!
            (sorry I couldn’t help)

          • jarvis says:

            I once told a doctor we don’t need to consume carbohydrates and he burst out laughing. When I referred him to the Inuit diet of only fat and protein that shut him up Gotta love the Inuit when it comes to disproving dietary myths.

            • Chris Butterfield says:

              jarvis you like meat. I dont care but your incessant and lopsided arguments are not the truth. Nowadays Inuits probably eat more pop tarts than honey boo boo. Inuit women are the hottest- until they hit about 23….

            • Fast Eddy says:

              You got that right — I spent 10 days in various settlements in the high Arctic 6 or 7 years ago and I saw nothing but rotted teeth and ill health because of the epic consumption of soft drinks and other rubbish…

              At one point a boat approached us asking if we would trade them some cases of soft drinks for char…. apparently they had run out of soft drinks and the resupply was some weeks away — we declined…

          • Fast Eddy says:

            I can smell the aftermath of the gear meltdown….

          • Pintada says:



      • Stilgar Wilcox says:

        I see your point Gail regarding higher energy usage for colder countries, yet a the same time it is an interesting observation that most of the great technological achievements have come from the north. Could it be that cooler temps help the brain to work better? After all how many advances have come from countries on or near the equator?

        • Stefeun says:

          Control of the fire and its uses, that’s all.
          Mandatory for development of our thermo-industrial civilization.

        • civilisations evolved in the tropics
          only the appropriation of the energy resourses of other animals and plantife that we have been able to exist closer and closer to the poles.

        • Dj says:

          Weaker groups got driven away further and further from the equator. They had to evolve physically and technically to survive in worse climate. Then they colonized the warmer lands.

          • i don’t think they were driven away exactly.
            i think of it more as tribal groups slowly expanding. If resources aren’t available where you are—then you move to where they can be found.
            Hence the hunt for fur and meat would be the expansionary driving force, over thousands of years. (think of the movement across the Bering strait, that was an expansion of infinite slowness that gradually populated the americas)
            We do the same today, searching for fresh sources of oil and minerals. We are driven to look further and further afield as our needs grow.

            • DJ says:

              You’re probably correct. I just imagined if I had to give up going around naked and having food falling down on me and instead having to kill hairy elephants with a sharp stick and then wear the remains as clothes, that wouldn’t be voluntarily.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          I lived on the equator for 7 years.

          What I observed is that you could grow food quite easily year round. You did not have to innovate much because you simply had to put up a straw shack and grow some rice and pick fruit from the trees and you could easily survive.

          Not so in the colder climes. People have been driven to improve … to innovate… because otherwise survival would be precarious.

        • No. The cold countries were forced to use supplemental energy sooner and to a greater extent than warn countries. Once they learned to heat with coal, it was an easy step to industrialization.

          In the early days of civilization, most of the activity was in warm countries. The Nordic countries were far behind. But that changed with fossil fuels.

          • I resently learned that why the great kingdom of Norway from the Viking age faded away was not just because of the black death, but also because of the vaste amounts of silver and gold plundered during the Viking age were fading away. The plunderings stopped when the Vikings became Christians, and we united in one nation.

            • Somewhat similar with today’s situation, when we have stockpiled large amounts of wealth in the Oil Fund, which is now starting fading away just like the silver and gold from the Viking Age. Norway was big two times, first in the Viking Age from silver and gold, and now because of the oil from the Oil Age.

              I don’t think we’ll see any of this glory again.

            • Christopher says:

              Isn’t the plundering exaggerated? Most vikings got their wealth from being merchants. The ships they build were well suited for shipping goods a long way. Many swedish vikings travelled down the eastern european rivers. The ships were even designed to be rolled on timbers between river systems. They could “sail” through europe to the mediterranean see. After the viking age the hanseatic trade organisation replaced the vikings and many scandinavians had to return to be farmers again. Trading suddenly required i) many more connections to powerful people as european politics changed and ii) a more complex organisation. The vikings were basically farmers skilled in building ships and sailing them. That was sufficient for a while.

      • Vince the Prince says:

        Gail, for those that are prepared a cold climate may be a better region to live. The winter Monte may prove to weed out those at really on BAU and likely will stay put during severe cold weather. It all depends how one looks at it.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Try chopping and splitting enough trees to get a cord of wood – with an axe.

          Winter extra sucks without BAU

          • nequin says:

            It is easy if you know what you are doing.
            I admit paying $500 to learn but it was fun.

            We have schools for that in Nova Scotia…Must be a Kiwi one also. btw the maple sap is running

            • Fast Eddy says:

              There are courses on how to use a chain saw here… not sure about using an axe…. who would want to chop and split a tree with an axe?

            • nequin says:

              Yes Fast we have that.. it is a sport…people make a living cutting trees with an ax.

          • Don says:

            I don’t even like to haul in the 40 pound sacks of wood pellets from the garage for my newly installed pellet stove. Oh, the sacrices we make to go green.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        One of the main reasons I chose not to end BAU in Canada is the endless harsh freezing winters… 3 months of decent weather…. screw that.

      • xabier says:

        Hence the war over the proposed gas line in Syria. Gas to keep Europe going….

  34. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Finite Worlders

    Insects as a source of protein for packaged foods….Don Stewart

    • Vince the Prince says:

      Thanks Don, see put a POSITIVE spin on just about anything in the media and soften up resistance to the new “idea”, and it becomes innovative and better. Yes, crickets will be the first insect to be gobbled down, and later meal worms of meal slimmers as they will be renamed to make one believe you will lose weight eating them are second on the list.
      Add some sweetness or other artificial flavor…all is good.

    • Packaged food? Investors betting millions on? Not the way to solve the problems we are facing today.

    • scott says:

      There is already plenty of insect matter in our packaged foods it just isn’t included on the label of contents.

  35. Stefeun says:

    Refugees Global Situation

    Don’t know if the figures are accurate/reliable, but it’s always interesting to get some correction of the MSM zoom-effect :

    “If You Think Europe Has a Refugee Crisis, You’re Not Looking Hard Enough
    From Lebanon to Turkey to Pakistan, a wave of migrants is straining governments and testing the fabrics of societies”


    • Stilgar Wilcox says:

      Don’t think it will be long either for refugees to start migrating out of Dakka and Bangladesh. Saw an interesting documentary tonight and every year now the water level from floods and the number of incidents of flooding increases as the oceans incrementally rise. Every day an average of 250 people are admitted into hospitals for intestinal ailments due to unhealthy water borne diseases. Once it floods, it takes a full week for the water to subside. So people are trying to adapt, but it’s easy to see that at some point it simply will not work any longer and they will have to migrate out of those areas.

      What was also interesting is they did a side story about a Japanese city that occasionally floods due to a swollen river running through the middle of the city. Japan spent 2 billion on an underground system that carries the flood water safely away. However Dakka and Bangladesh do not have even a 100 million for a diversion system.

      So here’s the irony; Industrialized nations that spew CO2 and caused sea level rise can afford flood abatement systems, but the countries that didn’t cause the sea level rise do not have enough money for such systems. After watching that I channel surfed and landed on Spiderman 2 and thought, wow, we are so wealthy we get bored and need to be entertained by stupid stuff, while people of undeveloped countries suffer.

      • Stefeun says:

        You’re right Stilgar,
        but wait, nice stuff coming soon to a seashore near you too :

        Florida Just Flushed Its “Toilet” Lake onto Its Beaches
        Right in time for tourist season, polluted runoff is fouling coasts on both sides of the Sunshine State.
        —Sara Rathod on Tue. February 23, 2016 2:37


        • Stilgar Wilcox says:

          That’s very unfortunate, Stefeun. Guess it happens here too.

          Been to Palm Beach, Fl and at the time the water and fine white sandy beach was amazing.

      • Vince the Prince says:

        Yes, Stiglar, that is the irony of it all, we in the winner nation states indulge in the benefits
        and they are the ones that take the most severe hit and suffer. Actually, Bill McKibben of 350.org wrote of the same in an article that spurred him on to form his coalition of climate change activitists while in that part of the world, seeing the record droughts and in turn extreme floods. He himself was infected by a tropical disease that spread due to climate change and was cured because he had access to medical care, while others too poor simply were ignored and died.
        After following Gail and her writings it seems clear to me the answers or solutions are much more complex and difficult to implement.

        • Stefeun says:

          You’re right Vince,
          what you’re describing are some consequences of a ‘problem’ that is so deeply rooted that I don’t think that talking of ‘solutions’ is appropriate.

          In all times our civilisations have thrived by expansions, conquests and pillaging, even moreso since The Renaissance with discoveries of new territories and the rise of capitalism.
          Impossible to ‘remove’ it without killing the beast (now agonizing, anyhow…).

          An interesting point of view of the history (imo):

          • xabier says:

            True, greatly accelerated since the sea-borne empires of Europe appeared during the Renaissance, but I’m impressed by the sheer energy that the peoples of the Ancient World – Greeks, Romans, Carthaginians, Persians, etc, – put into expansion and conquest, and the size of the armies and navies that they could deploy.

            I highly recommend the BBC series ‘In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great’ by the incomparable presenter and scholar Michael Wood, which, as he actually followed Alexander’s route, gives a vivid impression of the logistical aspect as most ‘history’ films do not ( History Channel I am looking at YOU!)

            • Stefeun says:

              I like to highlight The Renaissance because it’s the period during which we discovered that the Earth is a sphere and therefore has LIMITS.

              A “sapiens” species would have made a halt and said : Hey, shouldn’t we be careful with that?

              For sure I’m too demanding, there was still so much free room in terms of space and time. And communications, at the “international” level, were mostly based on weapons (if you except temporary alliances between kingdoms).

              We’re not Sapiens, we’re by-products of fire.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Thanks for the recommendation –

            • xabier says:

              For instance, a good bit – highlighting reality without BAU – is where Michael Wood’s Afghan creaky Landrover breaks down, and the roads fail and are broken up, and it’s time for the men with mules to take over: truly in the footsteps of Alexander and his men……

        • B9K9 says:

          The conceit of every generation is they think their situations and circumstances are unique.

          There has never been, nor will there ever be a “solution”. All living things are products of entropy – only continuous energy inputs allow us to function, and even then, the hourly decay and mutation of our cellular growth & replacement guarantees eventual death.

          So, faced with the immediate prospects of Maslow’s primacy, every generation exploits what is currently available and discounts any after-on effects. The “winner” countries were those that utilized their superior collective IQ and cultural discipline to conquer, access & acquire the necessary resources for survival.

          There are only a handful of countries that were ever able to develop & maintain an overseas empire – surely, the acme of resource deployment, technology & organization. It is to these countries that are part of the Western alliance and dollar system that retain the benefits & spoils of war.

          It is these countries that will experience the last vestiges of BAU.

        • Stilgar Wilcox says:

          Interesting information on McKibben (a big name in getting out the word on AGW), Vince.

          • Vince the Prince says:

            Thanks, Stilgar, Bill McKibben is a powerful voice and a talented writer. Unfortunately, I do not think he really understands our predicament. He certainly understands climate science and his leadership abilities has brought it to the general public.

            From what I see it is already too late to avert drastic climate change, even if BAU ends.

            • Don says:

              What he does understand is that his corporate sponsored ‘hanky wringing’ speaking tours affords him a very comfortable living, complete with custom homes – this according to investigative journalist Cory Morningstar.

            • Stefeun says:

              The link to Cory Morningstar’s writings:



            • Fast Eddy says:

              We have champagne socialists ….. we need a new term to describe environmentalists who fly about the world to conferences and stay in concrete hotels….

              My vote is for Nearingistas …. the rationale being that Scott Nearing sold himself as a honest to goodness self-sufficiency god …. but in the meantime he was pouring concrete… using factory tools from China…. driving a pick up truck…. and of course jetting off to Florida for the winter when he finally started to be able to afford that because he sold enough books at the bookstore in the shopping mall.

            • Don says:


              Because climate change is likely the last of our worries, I sense that Gail would rather we stay away from the topic on this board. I wasn’t going to post links, but I’m glad that you did. Time and again on this board I see McKibben and 350.org touted as being something so wonderful for us all when in truth nothing has been or ever will be accomplished that changes our predicament in the least.

              You should listen to some of Morningstars’ interviews. She let’s McKibben have it with the bark on. Anyway, I’m finished with the topic.

            • Stefeun says:

              I fully agree and posted the link for those who would like to know more about that. Also because there are other interesting things on that site.
              I certainly don’t want to discuss climate change either, and I’m finished with this topic too 😉

          • Don says:

            McKibben is fooling himself if he believes that there will be CO2 levels lower than they are presently , at least in terms of human time scales.

            • Don says:

              Guy McPherson accuses both McKibben and Michael Mann of malpractice for failing to disclose to the public the true magnitude of our predicament. He contends that they know full and well that only collapse of industrial empire ‘might’ help us to avoid the worst of climate change, as outlined in a paper by physicist Tim Garrett back in 2007.

            • Vince the Prince says:

              McKibben is no fool…He never has stated what you wrote…do not put false statements attributed to him, thank you.

            • Don says:

              Vince the Prince,

              Returning CO2 levels to 350 ppm is a stated goal of 350.org.

              I didn’t make up what I posted. You can confirm (as in, I won’t do it for you) everything mentioned. I’m sure McKibben is a nice enough guy, but pumping up a new green bubble (cha ching) with corporate sponsors accomplishes nothing.

            • Vince the Prince says:

              Don, I’m not hear to argue. The 350 figure came to Bill from Dr. James Hansen. Bill pressed him for an answer to what he thought the maximum CO2 concentration for a planet that humans can exist with a civilization as we know it. McKibben needed a title for his movement that crossed all international bounds and he wise!y adapted 350 for that reason.
              Now regarding greenhouse gas levels emitted….the general scientific consensus is we need to reduce there output to practically nada…..yes, zero like by 2050.
              The video I posted was dated 2009 and since then
              In February 2016, the average global atmospheric carbon dioxide level stood at 402.59 ppm. This is a dramatic increase from preindustrial times, when atmospheric carbon dioxide levels averaged about 280 ppm
              A single molecule of carbon dioxide can remain in the atmosphere for as long as 1,000 years, ensuring that global warming will continue for generations to come.

              Bill McKibben knows this…so please stop with you line of comments…thank you, Sir

            • Don says:

              V the P,

              “…please stop with your line of comments”

              You’ll have to excuse me sir, as I didn’t realize that you are the final clearing the authority of what gets posted on this open forum. Are there other topics I and others must avoid so as not to offend your delicate sensitivies?

              We are hear to discuss ideas. The topics range widely and in the end there will often be opposing viewpoints. Grownups understand varying viewpoints and see them as potential opportunities for broadening their knowledge base, you know, to learn something. Stefeun has kindly provided a link which will allow you to see in great detail, an important closer look at the Wall St connections of the organization known as 350.org. Apparently learning doesn’t interest you, but censoring me does. So, as the dew kisses the morning grass, you sir, may kiss my …

            • Vince the Prince says:

              Donnie, please stop and grow up…OY

            • Don says:

              Vince the Prince

              I’ve have heard of cyber bullies before, but you are my first encounter. Let me give you some advice. If you are going to look for trouble and then find it, don’t work in the last word with some sort of weenie comment like that. Among other things, you have shown me that I have the power to P you off. As long as I know that, I own you – and so will anyone else who won’t back down.

            • Vince the Prince says:

              Donnie, do you know what the word please mean coupled with stop?
              Listen, Do not respond to my posts and I’ll do likewise to yours, see, easy solution
              Peace and stay calm.

            • Don says:

              Vince the Prince,

              Peace and calm it is. As for responding to my posts, feel free to interject whenever about whatever you feel like. I don’t own the thread. If I’m spewing nonsense, call me on it. I have no sacred cows and require no safe harbor. The way I see it, responses made on any thread are not necessarily a personal and direct response to the thread’s originator. Having said that be advised, if Fast Eddy for example, should post to ‘your’ message thread a non personal, topic related comment that I wish to respond and contribute to, I intend to do so without hesitation or concern over restrictions you wish to impose on me. I will however honor your request to never engage you in direct conversation. Have you considered the possibility that open discussions might not be for you?

    • richard says:

      Just to put the population issues into the context of living memory, prior to the appearance of penicillin, it was not unknown for only two of nine siblings to survive to add to the next generation. This was in the UK, then vying for top spot among nations.

    • richard says:

      I’d put Simon Johnston and Neil Kashkari among the more sane advocates for reform, though both are “insiders”. The comment about HRC tends to completely discredit the rest of the text, imho. Also, the “blockchain” text seems similar to the “Jack and the Beanstalk” fairytale, or to put it another way, BAU.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      That’s an interesting read… trying to download https://www.themoviedb.org/collection/260601-the-worricker-trilogy but Pirate Bay is down….

    • richard says:

      “So their belief was the way you reengineer government is you destroy something on the theory it’s going to miraculously then sort-of-fix itself. When it doesn’t, you just throw millions of dollars of contracts to your friends to go fix it, which of course doesn’t work”
      a) More than government can’t now be fixed, and
      b) even if a solution can be found, it’s already too late, and
      c) the USA has benefited to date because the “money” thrown at the problems are FR IOU’s created out of nothing, so
      d) Once the defaults start, they will be impossible to stop.
      The views on Europe and the UK were unexpected.
      “Unfortunately the people in power in Europe today have been chosen because they are spineless and don’t have a vision” – not to mention when things get serious you have to lie …
      As for the UK – US, four things : the fallout from the US sub-prime crisis; the ongoing drone killings, including killing US Citizens; Lybia; and the Ukraine, all led to a vote against the UK getting involved in Syria. There are strongly held views on Putin, the USA, Europe and the Middle East that make it diffcult to forecast what happens next. But, I get the feeling that there is a movement away from the USA and toward China, to reflect a changing balance of power.

  36. Fast Eddy says:

    A flower show in the gritty Chinese industrial city of Tangshan has emerged as a major cause of the spike in iron ore prices this week, as steel mills rushed to buy before being forced to close to keep skies blue for 10m expected visitors.

    Steel mills in the city, located north-east of Beijing in Hebei province, have been told to shut down from late April to October to reduce pollution during an international horticultural exhibition. The city at the weekend urged its steel mills to increase production in anticipation of the shutdown, sparking a scramble for the key steelmaking ingredient.


  37. dolph911 says:

    There was a comment that Hillary is shameless.
    That’s why she is electable. Same goes for Donald Trump. Same went for Obama, and Bush before him. And many others.

    Didn’t you get the memo that Americans worship money, power, and ruthlessness? That this is the whole reason America exists? That without it we are a nation of decrepit highways, strip malls, office towers that will be left derelict when the system breaks, and that every race and religion will be at each other’s throats in a civil war to end all civil wars?

    Beware the empire in decline. It, like a vortex, will leave nothing surrounding it untouched.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      America will probably be the worst place to be when this unravels…. either there or the Middle East….