Energy limits: Why we see rising wealth disparity and low prices

Last week, I gave a fairly wide-ranging presentation at the 2016 Biophysical Economics Conference called Complexity: The Connection Between Fossil Fuel EROI, Human Energy EROI, and Debt (pdf). In this post, I discuss the portion of the talk that explains several key issues:

  1. Why we are right now seeing so many problems with respect to wealth disparity and low commodity prices (Answer: World per capita energy consumption is already falling, and the energy/economy system needs to reflect this problem somehow.)
  2. Why the quest for growing technology leads to growing wealth disparity (Answer: The economy must be configured in more of a hierarchical pattern to support growing “complexity.” Growing complexity is the precursor to growing technology.)
  3. Why rising debt is an integral part of the energy/economy system (Answer: We could not pay workers for making long-lasting goods and services without using debt to “pull forward” the hoped-for benefit of these goods and services to the present, using debt and other equivalent approaches.)
  4. Why commodity prices can suddenly fall below the cost of production for a wide range of products (Answer: Prices of commodities depend to a significant extent on debt levels. A major problem is that when commodity prices rise, wages do not rise in a corresponding manner. Rising debt levels can mask the growing lack of affordability for a while, but eventually, debt levels cannot be raised sufficiently, and commodity prices fall too low.)
  5. The Brexit vote may be related to falling energy per capita in the UK. Given that this problem occurs in many countries, it may be increasingly difficult to keep the Eurozone and other similar international organizations together.
  6. My talk also touches on the topic of why a steady state economy is not possible, unless we can live like chimpanzees.

My analysis has as its premise that the economy behaves like other physical systems. It needs energy–and, in fact, growing energy–to operate. If the system does not get the energy it needs, it “rebalances” in a way that may not be to our liking. See my article, “The Physics of Energy and the Economy.”

An outline of my talk is shown as Slide 2, below. I will omit the EROI and Hubbert model portions of the presentation.  

Slide 2

Slide 2

Peak World Coal Seems To Be Happening, Right Now

In the view of most of the researchers I was talking to at this conference, oil is likely to be the first problem, not coal. And the issue is likely to be high prices, not low. So peak coal now, as shown in Slide 3, doesn’t seem to make sense. Yet, my analysis of recent data strongly suggests that peak coal is exactly what is happening, right now.

Slide 3. World and China appear to be reaching peak coal.

Slide 3. World and China appear to be reaching peak coal.

I will show later in this presentation why peaking coal production does seem to make sense–price levels of all fossil fuels seem to vary together. The extent to which debt levels are growing seems to be a major factor in price levels. When the debt level is not growing rapidly enough, “demand” is not high enough, and prices for all fossil fuels tend to fall simultaneously. A related issue is the extent to which the world economy is growing; if world economic growth is too slow, this will also tend to hold down demand, and thus energy prices.

China’s rate of growth in coal production started falling back in 2012, which is when coal prices started falling. This is before China’s new leadership took over in March 2013. We know that coal production in China is likely to continue falling, because China’s energy bureau is reporting that China plans to close over 1000 coal mines in 2016, because of a “price-sapping supply glut.” See my article, “China: Is peak coal part of its problem?” for additional information.

World Per Capita Energy Consumption Seems To Have Already Started Falling

Slide 4. World per capita energy consumption may have reached a peak

Slide 4. World per capita energy consumption may have reached a peak

The reason why I say that world per capita energy consumption may have reached a peak in 2013 is partly because coal consumption appears to have peaked. If coal has peaked, it will be hard to make up the shortfall using other fuels, such as renewables, or even natural gas. Furthermore, recent world figures (shown above) already show a small drop in per capita energy consumption. If world coal production continues to drop, we can expect world per capita energy consumption to continue to drop.

Energy Consumption Trends for a Few Countries

The figure below is not actually in the presentation–I thought I would add it now, to show energy consumption varies for a few economies. The upper chart in the Supplemental Slide shows the trend in per capita energy consumption in UK, Japan, Spain, and Greece. We know that Japan, Spain, and Greece have been experiencing economic problems for several years, something that perhaps should not be too surprising, given their falling energy consumption per capita. The UK shows a similar pattern to these three countries. Such a pattern is likely to lead to rising wage disparities, for reasons we will discuss later in this presentation, when we talk about “complexity.”

Supplemental information showing how trend in per capita energy consumption seems to reflect health of economies

Supplemental slide. Per capita energy consumption trends for four advanced economies and for China, based on BP 2016 Statistical Review of World Energy and 2015 UN population data.

China’s energy consumption shows a contrasting pattern. China experienced rapid growth in energy consumption after it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001. Recently, China’s growth in energy consumption has been slowing, suggesting slowing growth in the economy–perhaps even more than reported in official GDP reports.

Why Peak Per Capita Energy Matters

In Slide 5, I give an overview of why peak energy per capita matters. My view is the second one shown on this slide. It is not that every segment of the economy will necessarily have problems. Instead, un-favored segments are likely to be first to have problems. Most conference attendees came with the first view.

Slide 5. Two views of peak energy per capita.

Slide 5. Two views of peak energy per capita.

How the Economy Is Affected by Growing Complexity

Joseph Tainter in the Collapse of Complex Societies tells us that the way economies that are in danger of reaching limits can sometimes solve their problems is through increased complexity.

Slide 6. Complexity introduction

Slide 6. Complexity introduction

Economists today seem to believe that technology will solve our problems. I see complexity and technology as being related, with complexity being a precursor to technology. Economies that hope to adopt higher levels of technology need to take steps in the direction of growing complexity, to achieve this goal.

When I thought about what makes up complexity, this is the list of elements I came up with:

Slide 7. Basic Elements of Complexity

Slide 7. Basic Elements of Complexity

Regarding concentration of energy, the use of concentrated energy seems to be what sets humans apart from other animals.

Slide 8. Early use of concentration of energy

Slide 8. Early use of concentration of energy

If we want a steady-state economy, “all” we need to do is set aside our use of concentrated energy, and live like chimpanzees. I am not sure how we keep our bigger brains adequately nourished. A couple of slides related to this are Slides 9 and 10.

Another type of concentration of energy is capital goods. Capital goods are all of the goods that we expect to last for a fairly long time–things like homes, vehicles, and factories. The big issue is how to pay for capital goods.

Slide 11. Capital goods-- more recent examples of concentrations of energy

Slide 11. Capital goods– more recent examples of concentrations of energy

The problem is that we need to pay workers now, but the benefit of these capital goods is spread over many years in the future. Somehow, the future benefit of these capital goods must be “pulled back” to today. The obvious answer to this predicament is the use of debt (or debt-like instruments) to fund capital goods. We will get back to the issue of debt later.

The next few slides (12 to 14) show other ways that concentrations of energy can be developed. One way is through the creation of businesses. Even larger concentrations of energy can be formed by creating bigger businesses, including international businesses. Governments can also be used to concentrate the use of energy resources, because of government’s ability to build roads, schools, and many other projects. International organizations can also act to concentrate wealth, by easing trade among members (Eurozone and World Trade Organization) and by lending money to member countries (International Monetary Fund and World Bank). All of these organizations can benefit from the use of debt to fund their growing organizations.

We said that concentration of energy was the first element of complexity (see outline at top). The second element of complexity is pure elements and compounds. In many ways, this requirement is similar to concentrations of energy, in the way it allows technology to work.

Slide 15. Why pure elements and compounds are needed for complexity

Slide 15. Why pure elements and compounds are needed for complexity

The third element of complexity (see outline at top) is leveraging of human energy through hierarchical organization. In many ways, this is the idea of concentrated energy, as applied to humans.

16. Leveraging of human energy through hierarchical organization.

16. Leveraging of human energy through hierarchical organization.

Historically, the big problem has been populations that grew too large for their resource bases. In a way, we are reaching a similar predicament. Not too surprisingly, when this happens, it is the people at the bottom of the hierarchy who tend not to receive enough.

Slide 17. People at the bottom of a hierarchy are most vulnerable.

Slide 17. People at the bottom of a hierarchy are most vulnerable.

Why Debt Is Required

Slide 18 - Why add debt?

Slide 18 – Why add debt?

One of the fundamental benefits of debt is time shifting.

Slide 19. How debt allows time shifting.

Slide 19. How debt allows time shifting.

Of course, the value of these capital goods is speculative, when debt is used to price them in advance. As long as capital goods, and other uses of debt, provide sufficient benefits to the economy so that debt can be repaid with interest, the system tends to work as planned.

Slide 20. Debt makes the economic system work more smoothly.

Slide 20. Debt makes the economic system work more smoothly.

One key aspect of debt is its ability to determine demand, and thus prices, of commodities such as oil and natural gas. The reason why debt has almost magical power is because if a potential buyer is given a loan for any kind of capital good, say a house, or car, or factory, the potential buyer can purchase the capital good far sooner than if he or she needed to save up for it. Each of these capital goods requires commodities of various kinds, such as steel, copper, oil, coal, and natural gas. Thus, we would expect rising debt levels to raise the prices of a broad range of commodity prices, simultaneously.

21. Debt helps determine prices of commodities

21. Debt helps determine prices of commodities

We can think of the situation as follows: An economy that keeps growing is (in energy terms) an out-of-balance system. Rising debt levels help maintain this out-of-balance condition by providing ever-higher commodity prices. These higher prices encourage greater extraction of energy products, even when the cost of extraction is rising because of diminishing returns. Even if extraction costs keep rising, the situation of ever-rising commodity prices cannot go on endlessly. At some point, prices become too high for workers to afford. Demand tends to fall at some point because workers at the bottom of the hierarchy find themselves “priced out” of buying goods such as houses and cars that would help maintain commodity demand.

What causes debt levels to stop rising? One reason why debt levels stop rising is that debt reaches absurd levels, making it difficult to repay debt with interest. Several examples of absurd debt levels are given in Slide 21. An additional example is excessive use of student loans. If incomes after student loans are not high enough, student debt may create a huge burden, preventing former students from buying homes and cars and starting families. The problem is that incomes after the educational experience are not sufficiently high to both pay back debt with interest and leave adequate funds for other needs.

Growing wage disparity can also lead directly to falling energy prices:

Slide 22. Growing wage disparity tends to lead to falling energy prices.

Slide 22. Growing wage disparity tends to lead to falling energy prices.

Both growing wage disparity and lack of growth in debt are signs that an economy is not growing very fast–in some sense, that the economy is not hot enough. Some of the would-be workers tend to drop out of the system, because wages are not high enough to cover commuting and childcare expenses. In some sense, they “condense out,” similar to the way that water turns to ice when there is not enough heat in the system.

The situation with prices of fossil fuels is similar; low prices are a sign that the economy is not growing fast enough. The system is forcing a reduction in the production of many kinds of commodities, including fossil fuels, by reducing prices below the cost of production for quite a few producers. This situation can be thought of as some of the production “condensing out,” because the energy products consumed are not causing the world economy to grow fast enough to maintain a “hot” demand level.

More Thoughts on Energy Prices and Debt Levels

Slide 24. Use of debt permits two different valuations of worth of commodities.

Slide 24. Use of debt permits two different valuations of worth of commodities.

The thing that is confusing is that for many years, energy and commodity costs were very similar to energy and other commodity prices. It has been only very recently–when prices rose too high for consumers to afford–that the difference has appeared.

Slide 25. Possibility of different price compared to production cost appears very late.

Slide 25. Possibility of different price compared to production cost appears very late.

Looking at historical data in Slide 26, we can see two recent sharp drops in oil prices. Both occurred when debt levels were no longer rising.

Slide 26. Connection of debt with oil prices is shown by two sharp declines.

Slide 26. Connection of debt with oil prices is shown by two sharp declines.

In fact, prices of oil, coal, and natural gas tend to rise and fall together–just as we would expect, if they are all responding to the same changes in debt levels, and indirectly, the same changes in world economic growth rates.

Slide 27. Prices of oil, call and natural gas tend to rise and fall together.

Slide 27. Prices of oil, call and natural gas tend to rise and fall together.

If energy prices are based on debt levels, our concern should be that all fossil fuels will peak within a few years of each other. The cause of the peak will be low prices, not “running out” of energy products.

Slide 28. Concerns if energy prices are based on debt levels

Slide 28. Concerns if energy prices are based on debt levels

In fact, the problems of the economy may be quite different from “running out.”

Slide 31. Candidates for what really brings the system down.

Slide 31. Candidates for what really brings the system down.

Supplemental Information on Income Disparity

A few slides giving additional information on income disparity are shown as slides 38-40. Please check the end of my presentation for these.


One topic I did not specifically discuss in this presentation is the possibility of slowing world economic growth. If we are seeing falling world energy consumption per capita, it should not be surprising if world GDP growth per capita is falling as well. I have talked about the link between energy consumption and GDP growth many times, including in my paper, Oil Supply Limits and the Continuing Financial Crisis.

It was not until I sat down to write up this presentation that I realized how closely the timing of the recent sharp drop of world oil prices corresponds with the decrease in world per capita energy consumption shown on Slide 4. World per capita energy consumption hit a peak in 2013, and dropped slightly in 2014, with a greater change in 2015. Mid-2014 is when oil prices began their major slide, so the timing of the two events matches up almost precisely. Thus, the drop in coal consumption may be resulting in low world economic growth, which in turn is holding down both oil and natural gas prices.

The apparent coincidence in timing may simply reflect the fact that the same forces that cause falling commodity prices are also causing low economic growth. Growing wage disparity and lack of growth in debt seem to be factors in causing both. If workers at the bottom of the hierarchy could better afford the output of the world economy, with or without additional debt, the world economy would have a better chance of growing.

I don’t see much hope for fixing a world whose economy is moving in the direction of shrinkage. Instead, the situation is likely to get worse, until the financial system collapses, or one of the issues shown on Slide 31 starts to become too great a problem.

I see the big push for renewables to be mostly a waste of time and resources. The major exception is perhaps hydroelectric, in parts of the world with good locations for new installations. EROI analyses are often used to justify renewables, but in my view (shown in the part of the presentation not discussed), EROI is too “blunt” a tool to properly evaluate resources that differ greatly in quality of output and in debt requirements. A major goal needs to be to maintain the functionality of the electric grid; evaluations of intermittent renewables should consider real-life experiences of other countries. For example, current pricing approaches seem to exacerbate the problem of falling wholesale electricity prices, and thus falling fossil fuel prices. (See this or this article.)

A major impediment to getting a rational discussion of the issues is the inability of a large share of the population to deal with what appears to be a potentially dire outcome. Textbook and journal editors recognize this issue, and gear their editorial guidelines accordingly. I was reminded of this again, when the question came up (again) of whether I would consider writing a book for a particular academic book publisher. The main thing I would need to do to make the book acceptable would be find a way of sidestepping any unpleasant outcome–or, better yet, I should come up with a “happily ever after” ending.


About Gail Tverberg

My name is Gail Tverberg. I am an actuary interested in finite world issues - oil depletion, natural gas depletion, water shortages, and climate change. Oil limits look very different from what most expect, with high prices leading to recession, and low prices leading to financial problems for oil producers and for oil exporting countries. We are really dealing with a physics problem that affects many parts of the economy at once, including wages and the financial system. I try to look at the overall problem.
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1,725 Responses to Energy limits: Why we see rising wealth disparity and low prices

  1. Don Stewart says:

    Reply formatted to gain space:
    Nick Lane gives a good discussion of the various tree branching options. He favors one, but admits that another theory is gaining evidence. Then he adds the following on page 167:

    ‘Can we think of a good reason why one cell getting inside another cell should transform the prospects of prokaryotes, unleashing the potential of eukaryotic complexity? Yes. There is a compelling reason and it relates to energy.

    The key to it all is that prokaryotes—both bacteria and archaea—are chemiosmotic (see definition below). We saw in the previous chapter how the first cells might have arisen within the rocky walls of hydrothermal vents, how natural proton gradients could have driven both carbon and energy metabolism, and why this reliance on proton gradients could have forced the deep split between bacteria and archaea. These considerations could indeed explain how chemiosmotic coupling first arose, but they do not explain why it persisted for evermore in all bacteria, all archaea, and all eukaryotes. Was it not possible for some groups to lose chemiosmotic coupling, to replace it with something else, something better?

    Some groups did. Yeasts, for example, spend much of their time fermenting, as do a few bacteria. The process of fermentation generates energy in the form of ATP, but although faster, fermentation is an inefficient use of resources. Strict fermenters soon pollute their environment, preventing themselves from growing, while their wasteful end products, such as ethanol or lactate, are fuels for other cells. Chemiosmotic cells can burn these waste products with oxygen or other substances, such as nitrate, to glean far more energy, permitting them to keep on growing for longer.

    Perhaps surprisingly, fermentation is the only known alternative to chemiosmotic coupling. All forms of respiration, all forms of photosynthesis, and indeed all forms of autotrophy, where cells grow from simple inorganic precursors only, are strictly chemiosmotic’.

    Then he ticks off the advantages of chemiosmosis:
    *Massive range of electron sources and sinks will work with the basic operating system
    *Enables the last drops of energy to be extracted
    *The proton gradients allow loose energy change to be saved and combined. ‘If it takes 10 protons to make 1 ATP, and a particular chemical reaction only releases enough energy to pump 4 protons, then the reaction can simply be repeated 3 times to pump 12 protons, 10 of which are then used to make 1 ATP. While this is strictly necessary for some forms of respiration, it is beneficial for all of us, as it allows cells to conserve small amounts of energy that would otherwise be wasted as heat. And that, almost always, gives proton gradients an edge over plain chemistry—the power of nuance.’

    He then adds other uses of protons and membranes to his list, and concludes that life elsewhere in the universe probably involves them. But the mechanism places energetic limits on bacteria and archaea.

    ‘The issue is energy availability per gene. (Sounds like Arnoux). I had been stumbling blindly towards this concept for some years, but it was the cut and thrust of conversation with Bill Martin that really brought matters to a head. After weeks of talking, trading ideas and perspectives, it suddenly dawned on us that the key to the evolution of eukaryotes lies in the simple idea of ‘energy per gene’. With overflowing excitement I spent a week scribbling calculations on the back of an envelope, in the end lots of envelopes, and finally came up with an answer that shocked us both, an answer that extrapolated from data in the literature to put a number on the energy gap that separates prokaryotes from eukaryotes. By our calculations, eukaryotes have up to 200,000 times more energy! At last we had a gulf between the two groups, a chasm that explains with visceral force why the bacteria and archaea never evolved into complex eukaryotes, and by the same token, why we are unlikely ever to meet an alien composed of bacterial cells.’

    More discussion follows, if you are interested…Don Stewart

    Chemiosmotic Coupling: the way in which energy from respiration is used to pump protons across a membrane; the flux of protons back through protein turbines in the membrane (ATP synthase) then drives the formation of ATP. So respiration is ‘coupled’ to ATP synthesis by a proton gradient.

    • Stefeun says:

      Thanks Don,
      Very interesting. Apparently off topic, but not that much ; let me explain.

      The strange-looking concept of “energy per gene” is in fact the energetic cost of activating this gene. Something else surprised me: “eukayotes have 200,000 times more energy than prokaryotes”, how is that possible?

      “The answer lies in the tiny mitochondrial genome. These genes are needed for cell respiration, and without them eukaryotic cells die. If cells get bigger and more energetic, they need more copies of these mitochondrial genes to stay alive.
      Cells compete among themselves. When living inside other cells they tend to cut corners, relying on their host cell wherever possible. Over evolutionary time, they lose unnecessary genes and become streamlined, ultimately leaving them with a tiny fraction of the genes they started out with: only the ones they really need.

      The key to complexity is that these few remaining genes weigh almost nothing. Calculate the energy needed to support a normal bacterial genome in thousands of copies and the cost is prohibitive. Do it for the tiny mitochondrial genome and the cost is easily affordable, as shown in the Nature paper. The difference is the amount of DNA that could be supported in the nucleus, not as repetitive copies of the same old genes, but as the raw material for new evolution.”

      The above is from:
      Links to other documents at the beginning of the article ; one can simply google “energy per gene” and access to several others, for example:

      Here we are: energy flows and tools to increase complexity faster, in order to adapt to moving environments, thrive and diversify (still to dissipate more and more energy).

      • Don Stewart says:

        Nick Lane gives an explanation for why ALL of the mitochondrial genes have not been transferred to the nucleus. It is because of the intensity of the energy field that is being dealt with (approximately that of a lightning bolt). Evolution has kept the remaining genes right at the scene of the action.

        Lane gives reasons why he believes that the successful endosymbiosis of a bacteria and an archaea will be ‘rare’…thus why he doesn’t expect SETI to turn up much of anything. I can’t remember his saying it this way, but perhaps bacteria and archaea are fairly common in the universe, but eukaryotes may be very rare birds indeed.

        Don Stewart

      • Don Stewart says:

        Some back of the envelope calculations by BW Hill a few months ago:
        ‘If we assume that 75% of petroleum’s energy is used to drive transportation for 7.2 billion people, on a gross energy bases that is 47,775 BTU per day per person. A person consuming 2500 calories per day is inputting 9.92 BTU.’

        So the rise of the industrial civilization increased the power available by a factor of roughly 4700. But, of course, we in the US probably got at least a factor of 10,000. So, in very round numbers, I equate the jump from bacteria and archaea to eukaryotes with the jump from a horticultural society to an industrial society. If you look at it in BTU terms, we humans went from a fraction of a BTU when we were archaea to 10 BTUs when we were hunters and gatherers. Then we jumped to maybe 10,000 BTUs when we became industrial people. Unless I have gotten my apples mixed up with my oranges, that gives some idea of the magnitudes involved.

        Don Stewart

        • Stefeun says:

          I haven’t checked precisely, but it seems to me that the jump made by microorganisms was much bigger than the one made by humans.

          If the energy ratio eukaryotes/prokaryotes is really 200,000 (astounding!), that is 5 orders of magnitude.
          According to the energy-slave theory, and if I remember correctly, it’s as if each of us had about 200 slaves, i.e. 2 orders of magnitude.

          Unfortunately it doesn’t appear clearly on E.Chaisson’s chart (and I was unable to find again W.Catton’s tables about that).

          • Don Stewart says:

            If you take 1 and multiply by 10, you get a gain of 9.
            If you take 10 and multiply by 10, you get a gain of 90.
            I am certainly no biologist, but I suspect that the absolute gain may be important, as well as the order of magnitude.

            One more thought. ALL of the eukaryotes got the big boost from the mitochondria…not just humans. Bacteria and archaea have not been affected (as populations) by scarce resources in the last few billion years (they were early in earth’s history). And the way the eukaryotes radiated out to fill niches led to what the permaculture people call ‘abundance’. The wolves fed on the buffalo which fed on the grass which was nourished by the bacteria and the fungi and the soil food web. And Marshall Sahlins looked at hunters and gatherers and found them to be ‘the original affluent society’. Of course, this is from the perspective of populations…individuals continued to be continuously selected out of the population.

            So where did scarcity come from? My guess is that increasing human population was the first driver. Rather than stay in our niche, we expanded into less favorable niches which required hard work. (e.g., Toby Hemenway’s excoriation of grinding corn between stones.) In some sense, the exploitation of fossil energy also created scarcity. While the elites in the industrial world had unimaginable riches, very large numbers of people were essentially excluded from the fossil bonanza. And we know that scarcity is as much about what the other guy has, as it is about any absolute lack.

            Don Stewart

  2. Duncan Idaho says:

    “In January I dismissed my mate’s theory that David Bowie was the glue holding the universe together but I don’t know man… I don’t know…”

    • Bill Tomson says:

      NOAA famous/infamous for manipulating data to match their leftist ideology. Can you please post from an impartial source? Any institution with ties or funding from Obama/Democrat funding is tainted, as proven countless times in past 10 years both in America and Europe. Remember when Democrat-funded research in the late 1990s said we were heading into an ice age because of carbon emissions? Not so much.

      • Volvo740 says:

        CO2 measurement is the work of one person. And he is honestly a super hero in my mind!

        • Tim Groves says:

          You are speaking of Charles David Keeling of “Keeling Curve” fame?

          I salute his courage, his diligence, and his staying power for continuing the work for so long, but he’s hardly the only person to have ever undertaken atmospheric CO2 measurement.

          There have, I understand, been somewhere around 200,000 CO2 measurements recorded going back to 1826. Most of these measurements are ignored these days as they don’t fit in with the current politicized official UN/IPCC-choreographed climate science line on CO2 as the cause of dangerous or catastrophic global warming.

          For anyone interested in exploring the history of CO2 measurement, here’s a good place to start.

      • Sungr says:

        Bill Tomson said- “NOAA famous/infamous for manipulating data to match their leftist ideology. ”

        You seem to know a lot about this. Maybe you could give us some greater details about the “leftist ideology” of NOAA?

      • InAlaska says:

        Who invited this thing into the room?

  3. psile says:

    Here we see, quite starkly, exactly the moment when economic growth as we once knew it, died…

  4. Fast Eddy says:

    My Venezuela Nightmare: A 30-Day Hunt for Food in a Starving Land

    • Rodster says:

      And this is why TPTB domesticated the global population. It makes them more reliant and subservient to those in charge. Wasn’t it Kissinger who said, “he who controls the food, controls the people”?

      The global population has gone from growing their own foods on small farms to large multinational global food corps who control the seeds to grow food and the just in time delivery system to deliver those products to Supermarkets. When this whole thing goes bang the world will turn into Venezuela within weeks if not days as the starving domesticated masses go looking for food. It won’t be pretty especially for those organic prepper farmers who think they’ll ride out the storm with their food stock.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        First they came for the dogs and cats
        And nobody stopped them
        Then they came for the barn yard animals
        And nobody stopped them
        Then the came for the wild animals
        And nobody stopped them
        Then they came for the vegetables in the garden
        And nobody stopped them
        Then they came for the tender young children
        And nobody stopped them
        Then they came for the organic farmers….

  5. Don Stewart says:

    Replying to earlier responses.

    Since I am reading Nick Lane right now, I am full of biology analogies. There are two components of energy use. One is to build a structure, and the other is to provide fuel to make the wheels turn. For a human, most of our energy goes into building structures. Lane is more focused on structures than on fuel to turn the wheels. That said, some quotes from around page 62:

    ‘The bottom line: to drive growth and reproduction–living!–some reaction must continuously release heat into the surroundings, making them more disordered. In our own case, we pay for our continued existence by releasing heat from the unceasing reaction that is respiration. The heat loss is not waste–it is strictly necessary for life to exist. The greater the heat loss, the greater the possible complexity.

    Everything that happens in a living cell is spontaneous and will take place on its own accord, given the right starting point. Delta G (Gibbs free energy) is always negative. Energetically, it’s downhill all the way. But this means that the starting point has to be very high up. To make a protein, the starting point is the improbable assembly of enough activated amino acids in a small space. They will then release energy when they join and fold to form proteins, increasing the entropy of the surroundings. Even the activated amino acids will form spontaneously, given enough suitably reactive precursors. And those suitably reactive precursors will also form spontaneously, given a highly reactive environment. Thus, ultimately, the power for growth comes from the reactivity of the environment, which fluxes continuously through living cells (in the form of food and oxygen in our case, photons of light in the case of plants). Living cells couple this continuous energy flux to growth, overcoming their tendency to break down again. They do so through ingenious structures, in part specified by genes. But whatever those structures may be, they are themselves the outcome of growth and replication, natural selection and evolution, none of which is possible in the absence of a continuous energy flux from somewhere in the environment.’

    Back to me. I see all the talk about complexity and declining marginal returns as simply indicative that the flux of energy is no longer adequate to maintain the structures which have been built to fight the natural tendency toward breaking down. If you agree that net energy, or free energy, is in peril, then the most parsimonious explanation is the ‘flux of energy’ explanation. As those structures break down, we will observe lots of things going wrong.

    Consider the Mississippi Bubble. There was no problem with the energy flux. So one can imagine that the French government MIGHT have done something to rein in the speculation and avoid the decade of financial distress which followed the bursting of the bubble. But I perceive that our current situation derives from deep physical reasons, which are not amenable to government dictates. (But we will have to see what ideas Arnoux puts on the table.) Trying to guess which of the many possible surface manifestations of the deeper problem will end up killing us is OK for those who want to do it, but I don’t think it changes much in terms of the inevitable direction. It’s sort of like disease. If one is leading a lifestyle which encourages inflammation, things are going to go badly: from leaky gut to Alzheimers to heart disease to cancer. Professional medicine, of course, tries to deal with each disease independently, but wise people adopt an anti-inflammatory life style.

    As for cleaning up pollution. The Nature that we humans have enjoyed, especially since the end of the last Ice Age, has been remarkably free of toxic waste up until the Industrial Revolution. Whatever was ‘waste’ from one process was ‘food’ for another process. Even the ‘waste heat’ helped to warm the planet and keep it habitable. The 40 to 1 ratio (which I don’t claim is precisely what we might expect in an eco-friendly industrial process) is simply an indicator of what Nature has been able to achieve after billions of years of evolution. Thus, if ALL waste glass and metals and building materials and electronic components and such HAD TO BE recycled, then we would probably spend about as much on recycling as we spent to make them in the first place. Which doubles the required energy. Therefore, initial EROEI has to be high enough to also pay for the recycling. 40 to 1 might be a reasonable first approximation.

    Don Stewart

    • Stefeun says:

      At first glance, I tend to agree with all you quote from Nick Lane.

      As for the rest of your comment, I think I’ve already given my opinion, for EROEI being uncomplete metrics that can lead to misjudgements about the reactions of the system as a whole (here:,

      and for energy input not being our only -not even main- concern, a few minutes ago in a reply to Richard (here:

      Regarding recyclability, I think it’s a complex issue that covers a lot of ground, with a great diversity depending on the material you consider and what you want to do. When doing something is possible… For example I wonder what is reasonably possible to recycle from our cellphones that are made of almost all the elements of the periodic table, some in tiny amounts and/or melted.
      By the way, my gut feeling is that -at least for high-tech devices- it would take (much?) more energy to separate and refine the componenets separately, than it has taken for initial production.

      Anyway, to improve recyclability means to produce low-tech devices that can be fixed by anyone with local resources, and modify our processes so that “waste from one = food for another” as you say. Needless to say we’re not taking this direction, and any significant attempt would likely tend to crash BAU even sooner.

      • Don Stewart says:

        I can’t see much point in further discussion. Just one little teaser. An acheaen cell added a bacteria (what we now call a mitochondria) and eukaryotes were born and flourished. Our agrarian ancestors added fossil energy and everything changed.

        If the mitochondria were to vanish, or even become impaired, then the eukaryotes (including us) would vanish again and the bacteria and the archaea would survey their kingdom. What happens to our current set of industrial humans if fossil energy disappears?

        Here is Tad Patzek’s take on the subject:

        Tad is the former head of the Petroleum Engineering Department at the U of Texas, now working in Saudi Arabia. Tad thinks there will be a great vacuum in Britain…perhaps lebensraum for all you French?
        Don Stewart

        • richard says:

          Hmmm interesting link Terra Preta (Black Soil)

          “Terra preta owes its characteristic black color to its weathered charcoal content,[2] and was made by adding a mixture of charcoal, bone, and manure to the otherwise relatively infertile Amazonian soil. A product of indigenous soil management and slash-and-char agriculture,[3] the charcoal is very stable and remains in the soil for thousands of years, binding and retaining minerals and nutrients.”
          “Charcoal’s high absorption potential of organic molecules (and of water) is due to its porous structure.[7] Terra preta’s great quantity of charcoal supports a high concentration of organic matter (on average three times more than in the surrounding poor soils.”

        • Stefeun says:

          OK Don,
          Thanks for Patzek’s article, not read yet.

          Just in case you didn’t see this one (don’t miss the superb drawing of the tree):

          A New Tree of Life

      • Don Stewart says:

        I said i would stop discussing this point. But then I was looking something up and came across this post that I had forgotten about. BW Hill is the poster, in response to someone on Peak Oil:

        ‘Because they are economists we must accept their decision as to what the EROI is. The problem is that don’t state as to where they calculated the EROI number. EROI is a time and place dependent variable. For instance the ERoEI (energy returned on energy invested at the well head) for the average world producer is presently 8.9:1. For the average consumer it is 1.56:1. Our calculations show that at the present return rate for solar it would take approximately 30 years to break even on an energy bases. In 5 years that will be reduced to 6 to 8 years. The reason for the discrepancy in time frames is basically because the EROI of solar is going up, while the EROI of petroleum is going down.’

        I don’t know what ‘time and place’ Mearns was using for his graph. The difference between measuring for the producer and the consumer is related to the recent dispute between Bardi and Hall over some very low numbers for solar generated by Hall. Hall calls the method he used ‘extended EROEI’, which is pretty close to Hill’s definition of EROI from the consumers point of view. I took a look at the issue they were addressing and concluded that Hall was correct and Bardi was wrong. Hill agreed, but said some nice things about Bardi’s long history of contributing to the discussion.

        I think it goes back to the old scientific principle of knowing what you are measuring and why you are measuring it. As with GDP, people have a tendency to take a measurement and then use it for purposes for which it is ill-suited.

        For example, the issue of solar tends to become politicized. People try to generate low or high EROI numbers in order to support their political position. The better procedure is to look at the alternatives at different times and places, as Hill suggests. Take, for example, Hill’s statement that solar will be a better choice than oil in the years ahead because of the depletion of oil and the continuing innovation in solar. Those who want to argue that ‘solar can’t save us’ take immediate umbrage. But Hill has NOT claimed that solar can keep BAU going…merely that one can get a better return with solar than with oil. If solar is the best that can be done in, say, 2025, and if what solar can do in 2025 is significantly different than BAU, then one can take appropriate measures, having been warned.

        Don Stewart

        • Don Stewart says:

          If you are listening to Arnoux, he refers to the ‘critical 10 to 1 EROEI’. I am sure Hill would criticize all of us for imprecise language, but I think Arnoux is referring to something like this:
          10 to 1 as measured for the producer
          but near one as measured for the consumer

          Which gets us back to the argument between Bardi and Hall. One was measuring oranges, the other apples. Hill, because of the way he assembled his model, can estimate EROIs from a variety of perspectives. What he usually quotes is from a social and economic perspective, and doesn’t usually involve the words EROI or EROEI. So, for example, ‘in 2012 the control of oil price passed from the cost of production to the ability of the economy to generate the money to pay for the oil’. The perceptive reader can flesh that statement out by looking at a variety of other factors, such as the various EROIs.

          Don Stewart

    • Artleads says:

      My aesthetic guidance system tells me that any process that is “ugly” should be avoided.
      Everyone has the possibility of decided what is ugly for themself. If we are thinking on a bigger scale than what the individual can significantly affect, the scale is too big.

      I personally do what is inaccurately called “recycling.” What I do is more akin to “reuse” and “repurposing.” Occasionally, to “upcycling.” We use art and culture to reformat existing industrial detritus. We minimize the use of technology (such as grinding things up, usually at massive scale, and for futile endeavors).

      • Froggman says:

        “When I am working on a problem I never think about beauty, buy when I am finished if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.”. R Buckminster Fuller

    • yup—as Ive tried to point out elsewhere to the downsizers and recyclers—you cannot make anything without heat.

      • Stefeun says:

        I disagree, Norman,
        WE humans have based everything in our thermo-industrial civilization on fire and heat, so your assumption is correct for what concerns our artificial stuff.

        But if you look at how Nature proceeds, heat is almost never used per se as main and mandatory energy input. Almost everything is based on chemical reactions.
        Now, the problem is that natural processes are very subtle and complex, and we’re not able to imitate them for the key-parts of our organization (refining of metals, transport and all spinning machines).
        We’re much more successful at burning everything we can.
        As long as we find enough things to burn…

        • Ert says:

          Isn’t “burning” also a “chemical reaction” ?!? 😉

          • Stefeun says:

            Yes Ert,
            You’re right, it’s not as black or white as I presented it (for sake of the argument).

            But heat is the lowest form/quality of energy.
            Then, from heat you can upgrade, but with disastrous efficiencies.
            Moreover, heat is free energy, i.e. the part you don’t use is just lost (as waste heat).

            If you keep your available energy as a storable high quality form, and then use/degrade only the quantity required for a given process, you get -all included- much better efficiencies, compared to burning all you have, recuperate what you can for the purpose you want to acheive, and lose the rest as waste heat.
            For instance, an internal combustion engine transforms only about 30% of the BTUs contained in the gasoline into mechanical work. And almost all our man-made processes are in the same range of (in-)efficency, as we’re using heat as a starting point in all of them (or we convert into heat, and then, from heat, do our job).

          • but for the past 10k years, we have not been content to live under nature’s rules

            or looked at another way—1m years if you factor in fire making

            • Stefeun says:

              Yes Norman,
              No doubt this wasteful method have us a huge advantage over other species.

              It also made us generate entropy by several orders of magnitude more, not taking into account the finiteness of our world. That’s what we’re dealing with today (just undergo, actually).

            • tHE eVIL sMART says:

              Rulz – that’s a good point. Convictions cause convicts.


  6. Fast Eddy says:

    Honeywell Internal Email Shows Airplane Boom Time Over, More Layoffs Coming

    A Mish reader who works at Honeywell informed me last week that a huge slowdown was coming in the aerospace/aircraft business.

    I now have the internal memo from Tim Mahoney, Chief Executive Officer of Honeywell Aerospace, with comments from the reader who went through a similar layoff and forced furlough situation last November as well.

    Obviously, things have not improved.

    Honeywell Employee “HE” writes

    Hi Mish,

    Here’s a heads up for you regarding upcoming aerospace layoffs.

    We got word a few days ago that Honeywell is planning a new “reduction in force”, which is the company’s PC term for layoffs. We received an e-mail indicating that the action is coming up in August, where employees have been solicited to voluntarily apply to participate.

    This is a repeat of the situation that made the news last November in which Honeywell announced At Least 1,000 Phoenix Valley Workers to Lose Jobs following mandatory holiday furloughs.

    In March, the Seattle Times reported Boeing Cuts Could Reach 10 Percent.

    History is about to repeat. Layoffs for the entire industry are coming because business is in a huge slow down.


    • Part of the problem is low oil prices. If prices were high, buyers could justify new planes on the hope that they would be more fuel efficient. If prices are low, they can just use the ones they have.

      • Volvo740 says:

        Same goes for Volvo 740/940 series!!!

          • Volvo740 says:

            Thanks for sharing! I had no idea. “Incredibly, a large number (maybe nearly all?) of those Volvos are still around.” That is less of a surprise.

            The 140 series became the 240 and later 740 and 940. The Engines labeled B for “Bensin” (petrol/gas) were introduced in the 122 which was the predecessor to the 140 and the B18, 1800cc, has a legendary reputation for longevity. ( )

            One of the reasons for this was the modest power output of 68 hp and a very well designed engine. What I find interesting (and this is probably not unique to Volvo or even the car industry) was that they needed a new business model since the cars were a bit too durable and too simple to work on.

            And pretty much ever since (and this is just my personal opinion) Volvo and other car makers have dropped the quality and made cars less serviceable. Though ride quality is up.

            The other piece that I find interesting is the dishonesty in the sales process of newer cars. Of course MPG is not a complete picture about the cost of running a car. Depreciation is certainly the largest cost for new cars, and after that comes insurance. (Unless you’re one of those logging 100,000 miles in 4 years…which of course you shouldn’t do because that’s BAD for the environment…) Upkeep may rival the fuel cost, and INTERESTINGLY the LESS you drive the less of an issue the MPG is.

            So as we descend into the tail end of industrial civilization some people may save themselves a lot of trouble by finding some love in this world of ripped seats and sagging headliners.

            I also have been on the cutting edge of e-biking… I built a brand new cargo bike up from a frame, and electrified it with a high end kit. A bit of bad luck caused me to have to buy a replacement motor, and… well even though I reused what I could and sew my own bags, and built my own child seat that came to $4000.

            I logged many many miles on that bike and in some partnership in heaven found a buyer, but at the end of the day I get 3 Volvos for the price of a new e-bike. And that’s hard to beat! (And I’m still waiting for Steve from Virginia to post a picture of him hauling a 4×6 by 10ft beam on a bike!) Oh, and how about some concrete blocks as well while you’re still at Home Depot! Just kidding!

  7. DJ says:

    Regarding complexity.

    I minor traffic accident broke an important Swedish bridge. More than 40000 vehicles a day. It will take at least two months to repair.

    Apparently some I-beams has to be manufactured far away and shipped there. In my childish mind this is something two welders would do in an afternoon, but no, several months despite being one of the countrys more important bridges.

    A minor accident. Isolated. During BAU.

    • Welcome to the future, have noticed similar events around me as well.

      But unlike FE, I think we will get an intermediate phase of patch up work and triage first (perhaps of 2-3decades of duration and highly regionalized). Simply, one area of infrastructure forced into abandonment in favor of other living a few more years. Obviously, in reality this will have various “unseen” ricocheting and spillover effects into the cascading complexities failures of our society. It also depends on what factions and in what order take over in this period.. most likely societies at the end of the energy supply line will perform in very chaotic manner.. however e.g. parts of Russia and NAmerica could soldier on somewhat into the future.

      • psile says:

        During the next three decades we will require the burning of as much energy as our species has consumed during the course of its entire existence, just to stand still. Since we know that this is impossible without a lot of bad shit happening it’s obvious then that the end of world has been ordained for sometime between now, and 2050.

    • Volvo740 says:

      Sweden loves complexity. Think of the bi-annual inspection of cars. Pretty costly. Brakes have to be at 100% efficiency with close to 0 rust in a salt using country. Of course the idea is to save lives, but honestly freeing up some cash while also reducing stress on families that NEED a car would have some benefits.

    • Thanks1 I have heard of high tech trains being taken out of service because one of the doors won’t close properly, and the manufacturer is overseas–will take a while to supply spare parts. Even worse if the manufacturer went broke.

  8. Don Stewart says:

    Looking a little more into Arnoux, I found this old essay from 2009 in Australia:
    ‘Let’s be clear: at zero net energy, everything grinds to a halt. Of course, one never gets to such a point as all structures begin to break down well before reaching that fated mark. Such collapses have happened before concerning individual civilisations. The novelty is in the matter being global this time round. This situation is far more radical than so-called climate change or a mere ‘financial crisis’; either are mere facets and consequences of the overall energy dynamics.’

    It’s interesting that, back in 2009, Arnoux expected net energy to reach zero by 2030 or no later than 2040, which is remarkably consistent with BW Hill’s model. I’ll also point out that while the ultimate cause of the collapse may be net energy loss, the proximate cause is likely to be something more mundane such as a credit crisis or riots in the street or global warfare.

    At the risk of overkill, I would like to refer to Nick Lane one more time. Lane shows how our usual ideas about ‘evolutionary trees’ are just wrong. We now understand that any particular species may well be made up of both bacterial and archeal antecedents. It’s not one or the other, it’s both.

    As I stated many times in my previous life on this blog, it is possible to have financial panics when there is no underlying energy reason for the panic. As far as I know, there was no energy motive for either the Tulip Mania or the Mississippi Bubble. But, at the present time, I agree with Arnoux that the underlying cause is net energy (or free energy). Gail seems to be convinced that we have plenty of energy, and so the problem must be something else. The commenters at Oil Price likewise do not accept that there is any energy problem. Hill and Arnoux think there is an energy problem. Hill hopes that some remnants of civilization can survive. Arnoux seems, from the statements in Part 1, to be a little more optimistic…but time is short. We’ll see what he says.

    To claim that our current problems are ONLY caused by energy issues would give a wrong impression. The behavior of the neo-liberal governments and the Central Banks must certainly have played a role. If more conservative governments had been in place, then things would be playing out differently. But the underlying problems would still be there. Net energy is declining and our world must, necessarily, change.

    And so we get Arnoux’s assessment:

    ‘I tend to think that Gail is not familiar enough with the thermodynamics of large, complex systems operating far from equilibrium, especially that of the Globalised Industrial System (GIW). However, I admire her ways of nonetheless analysing critically the statistics she is handling to arrive at what are often in my view very sharp conclusions.’

    You pay your money and you take your choice….Don Stewart

  9. Kevin says:

    If all this is accurate, when do you expect to see the resulting sharp global depression? Or do you expect the economy to just slowly decline with gradual population and quality of life losses?

    This is pretty depressing stuff. I commend you for telling the truth the way you see it, but, damn. I’m 26 and feeling pretty hopeless about the future

    • Don Stewart says:

      I don’t know if you are asking me. But if you are, I would suggest going to Jim Kunstler’s web site and checking out his interview with Alice Friedeman

      Take a look at the calculations Louis Arnoux does where he turns current debt into required energy. What do you think will happen IF and WHEN people figure out that the debts will never be paid? I personally think we can count on the strong urge toward denial for a while, but I suspect that one fine Friday, everything will fall apart.

      If you are 26, things look a lot sunnier from one perspective. I spent this morning on the lawn at my food co-op listening to music and getting my baby fix for the week (along with puppies). Sitting on a blanket in front of me on the ground a father was playing with his six month old. The baby was happily making baby noises. I wouldn’t trade 10 minutes of that for 10 years of life as an old guy of 75. Just personal opinion. You have to make your own choices.

      Don Stewart

    • Volvo740 says:

      It’s not worth reading about this if it makes you feel hopeless/depressed. Apparently lots of climeate scientists pop pills also to deal with the facts. But I think that many in the prepper community feel good about their actions, and maybe doing whatever they are doing serves as some kind of therapy? I think there is a way to turn your feelings into action and work out of it.

      One way might be to start repairing your old car and get some parts for it, rather than leasing a new one… Just sayin…

      my 2c..

      • Stefeun says:

        Volvo, (and Kevin)

        Let me disagree with your suggestion: IMO, to try to forget an unpleasant issue or hide it, is the worst method to deal with it.
        As you say, some take pills, it’s the best way to create unneeded new problems and soon be overwhelmed.

        Once something is learned, it’s part of your reality, and you therefore have to integrate it in your own narrative/mental model, “accept the pain”, and try to turn it into a help for taking better decisions, for example, but never let it aside and untouched, as a permanent threat that will inevitably materialize if you let it grow up. My 2 cents psychology…

        I’d recommend to get help from people of “your category”, who have already thought about the issue and the best way to deal with it. I’m thinking of guys like td0s or Dave Pollard, there are certainly quite a few others.
        For what it’s worth…

        • xabier says:

          Get depressed or get deep into something worthwhile, that’s the choice.

          I recently read an excellent account of life at the very end of WW2 during the German Occupation and Allied invasion of Italy, Tuscany: ‘War in the Val D’Orca’ by Iris Origo.

          She observed that when they were deep in plans and preparations – she was trying to save a group of 20 small children as well as survive herself – they were in quite good spirits and optimistic.

          However, when they had lost their refuge, stores, and all their careful plans had gone wrong, and it became a matter of waiting on events with no real plans to make, that’s when the strain started to tell.

          • Stefeun says:

            Plans never work “as planned”, anyway.
            Better focus on having best possible state of mind, and stay open to opportunities (and not try to stick to any pre-defined strategy, actually).

      • Artleads says:

        Repairing old things is an excellent thing to do!

    • A Real Black Person says:


      This is the reason why it’s not discussed–because it is depressing to people. It’s depressing because most people spend most of their lives preparing for certain things and feel like they are entitled to a happy ending…or at least compensation for their work. Many people have bought into the modern belief system of Progress, that the future will be better than the past. To have someone tell them that the opposite is true, is depressing if they accept it. I think Progress should be considered a religion at this point. It has sacred texts, rituals and prophets.

      “when do you expect to see the resulting sharp global depression?” I would recommend that you read a lot more before you ask questions. I’ll give you a freebie, though. No one can accurately predict when anything will happen because the global economy is complex. A sharp global depression would most likely end civilization.The Powers That Be are doing everything they can to avoid a “sharp” depression. What we have have now is slow growth but slow growth is becoming more difficult to maintain.

      Collapse may not happen in your lifetime. The bad news is , if you have children, it WILL happen in their lifetime and they will most likely be unprepared. If they are somehow prepared, you might have some reason to have hope that they may survive. Preparation for a post-collapse world is difficult for several reasons but some wealthy people are hoping they can survive it. Some people who are aware of impeding collapse don’t want to survive it or aren’t hoping on surviving it, if it happens. They are making the best of the time they have now.

      What bothers me is the loss of knowledge that will follow if the human race survives this. If humans survive this, which may doom us to repeat our mistakes.

      • A Real Black Person says:

        When I say” it may not happen in your lifetime” the assumption I made is that you won’t be living to eighty years to a hundred years. Life expectancy may decline before collapse and you may not live longer than the average person in Bangladesh, Brazil, or , say, Haiti.

      • Artleads says:

        “What bothers me is the loss of knowledge that will follow if the human race survives this.”

        I suspect it’s easier to lose knowledge if you don’t know it’s important to retain it. Who is trying to retain knowledge, and how could they be better at it? What forces are eroding knowledge?

        • Stefeun says:

          Interesting topic…
          “As humanity has evolved, our methods of recording information have become ever more ephemeral,” he said. “Clay tablets last longer than books. And who today can read an 8-inch floppy?” he shrugged. “If we put everything on electronic media, will those records exist in a million years? The fossils will.”

          • Artleads says:

            Very interesting (and scary). I wonder what the correlation of population size is to growing fragility of records. It almost seems that as our numbers increase, so too does the fragility of our records. So I don’t get the impression that tablets compare in volume of information to paper. Paper is inferior to tablets, but there’s a lot more on paper than tablets and that we today can use? So paper is the middle ground between the ideal past and the crazy (ephemeral) present?

            How do we best store the contents of the Library of Congress? Just one issue among many.

        • Stefeun says:

          Artleads, ARBP,

          Most of our knowledge is related to our technology, and will therefore be useless in the future, since current technology won’t be available anymore.

          I’m afraid the survivors, if any, will have to build up their own culture, adapted to their environment and possibilities.

          That fits with dissipative structures theory, since information is a sort of capital, a stored potential of energy.
          Thus, the informational corpus has to be adapted to the self-organized structure it “lives in”, otherwise it isn’t used and eventually disappears, anyway.

          • rather like da vinci—who figured out that powered flight was possible, but it was 500 years before an engine became available

          • richard says:

            While I wouldn’t care to guarantee that all the information we presently have will be around in 100 year’s time and readable, thirty years doesn’r seem too much of a stretch:

          • Artleads says:

            “Most of our knowledge is related to our technology, and will therefore be useless in the future, since current technology won’t be available anymore.”

            We tend to be short sighted, and often not to know what will or won’t be useful in the future. Like pulling up old railway lines to make walking trails, only to find when things get dire that some antiquated trains on those lines would be more practical than trails. Not the greatest example…but just to give an idea. Our culture is mired in the religion of the new. When there’s a new invention, we throw out the old technology. Thus has been the fate of nearly all the machinery that could operate without fossil fuels. Gone. With unbelievable craftsmanship and embedded energy along with it.

            I would suggest saving EVERYTHING, however useless it seems, and making that archive one of the pillars of education. How were those old “useless” things built, and why? What was the manufacturing process? What could be replicated today if it had to be?

            Maybe I’m alone on this, but I’d like to see Museum Earth. Otherwise, we continue with our collective amnesia to the end.

      • Stilgar Wilcox says:

        “No one can accurately predict when anything will happen because the global economy is complex. A sharp global depression would most likely end civilization.The Powers That Be are doing everything they can to avoid a “sharp” depression. What we have have now is slow growth but slow growth is becoming more difficult to maintain.”

        Well put, a real black person. It’s pretty clear every desperate financial effort has and continues to be made to avoid another sharp recession like the one that got started in 08. Once they start tossing helicopter $ to the ravenous hoards, mark you calendar because it won’t be long before that money is worthless. Then collapse is unavoidable and cataclysmic, but when that may occur? Like you say, no one can accurately predict when.

      • Tim Groves says:

        What bothers many people is the loss of all their Facebook and Pinterest pictures or their tweets once the Internet goes dark. It’s simply too grim to contemplate.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        26? Unless you get hit by a bus… this is definitely happening in your lifetime.

        The central banks are in total desperation mode — in spite of trillions of stimulus profits continue to fall – banks are in big big trouble — layoffs are happening…. deflationary pressures are building….

        Difficult to put a time on this — but when it does go it will crash and burn very rapidly.

        • richard says:

          ” deflationary pressures are building….”
          If there is less “stuff” and more money, there will be price inflation.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            When people have no jobs – or low paying jobs – they buy less. That is the reality.

            When companies lay off people they buy less… when these companies eventually collapse they will layoff more people

            Laid off people by very little

            There will be a deflationary collapse – due to collapsing demand

            You need to get your head around the fact that this time is different

          • psile says:

            We have more things and more debt, leading to an eventual crack up boom deflationary event. I fully expect the DOW to be at 30,000, apples to cost $17 a piece and a cardboard shack under a pier in San Francisco or Sydney to be be valued at $4m by then!

            • richard says:

              more debt = more money, collateral? not so much …

            • InAlaska says:

              “a cardboard shack under a pier in San Francisco or Sydney to be be valued at $4m by then!” Well, they say that location is everything!

          • Volvo740 says:

            It’s the “more money” piece that’s weird, since some claim (I think rightly) that all money is debt. But it does seem that there is an enormous effort going into continuously having prices increase. And it’s pretty obvious why. If that dishwasher that’s 499 today is 450 next year, would’t you hold off on the purchase?

            • richard says:

              “It’s the “more money” piece that’s weird,”
              I kinda like weird, but you have a problem creating debt|money|credit at 20% interest on your credit card and not noticing debt is increasing?
              Now, _that’s_ weird.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              I think the concern not so much retail prices … rather commodity prices…

              We see what happens when the price of oil or copper or iron collapses … entire industries are threatened.

      • xabier says:

        I wouldn’t worry one bit about the loss of most knowledge.

        It’s painful, of course, to think of the loss of the real beauties of our civilization, but that is of secondary importance and ephemeral, like so much of what we know and enjoy.

        We live in the Realm of Pain and Loss, a fact we try to forget or ignore.

        Knowledge, real Knowledge, renews itself from the Source. It is always accessible.

        Until that phase itself passes away……

        • Fast Eddy says:

          Our big brains are what caused this problem … what is needed is a mass lobotomization of the human population done at birth post BAU ….or perhaps a selective breeding programme with the stupidest people being matched up and death to anyone showing initiative or ingenuity.

          We need to get humans down to the intellectual capacity of a a chimp… or a pig… maybe a dog… or a dolphin….

          • doomphd says:

            That was the premise in the classic movie “Planet of the Apes”. The chimps were trying to keep the humans under control, because the El-der chimps knew what they were capable of doing. Once lobotomized, the humans made great slaves.

          • tHE eVIL sMART says:

            What you mean OUR? The typical human is ein Dummkopf. Take 2-300 of the smartest people out of history and what do you have? – mudhuts!!

            So we have to eliminate the Smart!! – It’s a start!

    • Fast Eddy says:

      I feel totally hopeless about the future…. the way I deal with it is I make the most of the present.

      I think of it this way: it’s as if I went to the doctor for a checkup – and he told me Fast – you have at best a few years to live – probably less – that’s the bad news — but the good news is you will feel great right up to the last day….

      When this tips over I will have not a single regret about how I have lived life since I became aware….

      If I were 26 … I’d scrape together every cent I could … and I’d head out on a global backpacking trip.

      • hawkeye says:

        Fast Eddy wrote:

        “If I were 26 … I’d scrape together every cent I could … and I’d head out on a global backpacking trip.”

        Ah, yes. Climb Kilimanjaro, drift over the Serengeti in a hot air balloon, dip your hand in the Trevi fountain, wander through the ruins of the Baths of Caracalla, wonder at the hand made architecture of old Kyoto, be astounded at the army of Terracotta warriors near Xi’an. Nepal, Tibet, India,Tikal, Palenque, the Pyramid of the Sun, the Pyramids of Giza… The Amazonas, Machu Picchu… oh my, so much to see, so little time. Empires always rise and fall.

        And then there’s beauty in your own backyard, the National Parks, State wildlife areas, maybe your community. Find a love, lose a love, revel in the wonder of it all.

        “Don’t the hours grow shorter as the days go by
        You never get to stop and open our eyes
        One minute you’re waiting for the sky to fall
        The next you’re dazzled by the beauty of it all
        Lovers in a dangerous time

        These fragile bodies of touch and taste
        This fragrant skin this hair like lace
        Spirits open to the thrust of grace
        Never a breath you can afford to waste
        Lovers in a dangerous time

        When you’re lovers in a dangerous time
        Sometimes you’re made to feel as if your love’s a crime
        Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight
        Got to kick at the darkness ’til it bleeds daylight
        When you’re lovers in a dangerous time

        We were lovers in a dangerous time”

        -Bruce Cockburn


        • Fast Eddy says:

          I’m sipping Flor De Caña and lime juice, it’s three a.m.
          Blow a fruit fly off the rim of my glass
          The radio’s playing Superchunk and the friends of Dean Martinez

          Midnight it was bike tires whacking the pot holes
          Milling humans’ shivering energy glow
          Fusing the space between them with bar-throb bass and laughter

          If this were the last night of the world
          What would I do?
          What would I do that was different
          Unless it was champagne with you?

          I learned as a child not to trust in my body
          I’ve carried that burden through my life
          But there’s a day when we all have to be pried loose

          If this were the last night of the world
          What would I do?
          What would I do that was different
          Unless it was champagne with you?

          I’ve seen the flame of hope among the hopeless
          And that was truly the biggest heartbreak of all
          That was the straw that broke me open

          If this were the last night of the world

          Read more: Bruce Cockburn – Last Night Of The World

    • I think we are already seeing the “front edge” of the collapse that is coming, with Trump and other fringe type candidates up for election around the world, the vote of the UK to leave the European, and the attacks on the police (and the fighting in France). Increasing wage disparity is causing a lot of these problems. Also, debt defaults are starting to rise, but haven’t really hit a peak level yet. I am expecting that things will gradually, or not so gradually, fall apart. For example, we are likely to see big banks fail in Europe, without good ways to bail them out. China’s problems will become more apparent, as oil Japan’s.

      I keep thinking things will happen quickly, but “quickly” may still mean a few more years, when it comes to banks in the US, and some of the other critical parts of the infrastructure.

      I am not sure that there is a whole lot we can do, except continue to live our life as we would otherwise live it, and appreciate every minute we have. We have most things better than any previous generation had things. We can continue to enjoy our friends, and even getting married. In previous generations, many people died very young–for example, a lot of young women died in child birth. Now we have mostly figured out a way around that problem.

      I suppose a few people can become “preppers” and try to see if they can figure out how to get around all of these problem. But doing so takes a lot of resources, such as land, tools, and spare time. For most of us, it just doesn’t work. Without a lot of fossil fuel “help,” the return on your energy expended tends to be pretty low.

      • Wow! Outstanding summary, Gayle.

        Just can’t see the internet blogging thing going as the collapse picks up speed. But don’t know how they sill stop it.

        Anyway, I have this strong believe that, looking back in a very near future, power will regret letting the internet be this free.

      • richard says:

        We are living through an amazing time, and yes, we despite what some here promote, even the worst likely outcomes may be a great deal better than the experiences of earlier generations.
        That said, we could have made wiser choices after LTG was published in 1974, but we didn’t. It’s one thing to see a negative number now for 2017, but understanding what it means is a totally different thing. The ability of people to look at the same facts and reach opposing views – it’s an ongoing surprise. Everybody sees things differently.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          ‘we could have made wiser choices after LTG was published in 1974’

          Anyone have any suggestions as to what we could have done better?

          • hkeithhenson says:

            “Anyone have any suggestions as to what we could have done better?”

            Yes. Had TPTB decided to go with space development and power satellites back when LtG was first out there, we would not be in the carbon and energy fix we are today.

            Is there still time to go into space and fix carbon and energy problems? Perhaps.

            • Fast Eddy says:


              The SBSP concept also has a number of problems:

              The large cost of launching a satellite into space

              Inaccessibility: Maintenance of an earth-based solar panel is relatively simple, but construction and maintenance on a solar panel in space would typically be done telerobotically.

              In addition to cost, astronauts working in GEO orbit are exposed to unacceptably high radiation dangers and risk and cost about one thousand times more than the same task done telerobotically.

              The space environment is hostile; panels suffer about 8 times the degradation they would on Earth (except at orbits that are protected by the magnetosphere).[38]

              Space debris is a major hazard to large objects in space, and all large structures such as SBSP systems have been mentioned as potential sources of orbital debris.[39]

              The broadcast frequency of the microwave downlink (if used) would require isolating the SBSP systems away from other satellites. GEO space is already well used and it is considered unlikely the ITU would allow an SPS to be launched.[40]

              The large size and corresponding cost of the receiving station on the ground.[citation needed]

              Energy losses during several phases of conversion from “photon to electron to photon back to electron,” as Elon Musk has stated.[41]

              Have you seen this Keith? That’s your dream going up in flames….


              In case you hadn’t noticed we can’t even make solar work on earth because sand blows onto the panels….. the potential problems with trying to operate panels in space are a thousand times more complex …

              Feel free to ignore the enormous costs involved with this …. feel free to keep imagining … if you can imagine it – it can be real!

            • hkeithhenson says:


              The SBSP concept also has a number of problems:”

              No kidding. I have worked on them for over 40 years. It’s been single digit months since we cut about $18 B off the cost and made the business case solid.

              “The large cost of launching a satellite into space”

              If we can’t get the cost down to around 1% of the current cost to launch comm sats, the business case (power cheaper than coal) doesn’t close. Fortunately, it looks like Skylon at high flight rates and electric propulsion from LEO up will get the cost to under $200/kg.

              “Inaccessibility: Maintenance of an earth-based solar panel is relatively simple, but construction and maintenance on a solar panel in space would typically be done telerobotically.”

              If you use solar panels at all. Alternate choices are thermal, either steam cycle or supercritical CO2. Another is concentrated PV. You can just buy 40% efficient multi junction cells now. The drawback for space applications is that they need cooling. But it turns out that cooling isn’t hard using low pressure steam as the heat transfer fluid.

              “In addition to cost, astronauts working in GEO orbit are exposed to unacceptably high radiation dangers and risk and cost about one thousand times more than the same task done telerobotically.”

              The current scheme is to build the power satellites in the low radiation zone between the belts at about 12,000 km. But the radiation isn’t likely to persist. Even if we don’t do anything to drain the belts, the presence of a lot of mass will drain the belts anyway. There is only 3 kg of trapped protons in the belts. Running into a number of 30,000 ton power satellites is going to stop the lot of them.

              “The space environment is hostile; panels suffer about 8 times the degradation they would on Earth (except at orbits that are protected by the magnetosphere).[38]”

              PV lasts 20 plus years on comm sats. But who cares? There are plenty of better ways to convert steady sunlight into electric power.

              “Space debris is a major hazard to large objects in space, and all large structures such as SBSP systems have been mentioned as potential sources of orbital debris.[39]”

              Space debris is the reason we can’t build power satellites in LEO and fly them out to GEO under their own power. I have run the models and they get hit typically 39 times on the way up. But almost all the space junk is below 2000 km. Boeing figured this out back in the 70s.

              “The broadcast frequency of the microwave downlink (if used) would require isolating the SBSP systems away from other satellites. GEO space is already well used and it is considered unlikely the ITU would allow an SPS to be launched.[40]”

              Power satellites don’t need the same separation needed for comm sats. 2.45 GHz is already allocated for industrial use. But if there were to be massive problems, then it would come down to making a choice between solving energy and carbon vs space communications.

              “The large size and corresponding cost of the receiving station on the ground.[citation needed]”

              For 2.45, the rectenna is about 10 km E/W and 14 km NS at 45 deg north or south. Cost for a 5 GW rectenna has been estimated at $200/kW or a billion dollars for 5 GW. It’s about one part in 12 of the overall cost.

              “Energy losses during several phases of conversion from “photon to electron to photon back to electron,” as Elon Musk has stated.[41]”

              End to end it’s 50%. Given that we start with 5 times the sunlight of the best deserts, it’s still 2.5 to one better. That’s about the advantage SBSP has over ground solar before you add storage and transmission.

              “Have you seen this Keith?”

              You have posted it perhaps a dozen times.

              “That’s your dream going up in flames….”

              If we can’t answer objections serious and silly to the concept, then we have no business doing it.

              “In case you hadn’t noticed we can’t even make solar work on earth because sand blows onto the panels…..”

              That’s one problem we _don’t_ have in space.

              “the potential problems with trying to operate panels in space are a thousand times more complex”

              Even though I don’t think they are the best approach, you should know that there are hundreds of satellites up there converting sunlight into microwaves and beaming it down to your satellite TV.

              “Feel free to ignore the enormous costs involved with this …. feel free to keep imagining … if you can imagine it – it can be real!”

              If you want enormous cost, consider what the US spent on the Iraq (oil) war.

              What is it worth to get off fossil fuels and on cheaper solar energy from space? I asked a guy whose card reads “Executive Office of the President, Office of Management and Budget” last week at the ISSR&D conference here in San Diego. His reply was “a lot,” along with considerable advice on how to get started through the political process.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Yes Keith … I can imagine that you and your Google+ group are going to fix these problems…

              ‘If you want enormous cost, consider what the US spent on the Iraq (oil) war.’

              Enormous cost as in the cost per KW hour…. the cost of launching and OPERATING such a system …. as in the energy required to for such a project would be many many times more than the energy such a system would produce…

              We’ve all seen how expensive renewable energy has been to produce on earth – and you are proposing to do it in outer space. You are adding exponential levels of complexities to what is already a complex system that does not work and should not exist.

              In case you had not noticed… we have loads of fossil fuels under the ground…. enough for me to make it to the ripe old age of 80…

              But that is not going to happen — because they cost too much to find, extract and refine.

              We need cheap energy Keith — what you are proposing is utter nonsense. It would be outrageously expensive.

              Do you seriously believe all of this or are you trolling us?

            • hkeithhenson says:

              “Enormous cost as in the cost per KW hour…. the cost of launching and OPERATING such a system …. ”

              The last time Boeing engineers scoped out the cost was in 2009. They were using the standard cost for expendable rockets and came up with a cost estimate of $145/watt, or $145,000/kW. Using the LCOE factor of 80,000, this comes in at just a bit over $1.80 a kWh. That is a non-starter.

              “as in the energy required to for such a project would be many many times more than the energy such a system would produce…”

              It turns out that the energy is repaid in about 3 months. I have run through the calculation before. If you want I can do it again. Most of the energy used is in the hydrogen. At full production it takes an awful lot of hydrogen, made from LNG, about half the LNG now on the market. However, there is several times that much coming on the market from new projects.

              “We’ve all seen how expensive renewable energy has been to produce on earth – and you are proposing to do it in outer space. You are adding exponential levels of complexities to what is already a complex system that does not work and should not exist.”

              Power satellites are big, no question about it. But they are not particularly complicated, fewer parts than a car from the 1960s.

              “In case you had not noticed… we have loads of fossil fuels under the ground…. enough for me to make it to the ripe old age of 80…

              That’s only 6 more years for me. On the other hand, I am on anti-aging drugs and my dad was building houses at 85.

              “But that is not going to happen — because they cost too much to find, extract and refine.

              “We need cheap energy Keith — what you are proposing is utter nonsense. It would be outrageously expensive.”


              “Design to cost is a management strategy and supporting methodologies to achieve an affordable product by treating target cost as an independent design parameter that needs to be achieved during the development of a product.” There are pointers to the recent videos we made including a short one that was shown at the White House by Col Peter Garretson and Dr. Paul Jaffe.

              If we can’t get the cost down to the target, we should not build power satellites.

              “Do you seriously believe all of this or are you trolling us?”

              Serious. Worked on this project on and off for over 40 years. It’s only been in the last single digit months that the whole thing finally passed the business case of “cheaper than coal” and a startup cost, including the Skylon development, around $50 B.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              You really need to find another hobby….

              Perhaps golf?

              You could take up golf and tell us how – in theory – you are capable of winning all the majors in one year… that would at least be funny.

            • hkeithhenson says:

              “You really need to find another hobby…. ”

              I am retired. I don’t need another hobby. But this is becoming a business, producing three videos in a year. I don’t need that either.

          • Froggman says:

            In the 30 year update to LTG in 2002, the authors modeled a “what if” scenario. They assumed that all of the recommendations of the 1972 study had been fully implemented by 1982 (population control, shifting energy sources, changing patterns of production, etc). They found that the scenario avoided overshoot and collapse.

            Of course in reality none of those things were implemented in 1982, or in any other year.

            Then they modeled 9 scenarios looking forward from 2002. Only one avoided collapse. It required radical global action (zero population growth, massive technological changes, etc). Everything short of that resulted in overshoot and collapse. Needless to say, none of the 2002 recommendations were implemented either.

            They didn’t bother re-doing the study in 2012. What would have been the point? They already know that another 10 years of inaction would eliminate even that one last possible scenario avoiding collapse.

            This is all actually a topic of conversation in my next post on my blog. It’ll probably go up in the next week or so.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              ‘shifting energy sources’ – shifting to which energy sources?

              Devil is in the detail….

              Please don’t suggest solar panels…. because I have an epic tirade prepared….

            • hkeithhenson says:

              There are lots of ways to avoid collapse if you invoke nanotechnology. Power “plants” that grow like Kudzu, gasoline trees, PV paint, you name it.

              Near term with technology we have or is reasonably close has some options. StratoSolar with gravity storage is one that looks fairly good. Power satellites based on low cost transport into space is another.

              Carbon free, low cost energy solves a remarkable number of problems

              Can we do something about the problems or it is too late? Highly motivated humans can accomplish amazing things. I often use the Manhattan project as an example.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              My comments on your business angle on this appear not to have made it past the censors…

              Oh well…

              So how can I get in on this great new technology — do I join the google+ group? Can I invest? Are you selling some hopium that I might purchase?

              How does ‘this business’ work? How can we all get rich on space solar?

              Is it a pymramid scheme – if so I want in early

            • hkeithhenson says:

              “So how can I get in on this great new technology — do I join the google+ group?”

              It’s just a regular Google group. You can sign up for power satellite economics, just Google it. Traffic the last couple of weeks has been higher than previous, but nothing like the traffic on Gail’s blog. Gail is one of the people whose posts are influential on PSE (on the importance of low cost of energy).

              “Can I invest? Are you selling some hopium that I might purchase?”

              Sorry, not yet. It’s a long term project, though at some point there might be. I would invest in Reaction Engines, but the stock is hard to find, especially after BAE made a big investment in them.

              “How does ‘this business’ work? How can we all get rich on space solar?”

              Energy is in everything we buy. If synthetic gasoline goes for half what the natural stuff costs, I would be richer by $25 every time I fill up the car. 3 cent per kWh generation costs would trickle down to a substantial drop in what I get charged for electricity here in California.

              “Is it a pyramid scheme – if so I want in early”

              It’s all a pyramid scheme, clear back to when our remote ancestors started growing barley for beer. It’s not obvious where the seed money to build the pilot production facility will come from, if, indeed, it is done at all. While it’s big, countries as small as Israel or New Zealand could fund it if it were done by a government.

              The current thought (by people who know more than I do about how big projects get done) is for Congress to charter a federal corporation like what was done back in the 1930s for TVA. With enough bonding authority, say $60-100 B, that should be enough to build a very profitable pilot production facility and transport infrastructure. (Over $100 B /year sales.)

              If the technical side of things work out, it still could be a failure if the Chinese or Japanese got out there and started selling power satellites cheaper than the US chartered agency could.

              I can deal with the engineering and business parts of power satellites, but the international financing aspects makes my head swim.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              How are you generating revenue from the videos?

            • hkeithhenson says:

              Checks come in the mail.

            • Froggman says:

              Yeah they definitely weren’t thinking space solar and nanotechnology in 1972. The original study did make a mention of solar but I don’t see that it specifies what type- could mean hydronic or passive. No direct mention of PV.

              Although I wasn’t born yet in 1972. Was PV solar even a thing at that time?

              Regardless I’m not pedaling any hope here. Just relating what the LTG study said and what the modeling showed.

              Some things to keep in mind about LTG:
              1. They set the bar pretty low. The Earth3 model only projected out to 2100. So even the “successful” scenarios just mean that we avoided killing everyone before 2100. It’s not like a successful model run meant permenant sustainability, it could have all still collapsed in 2150.
              2. The study is one of a kind in tying together major variables and applying finite limits, but it works with only 5 big knobs (industrial output, pollution, etc) and not a thousand small knobs. It’s a “course grained” model showing general direction- not modeling intricacies of economics or thermodynamics. In other words, we’re unlikely to find the answer to your questions about what the “details” look like.
              3. The biggest impact came from population controls, reuse, reduction in consumption, etc.- the shift in power sources are just part of the pie. There is a pretty significant mention of nuclear, so if I had to guess I would imagine the authors assumed this would play a significant role.

              So LTG says there is a list of things we “might” have done long ago (before I was even born…) that might have shifted things enough in our favor to have prolonged civilization to 2100 or beyond- without a guarantee that it would go on any longer than that.

              Now, could humans have really chosen any differently than we did? Maybe not. James from Megacancer makes a compelling argument that we’re just RNA in technological cells, destined to constantly seek dopamine rewards by simple biological processes in our brains. So perhaps it all just happened the only way it could happen. But the illusion of free will/choice still allows us to speculate about what we might have done differently.

            • Stefeun says:


              I very much like what James has written in Megacancer.
              By the way, congratulations for your own blog, nice work, well organized, useful links, pleasant to read. Good job!

            • Stefeun says:

              “the illusion of free will/choice still allows us to speculate about what we might have done differently.”

              Individually we do have some sort of free choice, but in aggregate, the statistical level, I don’t think we have any. This is as much true as the population density is high (if you spare something for later, a neighbour will come and use it immediately).

            • Fast Eddy says:


            • Froggman says:

              Thanks Stefeun. I’m trying to maintain that kind of nuance in my writing, because “its complicated” and rarely black and white. I agree with your assessment.

  10. Don Stewart says:

    For those who have read Arnoux’s article on Bardi’s site
    For some very skeptical comments, see:
    Don Stewart

    • Volvo740 says:

      Most of the comments were junk, but some were better. I’ve heard about this process of the price of oil going to 0 for a while now, and it’s a tough one to stomach for sure. It feels like there would always be someone around that would pay for it and then you have the supply demand argument again…

      But keep in mind that Steve from Virginia also came to the same conclusion and he summarizes with “the marginal customer is broke”. It quickly gets complicated since there could (could not?) potentially be helicopter drops etc.

      I think Steve also concludes that “industrial civilization doesn’t pay for itself…”.

      But when all the textbooks are wrong and capital refers to money instead of resources etc, what could we expect rather than a huge mess.

      My question is still: Do people generally agree with the 10 year out analysis? Because honestly I was hoping for a bit more like 30…

      A world without oil can’t be functioning. There is simply no way, especially not in 10 years since there would be no time to change infrastructure. 10 years is just as helpful as tomorrow.

      • Ert says:

        My question is still: Do people generally agree with the 10 year out analysis? Because honestly I was hoping for a bit more like 30…

        Hi Volvo,

        have that discussion in a German peak-oil forum. Tune there is that the “total” ERoEI in the system is still high enough to subsidize even energy-negative oil. In addition one states that ERoEI is still around 10. Someone else reflects to ancient Rome – there decline was gradual and stretched out over centuries.

        I think they didn’t got the full ETP concept. Regular ERoEI numbers are at the well-head at best. They don’t factor in indirect costs and the BTU-heavy “lifestyle” of the workers, externalized costs, refinery, transportation to consumers and inefficient burning in machines are others things while using the BTUs. Lots of fuzzy numbers.

        ETP goes straight in looking at GDP (fuzzy number, best we have to capture “all”) and BTUs – so it catches all the externalized cost, all the interactions of all the people with consume BTUs in some way to so then some work (i.e. looking for oil) and so on. All is an interdependent global network – not isolated ancient Rome. I say only “Korrovicz – Feasta” here….

        In addition ETP predicts that we are on a energetic (kinda Seneca-) cliff NOW! So while it may seem that all is o.k., the changes are may come rapid NOW – meaning within the next 10 years.

        And another issue: If oil looses net-energy-contribution… only 4-5% a year… even if “volume” still increases slightly (and distorts the view) – how does it reflect on the global economy? Does it explain what we see? What does the economy when “net-energy” even with total-systemic ERoIE (gas, coal subsidies) declines 4-5% a year? Can the system support that – can the center hold?

        So to sum (my view) up: Lots of people look at physical availability of “tonns” of coal or “barrels” of oil – but not at the contributing “net” BTU’s which contribute “growth”. And if (real) growth stops (or even reverses) then we are in deep trouble. People get unemployed, buy less stuff… demand collapses, pieces of commodities collapse – and we the what ETP predicts. You have to get cause and effect right….. it was never about money, always about calories and energy – money is only a arbiter / mediator… but most people (in my personal view) don’t get it…. since they don’t even now the amount of calories a banana has…. or 100g of rice or wheat…..

    • richard says:

      I’ll put a few thoughts together on this: I’m unimpressed by Hill’s analysis, for reasons I’ll explain later. The main engine for “fixing” these sorts of things is finance, and unfortunately it’s broken. While fixing it is dooable, obviously, history suggests the one or more wars is likely as part of the process.
      Try to see the incoming energy crisis as a blessing. If, by great “good” fortune, cold fusion was immediately available and cheap, the human race has not yet learned the lessons needed to keep us from destroying all life on this planet, as there would no longer be any restriction on consumption.
      Back to Hill’s analysis. The problem is not just oil. Everything is getting exponentially more expensive when calculated for energy consumption. For example, with no limit to energy, the world would never run out of copper – well maybe after the entire Andes mountain range had been excavated. We are mining tons of ore to get grams of gold, then we bury it back underground and guard it. Not well though through.
      Put simply, to maintain BAU we need to innovate at an exponentially faster rate, to at least match the cost of energy depletion.
      Think of it like a pension fund – and you are now 65.

      • we live in an energy economy, which has disguised itself as a finance economy.

        for that reason the finance part cannot be fixed, because the energy part is bust now. We are running the global economy on the legacy oilfields of past bonanzas, while expecting a Messiah to arrive in the shape of a Thomas Edison to invent our way out of trouble.

        the problem is entirely that of oil—and hydrocarbon products. We consume them to the detriment of everything else, on the assumption that they will always be there, or if not, some other form of technology will replace them on a ”just in time” basis.

        Consuming is what we do, just like any other life-form. We do it to gain the strength to reproduce ourselves, and to support our offspring to the point where they too can reproduce. If we conveniently died around 50 like our forebears, there wouldn’t be a problem
        Yet We cannot go on consuming, because consumption necessarily produces heat, and heat is the source of our problem. Our consumption has delivered more than our planet can deal with.

        • hawkeye says:

          Norman Pagett wrote:

          “we live in an energy economy, which has disguised itself as a finance economy.
          for that reason the finance part cannot be fixed, because the energy part is bust now.”

          Terse and definitive. All the rest is just interesting detail and side bar commentary, imho.

          Financial collapse is the first step in Orlov’s “Five stages of collapse”. It’s the grain of sand that disturbs the angle of repose. And when this thing begins to slide… well, that’s why many of us visit OFW, to speculate on timing and extent of impact… and to discuss the events that presage what Yeats called the “widening gyre” when “the blood-dimmed tide is loosed upon the world and the ceremony of innocence is drowned.”


          • unless you can come up with the OFW doomster equivalent of E=Mc 2, all of the info available on the subject here (or anywhere else for that matter) has been regurgitated from somewhere else. (including my first sentence, largely thanks to the work of dr Tim Morgan, who was instrumental some years ago in opening my eyes to what is going on)

            i try to present stuff in a slightly different light, sometimes it makes sense, sometimes it doesnt

            i wait in eager anticipation for fresh and original thoughts

          • Fast Eddy says:


            “The Second Coming” contains images that have been tied most closely to Yeats’s legacy. Modernists read the poem as a dirge for the decline of European civilization in the mode of Eliot, but later critics have pointed out that it expresses Yeats’s apocalyptic mystical theories, and it is thus the expression of a mind shaped by the 1890s.

            Turning and turning in the widening gyre
            The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
            Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
            Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
            The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
            The ceremony of innocence is drowned.
            The best lack all conviction, while the worst
            Are full of passionate intensity.[4]

            Here, Yeats incorporates his ideas on the gyre—a historical cycle of about 2,000 years.

            He first published this idea in his writing ‘a vision’ which predicted the expected anarchy that would be released around 2,000 years after the birth of Christ.

            The gyre suggests the image of a world spinning outward so that it cannot recall its own origin. These anxieties are closely tied to the traumas of a continent at war, and the rise of industrialism and militarism on a global scale.

            The concluding lines refer to Yeats’s belief that history was cyclical, and that his age represented the end of the cycle that began with the rise of Christianity; according to one interpretation, “the beast” referred to the traditional ruling classes of Europe who were unable to protect the traditional culture of Europe from materialistic mass movements:

            And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
            Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?[5]

            He got the timing just about right…..

      • Stefeun says:

        Our planet is now full, and all kinds of diminishing returns are starting to show more of their negative impacts.

        If ever we had plenty of cheap energy available now, cold fusion or else, it would simply help us destroy what remains, faster.

        We can no longer bring same answers as in the past ; today, prevailing problems are in the too big man-made structure (capital, complexity, …) we must maintain and keep growing, as well as in the wastes, growing inefficiencies and entropy we cannot get rid of.
        As shrinking is not an option, the only way out is collapse.

        We should try to soften the landing, but even that seems increasingly unlikely, as cooperation and rational actions are becoming more and more difficult to implement as long as the situation worsens.

        • richard says:

          Shrinkage implies some form of managment, of choice in the hope of a best outcome. Collapse implies a couple of things – that it will be universal and simaltaneous, and that Complexity will reverse is some form of a negation of economies of scale.
          I *think* I’m saying that shrinkage may bring benefits, if we accept that there should be limits to the resources we use, and can find a way of structuring the financial system to support that lifestyle, and to find better ways of doing things.

  11. Artleads says:

    Don Stewart,

    I thought you’d appreciate this (if it’s not old news to you by now).

    44 minutes is long, but I can find mechanical (no thought) things to do while I listen. 🙂

  12. Yoshua says:

    The American Empire liberated Iraq from a dictator. Mission Accomplished.
    The Shia Muslims, Sunni Muslims and Kurds are now free to kill one another.

    The Empire has also assisted in the liberation of Syria and Libya. Enduring Freedom.
    Various ethnic, religious and sectarian groups can today free from dictators kill one another.

    Turkey is today divided between Islamists, secularists, Sunni Muslims, Shia Muslims and Kurds.
    The full potential of freedom in Turkey would turn Turkey into a fireworks of liberation.

  13. Vince the Prince says:

    Just when you think, you’ve seen and heard everything possible and impossible in Greece with regard austerity and the crisis… there comes this incredible human story: a family of five living in carton boxes in the city of Patras in western Greece.

    As details, the family ended up on the streets after a labor accident of the father. The family has no income. For the last 8 months, the two adults and the three children live in a provisional “shelter” made of carton boxes they have places in a corner of an abandoned and half-constructed building.

    The family receives no disability pension or any allowance from the state that can help them make a living.

    “They tell their children that living in boxes is a game,” local media reports.

    The father is unable to work. The family’s relatives cannot help them as they are also in dire economic situation.

    They get meals from the local church, a neighbor to the building gives them from time to time the opportunity to take a bath.

    For some, the FUTURE is NOW…when you are outside of the matrix.

    • DJ says:

      And still some say we will all go down at the same time.

    • common phenomenon says:

      • Vince the Prince says:

        Film actor, Charles Bronson, was so poor he was given his sisters dress to wear as a child. Later, while being in boot camp for WWII he could not understand why the other guys were complaining. He said it was the first time in his life he had three square meals, a clean bed , hot shower and of course nice cloths. His father died when he was ten and he went in the coal mines to work in Pennsylvania. He managed to graduate high school.
        This was not too long ago. We take a lot for granted….it could go away in a puff.

        • DJ says:

          The funny thing is even those born in the 40s who had at least second hand experience of that world can’t imagine all this going away.

  14. Vince the Prince says:

    A report by consultancy Deloitte has revealed that the oil and gas industry may find itself unable to improve its reserves replacement rate and overall performance over the next five years due to a huge shortage of cash of as much as US$2 trillion.

    Deloitte notes in the report that oil and gas exploration and production is a capital-intensive industry, and a lot is necessary to just stay afloat. With all the budget cuts that this industry has seen over the last two years, staying afloat has become challenging, not to mention any growth, said Deloitte vice chairman John England.

    The report was based on a survey of integrated public and listed national companies as well as independent E&Ps and warned that things are not looking particularly good. The rate of well depletion is 7-9 percent annually for both traditional and shale wells, and spending at many of the companies surveyed has been cut to below the necessary minimum that would ensure that this depletion is being offset, England noted.

    Findings in the area of capital spending are also grim. Outside the Middle East and North Africa, capex in the exploration and production business dropped by a quarter last year and is expected to fall by a further 27 percent

  15. Don Stewart says:

    Here is the zero hedge story on Chinese refined products exports and the teapot refineries.
    Don Stewart
    China’s teapot refiners are now flooding markets with products including diesel and gasoline, in the latest example of how surging Chinese exports are shaking the commodities industry.

    • Stefeun says:

      Thanks Don,
      Looks like the Chinese consumer was not invited for this re-orientation of the Chinese economy, from production to consumption, actually.
      Sounds crazy, when you think about it.

      • Don Stewart says:


        I am definitely not an expert on the ins and outs of refineries. However, there does seem to be some rethinking going on in the industry. The first excerpt addresses the question ‘what to do with all the light tight oil?’ I’m not sure what is happening right now with LTO volumes declining, but a couple of years ago building relatively inexpensive refineries designed for LTO was a subject of discussion.

        ‘Splitters and stabilizers offer refiners a less-expensive option for expanding crude oil distillation capacity than building new refineries or adding ADU columns. Splitters and stabilizers, several of which are now under construction or in the engineering, permitting, or planning phases, are typically designed to distill the very light streams that are largely produced in the Eagle Ford region in south Texas. They will operate less efficiently when processing relatively heavier crudes, including crudes produced in the Bakken region in North Dakota and eastern Montana. Although splitters and stabilizers can process crudes with API gravity well below API thresholds that are often cited as representing condensates, doing so will result in decreased throughput levels and increased output of heavier, unfinished petroleum products.’

        And here you will find some information about the origin of the term ‘teapot refinery’ and a report on Chinese teapot refineries as of a few years ago. What happened within the last year or so is that the Chinese government relaxed regulations on the tea potters, so they can now buy crude on the open market, process it inexpensively, and export it to anyplace that provides a market. Their initial target appears to have been the high margins being enjoyed by the vertically integrated oil companies in the US.

        ‘Teapot refineries are independently run and have relatively small capacities ranging from 20,000 bpd to 100,000 bpd and are perceived as relatively inefficient compared with their larger state-owned peers.

        Around 80% of China’s teapot refineries are located in Shandong, accounting for roughly a quarter of China’s overall refining capacity.

        Shandong’s teapot refineries are able to crack domestic crude, fuel oil and petroleum bitumen blend, but have been using less imported fuel oil since 2013 due to rising procurement costs.

        The refineries’ product slate comprises mostly gasoil and gasoline for sale in the domestic market.’

        BW Hill’s model identified processing as a high cost component of producing the products. Hill hinted that he had a client who was interested in pursuing some less grandiose and less expensive options than the impressive refineries one can find on the Gulf Coast. Hill said a day or two ago on Peak Oil that he has made some sort of proposal to Arnoux on the subject.

        Both men are united in thinking that our society has to make fundamental changes in order to survive. But I don’t think either man is independently wealthy, which leaves them pitching to the money men. It is, I believe, a true statement that the thermodynamic problem both men perceive could theoretically be solved (at least for a few years) by radically improving the efficiency. Arnoux’s GreenBox is reminiscent of a diesel-electric drive on a locomotive. Alice Friedeman has identified locomotives as very efficient ways to move tonnage.

        The devil is always in the details, of course.

        Don Stewart

      • Don Stewart says:

        Also take note of Alice Friedeman’s comment on Anoux’s first article:

        energyskepticJuly 14, 2016 at 4:04 PM
        Thanks for the time line. I’ve had a feeling that because of the energy cliff (EROI) a transition might be much faster than people expect. Not to mention the other dangers, i.e. Export Land Model (producers stop exporting and use oil within their own country), plus war, terrorism, electromagnetic pulse, etc.

        In my book “When trucks stop running” I wrote the following about EROI, but I wonder if we’ll ever know whether it was 14, 10, or 7…

        Charles Hall, one of the founders of EROI methodology, initially thought an EROI of 3 was enough to run modern civilization, which is like investing $1 and getting $3 back. But after decades of research, Hall concluded an EROI of 12–14 might be necessary to sustain culture and the arts, 12 to provide health care, 9 or 10 for education, 7 or 8 to support a family of workers, 5 to grow food, and so on down to a 1.1 EROI to extract oil, where all you “can do is pump it out of the ground and look at it” (Lambert et al. 2014). Murphy (2011) found that so much net energy is provided by any energy resource with an EROI of 11 or higher, that the difference between an EROI of 11 and 100 makes little difference. But there is such a large, exponential difference in the net energy provided to society by an EROI of 10 versus 5, that the net energy available to civilization appears to fall off a cliff when EROI dips below 10 (Mearns 2008). Weissbach et al. (2013) found that it is not economic to build an electricity generating power source with an EROI of less than 7.

        Yet another “Alice”…Alice Friedemann

        Note the ‘cliff’ at 10. We go from abundance to poverty very suddenly. While Hill’s model operates somewhat differently, it also has a pronounced cliffish nature. Which makes it hard to swallow for the ordinary person. We are used to iron slowly rusting and fields gradually losing their fertility.

        Don Stewart

        • Stefeun says:

          Euan Mearns’ Net Energy Cliff chart is quite well known:


          However, it seems to represent a sort of “best case scenario”, because many things are not taken into account for the EROEI calculations (financial costs, intermittency, concentration issues), as Gail explains. See for example the last slides of the pdf version of her presentation (point not discussed in this post).

          As she says (about Hubbert’s model): “Omissions may distort the model’s predictive power”.
          There are many candidates potentially able to bring the system down before we run out of net energy. These candidates are related to complexity and entropy issues, i.e. not the “input side” of the system.

          • Don Stewart says:

            I do not believe one can separate net energy (or ‘free energy’) from complexity or entropy issues. Given lots of free energy, nature or humans can construct an awful lot of complexity and generate entropy faster. Without free energy, neither nature nor humans can generate complexity or generate entropy very rapidly. For a discussion at the cellular level, I highly recommend Nick Lane’s book The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life.

            One point from the book that perhaps deserves consideration. The electron cascade which provides our cells their free energy is about 1/40 effective. That is, 39 units out of 40 are never used to make structure. I am not sure it is exactly apples to apples, but it might be a good first approximation to guess that a 40 to 1 EROEI is necessary to both construct and power a complex society and also clean up any pollution. (Of course, that doesn’t make it ‘sustainable’ in the same way the natural process is sustainable.)

            Don Stewart

            • Stefeun says:

              There’s no separation, all is interconnected.

              And obviously, no input = no system.
              The discussion here, is about anticipating what will most likely bring it down, and this actually requires to consider all parameters, on both sides (input and output) and inside our global system.

              What seems to result, according to J. Tainter and a few others, is that at some point, complexity starts to prevail and becomes the most threatening parameter, whatever happens elsewhere in the system.
              Entropy accumulation goes along with this phenomenon, because it adds burden on the whole and makes it more brittle.

              As for the second part of your reply, I have to give a closer look.

            • Stefeun says:

              I don’t think there’s any efficient way to “clean up pollution”.

              The only way, IMHO, is to avoid emitting any pollution, which is of course impossible. To reduce BAU’s energy consumption would (Will) be lethal, so…

              Another way, that would only limit the pollution, would be to design all processes so that the wastes out of one could be used, without re-work!, as an input for another process. In-built recyclability, IOW. One kind of biomimmicry, which is opposite to the way we’ve chosen (rather: taken because better choice for immediate survival).

          • The net energy cliff doesn’t distinguish between energy products that are available only as capital goods and those that are available from fossil fuels, for one thing. Obtaining energy products using capital goods adds a whole new level of complexity and of debt. Because of these issues, they are very much less “sustainable” than what they are replacing.

            Also, estimates of what energy these capital goods will produce is prospective. They miss a lot of things–Fukushima and Chernobyl are examples, when it comes to nuclear. The method of counting energy utilization is not particularly well adapted to counting energy use related to capital goods. Debt, and interest on that debt, are important, but omitted. So are things like lease payments for land. All of these payments ultimately represent promises of goods and services made possible by energy products, but are ignored.

            Also, we know that historically, collapse is related to complexity. It is sort of ironic that the capital goods we are making (such as wind, solar PV, and nuclear) are among the most complex things we know how to make. We add intermittent renewables to the electric grid, and we increase the complexity that that system needs to have as well. Somehow, an analysis based on EROi misses too much.

        • psile says:

          …down to a 1.1 EROI to extract oil, where all you “can do is pump it out of the ground and look at it”

          Lol! Who’d have though the end of the world would produce humour such as this!

    • I am sure that this is part of the reason that it is hard to count Chinese imports. Some of what they are importing, they are simply refining and sending back out again.

  16. Fast Eddy says:

    More on that :

    You are with us or against us…. what more is there to know in the understanding global conflicts?

    • Fast Eddy says:

      Ah I see my earlier comment has been held … profanity filter…

      “They train young men to drop fire on people. But their commanders won’t allow them to write ‘fu—…ck’ on their airplanes because it is obscene.”

      I wonder if it would be ok if the soldiers wrote Fcuk on their airplanes?

  17. Don Stewart says:

    Here is the introduction to the GreenBox

    Here is the link to Part 1 of a 5 Part description of the situation we find ourselves in and the ideas and technology behind the GreenBox.
    After you finish Part 1, you will be presented with Part 2, and etc.

    Don Stewart

    • Stefeun says:

      Thanks a lot for your investigation.

      Now one wonders what Ugo Bardi is doing there. Maybe he should have started by explaining us the context of this guest post..?

    • Louis Arnoux is no longer affiliated with SynGeni.

      • Don Stewart says:

        Reverse Engineer and Stefeun
        That’s interesting that Arnoux is not with SynGeni any more. So…I have no idea what he is going to say.

        I do have a few additional thoughts on the ‘cost of running the society’ angle which is a key element in the ETP model and also in the ‘extended EROEI’ calculations that recently became a matter of contention between Charles Hall and Ugo Bardi. There are some people in Oklahoma who make very good videos of ghost towns. Many of the ghost towns were once oil boom towns. Here is one near where I grew up:

        You will note that many of the people are on foot, that the streets are not paved, and that the housing and shopping were right in the middle of the drilling rigs…which reduced transportation requirements for the workers. In fact, the town of Three Sands was built, then moved as the sweet spot moved, then moved a final time as the sweet spot moved again. We can compare that with the generally long distances oil field workers now travel in inefficient pick up trucks.

        One way to increase the thermodynamic benefits of an oil field is to go back to the way it used to be and put the workers right in the field. Of course, all of you can think of reasons why you and your spouse and your children don’t want to live in the middle of an oil field. Which I think is illustrative of the stickiness barrier we face with society. We talk about ‘uncoupling’, but the results are actually pretty modest. It is particularly hard to persuade people to change their lives because of something that someone says is going to happen in the future.

        As a footnote, the newspaper quotation which starts the video might give you the impression of a hell on earth. But one of my hobbies is to read the obits. Quite a few people who were born in Three Sands or spent their childhood there are now dying as they approach a hundred years. Most of them seem to recall it with fondness. One man’s obituary was just printed. He left Three Sands for southern California as WWII broke out, to work in defense. After the war, he worked in the oil fields of California. 75 years after he left, his descendants paid to have his obituary printed in the newspaper of the nearest surviving town. He must have spoken of the place to them with some fondness.

        Don Stewart

      • Stefeun says:

        There’s the logo on the slides presented in the article.

    • Pintada says:

      Dear Don Stewart;

      Thank you for posting this hilarious stuff. It is truly amazing to me that you can keep finding people and ideas that ignore reality. On the other hand … no … Finding stupid people with ridiculous ideas is what the internet is for I suppose.

      Thanks again,

    • Ed says:

      Don, I am happy to see you again.

  18. Fast Eddy says:

    Let’s pull a few tells from this article:

    what may or may not happen regarding “renewables

    by the time the impact of the thermodynamic collapse of the OI becomes undeniable it’s too late to do much about it.

    We are in deep trouble. We can’t afford to get this wrong.

    Dr Louis Arnoux is a scientist, engineer, and entrepreneur committed to the development of sustainable ways of living and doing business.

    Time is short …and I have just wasted 15 minutes of what is left… when I could have been flossing my teeth.

    • Tim Groves says:

      No, thanks to fossil fueled modern convenience, you’ve got all the time in the world. A bigger problem than lack of time is the problem of deciding what to do with it. The problem is too much choice. But come the end of BAU, and you’re going to be far too busy staying alive to floss your teeth and you may have to settle for a quick swig of mouthwash.

    • Sungr says:

      FE said “We are in deep trouble. We can’t afford to get this wrong.”

      So what happens if we “get it wrong”? What’s it look like?

      And what happens if we don’t “get it wrong”? but instead get it right?

      • Yoshua says:

        “but instead get it right”. Well… that wont happen. So need to worry about that.

  19. Fast Eddy says:

    The empire is ending … the petro dollar is dying … nations are giving the middle finger to emperor… the emperor is indeed flailing … in Ukraine… in Syria… in Turkey…. Russia and China are the epicentres of the earthquake

    Throughout history… if a single country was allowed – or succeeded – in leaving the empire … all is lost… it exposes the weakness of the emperor…. other countries who formerly kissed the ring will then consider leaving… they will make new alliances – based on what they feel benefits them….

    • dolph911 says:

      Yes, that’s true. But in America’s case it will have to be Britain and Japan. If Britain and Japan leave, it’s over, because then America will lose its bulwarks in Europe and Asia.

      The last to go will of course be that ultimate loser country, Canada. If they even ever had a country, it was long ago lost to the combination of Quebec separatism, massive immigration, and Americanism.

    • Sungr says:

      The ZeroHedge article originated from FoxNews as a blame Obama for everything and more propaganda interview. And wasn’t the ME and US policy just as mixed up before Obama ever entered the white house?

      Britain and Japan can be viewed as empire outriggers which have helped the Empire maintain global control- principally in the Empire’s financial control schemes. And they are now failing in many ways.

    • InAlaska says:

      The petrodollar is strong and is, in fact, the strongest currency on Earth. It will be the last currency standing when all else goes under. When the first tremors of the crash begin to be felt. All cash will flee to the strength and safety of the dollar. Best house in a bad neighborhood. Just because you want something to be so does not make it so. Its good to live in the real world for a bit.

      • Stilgar Wilcox says:

        “The petrodollar is strong and is, in fact, the strongest currency on Earth.”

        Good post, InAlaska. Top dog currency is just that and all the others adjust to it.

      • Tim Groves says:

        “The petrodollar is strong and is, in fact, the strongest currency on Earth.”

        At the risk of sounding pedantic, my understanding is that the petrodollar isn’t a currency. It’s just a buzzword for the money oil producers earn from the sale of their product when they sell it for dollars.

        If you mean that the dollar is the strongest currency on Earth, that’s debatable. If a strong currency is a currency that appreciates over time or that is trading at a historically high level against other currencies, the dollar’s trading history shows that it has been week at some times against some currencies and strong at others.

        For example, nobody these days thinks of the yen as a strong currency, and yet it appreciated against the dollar over the decades from 360 in the 1960s to less than 100 in the mid-1990s and has been hovering back and forth between about 120 and 80 ever since. By any reasonable measure, the yen is stronger than the dollar. And indeed, it’s so strong that Prime Minister Abe has made it a central plank of his economic policy to try to weaken it.

        ANother example of a strong currency is the Swiss Franc, which has gone from over 4 S. francs to the dollar in the early 1970s to parity with the dollar now. The S. franc has essentially kept pace with the price of gold throughout the past half century. That’s a pretty strong currency.

        • the petrodollar is strong only for so long as the petro part is flowing freely

          right now the USA has to buy in almost a third of its oil, meaning that the country is living on the goodwill of its creditors—who themselves dare not pull the plug because the oilbath we all wallow in–debtors and creditors alike– will drain away overnight. The UK and most of the EU are in the same position.

          In the Hills report, it is difficult to pick out any one item from the data presented, but I think this sums up our predicament very neatly:
          ………It is the lower production energy of the remaining legacy fields of conventional crude that are providing the energy consumed by the general economy……

          That neatly sums up the reality-denial of our political leaders, and the majority of people who vote for them. Not that they can do anything about it, they are humanoids like the rest of us. We made the unwitting choice 250 years ago to lock ourselves in the hydrocarbon dreamworld of infinite growth and prosperity.
          We know no different.

          • hkeithhenson says:

            “Not that they can do anything about it, ”

            Actually, there may be something they can do. There is a Google group (power satellite economics) that has been discussing the technical details of making really inexpensive energy by going into space to get it and sending it back to the surface by microwaves. It is moderately expensive to set up the transport infrastructure, but the EROEI is over a hundred and the payback time is two or three months. Most of the energy input comes from natural gas, to make hydrogen. While the peak flow of NG is large, it’s only about half that now made into LNG. The current model shows CO2 peaking at 440 ppm in 2044 and then falling rapidly. At a conference last week I met a guy who works for OMB. We discussed what would it be worth to the US government to get the CO2 under control without killing the economy with rising energy cost. His comment was “a lot.”

            Hubble figured we would transition to nuclear as the oil ran out. But if we can collect solar at a low enough cost, then there is no reason oil use can’t go up to much higher levels than what we now use. It just has to be carbon neutral synthetic.

            There is no guarantee this will solve the problems in time, or even work. It depends on exotic hardware that’s still under development in the UK and elsewhere. There is a possibility we can’t do it at all because of damage to ozone from the traffic into space.

            Still, I think it is better to have some hope than none.

            If you are so inclined, you can sign up or send me your email and I can add you to the group.

            • Ed says:

              Keith, how much capital to put up the first 10GW?

            • hkeithhenson says:

              “how much capital to put up the first 10GW?”

              That’s not exactly the right question to ask. Where the risk has to be reduced is in the transport and manufacturing power satellites in space. But to answer your question the best I can, it takes around $50 B to set up the transport to manufacture them and make the first one or two. Of course, the completed power satellite and its associated ground rectenna is worth about $1.2 B per GW (minimum). What you have at that point is the ability to make power satellites at 10-12 per year, which (at $1.2 B/GW) is a revenue stream of $120-144 B/year This assumes the power satellites are sold as quickly as they are manufactured.

              The initial investment is paid back within a few years of the first one coming off the line. After that, profit is sufficient to scale up the manufacturing without additional investment. From the first one to the CO2 starting to come down is around 20 years. More investment in rocket plane production line might shorten the time.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              A google group…. this does not inspire significant confidence…

      • Sungr says:

        The dollar is not strong. The recent strength is merely the fact that the dollar accounts for over 60% of import/export transactions. There is no altenative at the moment. All around the world people are trying to avoid using the US dollar if they can avoid it.

        Strength and safety is not a good characterization of the $USD.

      • Sungr says:

        Dollar strength is also affected by the fact that the empire has it’s hand in all kinds of stuff internationally- ie financial control schemes that involve debt slavery of the resource nations.

        Which translates to political control by empire elites.

        • Creedon says:

          As the rest of the world collapses ahead of us the dollar will get stronger. Wall street would call it “Withdrawal from emerging markets”. With no oil in the world, all fiat currencies collapse. Venezuela is the model for the future. “The value of the dollar is transacted at fuel pumps all around the world”; Steve Ludlum.

        • Sungr says:

          The western financial system is practically in a state of collapse right now. It is viewed worldwide as a major center of organized crime. How is that supportive of the dollar?

          If you look at the activities of the Chinese and Russians, you will see many measures being enacted that are designed to displace/marginalize the US dollar in the near future. The Chinese are readying for a major reboot after the western banks implode. Among these measures are-

          1. Mass importation or gold- mostly from the west- as a bedrock from which to reboot the international financial system after the western financial collapse. Also, all Chinese gold mining output is being purchased in-country. China is on a gold buying spree-

          2. SCO- Shangai Cooperation Organization has been around for more than a decade and is now stronger than ever. This SCO is a sort of shadow organization that plans to be able to coordinate defensive actions against western military threat. India and Iran are next to join?

          3. Consumer Credit Issuance- China’s UnionPay is now the biggest credit card issuer in the world.

          4. AIIB- The Asian Infrastructure & Investment Bank- a non-western high-level credit issuer is a parallel issuer of credit principally to the BRICS-
          “The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is a multilateral development bank (MDB) conceived for the 21st century. Through a participatory process, its founding members are developing its core philosophy, principles, policies, value system and operating platform. The Bank’s foundation is built on the lessons of experience of existing MDBs and the private sector. Its modus operandi will be lean, clean and green: lean, with a small efficient management team and highly skilled staff; clean, an ethical organization with zero tolerance for corruption; and green, an institution built on respect for the environment. The AIIB will put in place strong policies on governance, accountability, financial, procurement and environmental and social ”

          5. China is now Saudi Arabia’s biggest oil customer. And both countries are committed to a new world system without the control issues of the US and western banks. Saudi is obviously on a path to cutting ties to a dying US and participating in a new world financial & economic order. What does that do to the $petrodollar?

          6. The African continent is being systematically developed by the Chinese. Apparently, there are over 3,000 development projects in Africa run by the Chinese. Railways, refineries, hydroelectric dams, deep sea ports, etc. The US is active in Africa mainly from a military strategy viewpoint.

          7. Chinese goals include the New Silk Road Initiatives-

          “The New Silk Road program consists two routes, known as “One Belt, One Road” (see the map). The land route is called “the Silk Road Economic Belt,” linking central Asia, Russia and Europe. The sea route has an odd name: “the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road,” and goes through the western Pacific and the Indian Ocean. Thus, “One Belt, One Road.”

          “If successful, the New Silk Roads could be the largest economic development scheme on the face of the earth. The Financial Times article compares it to the US-led Marshall Plan after WWII:”

          The burgeoning economic power of the east is directly threatening US/western economic dominance of the globe. As the economic, financial & military goes so goes the respective currencies. And so goes the $USD.

          Not to say that the Chinese do not have a passel of internal problems on their plate in every area. But the momentum is to the east.

          • InAlaska says:

            “The burgeoning economic power of the east is directly threatening US/western economic dominance of the globe. As the economic, financial & military goes so goes the respective currencies. And so goes the $USD.”

            Sorry, it just aint gonna happen that way. Nobody trusts the Chinese or the Russians. In order for a new dominant global currency to emerge, it is going to have to enjoy the confidence of the rest of the world and that comes through transparency and stability. I don’t see either of those things coming out of “the East.” It will be the USD until the collapse comes regardless of whether the petrol is still flowing or not. Investors and big banks are going to double down on the dollar when TSHTF.

        • Tim Groves says:

          Back in the good old days when a dollar was a dollar, you lived just like a millionaire….

      • Sungr says:

        Why the Petroldollar is Facing It’s End May 3,

        “For the last eighteen months, the dollar had a last-gasp rally, as commodity and oil prices collapsed. The contraction in global trade since mid-2014 had signaled a swing in preferences from commodities and energy towards the money they are priced in, which is dollars. The concomitant liquidation of malinvestments in the commodity-exporting countries has been contained for now by aggressive monetary policies from China, Japan and the Eurozone. The tide is now swinging the other way: preferences are swinging out of the dollar towards oversold commodities again, exposing the dollar to a second version of the gold pool crisis. This time, China, Saudi Arabia and the BRICS will be returning their dollars from whence they came.

  20. Fast Eddy says:

    This is how petty the war against Russia has become…

    Western nations want all Russian athletes banned from the Olympics for doping…

    Um… if the Russians are all doping — no other countries are doping their athletes…

    Then surely Russia would be winning all medals in all sports in the run up to the Olympics – no?

    • Tim Groves says:

      And this coming after the petty vindictiveness in banning Sharapova from professional tennis for taking Mildronate, as if everyone else in the business developed those muscles through workouts and clean healthy living.

      I gave up following sports circuses the day Ben Johnson’s Gold Medial was handed to Carl Lewis. Now I stick to watching detective shows, where at least I know the real bad guys will get nailed in the end.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Every other person who lined up against Johnson in Korea – except Lewis – later tested positive for steroids.

        Lewis got away with it – however there is a fantastic documentary – I think this is it

        In which Lewis is exposed…. they show his jawline earlier in his career then later —- it has lengthened dramatically — a symptom of Human Growth Hormone usage — in fact later in his career he had braces to attempt to correct the problem…

        And is it not interesting that Bolt has destroyed Johnson’s steroid-fueled record… yet there nobody questions how that could be possible…

        Marion Jones won loads of medals and never once tested positive for drugs — which means that all top athletes in all power and speed sports are using drugs.

        The difference in ability at the highest levels is very small — if one athlete takes drugs and others don’t – that athlete will dominate….

  21. Fast Eddy says:

    I have little doubt that the CIA was directly involved in the airport bombing….

    I can imagine that the Hitmen said to Erdogan – get onside or we’ll hit you where it hurts – tourism… Erdogan rejected that — and you get the airport bombing… Erodogan doesn’t flinch .. so then you get a coup attempt…

    What’s next — perhaps another Syria – where the CIA sends their Islamist attack dogs after him?

    • InAlaska says:

      You’re so funny Fast Freddy. I wonder what its like to live in your matrix. Where the all- powerful CIA is behind every dastardly event. Where shadowy forces beyond your ken conspire to implement the dark dreams of some mad, multi-generational Deep-State world cabal of Elder-Illuminati. You ought to write a spy novel.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        There is your world – the world of the sheeple — the world of the MSM…

        Then there is the real world — the world described in The Prince… nothing has changed … the chess game continues… the great game continues…

        But it takes place behind the curtain ….

        The thing I find truly amazing is that I am revealing all — I am opening the window for you — and still you insist on not seeing what is blatantly obvious….

        Like I said earlier – if one was born in America … where the matrix is at its most powerful… it is very very very difficult to see beyond … it just feels so darn real…

        Enjoy your ‘democracy’ Enjoy DelusiSTAN.

        Ignorance is truly bliss. I honestly believe that.

  22. A Real Black Person says:

    I hate to say it but I think we’ starting to see the beginning of some kind of decline.

    The first thing that will disintegrate looks as though it will be the EU.

    A few months ago there was a Muslim terrorist attack in France. This

    Britain votes to leave the European Union in a referendum called Brexit a few weeks ago,with polls citing that pro-Brexit voters were concerned about the social integration of immigrants.

    A few days ago, there is another terrorist attack in France.

    A few hours ago, Turkey undergoes a military coup. The military promises to restore democracy but reports illustrate that they have shot at protesters protesting the coup. That doesn’t seem very democratic. The interesting thing about this coup is that no one saw it coming…but then, at least they. the media pundits, who might be speaking for the elite, say that they had “high hopes” for Turkey, which indicates that Turkey is the modernized Muslim country that it seemed. Turkey is a country with a very checkered past. I’m not sure why it was inducted into the European Union.

    Separately, these events don’t seem like much, with the exception of Brexit and the Turkey military coup. Together, they seem to be building momentum towards the social and economic disintegration of Europe. I believe there is a feedback loop. We talk a lot about geology,thermodynamics, and a little bit about global finance here, but I believe there is a social/political feedback loop is

    Meanwhile, in America, tensions are being expressed,lately, through identity politics. Trump’s convention in Cleveland, Ohio will have an unusually high amount of security–and people are expecting violence. I can’t remember any U.S. presidential candidate inspiring violence before he got elected.

    All I am saying is that it looks like a perfect storm is building up towards something big. At least, more big than Turkey’s military coup. The events I’ve listed, which may or may not be influencing each other are happening in the political realm, rather than in the market economy. People had recently asked what it would take to set off collapse, and I had written that there needs to be multiple things going wrong. I think this may be the beginning of it.

    • turkey isnt a member of the eu, but on all the other points i agree with you

      • A Real Black Person says:

        You got me. Even though Turkey is not an official EU member state, it enjoys some of the benefits of EU membership, through a “Customs Union”.

        • A Real Black Person says:

          It’s all in the past now. The coup failed. It was not as powerful at it seemed. It only involved a minority of military personnel among the Turkey’s military forces. Even if the coup had been successful,it would not destabilize Turkey. Some in Europe would have praised a military-controlled Turkey that took a more of a hard-line stance against Islamic terrorism.

          • The coup didn’t fail. It was a raging success.

            The coup was an obvious fake designed to give Erdocrook cover for doing a Purge. He’s already gotten rid of 2700 Judges and “disloyal” military commanders. He did this within hours of claiming “victory”. Obviously these lists were drawn up long before yesterday.

            This is a power consolidation maneuver, and at least so far pulled off quite successfully.

            • A Real Black Person says:

              Today in the Tinfoil Hat Zone:

              Reverse Engineer believes that the coup was staged by Erdogan as an excuse to consolidate power.

              Fast Eddy believes the coup was staged by U.S/Nato forces because they grew disappointed with the performance of Erdogan.

              Who is closest to the truth? Who in the hell knows…

              The more I think about it the more this situation reminds me of the situation in Ukraine. There is a great deal of foreign intervention. It’d hard to tell who’s influencing what. For example, one side might make it look like the other side did something to make the other side look bad.

            • Stilgar Wilcox says:

              “The coup was an obvious fake designed to give Erdocrook cover for doing a Purge.”

              So in this fantasy, all those people that drove military vehicles that were arrested, sacrificed themselves to help Erdogan consolidate power? I’m surprised RE you would line up for that crock. Not every situation has a twisted conspiracy to explain an alternate reality. It was just a poorly planned coup that failed, period, end of story.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Erdogan has blamed this on the CIA … who then woke up Don Draper and asked him for some spin … Don rolled away from his latest conquest… lit a cigarette — tossed back a double and said:

              Just turn it around boys…the story is that he had enemies in the military and he created a fake coup to justify killing them…

              Thanks Don! But ummm… what about the thousands of soldiers who were involved in the coup … who will now be executed… won’t people worry about that?

              Come on fellas – don’t be ridiculous — people will believe what we tell CNN FOX BBC NYT … to tell them to believe —- they are like donkeys… or sheep … or lemmings… whatever the see on tee vee or read in their chosen MSM will be what they believe. A sledgehammer of facts couldn’t make the slightest dent on their thick skulls

              Yes of course Don – what were we thinking.

              Mission Accomplished!

              Another example of why – if you want an empire – you MUST control the MSM.

              “Today, seven High Priests run the vast majority of US television networks, the printed press, the Hollywood movie industry, the book publishing industry, …….wishamericans.htm

            • xabier says:

              The coup attempt was, most probably, perfectly genuine.

              The plotters were no doubt compromised, betrayed or simply incompetent, and Erdogan has seized the opportunity to make his authoritarian-demagogic rule more secure. He has no doubt been compiling a list of enemies to eliminate as soon as the chance came along.

              Much as the Basque terrorists ETA were used by the elements in the Franco regime to murder Franco’s heir, the admiral, and so eliminate high-level opposition to the Transition to ‘democracy’ which consolidated their power in a new format. ( It is inconceivable that the assassination was carried out without the Spanish Intelligence Service knowing about it: they caught and killed every spy that Russia tried to plant in Spain after all.)

              People like to jump up and down about ‘false flags’ these days, but really all one has to do is find perfectly genuine terrorists and play them: so, what happens is both genuine and also not quite it seems to be, with many actors involved at many levels….. And of course, sometimes they go out of control.

              The world is indeed full of c o n s p i r a c i e s and they are out to get you….sometimes!

            • Fast Eddy says:

              With respect to terrorists it is important to remember that the US was quite happy to support religious fanatics in Afghanistan in the 80’s….

              This is another dot

            • Tim Groves says:

              The balance of frenemies in the Middle East is far too confusing for anyone but a professional orientalist to make much sense out of. But I’m joining the majority and going with the “real failed coup” hypothesis.

              Sibel Edmonds has been predicting a coup attempt in Turkey for the past year and the Western media have been demonizing Erdogan for at least that long. It isn’t beyond the bounds of possibility that he did this as a false flag, but that would have been a terrible risk to take given that he knows the Neocons are out to oust him and impose Greater Kurdistan on the region.

              So now we have a US nuclear base in Turkey with the electric power cut off. Let’s hope none of those nukes go missing in the dark.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Putin is challenging the El-ders… the Eld-ers are essentially at war with Russia in Ukraine and Syria….

              Turkey recently kissed Putin’s ring… and slap in the face to the Elder…s…


              I think it is pretty obvious that the El-DerS are behind the coup….

              If you refuse to kiss their ring then you die.

              Kissing Putin’s ring would drive the EldEr…s around the bend…. they’d jump up and down and scream and yell …. then they’d send their mad dogs the CIA after you

      • InAlaska says:

        Turkey is a member of NATO. A bulwark for Europe between it and Russia and it and the Middle East.

        • the point wasn’t made about nato

          • InAlaska says:

            Yes, Norm, exactly my point. Not a part of the EU, but a member of NATO. Facts matter. Although on this site less and less, so it seems. We have the tinfoil hat crowd spewing whatever conspiratorial fantasy nonsense that comes immediately to mind.

    • Creedon says:

      I believe that what will set off collapse will be low oil prices. Who would have thunk. Credit B.W. Hill. Low oil prices will set off financial collapse. Currently oil producers and Europe which has less and less oil are being effected. I believe that Saudi Arabia and Russia will be effected and than eventually America herself. It’s not really rocket science at this point.
      The New York times says that Cuba is going to have to reduce oil consumption by 40 percent because their supply from Venezuela is being reduced. Collapse is occurring. It is not yet effecting Americans at the gas pump. Wall Street has not yet decided that there is a crisis.

      • A Real Black Person says:

        It looks as though it will take a while for oil producers to reduce supply enough that a shortage develops. I have to give credit where it’s due. The elites in the U.S. have done an excellent job of hiding the problem. The people most deeply affected by low oil prices in the U.S. , the non-elite worker who run the physical operations of production, are the proud, male, Caucasian blue collar kind who will not complain about losing their jobs, in the oil industry, due to market forces. They have gone quietly into the night. They might be quiet because they are being told that their jobs will come back eventually.

      • Several of us have been calling for the deflationary low price end game for years. Myself, Steve Ludlum and Nicole Foss besides BW Hill, who I know for years as ShortonOil on the forum. We discussed these topics often prior to his Hill’s Group producing the report and putting some numbers to it.

      • Stilgar Wilcox says:

        “Who would have thunk. Credit B.W. Hill. Low oil prices will set off financial collapse.”

        That’s not necessarily true. The other school of thought is high oil price north of $100 dollars a barrel spurred excess investment in new oil production that caused a glut, dropping price. As the oversupply is being depleted, oil price has already risen from 26 to closer to 50 a barrel. Give it time and it will continue to slowly rise and later when oil price is $80-90 a barrel people will debate where the Hill G. went wrong in their price projections.

        • Ert says:


          I can tell you: BW went wrong as the “economic value” due to the high versatility of oil is higher than that of coal or gas. But high-ERoEI coal or gas can still “subsidize” net-energy-looser oil for a time.

          The same you can see with biodiesel, oil from tar sand or fracking – they are already net-energy loosers, but in a world of relatively high-ERoEI gas and coal and cheap money – that all still works (even if shaky).

          Off course this all is borrowing from the future: “Extend and pretend” now – will cost civilization dearly in a few years or one-two decades from now.

          So first I still see oil-prices going up and down, but no real investment in new capacity anymore (because BW Hill has the trend absolutely right!).

        • Creedon says:

          That is the whole point. That is precisely what is not happening, but you are right, we should give it a few more years. In my mind it has already been proved.

          • Creedon says:

            There is always going to be more investment in oil than the world can consume. That is the problem. The central bank, fiat system is run by the big guys. They will always produce more than enough oil. What they can no longer do is create an economy strong enough to consume the oil they are producing. The steady weakening of the world economy is what the world doesn’t get. As Steve Ludlum just said we have been getting poorer for about two decades and it is picking up steam. The global financiers will continue to produce the oil, that is not a problem.

    • richard says:

      I’d mark the beginning of the collapse as the impact of Katrina on New Orleans, and then the decline of Detroit, but I’m looking in from the outside, and focussing on the inability of local “taxation” to adapt to decline.
      It’s hard to tell whether the EuroZone is just one big mess, or, as some say, it was always going to fail in its present form. Cheap energy is keeping things together for now, and similarly for Japan, but for how long? If something cannot continue forever, it will stop.

    • Artleads says:

      “We talk a lot about geology,thermodynamics, and a little bit about global finance here, but I believe there is a social/political feedback loop… ”

      Ditto that. It is way underestimated (IMO).

      • InAlaska says:

        Europe, compared to the rest of the world, is still strong and immeasurably wealthy. It is not going to collapse any time soon. In fact, Europe has managed to maintain quite a peaceful sort of order as things have continued to erode and degrade around it. Considering that Europe has both scheming Russia and the hapless Middle East for neighbors, both sources of war and chaos and its easy to see how resilient and tolerant the western democracies have been.

        • A Real Black Person says:

          The Middle East and Russia are Europe’s main sources of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are make up the bedrock of Europe’s wealth.

          Please don’t make it look like Russia and the Arabs are the only aggressors in the world. Europe’s past aggression is largely why they are wealthy. They didn’t become wealthy because they were meek, studious, and hard-working.

          “It is not going to collapse any time soon.” Cool religion, bro.

        • Fast Eddy says:

          I wonder what it is like to live in your matrix… the one where you swear allegiance to the flag and believe the US is the world’s policeman… I suppose it makes for a simple state of existence… one where you question nothing … all the answers are provided by CNN

        • InAlaska says:

          I guess its in how you define “soon.” Not in the next 5-10 years anyway. I am not making anyone seem more or less the aggressor. Nevertheless, Europe is wealthy regardless of how its wealth was acquired 500 years ago, and both Russian and Middle East cannot do without Europe. This point is often missed. The globalized economy and markets are so tightly linked that it is impossible for any sector or portion of the world to do without the other. War is very expensive and hardly any nation can afford to wage it anymore. Russian oligarchs and Middle Eastern strongmen need a market like Europe to sell their oil and their natural gas to. Ultimately, the weak countries will lose out first and strong, united countries and markets will survive longer.

          • A Real Black Person says:

            “Europe is wealthy regardless of how its wealth was acquired 500 years ago,”

            The Middle East and Russia provide Europe’s main sources of energy, now, not 500 years ago. Fossil fuels are make up the bedrock of Europe’s wealth.

            ” both Russian and Middle East cannot do without Europe. This point is often missed. ”
            Europe cannot survive without energy imports from Russia and the Middle East. This point you seem intent on deliberately missing.

            If everything is interconnected weak countries that collapse could destabilize the entire global economy if enough of them collapse simultaneously. People from weak and poor countries will try to migrate to strong and rich countries to improve their situation. Rich and strong countries who accept immigrants because they are trying to live up to the globalist Libertarian ideals will end up importing the problems of people from collapsed states. You can’t say everything is interconnected but think the strong and wealthy countries can avoid the things that are causing countries like Syria and Egypt to become failed states while accepting immigrants from failed states.

            ” War is very expensive and hardly any nation can afford to wage it anymore.”

            ” Europe has both scheming Russia and the hapless Middle East for neighbors, both sources of war and chaos ”

            Apparently it’s not too expensive if Russia and the Arabs are still waging it, with the U.S. leading the pack.

            “Considering that Europe has both scheming Russia and the hapless Middle East for neighbors, both sources of war and chaos ”

            ” I am not making anyone seem more or less the aggressor.”

            “Europe has both scheming Russia and the hapless Middle East for neighbors, both sources of war and chaos ”

            You really need stop arguing with yourself.

  23. dolph911 says:

    Sorry for the dual post earlier, I thought the first one did not go through.
    White Christian America does a lot for black people. They dutifully work and pay their taxes to the American government, and that filters through to more welfare and healthcare for blacks. They farm the land, man the factories and offices and hospitals, and all of this systemically supports blacks. They want to ban abortion, and that would mean many more black babies being born. They also pride themselves on their mission trips to Africa, where they are feeding, teaching and “civilizing” the Africans.

    But of course, it’s all a hypocrisy as well. The vast majority of white Americans take great pains to separate themselves and their kids from black people.

    So with one hand they help black people, and this raises their self esteem, makes them feel like they are being good Christians (or good liberal progressives, take your pick), and with the other hand they put it out and say, stay away from me, I don’t want you anywhere near my family or neighborhood. Very obvious and very hypocritical.

    • Artleads says:

      I suppose you have your points. America is still in the zone of “order” without which, life for blacks or anybody else would be much harder. But I dare say that centuries of free labor to build the foundation of the economy (which helps account for the order) is all too easy to forget. The right will often say that blacks should be grateful for slavery, for look at the alternative in Africa. How that either makes sense, or helps black people, I’m at a loss to say.

    • A Real Black Person says:

      It’s a class thing. It’s the same reason why working class whites are referred to as “white trash”. Basically, it’s a respect thing. People don’t respect people who they consider less successful than them. This is not something I think can be overcome with Christian teachings since it is a product of divisions of labor.

      • xabier says:

        Eskimos/Inuit show contempt, not pity or sympathy, for bad hunters, the sick and the useless elderly: division of labour is not to blame for that. So it has been from the dawn of time.

        • A Real Black Person says:

          While, logically, I assume the Inuits live so close to the edge that they cannot afford to support many unproductive people in their societies, your post suggests that they regularly abandon the sick and “useless elderly”. I’d like to know if that is the case.

  24. Part II from Louis Arnoux on Cassandra’s Legacy.

    He appears to diverge from Gail’s opinion with respect to the validity of the Hill’s Report.

    I questioned him on the issue of Demand Destruction. Ugo has not yet approved that post yet though.


    • Tim Groves says:

      This is a very good read, RE. Several new concepts (for me) are in there, such as Tooth Fairy Syndrome and the Oil Pearl Harbor. I’m looking forward to reading Part 3.

    • Creedon says:

      I believe that B.W. Hill has yet to be proved wrong. Gail would agree with us that 45 dollar oil over long enough a period of time would be enough to do serious damage to the economy. The world economy is obviously weakening. We are not trained to watch a global, industrial economy based on the oil trade deflate. It is happening in different ways than we would have thought. If oil continues to drop in price as B.W. Hill says that it will it will have consequences, and they are consequences that the globalists can’t control. The globalist can no longer make the global economy grow stronger. B.W. Hill; less energy from oil, equals weaker global economy. In the end B.W. Hill and Gail are both saying the same thing. B.W. Hill just looks at it mathematically.

      • Rodster says:

        Has anyone seen this BW Hill at any conferences besides at Peak and his very basic website. Usually people like him would be at conferences if what he has to say is so important and yet in all of Gail’s travels has yet to meet him or find him at one of her conferences.

        • InAlaska says:

          Rodster, I also wonder that. He gets a lot of play out of one website that has been around a long time, is never updated, or referred to much anywhere but on this site and PeakOil. Makes you wonder what we’re missing.

          • Rodster says:

            Not only that but the thing I question is the amount of people who full faith in what he has to say. Now i’m not saying whether he’s right or wrong but the only challenge he sets himself up for are a few website members.

            The difference with Gail even if she were totally wrong is that by taking part in conferences and giving lectures is that there’s a body of work that can be dissected and you can choose if you want to agree with it or not. With BW Hill he says he speaks at conferences but throughout Gail’s speaking engagements, lectures, conferences and world travels, you’d think they’d run into each other. Gail has never seen him and yes another point you make is his website charts appear to be the same.

            Hopefully one day he’ll stop by and state what conferences relating to energy and oil he’s spoken at.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Gail looks at the entire picture… that is the difference as I see it

    • Don Stewart says:

      Reverse Engineer

      I will come back to this blog with a comment, because I think that Louis Arnoux’s articles, added to the multi-year writings and modeling of BW Hill, along with all the financial doomsayers including Gail, plus our new understanding of energy and biology as described by Nick Lane, plus Adrian Bejan’s work on the constructal theory, plus the work of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, give us a better platform for thinking about the future.

      I don’t claim to be as smart as any of these individuals, but perhaps I can put some insights from them together in a way that is more than any of them have achieved individually.

      *The financial crisis started at least 10 years ago. Yet stocks are at record highs. Keep that in mind as I discuss the second point.
      *Nick Lane offers an explanation for ‘the black hole at the heart of biology’ in his book The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life. Briefly, conventional biology, armed with Darwinian gradualism, cannot explain the sudden emergence of the complex characteristics of eukaryotes after billions of years of stasis among the bacteria. Lane offers a theory which is based on energy and which predicts the major characteristics we see in eukaryotes: nucleus, sex, two sexes, senescence, and etc. for quite a long list. Lane points out that Schrodinger was a little off the mark in his book What Is Life?, that it should have been titled What Is Living? Because ‘living’ would bring energy front and center. Lane excuses Schrodinger because scientists at the time knew little to nothing about energy and biology. Now we understand it down to the atomic level. Schrodinger did have some inklings, because he remarked that if he had written the book for physicists, he would have stated it in terms of free energy rather than entropy. Lane criticizes the current emphasis in biology on genes and information, to the exclusion of energy. If biology was all about genes and information, then the most versatile beings on the planet, the bacteria, should have evolved eukaryotic characteristics sometime in the last 4 billion years…but they never have. I draw a parallel with those who claim that money is the master resource, since money has many of the characteristics of genes and information. Yet money is not sufficient to drive real change.
      *Adrian Bejan defines life as something that optimizes its movement: a river basin, an electron going down an electron chain, a pathway in an electronic device which dissipates heat, plus all the things we conventionally consider as ‘living’. Bejan has ideas about ‘life’ which are similar to Schrodinger and Lane. All of them are students of thermodynamics.
      *The Ellen MacArthur foundation has been concerned about the inefficient use of all resources, including fossil fuels. For example, they develop the fact that personal automobiles in Europe are operating at efficiencies of one or two percent. This ties in with what Arnoux is saying. The physicist Robert Ayres has plowed similar ground.
      *Arnoux and Hill, both being physicists and engineers, have come to very similar conclusions. Both see a looming cliff in terms of the free energy that Schrodinger referred to. Both predict a financial collapse BECAUSE OF the energy cliff. Arnoux has calculated how much energy is required to pay off current debts, and comes out with a very large figure (you can find it in the comments on the first article). If investors really believed Arnoux’s numbers, that would likely be the end of debt.

      Now I will add my own contribution, playing off Nick Lane. Bacteria and Archaea are metabolically very proficient, but have never developed a complex structure. Eukaryotes have given up some metabolic proficiency but have built a spectacular structure with orders of magnitude more free energy. I will add to Lane the thought that Industrial Man and his domesticated animals have given up even more metabolic proficiency, but have used the free energy offered by fossil energy to build terrifyingly dangerous structures. The decline in metabolic prowess from bacteria to Industrial Man implies that any decline in free energy is likely to be catastrophic.

      I don’t know exactly what Arnoux will put in his third article. But I suspect he will propose certain technologies that are considerably simpler and less energy hoggish. BW Hill has made some similar comments on the Peak Oil blog. Nick Lane points out that there are thousands of species of eukaryotes which have evolved toward simpler structures…in effect filling the ecological niche between the bacteria and the eukaryotes thanks to a ‘backward’ evolution. Arnoux thinks that humans who are not fully Industrial Man will stand a better chance of survival. We can also think of people who are choosing to live simpler, more self-reliant lives as also ‘backwardly evolving’ in a way that may well be adaptive.

      Hope this stimulates some thoughts…Don Stewart

      • it has been suggested, that the world has a consciousness that we as parasites on its surface remain unaware of

        this being so, the planetary body as accumulated an excess of hydrocarbon material within itself, and has evolved the necessary species to get rid of it.—ie us

        when our function is completed, we will be surplus to requirements and thus disposed of.

        Now there’s a cheery thought for all of us who thought life had a grand purpose.

        • InAlaska says:

          Earth as Gaia. Earth as a self-regulating organism. Man as Cancer, Man as Parasite, Man as Consciousness…One can only hope that we are truly not to blame, nor are we “in charge” and that things are unfolding as they are meant to unfold by the natural process of the evolution of the Universe. Perhaps poor comfort for those of us raising a family on this planet, but some comfort nonetheless.

          • Froggman says:

            My thoughts exactly.

            From the subjective view of a human here on Earth, we’ve really messed up and face a catastrophe.

            But outside of the artificial values we’ve created in our own minds- what “is” just “is”, because it has to be.

            Holy cow, that even rhymed.

            • Stefeun says:

              My thoughts exactly
              Face à catastrophe
              Because it has to be
              Just have to wait and see

        • xabier says:

          Oh, but it is a grand purpose: what could be more grand than the intentions of a whole planet? Just not from our point of view……….

          • InAlaska says:

            Could it be that the sole purpose of our species was to develop enough consciousness for the Earth (or the Universe) to finally be able to regard itself? Hairless, with five fingers, and erect, warlike and yet woefully incapable, but with a large enough brain to form social structures, use fire, grow a global civilization–learn to look inward and outward. Now creation has the ability to know itself. Perhaps our purpose is to create machine life and machine intelligence that self replicates and replaces us..

            • Stefeun says:

              Why do we suppose there’s any purpose?
              What about “purposelessness”?
              Just be
              And enjoy if you can

      • Stefeun says:

        Hi Don,
        Good to hear you again.

        So far I didn’t like very much the Arnoux’ article ; found that, except lots of fancy labels and unnecessary acronyms, he doesn’t bring anything new (maybe I didn’t read carefully enough), and lets aside big parts of our system, such as economy and debt, that are evoked but not really connected to the subject of the essay.
        OK I don’t want to be slanderous, let’s wait for the third part, and see what kind of “solution” he wants to sell us (oops! Sorry!).

        As for what you call “backward evolution”, I think it’s not the proper term, as it’s more likely an evolution that results in a simpler part (or whole, for micro-organisms) simply because it fits better to new environmental conditions.
        “Backward” suggests there’s a straight way from “primitive” to “advanced” structures, but IMO we’re not evolving on a straight line, rather in a (more and more) complex assembly (ecosystems) in which each modification can change the requirements of a given interaction between two parts of the system. Think human’s jaws and guts that have shrinked: it’s not backward, it’s still forward, but in a different context.
        Many other examples in this quite good wiki article:

        • Don Stewart says:

          I checked Arnoux’s web site to see what is on the ‘entrepreneurial’ side of his persona. I couldn’t understand everything clearly, but it looks to me like he proposes to build versatile heat engines which can produce different types of energy on demand. Nothing new except for the organization of the components.

          BW Hill has spoken a little on the Peak Oil site that bypassing expensive refineries is one way to reduce the energy cost of producing petroleum products. China is currently flooding the US with refined products, and they significantly reduced the barriers to tin pot refineries within the last 12 months or so. The refiner’s margins in the US have collapsed, as a result. There was an article on the collapse of refining margins in Zero Hedge a few days ago. Bad news for vertically integrated companies like Exxon.

          Hill says he exchanged some emails with Arnoux in the last couple of days regarding simplification and regionalization.

          As for Arnoux inventing anything new in terms of the thermodynamics, I don’t believe that he did. He got the Hill study in about January, digested it, liked it, and saw how it fit into his purposes. What you see in the articles is more his visuals to promote his products, I expect. Hill says that both Saudi and Russia also bought copies of his study. I find it suggestive that both Saudi and Russia are now seeking to sell off parts of their oil empires for cash. Do you think Hill convinced them that now is a good time to cash out? Or are they just desperate for cash?

          I sent a link to Arnoux’s articles to a friend, and told him about Arnoux wanting to sell ‘Green Boxes’. So some ‘buyer beware’ is appropriate. On the other hand, simplified and cheaper processing may make perfect sense and may extend the oil age for some period of time.

          Just speculation on my part. Let’s see what he has to say….Don Stewart

        • Don Stewart says:

          As for ‘backward evolution’. What Nick Lane describes is ‘the black hole at the heart of biology’. We have no accepted idea about how complex eukaryotic cells suddenly appeared on the scene. As Lane says, it appears that, like Athena, they sprang from the head of Zeus. Contradicting Darwin, there does not appear to have been any orderly small steps in the middle. Once the giant step had been made, then some of the new class of cells could radiate into the vacant space in the direction of bacteria. Whether you want to call it ‘backward’ is a matter of taste. But the evidence says that the apparently simpler cells evolved from the complex ‘full eukaryote’ cells…not as some intermediate step from bacteria to eukaryote.

          Lane offers a ‘free energy’ explanation for the sudden emergence of vastly more physically complex eukaryotic cells. It is like the sudden merger of a bacteria (what we now call a mitochondria) with an archaea cell opened the floodgates and led to the spectacular array of physical forms that we see. But the bacteria and the archaea still have not appreciably changed their form now in 4 billion years.

          Don Stewart

      • Tim Groves says:

        “Ha ha ha, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Can you, Mr. Scrooge? Nor teach the leopard to change its spots.” So quipped Mr Jorkin. But human beings are much more adaptable, as Jacob Bronowski argued in The Ascent of Man. He lays out the basis for the thesis in the first 2 or 3 minutes of this video. For Bronowski, cultural evolution trumps natural evolution every time. On the other hand, I wonder if he’d be quite so bullish about our collective prospects if he was still with us now.

        “Not fully industrial man” may soon be the only game in town, except that there may not be any towns to be in. The fall of modern BAU is bound to be messy and unpleasant, and it will probability involve a much sharper discontinuity than the fall of the Classical World did. The civilized of those times had lower population densities, lived closer to the land and were not dependent on complex technology or massive supplies of energy. For us, survival following the loss of these things will depend on luck as well as much as on skill, since competition with our fellow creatures will be intense, and so those of us who are able channel our inner barbarian will certainly be at an advantage.

  25. Somehow, I expect my article on Nihilism & Misanthropy in the current comentariat of some collapse blogs to be about as well received here as it would be on NBL. In fact, I detect less difference all the time between the two commentariats.

    Sadly this has to wait a bit, because more pressing problems have turned up I need to address while they are hot topics.

  26. richard says:

    More on collateral
    “Defaults have – so far – been led by energy companies, specifically low-rated crude producers, which have been slammed with a shortage of liquidity unable to secure (or refi into) new debt since oil began to tumble two years ago, while collateral bases shrunk substantially. That has forced many companies to renegotiate debt obligations with creditors, file for bankruptcy protection or miss interest payments.”

    The thing about ponzi schemes is that there has to be a kernel of truth, whether swamp-land in Florida, profitable postage stamps, or Madoff’s share schemes.
    It doesn’t matter whether the perpetrator intends doing good, or just got the math wrong, or whether the debt or investment has a watertight claim on assets. If there isn’t enough collateral, you will not get your money when it implodes.

  27. Yoshua says:

    The war in the Middle East ignited a sectarian war.

    By removing secular dictators the sectarian divide rose to the surface and ignited a sectarian war between Sunni and Shia Muslims. Saudi Arabia and Iran where drawn into this Sunni Shia war. Now the war is spreading through out the Middle East.

    It’s a classic example of Divide and Rule.
    The war is now coming to Europe.

      • Yoshua says:

        From Iraq to Syria… from Syria to Turkey… If Turkey collapses into total chaos and war…

      • Stilgar Wilcox says:

        The coup failed.

        • xabier says:

          Lamentably, it does appear to have failed. Erdogan and his uneducated, Islamist, Ottoman Nationalist-Imperialist supporters should be eliminated for the sake of Turkey. If only a short sharp operation had succeeded in getting rid of them. Dreadfully corrupt too. Lots of money being made out of migrant trafficking….

        • Yoshua says:

          Turkey has cut of electricity to the American air base inside Turkey. It seems to indicate that the now paranoid Islamist government in Turkey believes that the CIA was behind the failed military coup.

          Terrorist attacks are constantly carried out in Turkey by god knows who… by Kurds… by ISIS… by CIA… to destabilize Turkey. The moment Turkey collapses into anarchy, chaos and war… the damns will burst and the chaos will spread into Europe.

          We live in interesting times ! I actually love this ! 🙂

          • xabier says:

            I have (alas! ) spoken to fervent Erdogan supporters: a key element in the Erdogan ideology is that the US and Europe have long been the real enemies of Turkey, and ‘false friends.’ The US has ‘kept Turkey from greatness.’

            Erdorgan promises to restore that Ottoman greatness, while in fact merely lining his pockets and destroying civil society in Turkey.

            It’s all most interesting.

          • Fast Eddy says:

            It does add a bit of flavour to the blandness of waiting for the end of days 🙂

          • Tim Groves says:

            Just because they’re paranoid it doesn’t mean the CIA isn’t after them.

            “In the Turkish Military you don’t take a piss without getting permission from the United States and NATO.”

            Here’s a 30-minute interview with the Sybil (Sibel Edmonds) on the Turkish situation last December, in which she talks about how bad Erdogan is, how much worse a military government would be, and how the US will probably take Erdogan out in a coup and replace him with somebody even nastier, just as they did quite recently with Morsi in Egypt.

            Remember, Morsi is currently languishing in death row right now. And Saddam and Gaddafi didn’t fare to well after they were turfed out by the Americans. None of this can have been lost on Erdogan.

            This interview provides a vast amount of historical context for people who would like to know a bit more than the cartoonish “four legs good, two legs bad” coverage that you are going to get in the mass media.


            • xabier says:

              A Turkish friend went through a very pious stage at about the age of 18, and went to a kind of camp for believers dedicated to ‘religious renewal’.

              She thought something wasn’t quite right about it and to her surprise everything seemed very political: she left when she found out it was run by – funded by – the US Govt.

            • Fast Eddy says:

              Got a link to that Tim?

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Log on to for amazing hotel deals in Istanbul.

        • Sungr says:

          My wife works for a Seismic 3D company- and they are going broke right along with the rest of the pack in Houston. Their main competitor just declared bankruptcy last week.

          However, the company reps have been working on some kind of deal in Turkey. Not sure what it is. Maybe Erdogan is going to try and genocide the Kurds and then go in and drill up their lands for oil- after a good seismic survey of the country.

  28. Yoshua says:

    The war on Terror is a war on Islam.

    Islam could care less what our politicians say.

    ISIS is orthodox Islam honest to the “Holy” Quran.
    Jihad is a doctrine of Islam.
    One cannot change the words of Allah.

    Islam believes in human rights according to Sharia Law.
    Kafirs have no human rights.
    Islam demands subjugation and dominance over Kafirs.

    Millions of Muslims live in our European cities.
    Millions more are coming.
    Our cities will soon explode in violence.

    • Rodster says:

      The war on terror is nothing more than “theater security”. It’s a sham and a hoax. It makes it possible to scare the masses to give up their rights so the crazies and nutjob’s running the Govt’s around the world, implement more of their control over their citizens.

      And it was the crazies and the nutjob’s who started the terror by invading and destabilizing countries in the MENA.

      • Yoshua says:

        The Anglo-American war in the Middle East is brilliantly conducted. The war is now spreading throughout the Islamic world like a wildfire and causing a flood of refugees into Europe. Europe is now being polarized through the crime, rape and terror wave.

        The colour revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine and the offer to them to join NATO created a security risk for Russia. The following wars created a division between Europe and Russia.

        Great Britain has now left the European Union and Europe is now mature for a collapse. The collapse of the Eurozone is long due and that will bring down the European Union as well. The political and economic chaos that will follow will tear down Europe and have severe political and economic consequences for Russia as well.

        With an on going war in Ukraine… lets see if this will lead to another pointless war between Russia and continental Europe.

    • Artleads says:

      My weakness of mind is such that I was buying all of this. But thanks to Rodster, I’ve temporarily regained some mental balance :-). Islam has been around, and has coexisted with other religions, for a very long time. I think Gail concludes that the strife we see now has more to do with scarcity than inherent religious character.

      • all conflict is linked to resource scarcity, one way or another.

        lunatic leaders just dress it up as something else to get willing and gullible cannon fodder

        • Yoshua says:

          At some point we will be forced to fight these lunatics in the streets.
          We Europeans will then find out how well armed they are… while we are unarmed and domesticized.

          • DJ says:

            If it comes to that we’ll have to give them the cities.

          • xabier says:

            When I look at the extraordinary number of weak, unfit, (obese and pale !) and simply effeminized (clothes and hair ever more unisex, and very feminine walks ) young men on the streets today, hypnotized by those glowing screens, I can’t see them doing very well against hyper-masculine Muslim types.

            Not to mention those who fall over themselves to make excuses for thugs and the socially-useless of every description….

            Well, that is how civilizations collapse, and we are observing it.

            • Artleads says:

              Sorry, my knowledge of history is lamentable. I had the impression of a more mellow form of coexistence over centuries. But short of reading up on the subject (unlikely) I’ll have to suspend judgment for now.

          • when resources run short at the domestic level, ie—suprmarket shelves are empty, then inevitably all ethnic groups will seek the protection of their own kind. This is a world problem, not just a uk/eu problem.
            then the real battle for survival will begin

      • Stefeun says:

        The Bible too contains quite a few gruesome verses.

        An interesting 3:30 video:

        • Interguru says:

          Check out the history of violence in Europe, and how we treated blacks and indians. Violence is a human trait. We hook on to a convenient ideology ( religion, communism, fascism ) to justify it.

      • Yoshua says:

        The Prophet was a jihadist, he killed, raped, enslaved and beheaded people.
        Mohammed is the ideal Muslim that every good Muslim should follow.
        ISIS is just following the Quran and the Hadith.

        One might of course say that this is just the Islamic way of plundering resources.

        But to open the borders to Islam into Europe is perhaps not a good idea.

      • xabier says:

        The principal problem is that the non-Muslim in a Muslim society is very much a third-class citizen.

        It was this which led, for instance, to the mass of people in Andalucia converting to Islam some two centuries after the initial Arab-Berber conquest in 711, – it just made no sense to stay at the bottom and deprived of human rights and judicial protection.

        • Yoshua says:

          This is what killed the Roman Empire. The Muslims attacked, killed, raped and enslaved Europeans for over a millennia. We Europeans do not remember this since it brings shame and a sense of inferiority. We like to have this complex feeling of superiority and guilt over our “superiority”.

          • Tim Groves says:

            Historical memory is a funny thing. We can choose to “dwell on” what’s been done unto our ancestors, or we can choose to dwell on what our ancestors have done to others, or we can choose to bask in the glory of our ancestors’ achievements. Alternately, we can choose to ignore the past altogether and focus on the present or the future. How’s that for freedom of choice?

            • Sungr says:

              History gives us the understanding of just how bad things can get when the quarrelsome ape goes on a rampage.

  29. dolph911 says:

    What is interesting about the white Christian right wing in America is the degree to which they support others who don’t have anything to do with them.
    1) They are America imperialists, but the ruling class in America doesn’t care about them at all, they just use them as corporate workers bees and cannon fodder for wars
    2) They support the Joos, but the Joos ridicule them
    3) They support the blacks, and gives all sorts of aid to them both at home and in Africa, but the blacks will never reciprocate that

    Pretty pitiful if you think about it.

    • Yep, they would like to aspire for the middle-lower rank nomenclature cadre status aka the building pillars of the facade for the system structures, but they could be ditched away by other actors when the time comes, which could be relatively soonish. Doesn’t matter if that’s in actuality open military coup, foreign/global bankster Elder sponsored depopulation event, or just plain complex society brakeup chaos with boiling race wars.
      Quite amusing..

      • Rodster says:

        “Yep, they would like to aspire for the middle-lower rank nomenclature cadre status aka the building pillars of the facade for the system structures, but they could be ditched away by other actors when the time comes, which could be relatively soonish.”

        Talk about word salad !

  30. dolph911 says:

    What is interesting about the white Christian right wing in America is the degree to which they support others who don’t have anything to do with them.
    1) They are America imperialists, but the ruling class in America doesn’t care about them at all, they just use them as corporate workers bees and cannon fodder for wars
    2) They support the Jews, but the Jews ridicule them
    3) They support the blacks, and gives all sorts of aid to them both at home and in Africa, but the blacks will never reciprocate that

    Pretty pitiful if you think about it.

  31. Vince the Prince says:

    Gail, This is the a direct mainstream article telling it like it is

    The end of oil is closer than you think
    Oil production could peak next year, reports John Vidal. Just kiss your lifestyle goodbye
    John Vidal
    The US government knows that conventional oil is running out fast. According to a report on oil shales and unconventional oil supplies prepared by the US office of petroleum reserves last year, “world oil reserves are being depleted three times as fast as they are being discovered. Oil is being produced from past discoveries, but the re­serves are not being fully replaced. Remaining oil reserves of individual oil companies must continue to shrink. The disparity between increasing production and declining discoveries can only have one outcome: a practical supply limit will be reached and future supply to meet conventional oil demand will not be available.”

    It continues: “Although there is no agreement about the date that world oil production will peak, forecasts presented by USGS geologist Les Magoon, the Oil and Gas Journal, and others expect the peak will occur between 2003 and 2020. What is notable … is that none extend beyond the year 2020, suggesting that the world may be facing shortfalls much sooner than expected.”

    Other analysts are also questioning afresh the oil companies’ data. US Wall street energy group Herold last month compared the stated reserves of the world’s leading oil companies with their quoted discoveries, and production levels. Herold predicts that the seven largest will all begin seeing production declines within four years. Deutsche Bank analysts report that global oil production will peak in 2014.
    Moreover, oil supply is increasingly limited to a few giant fields, with 10% of all production coming from just four fields and 80% from fields discovered before 1970. Even finding a field the size of Ghawar in Saudi Arabia, by far the world’s largest and said to have another 125bn barrels, would only meet world demand for about 10 years.

    “All the major discoveries were in the 1960s, since when they have been declining gradually over time, give or take the occasional spike and trough,” says Campbell. “The whole world has now been seismically searched and picked over. Geological knowledge has improved enormously in the past 30 years and it is almost inconceivable now that major fields remain to be found.”

    “The first half of the oil age now closes,” says Campbell. “It lasted 150 years and saw the rapid expansion of industry, transport, trade, agriculture and financial capital, allowing the population to expand six-fold. The second half now dawns, and will be marked by the decline of oil and all that depends on it, including financial capital.”

    So did the Swiss bankers comprehend the seriousness of the situation when he talked to them? “There is no company on the stock exchange that doesn’t make a tacit assumption about the availability of energy,” says Campbell. “It is almost impossible for bankers to accept it. It is so out of their mindset.”

    Just posted clips of article, please use the link to read the whole article

    The fact is, they know…now how to act!?

    • Volvo740 says:

      Well, we kind of know that no one will come out and announce the truth, right. That makes me believe that they will cook the EIA numbers – but that’s just a guess.

    • Stilgar Wilcox says:

      Vince, albeit an interesting article, it’s from April 2005.

      • Vince the Prince says:

        Stilgar, thanks for pointing that out, LOL….if so, you KNOW the PTB have had PLENTY of lead time to get their act in order to navigate themselves through this “special” period.
        It helps explain a lot since 2005 on world affairs. It is a good indicator of what is ahead.
        Even Shortonoil has expressed his view the Sauds, Russians and Chinese area all aware of his Etp model and very sure they are glued here too.
        Betcha Ben Bernanke has a pseudo avatar he posts with just to pass the time!
        Maybe it is “Fast Eddy”…..? LOL

    • Act as they apparently do, have a secondary (or more globally dispersed) place/s of residence with as many analogue devices operating the key life support systems as possible.

      You might say, there is no cash or knowledge for that!
      Though luck, only the best survive, in fact the long term survivors will be a “mixed race” coming from the most toughest survivalists, Elder remnants, and pirates(street thugs). That’s how history always rolls in times of epic changes like these..

      • Which epic changes do you refer to?

        Previous societal collapses typically either:

        wiped out everyone (island cultures)


        had native populations subsumed (but not eradicated) by invaders (conquest/defeat)


        saw a dispersal of a large part of the population into surrounding habitable areas.
        For some empirical evidence of this phenomenon:
        or read this
        or even consider today’s waves of refugees fleeing the collapsing MENA.

        If you would like to pursue your argument then you are really joining us in the instadoom camp. A collapse (as opposed to a Roman Empire-type gradual transformation) that only leaves a few survivors in its wake only occurs when it is precipitious. If you are claiming that this ‘epic change’ is like previous ‘epic changes’ then you are claiming that it must be quick, nasty and calamitous – hardly the drawn out ‘Metropolis-like’ world you claim will be with us for the next decades.

        The idea of a ragtag bag of hardy souls ‘fleeing Vesuvius’ is supported by Hollywood narratives and other romantic notions but it is not particularly ‘always the way history rolls’.

      • xabier says:

        I would add to the survivors shamans, magicians,faith-healers, bards, etc.

        Times will be irrational and dangerous, life-expectancy very short indeed: the tough ones will be just as scared as anyone else, and in need of reassurance and contact with the Other Worlds and the Gods.

    • The catch is that our problem is not “peak oil;” it is financial collapse, brought on essentially by growing issues related to complexity–increasing wealth disparity, debt rising faster than GDP, and commodity prices of all kinds that do not keep up with costs of production. The peak oil story has very substantial deficiencies. Focusing on “peak oil” gives the wrong impression regarding when and where the problem is.

      Furthermore, I don’t think that the Hill model substantially corrects this wrong world-view. Yes, there is a thermodynamic model, but it omits most of the effects of rising complexity. It is the effects of growing complexity that can be expected to bring down the system, both based on the analyses of Tainter and of Turchin and Nefedov. All of the thermodynamic teachers in the world are not going to notice this basic deficiency of the model. They are still thinking about the “running out” model.

      • Stilgar Wilcox says:

        “Furthermore, I don’t think that the Hill model substantially corrects this wrong world-view. Yes, there is a thermodynamic model, but it omits most of the effects of rising complexity.”

        Well put, and I agree completely. I would add, and I’m not sure if you would agree Gail, but the Hills Group projection of a barrel of oil only having a value in 2020 of $19 seems extremely presumptive given the numerous variables involved.

      • xabier says:


        As you may have seen, the new British Govt. has announced that it will ease public borrowing constraints to build yet more infrastructure and so ‘boost growth’. An improvement in general prosperity will be seen ‘by 2018.’ How exciting!

        And yet, not long ago the professional body which represents engineers in Britain stated that no more should be built, as there will be great difficulties in maintaining that which already exists.

        But one supposes that the growth spurt which is surely coming will surely deal with that issue. How could the engineers not see that?

      • InAlaska says:

        Gail, I don’t understand how you are divorcing the peak oil story from complexity, debt, wealth disparity, and financial collapse. Agreed, the original peak oil theory has had to evolve to fit with new facts, but isn’t the base of that still in fact: a scarce, non-renewable resource is reaching either its financial and/or geologic limit and that scarcity is cascading through a system designed for cheap commodity availability. This leads to the need for more debt, creating a fragile financial system, the need to globalize the economy and thus a widening wealth disparity. Do I have it wrong? I am not sure why you are turning your back on the peak oil part of this story, with peak oil as an analogue for all scarce resources in a finite world. Thanks.

  32. Duncan Idaho says:

    1953 Coup in Iran.
    (blow back is a drag)'%C3%A9tat

  33. wratfink says:

    So, a while back I was wondering who would be picking up the assets from struggling oil and gas companies. I was only half joking when I said your pension fund and 401k. Seems the Canadian pension funds are bullish. This one has invested in three in recent months:

  34. Fast Eddy says:

    60 dead 100 wounded…. not sure on the exact count by the ‘terrorists’ must be getting close to 5000 on the kill count if we go back to 911.

    All these headlines are not good for team moral – I can imagine people feeling very negative — becoming afraid of their shadows… anxiety … feelings of being overwhelmed by the hordes…

    But let’s step back a moment and look at the BIG PICTURE.

    How many did WE kill and maim in Iraq? What about Libya? And then there was the match in Syria that is ongoing… how many did our puppets in the region torture and murder on our orders?

    Difficult to pin down numbers but surely we must be well over 1,000,000.

    I &^%$ing million+ killed and maimed!

    To a measly 5000 or so.

    Hold your heads up high and proud. Our team is destroying them!

    This is like the NBA all star team against the ISIS basketball team.

    This is obliteration. We are steamrolling the bastards. We are slam dunking in their faces. W

    This not even a contest.

    We are:

    Now get back out their team — and kick some more Muslim ass! Take one for the team!

    • Duncan Idaho says:

      It all goes back to 1953.
      You cannot turn around once down that path.

    • JMS says:

      François Hollande had said yesteday, July 14, that the state of emergence would not be extended beyond July 26. Now he got the pretext to impose it ad infinitum. It’s almost funny how the terrorists always work in favour of police state. A mere coincidence, of course. Everybody knows that terrorism has NOTHING to do with psy-ops to scare and control the sheep.

      • Fast Eddy says:

        Maybe Mr Hollande wanted to divert the people from the 10k per month hairdresser…. it does paint the picture of an middle age balding man full of vanity…. so I can see how he’d like to bury that story… 🙂

        • Stefeun says:

          F. Hollande has reduced the running fees of the Élysée (equiv. White House) by a fair amount, and also his own salary by 30% as soon as arrived.
          The hair-cutter has been in place for years before Hollande, and is in charge of other people’s hair too (there are ca.4000 employees at the Élysée, iirc).

          So maybe his salary is a bit high, and I admit the story is quite funny, but I think it isn’t a good “flag”; just another piece of Hollande-bashing, without real substance.
          NB: i’m not pro-Hollande.

    • Stefeun says:

      They like symbols (Bastille day, Nice ‘capital’ of intl tourism, early summer, …), it gives much bigger psychological impact.

      The ‘mad truck’ method they used reminds of a horror movie, which will also contribute to engrave fear and anxiousness in the collective mind. We will probably accept the reinforced police state without a word, many will even welcome it… That’s where we’re headed.