Why we have a wage inequality problem

Wage inequality is a topic in elections around the world. What can be done to provide more income for those without jobs, and those with low wages?

Wage inequality is really a sign of a deeper problem; basically it reflects an economic system that is not growing rapidly enough to satisfy everyone. In a finite world, it is easy for an economy to grow rapidly at first. In the early days, there are enough resources, such as land, fresh water, and metals, for each person to get a reasonable-sized amount. Each would-be farmer can obtain as much land as he thinks he can work with; fresh water is readily available virtually for free; and goods made with metals, such as cars, are not expensive. There are many jobs available, and wages for most people are fairly similar.

As population grows, and as resources degrade, the situation changes. It is still possible to grow enough food, but it takes large farms, with expensive equipment (but very few actual workers) to produce that food. It is possible to produce enough water, but it takes high-tech equipment and a handful of workers who know how to use the high-tech equipment. Metals suddenly need to be lighter and stronger and have other characteristics for the high tech industry, thus requiring more advanced products. International trade becomes more important to be able to get the correct mix of materials for the advanced products needed to operate the high-tech economy.

With these changes, the economic system that previously provided many jobs for those with limited training (often providing on-the-job training, if necessary) gradually became a system that provides a relatively small number of high-paying jobs, together with many low-paying jobs. In the United States, the change started happening in 1981, and has gotten worse recently.

Figure 1. Chart comparing income gains by the top 10% to income gains by the bottom 90% by economist Emmanuel Saez. Based on an analysis IRS data, published in Forbes.

Figure 1. Chart comparing income gains by the top 10% to those of the bottom 90%, by economist Emmanuel Saez. Based on an analysis of IRS data; published in Forbes.

What Happens When an Economy Doesn’t Grow Rapidly Enough?

If an economy is growing rapidly enough, it is easy for everyone to get close to an adequate amount. The way I think of the problem is that as economic growth slows, the “overhead” grows disproportionately, taking an ever-larger share of the goods and services the economy produces. The ordinary worker (non-supervisory worker, without advanced degrees) tends to get left out. Figure 2 is my representation of the problem, if the current pattern continues into the future.

Figure 2. Authors' depiction of changes to workers share of output of economy, as costs keep rising for other portions of the economy keep rising.

Figure 2. Author’s depiction of changes to workers’ share of output of economy, if costs keep rising for other portions of the economy. (Chart is only intended to illustrate the problem; it is not based on a study of the relative amounts involved.)

The reason for the workers’ declining share of the total is that we live in a finite world. We are using renewable resources faster than they replenish and continue to use non-renewable resources. The workarounds to fix these problems take an increasing share of the total output of the economy, leaving less for what I have called “ordinary workers.” The problems we encounter include the following:

  • Pollution control. Pollution sinks are already full. Continuing to use non-renewable resources (including burning fossil fuels) adds increased pollution. Workarounds have costs, and these take an increasing share of the output of the economy.
  • Energy used in energy production. When we started extracting energy products, the cheapest, easiest-to-extract energy products were chosen first. The energy products that are left are higher-cost to extract, and thus require a larger share of the goods the economy produces for extraction.
  • Water, metals, and soil workarounds. These suffer from deteriorating quantity and quality, leading to the need for workarounds such as desalination plants, deeper mines, and more irrigated land. All of these take an increasingly large share of the output of the economy.
  • Interest and dividends. Capital goods tend to be purchased through debt or sales of stock. Either way, interest payments and dividends must be made, leaving less for workers.
  • Increasing hierarchy. Companies need to be larger in size to purchase and manage all of the capital goods needed to work around shortages. High pay for supervisors reduces funds available to pay lower-ranking employees.
  • Government funding and pensions. Government programs grow in size in good times, but are hard to cut back in hard times. Pensions, both government and private, are a particular problem because the number of elderly people tends to grow.

It should be no surprise that this type of continuing pattern of eroding wages for ordinary workers leads to great instability. If nothing else, workers become increasingly disillusioned and want to change or overthrow the government.

It might be noted that globalization also plays a role in this shift toward lower wages for ordinary workers. Part of the reason for globalization is simply to work around the problems listed above. For example, if pollution becomes more of a problem, globalization allows pollution to be shifted to countries that do not try to mitigate the problem. Globalization also allows businesses to work around the rising cost of oil production; production can be shifted to countries that instead emphasized coal in their energy mix, with much lower energy used in energy production. With increased globalization, people who are primarily selling the value of their own labor find that wages do not keep up with the rising cost of living.

Studies of Previous Economies that Experienced Declining Wages of Ordinary Workers

Researchers Peter Turchin and Surgey Nefedov analyzed eight civilizations that collapsed in detail, and recorded their findings in the book Secular Cycles. According to them, the typical economic growth pattern of civilizations that collapsed was similar to Figure 3, below. Before the civilizations began to collapse (Crisis Stage), they hit a period of Stagflation. During that period of Stagflation, wages of ordinary workers tended to fall. Eventually these lower wages led to the downfall of the system.

Figure 3. Shape of typical Secular Cycle, based on work of Peter Turkin and Sergey Nefedov in Secular Cycles.

Figure 3. Shape of typical Secular Cycle, based on work of Peter Turchin and Sergey Nefedov in Secular Cycles. Chart by Gail Tverberg.

In many instances, a growth cycle started when a group of individuals discovered a way that they could grow more food for their group. Perhaps they cleared trees from a large plot of land so that they could grow more food, or they found a way to irrigate an area that was dry, again leading to sufficient food for more people. A modern analogy would be discovering how to use fossil fuels to grow more food, thus allowing population to rise.

At first, population grew rapidly, and incomes tended to grow as  well, as the size of the group expanded to the carrying capacity of the improved land. Once the economy got close to the carrying capacity of the land, a period of Stagflation took place. There no longer was room for more farmers, unless plots of land were subdivided. Would-be farmers were forced to take lower-paying service jobs, or to become farmers’ helpers. In this changing world, debt levels rose, and food prices spiked.

To try to solve the many issues that arose, there was a need for more elite workers–what we today would call managers and high-level government officials. In some cases, a decision would be made to expand the army, in order to try to invade other countries to obtain more land to solve the problem of inadequate resources for a growing population. All of these changes led to a higher needed tax level and more high-level managers.

What tended to bring the system down was the growing wage inequality and the resulting low wages for ordinary workers. Governments needed ever-higher taxes to pay for their expanding services, but they had difficulty collecting sufficient tax revenue. If they raised taxes to an adequate level, workers found themselves without sufficient money for food. In their weakened state, workers became subject to epidemics. Governments with inadequate tax revenue tended to collapse.

Sometimes, rather than collapse, wars were fought. If the wars were successful, the resource shortage that ultimately led to low wages of workers could be addressed. If not, the end of the group might come through military defeat.

Today’s Fundamental Problem: The World Economy Can No Longer Grow Quickly

Because of our depleted resources and because of the world’s growing population, the only way that the world economy can now grow is in a strange way that assigns more and more output to various parts of “overhead” (Figure 2), leaving less for workers and for unemployed individuals who want to be workers.

Automation looks like it would be a solution since it can produce a large amount of goods, cheaply. It doesn’t really work, however, because it doesn’t provide enough employees who can purchase the output of the manufacturing system, so that demand and supply can stay in balance. In theory, companies that automate their operations could be taxed at a very high rate, so that governments could pay would-be workers, but this doesn’t work either. Companies have a choice regarding which country they operate in. If a tax is added, companies can simply move to a lower-tax rate jurisdiction, where no tax is required for automation.

The world is, in effect, reaching the end of the Stagflation period on Figure 3, and approaching the Crisis period on Figure 3. The catch is that the Crisis period is likely to be shorter and steeper than illustrated on Figure 3, because we live in a much more interconnected world, with more dependence on debt and world trade than in the past. Once the interconnected world economic system starts to fail, we are likely to see a rapid drop in the total amount of goods and services produced, worldwide. This will produce an even worse distribution problem–how does everyone get enough?

The low oil, natural gas, and coal prices we are now seeing may very well be the catalyst that brings the economy to the “Crisis Period” or collapse. Unless there is a rapid increase in prices, companies will cut back on fossil fuel production, as soon as 2016. With less fossil fuel production, the total quantity of goods and services (in other words, GDP) will drop. Most economists do not understand that there is a physics reason for this problem. The quantity of energy consumed needs to keep rising, or world GDP will decline. Technology gains and energy efficiency improvements provide some uplift to GDP growth, but this generally averages less than 1% per year.

Figure 4. World GDP growth compared to world energy consumption growth for selected time periods since 1820. World real GDP trends for 1975 to present are based on USDA real GDP data in 2010$ for 1975 and subsequent. (Estimated by author for 2015.) GDP estimates for prior to 1975 are based on Maddison project updates as of 2013. Growth in the use of energy products is based on a combination of data from Appendix A data from Vaclav Smil's Energy Transitions: History, Requirements and Prospects together with BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2015 for 1965 and subsequent.

Figure 4. World GDP growth compared to world energy consumption growth for selected time periods since 1820. World real GDP trends for 1975 to present are based on USDA real GDP data in 2010$ for 1975 and subsequent. (Estimated by author for 2015.) GDP estimates for prior to 1975 are based on Maddison project updates as of 2013. Growth in the use of energy products is based on a combination of data from Appendix A data from Vaclav Smil’s Energy Transitions: History, Requirements and Prospects together with BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2015 for 1965 and subsequent.

Are There Political Strategies to Solve Today’s Wage Inequality Problem?

Unfortunately, the answer is probably, “No.” While some strategies look like they might have promise, they risk the possibility of pushing the economy further toward financial collapse, or toward war, or toward a major reduction in international trade. Any of these outcomes could eventually bring down the system. There also doesn’t seem to be much time left.

Our basic problem is that the world economy is growing so slowly that the ordinary workers at the bottom of Figure 2 find themselves with less than an adequate quantity of goods and services. This problem seems to be getting worse rather than better, over time, making the problem a political issue.

These are a few strategies that have been mentioned on political sites for fixing the problem:

  1. Provide a basic income to all citizens. The intent of this strategy is to try to capture a larger share of the world’s goods and services by printing money (or borrowing money). This money would hopefully allow citizens to purchase a larger share of the goods and services available on the world market. If the pool of goods and services is pretty much fixed in total, more goods and services purchased by one country would mean fewer goods and services purchased by other citizens of other countries. I would expect that this strategy would not really work, because of changing currency relativities: the level of the currency of the country issuing the checks would tend to fall relative to the currencies of other countries. The basic problem is that it is possible to print currency, but not goods and services. There is also a possibility that printing checks for everyone will encourage less work on the part of citizens. If citizens do less work, the country as a whole will produce less. Such a change would leave the country worse off than before.
  2. Lower interest rates, even negative interest rates. With lower interest rates, the interest portion of the Interest and Dividend sector shown on Figure 2 can theoretically mostly disappear, leaving more money for wages on Figure 2 and thus tending to “fix” the wage problem this way. Low interest rates also tend to reduce dividends, because companies will choose to buy back part of their stock and issue very low interest rate debt instead. If interest rates become negative, the sector can completely disappear. The ultra-low interest rates will have negative ramifications elsewhere. Banks are likely to have a hard time earning an adequate income. Pension funds will find it impossible to pay people the pensions they have been promised, creating a different problem.
  3. Get jobs back from foreign countries through the use of tariffs. Some jobs might be easier to get back from foreign countries than others. For example, programming, call center operations, and computer tech support are all “service type” jobs that can be done from anywhere, and thus could be transferred back easily. In situations where new factories need to be built, and materials sourced from around the world, the transfer would be more difficult. Businesses will tend to automate operations, rather than hire locally. The countries that we try to get the business from may retaliate by refusing to sell needed devices (for example, computers) and needed raw materials (such as rare earth minerals). Or a collapse may occur in a country we try to get jobs back from, so fewer goods and services are produced worldwide.
  4. Keep out immigrants. The theory is, “If there aren’t enough jobs to go around, why give them to immigrants?” In a world with sagging GDP, job growth will be slow or may not occur at all. There may be a particular point in keeping out well-educated immigrants, if there aren’t enough jobs for college-educated people who already live in a country. Of course, Europe has been doing the opposite–taking in more immigrants, in the hope that they will provide young workers for countries that are rapidly aging. (Another approach to finding more workers would be to raise the retirement age–but such an approach is not politically popular.)
  5. Medicare for all. Medicare is the US healthcare plan for those over 65 or having a disability. It pays a substantial share of healthcare costs. The concern I have with “Medicare for all” is that because of the way the economy now functions, the total amount of goods and services that we can choose to purchase, for all kinds of goods and services in total, is almost a fixed sum. (Some people might say we are dealing with a zero-sum game.) If we make a choice to spend more on medical treatment, we are simultaneously making a choice that citizens will be less able to afford other things that might be worthwhile, such as apartments and transportation. The US healthcare system is already the most expensive in the world, as a percentage of GDP. We need to fix the overall system, not simply add more people to a system that is incredibly expensive.
  6. Free college education for all. As the situation stands today, 45% of recent college graduates are in jobs that do not require a college degree. This suggests that we are already producing far more college graduates than there are jobs for college graduates. If we provide “free college education for all,” this offer needs to be made in the context of entrance exams for a limited number of spaces available (reduced from current enrollment). Otherwise, we sink a huge share of our resources into our education system, to no great benefit for either the students or the overall system. We are back to the zero-sum game problem. If we spend a large share of our resources on college educations that don’t really lead to jobs that pay well, more people of all ages will find themselves unable to afford apartments and cars because of the higher tax levels required to fund the program.
  7. Renewables to replace fossil fuels. Despite the popularity of the idea, I don’t think that adding renewables provides any significant benefit, given the scenario we are facing. Renewables are made using fossil fuels, and they tend to have pollution problems of their own. They don’t extend the life of the electric grid, if we are facing collapse. At most, they might be helpful for a few people living off grid, if the electrical grid is no longer operating. If the economic system is on the edge of collapse already, fossil fuel use will drop quickly, with or without the use of renewables.


It would be really nice to “roll back” the world economy to a date back before population rose to its current high level, resources became as depleted as they are, and pollution became as big a problem as it is. Unfortunately, we can’t really do this.

We are now faced with the question of whether we can do anything to mitigate what may be a near-term crisis. At this point, it may be too late to make any changes at all, before the downward slide into collapse begins. The current low prices of fossil fuels make the current situation particularly worrisome, because the low prices could lead to lower fossil fuel production, and hence reduce world GDP because of the connection between energy consumption and GDP growth. Low oil prices could also push the world economy downward, due to increasing defaults on energy sector loans and adverse impacts on economies of oil exporters.

In my view, a major reason why fossil fuel prices are now low is because of the low wages of “ordinary workers.” If these wages were higher, workers around the globe could be buying more houses and cars, and indirectly raising demand for fossil fuels. Thus, low fossil fuel prices may be a sign that collapse is near.

One policy that might be helpful at this late date is increased focus on contraception. In fact, an argument could be made for more permissive abortion policies. Our problem is too little resources per capita–keeping the population count in the denominator as low as possible would be helpful.

On a temporary basis, it is also possible that new programs that lead to rising debt–whether or not these programs buy anything worthwhile–may be helpful in keeping the world economy from collapsing. This occurs because the economy is funded by a combination of wages and by growing debt. A shortfall in wages can be hidden by more debt, at least for a short time. Of course, this is not a long-term solution. It simply leads to a larger amount of debt that cannot be repaid when collapse does occur.





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.
This entry was posted in Financial Implications and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1,299 Responses to Why we have a wage inequality problem

  1. Kanghi says:

    Ugo Bardi`s new blog kind of nails where we should globally have all went as a culture, but what we botched as we went for fossil addicts and btw. Fast Eddy, seems like Ugo is your fan as “you” got quoted 😀 Any chance we could still find modern Edo- period, at least after overpopulation has been taken care of by the four horsemen and nuclear plants been put to safe rest?


    • Vince the Prince says:

      Fast Eddy, is this your next move? I know things are not working out in New Zealand and you’ve been looking again for the perfect post BAU hide-a-way. My I suggest another idea?
      If I were you and Mrs Eddy a nuclear submarine would be the ideal format to turn to as a flexible choice! In that way you can scope out the survivable locales and avoid hot spots. Don’t forget your Geiger counter to detect radiation! LOL…along with plenty of Roundup.

      And for the Koombyers out there an eco yacht with an underwater home….

      A do it yourself kit will soon be available by MEN…

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Au contraire… NZ is just fine… couldn’t be happier… just waiting for the ski season in Queenstown…

    • Ed says:

      Lush Japanese island after nuclear fuel meltdown what could go wrong?

      • Vince the Prince says:

        “There is no assurance that our race will continue, therefore it is our responsibility to do everything we can to survive,” warns the Vivos website, which invites elitists to contact them for further information that is on a “need to know” basis only.
        A company behind the construction of the sprawling complexes, Vivos, says the facilities are for the “protection of high net worth individuals” in the event of apocalyptic-style scenarios during which “millions will perish or worse yet, struggle to survive as victims”.
        “Where will you go when pandemonium strikes?” asks a promo for the luxury shelters.
        Panicked members of the elite are buying luxury bomb-proof underground survival bunkers because they fear mass civil unrest might be on the horizon
        Land and remote homes in places like New Zealand are also popular with the global 1%, with realtors citing the threat of worldwide financial instability and domestic disorder as motivating factors behind the purchases

        Fast Eddy, give them a call to dig a bunker for you and Mrs Eddy….or stop by a Roch neighbor of yours for a tour.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          ‘Land and remote homes in places like New Zealand’

          I’m not seeing that here… and I am in the part of NZ that has the best climate and the fewest people…

          There are loads of ultra wealthy people in the Queenstown area — but they live in mega mansions… no bunkers

        • Fast Eddy says:

          No cowering in a bunker underground for FE… I’d get on a boat before I considered that… that’s probably what the big boys are doing … load up a huge sail boat with supplies and take to the sea….. or hook a barge to a mega yacht and stack barrels of diesel on it.

    • doomphd says:

      There could be some risks involved in living in such places, c.f., http://www.nationsonline.org/oneworld/map/google_map_montserrat.htm

      Also, even if they don’t erupt, living in confined, isolated conditions like on Pitcairn Island can lead to some weird social interactions. See Conrad’s “An Outpost of Progress”, for example.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Yep – you git those types who like to trade dotters back and forth…. and before ya know it you got yerself a full blown freeek show…

  2. Fast Eddy says:

    Why worry about side effects since you’ll be dead soon anyway … the key thing is it makes you forget about that fact that you are going to be dead soon.

    Take a look at this:

    MANILA – A heat wave in the Philippines has raised temperatures alarmingly, with the heat index in the northern Cabanatuan area recording 52.3 degrees Celsius on Tuesday, said the country’s meteorological agency PAGASA.

    “On Monday, we recorded 51 degrees Celsius, which rose to 52.3 degrees yesterday,” a PAGASA Climatology section spokeswoman, Thelma Cinco, confirmed to EFE.

    The agency also noted the heat level recorded in Cabanatuan was actually very close to 54 degrees, considered “extremely dangerous” as it makes heat strokes “imminent,” and urged citizens to exercise caution.

    “People should avoid outdoor activities, but if they have to, they should not do it for a long time; and they should drink water very frequently,” warned Cinco.


    If it gets hot enough they can boil water and use that to generate free electricity – now that is well and truly renewable energy!

    • Vince the Prince says:

      At least 150,000 people die needlessly each year as a direct result of global warming, three major UN organisations warned yesterday. The belief that the effects of climate change would become apparent in 10, 20 or 50 years time was misplaced, they said in a report. The changes had already brought about a noticeable increase in malnutrition, as well as outbreaks of diarrhoea and malaria, the three “big killers” in the poorest countries of the world.
      Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, a World Health Organisation scientist, said the estimates of deaths were extremely conservative and the reality was probably far higher. They were expected to double in the next 30 years. “People may say that this is a small total compared with the totals who die anyway, but these are needless deaths.
      The report, produced by the WHO, the UN Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Programme, details how the increased warmth has intensified the spread of diseases. Diarrhoeal diseases spread by bacteria, mostly via unclean water and food, spread and develop more quickly in warmer temperatures and humidity. Dirty water is the largest killer of children under five.
      Some science for you
      Increased CO2 in open environments leads to:
      1) Increased predation by pests
      doi: 10.1073/pnas.0800568105
      2) Compromised nutritional value in food crops
      Our food crops evolved in much lower CO2 levels

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Imagine how many people would die if we actually tried to do something about global warming

        • “Imagine how many people would die if we actually tried to do something about global warming”

          That depends on if we went with the preposterous idea of going to zero carbon emissions, or whether we focused on sequestration and reflecting back some sunlight. For sure, if they really push for zero fossil fuel consumption, things will come apart quite quickly, I suspect.

  3. Fast Eddy says:

    Typical Zero Hedge…

    ‘The notions that the financial system was imploding into a black hole and that ATMs would have gone dark and money market funds failed are complete urban legends. They were concocted by Wall Street to panic Washington into massive intervention to save their stocks and partnership shares.’

    ‘In fact, there was no extraordinary crisis.’


    If Bernanke were to have told the truth — i.e. that he was fighting against the permanent end of civilization due to the end of cheap to extract oil — can you imagine the reaction!!!

    Nobody would have believed him – and he’d have been stoned to death if he dared venture onto the street.

    But then this is the ultimate purpose of ZH… channel the anger… give it a platform to vent…. ensure that the rabble remain calm….

    • Rodster says:

      ….and yet Hank Paulson said just the opposite to then President George W. Bush who was implored to save the TBTF Banks at all costs. The other outcome would have been a global financial catastrophe and tanks rolling throughout the streets of the US because of Martial Law.

    • xabier says:

      No crisis in 2008? Very amusing: I know bankers in London who actually ran out of their offices to get lots of cash to tide them over the crisis when they saw on their screens what was happening – about £ 10 -20,000 a head. Even the IT guy took out what he could at their urgent suggestion. These people are not over-reactors and fantasists. But maybe it didn’t happen after all…..

      That the crisis was exploited to the hilt by the TBF banks is another matter entirely.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        A friend of mine in Bali has a daughter who teaches at a hoo hoo private school with loads of precious banker children…

        When Lehman hit the kids were coming to school in tears needing counseling because parents thought their wonderful worlds were ending.

        I shit you not.

  4. Don Stewart says:

    Stefeun and Artleads

    A personal experience last evening may shed some light on the variation between the very focused point of view and the broader, day-dreamier creative mode.

    My wife and I like to go to hear the Duke Symphony Orchestra. Last night was their last performance of the year, and it featured this years winner of the annual Duke Concerto Contest: Jingwei Li. (There is only one English sounding name among the first violins.) Li is a graduating senior, so we have seen her for four years. At the present time she is:
    *The elected President of the Orchestra. Also serves as the Concertmaster
    *Pursuing a double major in Public Health and Sociology. She is presently writing an honors thesis in both subjects.
    *She will also graduate ‘with honors’ in music.
    *Extremely passionate about global health, social justice, and education
    *Leadership positions in 3 student health organizations
    *Served as teaching assistant in two global health classes
    *Holds jobs in the Duke Writing School, the Duke Global Health Institute, and the Fuqua School of Business
    *Teaches an official Duke course on HIV/AIDS
    *When not napping in the library, she formulates new social theories, studies Christian apologetics, muses over narratives in medical anthropology, and plans documentary film projects

    I want to note that the ability to nap in the library is highly valued by Daniel Levitin, author of The Organized Mind.

    I was sitting about 15 feet from Jenny last evening when she came on the stage to play the first movement of the Brahms Violin Concerto.

    The professor conductor gave her a rather flowery introduction, which obviously flustered her. I was a little annoyed with the professor. But not to fear.

    The minute he turned around to face the orchestra, she settled immediately into the Zone. The Brahms begins with an orchestral passage. Jenny was obviously following the orchestra very closely. You can see the music working on the arteries in her forehead, and the rest of her body language. When the time came for her entrance, she attacked at exactly the right instant. I listened to the music, but I watched her body language. It perfectly mirrored the increase of tension or the release of tension in the music.

    After around 20 flawless minutes, it was over and the audience simply exploded.

    She went back to being a little flustered. After the intermission, she came back and assumed her chair as concertmaster. She still gave physical evidence in her body language of following the music, but the intensity was not the same as when she performed solo.

    In order to give oneself over to the music so totally, one has to have mastered the music in both its broad meaning and also the technical details. Levitin gives a good description of the requirements to enter Flow.

    I suggest that Jenny has the ability to both do a little day-dreamer creativity and also get into Flow in many undertakings besides playing music. Otherwise, she would collapse.

    When I see some of the truly bright, hardworking kids at Duke and UNC, I am simply astonished.

    Don Stewart

    • Fast Eddy says:

      In my travels observing youth living in some of the most dire situations the world over…. young kids picking trash out of Smokey Mountain…. another slum in Manila where families were sleeping on tables because of flooding…. thousands living under tarps in port au prince…

      I am appalled but I am also astonished…

      What astonishes me is the contrast – between these wonderful kids at schools like Duke, and Harvard and Yale and so on (whose biggest stress is worrying when the next iphone will come onto the market .. or the pizza boy showing up late) who are living wonderful productive lives … on the backs of our pillaging of the most of the world.

      One other thing that really astonishes me is when I hear stories of young girls who are basically good people with bad jobs volunteering to whore their bodies…. so that their families can eat… so that their siblings can attend school and possibly have a shot at a better life…

      One such story involves a young girl from the Philippines who went to Japan on such a mission … she put her younger sister through dentistry school… her younger sister was recently married has her own dental clinic and is apparently doing very well.

      It takes a lot to astonish me. I have never had the chance to meet her but the sacrifices that 16 year old girl made for her family….

      Well… that most definitely astonishes me.

      She puts the Duke kids and their symphony orchestra to shame. She puts every last one of us to shame.

      • Stefeun says:

        Talking about Dignity…

        What about being member of the Global Haute Bourgeoisie*, compared to those who are really struggling (today!!)?

        *: as coined by David Korowicz, the GHB (sic!, LOL) represents the wealthiest 15%, ie most of us westerners, who rally against the top 1% (or 0.001%), while discretely taking the coat off the poorest 85%.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Poor us… poor me…. I spent 4 hours this morning stacking the wood I cut with a chainsaw and split with a machine…. if only I had more cash … I’d really like a private jet… I hate having to travel by the airline schedules!… I am really stressed about dinner – my wife is away for two weeks and I have to cook for 3…

          I think I need Abilify …. times are tough!

          • Stefeun says:

            Not me, FE,
            I certainly do NOT want Abilify, I don’t want to miss any detail of this astounding scenario unfolding right now before our very eyes!

            • Fast Eddy says:


              Most definitely …. one does not want to have dulled senses when one has front seat for the greatest show since the Big Bang…

              This is more a wine sipping event… I found a very nice Hawkes Bay merlot for $14 bucks a bottle and ordered in 5 cases to add to the stockpile of party gear.

              If I cannot get this MOF solar pump working I will throw the rig in the creek and spit on it… then I’ll get some storage batteries and use the panels to power a large beer fridge, a stereo system and a disco ball.

              It will be a rip roaring extravaganza up here on the farm when the lights go out. I really need to stockpile some fireworks…

  5. Fast Eddy says:

    Pulling this off of Wolf Street comments…. we often get the macro picture … which is dire… but this is what it looks like to the man on the street trying to operate a small biz… I am amazed that the house of cards remains standing….

    Ditto, small business owner here. January and February felt like pre 2008 and a long over due boost. Then March died and April is a dud so far. I sell to retailers (better art galleries), they say the same thing. These are the 3 remaining survivors of 2008 where once it was 22 retailers.
    (As a side note to the $15 an hour doomers, none of my retailers pay less than 40K a year to their sales staff. Why? because you pay crap, you get crap. And, further, if they are not paid a decent wage, then you will be providing them with government hand outs…take you choice).

    Just did taxes and year sales were down 10% for 2015, expenses up 15%….utilities, taxes and government fees, rent, supplies. Those expenses make me wonder why stay in business at all.

    And, the customers of my retailers are not working class folks, they are the well healed and those folks have closed the purse….just ask Tiffany’s.

  6. Fast Eddy says:

    How Abilify Works, And Why It Matters

    One lament of many in the mental health profession (psychiatrists and pharmascolds alike) is that we really don’t know enough about how our drugs work. Sure, we have hypothetical mechanisms, like serotonin reuptake inhibition or NMDA receptor antagonism, which we can observe in a cell culture dish or (sometimes) in a PET study, but how these mechanisms translate into therapeutic effect remains essentially unknown.

    As a clinician, I have noticed certain medications being used more frequently over the past few years. One of these is Abilify (aripiprazole). I’ve used Abilify for its approved indications—psychosis, acute mania, maintenance treatment of bipolar disorder, and adjunctive treatment of depression. It frequently (but not always) works. But I’ve also seen Abilify prescribed for a panoply of off-label indications: “anxiety,” “obsessive-compulsive behavior,” “anger,” “irritability,” and so forth. Can one medication really do so much? And if so, what does this say about psychiatry?

    From a patient’s perspective, the Abilify phenomenon might best be explained by what it does not do. If you ask patients, they’ll say that—in general—they tolerate Abilify better than other atypical antipsychotics. It’s not as sedating as Seroquel, it doesn’t cause the same degree of weight gain as Zyprexa, and the risk of contracting uncomfortable movement disorders or elevated prolactin is lower than that of Risperdal. To be sure, many people do experience side effects of Abilify, but as far as I can tell, it’s an acceptable drug to most people who take it.

    Abilify is a unique pharmacological animal. Like other atypical antipsychotics, it binds to several different neurotransmitter receptors; this “signature” theoretically accounts for its therapeutic efficacy and side effect profile. But unlike others in its class, it doesn’t block dopamine (specifically, dopamine D2) or serotonin (specifically, 5-HT1A) receptors. Rather, it’s a partial agonist at those receptors. It can activate those receptors, but not to the full biological effect. In lay terms, then, it can both enhance dopamine and serotonin signaling where those transmitters are deficient, and inhibit signaling where they’re in excess.

    Admittedly, that’s a crude oversimplification of Abilify’s effects, and an inadequate description of how a “partial agonist” works. Nevertheless, it’s the convenient shorthand that most psychiatrists carry around in their heads: with respect to dopamine and serotonin (the two neurotransmitters which, at least in the current vernacular, are responsible for a significant proportion of pathological behavior and psychiatric symptomatology), Abilify is not an all-or-none drug. It’s not an on-off switch. It’s more of a “stabilizer,” or, in the words of Stephen Stahl, a “Goldilocks drug.”

    Thus, Abilify can be seen, at the same time, as both an antipsychotic, and not an antipsychotic. It’s both an antidepressant, and not an antidepressant. And when you have a drug that is (a) generally well tolerated, (b) seems to work by “stabilizing” two neurotransmitter systems, and (c) resists conventional classification in this way, it opens the floodgates for all sorts of potential uses in psychiatry.

    Consider the following conditions, all of which are subjects of Abilify clinical trials currently in progress (thanks to clinicaltrials.gov): psychotic depression; alcohol dependence; “aggression”; improvement of insulin sensitivity; antipsychotic-induced hyperprolactinemia; cocaine dependence; Tourette’s disorder; postpartum depression; methamphetamine dependence; obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD); late-life bipolar disorder; post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); cognitive deficits in schizophrenia; alcohol dependence; autism spectrum disorders; fragile X syndrome; tardive dyskinesia; “subsyndromal bipolar disorder” (whatever that is) in children; conduct disorder; ADHD; prodromal schizophrenia; “refractory anxiety”; psychosis in Parkinson’s disease; anorexia nervosa; substance-induced psychosis; prodromal schizophrenia; trichotillomania; and Alzheimers-related psychosis.

    Remember, these are the existing clinical trials of Abilify. Each one has earned IRB approval and funding support. In other words, they’re not simply the fantasies of a few rogue psychiatrists; they’re supported by at least some preliminary evidence, or at least a very plausible hypothesis. The conclusion one might draw from this is that Abilify is truly a wonder drug, showing promise in nearly all of the conditions we treat as psychiatrists. We’ll have to wait for the clinical trial results, but what we can say at this point is that a drug which works as a “stabilizer” of two very important neurotransmitter systems can be postulated to work in virtually any way a psychopharmalogist might want.

    More https://thoughtbroadcast.com/2011/09/13/how-abilify-works-and-why-it-matters/

    This is the best part so I will extract it:

    Abilify is a unique pharmacological animal. Like other atypical antipsychotics, it binds to several different neurotransmitter receptors; this “signature” theoretically accounts for its therapeutic efficacy and side effect profile. But unlike others in its class, it doesn’t block dopamine (specifically, dopamine D2) or serotonin (specifically, 5-HT1A) receptors. Rather, it’s a partial agonist at those receptors. It can activate those receptors, but not to the full biological effect. In lay terms, then, it can both enhance dopamine and serotonin signaling where those transmitters are deficient, and inhibit signaling where they’re in excess.

  7. Fast Eddy says:

    With plenty of punch, central bankers wait in vain for the world to drink

    Central bankers usually worry about when to remove the punch bowl of cheap finance but when they gather in Washington, D.C. this week they will face a different problem: how to force the world to drink.

    Amid a flood of cheap money and a historic experiment with negative interest rates, households, corporations and banks in the developed world have turned their backs on borrowing. Credit growth has flat-lined and an array of metrics indicate the world has become a more cautious place, potentially upending whatever bang for the buck central banks might expect.

    In the U.S. households are paying down mortgages instead of borrowing against homes to fund consumption, altering behavior that arguably helped fuel the 2007 financial crisis but that also contributed to economic growth. A Chicago Federal Reserve Bank composite index of household, bank and corporate leverage has been below average for nearly four years.

    European and U.S. companies are socking away cash and the Bank of Japan’s descent into negative rates has yet to boost consumption, corporate investment, or even faith in an economic rebound.

    Even as global liquidity expands, the appetite for it remains moribund.

    “You can’t create demand from thin air. What’s needed is to create an environment in which companies and households feel confident to spend,” said a senior Japanese policymaker directly involved in Group of 20 negotiations that will continue in Washington this week.

    “There’s a growing sense globally that monetary policy alone cannot cure all problems.”

    More http://www.reuters.com/article/us-imf-g20-cenbank-analysis-idUSKCN0XB0AN

    • You really need a rising quantity of cheap to extract energy products. They in turn feed back to rising wages for workers, so that they can buy more goods and services, and can afford to take on more debt. Otherwise, world leaders stand around and wring their hands.

  8. richard says:

    I was thinking about a particular problem, and while I try not to comment specifically about the USA, mainly because I’m aware I’ll probably get it wrong, I’d be interested in what others think.
    Think about graphs showing personal disposable income: income vs the number in the income bracket. Consider two populations: the first population has strong inequality in incomes; the second has strong equality in incomes.
    In either case the approach that an industry will take will depend first, upon whether one vendor or cartel has a monopoly, or whether the market is open to competition.
    I’d expect that the market size under a monoply will be smaller than under free competition. I’d suggest that income inequality under a monopoly would result in a very much smaller market for that particular service or good.
    For most things we buy, we buy in a competitive market, and luxuries tend to be by definition supplied by monopolies – just IMHO.
    But for things like healthcare, these differences really matter. In that area, I’d expect that rising inequality will create unexpected problems.
    Does that make sense?

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Re equality…

      Perhaps if wealth were redistributed creating more demand and alleviating the deflationary death spiral the collapse of BAU could be delayed…

      But it is very unlikely to happen.

      The entire concept is anathema to the very wealthy. The would not allow it.

      Want to elicit howls of anger – and possibly a fist fight? Crash a high-end cocktail party and make the rounds suggesting taxes on the wealthy should be doubled and all offshore tax havens bombed back to the stone age. There is nothing the wealthy value more than their money….

      The Elders would not dare to take from their loyal minions because one of the pillars of their empire rests upon having the support of the aristocracy — just as all empires have relied on this. And their support is contingent on ensuring they are free to make as much money as possible.

      If the Elders were so bold as to try on wealth distribution — the palace intrigues would begin — the wealthy would no longer feel loyal because their loyalty rests upon the understanding that rewards will follow — when the rewards stop or are reduced — the Elders will be attacked and overthrown.

      Keep in mind that the people at the top understand what I am saying — they know who runs the show — they know where the edicts come from. But they accept their masters – because they have an unspoken deal with them – leave us to amass great wealth — and we will kiss you ring. Take the wealth away — and well… watch your back.

      Everyone wants to get along – everyone prefers the status quo — everyone wants to enjoy champagne and caviar — nobody wants to fight. But they will … if…..

      • How would transfering money from rich to poor, increase energy consumption? Private jets and mansions seem pretty effective means of consuming as much as possible. I think the benefits would be short lived, as you would be actively deterring people from striving to make large amounts of money.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Imagine if say 60 billion of bill gates 80 billion dollars of nett worth were distributed to low income people….

          Every last penny of it would be spent.

          And Bill would still have his jet and yacht.

    • Stefeun says:

      Richard, you say:
      “But for things like healthcare, these differences really matter. In that area, I’d expect that rising inequality will create unexpected problems.
      Does that make sense?”

      Yes it does, IMHO.
      Put aside considerations about ‘free market’ (mythological chimaera), I think it’s actually the disappearance of a certain class of discretionary expenses, namely the disposeable income of middle-class workers, that worsens the shrinkage of the economy.

      But it’s not a cause, it’s an effect. Polarization of the society, between very rich and very poor, hence decrease of middle-class, is the normal result of economical slowdown, itself due to increasing costs of inputs (which then must be compensated by debt, etc..).

      As this disposeable income of middle-class workers used to be one of the main engines of our global economy, if not the biggest one, we have a problem because we have no alternative to fill in the hole…
      Worse, even if we could ‘fill-in that hole’, we’d soon run into other inextricable issues, such as pollution, resource depletion, etc..(mostly Entropic issues).

      • richard says:

        My immediate thoughts weren’t directed too much toward the disposable income of the middle class, though you are absolutely correct to identify that as the area most likely to be impacted by monopoly power.
        My thoughts were that if incomes become more unequal, then areas such as patents and copyright where government grants monopoly power to individuals and to companies need to be looked at again to see whether the public is still well served by these institutions. Obviously, similar thoughts would apply to natural monopolies and to cartels.
        I’d also point out that monopoly power allows the monopolist to charge the wealthy more for the same good or service and that could subsidise free or nearly free distribution to the poor as an act of charity. That would in its effect be similar to a national health service – but that’s a different arguement entirely.

        • Stefeun says:

          Unfortunately I’m convinced that it goes in exact opposite direction.

          As wealth polarization increases, the rules of private property tend to tighten and also to expand to anything that can be commodified, such as the intellectual property you mention. This movement is from public to private, I’m afraid governments have no chance (nor even any will) to get back any control over it.

          See this text I wrote 1 year ago -mostly- about that:

          • richard says:

            Thanks for the article. Ownership of the commons is under continuous threat, and I do not disagree with anything you have written.
            I suppose I’m pointing out that with increasing income inequality comes a time when we need to do away with monopolies and preserve the commons but this is precisely the time when economic forces tend to come to the aid of those already wealthy.

  9. Stefeun says:

    Hopeless? OK, so what?
    Hope for what anyhow?

    I agree that we can try to control the brain chemicals, in other words have the neocortex taking over the limbic brain, but that requires a lot of expertise, training, etc…, otherwise you’ll likely do more harm than good. Even for very simple things, conscious control is a brake, processes run much faster and smoother when consciousness is not involved. (I just notice this last statement applies to quite a lot of ‘hierarchical’ situations…)
    Simple techniques of meditation are easy to practise, risk free and can bring tangible benefit (I suppose by letting some feedback loops resetting themselves). That’s enough in most cases.
    I heard that listening good music also can help realign our brains.

    As per consciousness, I’m not sure we should give it such a high status.
    I’m rather OK with this article http://singularityhub.com/2015/08/02/think-your-conscious-brain-directs-your-actions-think-again/ that says our consciousness is mostly a mere recorder of decisions already taken.
    Does it matter if we don’t know by what mechanisms exactly our pain was relieved? Better keep our attention capacities free for other purposes, no?

    • Don Stewart says:

      Levitin, while discussing the fact that both paying attention to the ceaseless bombardment of social media and the sense of accomplishment after solving a hard problem or creating a new approach are both rewarded by dopamine. But Levitin thinks that the rewards from paying attention to social media don’t last, while real accomplishment does last. He doesn’t elaborate on the distinction to my satisfaction (at least not as far as I have gotten in his book), but I tend to agree with him.

      One doesn’t have to be highly educated to aim at getting better control over one’s brain chemistry. Levitin, by virtue of his role in music, knows a lot about musicians. Read his descriptions of the way some of them manipulate their environment to encourage their brains to behave the way they want them to. Some of them get the reputation for being unreliable social eccentrics because they don’t let little details of social nicety get between them and their art.

      I agree that the ability to monitor our own brain processes is foundational. A long time ago, someone told me that what you need to know about meditation can be learned in 5 minutes. Just watch yourself thinking. Kelly McGonigle reads people a description of ‘blue skies, calm water, peaceful mind’ etc., and then asks them to ‘just be relaxed, don’t think about anything for the next 2 minutes’. The 2 minutes drag on forever and people begin to fidget. It is very clear that ‘thinking about nothing’ isn’t working. She then explains that we have two basic brain states:
      *focused (related to being in ‘flow’)

      In the unfocused state, our mind wanders all over the place. This is the default state. We are far more active mentally in the default state. Levitin says that we expend more energy in the brain in the default state. The focused state (being in flow) is more efficient in terms of energy usage.

      To Levitin, there are three states. (I hope I get this right)
      *Focused (in flow)
      *Day-dreamy (flexible, looking for connections)
      *Distracted (jumping from thing to thing)
      A skillful person will move deliberately between the Focused and Day-dreamy states. The musicians that Levitin talks about specifically arrange their days to leave time for the creative business of day-dreaming about what might be, while in other parts of their day they are highly focused. What is deadly is the Distracted state, where nothing much gets done.

      Levitin’s criticism of the distracted state (typical of social media and answering emails) is very similar to Sherry Turkle’s criticism of smart phones and their destruction of conversation.

      Part of my frustration with the internet as a ‘problem solution’ tool is that it has become dominated by people engaged in mental masturbation at its worst and the promotion of distractedness at its best. Turkle is probably right that we need to reclaim conversation.

      Don Stewart

      • Artleads says:


        It’s helpful to see the three states of mind. At my quite advanced age, I’m just starting to get a glimmer of the focused, flow state. (I’ve always been masterful with the day dreaming. 🙂 )

        The making of plastic from wood can’t be plugged enough. But the wood–types, quantity, etc.–needs some serious thought too. AFAICS, and consistent with what I believe, forests need to be grown around degraded urbanized infrastructure–like RR corridors and freeways, and harvested by people who live within walking distance.

        The technology, and the entire chain of extraction and production (which I think will need to be local) to enable it should be a major component of school science programs. (IMO, one of the most glaring examples of waste is in not preparing kids for the world they will face, and to gain knowledge that MIGHT be helpful in facing it). Your research into all these matters is invaluable.


        You seem to be pointing to the need to scale down, be effortless, and go with the flow. If so, I’m very much with that formula!

        • Fast Eddy says:

          And here we see a superb example from AL of how – if anyone survives the end game — we will quickly look to re-establish BAU… and that will be the coup de grace for earth.

          We’ll again do ‘whatever it takes’ to grasp at techo-solutions that make life more comfortable — less brutal…

          Of course that’s exactly what got us to where we are now — a civilization jacked up on Paris Hilton, Facebook, Twitter, and Dancing with Stars…

          Of course we can never reach that point again because the only energy available in a post BAU world is going to be trees.

          Most the trees are going to go in the first wave as 7B+ people fight to keep warm and cook food.

          And the rest will quickly be burned by those who survive as they try to do such things as make charcoal to forge and repair tools…. make plastic…. heat and cook… etc…

          Strange how the same people who are vehemently against anything that causes global warming — are 100% behind courses of action that will have impacts far beyond those of global warming.

          Imagine a world without trees…..

          You conveniently ignore the fact that pre-fossil fuels — we were headed in that direction…

          Delusistan is a real place. There is evidence of that every day on FW.

          • Stefeun says:

            That’s how it goes in a world of Limits…

            Stop burning FF!
            OK, then let’s burn trees.
            NO! Trees should remain intact!
            OK, then let’s stop burning anything, and die.
            NO! We should stay alive! All of us, and all the species, and…
            Crrkzztpfffffsshh…. Machine bugged.
            Don’t worry, Gaïa will soon come and take care of it.

          • doomphd says:

            But FE, won’t all that burning wood make smoke particulates that will cause global dimming and help to cool the planet, until the trees are all gone? Of course, once the trees are gone, everyone freezes or migrates to the equator.

          • as ive said before—iron was smelted using coal here, where i live

            for the simple reason they reached peak trees

            • doomphd says:

              coal is good if you live near it, like peat, i guess. oil’s efficiency enabled coal’s far transport, beyond coal-fired locomotives, but maybe go back to them? trees grow in a lot of areas. desert areas will return to nearly lifeless.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Good of you to remind the Koombaya-ists…. they have very short memories

        • Stefeun says:

          Wrt “the need to scale down, be effortless, and go with the flow”.

          Scale down: not necessarily. If it’s the ‘normal’ result of your action, so be it, but I don’t think of it as a goal. I mean: your metabolism is an output, not an input.

          Be effortless: well, sometimes you have to turn the handle to open the door…

          Go with the flow: that’s the important point!
          One shouldn’t fight the physical laws, nor waste time in trying to avoid the inevitable. I think much more profitable, for both yourself and your environment, to take advantage of the existing flows, then you can reach a honourable running-mode with little effort.
          It doesn’t mean it’s simple, because you first have to analyse the situation, accept it, even the painful parts (first and foremost!), before implementing any coherent action (again, with max help from existing flows).

          • Artleads says:

            I like your points, Stepheun. I need to do and expect much less. But making suggestions that no one around you has considered, and that seem to fall on inhospitable ground, is something I still think is useful to do. But then save your major effort to creating your own thing where you live.

  10. Yoshua says:

    IMF pledges more support to spur global growth in 2016


    International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said on Thursday the Fund would do more in 2016 to help its members meet economic growth objectives, including devoting more resources to protect vulnerable countries.

    In a policy agenda document released during the IMF and World Bank spring meetings in Washington, Lagarde said the Fund needed to ensure it had adequate funds and would examine reforms including strengthening ties to regional lenders and re-examining its lending toolkit.

    Among reforms to be considered will be a greater use of its Special Drawing Rights, the Fund’s unit of account, which will include the Chinese yuan later this year in its basket of currencies.

    “The Fund’s financial resources will be available to underpin more forceful policy implementation while preserving financial stability and protecting those that are vulnerable to the current environment,” Lagarde said in the document.

    She added that the IMF will work to help identify policy space and necessary measures for countries to meet their growth commitments, and it will continue to analyze the implications of negative interest rates.

    • I wonder what this means in practice. Does it mean that if commodity prices are too low, the IMF will prop up output, making sure that commodity prices will remain low? Does it mean that the IMF will fund do-good projects that the government wants, because no business can find a project that will actually produce a profit, and thus qualify for a “regular” loan?

      • Jonzo says:

        I keep seeing “stories” about how Fracking has become more efficient, and breakeven oil costs has been dropping over the past 5 or so years. I don’t believe it, and think the opposite is happening. What are the best ways to find out what is really happening (public company quarterly reports ?) Thank you.

    • Veggie says:

      That chart certainly does appear to be very unrealistic.
      Notice that jobs decline was a leading indicator in late 2007 and began to turn down even before the sales data.
      To think that job creation could stay on a linear incline while sales fall sharply is very suspicious.
      The correlation between the two lines seems to indicate that the RED job line should currently be somewhere around 136.
      Two factors in the deception game…
      1] Elections on the way
      2] A student takes a 3 month summer job at McDonalds and that’s now counted as a “created” job.

      • The industrial amounts reflect lower commodity prices. These indirectly reflect the higher dollar relative to other currencies and falling world debt as measured in US$.

        The US amounts do count part time jobs like others. The US employment numbers also reflect the fact that the US is currency doing substantially better than many other areas in the world right now. This is part of the difference as well.

  11. Fast Eddy says:

    Well lookie what we have here folks…. Fast has another ally…

    On Thomas Jefferson’s Birthday, Here Are His Most Prophetic Statements

    On liberty – Thomas Jefferson letter to Isaac Tiffany, April 4, 1819

    On banks as the biggest threat to liberty – Thomas Jefferson letter to John Taylor, May 28, 1816

    If the American People ever allow the banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers occupied. The issuing power of money should be taken from the bankers and restored to Congress and the people to whom it belongs. I sincerely believe the banking institutions having the issuing power of money are more dangerous to liberty than standing armies.

    On the dominion of banks – Thomas Jefferson letter to James Monroe, January 1, 1815

    The dominion which the banking institutions have obtained over the minds of our citizens…must be broken, or it will break us.

    On central banks – Thomas Jefferson letter to Albert Gallatin, June 22, 1803

    This institution (Bank of the U.S.) is one of the most deadly hostility existing against the principles and form of our Constitution… an institution like this, penetrating by its branches every part of the Union, acting by command and in phalanx, may, in a critical moment, upset the government.”

    More on central banks – Thomas Jefferson letter to Albert Gallatin, June 19, 1802

    The monopoly of a single bank is certainly an evil.

    On the threat of banks – Thomas Jefferson letter to John Taylor, May 28, 1816

    The system of banks which we have both equally and ever reprobated, I contemplate as a blot in all our (state) constitutions, which, if not corrected, will end in their destruction.”


    Thomas would be aghast if he could see what took place after his death… the Elders have parlayed their control of central banking into the most powerful empire the planet has ever seen.

    That said — are they evil? Nah… they are just the most clever …. and if it wasn’t them then some other group would be running the show… never the people…. the very concept is ridiculous …

    Or maybe it is only ridiculous because ‘the people’ these days … are imbeciles who run their credit cards to the max — knowing full well they are paying over 20% interest…

    • Yoshua says:

      Words of Presidential Wisdom

      “We better loosen up some money, this sucker could go down.”

      George W. Bush 2008

      • Vince the Prince says:

        You know we’re in deep poo poo when Dubya even knows it!

        Here he explains the financial crisis in no words!

      • Fast Eddy says:

        You forgot the other quote urging people to get out and shop….. very wise words indeed…. if you want a job to go to tomorrow — you better not slow your consumption…

        • Vince the Prince says:

          Yes he did! Just like his Daddy did! See how simple our lives are!

          When we go back to the stone age, life will once again be a grand (if very brief) adventure.

        • Yoshua says:

          The prime minister of Sweden met with GWB and said that he was really sharp and that the world was making a huge mistake in underestimate him. His language wasn’t for the diplomats or decorated for the politicos… but he got the message through. Then the prime minister asked: does anyone really know what his agenda is ?

  12. pinpong says:

    I do not think i have ever seen the political divide (variants of entitlement psychosis) so divided. The left hates trump in the worst way. I think they hate him worse than Bush. Never mind that there has been zero difference between Obama (The black Bush) and Bush the call is now Bernie Bernie Bernie. I actually overheard a very attractive young woman chanting it to her friend today. The left certainly seems primed to inflict violence on the evil oligarchs in the cause of all that is noble.

    The right is not as vocal as the left. I see many grimly preparing for civil war. They have more $ for guns and ammunition and train much harder. They are not going to give what they have up without a fight. Guess who the zombies are. The wear Bernie T-shirts.

    Since neither variant of entitlement psychosis acknowledges finite resources, as the inevitable end to previous standards of living occurs is violence assured? Perhaps the big club that you and I are not in want that. After a good bit of conflict they can send in the imperial storm troopers and everyone can live in a FEMA camp for good measure. Neither Che Guerra wannabes or john Wayne wannabes will stand against Imperial troops especially once the JDAMS start coming down. I do not know if I really can believe that things might deteriorate that bad but I have never seen such a froth on the lips of both camps.

    Myself I am very sympathetic to Bernies message, Id be even more Sympathetic in the company of that lovely creature I saw today. Unfortunately the physical world does not support the philosophy of the “left” entitlement psychosis. Bernie is just saying MOAR in the language of the left. Trump says MOAR in the language of the right. Since neither values the physics of the situation they are both quite insane.

    Im pretty sure Bernie would bring collapse much quicker than Trump. Does that make me a Trump fan? Probably.

    • Timothy says:

      Why? Do you really want to prolong the inevitable? I have thought a lot about who would be the most dangerous candidate and it is definitely Hillary. While Trump may not toot the military horn, his followers sure do and that is enough to lead to serious war crimes around the world. It is going to get bad (worse), economically, no matter who gets elected, so would you rather we worry about what happens at home and how to get on our own feet, or keep using the military to prop up the corporations to prop up the American people?

      People who want to delay the collapse are cowards, in my opinion. They would rather have innocent children of the future clean up this f’ing mess of a planet and suffer it’s destruction when they themselves (we ourselves) should be the ones to figure this shit out.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Tim – your comments indicate a profound misunderstanding of the situation.

        We MUST continue on this path of burning more fossil fuels and buying more stuff.

        If we stop or even slow – that means businesses layoff workers — that means even less stuff is purchased — and more workers are laid off … and so on and so on…

        Eventually business collapse — big and small — which means even more people are unemployed — and they buy next to nothing.

        Of course if businesses and individuals are unable to pay their loans the financial system then collapses.

        When the financial system collapses the world collapses.

        And your children get to starve to death.

        So you should buy more stuff. We need to keep the coal fired electricity plants pumping out toxic smoke — we need new records year after year….

        Tim – your kids will not live to be adults. That is GUARANTEED.

        They are going to suffer and starve and die. As are you. As am I.

        There is clearly no way around that.

        The only question is should we kick this off now by shutting down all the policies that are keeping the Beast staggering on ….

        Or should we pump the Beast full of stimulus (ants) to keep him alive as long as absolutely possible.

        The central banks – who make these decisions — are wisely going for Door Number 2.

        I support this decision 100%.

        This choice is based on wisdom — choosing Door Number 1 would be insanity.

      • pinpong says:

        Tim I have no children and I am snipped. Thats the best I can do toward “cleaning up the mess”.
        “cleaning up the mess” involves the deaths of 7 billion people. I love some of those people I am not eager to start the “clean up”.

        Hillary would by far be the most dangerous president. That is why I think the probability very high she will be our next president.

        None of the candidates offer “figure this shit out”. Even if they wanted to there is no solution that allows continuance of what we have in any facsimile of now. The solution is simple and it is stated above. There is no other solution. The very beginning of personal responsibility is deciding not to procreate. If we as a species were to voluntarily start to reduce our population it would perhaps indicate that we deserve a fate other than distinction.

        The decision not to procreate is the only real action available to individuals that want a future for the children that already exist.

        It seems quite clear to me that “figure this shit out” does not exist. Nor will it manifest just because we want it to. Our emotions will not create “figure this shit out”. Our angst will not create “figure this shit out”. Our so called intellect will not create “figure this shit out”. It doeskin actually take a lot of figuring. We accept the physical limitations of the planet and adapt to them our suffer the consequences.

  13. Ed says:

    For FE
    What this articles does not say is that the fuel is decaying and the electricity supplied to the probe is much reduced. Heroic efforts are being used by NASA to keep Voyager going.

    • greg machala says:

      I read somewhere that the isotope used to power Voyager is very rare and mostly gone now. So, I am thinking that is why this cannot be scaled up.

  14. Siobhan says:

    Peabody Energy Corp. filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday, the most powerful convulsion yet in an industry that’s still waiting for the coal market to bottom out.

    The company is seeking to reorganize U.S. operations in federal court in its hometown of St. Louis, reducing an estimated $10.1 billion in debt, according to court filings. It’s the biggest U.S. corporate bankruptcy this year by liabilities, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.


    • The Goat. says:

      • The Goat. says:

        Peabody Energy Asks Judge to Strike Lyrics of John Prine Song From Federal Lawsuit

        Donna Lisenby | July 9, 2015 11:39 am | Comments
        dlisenbyOh dear. Peabody Energy is foolishly going after the famous John Prine song, “Paradise” in federal court and asking a judge to strike song lyrics from federal court filings.

        Here are the lyrics that cite Peabody’s role in strip mining Muhlenberg County in western Kentucky.

        “And Daddy won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg County

        “Down by the Green River where paradise lay?”

        “Well, I’m sorry my son, but you’re too late in asking

        Mister Peabody’s coal train has hauled it away”

        Peabody is picking on a great folk singer and a song that was released in 1971. The song has been covered by John Denver, Jimmy Buffet, John Fogerty and many others. Peabody’s stock price is down more than 85 percent over the last year, selling at less than $2 a share. It has been kicked out of the stock exchange because its stock has slumped so low. But apparently they have plenty of money to demand removal of John Prine song lyrics in federal court.


        Have you ever seen a company better at demonstrating why they are very poor business managers? What a terrible way to spend the money of the few investors they have left. Share this unbelievable news if you are a big fan of Mr. Prine and support freedom of speech through the respected art of folk music.

    • This is worrisome. Low prices have hit across all types of energy products, regardless of how inexpensive they are to produce. The same problems are hitting elsewhere in the world as well. Part of China’s debt problem is coal company debt that cannot be paid with low prices.

  15. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Finite Worlders
    Here is an interesting study from a medium sized town (50,000) near where I live. The methods are the Biointensive system pioneered by John Jeavons. The results are meant to be a complete diet (no animals in this one, to conserve space) with recycling of food waste. The limits are the city limits. The answer is that, within the city limits, half the population could be fed an adequate diet with sustained soil productivity.

    If I had an opportunity to ask questions, they would go along these lines:
    *If you expanded the circle to include, say, a 5 mile ring of land outside the city limits, how many could be fed?
    *If you assumed that you could scavenge plenty of material for compost, how would that change the results?


    Don Stewart

    • Artleads says:

      Through a volunteer who made the connection, John Jeavons tried to help a small, ambitious organization I had founded and run. A few of his interns stuck around with the community garden, and Jeavons trained some of our staff. Unfortunately for me, I was much more interested in planning than in horticulture, and didn’t make the most of this great contact.

      A useful publication goes something like “How to Grow More Vegetables Than You Ever Thought Possible.” The five-mile-radius questions seem worthwhile exploring. Generally, such radii are not unused. With the ubiquity of sprawl, you invariably run into outlying malls, factories and gated communities scattered about. THEY could be hubs of food production too. Jeavons can produce an unbelievable amount of food in tiny spaces. Plants are clustered and discourage weeding. His “double digging” method uses two spade depths dug down, with soil methodically set aside to be replaced where it was dug from (I think).

      • Don Stewart says:

        Yes, you have double digging right. The plants can put down deep roots to seek water and minerals. Less or no need for irrigation or fertilizers.
        Don Stewart

      • Fast Eddy says:

        I am sure he can grow lots of vegetables while water still comes out of the faucet … he has plastic or glass for a greenhouse…. he can obtain organic inputs from outside using his pickup and so on… no magic there….

        What I would like to see is the follow up:

        ‘How to Grow More Vegetables Than You Ever Thought Possible When BAU Is No Longer Available’

        Maybe another book on ‘How to Keep the Starving Hordes from Raiding your Veggie Garden post BAU’

        I’d buy those.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Nice greenhouse! I wonder where the plastic sheeting would come from post BAU.

      Nice plastic irrigation pipes – I can’t see the nice pump that they are hooked up to — nor the electricity that powers that pump.


      ‘with the potential to feed 25,543 individuals’ hahahaha joke — right?

      I can’t help but notice the Donate Now banners urging me to give them money — begging for money …. well of course if this project will feed that many people then it makes sense to give.. help these fellas…

      The only problem is — they are full of shit. When BAU ends — they will be able to feed very few people….

      There will be 50,000 ravenous hordes racing through their gardens ripping up every thing in site — and cramming it down their mouths.

      It’s always useful to come out of Delusistan and apply the physics of Realitystan to situations….

      • Kanghi says:

        Don, as a permaculturalist I must agree on Fast Eddy, biointensive relies in many ways products of Oil age. However I see that you can many methods replace with good Permacultural Design and as a way to smoothe the hard landing. Vegetables itself are not the hard part at all. Hard part is the stuff where the most of our daily energy comes from, the grains. At the moment perennial agriculture cannot in Northern Hemishphare completly replace annual one, not at these population levels. Also conversion takes time, what we in the end may not have.

        • Don Stewart says:

          The study that the young man did was for one of Jeavons’ ‘total diets’. That is, it includes all the calories and all the fat, carbs, and protein, and most all of the micronutrients that a person needs (DHA and EPA would not be adequate, I think). I think the picture is of the young man working on a farm in Orange County, North Carolina.

          The title to Jeavons’ 8th edition is:
          How to Grow More Vegetables*, *(and fruit, nuts, berries, grains and other crops) Than You Ever Thought Possible On Less Land Than You Can Imagine by John Jeavons, 8th Ed. (US)$19.95

          In short, a complete diet. Jeavons gives you the calculations for how much land you will need if you try to be entirely self-sufficient. The exercise in North Carolina considered the city as a co-operative enterprise…some land is growing veggies while other land is growing nuts and seeds, for example. There would be few vacant pieces of land which were capable of being a self-sufficient homestead.

          The farm in France that I recently wrote about is the best example I know of a marriage of permaculture (land design) principles with Biointensive (food production) principles that I know about, and which has actually been documented. Eric Toensmeier is also highly complimentary to the Las Canadas farm near Vera Cruz…but that is tropical.

          Land design can solve some of the problems, but it cannot solve ALL of the problems. For example, after a very warm winter, we recently had two nights of very late freezes. (We were forewarned of these occurrences a few years ago by the State Climate expert.) Row covers were critical to preventing tender annuals from freezing. The essential role of plastics is one reason the French farmers talked about the necessity of producing plastic from wood. The Parisian market gardeners used glass cloches…but they are more labor and more energy intensive, I think.

          Don Stewart

        • Don Stewart says:

          Two items you might like to look at…Don Stewart


          Then scroll down to take a look at Shawn Jadrnicek. I have visited the farm a few years ago, and heard Shawn talk twice. He was at the big southeastern farmer confab this past winter. I wasn’t there, but I heard he was drawing big crowds. He puts an awful lot of emphasis on tuning your infrastructure.

          • Kanghi says:

            Thanks Don, Shawns work has so far escaped my notice and look forward to get Erics new book. Regenerative agriculture is our only chance in the long run. I hope we get up as much farms as possible. Old finnish guide in our climate is that one should have 3ha land to feed and cloth the family, as one need as you said live with the possibility of crop loss and frequent bad yied years.

  16. Van Kent says:

    Thanks Matthew, I appreciate your comments.

    The food numbers were from Sir John Beddington ‘The Perfect Storm’ (if I remember the source correctly). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2Mt-UuZ1sU

    The understanding of what will grow where and when (as temperatures rise during the decades) is constantly better and better understood. So we do have reasonable data about drought, temperature and crop yields in the comming decades https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0KNwFXO8x4 so, it might be a good idea to have some African sweetpotatoes stored up somewhere for the coming decades.. http://cipotato.org/research/sweetpotato-in-africa/

    And there is a better and better understanding of how things are connected https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkifxQfNfJU

    Even if there was just 1% chance of civilization collapsing and billions dying, then that would require us to make appropriate steps to prepare. Don´t you think? Try our very best to be at the right place, at the right time, with the right tools, with the right skills and with the right seeds. But what are we doing to prepare? I don´t see billionaires buying organic farm communities. Entire villages. Actually doing something useful. I don´t see Private Bankers offering their clients with anything with actual value. I don´t see anybody making an international housing cooperative within organic farming villages, with shares to buy in to..

    If current trends continue, scientists warn that within a few decades at least HALF of all plant and animal species on Earth will disappear forever. http://www.cultureunplugged.com/documentary/watch-online/play/7350/Call-of-Life–Facing-the-Mass-Extinction mass extinction is kinda bad because it can´t be stopped. The ecosystem breakdown cascades to all parts of the biosphere. A biosphere breakdown is kinda bad.

    Matthew, even the Russian oligarchs will one day dig themselves up from under the ground. And then what happens?

    I just see a major, major disconnect here. The data is clear. We have a mathematical certainty. We are the ones who will see our civilization collapse, and billions dying. One could argue, we get to live through the most interesting time, ever, in the history of history. The biggest adventure ever. And as in any good adventure, its scary, its FUBAR, we already know we will get the s-it kicked out of us eventually. Well its a REAL adventure, so what could you expect? This adventure will not end in a treasure at the end of the rainbow. This adventure will end in the hero falling by the wayside and lying unburied for days while crows and dogs.. But what do we see people actually doing to this mathematical certainty? Selfies with a stick?

    Well, lets double check that mathematical certainty. In order to feed the world’s growing population, farmers must produce more food in the next fifty years than they have in the past 10,000 years combined. http://www.monsanto.com/improvingagriculture/pages/producing-more.aspx and that is to be done with this: https://www2.ucar.edu/atmosnews/news/2904/climate-change-drought-may-threaten-much-globe-within-decades Yup. collapse is a mathematical certainty. So what to do? What to do? Buy a selfie stick? Or start a international housing cooperative within organic farming villages?

    • ” I don´t see billionaires buying organic farm communities. ”

      Ted Turner has something like a million acres and nearly monopolized an entire aquifer. There are several others with millions of acres. The Bush family allegedly has land in Texas and Paraguay. I think a lot of the wealthy and connected have been preparing since the 1970s.

      “even the Russian oligarchs will one day dig themselves up from under the ground. And then what happens?”

      The hard part is surviving the civil unrest in the first few years, I think. Once 90 percent of the people are gone, it will be much easier to try to survive, since you can use more land and water, and worry a lot less about raiders.

      “But what do we see people actually doing to this mathematical certainty? Selfies with a stick?”
      Do you really want billions of people to all panic at once? There are already just a few million people trying to flee the Middle East, and that is already straining the system.

      • Van Kent says:

        We do indeed have these http://terravivos.com/

        Ok, key people are prepairing accordingly. Ok. Agreed. My farm happens to be one of the most sophisticated set ups in the world. We can do without petrol, the grid, diesel, fertilizers and pesticides (for a while). We have visitors coming in from all over the world to see how we do things.

        Everybody needs to eat. The way that can be organized on a medium or large scale is our speciality. But we don´t have guests outside the worldwide organic farming community coming in. Still a disconnect there.. How are the elites supposed to keep anything growing in their lands and plantations, if they don´t have the expertise to do that?

        To me collapse is a mathematical certainty, I would like people to panic a little bit.. Kinda strange calling our species homo homo sapiens (wise, rational), when this species goes in to the night with a serious mental handicap, without the ability to see what is coming right behind the next corner, and behave accordingly..

        • “How are the elites supposed to keep anything growing in their lands and plantations, if they don´t have the expertise to do that?”

          I expect they have farmers and ranch hands and such already working those lands, just as I would expect they would have some security people, etc.

          “when this species goes in to the night with a serious mental handicap, without the ability to see what is coming right behind the next corner, and behave accordingly..”

          I think most people are reactionary, rather than proactive. So far, it seems to have worked out for humanity throughout the ages. Perhaps there are some disadvantages to being too proactive.

          • Van Kent says:

            Yup. Plenty of experts available for hire. But to me, it looks like their expertise is lacking.

            I don´t see any fully sustainable plans about organic farming on different scales in different climate zones on the web. I don´t see architectural plans about houses that are actually feasible without BAU etc.

            Their plans look like “Lets wait; A day, a week, a month, or as long as it takes to survive what is occurring on the surface. Then we return and begin again! We will work with what we have and what remains on the Earth.”

            But that plan I find seriously lacking.

            Yup. For the first time in the history of history we should be proactive not reactive. Bit of pickle this predicament has gotten us in to.

            • “I don´t see any fully sustainable plans about organic farming on different scales in different climate zones on the web. I don´t see architectural plans about houses that are actually feasible without BAU etc.”

              Why would the workers on the plutocrats’ ranches be posting information on the Internet?

              In places like Texas and Paraguay, adobe houses are probably fine post-BAU. Other than the Russians with their decades and hundreds of billions invested in a giant underground city carved out of granite in the Urals, it seems to me most rich people have themselves setup just outside the tropics, and humans have had houses there successfully for millennia, so I don’t think much is needed in the way of innovation.

              It would not surprise me if the wealthy have setup agreements, so if one area is not going to be feasible, the people there can move to a different rich person’s land. If I was one of them, I would not be sharing information about locations or preparations on the Internet. I would want the maximum number of outsiders to die off as quickly as possible, to maximize the survivability of my progeny.

            • Van Kent says:

              It is very difficult to make science in a vacuum. All plans and discoveries have sort of an “echo” in scientific literature in other places. Language is a shared resource that is “infected” as memes and the like, to other places. And dis- and misinformation requires an conscious choice of not to use the language everybody else uses.

              Just outside the tropics sounds like hurricane, drought, apocalyptical forest fires and many virulent strains to me.

              Still sounds like adolescent comic book plans to me.

              Well, good to know the elites that are prepairing will be as vulnerable as everybody else. One happy family.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            I can imagine someone saying screw you Mr Elite – I’ve got guns and soldiers – and YOU are going to go into the field and work for ME.

            The Elites hold power only so long as BAU exists – that allows them to pay minions. Post BAU food will be the currency — the Elites will be nobodies – they will be some of the first to perish

        • Stefeun says:

          Van Kent,
          Big Ag is very powerful. I assume I’m not learning you anything here, but I’m somewhat surprised by some of your remarks.

          For example, to get ‘industrial’ people to visit you, they (BigAg) probably should accept some kind of advertisement in their magazines, or similar. Well, not exactly ‘their’ magazines, namely, but the ones they sponsor, which means exactly the same, in the end of the day.
          Why would they accept their enemies to come until their own premises and solicit their own customers?

          Moreover, they certainly don’t want their customers to have any expertise, they want absolute control and total profit on their operations!
          They also have control on the ‘elites’ who are supposed to regulate, and the Ag lobbies tell them what to vote for/against. Expertise is a danger for BigAg, if not fully mastered by themselves! And the ‘elites’ will trust them if they say there’s no alternative to feed the population (I’m even sure BigAg provides the politicos with the sales leaflets containing arguments in this purpose, when needed). Why would they need to have any clue?

          Sorry for my angry tone in this comment, I’m a bit upset by a decision of the French Conseil d’État (a non-democratic entity with right to veto, afaik) that just delayed the final decision about prohibiting glyphosate for 7 more years, despite all democratic institutions agreeing on it. It means that until 2023, a simple decision by the current Ag minister could authorize, almost against the law!, the widespread use of Roundup et al. Insufficient conclusions of the public health study, they say. Everybody knows it’s not true.
          (In French: http://www.lefigaro.fr/sciences/2016/04/15/01008-20160415ARTFIG00253-corinne-lepage-chaque-etat-a-le-pouvoir-d-interdire-ou-d-autoriser-la-culture-d-ogm.php)

          As for the “panic” you seem to wish for, I wouldn’t be so eager, for multiple reasons, the main one being that we’re in a totally interdependant system, in which any significant move threatens to speed-up the collapse (inevitable, OK, but yet we’re not looking forward to it to happen asap…).

          • Fast Eddy says:

            By round up is good …. it allows us to grow food more cheaply … and we all know what happens when food is not cheap…. that is the spark that sets off the inferno …

            The way I look at it is I know that round up is not a good thing to eat… it’s ok for everyone else to eat it … as I don’t want them to go hungry and riot …

            In the meantime I buy/grow food without round up whenever possible…

            Stef – you should adopt the same policy as it will dissipate your anger and frustratiion — if others are fine with eating round up great — the last thing we want is for it to be banned ..

            And in any event we are saturating most ag land with urea — that is a far bigger problem because it kills the soil —- that is what is going to extinct us post BAU when urea is no longer available…

            Oh … and I still have my round up in the shed… my winter project is to remove the top soil from my beds and dig as much of the twitch out by the roots and lay card board… that should make things more manageable next season …. but the round up is waiting in the wings… just in case…

            • Stefeun says:

              Yes FE,
              I know, and I unfortunately agree.

              What a crazy situation where bad is good, where we should be happy to poison ourselves just to stay alive a little bit longer, and btw insure that everything will be flushed together with us when SHTF-time comes…

              I think I still have hard time to bury my dignity first (a word that Mr DNA doesn’t know).

            • Veggie says:

              “The way I look at it is I know that round up is not a good thing to eat… it’s ok for everyone else to eat it … as I don’t want them to go hungry and riot …
              In the meantime I buy/grow food without round up whenever possible…
              Stef – you should adopt the same policy as it will dissipate your anger and frustratiion — if others are fine with eating round up great — the last thing we want is for it to be banned .. ”

              LOL…You crack me up sometimes Eddy 🙂
              Good point though. I agree !

  17. Don Stewart says:

    Regarding the statement that BW Hill does not define EROEI the same way other people do. I believe you are mistaken. Hill was one of the inventors of the EROEI concept (I believe). He calculates it like other people mostly do. Data sources may vary, but I don’t think there is any glaring conceptual difference.

    The difference is that the Etp model is not basically about EROEI, although the data which go into it can be used to calculate and forecast EROEI. The Etp model ‘is the solution of a thermodynamic equation’, as described in the following exchange on the Peak Oil forum which was set up to host questions and answers about the model:

    In the short term, if I need oil, I will have to pay for it regardless of the energy cost involved in getting it.

    Let’s say you want to buy a gallon of gasoline, and it cost $1 (that was called the good old days). Where does the dollar come from? You may have a job, or business that earns that dollar for you, but in general that dollar had to come from the economy in which you live (which is now planet earth). To produce that dollar it took energy, labor, capital, and any other quantity you want to include. The amount of energy it took to produce that dollar can be found from Graph#12: http://www.thehillsgroup.org/depletion2_008.htm . In 2014 that was, on average, 5,860 BTU. If you had less than 5,860 BTU you couldn’t generate enough economic activity to buy a $1’s worth of gasoline.

    A gallon of petroleum has a fixed energy content depending on its API density:

    Graph#20 http://www.thehillsgroup.org/depletion2_011.htm

    Exergy is just another word for energy content; it is what the EIA quotes when they calculate world energy production (it is also frequently referred to as available energy). Now, as time progresses it takes more, and more of the energy content of that oil to produce the oil, and its products (gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, etc). When the energy left over becomes less than 5,860 BTU you can no longer buy a $1’s worth of gasoline. Basically, no matter how much you want it, you won’t have the money to pay for it.

    The ETP model is the solution of a thermodynamic equation that gives the amount of energy on average it takes to produce oil, and its products. By subtracting that value from its energy content (exergy), the remainder is what is left over for the economy to use. When the remainder is no longer sufficent to pay for the oil, the price of oil must go down.

    That is exactly what is happening right now. $100 oil is no longer cost effective because it doesn’t supply enough energy to support the economic activity needed to pay for it. It is now $75. As time progresses it will be $65, and etc.

    The problem is that the world has invested an immense amount of capital into machinery, and infrastructure that uses exclusively oil. When the world can no longer afford to produce it, things will get very, very difficult.

    Hope that explains it – somewhat.

    Thanks for your question.

    Back to me. IF the economy could be uncoupled from oil, such that the person wanting to buy a barrel could make a dollar with fewer BTUs, THEN things would be different. But if the person wanting to buy a barrel has to use a barrel to produce the money he needs to buy the barrel, there is nothing gained. What Hill expects is that the existing economy will be mined to subsidize oil production. But that implies continuous degradation of the economy and can’t last forever.

    Hill also points out that processing the oil is a major expense. IF we could use crude oil as it comes out of the ground with minimal processing, then he surmises that ‘it might be used for centuries’. He says the Japanese are working on much simpler processing, and I believe he has delved into that himself.

    As for right now, I would call him an oil and general economy pessimist.

    Don Stewart

    • What leads you to believe that BW Hill has EROEI credentials?

      • Don Stewart says:

        He told me.
        Don Stewart

        • I find him on some of my “collapse” e-mail distributions. But I have been surprised that I have never run across him in my EROEI dealings, which have been very extensive. Perhaps he parted ways early on, or somehow I have not run into him.

          • Don Stewart says:

            He can DERIVE EROEI from his model and data. But he was not primarily interested in calculating EROEI. He was primarily interested, at first, in modeling the increasing cost of extracting, processing, and distributing petroleum products as the Second Law did its work. (At that time, people were talking about 200 dollar oil.) But along the way, the work morphed into ‘what is the relationship between the cost of producing the petroleum products and the ability of the economy to pay for them?’ He found a thermodynamic system of equations which let him relate the cost and the value (or ability to pay), and used his data to fit the equations. One specific person in his group kept pushing on the notion that ‘ability to pay’ was going to make the whole enterprise of the oil economy fail. They derived some results, but did not publish them. Then you wrote some things, which prompted them to publish their results.

            Don Stewart

            • Vince the Prince says:

              Thank you Gail for your insights in prompting their own work,. Both compliments each other and provides a more complete picture of the ongoing situation. Thank you Don again for sharing their findings, most helpful. It is very hard to register the concepts and as our Fast Eddy has expressed many times..cognitive dissonance interferes with actually accepting it internally.

  18. Yoshua says:

    Exports from China increased 11.5 percent year-on-year to USD160.86 billion in March of 2016, beating market expectations of a 2.5 percent rise. It is the first gain since June of 2015 partly reflecting a seasonal upturn after the Lunar New Year holiday. From January to March 2016, exports dropped by 9.6 percent. Sales declined to Hong Kong (-6.5 percent), Japan (-5.5 percent), South Korea (-11.2 percent), Taiwan (-3.7 percent), the ASEAN countries (-13.7 percent), the EU countries (-6.9 percent), South Africa (-29.6 percent), the US (-8.8 percent), Brazil (-47.2 percent), Australia (-1.9 percent) and New Zealand (-12.4 percent). In contrast, shipments were up 0.2 percent respectively to India and Russia. Exports in China averaged 554.41 USD HML from 1983 until 2016, reaching an all time high of 2275.13 USD HML in December of 2014 and a record low of 13 USD HML in January of 1984. Exports in China is reported by the General Administration of Customs.



    • A couple of thoughts:

      Exports are still low, compared to the history shown on the chart.

      More imports of crude oil lead to more exports of unneeded oil products, such as diesel if commercial use is not doing well.

      Also, they claim to have increased debt availability to help the economy along–that may be helping.

      • Yoshua says:

        Chinas exports peaked in 2014 and declined last year about 2.5 percent. The exports “crash” at the beginning of each year it seems and then start to climb, but this year the climb started in March and looked kind of feeble.

        The Politburo seems to have given in to panic and returned to Ponzi economics. I guess there nothing else to do.

        IMF and the five central banks seems to be working together to keep the global economy alive.

  19. Stefeun says:

    Bacteria discussion group 😉

    Scientists Unveil New ‘Tree of Life’
    (Copy/paste doesn’t work, sorry)

    Incredibly, they say something like they never really thought about doing it before, they just had to put together data that revealed to fit well together, and discovered that “Most of life is hiding under our noses”(sic).

    Hopefully the image will display:

    • Stefeun says:

      An excerpt of the article, copied from Ilargi’s Debt Rattle Apr.12:

      “A team of scientists unveiled a new tree of life on Monday, a diagram outlining the evolution of all living things. The researchers found that bacteria make up most of life’s branches. And they found that much of that diversity has been waiting in plain sight to be discovered, dwelling in river mud and meadow soils. “It is a momentous discovery – an entire continent of life-forms,” said Eugene V. Koonin of the National Center for Biotechnology Information, who was not involved in the study. The study was published in the journal Nature Microbiology. In his 1859 book “On the Origin of Species,” Charles Darwin envisioned evolution like a branching tree. The “great Tree of Life,” he said, “fills with its dead and broken branches the crust of the earth, and covers the surface with its ever branching and beautiful ramifications.”

      Ever since, biologists have sought to draw the tree of life. The invention of DNA sequencing revolutionized that project, because scientists could find the relationship among species encoded in their genes. In the 1970s, Carl Woese of the University of Illinois and his colleagues published the first “universal tree of life” based on this approach. They presented the tree as three great trunks. Our own trunk, known as eukaryotes, includes animals, plants, fungi and protozoans. A second trunk included many familiar bacteria like Escherichia coli. The third trunk that Woese and his colleagues identified included little-known microbes that live in extreme places like hot springs and oxygen-free wetlands. Woese and his colleagues called this third trunk Archaea.

      [..] The scientists needed a supercomputer to evaluate a vast number of possible trees. Eventually, they found one best supported by the evidence. It’s a humbling thing to behold. All the eukaryotes, from humans to flowers to amoebae, fit on a slender twig. The new study supported previous findings that eukaryotes and archaea are closely related. But overshadowing those lineages is a sprawling menagerie of bacteria. Remarkably, the scientists didn’t have to go to extreme places to find many of their new lineages. “Meadow soil is one of the most microbially complex environments on the planet,” Dr. Hug said.”

  20. Stefeun says:


    Found on right side of this article (low part, scroll a bit):

  21. Stefeun says:

    Try Yoga,
    Deep breathe a.s.o.

  22. Fast Eddy says:

    The New Middle Kingdom Of Concrete And The Red Depression Ahead

    No wonder the Red Ponzi consumed more cement during three years (2011-2013) than did the US during the entire twentieth century. Enabled by an endless $30 trillion flow of credit from its state controlled banking apparatus and its shadow banking affiliates, China went berserk building factories, warehouses, ports, office towers, malls, apartments, roads, airports, train stations, high speed railways, stadiums, monumental public buildings and much more.

    If you want an analogy, 6.6 gigatons of cement is 14.5 trillion pounds. The Hoover dam used about 1.8 billion pounds of cement. So in 3 years China consumed enough cement to build the Hoover dam 8,000 times over—-160 of them for every state in the union!


    And the punchline:

    In short, China has become a credit-driven economic madhouse. The 50% of GDP attributable to fixed asset investment actually constitutes the most spectacular spree of malinvestment and waste in recorded history. It is the footprint of a future depression, not evidence of sustainable growth and prosperity.

    Consider a boundary case analogy. With enough fiat credit during the last three years, the US could have built 160 Hoover dams on dry land in each state. That would have elicited one hellacious boom in the jobs market, gravel pits, cement truck assembly plants, pipe and tube mills, architectural and engineering offices etc. The profits and wages from that dam building boom, in turn, would have generated a secondary cascade of even more phony “growth”.

    Read it all http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/the-new-middle-kingdom-of-concrete-and-the-red-depression-ahead/

    • A lot of what China has built is housing for its people. The new housing is in high rise buildings, with electricity. It features indoor plumbing (which residents have not had previously) besides not having access to much electricity in rural areas. There are a couple of things that no one has thought through: (1) Can China really afford all of this massive upgrade in housing, and the huge amount of debt for those living there? Investment of this sort is, in a sense, not “productive” investment like factories? A lot of other infrastructure must go with it as well–roads, public transport, schools, etc. and this must be paid for as well. (2) Can China be competitive in the world marketplace, if it pays its workers enough to pay for all of the new housing and infrastructure? I don’t think so. This is one of the fundamental problems of the build-out. (3) How much more manufactured “stuff” can the rest of the world afford, if China builds it? The falling currency relativities to the dollar mean that countries are trying desperately to make the wages of the people in their country go “less far” in buying goods. Other countries need the jobs too–in a sense, jobs are a zero-sum game as well.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Another paradox… prosperity destroys the basis for the prosperity

      • Stefeun says:

        Or the difficulty of transitioning from a producer economy to a consumer economy…
        Unfortunately, in real life, customer’s money has to come from somewhere.
        Looks like the guys in charge of this part have been absent or incompetent or fool or.., well, inexistant, everywhere in the world. Or maybe it’s a dogma that consumption is supposed to support itself? Hence the support of the supply side only..?
        (the famous “Build it, they will come”)

        Also, I maintain that, even if often deeply blurred*, wether an investment is made for productive purpose (ie will pay back), or improductive (eg upgrade infrastructure) does make a big difference in the end of the day.

        *: maybe each investment could be classified according to a degree or % of productivity?
        I mean: a production tool would be 100%, whilst an equipment that allows the worker to commute would be 20%(??).
        Just wild thoughts, but it perhaps would allow the definition of a threshold, an aggregate % under which the system is no longer viable. In any case, it seems obvious that an economy cannot switch overnight from 100% to 20%, and stay alive in the long run.

    • So what you’re saying is:

      Three Gorges Dam:
      “The project used 27.2 million cubic metres (35.6×106 cu yd) of concrete (mainly for the dam wall), 463,000 tonnes of steel ” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Gorges_Dam

      One Cubic Meter of Cement is about 2 tonnes – http://www.calculator.net/concrete-calculator.html

      So China can produce 1 billion cubic meters of cement per year, enough to make 30 Three Gorges worth. So they could replace a Cubic Mile of Oil every ~6 years if they focused on energy production.

      I recommend floating nuclear reactors if they are looking for suggestions – preferably those Russian breeder reactors so they make more fuel than they consume.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        A problem with rolling out more 3 Gorges projects… you need really big rivers to dam….

  23. richard says:

    How long can this madness continue?

    That is already evident in the vanishing order book for China’s giant shipbuilding industry. The latter is focussed almost exclusively on dry bulk carriers——-the very capital item that delivered into China’s vast industrial maw the massive tonnages of iron ore, coking coal and other raw materials. But within in a year or two most of China’s shipyards will be closed as its backlog rapidly vanishes under a crushing surplus of dry bulk capacity that has no precedent, and which has driven the Baltic shipping rate index to historic lows.

    Still, we now have the absurdity of China’s state shipping company (Cosco) ordering 11 massive containerships that it can’t possibly need (China’s year-to-date exports are down 20%) in order to keep its vastly overbuilt shipyards in new orders. And those wasteful new orders, in turn will take plate from China’s white elephant steel mills:”

    • Investment and profitable investment are two different things. In a country whose investments are less directed from above, debt growth would stop when investments stop being profitable. We are seeing the effects now of way too much investment when there is no chance of profit.

    • ejhr2015 says:

      This is how China will stuff up its economy. It’s not the waste of money. It’s the waste of resources.

    • Maybe they should retool and start producing floating nuclear reactors. If one has a problem, just drag it out to the Marianas Trench and sink it, hope for the best. We could probably have a couple more decades of exponential growth if they did that.

  24. richard says:

    And the band played on 🙂
    “One captain with more than 20 years at sea told Reuters his tanker had been anchored off Qingdao in northeastern China since late March and was unlikely to dock before the end of this week, a frustrating delay of more than three weeks. “We’ve stayed here a long time,” he said, requesting anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press, but added that another kind of jam was helping to alleviate the boredom. “We have a piano, drums, crew who play guitar – they are not professional but they are coming good. We have more than 1,000 DVDs so there is no need to watch the same one 20 times.” The worst congestion is in the Middle East, as ports struggle to cope with soaring output available for export, and in Asia, where many ports have not been upgraded in time to deal with ravenous demand as consumers take advantage of cheap fuel.”

    • The article says that there are 200 million barrels of oil floating around waiting to be delivered. This compares to 529 million barrels of crude oil now stored in US storage and smaller amounts stored elsewhere. It is likely a significant piece of the total–part of the missing extra barrels that has been written about.

      This earlier article talks about 75 million barrels of oil being stored at sea or in transit. Clearly this number is too low, and contributes to the mismatch between how much we expect to be added to land-based storage, and how much is actually being added to land-based storage.

  25. richard says:

    Just when US import prices, led by fuel, begin to increase :
    “But now the cost of fuel has fallen sharply and seems set to remain low for the next several years, the focus has shifted from fuel efficiency to speed, power and convenience.
    The impact remains patchy and hard to quantify, but there are plenty of signs that cheaper fuel prices are reversing or at least blunting the former trend towards increased fuel efficiency.”
    “In the maritime sector, the reversal of the earlier efficiency drive is more ambiguous. The major container shipping companies invested heavily in a new generation of megacarriers designed to travel slowly with high fuel efficiency.
    The sector is now struggling with a large overhang of surplus capacity thanks to the investment boom and sluggish growth in world trade (“Megaships are worsening overcapacity in the container market”, Reuters, Sept. 2015).
    In theory, lower fuel prices should allow shipping lines to speed up sailing times and reduce the number of ships employed.
    But having spent so much on megacarriers designed to travel slowly and efficiently, shipping lines are struggling to keep them filled and have few incentives to increase speed.
    Maersk, one of the largest container lines, has indicated it has no intention to reverse the slow steaming policy.”

    • Thanks! Purchase price is always the determiner of how funds will be spent. If fuel prices are low, the way that the cheap fuel will be used is by maximizing comfort and efficiency. This is the way our allocation system works. Rising fuel use (or at least less fall in fuel use) is likely to come through lower efficiency.

  26. Fast Eddy says:

    I wonder if Obama and Yellen discussed fine tuning plan b….

    1.6 Billion Rounds Of Ammo For Homeland Security? It’s Time For A National Conversation

  27. Fast Eddy says:

    What in the World’s Going on with Banks this Week? Emergency Meetings, Summits, Crashing EU Banks…
    by David Haggith • April 12, 2016
    Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on RedditPrint this pageEmail this to someone
    And US banks to report worst quarter since the Financial Crisis
    By David Haggith, The Great Recession Blog:

    Just about every major banker and finance minister in the world is meeting in Washington, D.C., this week, following two rushed, secretive meetings of the Federal Reserve and another instantaneous and rare meeting between the Fed Chair and the president of the United States. These and other emergency bank meetings around the world cause one to wonder what is going down. Let’s start with a bullet list of the week’s big-bank events:

    The Federal Reserve Board of Governors just held an “expedited special meeting” on Monday in closed-door session.

    The White House made an immediate announcement that the president was going to meet with Fed Chair Janet Yellen right after Monday’s special meeting and that Vice President Biden would be joining them.

    The Federal Reserve very shortly posted an announcement of another expedited closed-door meeting for Tuesday for the specific purpose of “bank supervision.”

    A G-20 meeting of finance ministers and central-bank heads starts in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, too, and continues through Wednesday.

    Then on Thursday the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund meet in Washington.
    The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta just revised US GDP growth for the first quarter to the precipice of recession at 0.1%.

    US banks are expected this coming week to report their worst quarter financially since the start of the Great Recession.

    The press stated that the German government will sue the European Central Bank if it launches a more aggressive and populist form of quantitative easing, often called “helicopter money.”

    The European Union’s new “bail-in” procedures for failing banks were employed for the first time with Austrian bank Heta Asset Resolution AG.

    Italy’s minister of finance called an emergency meeting of Italian bankers to engage “last resort” measures for dealing with 360-billion euros of bad loans in banks that have only 50 billion in capital.

    More http://wolfstreet.com/2016/04/12/what-in-the-worlds-going-on-with-banks-this-week-emergency-meetings-summits-crashing-eu-banks/

    More stimulus on the way?

    • It will be interesting to see what exactly is going on. Meetings on April 11-13 could theoretically lead to some kind of action very shortly, and announcement thereafter.

  28. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Finite Worlders

    Some more succinct statements from the Peak Oil camp, and especially the thermodynamic erosion branch. I’ll have one comment at the end….Don Stewart

    “It turned out though that high oil prices were able to drive up non-conventional oil production such as light tight oil and tar sand oil.”

    More than half of the difference between the 93.5 mb/d reported, and 2014’s production of conventional crude, 76.89 mb/d, was NGL’s. They don’t make liquid fuels. Also between 1960 and 2005 when production was growing by 5.46% annually the average 55 year weighted price of crude was $16.09/ barrel. Between 2005 and 2014 it was $77.27. During 2013, the last year that we have records for, the industry replaced 1 barrel for every 8 consumed. The world is past peak, and is on its way to the end of the oil age.

    Any other conclusion can only be an attempt at wishful thinking.
    The world’s economy has followed the production of conventional crude for more than half a century. It has been petroleum that has powered the world’s economic growth. Recent growth has come at the cost of the world’s total debt increasing by 40% over the last six years.
    When the present debt explosion comes to an end, so also will any growth. No new EV’s, no new solar panels, no new wind farms. The end of oil will be the end of the modern economy.

    My comment. If there is no growth in debt, then there is no growth. If there are debt defaults, things implode. If there is no growth, then the ability to finance things like cars and houses is severely dampened. If the oil industry cannot survive the end of growth, then transportation slows to a walk (literally). It’s not necessarily a bad life after oil, for those who survive the crash. If you have the time, listen to this recent talk by Bruce Pascoe and David Holmgren talking about aboriginal ways in Australia at the time of European contact.
    Click on the link at the bottom of the article. The aborigines had no fossil fuels and no wheels. Nevertheless, the English described them in positive terms. Current scholarship is changing our perception of what the aborigines were able to accomplish. In many cases, the mechanisms and knowledge that they used are lost. Both Holmgren and Pascoe are not optimistic that we can quickly regain the aboriginal level of skill. But examples like Zaytuna farm of Geoff Lawton and the Melliodoro homestead of David Holmgren and the amazing designs of Darren Doherty in Australia give hope.

    • Vince the Prince says:

      Don, these gems you post are clear and to the point, opened my eyes to the real deal we face….Please continue to share….a click sound comes from my grey matter

      Too bad there is no time machine to take us back to 1969!

    • Veggie says:

      Don Stewart
      Yep, that description of Peak Oil and the oncoming effects pretty much sums it up nicely.
      I would argue that any reference to survival based on aboriginal methods and techniques may prove useless as long as there are more than 2 billion people on the planet. Aboriginals in most parts of the globe usually had very little impact on the planet due to their relatively low populations in relation to all other life competition.
      The die-off of the other 5 billion people required to get to some sort of a sustainable level (based on aboriginal methods) would take a serious toll on the planet and it’s potential survivors.
      The remaining one’s would not have the skills to act in the ways of the aboriginals who developed their methods over many generations of watching and learning about their respective habitat.

      • Vince the Prince says:

        Veggie, pick up a copy of a book titled “Mutant Messages” and you may think differently about survival….the story is 100% fictional, but still a good read of a white woman’s experience on a walkabout in Australia and what she discovered. Remember it is fiction

    • Artleads says:

      Zimbabwe sounds like a nightmare. It’s probably too easy to say that cruelty (as in European abuse over centuries) begets cruelty. And bearing in mind that Cecil the lion was brutally killed in Zimbabwe–a case of the worst of the European, along with African complicity–I wonder if there is the slightest hope of saving the megafauna that is so rapidly disappearing in Africa. It’s not that I don’t care about the people of Africa; it’s more as though the megafauna provides a major spiritual, environmental and economic support for the people. I wish Bates had talked about that a little too.

  29. Stefeun says:

    Dopamine discussion group 😉

    Thinking out loud, after comments earlier in this thread. Remarks are welcome.

    At an individual level, we’re spending money in order to get material comfort, which in turn provides us with brain chemicals, such as dopamine, serotonin, etc.., that make us feel good and safe, through reward mechanisms (which seem to be the real engine of our development, as they’re involved in our simplest gestures, for example ; ours and those of the primitive organisms).

    Nate Hagens explains the brain chemicals relationship quite clearly, see e.g. this video and article:
    Even more detailed in this article:

    To get this money, we must dissipate energy. We then get powerful enough to put our hands on desired stuff, often at the expense of other people (some of us use this power to work a little bit, too).
    The money step became mandatory once we started to desire more complex things that only a complex civilization can produce. If you want simple things that are at hand, then money is not necessary, you just need force (ask my dog) or ruse (ask my cat).

    So, in the current setup of things, we find ourselves with having a quite simplistic chain consisting in a final goal, that is to maintain the brain chemicals at high level, and in order to acheive that, an energy input that helps us transform raw material into “stuff” for our profit.

    As much the first stage of this chain is mastered and well known (energy and money and production output are directly proportional to each other), and therefore exploited at its maximum,
    as much the second stage, ie the relationship between material comfort and the brain chemicals, looks blurred, non-linear, subject to a whole lot of external factors, that make it very difficult to control, leading it to be neglected by our just-in-time system.

    It’s like a stick whose first half is stiff and robust, one can have a good grip on, but with an extremity that is loose, spineless and lacking consistency. Definitely not a good tool.

    • Stefeun says:

      Before Nate Hagens, Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen:

      “(…) However, it was the new representation of a process that enabled me to crystallize my thoughts in describing for the first time the economic process as the entropic transformation of valuable natural resources (low entropy) into valueless waste (high entropy). I may hasten to add … that this is only the material side of the process. The true product of the economic process is an immaterial flux, the enjoyment of life, whose relation with the entropic transformation of matter-energy is still wrapped in mystery.
      (Georgescu-Roegen 1976a: xiv)”

      From: http://homepages.rpi.edu/~gowdyj/mypapers/RSE1998.pdf
      The Evolution of Georgescu-Roegen’s Bioeconomics
      By John Gowdy and Susan Mesner
      Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute – 1998

      • Don Stewart says:

        regarding the ‘still wrapped in mystery’. Here is something I wrote a while ago. Didn’t know whether to post it or not. But since I come to some of the same conclusions as some eminent people, I guess I will post it….Don Stewart

        Dear Finite Worlders
        (or, perhaps, Members of a Seriously Screwed Up Bunch of People)

        A little more on neurotransmitters and hormones.

        We know that dopamine is released BEFORE the event. As we anticipate the pleasure, dopamine peaks. This fact has been used to explain the lure of gambling. A bet that pays off some relatively small percentage of the time can keep a gambler coming back. Every time he rolls the dice, he gets a hormonal reward.

        Now let’s look at the complicated world of women and sexual pleasure. (If you are allergic to a 75 year old male talking about this, Exit Now).

        Here is a link to an article analyzing the world of Romance Novels, which are overwhelmingly sold to women:

        Notice that the novels featuring beefcake outsell novels which don’t feature the beefcake by a wide margin. We also know that only a small percentage of women can actually reach orgasm through penetrative sex alone. So if there is any connection between female sexual pleasure and a picture of a guy exposing his torso, it is pretty tortuous. Why would a woman think that THIS guy can give her what she wants? Or is she expecting the hormonal reward from the simple fantasy?

        There was a web site titled How to Make Me Come, chaired by Syvia, which featured way over-educated young women with a lot of psycho-babble about all things pertaining to orgasms. You can still find it with a search, but I think Sylvia got a real job and doesn’t maintain it anymore.

        And then there is an interesting web site called Yonitale, out of Ukraine, which features 350 certified orgasms on video. How certified? The girls wear smart watches which monitor their vital signs. Among other things, the computer calculates a ‘quality’ of the orgasm by a quotient of the orgasmic vital signs over the baseline vital signs. Yonitale is overseen by a young woman named Kiki, who says somewhere that only the most effective female oriented sex toys are used on the site. Toys which have been surpassed are replaced by the newer and better.

        Kiki stages a sort of olympics of orgasm, pitting, let’s say, a girl from Ukraine against a girl from Russia. The goal is the number of orgasms in a ten minute period, plus the quality of the orgasms. Some of the girls get 5 orgasms in 10 minutes, thanks to the high-tech toys.

        Can we make any sense of the evidence? I don’t think that romance is entirely about orgasm, but Sylvia’s web site was fairly convincing that men who fail to give a female an orgasm (which is reportedly a very frequent failing) are not going to make it for very long with a modern young woman. But if the whole thing is about orgasm, can young women replace men with the magic toys just as the auto companies are replacing humans with robots? And why does Kiki use (mostly) a male to massage the vital parts and apply the toys?

        Kiki says that she worked for sex sites before she started her own, and knows all the tricks for pretending to have an orgasm. The shots of the smart-watch on the young woman’s wrist certainly give the impression that something is happening to her. Is there some sort of backlash against the obvious fakery of sex oriented web sites? How can watching someone else have sex actually be ‘authentic’? Does Kiki use males to massage the vital parts and apply the toys for the same reason that the Romance Novel companies feature pictures of masculine men? Are women like the gamblers who keep coming back to the dice table…maybe this will be the lucky roll?

        Whatever is ‘flowing’ here defies my easy description. Fortunately, I am old and have been married forever, and I am not financially invested in any of this, so I don’t have to figure it out.

        Don Stewart

        • Stefeun says:

          Thanks Don,
          Your example is rather good after all.
          2 points:
          – we’re definitely missing something wrt data transmission between physical inputs, and what exactly is triggered in our brains. Call it romance or desire or any otehr emotion. I’d say it’s probably due to over-specialization; we focus on narrow causal relationship only, whilst we should keep replacing it in the whole context all the time.
          Or it’s a problem between our neocortex/rational brain and our limbic/emotional brain. Along the centuries, we’ve lost a lot of knowledge in this domain.

          – we’re definitely missing something with automation. Do you think the sextoy will appreciate the lovely dinner the grateful Mademoiselle has prepared for it (him?)?

  30. dolph911 says:

    I’m surprised by your question van kent. There is no such thing as sustainability. Never has been, never will be. All things, including human beings and human systems themselves, grow, mature, and finally whither and die.

    If that weren’t the case, there would be human beings 2000 years old speaking Latin to each other.

    Everything collapses in time, it is our good fortune to live in the peak of industrial civilization, and it is interesting (but perhaps not fortunate) to watch it collapse.

    What should be done with 30,000 currency units? Irrelevant. Our entire monetary system is going to end.

    My answer to the question of “what should be done” is simple and two fold:
    1) Decide where you want to live and what type of work you want to do
    2) Decide whether or not you want to have children

    That’s it. That sums up the preparations you should make. If you are aging and most of your life is behind you, you need not make any preparations at all. You will go the way of every single human being who has ever lived, and eventually the young people will take over.

  31. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Finite Worlders

    I present these three factoids as something you can relate to each other. I don’t have any interest in debating whether the factoids are actually true. But they are interesting.

    First, a SocGen analyst refers to the ‘missing revenue’ of global corporations. It’s not growing. And so various financial acts of legerdemain must be performed to keep the stock prices up:


    see references to cash flow deficit

    Second factoid is this post from Peak Oil:
    It now requires 78,300 BTU of the 140,000 that is in a gallon of oil to extract, process, and distribute that oil. That means that the economy is receiving less energy from that oil than what was required to produce it. As a result a gallon of oil can no longer power enough economic activity to buy all of the oil produced. Inventories grow as a result, and the price goes down!

    Economists like to talk about a market balancing; the point where supply becomes equal to demand, and inventories cease expanding. Since demand can not expand, because there is not enough energy being supplied to grow the economy, supply must fall. Supply can only fall if producers stop producing some of the oil that they are now extracting. Since every producer is now attempting to maximize production to maximize cash flow in this low priced environment some to them will have to go out of business.

    To bring the market back into balance means that 5% of the world’s producers will have to stop producing oil, or about 4.6 mb/d. As we have been saying, it will be the low energy providers (the high cost producers) that will go first. Shale, bitumen, ultra deep water, and high sulfur extra heavy fall into the low energy, high cost categories. Banks and investors, that have until recently, believed that oil is a magical substance that brings wealth to anyone providing it regardless of its quality, have heavily subsidized these low energy producers. Many of them will default, and the banks will begin to learn that quality is now more important than quantity.

    The world’s resource base of liquid hydrocarbons is pretty gigantic; perhaps 4,200 Gb. Unfortunately, nature did not make it all equal. Just like none of Her creations are made exactly the same. Some of that resource is worth taking out of the ground – most of it isn’t! The industry has already removed most of what was worth extracting (84%). What remains are mostly insufficient energy providers, and that is what has been heavily financed.

    Production will fall when a lot of producers shut their doors, and the market will begin to look more balanced. Economists, the industry, and its cheerleaders will claim that everything is back to normal, and business as usual can commence again. They will still not be recognizing that Nature has its own plans. Next year it will require 80,100 BTU to extract, process, and distribute a gallon of oil. Bankers sleep; and while they do depletion will be marching on through the night!

    Third factoid is:
    Oil Plunges After Surprisingly Large Inventory Build

    Question for you: Is it possible that the stalled corporate cash flow and the continuing increase in inventories is actually a result of the thermodynamic deterioration of the oil industry?

    Don Stewart

  32. Van Kent says:

    My gardener trainee surprised me with a question today: “Ok, lets assume the money of today will be as good as worthless in a couple of years. Where would YOU invest €30.000, today?”

    I was kind of baffled by the question and the only answer I could give her was: “The only things of value in the foreseeable future will be how to produce/ transport and distribute large quantities of fresh water and compost.” I´m somewhat disappointed in my answer.. Really? Really? Is that all we can do? Is that the best anybody can do, anywhere? Isn´t there better investment/ sustainability/ retirement/ intergenerational lifeboat plans to some billionaires kids, anywhere?

    – James Hansen predicts collapse of civilization, because sea levels will rise a meter/ decade. And most of the fertile lands and valuable beach front properties will be under water by 2050. Also there will be super-storms that hurl 2000 ton rocks up from the sea floor to hit land 100 feet above sea level. And those super-storms can start as soon as La Niña kicks in this year.
    – Mediterranean and Mideast drought worst in 900 years.
    – Runaway mass extinction is unstoppable and irreversible once started.
    – 50% of land vertebrate species will die off in the next 40 years.
    – By 2030…we will have 1 billion more people, we will need +25% more food for them, we will need +20% more water, BUT we will have -20% less soil, and we will have -25% less water
    – Heat alone will destroy tropical habitability and crop lands by 2050.
    – Drought and heat will destroy north temperate crops by 2050.
    – By 2050, Mediterranean precipitation will drop 30%.
    – Short intense downpours will flood and wash away dry soils.
    – Ocean fishing will end by 2050.
    – Human agriculture will end in 55 years.

    AND we know we live in a GROW or COLLAPSE economic system. Once this baby goes down, it will destroy everything we call banks, money, currency the so called financial system will be toast.

    YET these are the things we worry about: “a 35-year-old looking to generate $48,000 per year in retirement income beginning at age 65 would need to invest $178,000 today in a 5% interest rate environment. In a 2% interest rate environment, however, that individual would need to invest $563,000 (or 3.2 times as much) to achieve the same outcome in retirement.”


    Where would YOU invest €30.000 today?

    a. Would you try to become the Canadian Prepper https://www.youtube.com/user/CanadianPrepper33/videos
    Prepping by buying or selling stupid s-it to people.

    b. Buy an organic farm? http://www.landandfarm.com/search/Organic-for-sale/?CurrentPage=3

    c. Something else.. What?

    The problem of course with an organic farm would be that you would need an entire village of people to run it, superb water conditions, at least 100miles from the nearest mega-city, soil in excellent condition, good storm and drought resistance (a long way from the nearest Nuclear plants). Availability of fish or other fruits of the sea at least 100kg / hectare. Among other things.

    So my question is, where the heck should people invest, if they want to invest in 100% sustainability? Where the heck should people invest their time and money if they got any? Where the heck should retirement plans be made with? Be it 10€/ month or 1.000.000€ investments, or all the brokers reading Zero Hege, where can one find an investment fund/ Foundation/ bank that actually delivers sustainability, or a seat at the lifeboat in an absolutely dire situation?

    I´m just wondering, should I contact my Brazilian, Portugese and Irish friends and make some sort of international co-op, where people can buy a share (a family floor or something like that) in truly sustainable large organic operations (the entire village and infrastructure build up by the millions is already provided for) all around the world at once? Complete with availability of a number of sailing boats and stuff.

    If, for just one moment, we could pretend people were rational and intelligent, and hunkering down alone in an sailing boat or a hunting lodge was not the thing to invest in. Where and how should or could people buy themselves the best possible seat, at the best possible lifeboat (investment in the future)?

    • tagio says:

      Van Kent, good luck answering that one. Assuming arguendo that Hanson’s predictions will more or less come true by 2050, you forgot to mention one other problem, namely that you have to still make a living in the current world as it is before retreating to the Survival Redoubt, where one is not likely to earn a living sufficient to pay today’s costs.

      Chances are better with a small group of like-minded individuals, but that may not be achievable. Historically speaking, the groups that have proven staying power for this sort of thing are religious-based and communal-minded. The Amish, the Mennonites, Bruderhof (bruderhof.com) or, a more modern communal version but untested by time, the Four Quarters Interfaith Sanctuary of Earth Relgion in south central PA (http://4qf.org/). Apart from that, there is the Transition Towns movement. My sense is that a not insignificant portion of millenials are open to these ideas, but lack the capital to implement them, while their Boomer parents are still to busy Living the Dream and destroying the basis for their children’s and grandchildren’s lives.

      • Van Kent says:

        If planned correctly a plan will work inside BAU and outside of it. How to make something happen without capital? Usually nothing happens without capital. Except when laws happen to be in place.

        And we do have laws. Nobody usually care to check the laws that are in place, but there certainly are laws in most parts of the world. Currently inside EU there are laws that municipalities should buy a certain percentage local organic foods to schools and daycares. There is also an law that all public buildings, when built or renovated, should spend a percentage on art or something like that. And there is an understanding of sorts, that schools and daycares should make day trips and such to learn about organic living and such things.

        Friends in Brazil had a law about municipalities buying local organic to schools. And when they finally got the pressure to actually implement that law, then a whole lot of new organic farms could open for business.

        I don´t think capital is the problem. Laws exist. The problem I think is organizing to make something happen.

      • “Chances are better with a small group of like-minded individuals, but that may not be achievable. Historically speaking, the groups that have proven staying power for this sort of thing are religious-based and communal-minded. The Amish, the Mennonites, Bruderhof”

        If you think the world is going to collapse, and you decide that you really do want to survive, is pacifism really the optimal strategy? I think a more self-defense focused faith would be more practical, like the old Mormons living in forts with lots of guns would be a better way to go.

    • Veggie says:

      Difficult question regarding where to invest (or should we say PROTECT) money.
      If money is in danger of dissolving, then it makes sense to convert it to tangible (and trade-able) goods now.
      That takes a lot of guts !
      What if the BAU Can is kicked down the road for several more years and you just cashed in your whole retirement savings to by hammers, wheel barrows, some land, and whatever else you think you need?
      If I had cashed in all my chits when I started studying this stuff 8 years ago during a time of initial panic, it would all be rusty by now 🙂 .
      Having said that, I do agree that having real solid tangible assets is the way to go when money dissolves. But if 63 year old John Doe has retirement savings of say $500k, what the heck would he do with that ? Cash it all in?… and buy what?
      It’s a tough call for everyone involved and at some point the answer may become a bit more clear. The danger is that by the time that clarity arrives, one may not be able to get their hands on their money.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      I’d suggest that you tell her to spend it on enjoying the last bit of BAU….. if she likes to travel throw on a back pack and see as many places as possible while the money lasts…. and don’t worry about the future… because there is no future…

      If she likes to party blow it on booze and blow….

      I’ve got some tools and food mainly because I’d like to stick around a bit and see how close this is to The Road…. but beyond that I don’t invest any longer….

      I don’t care… I have no interest… I find it ridiculous when people say they are saving for retirement … or they’ve just bought a rental property … or that they got such and such a return on a stock….

      • “I find it ridiculous when people say they are saving for retirement … or they’ve just bought a rental property … or that they got such and such a return on a stock….”

        I have a compulsory superannuation fund where the government makes you put in a certain amount each week & they put in some too. I wish I could cancel the whole thing & get paid the full amount now……………………………….

        I’m 47 & my retirement in this country is 70 years old I can’t touch it until at least 55 years old.
        I will never see that money I know………………………….

    • “By 2030…we will have 1 billion more people, we will need +25% more food for them, we will need +20% more water, BUT we will have -20% less soil, and we will have -25% less water”

      How does going from 7.5 to 8.5 billion people need a 25% increase in food? Or is this including upgrading the poorest people to a proper diet?

      “sea levels will rise a meter/ decade. And most of the fertile lands and valuable beach front properties will be under water by 2050”

      If you really think the total doomsday scenario of complete societal collapse, rapid global warming, and nuclear spent fuel is going to happen, your best bet is to join the Russian Oligarchs and try to get into their underground city.

      “AND we know we live in a GROW or COLLAPSE economic system. Once this baby goes down, it will destroy everything we call banks, money, currency the so called financial system will be toast.”

      Not only are you saying collapse must occur, but that functioning national governments and economies will not be able to reform. Are you so certain?

      “Where would YOU invest €30.000 today?”

      1) Health – If you have any medical conditions, get that taken care of. Same for any immediate family. This includes any dental work, etc.

      2) Skills – medical, carpentry, blacksmithing, firearms, sewing, chemistry, etc.

      3) Books – some means of conveniently storing a lot of them. Some way of making hard, protected microfilm and some readers, or something like that, so you can store hundreds, maybe thousands of books in a manner that can be carried around, without relying on electronic devices and batteries.

      “I´m just wondering, should I contact my Brazilian, Portugese and Irish friends and make some sort of international co-op, where people can buy a share (a family floor or something like that) in truly sustainable large organic operations (the entire village and infrastructure build up by the millions is already provided for) all around the world at once? ”

      If you think the climate is going to undergo massive changes, but have no idea how it is going to change and where food will grow in the future, yes it would make a lot of sense to have a network of farms in different climate zones so people could migrate to whichever area looks like it will be most successful.

      • pinpong says:

        :“Where would YOU invest €30.000 today?””

        Local economy pattaya beach- short term investment 🙂
        Very good return there 🙂

        • Fast Eddy says:

          If you are so inclined….. why not… celebrating the end of hedonism…. with prolific hedonism….

          That somehow makes a great deal of sense

    • Thaanks! This is downright bizarre–reporting economic growth of 6.9% per year, and the same time freight volume is collapsing 9.4% in the first quarter of 2016 compared to the first quarter of 2015, and the year 2015 was down 10.5% from 2014.

      • Yoshua says:

        A Chinese official reported that China has a 20 percent overproduction of electricity… which means that electricity consumption is down 20 percent ? That would be more in line with a 20 percent decline in freight volume numbers.

        For some odd reason IMF has a positive view on China. I guess they don’t want anyone to know how bad the situation really is ?

        • “A Chinese official reported that China has a 20 percent overproduction of electricity… which means that electricity consumption is down 20 percent ? ”

          Gail linked earlier to an article about areas of China having excess wind capacity. When you have a huge amount of intermittent renewable energy suddenly coming online, that probably messes with a lot of things. I would not be surprised if the “20 percent overproduction” was based around huge spikes in power from windmills, solar power, etc.

  33. Yoshua says:

    IMF Warns of Global Stagnation as It Cuts Growth Outlook Again


    The central bank of the world is worried about the future, they will of course not use the word depression or recession since that would cause panic and sink the economy at once.

    IMF holds a basket of reserve currencies, the dollar, the pound, the euro, the yen and soon the yuan… all these currencies have today been trashed by their respective central banks. I heard a speculation that the yuan will be brought in before the IMF announces the currency of the IMF, the special drawing rights (SDR) as a global currency that will replace all other currencies in global trade. The balance sheets of the other central banks are today trashed and will not be able bail out their respective economies when the next crisis comes, the only currency that can do this is the SDR.

    • Stefeun says:

      After the Shadow-Banking,
      Ladies and Gentlemen,
      Let me introduce,
      Made for you by the IMF,
      Please welcome…
      The Ghost-Debt !!!

      This soon-to-be alter-ego of the existing debt would be fuelled by negative interest rates, I assume?
      Feel cramped in your Universe? Just create another one!

      • Veggie says:

        … and the two universe’s will be linked by derivatives 🙂

      • Yoshua says:

        I don’t exactly understand how it works, but the SDR would somehow save the global trade while the dollar, pound, euro, yen and yuan would face hyperinflation which would wipe out all debt and lead to reset. Somehow they would be able to delete all debt without causing total chaos. If I understand it correctly… most likely I don’t.

        • Veggie says:

          “dollar, pound, euro, yen and yuan would face hyperinflation which would wipe out all debt and lead to reset”

          If hyperinflation were to wipe out the debts, then currencies (think…our personal savings) will also be devalued to nothing.
          The reset would not only wipe out sovereign debt, but would also erase all personal monetary assets.

          • “The reset would not only wipe out sovereign debt, but would also erase all personal monetary assets.”

            If you have 100% of your savings / net worth in dollars in a bank, it will be very bad for you. If you have some mix of assets, like land, gold, productive tools, then it will probably all balance out. Unless you have sold things forward on futures contracts too far out and get wiped out selling your products or services for less than they cost.

            • Yoshua says:

              Here is the interview with Jim Rickards talking about the IMF and SDR.


            • Interesting! I expect having SDR’s take over as the world’s reserve currency will be a whole lot more difficult than the IMF expects. Money is created when people apply for loan. If the system is not working well enough for people to be buying new houses and cars, and businesses to be buying new factories, then it will be hard to get the “demand” for goods high enough–prices will tend to fall too low–the same problem we have now, only worse.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I’d like to think that these SDRs are a way to kick the can a bit further…. but I don’t see how they would help…

          • Fast Eddy says:

            Want an Instant Deflationary Collapse?


            Erase all personal monetary assets.

  34. Veggie says:

    In Canada the federal socialist party (the NDP) just decided that they need a new leader and voted out the old one. They say it’s time for progressive thinking regarding the environment and when they vote in a new leader, this person will reflect the desire of the party to get Canada off fossil fuels as quickly as possible.
    The thought that a political party platform could be based on such nonsense is ridiculous.!
    And the sad thing is that this party is one of the 3 main parties running the country.
    The spokesperson was entirely serious, and the sad thing is that a good many Canadians may think the goal is achievable. The “energy ignorance” is incredible.
    He might as well have said… Our goal is to ruin the Canadian economy, create unemployment, starvation, civil unrest, and total economic collapse.
    The freight train rumbles on,… and the majority of humans are on for the ride.
    And that’s not a light at the end of the tunnel, its another freight train coming the other way.

    • “The thought that a political party platform could be based on such nonsense is ridiculous.!
      And the sad thing is that this party is one of the 3 main parties running the country.”

      The Liberals have embraced policies and ideas that were too far left for the NDP. As a result, in order to continue existing, the NDP has to go in a new direction, since becoming straight up communists is not a viable option.

      Moving off fossil fuels, even if someone really wanted to do that, would take decades, and it is unlikely anyone is going to have 10 consecutive majority mandates to bring that about.

      Maybe the Liberals will actually change the electoral system, and we’ll have minority/coalition governments after this to water down the ideologues.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Replacement of oil by alternative sources

        While oil has many other important uses (lubrication, plastics, roadways, roofing) this section considers only its use as an energy source. The CMO is a powerful means of understanding the difficulty of replacing oil energy by other sources. SRI International chemist Ripudaman Malhotra, working with Crane and colleague Ed Kinderman, used it to describe the looming energy crisis in sobering terms.[13] Malhotra illustrates the problem of producing one CMO energy that we currently derive from oil each year from five different alternative sources. Installing capacity to produce 1 CMO per year requires long and significant development.

        Allowing fifty years to develop the requisite capacity, 1 CMO of energy per year could be produced by any one of these developments:

        4 Three Gorges Dams,[14] developed each year for 50 years, or
        52 nuclear power plants,[15] developed each year for 50 years, or
        104 coal-fired power plants,[16] developed each year for 50 years, or
        32,850 wind turbines,[17][18] developed each year for 50 years, or
        91,250,000 rooftop solar photovoltaic panels[19] developed each year for 50 years



        A partial list of products made from Petroleum (144 of 6000 items)

        One 42-gallon barrel of oil creates 19.4 gallons of gasoline. The rest (over half) is used to make things like:


        Renewable energy ‘simply won’t work’: Top Google engineers

        Two highly qualified Google engineers who have spent years studying and trying to improve renewable energy technology have stated quite bluntly that whatever the future holds, it is not a renewables-powered civilisation: such a thing is impossible.

        Both men are Stanford PhDs, Ross Koningstein having trained in aerospace engineering and David Fork in applied physics. These aren’t guys who fiddle about with websites or data analytics or “technology” of that sort: they are real engineers who understand difficult maths and physics, and top-bracket even among that distinguished company.

        Even if one were to electrify all of transport, industry, heating and so on, so much renewable generation and balancing/storage equipment would be needed to power it that astronomical new requirements for steel, concrete, copper, glass, carbon fibre, neodymium, shipping and haulage etc etc would appear.

        All these things are made using mammoth amounts of energy: far from achieving massive energy savings, which most plans for a renewables future rely on implicitly, we would wind up needing far more energy, which would mean even more vast renewables farms – and even more materials and energy to make and maintain them and so on. The scale of the building would be like nothing ever attempted by the human race.

        In reality, well before any such stage was reached, energy would become horrifyingly expensive – which means that everything would become horrifyingly expensive (even the present well-under-one-per-cent renewables level in the UK has pushed up utility bills very considerably).


  35. richard says:

    Some interesting thoughts on self-sufficiency, how the world had changed since the 1970’s and why self-sufficiency becomes self-efficiency
    “eymour’s children also found life difficult when the family moved from Norfolk to a larger more remote estate in Wales.

    “I used to resent the lifestyle – it interfered with my education and I felt I had only been born to help out! Our neighbours thought we were mad as they were desperately trying to get away from the land and thought progress was working in an office,” Anne says.”
    “I think of it as self-efficiency not self-sufficiency. We do what we can but we’re not perfectionist about it. You can’t be,” Patrick says.

  36. Fast Eddy says:

    Bernanke’s Former Advisor: “People Would Be Stunned To Know The Extent To Which The Fed Is Privately Owned”

    Earlier today, former central bank staffer and Dartmouth College economics professor Andrew Levin, special adviser to then Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke between 2010 to 2012, said something shocking. “A lot of people would be stunned to know” the extent to which the Federal Reserve is privately owned, Mr. Levin said. The Fed “should be a fully public institution just like every other central bank” in the developed world, he said in a conference call announcing the plan. He described his proposals as “sensible, pragmatic and nonpartisan.”


    The Protocols Of Zion
    Published 1903

    A one page summary

    * Place our agents and helpers everywhere
    * Take control of the media and use it in propaganda for our plans
    * Start fights between different races, classes and religions
    * Use bribery, threats and blackmail to get our way
    * Use Freemasonic Lodges to attract potential public officials
    * Appeal to successful people’s egos
    * Appoint puppet leaders who can be controlled by blackmail
    * Abolish all rights and freedoms, except the right of force by us
    * Sacrifice people (including Jews sometimes) when necessary
    * Eliminate religion; replace it with science and materialism
    * Control the education system to spread deception and destroy intellect
    * Rewrite history to our benefit
    * Create entertaining distractions
    * Corrupt minds with filth and perversion
    * Keep the masses in poverty and perpetual labor
    * Take possession of all wealth, property and (especially) gold
    * Use gold to manipulate the markets, cause depressions etc.
    * Introduce a progressive tax on wealth
    * Replace sound investment with speculation
    * Make long-term interest-bearing loans to governments
    * Give bad advice to governments and everyone else

    “I care not what puppet is placed on the throne of England to rule the Empire, … The man that controls Britain’s money supply controls the British Empire. And I control the money supply.” Nathan Rothschild

    “Once a nation parts with the control of its currency and credit, it matters not who makes the nation’s laws. … Until the control of the issue of currency and credit is restored to government and recognized as its most sacred responsibility, all talk of the sovereignty of parliament and of democracy is idle and futile.” — Mackenzie King, Canadian Prime Minister 1935-1948.

    “I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilized world no longer a Government by free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men.” – Woodrow Wilson, after signing the Federal Reserve into existence

    “Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacture, are afraid of somebody, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it.” ― Woodrow Wilson

    The thing is….. no empire lasts forever…

    You can bet your last dollar that there are plenty of highly placed people in the US who are just itching to toss the Elders out of power ….

    You can bet that now that China and Russia have thrown the petro dollar under a bus that these people are starting to understand that the Elders are not going to be able to deliver the prosperity that ensure they are tolerated by their minions…

    Imagine if Trump were designated as the front man to toss the Elders under the bus…. imagine if Trump got in front of the people and explained that the country is not a democracy — that the Elders have been running the show for a 100 years…

    Imagine if Trump explained that the Elders who own the central banks are the source of their woes….

    Things could become very, very ugly …. very very ugly indeed…

    If John Lennon were alive he could even right a song about this …

    • You know I really don’t like the supposed Protocols posted. I think a lot of this is nonsense–which doesn’t mean that others won’t believe it.

      With respect to having the central bank privately owned, I think the alternative is having the central bank act in the way that the central banks in Europe and Japan are acting. In order for the economy to continue, we need to have banks that are solvent. Negative interest rates, plus all kinds of regulations on what banks can do, is a good way to make insolvent banks and to cut back on lending. If the US central bank is owned by banking interests, that might in a sense be a plus, because the central bank will not push for policies that will crash the banks.

      On the other side of the issue, raising interest rates (something that might help the banks) is not really possible in a contracting economy. There is no way our current problem can be fixed. Know the ownership tells us which way the errors in fixing the problem are likely to take place, but I don’t think it is a worse problem than having the central banks oblivious to the problems of the banking industry.

      • Stefeun says:

        Agreed Gail, on your 3 points.

        IMHO, it doesn’t really matter the degree at which the FED is privately owned. Their decisions and operations are totally opaque anyway. Wether the steering team is a bunch of bankers our a bunch of technocrats or a bunch of corrupted politicians, doesn’t make a big difference, seen from outside.

        What would have made sense, and difference, is if the decisions were taken by real democratic entities, elected govt members or else, in other words Public Banking, along the lines of Ellen Brown’s proposal, for example:

        But we all know that real Democracy doesn’t exist. We got a small taste of it during times of opulence, and now that the economy is shrinking, it’ll go the opposite way, ie towards totalitarian banking.

      • Website says:

        Gail you have my utmost respect for your work. Unfortunately I observe too much actuality of the protocols for it to be dismissed as a work of propaganda. Much of what it described in 1903 has been actualized. Just a little investigation yields the deep deep roots of every power organization. Do organizations existing in King Solomons time still exist? My answer is the overwhelming evidence is yes. Things make more sense once you understand that.
        Why not let people read the protocols and decide for themselves whether it is truth, fiction, or propaganda? A text will not turn a human into a werewolf frothing at the mouth. A more important question is where the deliberate intolerance for certain texts originated from. Is not the basis of exploration of truth that evidence can not be discarded if it does not fit a paradigm? Surely you of all people understand that.

        • tagio says:

          The fact that people can abstract the basic operating principles of a system does not mean that the system was (a) intentionally created, or (b) is the product of a cabal, or (c) is being run by a cabal, any more than the fact that we can describe the general rules of a language (grammar) mean that the language was created from the ground up by grammarians or that language is being controlled and manipulated by those “in charge of” grammar. E.g., the fact that C.S. Lewis was able to illustrate the basic operating principles of “evil” in the Screwtape Letters does not mean that (a) Satan exists, or (b) The Evil One is implementing his plans and strategies as set forth in the book. The so-called “Protocols” are simplistically-stated abstract strategies/goals/desiderata of any functioning elite within the OS we call “civilization.”

          Wake up,diverting oneself or others from problems with these simplistic scapegoats and monsters doesn’t help anyone. It’s not a group, be it the Elders or the .1%, the problem is the very warp and woof of what we call “civilization”

          • Right! We are dealing with a self-organized system. A lot of people respond to greed in a similar fashion. It doesn’t take an organized top-down system to get there.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            The Elders are neither scapegoats or monsters (although they may be made out to be so when their empire falls).

            I see them as heroes. They created a system that has delivered an incredible standard of living for those of thus on the winning side.

            Before the Elders we had kings and queens – and a small number of aristocrats – enjoying all the spoils.

            The Elders have spread the wealth around so that literally billions are living relatively well.

            Someone has to run the show — one couldn’t leave matters of this importance to a democracy…. if that had happened BAU would have blown to pieces long long ago….

        • Fast Eddy says:

          The thing is … nobody wants to read them…

          I’ve read them – twice — and they are far from nonsense.

          I think I have a strong track record for rejecting nonsense….

          As you state — and as Henry Ford state when asked – based on what one observes happening in the world — these plans are real and they have been rolled out.

          Again – the key tenet of the Protocols states that never shall the Elders state that they are pulling the levers.

          And as we can see — they go to extreme lengths to ensure that nobody suspects …

          And they have been extremely successful. Look at all the smart people here who dismiss the entire concept and who can’t even be bothered to read the document.

          Bravo Elders!

          This is beyond genius… you are worthy of your empire (that 99.999999% of those in it — are not aware of)

          • bandits101 says:

            The religious think EXACTLY the same. Substitute god for elders and off you go.

    • Yoshua says:

      Imagine the U.S presidential election turning into a race between a Fascist Trump and a Communist Sanders… they… someone… whoever… would just have to cancel the election ! Pentagon would have to declare Obama as the U.S president for another turn. CIA would be forced to lock up Trump and Sanders into a bunker where they would make a televised announcement that they have decided not to run after they been informed of the true nature of the economy.

    • Jeremy says:

      But explain why “The E-l-der” want the following:

      * Corrupt minds with filth and perversion
      * Use gold to manipulate the markets, cause depressions etc.

      Why cause depressions?

      * Introduce a progressive tax on wealth

      Surely you mean “regressive” ?

      I agree that most big powers have a deep state, which runs affairs as leaders come and go – look at how scared Nixon was of Edgar Hoover, who’d been “in power” far longer than Nixon. And yes, there is a subject called “exopolitics”. Different states back different client countries and have an agenda – this can be seen in the Middle East, and it could be seen in former Yugoslavia during the 1990s, when my own country, Britain, at first (covertly) backed Serbia against Bosnia and Croatia. Britain and the US also armed Chechen terrorists, as they wanted to detach oil-rich Chechnya from Russia. They failed. Some, and certainly Putin, blame the US and Britain for being behind Beslan, when schoolchildren were held hostage, some of whom died as a result of being denied food and water in the heat. It’s a grim business.

  37. Artleads says:


    If we consider it necessary to move away from fossil fuels (which are needed for most transportation and road maintenance), shouldn’t we be looking to abandon any roads we can? And shouldn’t we be confining infrastructure to the dense urban corer along with pedestrian orientation and urban forestry?


    • Vince the Prince says:

      For those interested in this topic I recommend visiting this website named ‘Cultural Change”, which originally was a printed magazine than a fellow by the name of Jan Lundberg put out as ‘Auto Free Times” way back in the the 1990’s and had some incredible cool articles and stories about being car free. The big cause was the ‘ paving mortatorium’ of no new roads and reclaiming paved ones. Well, as we can see with Obamas recovery shovel ready public works projects that did not go over well in Washington!
      Yes, I still own a few classic issue I keep around to remind me of my mindset back then and chuckle at the good intentions I had……
      Note their bicycle bumper sticker slogan that says, “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive

      Here is a link to his Cultural Change website….still at it after all these years!
      The first issues were published as Paving Moratorium Update, printed as a newspaper format. Leading person behind this was Jan Lundberg, independent oil industry analyst and eco-activist. The titel was changed into Auto-Free Times in 1996. After issue #18 the magazine was again changed and issue #19 was published using the name Cultural Change.
      Many of the cartoons and covers of Auto-Free Times were created by Andy Stinger

    • Right now, we have the maximum cars on the road we ever have had. Closing roads becomes a problem for congestion, except in rural areas where big agricultural expanses mean that fewer roads are needed, because fewer people live there. It is hard to do much road closing before budget constraints dictate that some roads must be closed.

    • Froggman says:

      Of course the issue of roads through National Parks is a whole topic unto itself! Artleads, I think you’re a resident of the Western U.S., as am I- so it’s likely we share a similar affection for Ed Abbey:

      “How to pry the tourists out of their automobiles, out of their back-breaking upholstered mechanized wheelchairs and onto their feet, onto the strange warmth and solidity of Mother Earth again? This is the problem which the Park Service should confront directly, not evasively, and which it cannot resolve by simply submitting and conforming to the automobile habit. The automobile, which began as a transportation convenience, has become a bloody tyrant (50,000 lives a year), and it is the responsibility of the Park Service, as well as that of every-one else concerned with preserving both wilderness and civilization, to begin a campaign of resistance. The auto-motive combine has almost succeeded in strangling our cities; we need not let it also destroy our national parks.” — Desert Solitaire

      I do think the strategy of focusing our city-building into pedestrian/bike/transit scale patterns centered around urban cores (ie, no suburbs) could have potentially saved us- or at least given us more time. It’s how cities were organized before the world wars and the dominance of the automobile. But my understanding of the science (climate/resource extraction) is that this would have needed to happen quite a few years ago to make a difference- maybe 30+ years ago? I’ve been doing the work I do in local government for almost 15 years and the effort to get even small changes made is Herculean.

      Gail is right about congestion: congestion is probably the single most important factor in government transportation decisions. It’s easy to push many millions of dollars into projects that will reduce automobile congestion, while “alternative modes” get the table scraps. Just enough to keep the environmentally concerned voters quiet. There’s enormous inertia behind the road building/expansion government-industrial complex: all in the name of making it easier to get around by car.

      The engineers advocating these congestion management projects have even hijacked GHG reduction and climate change issues to support their projects, because they can demonstrably reduce GHG emissions by reducing “vehicle delay.” It’s very easy to plug an infrastructure improvement into a traffic micro simulation and show that adding lanes or turning motions reduces vehicle delay and therefore GHG emissions. Meanwhile its very, very difficult to show how adding sidewalks or bike lanes will impact travel behavior in a way that reduces GHG emissions- this requires a complex macro simulation.

      The result is that billions of dollars of grants with stated goals to improve air quality are going to fund automobile infrastructure, because planners and engineers can show reduction in congestion-related emissions. There you have it: the solution to the problems of our automobile society is to eternally expand automobile infrastructure.

      • daddio7 says:

        Many think it is wonderful that one of the best surf fishing spots on the northeast coast of Florida is now only assessable to able bodied persons. They banned motorized vehicles and built a 400 yd boardwalk to the beach. Leaving 50 yds of soft sand before you can get to the water. You have to tote all your fishing gear and leave your truck parked beside A1A. Supposedly 4×4 trucks disturb the same sand that the tide rearranges during every storm.

    • Artleads says:

      Vince/Gail/Froggman: Thanks.

      I’m using Gail’s “prescription” as a major guide for understanding. If we focus on this broadly and methodically, it suggests a course of “action.”

      “It is hard to do much road closing before budget constraints dictate that some roads must be closed.”

      — Any particular action is seemingly futile, since it amounts to mopping the floor with the faucet still running: “…the solution to the problems of our automobile society is to eternally expand automobile infrastructure.”

      — Although (and perhaps because) it’s not a concrete, quantifiable action, a lot of people thinking in the same way (consistent with shared principles) is useful.

      — What we might collectively profit by being clear about is that it is a superior strategy to leave open land open, and to subscribe to widespread benign neglect thereof.

      — To Vince’s reference to ‘Cultural Change,” this might be a useful area to pursue. And thanks to Don Stewart’s research on neurotransmitters and hormones (full disclosure: I know zero about the subject, while being confident it points in the right direction) as being the drivers of behavior. And that means changing the neurotransmitter/hormone rewards away from money rewards to some culturally rewarding alternatives more in our long-term interest.

      So this almost sounds religious: It’s not about changing minds or policies directly; it’s more about as many of us as humanly possible thinking along the same lines and not getting distracted by irrelevances. And also about us applying disciplined, patient and consistent pressure along the same lines, despite seemingly getting nowhere. The economic system will collapse on its own. But if we don’t do something (even just thinking coherently) along the same lines, the collapse of the economic system will be so chaotic it will rule out any constructive alternative–long or short term–to that system.

      Apologies for being preachy. I hope I can do better over time. 🙂 I’m really just trying to be clear in my own mind. But how do we figure out the big picture? I would suggest that land use, generally overlooked, is more central to the big picture than is realized.

      • Froggman says:

        I like your optimism- and I like the term “widespread benign neglect” of open lands.

        I have an inside joke with a colleague, when we talk about what “needs to be done” to address climate change. I just cut off whoever’s talking and say “Shut ‘er down.” It’s a joke but its also true. Just stop making it worse. Stop building more roads. Stop building anything on undeveloped land: houses, commercial centers, anything. Like you suggest, stop even maintaining the roads that shouldn’t be maintained.

        Step one would be that simple- just “shut ‘er down”.

        • Artleads says:

          “Step one would be that simple- just ‘shut ‘er down'”

          This is where I get so confused. What I concur that we’re entrapped within a global economic web. We all tend to take this web for granted and to underestimate the subtle relationships within it. For instance, I’m in no way prepared to wander off into the woods to fend for myself. If civilization (the economic system) came to a halt–which supposedly it would do with a significant failure of any of its major parts–billions of people would be in desperate straights. The scale and severity of the “projected” global catastrophe (including nuclear meltdown) would be too great for anyone to escape to “safety,” assuming that they would wish to do so.

          I am quite confused as to whether an alternative form of economic paradigm–small economic activity based on useful work and less environmental damage, etc.–is a possibility. I also wonder about people dropping out, staying home, chilling. Then there is the creation of a global gift economy, and managing without money. Is there a case for the three to co-exist? Or is there a case for them to co-exist along with a constrained “high” economy (BAU)? It would be nice to see patient, detailed and open-minded investigation about all this, instead of set, never-changing opinions.

          There is another way to do economic production while bringing the environmental, energy and economic cost very far down. Especially in the planning world, this would entail a sort of wabi sabi aesthetic revolution, accepting the natural, worn, “shabby” as a form of elevated aesthetic understanding. This is a vast subject, but let’s take one miniscule example from among the legion: the NYC High Line Park.

          Just look at the hard, ambitious concrete work, the sharp edges, the slickness. The park could have been done in a different way. True, the metal infrastructure would have to be safe. But might shoring it up in strategic load-bearing places have obviated removing everything, polishing up to high heaven to make it all look new, then relocating it?. It could have done without all the cement and just had strong rustic benches (or even abandoned, rusty industrial stuff) all about. True, visitors flock there now, and there is an economic pay off…until the system crashes. Then the park will be left to its own devices and become overgrown and shabby again…but it would take 100 years to be anywhere as beautiful as it was before all the fancy innovations. Visitors would probably still go there for the wabi sabi alternative, providing they were being properly educated to appreciate real quality. I imagine that Jane Jacobs (The Death and Life of Great American Cities) would see the virtue of the park connecting with real workers in the vicinity, and not just with vacuous tourists…

          • Fast Eddy says:

            BAU Lite is only possible in Delusistan.

            The first couple of paragraphs are in line with what can be expected.

      • I agree that it will be difficult to put together any reasonable response to collapse.

        I know when I started first thinking about the issue, years ago, the idea crossed my mind that we needed to put together collections of seeds, suitable for each part of the country, in order to provide most of a balanced diet for each geographic area. (Of course, tilling soil is not very sustainable, but that is another issue.) We then need to create some knowledge level as well as level of tools to transition to a move in that direction. If animals are to be included, those need to be considered as well.

        It is not at all clear how a person gets to a system that would “work” though. For example, everyone needs water every day, and we depends on our fossil fuel system for that to happen. Transportation requires a lot of things–roads, horses or vehicles or hand carts pushed by humans. This system is non-trivial as well. There is also the human waste and other waste recycled as fertilizer system, plus whatever system we need to keep humans from dying from too many pathogens and from poisoning of various sorts –radiation, heavy metals, mercury, etc.

        It is possible to build a self-organized system over a period of many years. Trying to plan out a working system when the existing system does not work is a lot trickier.

        • Van Kent says:

          My farm will add honey, birch and maple syrap, plums and peaches, some roots and some new vegetables to the menu this year. Planning never stops. The plan is different when there is one person, and it changes when there are ten people to take care of, twenty, a hundred, two hundred, a thousand, and so on.

          It all depends on the resources you have, the weather you are having, and the number of people those resources and externalities must sustain. The planning never stops.. The plans are, and never can be, ready, finished, fully taking in to account all variables. The plans, if fully and truly sustainable, are by definition then always in an transition phasing from something, to something else.

          An additional problem is of course that during BAU we have one set of rules to play by. And Post-BAU we will have another set of rules. So each plan actually has to work scaling up, scaling down and by both sets of rules. So, planning never stops, sustainability is reached, and is never reached, because some externalities always change.

          But such things, living in an endless transitioning phasing, don´t stop me from having honey, birch and maple syrap, plums and peaches.

        • Artleads says:

          “The planning never stops.”

          Well said.

          And there is planning and planning. I’m not sure whether I posted any of Mark Passio’s 5 hr series on “natural law,” but can post it or repost it if anyone cares. I state that because I think there’s an easy “natural law:” way to plan. There is absolutely no problem to it, no effort or straining:

          — Every home must have roof water catchment drums (or at least a small barrel).

          — Every house with a yard should have gray water irrigation.

          — Every home must produce food, however little.

          — No organic material produced by households will be discarded, and will be used instead toward compost creation.

          — Build united communities with sustainable goals. It is not rocket science. Create synergy between community projects. I’m doing it, all by myself. When I say all by myself I only mean that I’m seeing how to focus all the great history, energy and good will and energy in my community. Nobody else is as focused or clear about that as I. It is called vision. And much of my clarity of vision (empowering my traditionally excellent intuition) is owed to reading on FW.

          — Building communities is based on altruistic vision for the welfare of all sentient beings and environment within it.

          — Success in one community must be coherently expanded to other communities within a region, like a county. No community is safe unless all surrounding communities are well prepared (whatever that means).

          – Don’t let perfection become the enemy of the good.

          — Be strategic. Figure out what projects produce the most bang for the effort–projects that tend to be systemic, synergistic and that tie programs together.

          — Don’t try to predict every last detail of everything. Moving in the appropriate direction is a very big job all by itself, and that is certain to produce a problem-solving dynamic within the macro society. Many breakthroughs cannot be known in advance.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        I on the other hand… see the extinction of mankind as the silver lining …

        Unfortunately we’ll take the rest of the planet with us…. (see spent fuel ponds)

        But then again — given our track record of committing monstrosities… of creating things like nuclear weapons… chemical weapons…. torturing billions of animals…. ruining the environment….

        What more could be expected of the human species?

        We are not only monsters… we are vindictive monsters — not only are we the authors our own extinction — we destroy the sand box and everything in it.

        I find ironic that the Green Brigade frantically is trying to come with ideas that could allow some humans to survive.

        If you want to save the planet then you should offer to pay for a weekend vacation for your entire extended family — hire a bus — then drive it off a cliff.

        And instead of trying to survive the end of BAU you would be doing whatever possible to ensure that humans are wiped out to the last man woman and child.

        WE are the PROBLEM. WE ruined the earth for all other species.

        WE need to be removed from the equation.

        I guess you’ll just turn up the volume and drown that message out eh….

        • I really doubt that we ruined the earth for all other species. For example, you just talked about the bacteria surviving. I expect a lot of green plants will survive as well.

          • Froggman says:

            Silver linings all over the place today! 🙂

            I do hope you’re right about the plants though. I’m going to take my best shot at getting my kids to survive to adulthood, and after that, I’d die happy just knowing some green plants will make it.

            You gotta have dreams.

  38. Fast Eddy says:

    More on Tesla ….

    How wonderful the sheeple are to subsidize rich men’s play things ….


  39. MM says:

    I want to rectify some issues about your agitations for biochar and african cooking.
    A “biostove” is not bio at all. You promote a complicated technology for a complicated technology (charging a smart phone). The biostove produces 1 W electrical from maybe 300 W thermal? You promote a “3-d printers will safe the world solution” with an efficiency of 0,3% and that should save the world? Who can afford such a thing?
    The humble your interest in clean cooking in Africa is there exist two issues:
    1. most countries in Africa produce much less than the permitted 2t per capita CO2 in any way how they ever cook their food. There is no need for a vented system. A simple exhaust hood can solve many problems with smoke inside the room and that is pretty low tech and low cost.. Btw most africans are cooking outside the house.
    2. A person in the US produces 25 t of co2 a year and reducing that is much more efficient than promoting charcoal or new buzz “biochar” as a way to fight climate change. That claim is ridiculous.
    http://cdiac.ornl.gov/pns/faq.html :
    Q. In terms of mass, how much carbon does 1 part per million by volume of atmospheric CO2 represent?
    A. Using 5.137 x 1018 kg as the mass of the atmosphere (Trenberth, 1981 JGR 86:5238-46), 1 ppmv of CO2= 2.13 Gt of carbon

    After we start getting “negative carbon” as stated by the IPCC in 2070 we will have accumulated 450 ppm CO2 in the atmosphere. To reduce that to the regular level of 350 ppm would require a reduction of 100ppm. That is the ridiculous amount of 213 000 000 000 t C
    Food producing land : 49,116,227 kilometers ^2
    that results to 4337 t C per kilometer^2 food producing land

    The claims about carbon negative are absolutely out of reach by multiple exponents by any means available. This is a “prime” as you named it to get the people comfortable that there exists a technofix to this problem as there exists a technofix to all problems.

    There exists abolutely no way to solve this problem besides reducing consumption of all and everything by at least 80% in the west (TM). I know this will not work as it will crash our comfortable system but promoting biochar is a waste of time. We should all focus on altering our civilisation from the base. Yawn, i hear you claiming “biochar is altering our civilisation”. No, it is not!
    I bet the biochar is a similar scam like biofuels and when you look at the biochar investors that does not seem far fetched. It is a green leave that should keep the people calm in their simulation that things can be technofixed.

    I actually admit that adding biochar to bad soil might help improve it in some areas but alas, improving soil starts with creating living matter aka humus and not by burning or pyrolizing the waste. Yes, the australian natives used controlled burning of land for some sort of cultivation of the landscape. Many forest rangers do it today in a similar way. Small fires can improve the land. And in some cases biochar addition to soil improved yields but the long terms effects are unproven.
    Promoting biochar as a solution to climate change is a dangerous path. I tell you why: There exists a trend in converting “unproductive land” to “productive land” ind terms of capital accumulation. Some investors think that in this way they can milk “carbon tax tokens” from “unproductive land”. Well I would say it is quite ok that we have some “unproductive land” left.

    • Don Stewart says:

      I don’t think I have ever promoted 3D printing as the solution to everything. It IS interesting as it gets the manufacturing process closer to the end user, but I don’t remember ever having made strong statements about it…because I don’t know.

      Relative to biochar. There is no question, I think, that IF we can cook or heat space in a home and also produce biochar at the same time, then there are carbon sequestration benefits. Likewise, IF we can adopt food and fiber production methods which add carbon to the soil, rather than extract carbon from the soil, then things get better in terms of climate change. The people I know who are promoting carbon sequestration through food and fiber production methods claim two things:
      *More carbon in the soil aids greater productivity of food and fiber
      *We may be able to sequester enough carbon to buy us a couple of decades to seriously reduce carbon emission.

      I work in my garden daily to get more carbon into the soil. As far as I am concerned, that is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for dealing with climate change.

      IF industrial civilization collapses tomorrow, and emissions go to zero, having more carbon in soil will be a purely positive fact. IF it takes a couple of decades to eliminate carbon emissions, then getting more carbon in the soil is still a wonderful thing to do.

      Don Stewart

    • “that results to 4337 t C per kilometer^2 food producing land

      The claims about carbon negative are absolutely out of reach by multiple exponents by any means available. This is a “prime” as you named it to get the people comfortable that there exists a technofix to this problem as there exists a technofix to all problems.”

      1 km^2 of arable land is 100 hectares, so you are saying absorbing 44 tonnes of carbon per hectare is too much.

      Simply switching from till to no-till farming:
      1 hectare is 10,000 square meters, with the top 10 cm is 1000 cubic meters.
      Each cubic meter of topsoil weighs about 1.5 tonnes:

      Of which, 6 grams per kilogram is organic carbon on a tilled field:

      So one hectare has 1,500,000 Kg of soil, times 0.006 is 9 000 Kg or 9 tonnes of organic carbon. Switching to no-till, according to the link above, raises this to about 10 grams per kilogram of soil to 10 cm depth, so it would sequester about 6 tonnes per hectare.

      So, just switching till to no-till and letting the top 10 cm of soil increase from 0.6% organic carbon to 1% organic carbon would not be sufficient. A higher Soil Organic Matter content and/or a greater depth would be needed.

  40. Fast Eddy says:

    Wearing An ‘Anonymous’ Mask In America Can Get You Arrested


    I’m lovin it!

  41. Fast Eddy says:

    “Up All Night” Protests Spread to French Prime Minister’s House, Teargas Used; Comparisons to US

    The “Nuit Debout” (Up All Night) movement in France spread from the Place de la République (Republic Square) to prime minister Manuel Valls’ house over the weekend.

    Eight people were arrested and demonstrators faced teargass as they converged on Valls. The protestors hung up a dummy of Valls with the slogan “La Valls Est Finie” (Valls is finished).

    Valls hopes to quiet the protestors with free aid to job seekers and more rent subsidies.

    Thousands Protest Nightly at Place de la République


    Another prelude to eventual global mayhem….

    • xabier says:

      Easily dealt with: the French state can just introduce a law on the new Spanish model, prohibiting organised groups from coming within several hundred metres of a politician’s residence/office.

      In Spain, protesting in front of a corrupt politico’s house is classed as ‘an attack on the functioning of democracy’.

      Quite right, there must be no interference with the passing of brown envelopes and cosy dinners with corporate lobbyists…..

      • Fast Eddy says:

        And when that doesn’t work follow Egypt… where government troops simply opened fired on protestors with live ammo….

        That tends to cow even the most dedicated protestor….

        1.6 billion rounds of ammo – Department of Homeland Security.

  42. Don Stewart says:

    Dear Finite Worlders

    The world faces three problems, ranging from the trivial to the important:
    Trivial…what is the best backpacking stove, or base camp stove?
    Significant…what is the best stove to use in third world homes where people live off the grid?
    Important…what stove should grid connected people acquire now in order to survive economic and social upheaval?

    Many serious and intelligent people work on each of those problems. Sometimes, the solutions overlap…e.g., a base camp stove for a vacationing Google executive may turn our to be useful for a poor farmer in Kenya. EVERY solution is particular to some set of circumstances, and is subject to Bejan’s Constructal Law…the solution will evolve in the direction of easier flow. So we should never expect perfection right now, just evolution in the direction we want to see.

    So how can people who are faced with these issues end up in recriminations on the Internet? I’ll turn to Daniel Levitin and The Organized Mind for some help in understanding the issues.

    After a discussion of the pros and cons of social networking, Levitin tells us (page 127) ‘The cost of our electronic connectedness appears to be that it limits our biological capacity to connect with other people. Another see-saw in which one replaces the other in our attention’. So part of the problem is the blunt instrument character of the internet and the fact that humans didn’t really evolve to behave well in an internet setting.

    But now I want to examine in some detail an issue that Levitin discusses on page 135 and following…Why People Are Indirect With Us.

    *Although primates in general are among the most social species, there are few examples of primate living groups that support more than 18 males within the group…the interpersonal tensions and dominance hierarchies just become too much for them and they split apart.

    *And yet humans have been living in cities containing tens of thousands of males for several millennia. How do we do it? One way of helping to keep large numbers of humans living in close proximity is through the use of non confrontational speech, or indirect speech acts. Indirect speech acts don’t say what we actually want, but they imply it.

    For example, suppose I am visiting you in your house, and I feel too warm. If I am a gorilla, and bigger than you, I will say ‘Get up and open your window!’. The implication being that if you don’t do what I tell you to, you will be physically sorry. But as a human who has some skills that gorillas don’t have, and who needs to get along with you so that we can jointly produce good things in life, I will say something like ‘Gosh, it’s getting warm in here’. At this point, if you want to reciprocate in a friendly way, you will say something like ‘Yes, it was cool earlier, but maybe now is the time to open a window’. You do, and I say something like ‘isn’t it pleasant to hear the birds singing’.

    I suggest that anyone who is thinking seriously about getting along with other humans in a world of economic and social stresses should read and understand and practice what is covered in these few pages. I won’t try to go into all the details here.

    *People used to think that oxytocin was the ‘love drug’. A more recent theory gaining traction is that oxytocin regulates the salience of emotions, depending on the situation and individual. Its real role is to organize social behavior.

    When we meet someone in person, can we detect the presence of oxytocin? I tend to think so. Which is why a visit is better than a ‘get well’ card.

    *One of the most well established findings in social psychology concerns how we interpret the actions of others…two broad classes of explanation…dispositional and situational.
    The dispositional explanations will make claims about the innate properties that people have. The situational will interpret what people do as responses to particular situations. The situational explanations are vastly more explanatory than the dispositional.

    Yet, on the internet, dispositional explanations are a lot more common than situational explanations. When someone starts hurling insults, you can be pretty sure they are thinking dispositionally.

    *People become invested in explanations which have been demonstrated to be wrong. In one experiment, college age males were hooked up to some equipment which was supposed to measure their vital signs and play them through a speaker system. Then they were shown pictures of Playboy centerfolds. They could hear what they thought was their heart beating rapidly or slowly, steadily or raggedly. After the experiment was over, the truth was revealed…the sounds they heard were merely synthesized sounds, and had nothing to do with their actual physiological reaction. Then the students were offered one of the pictures as a keepsake. They overwhelmingly chose the picture which the synthesizer reacted most strongly to.

    These students had ‘fallen into lust’ by erroneously monitoring their physiological symptoms. But they invested enough mental energy in forming the opinion that, when the truth was revealed, they clung to the erroneous belief.

    Now it is my contention that a group of people who need to work together to accomplish something important will be less likely to cling to erroneous beliefs. Suppose there is an economic and social disruption, and the Community Garden group of which you have been a member for several years, is now faced with the reality that if they don’t produce, they don’t eat. The harsh reality will weed out the delusion and the delusional pretty rapidly. There is simply not time for a lot of nonsense. You can read stories about working together doing farm chores which make the same points…having real deliverables tends to focus the mind.

    Unfortunately, on the Internet, there is always time for nonsense.

    Don Stewart

    • “The world faces three problems, ranging from the trivial to the important:
      Trivial…what is the best backpacking stove, or base camp stove?
      Significant…what is the best stove to use in third world homes where people live off the grid?
      Important…what stove should grid connected people acquire now in order to survive economic and social upheaval?”

      Your trivial problem may be someone’s important one, as the person may need to live in a densely populated area, and need to travel for sometime to get to their isolated cabin or family farm in the event of societal collapse.

      Your significant concern about improving the lives of people in underdeveloped countries does not take into account the long term impact. So, you get the people stoves that cook faster and make biochar. Let’s say you conclude that the charger is foolish, so you make them without that for 1/3 the cost and 1/4 the weight.

      How efficient is burning twigs for making biochar, compared to making biochar as the only objective using larger pieces of wood in a designed system? Is your biochar making cook stove going to incentivize people to burn twice as much wood, so they can grow more food? What happens when they do double their food production? Twenty years later, will there be twice as many people, who must travel twice as far to get firewood?

      Rather than asking “How should we intervene in these people’s lives to make them better?”, maybe we should ask if we should be intervening at all. Maybe having lower population and a harder life will leave them better prepared for when the current system ends.

      • Don Stewart says:

        Matthew Krajcik
        No question. Making biochar industrially will make more biochar. But that presumes the existence of an industrial civilization, and it also assumes that selling biochar to poverty stricken Africans can be made profitable. The Cornell effort was to take people as they are and where they are and make incremental improvements.

        ‘Great Leaps Forward’ have a way of falling on their faces.

        As for the hypothetical rich guy in Manhattan who needs to backpack his way out of the city after the Zombie Apocalypse. Most likely he would find plenty of shelter to sleep in (sheds, garages, abandoned houses, under highway overpasses. He would also find no shortage of things to burn. On his 10 or 15 day journey, the efficiency with which he burns things is no a critical consideration.

        On the other hand. Suppose you are in one of David Holmgren’s suburbs, and you are prepared to stay where you are. Then the efficiency with which you use fuel is critical. If you are inefficient, you will run out. 25 years from now with there population of the earth standing at less than a hundred million, probably efficiency of fuel use is, once again, not a critical matter.

        Its all in the dynamics.

        As for letting people starve now so that their progeny won’t starve later. I don’t think the evidence supports your viewpoint. But if that is what you really think, I don’t believe we have much to discuss.

        Don Stewart

      • ultimately we will not be able to intervene, no matter how much we may want to

        • “ultimately we will not be able to intervene, no matter how much we may want to”

          We (The West) have been intervening all over the world for centuries, most particularly post WW2. That is why there are ten times as many Arabs living in a desert trying to escape, and several times more people in Latin America, Africa, and most of Asia.

          Just giving people our technology and ideas will not suddenly make their cultures become like ours. Our technology is not universally better for us, let alone different cultures not adapted to our agricultural/industrial society.

          • Don Stewart says:

            Matthew and Others
            Let me pose a hypothetical question. You are the proud possessor of a desert island. You grow some taro and some coconuts and fish a little. You have plenty for one, but certainly not enough to feed a hundred.

            One day, you see a ship run aground on the reef. The ocean is high outside the reef, and you see the ship breaking up. You get your little dinghy and go out to see if you can help. You see many panicked people, who would quickly swamp your dinghy if you tried to rescue them.

            However, as Providence decreed, the people all bear labels telling you what their skills are. Some are lawyers, some a neurosurgeons, some are wall street speculators, some are hairdressers, and some collect welfare. Then you spot, a little apart from the crowd, a Kenyan woman whose sign says ‘subsistence farmer’.

            You now have what Daniel Levitin calls an in group/ out group decision. Is your ‘in group’ that crowd who really don’t know anything useful, despite being as white as you are? Or is your ‘in group’ the subsistence farmer from Kenya, who could actually be quite helpful on the desert island?

            So when you say ‘we’ can’t help ‘them’, you are assuming that the hearer would rather save a bunch of people without useful skills than to save people who actually have useful skills. That’s not a very safe assumption.

            Don Stewart

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Remember that boat that Tony Montana came off of in the movie Scarface?

              Plenty of wolves among the sheep….

              The wolves won’t eat you — they’ll just insist that you use your skills to feed them…. they’ll also be looking for women.

            • “So when you say ‘we’ can’t help ‘them’, you are assuming that the hearer would rather save a bunch of people without useful skills than to save people who actually have useful skills. That’s not a very safe assumption.”

              Taking all the educated people out of a developing country hurts that country, for the benefit of that person. Taking uneducated people out of a country, helps that person at the cost of the country taking them in.

              All of the West’s “helping” has only made things worse, for the West and for the countries they intervened in, while benefitting some of the individuals who are “helped”.

              There is no ship running aground. There are two islands, and you can bring the skilled people over from the other island, bring the subsistence farmers over from the other island, give food and medicine to the other island, or trade with the other island.

              If you take any of these actions, you will simply contribute to the other island becoming poorer and more populated. The more you “help” them by taking all their doctors and engineers and giving them free food and medicine, the worse you make their problems.

              If you just stayed isolated from them, they would run into resource and population pressures on their own, and adapt. By providing an outflow for the excess people and sending food and medicine, you are artificially overcoming their natural constraints, making things ten times worse in the long run, but you get to feel good and a handful of the people from the other island get to live the good life over on your island.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Or just select the prettiest women….

            • Ed says:

              Matthew, YES! You are so right. If the developed island wants to send something send system dynamics models and education about over population and resource depletion.

            • Don Stewart says:

              Ed and Matthew
              The ‘developed island’ doesn’t have much use for system dynamics. Read George Mobus’ despairing articles.

              My point is that skin color and nationality and income level and that kind of stuff are not really very good markers of the ‘in’ group during a crisis. I want to select a group which has some skills, and try to earn entry into that group.

              Don Stewart

            • “I want to select a group which has some skills, and try to earn entry into that group.”

              So, now you are one of the people on the boat, not the people on the island?

              Here’s the problem. It is more like there is an island with 100 people on it, who are able to survive, and they are willing to take in 50 more people maximum to have a stable little society. However, ten cruise ships with 3000 people on them each have run aground all around the little island.

            • Don Stewart says:

              Matthew Karjcik
              I made my choice and did some things almost 10 years ago.
              Don Stewart

            • Fast Eddy says:

              “I want to select a group which has some skills, and try to earn entry into that group.”

              These are the types who have the skills — but they won’t be asking to join — they’ll start giving the orders… and if you don’t like taking orders… that’s what the guns are for….

              I hope the boat has plenty of automatic weapons and ammo…..they will be needed…


              But of course in Delusistan everyone is peaceful…. everyone gets along … everyone shares… there are no bad guys… no guns…

              Visit Delusistan – Where Everyone is Wonderful!

              Funny thing … when I used to speak to tourists in Bali when I lived there … they all thought Bali was a paradise on earth — the smiling villagers…. the friendly guides … the lack of materialism …the wonderful Hindu ceremonies…

              In fact I had that impression to some extent before I moved there…

              I lived there for 7 years. And those myths are just that myths – they are utter bullshit.

              They are not different than humans anywhere else — back stabbing – violent – materialistic — thieving….

              We are humans. We are violent beasts. Yes a great many of us do not act violently – because we do not have to – we have BAU police to keep the peace. We have enough food.

              That’s all going to change shortly.

              The mad dogs are going to be on the loose. And they’ll slit your throat for a can of beans – and rape your women for dessert.

          • “intervention” takes infinite forms.
            we intervene in the natural function of the smallpox bacillus, which is “good”
            but that results in overpopulated nations—which is “bad”.

            Trouble is, if it’s your nearest and dearest with smallpox, you want “intervention” and right now.
            People in the third world know they don’t have to die of smallpox, so we have eradicated it.
            You can multiply that 000s of times for all diseases.
            Thus our technology has ultimately been instrumental in killing us all off.
            There doesn’t seem to be any way that all this can be balanced.

            Bacteria used to balance our numbers until we decided we could do things better.

            A real “oops” moment there I fear

            • Stefeun says:

              Yes Norman,
              I too think bacterial risk is very high in the priority-list.

              It will happen for sure, the only questions are when and to what extents. Why not several pandemies at same time..? And impacting other species as well?
              What could stop the emergence and spread of a very agressive gene (horizontally via plasmides)?
              Such a scenario could deeply re-shape terrestrial ecosystems.

            • Stefeun—bacteria are the dominant life form on the planet.
              They have been around for 2 bn years—we’ve been here 500k years
              to them we are prairies–if we vanished tomorrow they would find new grazing areas and remain unaware that we ever existed.

              if they vanished tomorrow, we would be dead the day after.

              we thought we had bacteria licked, all that happened was, they took a 100 year vacation and evolved themselves into new and more interesting life forms, ready for their big comeback.
              Or maybe I’m wrong–and we should go along with Ted Cruz and say evolution is a hoax
              billions agree with him after all

            • Fast Eddy says:

              And the bacteria will be back with a vengeance post BAU….

              We won the battle – they will win the war.

              The only reason we have not experienced one of the massive plagues that killed millions throughout history is because of fossil fuels.

              We would have never reached a population anywhere near 7B because we’d have been culled by plagues…

              The bacteria have never gone away….. and now they are massed outside the city walls…. by the trillion …. and our defenses are about to fall….

              Who know what virulent strains are going to rush through the gates when BAU does…

              One can imagine that this will result in plagues to end all plagues….

              One can imagine that with so many people these diseases will spread like wildfire….

              One can imagine this – that along with mass starvation — this being an extinction event….

              At the very least…. this is going to be a hell-hole for those who get to experience life post BAU.

    • Fast Eddy says:

      ‘Many serious and intelligent people work on each of those problems.’

      If we just lopped the heads off of such people over the centuries… we’d not be facing an extinction event now…

      What was needed was an extremist religion that declared Jihad on such individuals…

      Perhaps post BAU I will create a new anti-techology religion…. all farmers, engineers, scientists, teachers etc… to be hunted down and put to death…

      God will be Ted Kaczynski — and I will volunteer to be his earthly representative.

      • God will be Ted Kaczynski — and I will volunteer to be his earthly representative.

        Some one here once wrote in Ted we Trust.
        I’ve got his photo on my mobile phone screen as a background. It’s an old phone with most of the numbers work off but Ted’s always there looking out reminding me what a screwed up species we are………………………………

  43. Yoshua says:

    BlackRock CEO Fink: Negative & Low Interest Rates Eat into Consumer Spending at Worst Possible Time


    The global economy is somewhat twisted.

    • Japan has a particular problem because of all of its elderly on limited incomes, who are depending on bond income for retirement. Europe is not a whole lot better, except perhaps more of these funds are promised by governments as pension payments, rather than funds that the retirees expect to get from savings, so retirees are less aware of this situation. It is not clear the governments can find this money either.

        • Wow! I con’t imagine how this can continue. I imagine the huge pension obligations are related to all of the immigrants being let in. If it is human labor, and not fossil fuel energy that is important, then the immigrants will fix the problem. If you need fossil fuel energy as well, then the problem is unfixable.

      • Pensions were created on the back of a growing consumerist fuelburning society.

        Prior to the industrial revolution, there were no pensions in the context we know them.
        Medical care must come under the same heading, particularly as an ageing population needs growing healthcare as well as pensions.
        The two cannot be separated.

        in terms of the human population as a whole, practically no one is aware that the national pension system that we take for granted is only about a century old, (depending on where you live) though there have been private pension plans in existence longer than that.
        Roughly on a par with industrialised medical care, in terms of “here and now”, pensions have always existed, therefore will always be there, whenever we reach retirement.
        national governments can only deliver pensions from the raw energy output of the nation itself, thus the pensions we lucky ones enjoy have been produced by the economic output of a previous era–ie the ‘American dream time”.

        Essentially, pensions are a product of surplus energy from a hydrocarbon based society—the difference between the cost of extracting energy and our use of it. Pensions have been part of our ‘profit”.
        those of us with only s few allotted years left, will see out our pension period, while those expecting say, 30 years of pension incomes will not.
        The difference being, that the hydrocarbon fuels that support our pension system cannot last longer than the next 10/15 years.
        Those hydrocarbons produce the “stuff” that we depend on to make our “profit”
        We cannot deliver pensions from windfarms because electrical energy gives us no basis for commercial trade and exchange.

      • ejhr2015 says:

        That’s only because governments themselves aren’t clear on whether they will have a future.

        • those in the highest office have no more idea of how to deal with the future than the doomsters on here.
          all they can offer is infinite growth; by saying that they reveal that they know less than the doomsters on here

          • Fast Eddy says:

            They are doing all that can be done …. they have been offsetting growth destruction caused by expensive oil with stimulus…. they are fighting the toxic side-effects of stimulus with other policies including ramping up the stock markets….

            They understand they are in an unwinnable battle. But they will not go down without a fight. They will scratch and claw and bite and stab…. but they will lose. And we will go away.

            Now get out there and go shopping!

  44. Vince the Prince says:

    Hey Guys, all is not bleak….Baseball is BACK…the Boys of Summer will make it all better
    This video is dedicated to Fast Eddy….Why can’t we be Friends?

  45. Fast Eddy says:

    Japan battles it’s way back to the lead in the contest for which country will be the one to trigger the meltdown…

    BlackRock CEO Fink: Negative & Low Interest Rates Eat into Consumer Spending at Worst Possible Time
    by Wolf Richter • April 11, 2016
    Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on RedditPrint this pageEmail this to someone

    “A hostile landscape” – that’s what BlackRock CEO Larry Fink called the global investment, economic, and political environment in his gloomy annual letter to his shareholders. It starts out propitiously:

    Investors today are facing tremendous uncertainty fueled by slowing economic growth, technological disruption, and social and geopolitical instability.

    More specifically:

    In China, growth is slowing with global effects.

    In the U.S., the quality of corporate earnings is deteriorating, with record share repurchases in 2015 driving valuations – an indication of companies succumbing to the pressures of short-termism in place of constructive, long-term strategies.

    And electoral politics muck up the global landscape further:

    Polarizing elections in the US and Germany; government transitions in Spain, Taiwan and Canada; allegations of scandal in Brazil, and the UK vote in June on whether to leave the European Union will all continue to drive volatility.

    But the impact of low and negative interest rates central banks have imposed on economies around the world is “particularly worrying,” he said. And yet, it’s swept under the rug.

    There has been “plenty of discussion” on how low interest rates help trigger asset price inflation, as investors chase yield by loading up on riskier and less liquid asset classes – “with potentially dangerous financial and economic consequences.” But…

    Not nearly enough attention has been paid to the toll these low rates – and now negative rates – are taking on the ability of investors to save and plan for the future. People need to invest more today to achieve their desired annual retirement income in the future.

    For example, a 35-year-old looking to generate $48,000 per year in retirement income beginning at age 65 would need to invest $178,000 today in a 5% interest rate environment. In a 2% interest rate environment, however, that individual would need to invest $563,000 (or 3.2 times as much) to achieve the same outcome in retirement.

    This reality has profound implications for economic growth: consumers saving for retirement need to reduce spending if they are going to reach their retirement income goals; and retirees with lower incomes will need to cut consumption as well. A monetary policy intended to spark growth, then, in fact, risks reducing consumer spending.

    Is this why BlackRock is pulling its money out of Japan, where consumer spending, after two decades of ultra-low interest rates, and now negative interest rates, has been weak for just as long – and getting weaker?

    More http://wolfstreet.com/2016/04/11/blackrock-ceo-fink-negative-low-interest-rates-eat-into-consumer-spending-at-worst-possible-time/

  46. Don Stewart says:

    Stove Discussion Group
    You might like to read Dorisel Torres thesis at Cornell. She studied farms in Kenya, to see if burning certain types of biomass could both give heat for cooking and boiling water and also to serve as a soil amendment after it became ash or biochar. She found that a biomass stove could be a great help.
    A solar reflector would not provide the ash or biochar, which Dorisel found could be a valuable soil amendment.

    Here is a picture of the traditional three stone stove and the biochar producing stove made from fired clay.
    You will note that the researchers do not think that the Kenyans would accept significantly slower approaches to cooking, such as a solar reflector.

    Albert mentioned both the Biolite and the clay stoves in his talk.
    Don Stewart

    • Fast Eddy says:

      This looks very simple. I like it!

    • Artleads says:

      I like the simple clay pot with the concentric outer ring. You burn organic “trash” in that outer ring but it doesn’t give off smoke?

      • Don Stewart says:

        In my old age, I forget names. There is a name for the kind of combustion that happens when you make biochar. You are essentially burning the volatile gases as well as the organic material. I have seen biochar being made in an open earthen pit with a carefully designed shape where the heat is recirculated to burn the gases. Very little smoke. Here is a video of a metal wok which is operating on the same principle:

        Another way to make biochar is to put some wood in a can inside a wood stove. The wood stove makes its usual smoke, but the wood inside the can is burned very cleanly and makes biochar, which can greatly increase the yields in poor land (as demonstrated by Maricel’s thesis).

        If you want to know more, I am sure you can find people in New Mexico who do it. I don’t do biochar, myself.

        Don Stewart

Comments are closed.